Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > Advice and suggestions welcome for 2 month trip
Notices

Advice and suggestions welcome for 2 month trip

Reply

Jul 22nd, 2014, 12:39 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
Advice and suggestions welcome for 2 month trip

I am just starting to do some research and planning for a trip to London, Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome for 2 months or so. My husband and I are senior travelers who like to take things slow to fully appreciate/enjoy what we're seeing/doing. We are both used to doing lots of walking-maybe at a slower pace. We did tons of walking and climbing in SE Asia over 3 months.

This trip will focus mainly on churches, museums, historic sites. We are not shopaholics or extreme foodies.

This is my tentative itinerary but can be changed as I've not purchased our international air tickets yet. Plan is from mid August-mid Oct 2015 but that can be changed.

International Air-plan is for open jaw tickets. From Buffalo, NY-probably to JFK or some major hub for the transatlantic flight-London. Returning home was thinking depart from Rome back to Buffalo, NY.

London-1 week, return visit as we've been before. Would 1 week give us enough time for the following: revisit Tower of London, revisit Westminster Abbey, changing of the guard/Buckingham Palace, revisit British Museum, Houses of Parliament, tea at the Orangery, a cruise on the Thames, see a West End play, National Gallery, Cabinet War Rooms, V & A Museum? Looking into staying in area where we stayed before-South Kensington. Looking into maybe an apt. rental. I know there are pros and cons. First visit was at a hotel in a great location-5 minute walk to Gloucester Rd. station-but the rooms were a bit on the small side. My DH is a big guy and likes to have room. Trying to find accommodation for $2000 USD for the week. May have to tweak that.

No Eurostar from London to Paris. I want to go to Canterbury, spend the night. Any suggestions on lodging in Canterbury? Then another train to Dover and ferry from Dover to Calais and train or bus to Paris. I know this takes longer and will probably cost more but I'm a big Chaucer fan and DH wants to see those White Cliffs!!

All of these following places will be first time visit for us.

Paris-2 weeks. Prefer to find an apt. for this stay. Looking at Paris Perfect, Airbnb, Vbro, etc. My mind is spinning as I'm not sure what would be a good location? I was thinking 6th or 15th arrondissement? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Love Monet so day trip to Giverny on my wish list as is Chartres and Versailles.
Accommodation budget 200-300 euros per night. If possible with apt. a balcony/terrace would be nice along with a view. Best would be view of ET.

Flight from Paris to Venice-1 week here-hotel most likely with day trip to Murano. Hotel budget 200-300 euros per night.

Train from Venice to Florence-1 week here. Hotel or apt. Hoping to find something more reasonable here than London/Paris/Venice. Am I dreaming?? If I could find something here for 200 or less euros per night I'd be very happy.

Train from Florence to Rome-2 weeks. Plan is for 2 full days to cover ancient Rome sites like the Colosseum/Forum/Capitoline Hill & Museums. One full day for Vatican and Castel Sant' Angelo. Tons of churches and museums on my list but I'd like some down time-doing nothing. Where to go for that?? Budget same 200-300 euros per night. Apt. would be preferred over a hotel.

I have been also tossing this around in my mind. Spending some "do nothing but relax" time in a beach area like the Amalfi-maybe Naples? Would we train from Rome there and back? This would be at the end of our trip. I was also thinking maybe some beach area in the south of France but fear it would blow my budget for this trip. The nice thing would be that this would be a mid way break in our 2 month trip. I'm open to any advice here. Maybe the advice will be to forget it and that's fine.

I got lots of help from the forum here and on TA for our last trip to SE Asia so I'm hoping to have the same luck here in the Europe forum.

Do you think this looks like a good plan? Enough time each location?

Accommodations do not have to be super fancy or 5 star. Most important for us is- apt. or hotel-that the place is clean, located within walking distance to public transport, and price in that order. I have found some promising places in London and Paris but just getting started with that research. However, if anyone has any recommendations that would be great.

Thanks in advance for any help!
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 12:53 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,644
For Venice I would focus on visiting Burano and Torcello and bag Murano - which is really for touring the glass factories. By early Oct the Amalfi Coast would be much less crowded and you might get hotel deals - but also weather can be chilly/rainy - although can also be quite pleasant. Probably much better for seeing Pompeii, which has notoriously little shade and bakes tourists in the summer.
nytraveler is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 12:59 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,213
No need to take the train and ferry to Paris! You can take the train from Canterbury West to a ashford and take the Eurostar from there.

Www.eurostar.com
jamikins is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:00 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,640
Spending some "do nothing but relax" time in a beach area like the Amalfi-maybe Naples? Would we train from Rome there and back? This would be at the end of our trip>

Yes you can take the train from Rome to Naples Centrale then change to the narrow-gauge CircumVesuviana commuter train that ends in Sorrento where you can hop the world-famous hair-raising Amalfi Coast buses to say Positano or Amalfi, etc.

Naples has a beach but it is in a rather industrial area of old warehouses, etc. Not your beach resort town and a big big city with problems with crime (see current post by someone pickpocketed in Naples - many others report the same.

Sorrento itself is a neat base though it does not have much of a beach even though it is on the sea - it sits high above the coast but is a gret utilitarian base from which to hop to Amalfi area, Capri, Ischia, Pompeii, etc and of course to Naples - or even to ascend Mt Vesuvious to peer into the crater.

Going by train - book as early as possible for Eurostar trains - early bird doth indeed get the proverbial worm - deep discounts if you book weeks/months in advance - just show up and ouch - pay $100 or more more! Italian trains also have online discounts - www.trenitalia.com or www.italotren.it are the two sites to look for discounts.

For lots of great info on European trains I always spotlight these IMO superb sites: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

Note that discounted tickets usually have rather severe restrictions on refunds or changes so you kind of book in stone weeks ahead of time - be sure your dates and train times are right.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:19 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
If the end of your trip is mid-October, your safer bet weather wise is to head a bit south of Rome rather than the French Riviera. You can go overland to the Amalfi coast -- but be careful where you pick if you hate stair climbing. Or you might consider a flight to Sicily. At that time of year, as a grand finale to a grand trip, I would also consider a fantatistically dreamy do-nothing island stay. I am pretty sure I would pick Ischia over Capri, but maybe the Capri fans can point you to a quieter less touristy place on the island that is gorgeous and a bargain in mid October.

I don't think you are dreaming for a price-friendly apartment stay in Florence, although if your husband likes a lot of elbow room, you will need to do some research. I suggest checking out the Slow Travel website for tips.

For Rome, I like the rental agency called Rome Loft. They have a website.

For Venice, I would go with an apartment over a hotel, partly just to avoid the dreadfully overpriced restaurants of Venice every night. Also, sorry to be blunt, but I would totally ignore the remarks to skip Murano. Glassmaking has been a key feature of the life of Venice, and if you are smart about the way you approach it, there is no reason you cannot have a quality experience of the island of Murano. The other islands can also be worth your while, depending on your interests (I particularly enjoyed Torcello and could not wait to flee Burano). Again, look on Slow Travel or ask questions there about an ideal Venice rental.
sandralist is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:20 PM
  #6
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
jamikins-I know I could go by train back to Ashford Internatl. to catch the Eurostar which I'd prefer but my husband wants to see the White Cliffs of Dover. He doesn't ask for much when we go on any trips so I really want to accommodate this wish of his even if it means more time, money, etc. Let's just hope those white cliffs will live up to his vision of them!!

palenQ-thanks for all the info. Looks like I may need to budget a week for the coast? Is that enough time? I'm thinking maybe now to stay in Sorrento as our base so to speak. Or would Positano be better? I definitely will book the train tickets ahead as I learned my lesson from not booking ahead at one point during our last trip. Thanks for all the great links. I already knew about seat61.com and it was a great help.

nytraveler-I will definitely do some research on the other islands you mentioned. I picked Murano because of a trip I had taken to a glass museum in Cornell, NY which I really enjoyed. Pompeii wasn't on my radar but I think I'll take a look at it. Thanks.
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:55 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
sandralist-

Thanks for validating my plan for Murano. I do plan to research the others and if I have the time.......
Oh my, Sicily, Capri! Too many choices. I can see I'll have to do more research. I know exactly what you mean about the stairs. Going up is not a problem for me but coming down is. I will definitely make sure about that.
Appreciate the websites you listed. I never thought about an apt. for Venice but maybe I should check it out. I had not heard of Slow Travel so thanks for the heads up!
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:21 PM
  #8
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
If you want some time to relax in a beach area, I can highly recommend Positano. For the past 4 years I have spent a week in Positano each year and absolutely adore it. I go without any agenda and just do whatever strikes me. Amazing views, nice beaches, great scenery, wonderful restaurants ... I could go on and on.

When staying on the Amalfi Coast, I usually choose Positano, as IMO it is the most picturesque of the villages on the AC, and it has good transportation options, via ferry, bus, etc. The ferries will still be running until the end of October, subject to weather. You can reach Amalfi/Ravello, Salerno/Vietri/Paestum, Capri and Sorrento via ferry or a ferry/bus combo.
ekc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:47 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
Thanks ekc! Leaning towards Positano. Sounds just like what I'm looking for. For me-a spot to relax, read a good book. For my husband-he will want to swim. Maybe I will push back the start date of our trip so that we will be at Positano end Sept./beginning Oct. instead.
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:01 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
>> to catch the Eurostar which I'd prefer but my husband wants to see the White Cliffs of Dover. He doesn't ask for much when we go on any trips so I really want to accommodate this wish of his even if it means more time, money, etc. Let's just hope those white cliffs will live up to his vision of them!! <<

If it was me -- and you have the luxury of a lot of time to play with - I'd take the train to Canterbury and stay one night. Then train to Eastbourne to see Beachyhead/the 7 Sisters. (Even a better view than Dover). Then train to Dover for one night - and take a boat tour like this http://www.doverseasafari.co.uk/sea_safari_trips.html and also visit Dover Castle.

Then take the Eurostar to Paris the next day.
janisj is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:19 PM
  #11
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
You could also go to the AC between Florence and Rome. Just train from Florence to Salerno, then ferry from Salerno to Positano. Ferry to Salerno, then direct train to Rome. This would especially work well if you are flying home from Rome.

From Positano, there are several small beaches you can reach by boat, for a wonderful day of relaxing/reading/swimming and eating lunch!
ekc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:32 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
janisj-

Wonderful suggestion. Thanks. Being retired means we can add a night or two if we want. I was already planning on an overnight in Canterbury so maybe one for Dover also. Sounds perfect-especially if my husband gets to see those cliffs. I like the White Cliffs and Beyond trip. Thanks for the link to that website which I've noted.

Then I assume we'd take the Eurostar from Ashford?? If so, I would take the train from Dover back to Ashford? Maybe we should do Dover overnight plus boat tour, then do Canterbury, and then back to Ashford to catch the Eurostar? Does it matter what order?

ekc-

I like your idea of doing the Positano relax time from Florence before heading to Rome! Water should be better for husband to swim I hope! Thanks so much.

I knew I'd get some great help from this forum!
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:23 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 59,855
>> Does it matter what order?<<

Not really.

Have your hubby look at photos of Beachyhead too - Really lovely and you could easily do 7 sisters/Beachyhead + the White Cliffs of Dover.

http://www.beachyhead.org.uk/uploads/pics/home07_01.jpg
http://ih3.redbubble.net/image.60595...x550,075,f.jpg
http://static.panoramio.com/photos/large/8806265.jpg
janisj is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:44 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 31,780
Hi Chris, just looking at your planning - sounds like a great trip!
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:51 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,187
Hi Chris

I think you both will really enjoy Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast. Beaches may not compare favourably to South East Asia

I went for lunch in Ravello, amazing views and lovely ceramics to be had, definitely worth a visit.

Happy planning, and I hope you'll be blogging.......
sartoric is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 22nd, 2014, 08:21 PM
  #16
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
Hi Kathie and sartoric,

I'm excited about this trip but I do miss SE Asia. I will definitely be keeping a journal and doing my trip report as a blog. I like doing that so I can attach the pictures right with the narrative. I need to try to limit the number of pictures I attach though!
I am finding that planning for this trip is much more difficult than the SE Asia one and I thought this would be a piece of cake for planning! Part of it is of course that you were right when I was told to be prepared for the shock of prices for Europe vs. prices in SE Asia!!

Kathie-got lots of ideas for our Paris itinerary from the trip you and Cheryl just took. The only thing I'm waffling about is the Pompidou center. I'm not a fan of modern art. I lean towards Monet, and the old masters.

UK/London and Paris seem to be almost done with what we want to see/do in these 2 places. Italy will be hard as I could easily spend a year here if I had the money!

sartoric-Now I have to add Ravello! Views and ceramics kind of clinched it for me. Can the ceramics be shipped back to your home? I did that with my celadon from Chaing Mai and it arrived beautifully packed with not a hint of any damage. Very pleased I had them shipped.

I did promise my husband to try to keep this trip at 8 weeks. In the beginning the trip was at 33 days and now it's at 60 days!! My husband does not enjoy living out of a suitcase so I don't think I can get away with any more days.

I'm sure I'll be back with more questions as things get more firmed up but thanks to all who responded to my post here with such great advice, info........
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2014, 12:48 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,640
The only thing I'm waffling about is the Pompidou center. I'm not a fan of modern art. I lean towards Monet, and the old masters.>

You may want to take a peek at the Pompidou Center anyway - the free parts and especially ride the series of escalators that take you up to the high-up roof for awesome views over Paris and it's free. Not sure how current rehab of the Pompidou Center has effected the elevators or roof visits. There used to be a cafe up there too.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2014, 01:09 PM
  #18
ekc
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,645
In case I didn't post it earlier, the ferry schedules from Salerno to Positano are www.coopsantandrea.com. Check right before you go, because the schedules will change and be more limited in September and October.

If you have a week in Positano, I would highly recommend Ravello for a day trip (even combined with Amalfi). The views are outstanding.

Ceramics are ALL OVER the AC, so don't worry about purchasing them only in Ravello. If you are really into ceramics, you might consider a trip to Vietri Sul Mare - the ceramics capital of the AC. You can ferry down to Salerno, then take the train or a bus to Vietri. I almost always have the shop I purchase my ceramics from ship my purchases home for me. No need to haul all that weight around and I (knock on wood) have never had a problem with breakage!
ekc is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:05 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 66,640
There is a sweet walk or hike up to Ravello, peched high above the sea, from Amalfi - it goes thru bucolic orchards and small farming plots the few miles but at the end goes steeply up stairs if I recall right - coming down I walked a different way - zigzagging thru vineyards on small lanes with a frontal view of the sea the whole descent.

So if energetic those are swell walks! I didn't see much in Ravello to make me linger but the views are ravenous.
PalenQ is online now  
Reply With Quote
Jul 23rd, 2014, 04:25 PM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 532
PalenQ-I did make note of the view from Pompidou but didn't think it was free so I will keep it on my list. I may even go inside to give the art a chance to win me over. The walk in Ravello sounds awesome but going up stairs I can do-no problem. it's going down stairs that seems to give me trouble. Maybe due to minor knee surgery I've had?? The descent you talked about-do you think that would be doable for me? Walking down paths-no stairs-was ok for me as long as I was careful and didn't rush.

ekc-I am going to add a week in Positano and think I will plan it for after our time in Florence. Then our trip will end with our 2 weeks in Rome. Thanks for the link for the ferry schedules. I've made folders on my laptop for each destination and I'm loading all these choice bits of info into them. Thanks!
chris45ny is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 11:44 AM.