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8 week Europe Itinerary- advice/suggestions please!

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Jun 24th, 2012, 06:42 PM
  #1
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8 week Europe Itinerary- advice/suggestions please!

My sister and I (21 & 23) are planning an 8 week trip to Europe in May/June 2013. Having been on a very brief guided-tour for 3 weeks a few years ago, we are hoping to plan a trip that isn’t as rushed. Although we are more than happy to spend our days walking around seeing as much as we can (main attractions, food & wine, nightlife and SOME museums), we would also like to have the time to just sit, relax and soak up the atmosphere. Our first draft itinerary is…

London - 14 nights
Berlin- 3 nights
Prague- 3 nights
Vienna - 3 nights
Venice- 3 nights
Levanto- 4 nights
Rome- 6 nights
Santorini- 3 nights
Ios- 2 nights
Athens- 2 nights
Cappadocia- 3 nights
Istanbul- 4 nights

What do you think?

We were also thinking of breaking up the 24hr flight from Australia by stopping over somewhere for a night on the way there and back, maybe Thailand and Hong Kong. Would it be feasible to get a hotel for a night, spend a day in these cities and then jump on a plane and continue our flight?

Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated!
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Jun 24th, 2012, 07:41 PM
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Going by car, train, plane, bike or hike or combo of all? Mode of transport will help with comments.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 07:47 PM
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London and Rome look good. whether the rest works depends on what you are planning to see/do. Generally 3 nights nets you 2 or at most 2.5 days in a place. And 2 nights = 1-1.5days. If 1.5 or 2.5 days are enough in cities like Athens and Venice is your call. Parts are a bit fast paced for me.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 08:04 PM
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Is there a reason you are spending two weeks in London? I would much rather take one week away from it and give it to some other destinations that could easily warrant more days than you plan.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 09:24 PM
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Thanks PalenQ,
We’d like to do a mix of plane and train. So fly from London to Berlin, trains from berlin heading down to Vienna and around Italy, then fly from Rome to Santorini via Athens. Ferry from Santorini to Ios, then fly back to Athens and on to Istanbul. We still need to look into eurail passes but we were hoping that we could cut a lot of travel time by flying to the places with the most distance between them

Janisj- I’ve been told by someone who travels to Greece often that 1 full day in Athens would be enough to see the main sites. Is there much to do in Venice, or it is mostly the canals and scenery?

Hi Charnees,
We’re spending 2 weeks in London because we have family over there we’d like to see. But those 14 nights are flexible so we could always drop a few days there and add them on to somewhere else. Which places do you think need more time?
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Jun 24th, 2012, 09:46 PM
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I assumed the 14 days was because of family or friends and because you would be seeing other parts of England besides just London. Not that London couldn't easily fill 2 weeks (or 2 months).

My point wasn't really that Athens is 'worth' more time -- but that w/ all the travel/logistics, your two nights there is a lot of hassle to net one day.

If it was me (and for me personally, no amount of time is too long in London) I'd maybe cut one or two cities so that I'm nowhere fewer then 3 nights. W/ all the checking out/in/travel/transfers, 3 nights would be my minimum in any major city.

If all the cities are 'musts' - then you can take a few days from London to fill the gaps.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 11:33 PM
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Doesn't sound too bad but a few points...

Long journey from Istanbul to Cappadocia and back I would have thought - check that. If you're dead keen on Cappadocia and want to take some time off London, I'd add it to Turkey. Either that or skip Turkey altogether (or maybe have a week in Istanbul?).

There are some flights directly into Santorini from European cities other than Athens. Check whichbudget.com, flycheapo.com and Aegean Airlines. Not sure that there are commercial flights from Ios but could be wrong.

If you're only having one day in Athens, it may be worth seeing if you can fly directly from one of the Greek islands to Istanbul.

Also long journey from Venice to Levanto. Check trenitalia for timetables.

Of course you can stop over enroute from Australia. Each airline will have their standard stop over destinations for refueling. Flights generally cost more to stopover. wotflight site good to check fares. Fare sales for that time of year generally start Nov through to end-Jan but can get lucky any time.

Wish it were me!
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Jun 24th, 2012, 11:41 PM
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RE the stopover between Australia and Europe: I think that's a very good idea. Which city, of course, depends upon which airline you choose. I had a very nice three day stopover in Kuala Lumpur when flying with Malaysia Airlines. On another trip I had a long layover in Singapore, and wished I had stayed longer.

RE Athens: one day is enough to see the Parthenon and one or two other sights, but hardly does justice to the city. Frankly, the more I go to Athens the more I discover, and now think three days is about the minimum.
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Jun 24th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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@dreamon: Ios doesn't have an airport. You might be able to find a flight directly from Italy to Santorini, if that's your last country before Greece. If not, check out connections through Athens.
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Jun 25th, 2012, 02:25 AM
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You can't even cover the main sites in Athens in one day! I think the number of nights need juggling a bit, I would certainly take some off London if possible, maybe really consider what & how much you want to see in each place?
I visit Athens 6-8 times a year & still haven't seen everything
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Jun 25th, 2012, 02:56 AM
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Hi C,

>we would also like to have the time to just sit, relax and soak up the atmosphere. Our first draft itinerary is…
......
What do you think? <

Much too far flung and much too rushed.

This part isn't bad.

London - 14 nights
Berlin- 3 nights
Prague- 3 nights
Vienna - 3 nights
Venice- 3 nights
Levanto- 4 nights
Rome- 6 nights

You then head East for 2 weeks on what looks like the usual rushed tour, eg, "1 full day in Athens would be enough to see the main sites".

If you tune in to Rick Steves, you can "see the main sights" in an hour.

You should have 3-4 nights in Athens.

Why 5 days on two Greek islands? What is there that you can't do on one island in 4
days?

Why have you left out Paris (6 nights) and Florence (3 nights)?

I would also add 2 days to Berlin or 1 to Berlin and 1 to Prague.

Greece and Turkey have been there for a looooooooong time.

They will still be there for your next visit.

Enjoy your visit.

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Jun 25th, 2012, 04:13 AM
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Thanks for all your amazing advice!

We’re now thinking of dropping 2 days from London and adding them to Athens and Ios. That way we have no less than 3 nights in each stop, with the possibility of cutting more days from London if need be (maybe adding to Berlin or Cappadocia?).

Dreamon- I think it takes around 2 hrs to fly from Istanbul to Cappadocia + the hour it takes to get to the airport so we’re probably looking at a half day each way…does that sound about right?

I just assumed we’d have to fly to Athens to get to Santorini, but I’ll do some research to see if we can get a flight directly from Rome because that will certainly save us some travel time. Thanks!

Yes we’re very keen to do a stopover on the way there and back. I’m just hoping that 1 night in each place will be enough to see a bit of the city while still getting some rest needed to continue on the flight. I guess it’s the same as Athens though; you can’t see any city in 1 day but at least it’ll give us a break from the plane and a taste of where we might like to go back to in future

Ira- We’ve chosen not to go to Paris because we went there last time, and I guess we just overlooked Florence due to lack of time! Our 8 weeks is very strict as we can’t get any more time off work. Maybe we could do Florence and save Greece for next time? If we were to cut down 1 or 2 places which ones would you guys suggest? We’re VERY excited to be going to Turkey so we don’t want to miss going there!
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Jun 25th, 2012, 05:27 AM
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"I think it takes around 2 hrs to fly from Istanbul to Cappadocia + the hour it takes to get to the airport so we’re probably looking at a half day each way…"

Most any time you fly it essentially eats up a day. Maybe not a full day. but the packing, checking out, getting to the airport, 1 to 2+ hours advance check in/security (many budget airlines have very strict advance check in rules), transferring to the new hotel/checking in all take time.

"Maybe we could do Florence and save Greece for next time? "

If there is going to be a next time, that could be a VERY good idea IMO. You could take the Greece time and use it to add Florence and a few nights to some of the other cities.
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Jun 25th, 2012, 06:58 AM
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We still need to look into eurail passes but we were hoping that we could cut a lot of travel time by flying to the places with the most distance between them>

Well here are some IMO great European train sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com (great info on online discounts, which though are train-specific and generally non-changeable nor refundable and must be booked weeks early to guarantee so you lose any flexibility - a priceless aspect to me at least with a railpass) and www.ricksteves.com. Look at the Eurail Select Pass, valid in any of 3 to 5 countries of your choosing and cheaper than a Global Eurailpass good in dozens of countries.
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Jun 25th, 2012, 07:05 AM
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Istanbul and environs can provide that lazy time for you to sit back and soak up the atmosphere better than most of your other stops.

I very strongly recommend a day on the Bosphorus, partially on the criss-cross ferry (four stops each in Asia and Europe), and getting off at Kanlica for the special yoghurt, at Kandilli for the terrific fried horse mackerel, at Arnavutkoy for Girandelo's icecream and at Bebek for a cup of coffee or tea where the rich and famous or wanna-bees congregate. You may add the Emirgan stop for the Sabanci museum depending on the exhibition and if you do not mind spending the money the excellent fusion meal of Changa restaurant. The ferry schedules are at sehirhatlari.com

For night life, consider Bebek again as the Bosphorus venues will be opening up, in addition to Sortie, Reina and Anjelik at Ortakoy. In the city, Nisantasi is the more upscale entertainment center while Beyoglu will provide local colour and some interesting locations as well as the music at Ghetto, Babylon, etc.

I recommend that you stay in the Cihangir area and to avoid Beyoglu for the noise and the old city for the touristy atmosphere.

There are a large number of excellent recent threads on Cappadocia here on Fodors.

The flight to Nevsehir or Kayseri for Cappadocia takes slightly over an hour, but the transfer to the area after the flight will also take close to that.

If you had more time in Turkey, you could actually take two days (one night) to visit the Gallipoli battle sites, the memorials and the Anzac cemetaries.
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Jun 25th, 2012, 07:43 AM
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Hi Casslee2424,

My wife and I have returned one week ago from an 8-week trip to Europe - needless to say, it was a fantastic trip. And many thanks to all the Fodor posters that helped make it such a great trip.

Anyway, back to your trip. For what it's worth, all of the comments about 3 days are really 2 etc are very sound. The minimum number of nights we spent in any one place was 3 nights and we found that rushed. Most places we spent 5 nights and we could have done with a few more in all of them.

The main part of our trip was a month in Italy. Included in that was 5 nights in Florence and both my wife and I wish we could have stayed another week at least. It is not just Florence - the whole Tuscan region is absolutely magic and each place warrants at least a day. There is Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti and I haven't even mentioned Florence yet!

Florence is great; the people are great; the history/architecture/museums are great and IMHO, they have the best Gelato in Italy.

If at all possible, I would ensure you spend at least 3 nights in your chosen sites and try to include Florence/Tuscany as one of those places.

Regards,

Steve
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Jun 25th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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Casslee,

Try to not get too distracted by other people's preferred destinations. I can think of many magical places in Europe but they won't all fit into an 8 week itinerary. Avoid the scatter gun approach, especially if you see yourself coming back again.

Having said that, if you want to see Florence then perhaps you could cut Greece and maybe also take some time from Rome (I can hear the howls of dissent from here!).

How are you travelling from Ios - ferry?

I also loved Turkey. We spent 6 weeks travelling down the west coast. And Greece is my favourite country outside of Australia. Tough choice but with the time you have alotted to Greece I would be tempted to skip Greece if you're excited about seeing Turkey. You've got 3 short stops in Greece and pretty much a day's journey between each.

Alternatively, Aegean Air have flights from Rome to Santorini and then onward to Istanbul. Santorini is the most visited place in Greece but it is beautiful. You could just have a one stop taste of Greece. It will leave you wanting more next time! I know that contradicts my aversion to running around like a bee in a bottle but it could work.

Have fun planning!
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Jun 26th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Rome - 6 nights? Fine but you are not stopping in Florence - I'd put a couple of nights in wondrous Florence and less in Rome - Florence in many ways more enjoyable as a town than huge hectic Rome.
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Jun 26th, 2012, 09:06 AM
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dreamon

small correction, most visited place in Greece is Crete
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Jun 26th, 2012, 11:18 AM
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@dreamon: How are you travelling from Ios - ferry?

How else? It's a long swim! ;-)
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