30 day trip to Europe- itinerary help

Old Aug 30th, 2022, 07:08 AM
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30 day trip to Europe- itinerary help

Hi,

I am posting this on behalf of my in-laws who are roughly 60+yo and are planning a 30 day trip to Europe in March 2024. They'd like to cover London, Dublin, Iceland, Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, and Norway. Some pointers:

1. They would be flying into London first (first point of the journey)
2. Would prefer using the Euro rail as far as possible

I need guidance on what might be the most efficient and least stressful way of travelling by rail starting from London.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 07:28 AM
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Where in Norway? It an Iceland are real outliers and personally I think that is too many places in 30 days, especially in November.

Dublin is also a bit tricky without flying there. So London, fly to Dublin, fly to Paris, train to Amsterdam, train (or fly if you must) to Berlin, fly home.
Remember every change of country is a effectively a day out of things, Arrival and departure day are also scratched, which leaves 24 days at best, which gives a reasonable and relaxed about of time in those cities.
Add in the other two and you are down to 3 days in each place.You can't cover a whole country like Iceland or Norway in 3 days. You can barely scratch the surface of somewhere like London or Paris.
Something has to give.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 07:39 AM
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Well, they would like to see the Northern Lights from Norway and I am not sure which place in Norway is the best to do that.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 07:51 AM
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There is never a guarantee of seeing Northern lights, is there?
Far too many places in 30 days.
November has short, colder days. Ireland can be downright unpleasant in November. If Northern lights is the only reason for trip, I would reconsider. That is a lot of money and time. Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and London are all so much more pleasant earlier in Fall, later in Spring or even at Christmas.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 08:13 AM
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I’d also be very careful about the weather in Norway and Iceland in March. To the see the Aurora , you need latitude and lots of it, be close to a meeting in the Earth’s magnetic flux, solar activity which nobody can forecast this far out and high pressure weather (so no clouds).

Tromos in Norway is very developed in its tourism activities and along with Alaska is one of the best places on Earth to see the Aurora - we have seen it 5 times on different trips. The key issue is when the winter polar high pressure breaks up you may experience some of them worst weather in the world ie 2oC , violent winds and much rain. Same for Iceland but worse as it is bang in the North Atlantic Drift and so does indeed experience the worst weather in the world in early Spring. Too mild cold fronts passing through. prime time to go is usually early February, when we are going next year.

I’d choose either Iceland or a Norway and personally would always choose Norway simply because it’s less touristy and the Norwegians are generally more welcoming.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 08:40 AM
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Simply not realistic in any way. Six countries covering much of northern Europe plus Iceland in essentially 28-ish days means traveling at a flat out run. Trains are not all that viable for some of those destinations. Traveling with the main goal being the Northern Lights just sets them up for disappointment. 'EuroRail' seems to indicate they are talking about a Eurail Passes for train travel -- often not the best option. March is still winter in many places with masses of rain and even snow.

To be honest it sounds more like a laundry list than the framework for an actual trip
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 09:03 AM
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I don't know anything about visiting Norway but found this site which might get you started: https://www.fiftydegreesnorth.com/us...group-journeys.

If your parents want to visit 7 locations, they would only have about 4 days in each. Travel between locations eats up 1/2 to a full day depending on how far apart they are and the mode of travel which would give approximately 3+ days of actual visiting time.

I would recommend you ask your parents to do a bit of research and decide how much time they really want to spend in each of the places they have picked and what they want to see and do there. They will likely realize they have not allowed enough time to enjoy all of those locations. Once they have narrowed down their trip a bit, you can likely help them figure out train travel. They may also wish to consider economical flights such as Ryan Air or Easyjet (there are many others, as well) between countries.
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 09:08 AM
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If they are really keen to see the Northern Lights they should plan a trip just for that, then do the general sightseeing trip on another occasion (when the weather is better, for a start).

For info on trains and tickets in Europe you should read this: https://www.seat61.com/european-train-travel.htm
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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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I may be off the mark, but I am guessing either this is their first trip to Europe, or they may have been on a whirlwind tour at some time in the past. This is far too many places to try to visit in the course of a month. Allowing for travel time on trains, checking in and out of hotels, and just getting from train station to wherever they will stay - they're going to lose at least a half day for each move - some even more. With seven destinations, at best they would lose four days to travel, but in reality, likely even more.

Maybe they can pare down their wish list to three places? Weather is always iffy in the spring - especially in the more northern locales. Iceland by train?

Maybe you can talk to them and see if they are willing to visit fewer places - come back and ask this question again?

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Old Aug 30th, 2022, 11:42 AM
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I just checked some of the train times between locations. The fastest train routes: London to Amsterdam (4 hours,) Amsterdam to Berlin (6 1/2 hours,) Berlin to Norway (17 hours,) Amsterdam to Paris (3 hours,) London to Paris (2 1/4 hours). You can see Norway is quite an outlier and they might prefer to fly there. They also need to factor in the time to get to and from the train station, checking in and out of hotels, etc. Also, trains don't always travel at the optimal times for checking in and out of hotels, sightseeing, etc.

Are they thinking of Iceland and Norway for the chance of seeing the Northern Lights? If so, perhaps they would like to focus on those two countries and spend a week or more in each. Or, they could do a week in Iceland, a week in London (with time for some day trips) and a week in Norway.

Was the desire for train travel so that they could use a Eurail pass? Train travel from London to Oslo, Norway would take about 31 hours and many train changes would be required. It would probably be better for them to consider pricing out each train trip (and consider other means of transportation) to see if a pass would really be worthwhile.
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