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Advice on Euro-Trip Itinerary - Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy

Advice on Euro-Trip Itinerary - Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy

Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:25 PM
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Advice on Euro-Trip Itinerary - Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Italy

My family and I are planning a Euro trip, for July 2015.
We plan to visit Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy.

I would really love it if I could just get general advice on whether our tentative itinerary seems okay, we've put in a lot to do, but we feel like it might be possible.
Would also love to hear some 'must dos' for each city

Spain: Seville (2 days), Cordoba (1 day), Granada (1 day) - we will stay in Seville and do day trips to the other two cities. Lastly, Barcelona (1 and a half day)

France: Paris (2 nights), Disneyland (1 day) - we've been to Paris before so mainly going for Disneyland this time.

Switzerland: Geneva (half a day), Yvoire (half a day), Interlaken (1 day), Zurich (1 day), we may possibly do Luzern also, if we get time.

Austria: Vienna (1 day) - I am particularly concerned about this, is this enough time to see Vienna properly?

Italy: Venice (2 days), Florence (1 day), Rome + Vatican City (3 days)


Please advice me on whether you think this seems like a lot of things to cover in 19 days.

Love,
M.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:34 PM
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1 days are really a half-day if you factor transport between cities in - you are IMO and I'm sure of most way to hurried - will be on trains or in a car more than in those cities- Interlaken is not what most tourists are looking for in Switzerland so you have to go up to Grindelwald for that and you will not get to Interlaken before early afternoon after settling in, etc. Leaving little time to take the myriad of enticing adventures awaiting in the Jungfrua Region.

I'd take the train to Grindelwald or Wengen and base there for at least two nights if not more - cut Zurich for example - a city that is a nice modern city on a nice lake but underwhelming to many - Lucerne would be a better choice.

florence - 1/2 day factoring in transport and checking in, etc

Probably need to pare down some stops and add them to others.

Again how will you get to Vienna - that would take most of a day in itself from Switzerland.

anyway trains are the best for your itinerary because it is mainly large cities - that's fine but cars are useless and a liability in cities - wide swatchs of city centers are off-limits to private cars - parking is hard to find often and costs a ton if it is - many hotels do not offer parking.

For a great fix on the fantastic European rail system check these info-laden sites: www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com. and you seem to be traveling enough by rail to look at sosme kind of railpass.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 12:46 PM
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Thank you for your advice, actually I have written the days in each city bearing in mind the travel time. Here's a more detailed look at the itinerary:

Spain:
2 full days in Seville
1 full day in Cordoba
1 full day in Granada, leave at 10:30 pm for Barcelona by plane, and reach Barca at night
1 full day in Barca and half of the next day, then flight to Paris

France:
Arrive in Paris at night
1 day in Disneyland the next day
Come back to Paris at night
Train to Geneva the next morning

Switzerland:
Geneva (half a day) and then journey by car to Yvoire, we will rent a car and take it up to Interlarken, stay the night there and then the whole of the next day there.Then journey to Zurich and spend about half a day there and then leave for Vienna

Austria:
One full day in Vienna
Take a train the next day to Venice

Italy:
Arrive in Venice in the evening (around 6pm), spend the entire next day in Venice. Stay in Venice at night.
Travel to Florence the next morning and spend the whole day there. Stay in Florence at night. Travel to Rome the next morning and then in Rome for the next 3 days.

I hope that makes more sense?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 01:16 PM
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How log is your trip? Reading these posts, I'm confused.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 01:34 PM
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Your itinerary looks like our first vacation to Europe - my mother & sister "bailed out" half way through the trip - but my wife stayed with me. When we got home - she said "never again". Three years later, we visited Europe - returning to the same places we visited before (but didn't see/enjoy). But this time spending 3-4 full nights in each destination instead of 1-2. Still too fast-paced for most places. This was in '78 & '81. Now we spend 2 weeks in each destination (we're retired).

It took us almost a decade of traveling to Europe every year to figure out "less is more". Unless you are a frequent traveler to Europe, you have no idea how lunch closings, shops closed on Sunday and often on Sat afternoon & Monday morning - can impact a well-planned but fast paced trip. What will an airline strike or train strike do to your itinerary? We were "stuck" at a place in France due to the Air France strike last year. Year before, we got the only flight to Bordeaux that wasn't cancelled. I had contingency plans to drive from Paris to Bordeaux if our flight had been cancelled. Museums usually close one day a week, and often chateaux, caves, and other sites close for lunch. You just can't pack as much into a day in Europe as you can in the USA - plus there is "tons" more stuff to see/do in Europe than there is in the USA (if that's where you are from).

I would "discard" about half to two-thirds of your destinations and concentrate on only 2 countries.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 02:00 PM
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Judy, the trip is 19 days long in total. Starts on the 9th when we land in Seville and ends on 28th when we fly out of Rome.

Stu Dudley, I understand what you mean. Will definitely take your advice into account. Thanks!
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 02:26 PM
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Also, I am not from USA. The reason we've tried to put in so many places is because this is the first family vacation we're taking in 10 years, we can't really afford to be going every year, so we wanted to see as much as possible because who knows when the next one will be
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 02:40 PM
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confusedhuman, the fact that you don't get to do this often is a good reason to make sure you can enjoy the time you have in Europe.

You have 19 days to travel to 13 destinations. Please look at this itinerary and count up the number of hours/days lost to just getting from one place to another. Fewer stops will truly give you more time to enjoy those you can stay in for more than a day or two.

I definitely agree with Stu.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 02:47 PM
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The problem with trying to see so many places is that you and up seeing nothing. If you want to make family memories, you need to choose just a few places and spend some time in each. Remember that you lose most of a day each time you change locations - figure from the time you check out of your lodgings in one place until you check in at the next place. Thus, if you want three days somewhere, you must spend 4 nights. The places you say you will spend half a day means you will really have no time to see/do/experience. Also, moving around so much costs more. You'll all enjoy your trip more (and save some money) with fewer stops. Do some judicious pruning of your itinerary for a better trip.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 02:48 PM
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With the time you have I'd choose there countries max - probably Spain, France, Italy.
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 03:04 PM
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Consider what high heat and shoulder-to-shoulder people-congestion will do to you if you are not use to them. They exhaust us - but we don't live in a hot climate (San Francisco).

All of Andulasia will be quite hot in July. So will Florence & Rome. Florence & Yvoire will be shoulder-to-shoulder people mid-day, and parking in Yvoire will be very difficult (we stayed overnight there in July & enjoyed the evening & morning without crowds). Venice can be quite crowded mid-day, if you don't know how to "keep ahead" of the huge throngs of day-trippers. I could not survive Venice, Florence, and Rome back-to-back-to-back over 3 days (3 days - 3 different cities).

We were in Paris once during a heat wave when we were in our 30s and had to spend most of our time seeking out air-conditioned places and shade on the shady-side of the street. We "crashed" by 3PM and had to seek comfort inside our small but air-conditioned hotel room - and missed a lot of stuff we wanted to see in Paris.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 03:39 PM
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How old are your kids?
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Old Apr 23rd, 2015, 04:38 PM
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You are spending a very large portion of your limited time in transit rather than in doing or seeing something.

This presents two problems:

You will have very little time actually on task - and may fin things you want to see are closed the one day you will be in that town

If you run into any travel problems - strain strike (not at all unknown), lengthy delay or ??? In that case all of your hotel reservations will be useless and you will need to find a way to ignore one city and "catch up" on the fly.

Several times you say

Day X go from A to B and then spend the whole day in B. Well, you're not. Unless you are getting up at 5 am and taking very short trips you will in fact have in city B only lunch (perhaps a late lunch), afternoon and dinner.

Strongly suggest you lay this out day by day and put in the time of the train you will take, when it arrives, when you will have checked into your hotel and the time you can get to your first sight.

In your case more is absolutely less. IMHO seeing a major city for 5 hours or so is just worth the trouble to get there.
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 05:45 AM
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Yes less can indeed be more IMO too.
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Old Apr 24th, 2015, 12:32 PM
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Stu is totally right. This trip makes no sense.

Drop Spain and limit your scope to Swiss and Italy with a max of 6 destinations. You will thank us later.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 02:13 AM
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Are you planning to visit Valencia? Inland Valencia is very beautiful, full of nature, tiny villages, culture and great gastronomy and wines... There's a hidden small region called Terres dels Alforins and also known as the Valencian Tuscany that really worthwhiles... especialy if you are wine lovers like me.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 02:56 AM
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One night stops are really hectic and you get no sense of a town's daily rhythm. Seemingly living on a train or in a car will really grind on everyone after four or five days. I love all the places you listed but I would not do your itinerary even if someone else was paying my way.

Forget Vienna and, lamentably, Switzerland.
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 03:55 AM
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Maybe a Belgian drop-by if it's Thursday?
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Old Apr 27th, 2015, 06:05 AM
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Confusedhuman, I have 2 suggestions for you. First, stay at least 3 nights at each stop. If a place isn't worth 2 full days its not worth going. With 19 nights, that means 6 locations TOPS, and I would do less, I would do 4, but that's me.

Second, to decide where you really want to go, ask each person in the family to name the one thing they really want to see. Not the one place, one THING. Like the Sistine Chapel. Or Euro disney. Or Sagrada Familia. or whatever. But each of you picks one thing. Then see if your itinerary falls out of that.

You asked above for the "must sees" in each place. There has to be at least one must-see for you in order to put that place on the itinerary in the first place. If there isn't, then you are just checking off places on a punch list. And remember, the point of your vacation trip isn't to see as much as possible. Its to form good memories with your family, to inspire, to learn, and to have fun. At least, I hope that's the point. Maybe keeping that in mind will help you make decisions about how to spend your time?
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