4 Country Itinerary


Mar 21st, 2016, 12:57 PM
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4 Country Itinerary

Hello, my girlfriend and I (both 23) have a month and a half to spend before we start working and we would like to go to Europe for most of it. We would like to keep a semi-tight budget but money isn't a problem if things are worth seeing in our allotted time. My rough itinerary looks like this:

~May 1: Fly from Orlando to Lisbon, Portugal
3 Days: See Lisbon, Tour Sintra, Tour Evora

Rent a Car and Drive to Lagos, Stay 2 nights
See Ponta da Piedade, Cape St. Vincent Lighthouse, and Carvoeira

Drive to Seville and Return Rental Car, Stay 3 nights
See Seville, Tour Cordoba, Tour Granada

Fly to Barcelona early, Stay 2 nights
See the city of Barcelona

Fly to Nice, Stay 3 nights
See Nice, Tour Grasse, Tour Monaco and Eze

Fly to Rome, Stay 3 Nights
See Rome, Tour Pompeii+Almalfi in one long day tour from Rome

Train to Florence, Stay 3 Nights
See Florence, Tour Pisa

Train to Venice,Stay 2 Nights
See Venice, add night if tour of nearby area

Fly to Paris, Stay 4 Nights
See Paris, Tour Normandy Beaches, etc.

What do you think? Each time I say tour I mean a touristy bus tour which I think is our best bet. Renting a car may be expensive but I don't know a better way to see the Algavare. Nothing has been purchased yet so the entire itinerary can be scrapped if there are better options. We have never been to these countries.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 01:23 PM
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Dropping a car across a national border will incur an extra cost.

For car rentals, check or are sister companies--and will act as brokers. Their rates tend to be good, especially if your credit card will carry the CDW. This would mean that in case of an accident you would pay the repair cost up front and then be reimbursed by the credit card company. It happened to me in Portugal, and my credit card reimbursed me in full, with no deductible.

I would stay in Lisbon must to see the city, rent the car to see Sintra and Evora (circling back around Lisbon), and from Evora head south. This might be cheaper if when you write "Tour" you mean joining a local tour provided by a travel agency or a hotel.

Three nights in Seville means two full days. Either you intend to see Seville or you might as well keep on going to Cordoba. The way you state your time line, I would not waste time going back to a fixed point (Seville) but would rather stop in each destination for one night (Cordoba and Granada); although I consider that to be rather short, two nights would be better.

Why Monaco, Why Grasse? Again, what do you mean by "tour"?

Amalfi and Pompeii is too much in one day with the intent of returning to Rome, unless, of course, it's an organized tour that offers that specific itinerary.

I suspect that you should be looking at tour books a little more closely.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 02:10 PM
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Good that nothing has been purchased yet. Often people buy tickets and are stuck with bad itineraries. So, smart on your part.

Some of your "tours" are easy and cheap to do on your own, no need for tour bus type thing.

Examples: Pisa is a short train ride from Florence. You could even combine it with the walled town of Lucca (very close to Pisa) as a day trip. Very, very easy and more enjoyable on your own.

Córdoba is also only about an hour by train from Seville, absolutely no need for a tour.

Some day trips you are thinking about are too far.

Granada is simply too far for a good day trip from Seville, even if a tour company does one. Tour companies often do trips that are mostly costly time on a bus! So, don't waste your precious time and money.

That being said, the Alhambra is an artistic and historic wonder. You need to allow one day and a night in Granada or very nearby.

You are arriving in fantastic places, then planning day trips with no time in the place you are staying.

Seville. You are staying 3 nights. That means 2 days and you planned a day trip for each day, not even a whole day in Seville. Seville is magical and beautiful. It is old world Spain. Give it a day or two.

Rome. You have 3 nights which is 2 days. One of those you have a day trip planned. Rome is huge and filled with things to see. Allow at least 3 full days for Rome.

IMHO, you could manage Pompeii as a long day trip from Rome (though I wouldn't), but not also the Amalfi Coast all on the same day!

All the flying, getting from hotel to airport, going through security, flight time, getting to hotel, etc will eat up so much time, in some cases, you spend almost as much time traveling as sightseeing. It costs a lot to get to Europe. Do you really want to spend half your time (and money) seeing only airports and train stations?

Barcelona. One day is just not enough time to see even a few of the major sights. If you are spending money to get there, give it at least a couple of days. Allow more time in places that have more to see. Maybe an afternoon at the beach in Barcelona.

Look at what you want to see in different places. Figure out how much time that will take. Plan for that.

Add up travel time, including time getting back and forth from hotels. Include it in your planning.

When you do that, you will see you have to cut some places. What you cut is up to you.

On short trips, people can rush around more than on long trips. After a few days of rushing around, everything starts to blend together and exhaustion sets in. Get in some chill time, an afternoon at the beach, a picnic in a park.

Check cost of renting a car in Portugal and dropping off in Spain. Might not be best option.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 04:32 PM
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Thank you for your feedback! To clarify, when I said tour I typically meant an organize bus tour. We want to minimize the time we have a rental car because we are in a different country and it can be more stress than it's worth. However, I drive a manual so it CAN be a cost-effective alternative to buses.

Will do Pisa/Lucca and Cordoba as day trips
Will add at least a day to Rome. Add a day to Seville. Add a day to Barcelona.
Monaco and Grasse from Nice because I'll be right there and it's a popular excursion. Not recommended? We like the idea of wine and olive oil tasting and of seeing the super-rich Monaco.

Still considering Granada as a day trip from Seville. Has good reviews and it's cheaper to fly out of Seville than Granada. After a long day we can rest on the bus back to our hotel before getting ready to go out that night (if we want). What's the problem?

As for Pompeii and Almalfi, there ARE long tours that will do it. But maybe I fly into Naples instead of Rome and do Pompeii and Amalfi from there before going to Rome?

I checked cost of renting in Lisbon and returning in Seville and it gave me a cost of only $50 a day (economy option) and didn't show any upcharges. Am I seeing it wrong?
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Mar 21st, 2016, 05:23 PM
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OK. I checked again and I'm seeing the 300+ Euro drop off charge for the rental car. No thanks.
Opinions: Best way to see the Algarve (lagos etc.) now, or should I skip it?
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Mar 21st, 2016, 05:35 PM
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Monaco and Grasse from Nice because I'll be right there and it's a popular excursion. Not recommended? We like the idea of wine and olive oil tasting

Grasse is known for perfume, not wine. You have to be farther east in the Provence to be in wine country.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 05:38 PM
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you should be looking at tour books a little more closely.

I meant travel books.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 05:43 PM
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Sorry - but you are making the classic error of a first trip to europe - way too many places in too little time. You have probably been looking at tour to see how much time where and you need to understand that 1) overall bus tours give very sketchy coverage, missing many major sights and 2) they can move that fast only because they have a professional driver and guide who has organized everything to the minute in advance and you pend long day sin a bus starting at 8 am eery day (luggage outside bedroom door at 7 am). I doubt you will want to do that yourself.

You have missed 2 points:

Two nights in a city means one full day there (so for 3 nights - 2 days i Seville you are trying to see 3 completely different cities - just won;t work)

You have not allowed time to move from one city to the next. This will take 1/2 day away from either the departure or the arrival city. In any case reducing the very small amount of time you have allocated to each place

For instance, you have 3 nights for Rome - which is only 2 days - but 1/2 of one of those days is in going to Florence - so you really have 1.5 days in Rome - woefully inadequate.

Suggest that you lay this trip out day by day - listing where you will start, what ravel you will do during the day (include not just train time but also leave the best part of an hour on each end to check out of your hotel and get to the train station and do the reverse at the other end) and also where you will sleep that night.

If you do that exercise you will see how little time you have in major world cities
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Mar 21st, 2016, 07:42 PM
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Thanks for the input! It is our fourth collective trip to Europe, but we've never seen the cities we will be visiting. We are okay with some rushing, and in fact this itinerary already looks relaxed (see: Nice). But we've added a day in Seville, Barcelona, Venice, and 2 in Rome.

I'll put together the day-by-day and post it here. Thank you very much!
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Mar 21st, 2016, 11:16 PM
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Of course you can do a day trip from Rome to Pompeii and Amalfi - it will just be very expensive.
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Mar 22nd, 2016, 02:44 AM
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I find it odd that two people your age are leaning toward organized bus tours. I hate to think how you'll be traveling when you're in your 50s.

I think this sums up your lack of serious preparation: < See Paris, Tour Normandy Beaches, etc.>>

Four nights only in all of France, based in Paris, and you are going to see "Normandy Beaches, etc.???"

I would suggest you get and study maps and guidebooks. You've got the start of a decent trip, but a long way to go to make it fun and rewarding. Cut back, and focus on what is actually possible on the ground, not just on paper and in your mind.
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Mar 22nd, 2016, 07:24 PM
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I only want to do organized bus tours if there are things we cannot get to easily in the allotted time using public transportation. Any specific recommendations and changes?
I have a full Paris itinerary, I just didn't want to post it here. Do you think it's not enough time to see Paris (with one day for an excursion of some kind?)
(BTW, I also spend 3 nights in Nice, which is in France if you were wondering) Thanks for the input though.
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May 4th, 2016, 07:05 PM
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I have done with a private driver Pompeii from postano ( Amani coast ) and ended in Naples . It was a great day . Rome , Pompeii Amaffi coast would be too much . However , I highly suggest the private tour of Pompeii.
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May 5th, 2016, 03:40 AM
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I doubt that two 23-year-olds who are contemplating bus tours of Europe would be interested in private drivers.
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May 5th, 2016, 08:10 AM
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I think you haven't got enough time in Paris. And taking bus tours only takes time away from experiencing Paris (and other places) rather than giving you quality time in the places you want to visit.

I think you are spreading yourselves too thin. Remember that two nights somewhere is just one full day. You lose from half a day to most of a day each time you change locations.

You need to decide on your priorities and cut the places that are lower priorities.
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