3 weeks France Italy Greece in July

Old Feb 18th, 2021, 05:16 PM
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3 weeks France Italy Greece in July

Yes I am aware there is a pandemic and totally taking a risk by booking this dream vacation for my 50th birthday and 20 year anniversary.

I took advantage of a special offer on Icelandic air which now I am concerned because itís not an open jaw ticket so unless I can change that we are set to fly in and out of London from seattle.

we get in July 11 and want to only stay a night in London and catch the Eurostar to Paris.

from there we have some destination ideas but need advice from all of you!

for me this is about romance food relaxing in nature and a few historical attractions. I want to take advantage of the weather and spend time on the French Riviera.

In Italy Id love to go to Capri and Florence.

Lastly we would love spend a few nights on a Greek Island since we know we have to make another trip if we really wanted to take in Athens and more of Greece properly.

Somehow we need to get back to London at this point unless we can change our flight...
Sooo what do recommend as far as modes of transportation and number of nights and destination and sight recommendations.

Thanks in advance for your considerations. 😍
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Old Feb 18th, 2021, 07:19 PM
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Transportation is fairly easy.

Train from Paris to Nice.

Train from Nice to Florence. You might be able to fly but total time is likely going to be similar.

Getting to Greece will depend on which island. Most of the flights from Italy to the Greek islands are seasonal. You might need to fly out of Rome or Pisa or maybe Naples. Depending on this flight you might want to rearrange Florence and Capri.

Usually from the Greek islands to London flights are frequent.

NB the above is in normal times. I expect things to be better this summer but I doubt the borders will be open for Americans. Even if they are you're risking four countries . Each of those countries could change the rules on you at any time.
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Old Feb 18th, 2021, 07:27 PM
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Without wishing to be a naysayer, I recommend you think about a more cohesive plan rather than stick pins in a map of places that appeal. With this itinerary, you will spend too long travelling between places and too little enjoying yourselves. I would choose ONE OF France, Italy OR Greece, and leave the others to another time. Personally, if flying into the UK but not wishing to visit there (crazy!), then I'd choose France. You may also avoid some of the worst of the summer heat compared with Italy or Greece. France is filled with wonderful places to visit.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 09:14 AM
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Unless you land too late on July 11th, as you're already at the airport, catch a flight to Paris rather than go into London for a single night. You'll need/want to spend the last night of the trip (at a minimum) in London because of your return flight... No reason to short-stay London twice.

IMO, you have too many destinations on your wish list. I count 6-7 (counting London at the end but not twice). Three weeks sounds like a long time until you understand how much time (and effort) is spent getting from place to place. Three weeks for 6-7 destinations plus travel time = only 2-3 full days (not impacted by travel) in each place. Over three straight weeks, this doesn't sound relaxing to me. At a minimum, I would skip Greece and give yourselves time for excursions outside of cities like Paris, Florence and London.

If historical attractions are somewhat of a priority, you need to check each one's open days and hours and plan accordingly. For example, if your 2-3 days in Florence happen to fall between Friday and Monday, you may not be able to see everything on your list as lots of things are closed on alternating Sundays/Mondays.

I agree with Traveler_Nick that continuing Covid could upend lots of well-laid plans, and the more countries you add the more rules you have to consider and follow.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 09:37 AM
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I'd want it to be much more simple in case of complications, plus just to minimize travel. For example, instead of one Greek island, why not just stick with Italy? You already have Capri, and there are several other islands. Three weeks is fine for London (as an entry/departure point), Paris, Riviera, and a bit of Italy. You could also do the Riviera and Corsica, which should make for an easy return to London.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 09:45 AM
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Ditto others - too many destinations, and the destinations are too far apart from each other. It looks like the first trip we took to Europe in 1977. We spent all our time on autoroutes & trains. Very little time "being there". Don't recall anything about the trip - except arriving at a destination at 7PM & looking for a place to stay the night. My mom & sister "bailed out" half way through the trip. My wife pledged to never go with me again. We returned 3 years later and visited the same exact places (but 3 X the amount of time there). And you want "Romance"???. No time for that in a car or on a road or plane. Since 1999, we've visited Europe at least twice a year for 1 month each trip, & include no more than 2-3 destinations - all in the same country & within 2-4 hrs of each other.

Attached is a 35 page itinerary for Provence & the Cote d'Azur.

Stu Dudley





Attached are itineraries for
Attached Files

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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 11:21 AM
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Right now it looks like Greece will welcome you with open arms. It is far from certain that you will be as lucky with France and Italy.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 01:59 PM
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StuDudley: You are are totally The Man! What a great boon to my Provence trip planning this document is.
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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 03:19 PM
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botuchis,

First, welcome to Fodors! There are lots of remarkably knowledgeable people on this site, and a lot of good information to be had here.

I tend to agree with the suggestion that you are maybe trying to bite off more destinations than can easily be chewed in three weeks. So let me start with some thoughts about the Greece end of your trip.

I love Greece, and have been there for a combined total of probably 8 weeks over three different trips. So I strongly understand your desire to get there. But if you plan to go back to Greece someday anyway, why not save your Greek island visit (or visits) for then? Keep in mind that Greece isn't all that big, so your ratio of destinations seen/travel time reaching them can be quite favorable there.

The first and second trips my wife and I took to Greece were both in the 14-16 day range, and we were able to cover quite a lot of ground, as these short summaries will indicate:

Trip # 1 (Athens, a little bit of the mainland, then three islands): Athens for three days. Did the standard tourist things (Acropolis, Agora, National Archaeological Museum) on the first two days, then rented a car on the third day and drove down to the northeast Peloponnese to see Corinth, Mycenae and Nauplia/Nafplion before driving back to Athens that night. Day 4: flew to Santorini. Stayed two full days there, then flew to Crete on Day 6. We spent six days touring the island. On Day 11, we flew to Rhodes, and spent three days there. Then flew back to Athens and home.

Trip # 2 (Western Crete, The Peloponnese and central Greece): Flew into Athens, but immediately connected to Crete and spent three full days there, based in Chania and exploring far western Crete and doing the hike through the Samaria Gorge. This was because we loved Chania on our first trip and had missed the Samaria Gorge hike then (too early in the season, I think). Then we flew back to Athens on Day 4, got a rental car, and spent eight days doing a circuit around the Peloponnese before crossing the straits and going to Delphi. We spent Days 14 and 15 touring Delphi and some other places in central Greece before returning to Athens and then flying home on Day 16.

So it's easy to combine island visits in Greece with mainland touring. The plane flights are remarkably short (typically 30-45 minutes). Leaving aside Crete, 2-3 days is a fine amount of time to spend on any particular island.

Of course, that also means that if you can find a flight from Rome or Paris to Athens, once you get there, you can then get to one of the islands pretty quickly. For an initial visit, I would suggest Santorini. It's small and doesn't take much time to see, but because it is the rim of a blown-out super volcano, it is scenically and geologically fantastic: totally unique in the world. It has two sets of ancient ruins, one of which dates back to around 1400 BC and is like a small version of Pompeii, preserved by volcanic ash. There are a couple of beaches and you can bicycle and catch the sunset from Oia and swim in the caldera and explore the still smoking island in the middle. Finally, although Santorini -- particularly Oia at sunset -- is known for some of the worst mass tourism in Greece, if ever there is a time when you perhaps could be there in July and not get subjected to wall-to-wall people, this summer might be it.

That said, you might give some thought to focusing this trip on France and Italy (or add in some time exploring the area southeast of London in Kent). The cathedral at Chartres and the Loire chateaux aren't that far from Paris. If you're traveling from Nice to Florence, you'll have to go right by the Cinque Terre, the five towns strung along the water's edge of the steep Ligurian coastline between Geno and Pisa. The towns all connect by train, boat, and hiking trails. Sandwiched between mountains and the sea, they have the isolated feel of island towns. That would be a great place to spend 3 days. I'll put in a link below to an album I put up on Flickr about the Cinque Terre:


The medieval hill town of San Gimignano with its skyscraping towers and Florence's long-time enemy Siena would be well worth seeing if you're going to visit Florence: I think San Gimignano is barely an hour away. If you haven't previously been to Rome, that would merit several days (at least). And the Amalfi Coast on the mainland south of Naples is legendary for its scenic beauty -- it wasn't for nothing that it was the home of the Sirens in Greek mythology (again: think mountains dropping precipitously into the sea). And Paestum, not too far from there, has several of the best-preserved Greek temples anywhere. Capri is great, but not all that big. You can see much of it on a day trip over from the coast, and three days would be fine to fully take its measure.



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Old Feb 19th, 2021, 03:40 PM
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Jeffergray makes valid suggestions but I think it would be a mistake to think that 'Greece isn't all that big'. We've spent 5-6 months there, moving on fairly frequently (over three holidays) and have only scratched the surface of places to explore.

The main point which I think everyone is making is that if you slow down, spend longer in each place and explore places which are closer together, you'll have a much better experience. I would also aim for a mix of cities, villages, countryside and coastal areas.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 08:43 AM
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Be aware that less than half of the population of Western Europe will be vaccinated against Covid in July. Count threfore with restrictions concerning access to museums or other monuments. There may be less flights and less trains than usual.(There is actually only one daily train running between London and Paris or between Paris and Italy)..
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by botuchis View Post
Yes I am aware there is a pandemic and totally taking a risk by booking this dream vacation for my 50th birthday and 20 year anniversary.

I took advantage of a special offer on Icelandic air which now I am concerned because itís not an open jaw ticket so unless I can change that we are set to fly in and out of London from seattle.

we get in July 11 and want to only stay a night in London and catch the Eurostar to Paris.

from there we have some destination ideas but need advice from all of you!

for me this is about romance food relaxing in nature and a few historical attractions. I want to take advantage of the weather and spend time on the French Riviera.

In Italy Id love to go to Capri and Florence.

Lastly we would love spend a few nights on a Greek Island since we know we have to make another trip if we really wanted to take in Athens and more of Greece properly.

Somehow we need to get back to London at this point unless we can change our flight...
Sooo what do recommend as far as modes of transportation and number of nights and destination and sight recommendations?

Thanks in advance for your considerations. 😍
Thanks to all for your responses! Just a little background....I took years of French in college and have dreamed of going there since I was a kid. Later I met my husband who is Greek and Italian. Hence the interests in these 3 countries. It is doubtful that we will have another opportunity to do this kind of a trip again but I am resigned now to shift my frame of thinking to either cancelling and rebooking to another time not during the peak of the epedemic or only going to Greece.
Also, I already had my vaccine so that is not a concern, not sure if my husband will have been phased in by July but both of us have also had covid and lived thru it with no major symptoms.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 09:20 AM
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Beautiful photos Jeffergray!
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 09:21 AM
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Stu Dudley! I printed your itinerary for Provence and the Riviera! Amazing detail....36 pages!!!!
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 12:06 PM
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Also, I already had my vaccine so that is not a concern, not sure if my husband will have been phased in by July but both of us have also had covid and lived thru it with no major symptoms.

Scientists do not yet know if - or how effectively - the current vaccines prevent transmission of covid. So it is not just a question of your own safety but the risk of unwittingly passing on the virus which should be considered. Hopefully, as the vaccine rolls out further, much more will be known about this. I hear that results in Israel are being closely studied.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 12:19 PM
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I absolutely understand the desire to visit all three countries but if you decide to spend your time in Greece you could have a wonderful holiday. It is a place which is best enjoyed without rushing and there is just so much to see and do there.

However, if you really wanted to fit in something of France, then maybe you could take the train from London to Paris for a week, then fly to Greece for two weeks. If you could change your flights to return home from Athens, that would be great.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by dreamon View Post
Also, I already had my vaccine so that is not a concern, not sure if my husband will have been phased in by July but both of us have also had covid and lived thru it with no major symptoms.

Scientists do not yet know if - or how effectively - the current vaccines prevent transmission of covid. So it is not just a question of your own safety but the risk of unwittingly passing on the virus which should be considered. Hopefully, as the vaccine rolls out further, much more will be known about this. I hear that results in Israel are being closely studied.
I think the virus variants are a game-changer. Current vaccines may not be as effective against them, and even those with both doses may need booster shots to be protected. Also, as neckervd pointed out earlier in this thread, less than half of Western Europeans will be vaccinated by July.
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Old Feb 20th, 2021, 10:39 PM
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sorry to say this but I think a trip like this could happen in 2022 and not 2021.
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Old Feb 21st, 2021, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by botuchis View Post
....................Also, I already had my vaccine so that is not a concern, not sure if my husband will have been phased in by July but both of us have also had covid and lived thru it with no major symptoms.
Just remember, it's not all about you. Just because you are now vaccinated, that doesn't mean that all travel restrictions, masking requirement, and social distancing (including under-staffing at under-touristed entities) will have been lifted. Half the continent will be suspicious about possible Covid-carriers, which you COULD be even though vaccinated. And, you didn't get a big red C on your forehead with a cross through it, indicating you've been vaccinated, so nobody will recognize you as being vaccinated.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2021, 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tomboy View Post
Just remember, it's not all about you. Just because you are now vaccinated, that doesn't mean that all travel restrictions, masking requirement, and social distancing (including under-staffing at under-touristed entities) will have been lifted. Half the continent will be suspicious about possible Covid-carriers, which you COULD be even though vaccinated. And, you didn't get a big red C on your forehead with a cross through it, indicating you've been vaccinated, so nobody will recognize you as being vaccinated.
I couldnít agree more. I think we have to wait and see how the countries we wish to visit are managing and how ready they are for tourism.
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