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1st time to Europe... planning for June 2014


Dec 30th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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1st time to Europe... planning for June 2014

Hi. I am looking for help in planning our 1st trip to Europe. We are in our 30's and love art, culture and food. We are looking to go for 15-20 days in June of 2014. My husband and I have traveled all over the US but I am the only one who has traveled out of the country. We might also be bringing our daughter who will be 9 then. (??? not sure if I can leaver her home for that long) The only country we are not sure about is Spain. Here is our wish list.
Spain - Either Madrid or Barcelona
France - Burgundy and Paris
Germany - Munich
Austria - Salzburg (I really just want to see where the Sound of Music was filmed)
Italy - Venice, Pisa, Florence, and Rome

Any help would be great. I would like to do the trains but not sure which tickets to get.
Thanks so much!!!
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Dec 30th, 2012, 03:34 PM
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>>Madrid or Barcelona (1), Burgundy (2), Paris (3), Munich (4), Salzburg (5) Venice (6), Pisa (7), Florence (8), Rome (9). That would be a very rushed 4 week trip.

All are worthwhile - but something (several things actually) has to give. Which 4 or 5 are your absolute 'musts' and then work from that, massaging an itinerary that makes sense to you.
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Dec 30th, 2012, 03:36 PM
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OOPs -sorry about the italics . . .
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Dec 30th, 2012, 03:41 PM
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We like to travel fast. 2-3 days in each city is enough for us. This is a pre-view trip.
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Dec 30th, 2012, 03:54 PM
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That's fine -- lots of folks to travel fast. But it eats up 1/2 to one full day every time you move from one place to another.

2 full days in a city requires 3 nights, 3 full days means 4 nights, etc. W/ a day traveling to and a day traveling from Europe, and jet lag the first couple of days - even w/ just 2 full days at each stop - nine cities would take about 26 days . . .
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Dec 30th, 2012, 04:04 PM
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Eight or nine places in 15-20 days, that's maybe two days in each place, not counting travel time between places. In other words, it will be one day (maybe one and a half) in each place. You aren't going to be able to see much.

Spain is likely to be very hot in June. I was in Barcelona in December 2012 and the weather was perfect (from 9 to 16 degrees Celsius) for walking around and sightseeing. I would not go there in summer.

Italy may be too hot, too. It really depends on your tolerance for heat. I think anything over 30 Celsius is too hot to walk around in. I was in northern Italy at the end of June/beginning of July 2012 and it was too hot some days. Of course, with your itinerary you aren't going to have time for much walking around anyway.

Is this going to be your only trip to Europe? I would advise you to split this itinerary up into at least two different trips.

I think Paris, Rome and Barcelona needs at least three or four days each. Pisa can bee seen in a day. It's been so many years since I was in Venice and Florence that I can't remember how much there is to see there, but I doubt you will be able to see everything in a day. You need more time or you need to drop some cities from the itinerary.
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Dec 30th, 2012, 04:05 PM
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What's your main departure city? Some cities have better direct flight options to secondary cities (like Barcelona) than others, and that might affect what's feasible for you to do.

Another suggestion is that if at all possible, visit the places that are highest on your wishlist early in your trip, because you will burn out a bit as you go. I have often felt a bit underwhelmed by the last places I see on a long holiday (e.g., Rome in a trip that encompassed Milan, Florence, Siena, etc).
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Dec 30th, 2012, 04:17 PM
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3 days in Paris overnight train to Munich
1 day in Munich train to Venice
2 days Venice
6 or 7 days in Rome with day trip to Florence and Pisa
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Dec 30th, 2012, 04:33 PM
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You can't really day trip from Rome to Pisa. It's too far. If you want to visit Pisa, you should stay a few days in Florence (easy to hop a train to Pisa from there).

3 nights Paris
1 night train to Munich
1 night Munich

The train ride from Munich to Venice will take 9 hours so you will lose that day.

2 nights Venice (most would say that isn't enough)
3 nights Florence
4 nights Rome
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Dec 30th, 2012, 04:35 PM
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Not really addressed in the comments is the "traveling with 9 year old." What types of things does your daughter like to do/see? Italy is great for sightseeing, but perhaps Germany/Austria has more activities for a child?

In Salzburg you can do a Sound of Music tour, visit a saltmine, take a cruise on the river, visit a castle/fortress, rent a bicycle, etc.

In Paris there is the Eiffel Tower, she can climb the stairs to the top of the Arc de Triumphe, climb the stairs to the top of Notre Dame, go to the park (Tuileries, Champs du Mars).

Italy is mostly churches & museums...not sure that a 9 yr old would find that very interesting.

Just my two cents.
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Dec 30th, 2012, 05:09 PM
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Way too many destinations for such a short trip, especially with a 9-year-old. Somethings have to give. Pare it down by half and you have a chance at an enjoyable trip.
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Dec 30th, 2012, 05:38 PM
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Three days in each place is 4 nights and 4 nights by 9 places is 36 days plus one for arrival and one for departure - so a total of 38 days. That is moving fast for your itinerary - since 3 days in a quick look at Paris and Rome - 5 days (6 nights) would be better. And if you're traveling with a 9 year old that will make it much harder to keep to a very tight schedule - unless you want a tired and cranky child the whole time.

These may be first looks - but each time you move you lose the better part of a day - and run up your budget.

I strongly suggest that if you have 15 days you pick 3 places and 4 places if you have 20 days - if you want more than a tour of the train stations of europe.
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Dec 30th, 2012, 06:57 PM
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If you prep her well by looking at films, reading books about people, history and art that she will see, your nine year old can get a great deal out of the trip.

It looks as if you are already narrowing things down. Good for you!

Some travel is required from city to city or country to country, but a choice is always to be made: spend a lot of money going from place to place or spend less to see more in fewer places. Every hour you are there has cost you travel money. You can spend it sitting on trains and waiting for planes, or sight seeing. Add the total cost of your trip. If average of every day is $500 and you spend half of them getting from city to city or country to country, then each day of sightseeing cost $1000.00. The more time you spend in one great place, the greater the rate of return.

Example: Rome; Do you want a bus ride through the city seeing the outside of buildings or do you want to see the inside of St Peter's cathedral? Do you want to drive around the Colosseum or go inside? What about the Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, Palatine Hill, etc., etc.,?

In Paris, you have Notre Dame, The Louvre, St Chapelle, Musee d'Orsay, Sacre Coeur, Eiffel Tower, Seine boat rides, Tuileries, Day trip to Versailles, etc.

Not saying not to travel quickly. Many people do. Just make sure the bites you get are not so small you don't even taste them. You can't do quick reviews of places like the Sistine Chapel or The Louvre or Versailles

Paris plus Italy would work fine and you said you love art and food. You would get both in mega doses. If Paris is your first stop, consider jet lag and the art there and give it 4-5 nts and see Versailles. If you fly Paris to Venice, you have more time for Italy.
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Dec 31st, 2012, 06:23 AM
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I think Barcelona definitely should be included in a Europe "pre-view trip", especially when going whith a nine-year old.

Here you've got the fabulous Tibidabo amusement park with views of all of the city and the sea, the first class Aquarium and the Zoo, and of course the long and spacious city beach Barceloneta with lots of activities going on all the time. If you add the fabulous food (some of the world's greatest chefs come from the area) and the large, medieval Gothic quarter with its narrow streets and oooold buildings, you could all have a taste of the Barcelona adventure.

June is a perfect time of year to go, the summer heat has not set in and the start of vacation in Europe is still some weeks away. Past 16 years statistics for Barcelona in the middle of June says daily highs at 73-82F, average 8 hours sun pr. day and one day with rainfall pr. week. (wetteronline.de)

Tibidabo Amusement Park: http://www.tibidabo.cat/en/info/benvinguts
Barcelona Aquarium: http://www.aquariumbcn.com/AQUARIUM/index.php?wlang=en
Barcelona Zoo: http://www.zoobarcelona.cat/en/
The zoo is set within the central Ciutadella park, perfect for a picnic. Also a boating lake in here: http://www.aviewoncities.com/barcelo...ciutadella.htm
Barceloneta beach: http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/Engl...HL0qscysg8hiBw
Gothic Quarter: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tanyamoh...othic-quarter/
I use to stay in the El Born/Ribera part of the Gothic quarter, close to everything. http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.c...s/el-born.html

Updated guide to Barcelona: http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/

The Guardian's selection of the ten best films set in Barcelona: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/201...s-on-barcelona

You cant't find any better introduction to the mysteries of Barcelona than the critically praised best-seller "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruíz Zafón. Read it, and Barcelona is on your list! http://www.carlosruizzafon.co.uk/shadowofthewind.html
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Jan 1st, 2013, 12:22 PM
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I am really looking for ideas on where to stay in Paris (Hotel or BB and which area) I was thinking 5th or 6th?
Venice (really want to be in St Mark's square)
Rome (thinking of renting a flat)
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Jan 1st, 2013, 12:34 PM
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great info there, kimhe - the OP should be grateful!

Amy - there are loads of threads about where to stay in Paris, including a specific thread on left-bank hotels.

there are also many threads recommending various apartments in Rome - you could do your own search through the usual agencies on google [eg sleep in italy] and post a shortlist for us to consider.

as for Venice - i think what you mean is that you want to be in the sestriere [district] of San Marco, not in the square itself. the same applies as for Rome - if you post a shortlist, I'm sure that people will help you choose.
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Jan 1st, 2013, 12:36 PM
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here's the Paris left bank hotel thread:

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Apr 1st, 2013, 08:28 AM
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Change of Plans... March 21st - April 6th.
How are the lines this time of year? Are the City Passes worth it? Should we get the Global Train Pass or individual tickets? I want a sleeper cabin for the night train to Munich. How do my husband and I get in the same cabin? Can you buy the whole room?

March 21. Leave Day in the evening arrive in Paris @ 7 am on 22nd.
22 - 25th - Paris
25th PM - Night train to Munich (getting a sleeper cabin)
26th-28th - Munich
28th - Train from Munich- Salzburg for the day ( looking to get a tour of the "Sound of Music")
28th PM - Train from Salzburg -Venice
28th - 31st - Venice
31st - 2nd - Florence ( Would like to go out to Tuscany "Country side". How do we do that w/o renting a car?)
2nd -6th - Rome
6th - Fly Home
7th - Back to work. =(
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Apr 1st, 2013, 08:43 AM
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For info on how to buy train tickets in Europe:


For info on your night train:

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Apr 3rd, 2013, 06:03 PM
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IMHO I would, plan around London (I know it wasn't on your list) Paris and Rome. They have a lot to offer and you will get all the sightseeing, history, culture and tourism you can get during your time in Europe. If it works for your schedule add Florence and Venice. Once you get back you can start planning the next trip to go back to your favorites and add in the places you missed.

We like to stay as close to the center of the tourist activity as possible and we don't mind 2-3 star hotels. We like a tiny hotel in Paris called Andera du Rivoli that is a few blocks fro Notre Dame, the Pompidu, the Louvre. It is just on the edge of the Marais. In London we try to get a place in the West End and we stay somewhere close to Piazza Narvona in Rome.
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