4-6 week trip

Sep 17th, 2018, 02:55 AM
  #1  
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4-6 week trip

Hello all Iíve been attempting to do a lot of research but am finding it difficult and have finally come across this site. I am getting ready to return from a deployment in Afghanistan and me and my girlfriend want to take a trip to Europe for about 4-6 weeks. Possibly starting mid January maybe. France is a must and want to spend some time there. Italy, Spain, Prague, Belgium were also on the list of possibilities. I donít know much except the minimum. She loves beaches and Iím more of a city and nature person as well as more of a low key experience, being in the culture not so much being a tourist in an American bubble. Nordic countries Iím also looking at. Does anyone have any recommendations seeing the time frame and time in year and where we should go as well as how to plan this without wasting a ton of money on over expensive hotels and travels. I discovered great vacations.com but theyíre too short for me. Any advise is appreciated. Thank you.

Last edited by jhicks; Sep 17th, 2018 at 02:59 AM.
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Sep 17th, 2018, 03:07 AM
  #2  
 
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Your question is way too vague for anyone to offer much help, except that

1) Beaches will be a waste of time in the dead of winter

2) Nordic countries are very expensive

At that time of year you basically have a choice between spending time in cities where you can pop indoors to enjoy cultural offerings or going whole-hog for the mountain/snow/outdoor experience. Anything in between, like visiting lovely villages, is pretty much off the charts because they will be closed and their inhabitants off frolicking in Ibiza and Bali.

You need to do a WHOLE LOT more research, as you are talking about an entire continent. Not much we can recommend until you focus.
StCirq is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 04:24 AM
  #3  
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Originally Posted by StCirq View Post
Your question is way too vague for anyone to offer much help, except that

1) Beaches will be a waste of time in the dead of winter

2) Nordic countries are very expensive

At that time of year you basically have a choice between spending time in cities where you can pop indoors to enjoy cultural offerings or going whole-hog for the mountain/snow/outdoor experience. Anything in between, like visiting lovely villages, is pretty much off the charts because they will be closed and their inhabitants off frolicking in Ibiza and Bali.

You need to do a WHOLE LOT more research, as you are talking about an entire continent. Not much we can recommend until you focus.

ok ok thank you very much
jhicks is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 06:41 AM
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You have tagged your thread for a boat load of countries scattered all over Europe. Curious which of those many countries actually interest you?

>>She loves beaches and<<

A non-starter in Winter really.

There is a BIG difference between 4 and 6 weeks. So first you need to nail down your actual time frame and then ask some more focused questions about some specific countries/cities/regions. Maybe get a guidebook or two to get you started.
janisj is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 06:59 AM
  #5  
 
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As stated above most beach communities will be pretty quiet though some of the larger ones do have some hotels and restaurants that stay open. For example you mention France, well the city of Nice is on the water so that would be a good compromise - beautiful water to look at but a city with some stuff to do if the weather is bad. Another place is the Amalfi Coast in Italy, a lot will be shut but unless it is raining it will still be worth visiting. Just if you plan a few days there you'll need to expect some times it will be raining. You could then for example visit the city of Naples. So I would limit beach locations (e.g. probably not a good time to go to the Greek islands) but not eliminate them entirely.

Same thing with visiting small towns. I would base in cities and plan day trips to smaller towns/villages and then you can do those day trips on nice days and spend time in cities (museums, shopping) on days if the weather is less good. Not all small towns/villages are deserted in winter. It's a slower atmosphere but the main issue is likely to be a number of rainy days.

Obviously you can't go to all the locations you tagged. Figure on at least 4-5 days for major cities (Rome, London, Paris, etc.) - and you could easily spend a week in each of them if you do day trips. For medium sized cities (e.g. Florence, Nice) you need at least 3-4 days with maybe a daytrip or two. A few one nighters scattered in is fine but don't plan on a string of them.

When you decide where you want to go come back here with more specific questions and you'll get lots of help.

I decide where to go based on pictures so if that helps you here are mine: https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/

Last edited by isabel; Sep 17th, 2018 at 07:11 AM.
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Sep 17th, 2018, 05:41 PM
  #6  
kja
 
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Ditto what others have said, and a recommendation to spend a LOT of time with some high quality guidebooks. They have sections on when-to-go and indexes that can be used to research things that interest you.

Good luck!
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Sep 17th, 2018, 05:49 PM
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As others have said, January is not the time to go to Europe if you want beaches, I am fond of Nice in the off season, but the earliest I have been is March and the beach was deserted.

Not only are you likely to encounter rain, but also cold, and the days will be short. You might consider southern Portugal and Spain, but if beach time, as in lying in the sun and swimming, is a priority, you need to pick a different continent.
thursdaysd is offline  
Sep 17th, 2018, 06:31 PM
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I was in Rome early January, Paris and London in mid/late January. I actually think itís an amazing time to travel, as long as you like cities and towns. Agree with everyone else that beaches are a no go, though.

Iím not sure Iíd do the Nordic countries, but Iím not a snow person, and theyíre quite expensive. But I would love to see Central or Eastern Europe then, and thatís when Iím hoping to go to Spain, probably.

Obvious downsides:

I like specialty tours, like biking or food, and many donít run then

Sites may have limited hours. No gardens to speak of. Limited daylight. Need to be flexibleóa hike might not happen. A plane may be late.

upside:

I think the major one is that low season means low crowds. Locals are friendlier, less rushed. I think heat makes people cranky. You donít have the summer events meant for tourists (tours, ferries) but the locals are trying to get through the winter, and itís a great time for theater, music, local festivals. Low crowds mean better service and lower prices at hotels, no lines in museums, more of chance to chat with shopkeepers.
marvelousmouse is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 06:39 PM
  #9  
 
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Will you still be in the military?
Will you be on leave?
Are you familiar with space-a travel, military bases and military lodging in Europe, etc?
Have you traveled with your girlfriend before? Even four weeks is a long time if it is a first trip together. Plan it well.
Do either of you speak a second language?

Can you wait and go in Spring?
If cities and museums or winter activities like skiing were your interests, then winter would be fine.
If nature, hiking, beaches are of great interest, another time is better. With the interest in beaches, perhaps plan two trips. Either save time for a great beach trip to Europe later or go to some other place (like the Caribbean) for a week or so in Jan or Feb, and save the Europe trip for Spring.

Get some guide books. Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door is good for first timers to Europe. Then, one on some of the countries which most interest you and your GF. Fodor's or Frommer's Italy or France or Spain to start.

Planning will be fun once you narrow things down a bit
Sassafrass is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 08:04 PM
  #10  
 
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Four weeks sounds like a lot of time, but I was in London and Paris last fall with a friend and we were two weeks each place. Third time in London for me and fourth time in Paris and I will tell you the time just flew by. There is still so much more to do and see in those TWO ;places alone.

There much be something you've seen, some history that you like or are familiar with, something that draws you and your girl friend other than just saying, "oh lets go to Europe". If that's all it is then you could just go anywhere. For example, I'm a Tudor "total nut case", I love anything and everything so for me, when in London, that meant going out to Hampton court for sure, and the the Tower Of London were both much do's and we ended up spending more time than we thought we would.

So what draws you to Europe? You certainly have time to move around some but I think you need to kind of pick an area so that you aren't always on the train and in the airport. Or you could pick a country or two and travel several places within them. People here can help you with your route and how to be the most efficient.

One of the best trips I ever took was to Copenhagen and Stockholm in the dead of winter. We left US on December 27th and returned on Jan 11 or 12, can't recall exactly. It was just so fun. That wouldn't be the ideal for everyone I realize.

I think having that much time to travel is wonderful so hope you can get things narrowed down a bit and then start planning a wonderful trip.
crefloors is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 08:25 PM
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Forgot that I meant to suggest that you look for events that occur during your travel time frame. One is Fasnacht in Basel, Switzerland. It is a most beautiful and amazing experience! Google for information and pictures. Near there is the fire festival in Liestal. It is another fantastic event. There are other things like that, concerts, etc. The winter Balls in Vienna, Austria are famous with many kinds available to attend. Seeing a performance or training session of the horses in the Spanish Riding School of Vienna might be of interest. Just ideas for things to do and see in winter. Some, like the balls, are expensive, but the festivals are free.
Sassafrass is online now  
Sep 17th, 2018, 08:42 PM
  #12  
 
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One more crazy idea for you. There are cheap direct flights from several places in Europe to islands in the Caribbean. End your trip with a flight from Amsterdam or London or Paris to a Caribbean beach for four or five days. Fly home from there.
Sassafrass is online now  
Sep 18th, 2018, 07:33 AM
  #13  
 
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Amsterdam has good flights to the major Dutch Carribean Islands.
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