3 weeks in europe...what to see?

Old Nov 30th, 2005, 10:04 PM
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3 weeks in europe...what to see?

I'm travelling with my husband and our teenage daughter. We will be having Christmas in uk with friends and my niece and New Year in Edinburgh. Then we have three weeks to "do" Europe. My husband and I have been before(in 1988 we were poor backpackers)it's a new experience for our daughter and we want to show her everything. WE think we'll get a eurail selectpass and wonder if any other travellers can recommend a route (we commence in Amsterdam) and whether the selectpass is a good option
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Old Nov 30th, 2005, 11:41 PM
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Well, to start with you unfortunately can't see everything in 3 weeks (let alone 3 months, 3 years, etc.) I would suggest trying to narrow down your choices to a few locations and hope to return to see more another time. Once you have your itinerary selected you'll have a better idea of what train passes, flights, etc. would work best.

What were your favorite places when you were there before? Are you more interested in visiting cities or touring the countryside? Are you more interested in museums, local culture, food or shopping? What would your daughter really like to see? Since she is a teenager, I would try to include her in the planning.

I would recommend heading to your nearest bookstore or library and pouring through some guidebooks to see which places really captivate you. Logically, touring the UK and the Netherlands seem to be good places to start. Are you flying both in and out of Amsterdam or can you fly out of another city? How were you planning to get to the UK?

There are several airlines that fly cheap flights out of Great Britain which can be useful ways to get to around quickly.

Lastly, are you planning this trip for this Christmas? When do you plan on leaving?
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 01:11 AM
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I can never understand the immediate attraction to a "rail pass" before you know ehere you are going. A selectpass will cost $948 for three people, and only get you 5 rides in three countries. There must be dozens of ways to move about in europe cheaper than that - - even if you are sure you want to travel by train, ordinary ("point-to-point&quot train tickets will likely be the better deal unless you want to travel back and forth between Scandinavia and the Mediterranean, zigzagging back and forth five times.

Only you know what you mean by "show here everything". You can't see all of France in three weeks (and maybe only a good start in six weeks); you can't see all of the islands of the Mediterranean in three weeks; and Italy? will munch up three weeks before you've seen half of it - - not even counting Sicily or Sardinia.

I think a key factor is deciding what winter weather destinations you really want to tackle. Although I am partial to (western) Europe, I have to wonder, why not Israel and Jordan? Why not (southern) Spain and Morocco? Nice contrasts to the British Isles.

Unless I was a descendant of Hans Brinker, I don't think I would be very attracted to Amsterdam in January.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 02:14 AM
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Hi t,

Assuming that you have your airplane tickets, you have about 3 weeks to plan your visit and make your hotel reservations.

Other than wanting to show your daughter "everything", what are your/her interests?

You could do a week in The Netherlands, a week in Paris and a week in Rome.

You could spend 3 weeks in Italy.

You could go to Greece and the Former Yugoslavia.

Before buying any railpasses, enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com and click "only if it saves money".

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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 03:12 AM
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If what you mean by "show her everything" is to give her a "taste" of some very different parts of Europe I think you could pick 3 or 4 countries in addition to the UK and Amsterdam. Since you'll be in the UK to start with you could take a cheap flight (easyjet, Ryanair) to Italy - that's many people's favorite part of Europe (and for good reason). Pick one or two cities there. Then fly to Spain and from there drive or train up to France. That would give you three major countries plus the two areas you start and end in - overall a good sampling. With about a week in each country you could see a couple of the major cities plus some countryside.

I agree a rail pass will probably not save you any money, will limit you rather than free you up to go where you want to go. Cheap flights and point to point tickets are the way to go if you don't want to rent a car.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 03:36 AM
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Rex:

You should be ashamed of yourself. ;-)

I can't believe you answered this question at all after your post on the "If You're Just Planning your Trip" post!

Just Teasing.

jpm
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 04:24 AM
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Tease away... the point of that other post is to draw new registrants out, with a list of twenty questions - - while we might wish that they answer them for "us" in their first post.. there are polite ways to entice them to tell us more.

I may or may not have succeeded.


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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 04:35 AM
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For three weeks, I'd pick ONE country, or adjacent regions of two countries.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 05:20 AM
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<< For three weeks, I'd pick ONE country, or adjacent regions of two countries. >>

That's one approach. But to each his own (not agreeing or disagreeing). I would not think it odd to listen to a CD, read a book for an hour, then watch a movie - - all in the same afternoon... all on very different subjects.

So, it might be with travel. A week in Barcelona, a week in Rome, a week in Greece - it would hardly be labeled as frenetic, in my book.

Beats what I'll be doing, this January (well, the last 24 days of January... working! going to Hawaii through January 7!)
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 05:42 AM
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I know it's sinful on this site to say.....have you considered a tour since it's your first time in Continental Europe and you only have 3 weeks?

For a first time to get a good feel of what Europe is like and how things work a tour is often a good start and it will leave you eager for a go alone trip to one destination or another.

Am i allowed to say Trafalgar Tours has a good website with discussions on the subject?

Just one alternative you might look into.

I cannot imagine going to Europe without visiting Paris and Rome but it depends on your interest and a young daughter might more enjoy the warm weather countries like Spain for your visit.

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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 05:58 AM
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As the others mostle say -- you can't "do" Europe or see "everything" in 3 weeks.

Also - winter weather and the short days can really put a crimp in an itinerary w/ lots of inter-city travel.

What sorts of things do you enjoy? Are there specific places from your earlier travels that you want to see again? Which one country do you want to visit the most? Answers to these questions will help you focus and work out a reasonable itinerary.

If you "Must" see Paris and Amsterdam for instance - then France, Belgium and the Netherlands could be worked into a good 3 weeks. Or If Italy is the "must see" and going to Amsterdam is firm, then fly from A'dam to Rome and spend the rest of the 3 weeks touring Italy.

And for most travelers - rail passes don't save much if any money
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 06:24 AM
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We did almost the same thing you are proposing a few years back. We took a month and used an unlimited Eurail pass.
(is that select?)DH hadn't been back to many cities since college either.

We started in Paris (several days), Nice, Monaco, Avignon and day trips to the usual towns in the area (we could have condensed all of this and spent more time in Spain or Italy), Barcelona (5 days), Florence, Rome ( a week) and Venice (2 days), Zurich (one day), Amsterdam (several days), Bruges (2 days), London (several days).

We left out Madrid and Portugal because we were anxious to get moving and had a family deadline back in the States at the end of the month. Germany, Austria and Greece also didn't make the cut.

The train is a pain from Montpelier to Spain. : D)) Layover, longish trip and often late we were told. It was three hours late the night we took it and an oldish train. Not a major inconvenience and all the other trains in Europe were very comfortable and on time. Beware smoker cars if that is an issue for you.We reserved first class traveled during the day - no sleepers.

With that itinerary we filled a month and with the exception of the South of France (particularly Avignon and Monaco)would do it all again.

Barcelona and Amsterdam are particularly youthful cultures. What young person wouldn't enjoy London, Paris and Rome? Lots of students in Florence with nightclubs etc. They may be on holiday in December however. Bruges is very quaint and must be heavenly during Christmas.

Dress warmly (long down coats). It's already been snowing!

kakalena

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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 06:49 AM
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Europe? Perhaps we could say/write, 'tourist Europe'. Europe is the area between Ireland/Spain and the Ural Mountains in Russia. What business or what do you do for a living! Can you make connections with similar places in Europe? Maybe you could visit the major universities in each of your European countries. I know of one group that visits Europe only to visit cities with special organs! Facetious suggestion: Visit McDonald's in as many countries as you can get to; prepare reports, take pictures! Sports, try ski hills in each country.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 07:21 AM
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One method is to look at an organized tour brochure and then follow their itineraries on your own.

Other resources include a general Europe guidebooks (from your library) and travel magazines (Budget Travel is good).

You need to have a basic plan in order to figure out if a rail pass is cost effective or not.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 01:09 PM
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Is it just me, or is anyone else suspicious about this post? I mean, who books a month's trip to the other side of the world, giving themselves 3 free weeks in which they want to see as much as possible and then leaves it until 3 weeks before they depart before starting to think about where they are going?

If it's genuinely a last minute, spur of the moment decision, then I apologise, but if not, it sounds extremely odd.
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 01:19 PM
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If you insist on Europe, stick to big cities. Even medium size cities tend to be dreary in the winter. I think that Rex's suggestion of southern Spain and Morocco is a good one. We did 10 days in Morocco, landing in Marrakesh, going by train to Meknès and Fez, and returning to Marrakesh in a first class bus. But you could fly to Marrakesh and look for land transportation from Fez to southern Spain, and then fly back home from Madrid (assuming that yu do not already have your round-trip tickets).
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Old Dec 1st, 2005, 02:03 PM
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Taysum sounds like a free spirit at heart. It seems like a wonderful way for a family to make some terrific memories.

If you are all in good health I wouldn't let the cold bother me. In fact, some may prefer cities in cooler weather as opposed to summer heat and humidity.

Down coats, warm, waterproof flat boots to walk in, scarves, hats, gloves, one roller bag...Edinburgh, London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Bruges, (fill in the blank)..coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot toddies. It sounds so cozy.

Do you have an Aussie email address? Summer will be waiting for you when you get back.

kakalena
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