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18 days - Where to go, what to see and how to get there?

18 days - Where to go, what to see and how to get there?

Aug 17th, 2012, 06:07 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 1
18 days - Where to go, what to see and how to get there?

We're just staring to look into planning a trip to Europe for 18 days in September 2013. Some of the countries we'd like to see are Italy, Switzerland and France. Not sure how much of this is doable or how much ground we can cover. We're open to flying into one city and out of another to make things easier. Any suggestions on an itinerary and the best ways to get around (car, train, etc.) would be appreciated.

TBlachy is offline  
Aug 17th, 2012, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,039
You will find a wealth of information in guidebooks and a good map. Guidebooks will tell you about sights to see and places to go and from there you can choose those that match with your interests. Guidebooks will also provide information on various modes of transportation and how to book them. A good map will help you with distances so you can determine whether your proposed itinerary is good or unworkable.

I suggest you look at a variety of guidebooks--Fodors, Frommers, Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, Moon, Eyewitness Guides and even Rick Steves, which is (unjustly) vilified by some on this forum. These can probably be found in your local library and even if they aren't the most current edition, they will give you valuable information about what to see and how to get there. Then, if you like a particular guidebook, you can always purchase the most recent edition.

Without more specific information about you--your ages, budget, interests, etc., any information we give you now would be a shot in the dark. It would be much more helpful to you and to us if you did a bit of research first and then came back a few weeks or months from now with specific questions that have come up from your reading.

Planning a trip is (more than) half the fun. Go have some fun!
longhorn55 is offline  
Aug 17th, 2012, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,514
You need to narrow your itinerary---do not think in countries since each would take more than your 18 days--think specific destinations. Italy alone takes at least 6 weeks.
I would fly into Zurich and home from Rome and have a total of 5 destinations---Luzern, the lakes, Florence, Tuscany , Rome---but that is me. What turns you on?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 17th, 2012, 06:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
WIth 18 days, I would do 4 destinations - 5 at the absolute most. My own preference would be Paris, Luzern, Venice, Florence and Rome. I am a city person. I love Tuscany and Provence, etc., but would save them for a later trip when you can focus on them.

If you prefer a mix, limit your trip to Italy and visit Venice, the Lakes, Florence, Tuscany and Rome. Great trip if a little rushed but definitely doable. Depending on the locations you select, you can do most of your trip by train.

Happy planning.
mamcalice is offline  
Aug 17th, 2012, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 5
TBlachy - welcome to the forum!

You are very fortunate that you have 18 days to explore this area in Europe and that you are planning a year in advance. With that much time in Europe do not feel like you need to rush - and always assume you will be back!

And in my opinion September is a perfect time to visit those countries. The crowds have died down a bit and the weather is still very nice and pleasant (and can still be quite warm in some regions).

There is an endless number of ways to spend 18 days in the three countries you mentioned. Research is key - I would spend the next 30-60 days looking at the various resources mentioned above and start to formulate a general trip plan based on your preferences. If large cities are your preference then train travel might be more practical. If you want to spend a week in Tuscany or Provence then renting a car and spending a week in a "base" might be better (and weekly rentals are usually cheaper). The possibilities are endless (and many times overwhelming).

Be careful of trying to cram too much into your trip. If you move around from town to town plan on staying several days - travel time and moving from town to town is very time consuming.

I agree with longhorn55 - planning the trip is fun. When we finished our trip to France last year we immediately starting thinking about and planning our next trip.

Happy travels!!
scfarley51 is offline  
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