2nd stage of honeymoon planning

Old Oct 21st, 2002, 11:58 AM
  #1  
george
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2nd stage of honeymoon planning

I posted here a few weeks ago when I was initially planning my 14-16 day honeymoon set for June 1 - June 15th (give or take a day)

I've now decided on the regions of Europe and could as much help as possible, on specific towns and hotels/villas/chateaux.

We are planning to start in the Loire valley for our first 3 nights. Bike Riding, Wine Tasting, tremendous eating and relaxation. However, there seem to be hundreds of cities and thousands of places to stay. I don't know where to start on specifics in this area. (should I fly into Paris and take a train to get there?)

From there we will drive or take a train to Nothern Italy where we will spend the remainder of our trip. It will end with 2 or 3 nights in Venice. So I have 7-9 nights to play with. I'd like to spend time around the Lakes, Como, Garda, and the others. I've heard San Pellegrino is incredible but can't seem to find much information about it. Would you advise setting up somewhere for a week and taking road trips from one of these Lake Towns.

The other option is to spend that time in Tuscany. However, I'm not sure what that offers me that further North wouldn't.

We are in our late 20's, and don't want to spend much time sight-seeing, or in big cities as we live in NYC.

I know its a bit convoluted, but so is my head, its difficult to keep straight I've read so much, yet seem to have so much more to learn. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 12:51 PM
  #2  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Hello George, You asked for good advice so here it is. Do not try to mix the Loire valley with northern Italy in that short time. If you want to bike and eat good food then do it in Tuscany.
Here is what I would do. Fly into Milan and out of Venice, and hit 4 great destinations in your itinerary. Start with the lakes---Como or Orta would be my pick. Then, down to the Ligurian coast and the Cinque terre. Then to Tuscany for at least 4 nites to include a day in Florence. Finally, train to Venice for your last 3 nites. This itinerary gives you the best of natural beauty, fabulous art and culture, off-the path quaint villages, and wonderful food and wine. June is a great time to go. Do not add travel time and logistics you do not need. The above is a tight routing that will be easy. Do Paris, the Loire valley, and Cote d' Azur on your next trip. Do Italy this time. Let me know if you need more.
 
Old Oct 21st, 2002, 12:57 PM
  #3  
Eye Spy
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I totally concur with Bob. Great itinerary he has for you. Perfect for those who don't want too much art (which I find hard to belive but that's just me). Paris to the Loire Valley to Northern Italy is way too much time lost on travel. On your next trip you could do a Paris-Burgundy-Loire Valley-Cote d'Azur thing which in and of itself will afford you a chance to see wonderful old towns, picturesque countryside and great food. As for this trip, stick to Italy. Bellagio is a great option too if you fly into Milan Malpensa and want to start at the feet of the Dolomiti. And you'll have great weather at that time of year too.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #4  
George
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Thanks for the advice.

Bob, What you are saying makes a lot of sense. However, I will not have another trip to France any time soon. This is it for a while, unfortunately.

Instead of the Lakes, going from Loire Valley and renting a car and driving to the Cinque Terre, maybe stopping for one night along the way (Monte Carlo?) spending 6 or 7 nights there. Probably taking a day trip or two somewhere. Finally, finishing up in Venice (4 hours drive i believe?) for the last 3 nights. Would that be too much travel.

I don't want to do too much, but I also don't want to limit ourselves because we don't want to travel within Europe.

That is why I wanted to get the Loire Valley in as well.

Any further advice is greatly appreciated.

George
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:40 AM
  #5  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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George, What can I say. Those are all wonderful destinations, but I am a nut on feasible logistics and the Loire segment is just too far for my taste. However, if you do it then I would train to the Nice area to get the car.
I like Menton or Villefranche on that coast for your stay. Then, you have to choose between my 3 favorite destinations in all of Europe--" which kid do you love most syndrome". Assuming 10 days after Cote d' Azur, and ending in Venice for 3 nites, that leaves 7 days to spend between my top 3 places in Italy---hmmm ! You can choose 2 but not all 3 in that time. Tough call, but I would pick one " water" destination and then include Tuscany. Drop the car in Florence and then train to Venice. I will let you pick the water place, but the CT will be more on your route. Does that make sense?? I do stick by my earlier call---I would still make it all bella Italia. But, this one is doable:
Loire--3
Cote d' Azur--2
CT---3
Tuscany/Florence--4
Venice--3
That is 5 destinations in 15 days. Hope this helps. I am a sucker for honeymoons
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 09:42 AM
  #6  
Eye Spy
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George:

I am not sure what Bob would suggest, but you are really doing an inordinate amount of driving. Perhaps you don't mind but you will be spending a good part of the day sitting in the car from the Loire Valley (and that depends from where) to Monaco. If you take the TGV train from Blois to Paris, for example, leaving at 3:00pm, you have to go to Paris and arrive at Gare Montparnasse. Then get from Gare Montparnasse to Gare d'Austerlitz for the train to Nice. Then down to Nice and then to Monaco. You arrive in Monaco at 11:30pm! That's a long time and the quickest train route. Check out www.sncf.fr (French railroad). Conversely, if driving is your thing, then do it. However, gasoline is insanely expensive in France and all of Europe (and that's an understatement) as are the toll roads and the cost of the rental car. It comes down to time v. comfort v. price. You may have your heart set on the Loire Valley, but if you are trying to spread your time between two countries and all those places and day trips, you are going to need a vacation from the vacation. What part of the Loire Valley? Blois? South of Orleans? Sancerre? Tours? Bourges? Chateauroux?

Have you thought about heading to Provence instead and then down into Liguria and the Cinque Terre? The food is just as good as are the wines. I know you want châteaux and all that, but you are traveling A LOT. Naturally Loire Valley-Monaco or environs-Cinque Terre is fine in two days time in the car, but Bob is correct in advising you limit yourself to Tuscany even though I understand your desire to get France in too since you can't be there for a while. You will definitely have to stop outside of Monaco or past Nice for the night.

Down the Ligurian coast is not as quick as you may think. The road is serpentine and goes by picturesque places but it'll take time to get to the Cinque Terre. Ditto for the Auvergne in France.

You may want to consider the train to Venice from there. That's up to you. Driving is fine but that's another 4 hours, rental car fees, tolls, gasoline and then the added frustration of having to get rid of the car at the Piazzale Roma in Venice or perhaps in Mestre (depending on from whom you rent) and to your hotel.

You could make day trips from Cinque Terre (don't spend the whole day in Pisa to see the Tower. See the Tower and the Campo dei Miracoli, the church of Santa Maria della Spina and you're done) but then you're in the car. I guess it boils down to what each of us considers "relaxation" and if driving bothers or fatigues you and if you don't mind parking the car.


 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:27 AM
  #7  
George
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Bob & Eye,

You guys are great. I don't want to need another vacation after my honeymoon. I do want to limit the amount of travel time. I guess I'd have to either not do Loire or Venice, and I'm pretty sure I'd like to do Venice.

So let me start over with the information I now have.

My finace and I have both been to Florence and the Cote d'Azur and would prefer not to go back.

I'd like to start with a few days of food great food and relaxation to wind down, maybe flying in and heading right to Lake Como is a good move.

From there, we can go down to the CT and then finish up in Venice. It makes sense.

Besides obvious differences in the bodies of water, are there major cultural, climate, or other differences that would make it beneficial to spend time in both the Lake Como area and the CT.

Bob, I have to plead ignorance to Tuscany, please sell me on it.

However, I think the idea of staying within a few hours and limiting my stress is a very wise idea.

If its 15 nights, 3 in Venice, I've got 12 to play with.

I'm not sure why I'm so hesitant to give up on the Loire Valley portion of the trip. Is that what Tuscany would bring me? Wine, food, relaxation.

Thanks for all of your help. Please keep it up.

-G
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 10:55 AM
  #8  
maryjane
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I love both Tuscany and the Loire Valley. If what you want is food, wine and relaxation, Tuscany is your place. And it is a beautiful place for a honeymoon.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:02 AM
  #9  
Lidia
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Just a suggestion to fly into Paris for a few days--and then onto St. Moritz Switzerland taking the Bernina Express Train from St. Moritz to Northern Italy ending up in Lugano--from there to Tuscany and Florence. Can't get much more romantic than this and you'll see the best of cities and mountains. The mountains in Switzerland are spectacular and to us more interesting than the Loire Valley.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:39 AM
  #10  
George
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We're going to avoid Florence and Paris, as we've both been to those places, but loved them. I'll look into Switzerland, its convenient - just haven't looked into it all that much. as soon as i narrow down my choices, more come up.

 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:45 AM
  #11  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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The Loire valley, Provence, or the hill towns of Tuscany will give you a similar experience, but I prefer Tuscany among those 3. And, the Lakes of Italy are favorite my destination in the world, especially for a honeymoon in June. Malpensa airport is an hour from any of 3 possible destinations in the Lakes---a good way to start the trip. You all talk and come up with your best plan, but I am back to my original one--into Milan out of Venice and 4 super destinations in Italy. Holler when you need specifics.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 11:50 AM
  #12  
Eye Spy
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George, I'm with Bob on this one too. From Malpensa you'll shortly be in the lake region which is superb in June. If you want to get a feel for it, rent the movie "A Month By the Lake" with Vanessa Redgrave and Uma Thurman. Everyone loves Tuscany and that's why we're selling you on it too. Tuscany does not equal Florence; there's so much to do ... and eat there.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 12:17 PM
  #13  
George
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OK - SOLD.

If I fly into Malpensa, and head to the Lakes, which Lake, more specifically which town/village, and finally, which hotel would you recommend as the starting point for the honeymoon.

From there, if we head down to CT for 6 days, would you advise Portofino as a day trip, and specifically any hotel advice in the area.

Most importantly, Tuscany. If I alter my plan to include Tuscany instead of Loire, what towns will give me the feel that I'm looking for.

I feel like I'm making some serious headway here, and while I'm not getting anything done at work, who cares.

Thanks
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 12:25 PM
  #14  
Michael
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I think that your original plan is fine. From Paris, take a train to Tours and you will have 4 major chateaux within a 25 km radius: Amboise, Chenonceaux, Azay-le-Rideau and Langeais. Rather than taking the trip from the Loire valley to Venice as just a means to the next destination, do it as part of your touring, perhaps going through the Swiss Alps on the way to the Lake district, ending your travels in Venice.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 12:36 PM
  #15  
George
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No matter where I go it would be an adventure, but I think I like Bob's plan the best, as it will give me a great feel for different regions of Italy without having to travel too far within the trip.

Bob & Eye, hit me with the specifics when you have the time.

Thanks,

G
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 12:51 PM
  #16  
Kelly
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George, it is amazing that you and your fiance are planning a honeymoon in the same region that my fiance are thinking of. Except late June/early July. We are thinking of Northern Italy to Paris and then fly from Paris to Scotland. Our big thing is golf but want to see Italy and France as well - driving the countryside vs. train. From the postings, it seems it may be hectic. What are your final thoughts? We don't need to see all of Italy - Tuscany, etc. We were thinking Breschia/Chailly-Dijon (France) to Paris.

No one posted a response to my driving trip in Europe (posted before yours) so I am interested in what you have found.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 01:05 PM
  #17  
george
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well, it definitely seems like the response to your trip would be pretty underwhelming like it was mine. After discussing with my fiance, neither of us want to worry too much about picking up / dropping off cars, traffic, and other hassles that seem like we'd be getting into if we did Loire Valley, then drove 9 hours south, then 4 + hours from Tuscany to Venice.

So I think we're going to stay within Northern Italy and really learn about that part of Italy.

We'll hopefully be able to come back to Europe in a couple of years and then will do France.

If you are planning on doing Italy, France, Scottland... that will be tough, unless you have more time than I do (15 days or so)

I'm no expert, but the more I learn, the less I want to get involved in too many long trips within my stay in Europe.

Then again, I could read something tonight, and completely change my mind. That's the trouble, too much to do and see.

I guess its not a bad problem!

good luck and hit em straight. If I brought up a golf honeymoon, I don't think it would go over too well. have fun.
 
Old Oct 23rd, 2002, 05:25 PM
  #18  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Well George, that can get complex. Much will depend on budget. I have planned dozens of itineraires like this one and no two are alike. The first step is to set the days per location, and that means a stake in the ground on exact # of nites in Italy--shall we assume that to be 14?? If so, try this for your first pass:
Lakes--3 nites [ TBD ]
Coast--3 nites
Tuscany/Florence--5 nites
Venice--3 nites

For budget, check out my budget article at www.bobthenavigator.homestead.com
Of course, we will assume a car for the first 10 or 11 days--train from Florence to Venice. Hotel choices will depend on $$. Venice is the most expensive and June starts high season in all 4 locations. Your call !
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 11:12 AM
  #19  
Lidia
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For information on the Bernina express train, using Google type out "Switzerland rail passes". Scroll down and choose Bernina ex.train--you can also click near the bottom and open up a slide show.
 
Old Oct 24th, 2002, 11:27 AM
  #20  
Peggy
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You could also fly into Geneva, Switzerland--take a boat ride on Lake Geneva and see Montreux. Afterwards onto the beautiful city of Lucerne, Switzerland--if you're budget is high you could stay at the deluxe Hotel Gutsch on the hill overlooking Lucerne and Lake Lucerne--see TravelPage.com concerning Lucerne. From Lucerne you could take the William Tell Express Train into Lugano/Locarno Italy (buy tickets online) and continue your trip from this point.
 

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