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20 Days in Europe - Will This Itinerary Work?

20 Days in Europe - Will This Itinerary Work?

Jan 13th, 2016, 04:52 AM
  #21  
 
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Absolutely not a Greece-hater here. I love the place! It just seems impractical for a young person, with probably a limited budget, to go all the way there for 2.5 days.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 13th, 2016, 04:09 PM
  #22  
 
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To be honest, although geographically places may feel far apart, I do not get the advice often given on this forum, Dublin is on the other part of Europe, Athens is on the other part of Europe.... So what? In practice usually it only adds one more hour flying. If one was to cross Europe riding a donkey, yes, I see a point to suggest against those, but nowadays with so many flight options I do not see a problem.
And I find places like Athens or Dublin absolutely fine as destinations, do people say do not go to Paris unless you can add days to visit the Loire Valley or whereever? No. So why not to spend a few days solely at Athens or Dublin? There will always be something waiting for a second or third visit anyway...
mariha2912 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2016, 06:27 PM
  #23  
 
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In opposition to what mariha2912 has said above, I will say that if these are the cities that you want to see, then by all means go ahead. But do you think there is a chance that you will ever be in Europe again in your life?

As a general rule airplane travel should be avoided at all costs in Europe. There is an exception for a trip like yours. But I would much rather put together a trip that made a rational progression by train.

Trains are easy to access, and there's no travel time to and from the airport. You can even schedule a stopover of a few hours to allow you to do a quick look-around of a city while passing through.

Again, if this is what you want, go for it. I think a trip that visited one or two more cities within a more compact area would be more enjoyable.
FHurdle is offline  
Jan 13th, 2016, 11:52 PM
  #24  
 
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jared? can you come back with some views, we are just going to chatter about Greece and Dublin unless you give us some feedback on what you want to do?

What would help would be a bit of information about yourselves, so what do you want to do in these cities and why only capitals? Any info would help.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 01:38 AM
  #25  
 
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>>As a general rule airplane travel should be avoided at all costs in Europe. <<

Who says such nonsense?

I live in Europe and I am a frequent traveller, mostly for business.

And I fly all the time. I fly from Düsseldorf to München, to Berlin, even to Hamburg. For each trip, I compare train and plane and car.

And if I can sleep an hour longer, the plane might win. Or, if I go to Berlin and back the same day, the plane wins if door-to-door total travelling time is 6 hours while the train takes 8 hours.

Mariha is absolutely right. What does it matter if flight time is 2 hours instead of 1 hour? Flying from Berlin to Athens takes less time than a train ride from Berlin to München. Much less.

When Otto Rehagel was manager of the Greek national football team he would call his wife in Essen, Germany, after work from Athens airport and would ask her to reserve a table for dinner at 20:30. He did this all week.



And sometimes, the plane is even cheaper than the train.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 02:05 AM
  #26  
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Sorry everyone! Let me give everyone a little more information on our interests and etc.

We want to do Dublin or Amsterdam as our arrival destination because those flights are the cheapest in Europe for the dates we're planning on going.

We also chose capitals because we are newbies to Europe and don't have the info/experience that will allow us to know anything about smaller cities than capitals. We are completely open to any suggestions for alternate cities and/or easy day trips from capitals I listed above.

My group and I are really into FOOD. That's probably one of our top motivators for visiting diverse places and why we want to do a lot of different things. We also love awesome architecture and of course, we want to see things the U.S. doesn't offer. I don't know if that helps, so let me know if I can clarify further.

As far as flights, I've found (at least with this itinerary above) that it wouldn't be smart to take trains with these destinations so far apart. Perhaps Paris and Amsterdam would work for train. I've also compared open jaw flights to flights arriving and departing from the same location and it's more expensive to leave from somewhere else. The difference is much more than simply flying back to Dublin or Amsterdam from our last stop.

Paris -- I have many friends who've been all over Europe and say it's one of their favorites.

Berlin -- we wanted to check out Germany and thought Berlin might be a good place?

Athens -- two of us have (for many years) expressed our interest in Athens and the Greek islands. If it's really going to be out of the way, we might be willing to nix it from our trip.

Rome -- similar to Paris in terms of suggestions from friends. We really want to experience the food here. We are up to traveling to other places in Italy.


OVERALL, we are really limited to what we can do because we will only have 20 days there. I would really appreciate if you guys could maybe repost my itinerary with your own suggestions. That would be awesome! Thanks guys! I appreciate the help.
jared825 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 03:09 AM
  #27  
 
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Like many others on this thread, I love Greece, but would not include Athens in this trip. Greece deserves more time and you'll want to be able to explore more of the country (mainland and/or islands) in a longer trip.

I would consider adding Venice between Rome and Paris as the additional destination. It's such an amazing place to see and I think it would fit in well with your itinerary.

And I enjoyed both Dublin and Amsterdam, so you really can't lose either way -- but if it's a choice between the two, I would also push for Amsterdam.
progol is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 05:43 AM
  #28  
 
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Good that you made things clearer - we do not give advice for our own trip but for your trip.

I was smiling when I read that food is your main concern. You can be helped. Let's go into your destinations. You wrote:

"Paris -- I have many friends who've been all over Europe and say it's one of their favorites."

Absolutely right, nobody can question that. And Paris is the world's capital of food.

"Berlin -- we wanted to check out Germany and thought Berlin might be a good place?"

Of course. Berlin is the capital. You find magnificent historic buildings, history at every corner, world-class museums (the Gate of Babylon, the bust of Nefertiti, the world's largest dinosaur skeleton..), vibrant urban life and of course excellent food from street stands to Michelin-star-awarded restaurants. And Berlin is rather inexpensive. You can get quite often a five-star hotel with pool for €99 including breakfast. If your itinerary is fixed we will help you with further details.

"Athens -- two of us have (for many years) expressed our interest in Athens and the Greek islands. If it's really going to be out of the way, we might be willing to nix it from our trip."

If this is the case just do it. Within the last six months, I have been two times in Greece and I see no logical argument against it. I would go and see the Acropolis even I had one day only - if you have three or even four days it is even better.

You will find that Greece is extremely inexpensive. A simple yet delicious souflaki is sold for €2 at street stands, and you will love the fresh fish, roasted lamb and vegetables for low prices.

"Rome -- similar to Paris in terms of suggestions from friends. We really want to experience the food here. We are up to traveling to other places in Italy."

Rome is as significant for European history as Athens. Once in your life, you must have walked over the Forum Romanum. There are the antique buildings and also the beautiful churches from renaissance and baroque times.

Since Rome was not a leading city in Italy for centuries, Rome is not Italy's capital of food. Roman food is rather simple, although you find there restaurants of high quality too. Keep in mind that a proper Roman menu consists of four courses: antipasti, pasta or risotto, main course and dessert. Pasta do not make a full meal. Again, we can give more details in due time.

Finally, Amsterdam or Dublin. Fly into Amsterdam. First, it is a beautiful historical city. It has been a city of rich merchants rather than of nobility and that makes it unique. Also, it has better traffic connections than Dublin. And the food is better.

Your original itinerary is not bad and absolutely doable. When in Athens, do not miss a daytrip to Delphi - it will be a highlight of your whole trip. You might add a day for Greece and cut it from Berlin or Rome or Amsterdam.

You counted full days for travelling between cities. You will find out that in most of the cases you will need only half a day so that you can add an afternoon or an evening for the city of arrival.

E.g. there are flights between Amsterdam and Berlin 8:55-10:25 (Easyjet), 7:00-8.20 (KLM) or 10:10-11:25 which give you almost a full day in Berlin.

And there is a flight from Berlin to Athens 17:20-20:50 (Easyjet), leaving you the full morning in Berlin.

Or Athens to Rome 9:50-10:45 or 20:05-21.05 (both Ryanair), giving you almost a full day either in Rome or in Athens.

Book ASAP in order to get good rates.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 05:47 AM
  #29  
 
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BTW, you may have wondered about the flight times to and from Athens. There are different time zones, so a flight to Athens appears to be one hour longer while a flight from Athens appears to be one hour shorter.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 06:15 AM
  #30  
 
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<>

That could be because you were looking at two one-way fares, which is NOT what you want. What you want is called a multi-city or open-jaw ticket, which is rarely much more than a regular RT ticket.
StCirq is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 08:06 AM
  #31  
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StCirq, I have looked at multi-city flights arriving in Amsterdam and departing from all of my other destinations and it's about $250 more expensive. I didn't look at one way flights. Flights from Paris back to Amsterdam or to Amsterdam from other places are less than $250 so I figured that might be the smartest move budget wise. But who knows? I will keep on checking to see if it changes.
jared825 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 08:09 AM
  #32  
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Would it be smart to take away a day from Amsterdam, Berlin, and Athens to put towards Venice or Florence?
jared825 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2016, 12:30 PM
  #33  
 
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An open-jaws flight will be more expensive if one of the cities is much more expensive to fly out of than the ones you would pare. A RT ticket to that city would also be more expensive. Some cities are just more expensive as they aren't as big a hub or are farther away. So if you are comparing RT London versus flying into London and home from Athens, Greece, of course that will be more ex-pensive, so would a RT Athens flight. Amsterdam is a fairly cheap place to fly into. Rome would be more expensive to fly out of, but London shouldn't be, and Paris probably not. Dublin is cheap from NE US but may not be from other points in the US, also. It depends where you are going in the US. Amsterdam isn't cheaper for me than Paris.

So you have to compare the difference to what it costs you to get back to Amsterdam in terms of cost and time. I would expect Rome to be a lot more as it's farther way, but I wouldn't expect it to be $250 more to fly back from Paris vs. Amsterdam. That is just odd. But if you end up in Paris and only have to get back to Amsterdam, that's not too bad the way you've worked it. I wouldn't do it and am surprised that saves you $250 (or less after you take out transportation and what about one day of hotel?).

If you really want to go to Athens, you can't take time away as there isn't hardly any. I also would drop it just because it's so far away. There isn't that much time in Amsterdam, either, to drop some. I'd drop Athens totally and add it so you can see more of Italy. I haven't been to Berlin, but if you dropped anywhere else, I would think that might be it as you have more time there. Some people aren't that crazy about Berlin, I know.
Christina is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 02:15 AM
  #34  
 
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Florence would be an easy daytrip from Rome - the train takes 1:31 from Rome to Florence.

From Florence to Venice, the train takes 2:05. From Rome to Venice, the train takes 3:45.

Let me see what you can do:

Day 1: Arrive in Amsterdam, half day in Amsterdam
Day 2: Amsterdam, full day
Day 3: Travel to Berlin, morning flight, half day in Berlin
Day 4: full day in Berlin
Day 5: full day in Berlin
Day 6: half day in Berlin, afternoon flight to Athens
Day 7: full day in Athens, Acropolis, theatres, Agora, National Museum
Day 8: rental car to Hosios Loukas (Byzantine Monastery) and Delphi, overnight in Delphi
Day 9: scenic drive along the coast via Patras with sightseeing stops in Acrocorinth (medieval castle) and Mycenae to Nafplio. Overnight in Nafplio.
Day 10: From Nafplio with stops in Epidaurus and Corinth and maybe an hour on a beach (!) to Athens, evening flight from Athens to Rome (or overnight in Athens and morning flight to Rome)
Day 11: full day in Rome
Day 12: full day in Rome
Day 13: morning train to Florence, Full day in Florence, overnight in Florence or evening train to Venice
Day 14: full day in Venice
Day 15: half day in Venice, afternoon flight to Paris (Vueling)
Day 16: full day in Paris
Day 17: full day in Paris
Day 18: full day in Paris
Day 19: morning train to Amsterdam (3:17), half day in Amsterdam
Day 20: Return to U.S.

This would mean:
Amsterdam 2.0 days
Berlin 3.0 days
Greece 4.0 days
Rome 2.0 days
Florence 0.75 days
Venice 1.5 days
Paris 3.0 days

You can cut one day from Berlin and add it to any other destination if you like (maybe Rome or Florence).

You will have quite a bit of intra-European flying and train travelling but you can put the travelling times in the evenings and in the mornings, giving you at least half days for sightseeings. On two or three mornings, you will have to get up quite early. Two evenings look a bit tight (flying from Athens to Rome and taking the train from Florence to Venice), but for my taste, it would be better than the hassle of checking into a hotel just to spend a short night and getting up early next morning - but it is your choice how you do it. If food is your major concern you may spend the evening with a big dinner and travel next morning).

This schedule will keep you busy, there are hardly any times to relax. But you will see a lot of Europe and certainly many spectacular places.

I once did a similar trip to the U.S. when I took my brother and his wife with us for their first trip to America. When we planned the itinerary, they wanted to see everything - New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Niagara Falls, Amish Country, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Bryce Canyon, Zion, Dinosaur, Yellowstone, Salt Lake City.

In three weeks, we visited 13 states and drove 6.500km, but never more then 5 hours per day. It was quite exhausting, especially changing the hotels almost every day, but it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience (in fact: my brother was already disabled at that time and it has gotten worse since).

Today, since we have grown older and have seen most of the world, we have adopted a more relaxing style of travelling. But not always. The little schedule for Greece that I suggested, we did in almost the same way last September, so I know, it is doable although it looks demanding at first glance. But it will give you the chance to enjoy at least a few scenic drives through Europe and not be in cities all the time.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 02:19 AM
  #35  
 
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Maybe one more remark on intra-European flights: I noticed that Vueling offered the flight from Venice to Paris for €29.99 (plus fees for baggage etc.) when I entered a dummy date in June. So you might make a few good deals if you book early.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 03:51 AM
  #36  
 
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I am going to point out the siren call of Athens being sounded by traveler 1959 who says this
The little schedule for Greece that I suggested, we did in almost the same way last September, so I know, it is doable although it looks demanding at first glance.

This person lives in Europe and this is like my saying "I went to NYC for the weekend and did thus and so". He can go back again on a moment's whim. It really isn't a question of "if" it can be done--in the big picture of this trip will it be the best use of time and money. I spent a month touring Greece and the islands which was needless to say wonderful. There is SO much to see and do and appreciate--including even getting there through the Corinth Canal. Give it its true due--maybe not a month but not a day either. Just my opinion (again).
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 03:51 AM
  #37  
 
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I am going to point out the siren call of Athens being sounded by traveler 1959 who says this
The little schedule for Greece that I suggested, we did in almost the same way last September, so I know, it is doable although it looks demanding at first glance.

This person lives in Europe and this is like my saying "I went to NYC for the weekend and did thus and so". He can go back again on a moment's whim. It really isn't a question of "if" it can be done--in the big picture of this trip will it be the best use of time and money. I spent a month touring Greece and the islands which was needless to say wonderful. There is SO much to see and do and appreciate--including even getting there through the Corinth Canal. Give it its true due--maybe not a month but not a day either. Just my opinion (again).
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 04:13 AM
  #38  
 
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Personaly I think there will be no end to this conversation as everyone has his/her own bias. I strongly believe it is time for the OP and his friends to start making some proper research, not only on travel logistics but on each destination and what they'd like to see and do there, to look into specifics rather than relying on what they heard from friends of friends or read on this forum. Usually the more research one does, the more an itinerary comes into place.
mariha2912 is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 04:52 PM
  #39  
 
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Thanks Mariha--GREAT advice.
Gretchen is offline  
Jan 15th, 2016, 11:44 PM
  #40  
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traveler1959 - THANK YOU for putting your own twist on the itinerary. I think that sounds like a great idea and I'll see if it works with my friends and I. The only thing is -- is it feasible to rent a car there? I have a U.S. driver's license and idk how it works with me driving in Greece.

mariha2912 - Yes. I understand there will be no end to this conversation, but everyone's opinions and comments can be taken in as a whole and can point us in a direction about parts of our trip. We are doing alternate research and we aren't relying solely on this post. We also have potential logistics planned out already - we have 4 potential itineraries and I chose this one because it seemed the most logical/worth it. I just wanted to get a lot of peoples' opinions so we can gather ideas and come up with a more solid plan.
jared825 is offline  

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