1 Week Trip to Europe

Dec 31st, 2015, 04:27 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2015
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1 Week Trip to Europe

I am planning to spend 1 week in Europe with my wife and 2 kids (8 year and 3 year). Its our first trip to Europe. We are from Toronto Canada. I am spending 2 weeks in India and on our way back to Canada we want to spend one week in Europe.
We have seen enough snow in Canada so we want to see some warm pleasant wether 10+degree is ok. We want to see lush green landscapes (like Switcherland in summer). I know we should come in summer but we are tied up and this is the only time we have. We are not the big fan of old buildings and museums. We want to see beautiful land scapes. Green Valies, Mountains, rivers, nice villages, small old towns houses.
Please advice where we can go in Europe, that have what we are looking for in February.
After doing some research I shortlisted 3 countries.. Spain, Italy or Greece. I don't want to travel a lot during my 1 week visit. I don't mind traveling but not too much.
Please help me to finalize my vacation destination.
Also please let me know it I should rent a car or rely on public transport?
I have less than a month to finalize everything.
I know there are lot of experienced travellers out there who can guide me properly so i can get the best out of 1 week European trip.
baljindersidhu is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 04:35 PM
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You need to consider Ireland. It's the only place which will be green in February. It has "mountains" (more like rolling hills), but lots of year-round greenery, and great little towns.
Edward2005 is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 04:54 PM
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Southern Spain would meet your weather requirements but the countryside is not green valleys with pretty rivers etc - the landscape is much more rugged - with mountains, but not green - more rocky. (Remember this is where they shot many of the spaghetti westerns.)

Nor sure about Sicily - have the impression it is more rugged than pretty - but have not been there in winter. Perhaps someone who has can comment.

I would agree that Ireland always is green - but not real mountains - and although far north the weather is usually moderate due to the gulf stream rather than winter cold - but think more like 45 versus 50 and do expect a lot of damp, mist, drizzle, etc.
nytraveler is offline  
Dec 31st, 2015, 06:30 PM
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NOt Greece.
travelerjan is online now  
Dec 31st, 2015, 11:56 PM
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Greece has green mountains with valleys and rivers with quaint small villages and nice towns....
One region that fits the bill is Epirus in the west of Greece with Ioannina being the main city.

Epirus is relatively undiscovered but has a lot to offer also in terms of activities, like hiking, kayaking , horse riding etc...

In February it will be very cold however and most likely there will also be snow, so i am not sure this is what you you're looking for.

Greece is not only sandy beaches, small islands and white washed houses ( which is actually just a very small part of Greece) but much more.
clausar is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 01:00 AM
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The Tuscany/Chianti areas of Italy with Florence as a base would fit the bill, but like many other places are not at their best during that time of year. Also they call for a car rental, again not the best month for that although you could get lucky with some dry days. Also that's one place you could fly open jaw, say from DEL [perhaps] then on to Toronto.

Another open jaw possibility would be Paris, a hopping off point for say Burgundy or Alsace or Champagne.

On skyscanner.com, you can enter your departure airport and date [one way]; under destination put "anywhere" and you will get a list of places and airlines, then see which go to Toronto.
RonZ is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 01:52 AM
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I wouldn't automatically exclude Greece. Most of us who visit in summer have no idea how green the country is in winter. My friends who live on the island of Antiparos take photos of green fields and meadows abloom with wildflowers in winter. The same landscape is dry and barren from heat and low rainfall in summer.

I wouldn't go to an island in winter, except perhaps Crete. Greece, like Italy and Spain, is a mountainous country, and all three have ski resorts that are busy in February, yet their coastal regions can have mild temperatures even in winter.

Clausar mentioned Ioannina in the Epirus region, but how about Kalamata in the southern Peloponnese? I have friends who live in the area, and they often mention shirtsleeve weather in winter. The forecast on meteo.gr is for high temperatures at Kalamata of 14-18C next week. That said, I understand it snowed in Athens last night!
Heimdall is online now  
Jan 1st, 2016, 04:40 AM
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Your three areas all look good to me, the issue will be to stay above 10C (for instance I see Istanbul has snow right now)

The only issue with getting to see the countryside is that public transport tends towards town-town movements.

For me I'd look at the Algarve in Portugal, the southern coast of Spain or Sicily. My knowledge of Greece in winter is less good but certainly Cyprus is lovely at this time of year.

In the first three I'd hire a car.

The trouble with some of the more northern sites mentioned above is 1) too wet, 2) no leaves on the trees etc. I was in Tuscany in Feb three years ago and it was dull/mud with un happy looking trees sticking out of it. On the other hand it might be lovely. So go where the chances of success are highest.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 05:20 AM
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Cyprus would be a good possibility if you want to add a fourth country to your list.
Heimdall is online now  
Jan 1st, 2016, 05:21 AM
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Many parts of Tuscany are green February. It depends on where you go in Tuscany. If you go to northern Tuscany -- no. If you go to southern Tuscany and the Maremma, yes. But to see southern Tuscany, you need a car.

The last half of February is greener than the first half of February, and the green is just begining, so it is not lush, but new. These pictures were taken in Feburary in the val d'Orcia




These pictures were taken in the Maremma area of Tuscany:


Sicily has several areas of beautiful green landscapes in February, but you need a car to reach them, and coming from Canada for a week and then leaving for India, it is simpler to go to Tuscany. Just fly into Rome, take a train to Orvieto and rent a car.

BUT -- it can also snow in southern Tuscany in February. So no guarantee.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 05:52 AM
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I love Sicily, but I'm not sure I would go in February, and it lends itself more to a driving trip. If I were going to Europe in February, and I didn't want to visit London or Paris, I would go to Nice or Lisbon. Both should have reasonable weather, although it might be a bit wet in Nice. Nice is a good base for a number of day trips. Lisbon has loads to see and several good day trips. I wouldn't say either were good for green valleys, although you'll certainly find hills and coastline, but the climate that produces green valleys isn't conducive to pleasant trips in February.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 07:12 AM
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A lot of areas around the Mediterranean Sea are green and full of blooming flowers in February: Cyprus, Cilicia, Pamphylia, Lykia, Rhodos, Argolis, Peloponissos, Salento, Calabria, Sicily, 5Terre, Cote d'Azur, Mallorca, Ibiza.....

All these areas are fine if the weather is fine, if there is a lot of sunshine and not much wind. This type of weather is not exceptional in February, but it could be cold, rainy and windy as well.
There is just no fine weather guarantee.
neckervd is offline  
Jan 1st, 2016, 12:56 PM
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It can snow in coastal Italy in February, in all the Italian locations neckervd named. It is not the norm, but it does happen. Also, these are ares of palm trees and often rock and scrub, not green lush valleys like Switzerland.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 05:29 PM
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Thank you so much for your advice. I just found out that I can get the best air flight rates via paris. Now I am looking options from Paris. May be 2 days in paris then train to Rome and then fly back to Paris to Toronto. Any suggestions about travel from paris to neighbouring Switcherland and then to Rome/Italy? Train? Euro Pass or tickets? Train via swiss? or via air?
I have a week to spend with 2 kids and wife of course.
What do you guys say..I spend a week in paris?? or travel to Italy via Switcherland on Train and fly back to Paris. 2 days in Paris, a day in Swiss and 2 in Rome ...
I am open to suggestions. Nothing finalized. So many choices,,,
I am thinking of train to Rome via swiss via Bernina Express. Any other suggestion???
baljindersidhu is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2016, 07:21 PM
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First trip to Europe, never been to France at all, only one week ... be SANE and stay a week in Paris as a base. KIds do NOT do well with all that crazy traveling you propose! This beautiful city has SO much to see, wonderful parks for kids ... and you can research "Paris fun for kids" on the internet, or look at some guide books (what a concept!). To get those wonderful landscapes you long for, there are coach trips to castles in the Loire Valley, or Fontainbleau or Versailles... both have plenty of parkland to roam around in.

The quickest way to ruin a potentially wonderful week is to rush around to train stations, busses in/out of cities, airport security lines, checking in/out of hotels, meantime kids are off-schedule, needing naps, crying, wanting snacks. You ask "what do you guys say?" We say... ask your WIFE what makes sense! She probably gets stuck with keeping the kids happy during trips, (I always was, and I don't think that much has changed) and she knows exactly how many activities are feasible in a given day before there is a meltdown. Scale back your expectations, and you'll relax and enjoy. Be content with tossing a frisbee in the Luxembourg Gardens, then sitting in a cafe while kids enjoy some splendid granita or ices, you sip espresso. Maybe part of your week can be in a hotel that offers reliable babysitting service so you and your wife can go out for a late dinner, and remember what it was like before the kids came.
travelerjan is online now  
Jan 3rd, 2016, 12:17 AM
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Take a look at the Axarquia region just east of Malaga city. About the warmest winter climate in Europe and beautiful landscapes, lots of small villages etc: http://www.rusticblue.com/andalucia_...a_axarquia.php

About Malaga city itself (with a big international airport): http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...rs-restaurants
kimhe is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2016, 02:37 AM
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Paris - Bernina Express - Rome would look like this:
Day 1:
Paris dp 12.23 - Chur ar 17.52, may be some green landscape in France, probably a few snow in Switzerland.
Day 2:
Chur dp 8.58 - Tirano 13.00/15.08 - Rome ar 21.40, a lot of snow between Chur and Tirano, some green fields between Tirano and Milan; afterwards it will get dark anyway.
neckervd is offline  
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