2-week trip to 4 countries


Jun 13th, 2009, 03:25 PM
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2-week trip to 4 countries

My sister and I will be traveling to Europe at the end of July, for 2 weeks. We are planning on going to Germany, Switzerland, France, and Italy. Any recommendations as far as regions and/or "places to go" would be greatly appreciated! I know this is vague, but we'll take any advice! Thanks!
ktscls is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 03:28 PM
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is this a joke?
jetsetj is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 03:35 PM
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here is sound advice.

jetsetj is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 03:54 PM
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Guidebooks would be a good place to start. If you don't want to buy them, your local library will have them.

Also, 4 countries in 2 weeks is inadvisable unless you are there doing research on the European train systems.
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Jun 13th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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research on the train system..
jetsetj is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 04:32 PM
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Why did you pick those four countries? Were you playing darts with a world map, or is there something you're interested in?

Basically, we can't suggest places to go unless we know what you're interested in. I'd suggest starting with guide books. You can often go to a local library and get them, or simply flip through the books at the bookstore until you find one that looks good. What's your budget?

I did a similar trip in three weeks and it was pretty fast paced, so you really should think hard about cutting down on your destinations.
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Jun 13th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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My advice is the same as the above. Four countries in 2 weeks will be a lot of packing and unpacking and spending time in train/bus stations. Choose 1 country for 2 weeks.

You could possibly ask yourself why you chose those countries if you don't know enough about them to know where you want to go.
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Jun 13th, 2009, 04:51 PM
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This might help you get a better handle on the distances you'll be traveling, using trains:

Paris to Berlin - 9 to 14 hours
Berlin to Lucern - 11 to 12 hours
Lucern to Rome - 12 to 15 hours
Lucern to Venice - 7 to 14 hours

That's 3 full days of traveling (not including getting to and from train stations, packing and unpacking) just to go to 3 cities in 3 countries.
adrienne is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 05:36 PM
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Please listen to this wise people...they are giving you sage advice.
i_am_kane is offline  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 06:00 PM
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Please don't take this the wrong way, but why do you think you can see 4 countries in 14 days? That's only a little more than 3 days per COUNTRY -- not city -- but COUNTRY!

We are spending 3 weeks in 2 countries and won't even touch the surface. And this will be our 4th trip to these same 2 countries.
bettyk is online now  
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Jun 13th, 2009, 06:50 PM
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Suggest you get

1) a map and look at the distances involved
2) a guidebook on each country and read it
3) come back and ask specific questions

Without knowing who you are, why you've decided to go to those places and what your interests/budgets are it's impossible to help. (For instance, are you 20 or 40 or 60? Are you traveling on a budget of do you want 5* hotels?)

Really, we're not mind readers.
nytraveler is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2009, 01:10 AM
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Well, there's one option to do this, but you wouldn't like it I am afraid: Concentrate on the Southwestern area of Germany (Freiburg), the Alsace in France (Colmar), the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland and Lake Maggiore (Stresa) in Italy. Fly into Frankfurt and out of Milan. Really an interesting trip, some of the best of all four countries but probably not what you want to see.

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Jun 14th, 2009, 04:29 AM
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I'm going to assume three things - you are fairly young, you have never been to Europe, and that this is a serious question. The advice to not try to do too much or all you'll see are train stations is good but I didn't want to hear that on my first trip to Europe and you probably don't either. So it can be done and I bet you'll even enjoy it. And then on future trips you'll most likely choose to spend more time in fewer places. I'm going to also assume on this trip you are doing it by public transportation (not car rental)

Fly into Munich - that's pretty typical Germany. Spend first day (maybe jet lagged) just wandering around.

Day two, take a one day tour to the castles south of Munich (Newschwanstein)

Day 3 - see Munich

Day 4 - take train to Switzerland, stay in Interlaken. It's about a 7 hour trip, with changes so it will eat up most of the day but maybe you'll see some scenery. Perhaps there is a night train.

Day 5, 6 - go into the mountains

Day 7 - take train to Florence - also about 7 hours, with some changes, but again, some nice scenery or possibly find a night train

Day 8, 9 - See Florence, possibly take a day trip by bus (not a tour, you can do it on your own) to Siena.

Day 10 - take train to Cinque Terre

Day 11 - see Cinque Terre, take overnight train that night to Paris

Day 12, 13, 14 - Paris

This trip would actually include the highlights of each of those countries (obviously people will differ on what is the highlights but these are biggies in terms of quintessential for each country). It would involve 5 hotels and at least one night train. But it would be doable and you'd get a "taste".
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Jun 14th, 2009, 07:56 AM
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Okay folks - let's chill for a minute.

I am not a fan of people posting a broad "Tell me what to do!" question, without having done some of their own research. I think we are all on the same page with that one.

I am also not a fan of response that tell people they are nuts for choosing to travel in a different style than mot of us travel addicted Fodorites do. When someone asks for a critique of their itinerary I will be right there to do it, don't get me wrong there. If they want to know if it makes sense I will chip in with my opinions. However, if someone asks for the best way to get around 4 countries in 14 days (with some more detail than this OP has provided), because it is what they want to do, I think the response should be to answer the question or don't> If it offends your own travel sensibilities you have the option to just not post a response.

Those of us who respond regularly do so because we love to travel and hope to spread the joy of our experiences. In large part, that is because we are people of some means and leisure who have had the good fortune to travel to our favourite places many times and we know we are going to be going back many more. That, however, is not the experience of everyone who posts here. Some people know that they may only have one, maybe two, shots at a trip like this. Some people may only want to do this once. If they want to see London, Paris, Zurich, Munich, Rome, Florence, and Venice in 2 weeks, rather than staying in a village in Alsace of the Lauterburnn valley for a week, who are we to suggest otherwise just because we would never do something so; foolish, insane, crazy , etc..? Imagine you were told that you get one trip back to Europe - it has to last you for the rest of your life and you can only stay for 12 days. That would likely send all of us regulars into a chest pounding rivulet inducing panic as we ran itineray scenarios over and over in our head. "The Uffizi - I have to see that one more time but Dubrovnik, I always promised myself I would go there, and I never did make it to Salzburg or Provence - aaaarrrrgggghhhhhh!.

These people deserve advice on how to best accomplish their goals instead of being ridiculed. I'm not talking to everyone, of course. You know who you are.

So, ktscls. What is it about these 4 destinations that intrigues you? What did you specifically want to see that made you select them? How will you be traveling? Put a little more focus on this and we (at least some of us) will try and give you some direction.

Aramis is offline  
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Jun 14th, 2009, 08:36 AM
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It's your trip, you should go where you like and not worry about what people here say. But you need to start with some research (yep, that's what you were trying to do here!) I recommend starting with Rick Steves' Europe book. Also, make sure you know how long your train trips will be when you create your plan. I do think Isabel's suggestions are very good.
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Jun 14th, 2009, 10:32 AM
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Hi Aramis; Great advice. ktscls, we did four cities in three countries on one of our first trips.[it wasn't a Joke] We enjoyed three nights in each city, Prague, Salzburg, Vienna and Budapest. We have been back multiple times to each city except Budapest. Analyize what Aramis has sugested and then return with more indepth questions. Some of us will try to help. Dick
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Jun 14th, 2009, 10:46 AM
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Honestly, if this is your first trip to Europe and the trip would be less than 6 weeks away and you want to visit 4 countries in 2 weeks, I'd book a group tour. I am NOT a fan of tours but they cover alot of ground in a short time with everything planned out for you. Unless you're able to narrow down where you want to visit to no more than 2 countries and do the necessary research on transportation (avoiding some potential disastors) and accomodation I think a tour is best for what you want to do.
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