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NehaK Jul 21st, 2011 11:15 PM

2 weeks in Europe - where to go and how to travel?

My husband and I are planning a 2 week (15 days) trip to Europe next April, begining Easter weekend. It will be my first visit and my husband has already done a 'first time whirlwind' tour excluding Italy. We plan to visit London (3 days), Paris (3 days), Florence (3 days), Rome (3 days) and Venice (1 day), in that order. Our starting point is London and we take our flight back home from Venice.

I am keen on a day or 2 in Amsterdam as it would be the tulip season....but it seems a lot of time would be spent travelling. Brussels is also an option since it has direct train connection from London.
I am confused whether we should stick to our original plan and give an extra day each to London and Rome or take out time for Amsterdam/Brussels. Would highly appreciate some advice here :-)

Also, I was initially planning to book a Eurail pass, but now i am not too sure. Since the countries we plan to visit have mostly high-speed trains that require reservation, is it really a good idea to buy the pass? Instead, we could just opt for individual city passes for daily travel. What do you suggest?


cathies Jul 21st, 2011 11:35 PM

London, Paris and Rome need more time as they are all big cities with lots and lots to see. 3 days will not even scratch the surface of each city. For what it's worth, I would cancel one of them (probably Paris) and devote that time to the others.

NehaK Jul 22nd, 2011 02:57 AM

Hi cathies, true, London and Rome deserve atleast a week to start experiencing a bit of what they have to offer. Unfortunately, for the cost involved and the time constraints, I dont have an option but to limit my stay and at the same time see the major places. Also, I am really looking forward to visiting called most romantic city in the world.
However, i am thinking of limiting the trip to only london, paris and italy....and give 4 days each to London and Rome.

Sassafrass Jul 22nd, 2011 03:14 AM

Do your 15 days include travel time getting to Europe? Do those days include travel time from one place to the next? If they do, you will not have three days in each place. You absolutely have no time to add another country or city. You really need another day in Venice, Paris and Rome.
Write out your itinerary to see how much time travel will take, and how much time you will have on the ground. You don't want to burn up money moving from place to place instead of seeing and experiencing more.

Allow time for checking out of one hotel, traveling to the train station, training or flying to the next place, getting to the next hotel and checking in. Florence to Venice will eat up half a day. Paris to Rome by plane may eat up most of a day. London using the tunnel will eat up half a day from hotel to hotel. Just examples. Depending on your interests, you drop London and do a day trip from Paris and spend more time outside the cities in Italy, or drop Florence and add time to other places, etc. Lots of options, but don't add anything unless you drop something.

NehaK Jul 22nd, 2011 03:54 AM

Hi Sassafrass....we reach London on 6th April by 9:00am and depart from Venice on 21st April 6:00am, so we have 15 full days in Europe.

Also, planning to take early morning flights/trains so as to reach the destinations latest by noon.

I checked the train/flight time tables and as of now planning the following:
early morning (6:20am)London - Paris by Eurostar takes 2.5 hrs
Paris - Rome by EasyJet at 7:20am, takes 2.5 hrs

Please let me know if this is actually fine or looks good only on paper.
Problem is that my flights tickets to London and back from Venice are already booked!

Might end up giving Paris a miss after all :-(

janisj Jul 22nd, 2011 03:56 AM

Have you already bought your tickets? If so, you are sort of stuck.

My guess is your depart Venice very early in the AM - It is usually better to fly IN to Venice and home from somewhere else. Getting to Venice airport before dawn is not easy.

Now for the rest of your itinerary:

The reality of your plan is this:

>>London (3 days)<< Really 2.5 days and only 2 days truly free to sightsee. Day one is eaten up w/ getting to your hotel, checking in and recovering from jetlag.

>>Paris (3 days)<< 2.5 days after deducting the 1/2 days it takes to check out of your London hotel, travel to Paris, and check in to your Paris digs.

>>Florence (3 days)<< About 2 days - maybe a tiny skosh more. The best way to get to Florence is to fly into Pisa. But you have to factor in getting to the airport, advance check in, the train PISA > Florence, and checking in to your hotel.

>>Rome (3 days)<< 2.5 days

>>Venice (1 day)<< 1/2 day. yes, just .5 day.

So no, you don't have time to add Amsterdam or Brussels

Your best bets are to either:

• ONLY Italy. Fly directly from London down to Italy after landing at LHR/LGW.

• London 6 days, Paris 6 days, Venice 3 days (each will equal less free time)

• London 5 or 6 days, Florence 3 days, Rome 4 or 5 days, Venice 2 days

A Eurail Pass makes no sense since it does not cover the Eurostar and the only other trains you are likely to take are inexpensive ones w/i Italy

NehaK Jul 22nd, 2011 03:57 AM

Btw..thats for your advice, Sassafrass :-) Writing down the itinerary IS a good idea....that will give us a much clearer picture of how to go about the trip.


NehaK Jul 22nd, 2011 03:58 AM

I meant, THANKS for your advice, Sassafrass....a typo can ruin everything!!!!

janisj Jul 22nd, 2011 03:59 AM

we were posting at the same time . . . You have miscalculated how long it takes to travel between places. As I suspected, your flight out of Venice is painfully early.

Christina Jul 22nd, 2011 08:15 AM

I wouldn't travel to so many places myself as I hate that kind of travel, but on the other hand, I'm not quite as pessimistic on some things. For example, you do have 2.5 days in London if you arrive at 9. The rest of that day will not be taken up getting to the hotel and recovering from jet lag, unless you are a type who gets totally wiped out by that and can't do anything. I hope you know if you are as that would be important. YOu should be checked in and out doing something by noon, you have the rest of the day. I always do some kind of sightseeing in a loose sense the day I arrive in Europe and I can't even sleep on the train. I especially like to be out and walking around in the afternoon, it helps you rest your bio clock. And I never crash before about 10 pm for the same reason. I wouldn't schedule something for the evening that day nor the most rigorous things, sure. But you can definitely be walking around and seeing things like churches or parks or whatever.

I myself wouldn't delete Paris for 6 days in London. Lots of people only spend a few days in London, if I were trying to see a lot, 6 days in London would NOT be the top of my priorities.

uhoh_busted Jul 22nd, 2011 08:33 AM

I think you can get a great overview of some of Europe's best by keeping your focus on 4 destinations. London, Paris, Rome (or Florence) and Venice. Decide what you'd like to see in each of the locations and then allocate the nights you will spend between them. Do give Venice at minimum 2 nights -- it is worth it as one isn't enough. Likely that will only give you two days to see Venice as you will be flying out early the final morning. But you will be able to enjoy getting lost in Venice, because that is one of the most fun parts of being there, and you won't feel like you are wasting any of your valuable time.

It is a short train ride from either Florence or Rome to Venice, so you will have to do some reading to decide between those two cities. Plan to return to see what you've missed at a later date.

janisj Jul 22nd, 2011 08:44 AM

"<i>6 days in London would NOT be the top of my priorities.</i>"

But it could definitely be at the top of the list for others. I love Paris, I love London -- but London is MUCH more spread out. Especially if at the beginning of a trip (when most folks ARE jetlagged) -- 3 days in London will only be enough time to see 3 or 4 major sites and a few minor ones. Whereas in Paris, many more of the sites are walking distance from each other.

One doesn't have to go to London -- but IF one does, 2 or 3 days doesn't hack it . . .

easytraveler Jul 22nd, 2011 02:14 PM

2 weeks in Europe and skipping Paris?

I'd rather skip London.

jamikins Jul 22nd, 2011 03:28 PM

With 15 days I would picj 3-4 places, 2 being London and Venice due to flights. I would personally do 6 days in London, eurostar to Paris (book 4 months out to get the best price on and then fly to Venice for the rest. You could take a few days from London and Paris and easily fly London to Amsterdam and then take the train to Paris as well.

jamikins Jul 22nd, 2011 03:29 PM

I meant 6 days in London, 6 days in Paris and 3 days in Venice

Sassafrass Jul 22nd, 2011 05:00 PM


Your travel times are correct. However, here is an example of how to see it. From Paris to Rome, add in the time it will take to travel from your hotel to the airport, the wait time at the airport (at last an hour, I would think), the flight time and the time it will take to get from the airport outside of Rome to your hotel in Rome. I think you are looking at a minimum of five hours total - about half a day. Also, If you have to get to the airport for such early flights, what time do you have to leave your hotel to get there. Don't you want to stay out as late as possible and enjoy the ambiance of evenings in Paris and Rome?

Also, must agree with Easytraveler. I would absolutely skip London instead of Paris.

Janisj is also right. London requires more time to get from place to place.

I personally think your trip will be so much nicer if you pick three major places (cities) and then add smaller places nearby for day trips. You will have much more a feeling for the countries and culture. You can always have plans for those places, then skip them if you decide or add more if you are bored with the city you are visiting.

Sassafrass Jul 22nd, 2011 05:01 PM

Oh, whatever you do, add a day to Venice.

NehaK Jul 23rd, 2011 12:38 AM

Thanks everyone for your suggestions...some pretty good advice has come up here.
It does make sense to visit less places and experience more. Wish i had posted in this forum before booking my tickets. Anyway, shall keep that in mind for my next trip!

And, will definitely give min. 2 days to Venice!

NehaK Jul 25th, 2011 10:42 PM

janisj & uhoh_busted - taken your suggestion of doing 3-4 places...actually doing 4 as I couldnt bring myself to skip Paris. Here's my final itinearly:
London - 4 days
Paris - 4
Rome - 5
Venice - 2

I am skipping Florence as florence and neaarby places deserve atleast a week.

Christina: keeping the day of arrival light on sightseeing and crashing at 10 - great tip. Hopefully, hubby and I both sleep well on flights so we shouldn't be washed out...except for a cramped neck...which reminds me abt my neck pillow...thanks again!

Christina Jul 26th, 2011 09:16 AM

hah, I said something that made no sense, that I couldn't sleep on the train but I meant airplane (which is how I get to Europe). If you can sleep on the plane, you're better off than I.

People have different methods for the jetlag thing, I've tried several tactics, and finally realized that for me, forcing myself to stay awake the arrival day is what works best. I used to nap as I was so tired, and then my schedule would be off, and I couldn't fall asleep that night if I napped in the afternoon, etc. This way, I pretty feel pretty okay the second day.

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