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15 days Paris/Amsterdam/Italy itinerary... need help/advice.

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Jan 12th, 2013, 11:25 PM
  #1
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15 days Paris/Amsterdam/Italy itinerary... need help/advice.

I am trying to plan a 15 days trip to Paris/Amsterdam/Italy in May’13. I had outline the itinerary as below, any one could you advice is it workable? Especially on the sequence of journey, we had bought the air ticket fly in/out from Paris.

1) Day 1 - Paris – arrived at 8am, will take 12pm train (take 3.5 hours) to Amsterdam.
2) Day 2 & 3- Amsterdam
3) Day 4 – Morning fly into Rome, will reached in the evening.
4) Day 5 &6 – Rome /Vatican City
5) Day 7 – Morning take train to Venice (stay one night)
6) Day 8 – Venice --- Florence ---- Pisa (stay one night)
7) Day 9 – Pisa (One full day, it is too much in Pisa?)
8) Day 10 – Morning, Pisa to Cinque Terre (stay one night)
9) Day 11 – Cinque Terre – Milan – Paris (overnight train) - or any alternative way to go back to Paris? Actually we are not plan to go Milan.
10) Day 12 & 14 – Paris
11) Day 15 – Afternoon, my friend will flies out from Paris. And myself will take train to London.
12) Day 16 – Revisiting to London
13) Day 17 – London to Paris, 22:00 flight out from Paris.

If anyone has any experiences with a similiar trip, really appreciate your input/advise. As for the train/flight related concerns/questions will post that in a different forum once the itinerary is firmed.

Thanks!
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Jan 12th, 2013, 11:36 PM
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I am sorry - but you are not spending any time anywhere. The only place you stop long enough to take a breath is Amsterdam.

You have 2 days in Rome, half a day in Venice, a couple of hours in Florence, a few hours on the Cinque Terre, 1.5 days in London.

You are spending more time on trains than in any of those cities.

I honestly think you and your friend need to decide which places you will cut from the trip.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 12:02 AM
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What happened to day 13? Are you eliminating it as some buildings eliminate the 13th floor?

You're spending more time in Pisa than in Venice - a little strange IMHO.

You're spending a day traveling back and forth from Paris to London just for 1 day in London.

Why are you flying home from Paris and not from London?

Is this itinerary workable? Yes

Is it enjoyable and will you see very much? No
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Jan 13th, 2013, 05:48 AM
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It would be easier to get a low-cost flight (such as easyJet) from Milan to Paris. It would be easier still to originally fly into Amsterdam and for you to fly home from London rather than going to Paris three times. The current route is knotted up, costing you both time and money. You might be able to change your ticket to a more efficient itinerary that will offset any penalty the airline charges.
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Jan 13th, 2013, 08:14 AM
  #5
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Hahaha.....good spot Adrienne. Day 13 sure is in ParisFor my country, normally we will eliminating 14th floor.

Thanks a lot to all!! Still contemplating which places should drop and figure out what is best.
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Jan 15th, 2013, 07:38 AM
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One day in Venice...I could not imagine! One day in Pisa is fine if all you want to see is the leaning tower. And 3 days in Paris is in mho not enough time! You have to whittle this trip down..you are trying to do too much! You aren't going to see half of what you should! You need at least 2 days (and that's not enough, I don't think) in Venice at least 3 days in Rome. You are going to miss a lot of great things in Rome with only 2 days scheduled there. Do you have to revisit London? If you've already been to London I would use that valuable time to experience Paris & Italy. Just mho...I couldn't imagine doing your itiniary! Good luck!
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Jan 15th, 2013, 07:57 AM
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e. As for the train/flight related concerns/questions will post that in a different forum once the itinerary is firmed>

Well before then for starters check out these superb IMO sites for train info - and you are not doing enough rail travel over all to even consider any kind of railpass - www.seat61.com - great info on online discounted tickets you may want - www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Booking trains like the Thalys train WAY way in advance is imperative to save lots of money - just show up and you may pay $100 or more p.p. than the early booking - check www.thalys.com and yes book as soon as your train comes on the system - 120 days before I believe but am not sure.
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Jan 15th, 2013, 03:20 PM
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As usual I disagree with all replies. Everyone is obsessed with spending days upon days to "truly see and appreciate a city"
That's fine, if your 90 and never plan to travel again!
The trip of my life was a Contiki and we spent one day per city on average. Yes you have to be organized, and ambitious but you can certainly see Rome, Paris Amsterdam and London in a day or two, of course not everything, but enough to decide where you want to spend time on your next trip! Milan is overrated, skip. Pisa, same, hordes of vendors, a tower that leans, the end.
Eurostar to London is fast and efficient albeit expensive. You should research a budget flight but keep in mind, the train takes much less time to check in, and is much easier to get to the train station than an airport. Also upon arrival you are in central London rather than at an airport outside of town.
Go for it, get a glimpse of as much as you can then you can always come back to what you love.
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Jan 15th, 2013, 04:02 PM
  #9
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I could not disagree more. I took my mother to Rome for 1.5 days and she ended up hating it because we were rushing around trying to see as much as possible and she never had a chance to really enjoy the city.

Some places need more than 1 or 2 days to understand and get to know. But if all you want to do is check the box on your "to see" list, then by all means go for it!
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Jan 15th, 2013, 06:14 PM
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Ling_ie, I'm doing something similar in February - visiting Paris, London and Rome in 14 days - and I've done similar rushed itineraries in other countries/cities.

What I'm currently doing right now is planning a detailed hour-by-hour itinerary and giving myself pockets of time here and there for flight delays, transport delays and moments where I just get grumpy and want to sit somewhere and return to normal. I'm also prioritizing cities where I really want to see the sights (Paris and Rome) and cities where I can just relax and chill because I've already visited them (London). For the cities where I'm short on time, I usually schedule one guided day tour so I can make the most of my time there. Search this forum for useful threads like 'Paris in 24 hours' where Fodorites have given useful advice to travellers who are in Paris or London for a one day stopover.

Hope this helps you, although I understand what may work for me may not work for you. Just a tip, though: a few hours in a large city is never enough. I did that on a previous trip and I regretted not having enough time to explore City A, as well as robbing time from City B that I would have enjoyed exploring in further detail. It'd be better for you to pare down your itinerary to a few must-see cities?
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Jan 15th, 2013, 11:49 PM
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Jblois: "As usual I disagree with all replies. "

What is this 'as usual'?? Since you JUST registered and this is your one an only ever post. So either you've never been here before or you are a Fodorite posting under a new name to hide behind.

"Everyone is obsessed with spending days upon days . . . "

No one suggested spending days and days - but 4 or 5 hours in Venice ain't hacking it
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Jan 16th, 2013, 03:40 AM
  #12
 
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My own view is that 15 days should be 3-5 cities for cities you have never visited before.

I suggest: London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome in that order with an open jaw flight.

Take Eurostar to Paris (a few hours), Thalys to Amsterdam (a few hours), then sleeper train to Rome (from Amsterdam if there is one, otherwise from Paris). Not much time wasted in transit.

This allows three or four days in each city. Obviously if you had more time, you could spend longer time in each without ever getting bored...and my own preference would be fewer cities...but this should give you a relaxing and rewarding experience.

SS
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Jan 16th, 2013, 10:55 AM
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I agree that the Fodorite mentality - coming mainly from elderly Fodorgarchs - the mantra is you have to spend several days in every stop to fully appreciate it - is subjective and ignores other types of travel, like mine, where I enjoy traveling as much or more as the cities or places in between.

That said only part of one day in Venice and just two days in Rome I think is inadequate to even begin to get a feel for those amazing places.
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Jan 16th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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Amsterdam (a few hours), then sleeper train to Rome (from Amsterdam if there is one, otherwise from Paris)>

None from Amsterdam but could take overnight train from there to Zurich and then go to Milan, etc. but fastest way to Rome would be overnight train from Paris and Thalys from Amsterdam - sometimes Thalys return tickets can be really cheap. But then I guess I'd fly from London to Amsterdam or take the Chunnel trains from London to Brussels and go straight away to Amsterdam, then do Paris, the the night train to Rome (www.thello.com for that train operator's site and the early bird again gets the worm there with fares as low as 59 euros if you book early and can stand multi-person compartments.
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Jan 16th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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PQ: I believe you are the only one posting who fits the description >>elderly Fodorgarch<<
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Jan 16th, 2013, 01:45 PM
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We are all different. I'm in my 40s now and don't travel the same that I did in my 20s with a backpack and a boyfriend (who is now the husband and father of the kids). I admit I'm more Fodorgarch than backpacker now, but I am definitely of the mindset you need at least a couple days to experience each place and not get completely burnt out and distracted by the daily hotel changes. And most of the places you want to see are big, urban areas... sometimes travelling from the airport/train area can be a good 45-minutes to an hour into the sights (as in Paris, Rome, Florence, etc). You are spending a lot of your time travelling about that seems wasteful in your schedule. But hey, that's just me.

We did something similar in the 90s, travelling from Paris to Rome over the course of 23 days with Paris, Switzerland, Venice, Como, Florence, Siena, and Rome in between. It was exhausting. I can't imagine trying to do that over 15 days, even then with 1 bag and the energy of a 25 year old.

All that said, I'll give some feedback.

To me, it's confusing why you're including that little trip to London. Are you visiting someone, or just wanting to see it for a moment before turning around and going back to Paris? I agree perhaps flying home from London makes more sense than training back. Or perhaps skipping london altogether.

If I only had 15 days I'd scale back a lot, or arrange the visit geographically a bit better.

I'd drop Pisa unless you have a deep desire to see the leaning tower. There is so much more to see in almost all of the other places on your list than Pisa. Spent about an hour there during a train layover. Completely unnecessary compared to say, the Duomo in Florence.

You might drop the Cinque Terre because it's likely to still be cold and rainy that time of year. Plus I'm not sure if all the trail restoration will be complete by then. Don't get me wrong, it's a stunning place I've visited many times, but you need at least a day or two there (or longer) to relax and take in the charm of the hill towns and take a walk or two along the trails. And you will eat up a day getting to them, as the trains are the small regional trains.

Only one night in Florence, a crime! A crime I tell you!

With such little time, I might try flying from Paris to Amsterdam, and also using a flight from Amsterdam down to Rome, then use the fast trains only for travelling north through the countryside from Rome to Florence with a stay in Florence, then from florence to Venice (a fast train). (Also arranging it this way puts you in Venice at the end of your trip when it's less likely to be damp and raining in Venice.)

Now getting from venice back to paris, the train ride would have very scenic parts through the alps, but it's a very LONG trip by train. You could return and take a fast train back to Rome then a flight to Paris. Or you could train over to Milan and hop on a plane to Paris. You aren't going to have a lot of time for long train rides in a 15-day trip.
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Jan 17th, 2013, 09:20 PM
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Settle down JanisJ, there is a world outside of Fodors, and many other travel sites, just because I'm new here does not mean I haven't seen this same dogmatic argument posted 1000 other travel sites.

Take your mother and she hated it? Irrelevant, no one here is asking about taking their parents.
This arrogance of refusing to acknowledge any other method of travel is silly, I've been to Europe 17 times, and spent a week in some towns, and 4 hours in others. There is no single way to travel. I say blast through as much as you feel you can handle the first time, ride the adrenaline! Unless your adult children are taking you on the trip, you'll likely be back to cherish the places you loved.
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Jan 17th, 2013, 10:07 PM
  #18
 
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There's a lot of heated discussion out there about this one today! Of course you have to do what inspires you but it would be helpful to know why you are visiting these cities. Do you want to see museums? Are you shopping? Is it walking the streets that grabs you? Or are you interested in taking a quick look with a definite view to returning later?

If you have a particular site in mind in Venice, for instance, you might miss it completely by the time other factors kick in. Let's say you want to go to San Marco - you might have to deal with delayed trains (very common in Italy), long queues even to get on a vaporetto from the station (and it can take forty minutes alone to get from the station to San Marco) and then more queues to get into San Marco itself (an hour?) You'd be heading back to the station before you had a chance to see anything at all.

For me this trip would be way too rushed. I would also not want to spend such a large percentage of my travel time moving between cities - with just 15 days I would pick maybe three places and promise myself to get to the other places in the future.

My suggestion is to list the things you want to see in order of importance and then remake the trip to reflect that. Personally I'd be doing Amsterdam, Rome, Paris and leaving the rest of Italy for when I could really spend some time there.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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PO has made her/his preference for a style of travel several times - either help her/him with her query and stop judging and ridiculing her/his travel style, which BTW is a lot like my own.

You do not need to spend a week in every stop to fully appreciate it - well some do but many like myself get bored in any town after a few days and rather than say stay in Paris for a week would rather hit 2 or 3 French regional towns instead - Paris plus France is better for me and many than just Paris - again this is subjective and the OP has emphatically stated her/his travel preference so why keep trying to say she/he should slow down?
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Jan 18th, 2013, 08:36 AM
  #20
 
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You could fly out of Pisa to Paris. Easyjet has cheap flights to Paris Orly.

I agree, skip the CT that time of year. If it rains, there's nothing to do or see.

Have you looked into the cost of changing your plane tickets? Say flying into Paris or Amsterdam and out of Rome? Might be worth it, given the cost and especially the time to backtrack.

I've got to agree with the fewer places, more time in one spot. Like most here, I've done it both ways, and I prefer slower travel.
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