11 Days to Travel Around Western Europe

Apr 23rd, 2005, 08:35 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
11 Days to Travel Around Western Europe

I am a college student studying in Oxford for about a month this summer. I am arriving in London in mid June, 11 days before my classes start in Oxford. I am a 21 year old guy, very fit. I realize 11 days isn't a lot of time but I would like to go to at least a few different countries before the term starts. I am going to try and meet a friend in Rome 6-7 days into my trip. Any suggestions on where to go from London for the 6-7 days before I go to Rome and how to get there? I think we will be spending the remaining 5-6 days around France. I have never traveled in Europe and am trying to figure out where I should stay, where I should go, and how I should get around. Any advice would be most appreciated.
galapas is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 05:18 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
I realize thzt you are young and fit - and plan a super quick overview so that you can decide what places to go back to later - but seeing western europe in 11 days is like trying to see the US in 11 days. It simply can;t be done.

I think you need to consult with your friend on axact plans and thenn pick 3 places - no more - to stay. If you're meeting in Rome I would probably do some other Italian things beforehand - possibly Venice or Florence with a day trip, spend a couple of days in Rome with or before meeting friend and then fly to Paris for the rest of the time. You could also do a day trip from there if you wanted.

To try to see more than that in so few days would result in nothing but a blur of train stations, bus stations and obscure (low-cost carier) ariports.

If you have any specific place you want to see - someone can make a suggestion how to fit it all together - but please forget the idea of trying to see western europe (you would have less than 1 day per country).
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 06:34 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,436
I agree with the previous poster.

For a start, you don't have 6-7 days pre-rendezvous and 5-6 days thereafter.

To put it into perspective, let me -- not derisively, I promise -- suggest a US comparison:

You are arriving at JFK from Europe. You need to be in Princeton, NJ at the end of Day 11.

You are planning to meet a friend in Atlanta on Day 6.

From JFK you need to get across town to Newark airport, to catch your onward connection. This takes several hours.

You plan to spend your first night in Washington DC. Day 2 and 3 are spent in Washington.

Day 4 and 5 are spent on the way to Atlanta. You rent a car or take the train.

Day 6 you arrive in and rendezvous in Atlanta.

You spend Days 7 and 8 in Atlanta.

Time is now pressing. With or without your friend, you take a day trip to Charleston and return to Atlanta on Day 9. From there you drive in easy stages to NJ.

Or you stay in Charleston 2 full days and fly to NYC on Day 11.

You have seen Washington, Atlanta and Charleston plus whatever stops you make on the road from Washington to Atlanta.

Happily, your flight arrives at Newark and you can take a bus to Princeton in the afternoon of Day 11.

By analogy, you can visit Paris and Rome for a couple of days each and spend 2 long, long days on the road or leave a little later and "overnight" in a train, Paris-Rome.
tedgale is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 06:42 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,399
There are many budget airlines in Europe and can be cheaper than taking a train. www.whichbudget.com and www.nofrillsair.com Be sure to pay attention to airport location, luggage weight restrictions and check-in times if you use the budget airlines as they tend to very strict.
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 24th, 2005, 07:30 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 511
What was up with the US analogy -- not at all helpful

Take the eurostar to Paris (cheaper tickets if you reserve way in advance 35euros rt) Stay a day or 2;
Paris to Brussels by train (1 night)
Brussels to Amsterdam by train - 1 night
Amsterdam to Geneva (via Brussels) 1 night
Geneva to Florence (night train) + 1 night
Day 6 or 7
Florence to Rome (try to stop in Pisa)
Try to go toNaples and Capri (they are gorgeous) and make sure you see pompei and herculaem
then the fast trains back to Paris and the rest of the 35 euro ticket to London.

Good luck!
moxie is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 07:38 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,436
8 train trips in 11 days will make you an expert on trains but offers few other attractions, IMO.

But whatever.
tedgale is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 07:49 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 4,436
I have just read moxie's other recent post, in which she proposes a car trip of 23 days to visit 18 major cities between Paris and the Black Sea.

The 23 days includes the return trip to Paris, BTW.

tedgale is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 08:45 AM
  #8  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
I think the first question nas not been addressed - - not how to divide time between Paris and Rome (and environs) - - but rather, what is it that motivates these travels, and are those goals better achieved by France AND Italy - - or would Italy alone provide you a better experience?

Personally, if you were my kid, I would enourage you to consider Italy alone for the 11 days - - and as an added suggestion, go into overdrive, startig today, to learn Italian. You could master simple communication with a vocabulary of 500 words in the next 5-6 weeks.

You may find the opportunity (might be an ise of means) for a weekend trip to Paris during your month of studies in Oxford (though there is a lot of England to see, in your spare time).

On the other hand, maybe it is your friend who WANTS to see some (more?) of France - - WITH you. That might be the initial decision branch point in this plan-making.

Best wishes,

Rex
rex is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 10:13 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,113
First, cheap flight up to Amsterdam stay 2 days. Then speed train to Paris stay 2 days. Overnight train in couchette sleeper to Venice stay 2 days. Train down to Rome, meet your friend, kick around Italy (skip France), return by cheap flight to London.

I'm not usually a speedy traveler, but think this would be completely do-able.

suze is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 10:16 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,113
to moxie- I am curious why when they are starting in London, you are sending them down to Paris, then back up to Amsterdam? Then back down to Geneva? Your order of cities doesn't make sense to me. Am I missing something here?
suze is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 11:03 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
Call me crazy, but with only 11 days I would see the UK and maybe Paris.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 11:40 AM
  #12  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Okay, I'll call you crazy... "galapas" is in Oxforn for a whole month, after these 11 days. I think that 11 days in ONE contrasting country.... well, NOT doing that is crazy, in my book (assuming that resources allow).
rex is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 11:50 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 57
Galapas, has your friend been living in Rome, or is that just a meeting place? I would suggest France for your time before meeting your friend, then spend the remainder in Rome. Also, 11 days in Italy would be fabulous, have you though about spending the 6 - 7 before meeting in Rome then going off with your friend to another location perhaps in Italy such as Florence and Venice? What are you interested in doing? Museums and sightseeing or outdoor adventures? That could also help in determining what to do.
amor is offline  
Apr 24th, 2005, 02:30 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 511
I gave the choppy schedule based on cheap fast trains (about 3 hours each) since I thought that as a student he is looking for reasonable travel tickets and he arrives directly in the city centres thus saving at least 4 hours for each city.
Amsterdam of course is the luxury stop but one that is usually high on the list for young men.
moxie is offline  
Apr 25th, 2005, 11:08 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
Thanks for all the responses. My friend will have just finished a month term studying in Italy. I have been reading other posts and doing some research. I realize that I severely need to reduce the amount of locations I want to visit. I should have been more clear intially; when I said western europe I didn't mean all of it. The locations that I am most interested in before Rome are Austria and Greece. I have found some low cost flights from London to Salzburg. Then I am thinking about taking the train from Austria to Athens and then back to Greece. I appreciate the advice to spend all the time in Italy or any other country because there is so much to do, but I really want to diversify. Does it seem reasonable to spend a few days in Austria and Greece before going to meet my friend in Rome. From there I think we can work our way through France up towards London. I am not real concerned about Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, or countries of that region because I will have the opportunity to visit them during the weekends once the term starts.
galapas is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 05:24 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,511
It is always good to dream, but you need to check the facts. The train to Athens takes 35 hours, and then what?
Salzburg is cool--have your friend meet you there.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 06:10 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 662
Do you have your flights booked already? If not, I would fly open-jaw into Athens, spending the first 6-7 days in Greece, then cheap flight to Rome to meet your friend. From Rome, spend the rest of the time in France. If you're going to be in England for a month, perhaps you'll have a chance to take advantage of the low-cost carriers and take a weekend trip to Austria.

Greece, Rome, and France sound very ambitious and diverse for your 11 days.

Oh, and another quick question ... are you not spending any time in Rome? You don't allocate any days for the city in your question (you mention meeting there after 6-7 days and spending the remaining 5-6 days in France). If you aren't staying in Rome at all, you could fly Greece to Nice, Paris, or elsewhere in France to meet your friend. Saves time and $$.

Have a wonderful trip and good luck with your studies!
Chicago_Heather is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 07:54 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 7
I didn't know how long the train was to Athens. I had been trying to find schedules and times online but I wasn't succeeding. So I guess that will not work. What is open-jaw? I have heard of RyanAir and EasyJet.
galapas is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 11:18 AM
  #19  
rex
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
<<I really want to diversify. Does it seem reasonable to spend a few days in Austria and Greece before going to meet my friend in Rome. From there I think we can work our way through France up towards London.>>

You COULD diversify all you want within the country of Italy; the Greeks "settled" all of the "foot" of Italy, and you would have no shortage of visible reminders of that. And northern Italy practicaly IS Austria.

You're back to essentially being on a scavenger hunt, in my opinion; you will see more of the back of a train (or plane) seat than anything on this 11 day "miles-fest".

See where you are more; travel around less. No matter what you are studying at Oxford, you "get it" better.. to get even a superficial grasp of how Rome and the peoples of the Italian peninsula laid (one of many of) the framework(s) for what we now call "the Western world".
rex is offline  
Apr 26th, 2005, 11:22 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 91,113
Open jaw means you book your plane ticket into one city/country and out of a different one. Often it is no more expensive.
suze is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:22 PM.