advice on itinerary!!! please!!

Oct 6th, 2003, 02:50 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 3
advice on itinerary!!! please!!

Hi all!

I've been looking around this forum most of the day and I thought I'd ask you all for some help! My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Europe. She's a travel agent so we're getting some great rates, but we're going to some new places so I thought I'd ask those of you who have been to see what you think about where we should go. We'll be in Europe for about 10-11 days and will have a stopover in Iceland since we're flying Icelandair. Once in Europe proper, we'd like to hit Marseilles (sp?), Nice/Monaco, Venice, and Rome. We're probably going to get a rail pass since we get such a good deal. How many days do you think us twenty-somethings should spend in each city? We don't want to spend too much money so staying over in Monaco is probably out. Any suggestions?


dschreib is offline  
Oct 6th, 2003, 04:04 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
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I recommend getting Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves -- you'll find it at pretty much any map store or on if you don't feel like leaving your house. He has great travel advice including itinerary planning -- including staying at least 2 nights anywhere you go, etc. You can also do a little homework at

You can stay pretty much anywhere for less around $80 Euros/night for decent B&B. Rome I found to be the most expensive. How much you spend to eat and play is entirely up to you. We're budgeting about $200 a day to do what we want.

Also check out or for rail pass info. Rail passes for short stays are rarely a good deal. I did the math several times over and it never added up for us, and we're going for three weeks on Thursday. We ended up buying point-to-point tickets, and saved a bundle.

Happy traveling.

Julie in Denver
jules4je7 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2003, 04:44 PM
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Any special reason you want to hit Marsailles? It's really just an industrial-type port city and has become a bit seedy. Why not Paris? Or go into Brittany or Provence?

Tell us more about your interests...
MelJ is offline  
Oct 6th, 2003, 05:06 PM
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Hey!! Thanks for the replies!! We're going to Marsailles to visit a friend, so we've got to include that on our itinerary. We're flying into CDG so we'll spend the morning in Paris, but she doesn't want to explore the city and it would be my third time there so Paris isn't as important to hit. We're really excited to experience some of the night life in Italy as well as the food and wine (my favorite). We're in our twenties so while the architecture and art will be nice to see, we don't want to base our entire trip on those. Does this shed any light?

Thanks again!!!

P.S. Another question we have is that we're really excited about going to Reykjavik, but aren't really sure what kind of interesting stuff we should do for the day or two that we'll be there. Any suggestions??
dschreib is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 08:40 AM
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I'd give Venice at least two nights... its so different than other places that you need to spend time wandering and taking it in and two nights would give you time to do that. There isn't much in terms of traditional nightlife so if you are into dancing and partying late into the night you'll probably get bored quick. Venice at night is for eating a late meal, finding a midnight gellato shop and strolling the quiet streets. My wife and I spent four nights there last month and it was perfect for us but you could get by on two or three if you had to.
John_R is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 09:18 AM
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There are actually night clubs, jazz clubs, dance clubs, bars, etc. that are open late in Venice. Just not a lot of them.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 10:50 AM
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This seems like a very whirlwind tour if you want to go to those major cities in only 10-11 days. Your time is pretty limited by that, so if you must spend one day in Marseille, that leaves about 3 days each for the others, which seems about right to me. YOu might give Venice only 2 days and throw the other onto either Rome or Nice--perhaps Nice as you can see Monaco, Cannes or Antibes while staying there. It's hard to say what would appeal to you.

Are you sure a railpass is going to save you money for such limited train trips? Trains in Italy are pretty cheap, and Marseilles-Nice isn't going to cost much. I think you'd have to get a really big discount for that to be cheaper.

I don't know much about Iceland but have read several articles that pretty much all say the same thing about what to see there, so I don't think it will be hard to find info on that. Mostly, it seems to be outdoors things, the geothermal baths are big. I've also read you can get a bus tour or something to see volcano craters, stuff like that in the countryside. Here is their tourist web site that should help:
Christina is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 11:01 AM
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Hi ds,

Before you buy railpasses, go to to see if they will save you money.

I second the suggestion of 2 nights in Venice.

Have a great trip.

ira is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 11:09 AM
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I would think a travel agent would know if a railpass is a good idea. Seems like regular tickets would be better for your routing unless she is getting them super cheap.

You neeed two nights in Venice.

How long is the Nice to Rome train ride? I'd think it would kill most of the day.
Oct 7th, 2003, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 336
Note: I just read over this - sorry it's so long. It's my first post ( I think ever, on the internet!!!) and I got carried away - but hopefully you'll find it helpful anyway. I'm stuck at a desk with no travel prospects in the near future and must live vicariously through others!!!!!!

Especially since you're going with your girlfriend, make sure you're in Venice for at least one early morning. I'm talking EARLY. It's worth it. I arrived at 5:30 am on an overnight train from Naples, and the city is everything you imagined it would be at this hour. This gives you a good three hours without the tourist set, and you will forget you live in the twenty-first century. I guess you could get the same effect at night, but the light at dawn adds a completely different dimension. Oh, and a buy a day-long pass for the Vaporetto. I think it's costs the equivalent of $15 USD and you have unlimited rides all day on the water taxi. It will even transport you out to Murano and Burano, and it's a good way to do a quick tour of the city.

Nice and Monaco together really only need a day (at least in my experience, but I zipped through Europe in a little over two weeks, hitting one city per day). However, worth your time would be to head from Monaco via cheap train to Cinqueterre. Five towns along the Med coast and absolutely gorgeous, this place is a favorite among the college backpackers. It's absolutely beautiful, and if you like hiking with great scenery, you can hit the seaside trails to see each town. There's a train that also runs between all five towns if you get tired. You can also find clean, comfortable rooms there for decent, decent prices. I would suggest spending a day in Nice/Monaco (the train ride is very short between the two), and taking an afternoon train to Cinqueterre to eat and stay there. Then spend the next day exploring the towns. Given the choice between an extra day in Nice or Monaco and a day in Cinqueterre, go for Cinqueterre.

As for Rome, although it wasn't built in a day, you can see most of the major stuff in one day. If you have the extra time, of course, that's always great, but I arrived in the late afternoon, saw the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, and the Coliseum lit up at night. The next day, we walked from one end of Rome (near the train station) to the other (St. Peter's), toured the Basilica, the Vatican, and the Vatican museum, walked back over to the Acropolis, toured the Coliseum, and even ran into a museum near the Acropolis that had a Magritte exhibit underway. Walking is definitely your best bet if you want to see "everything."

Rail passes are convenient, but rail in Italy is cheap, cheap, cheap. You might be better off just paying per ride. It depends on the kind of approach you're thinking of taking, but the way I did it with a time limit of one week for Italy was with the attitude that I was previewing the places I'd want to come back to one day. Just to give you an idea, I arrived in Nice at night, took the train to Monaco the next morning, took the train from there to Savona, where I got stuck in a train strike and had to find emergency housing. The next morning, I took the train to Cinqueterra, walked to the first three towns that day, took the train back to the first of the five towns, where I had already snagged a room, and had dinner. The next morning I took a train to Pisa, and then to Florence, spent all the next day in Florence and left in the late afternoon for Siena. Had a great dinner in Siena, toured the town the next day, and back on the train to Rome, which I've already described. From Rome, I took the train to Sorrento, where I stayed overnight and took the ferry first thing in the morning to Capri. Spent the day on the beach there and then ferried back to Naples, and then overnight-trained it to Venice. Italy in eight days! The reason I'm telling you all this is that there is so much to see, even a month spent throughout Italy isn't enough. So see as much as you can, and take advantage of the rail system. I think your plan of Venice and Rome as key cities is good. There are lots of other cool cities within train trip distance from Rome, so take advantage of that. I would reserve the last two days for Venice, since there's not as much around Venice - once you're there, you're there.

And finally, from one twenty-something to another, keep in mind that it doesn't take much to create fun in Europe. Rome has a ton of crazy clubs (from what I've heard) and there are bars all over the place. You'll have a blast no matter what, so enjoy. I'm so jealous.
ceb1222 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2003, 08:34 PM
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Wow!!! Thanks for all the replies!!! My girlfriend and I enjoyed going through them and getting some good ideas!! It's definitely a good idea to look at this whirwind trip through Europe as only a preview of our many other trips to come! We've decided on a basic itinerary and thought that we'd post it for your review! We figured that we'll spend 2 nights in Reykjavik, 1 in Paris, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Rome. I think that leaves us with one more night. I wonder where we'll spend it. Is it better to end the trip in Venice or Rome? We were planning on flying back to CDG after finishing up in Rome. So there you have it. How does that sound?
dschreib is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 09:12 PM
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i have never been to paris or reykjavik. however, i am planning a trip to iceland this year, so i will get to see reykjavik then. as for where to end your trip... i would definitely say VENICE on this one. my boyfriend and i went to italy last september - rome, florence and venice (in that order). i loved rome. it was amazing to see a modern city co-existing with wonders such as the roman forum and the colluseum. we turned the corner on a stroll only to see the pantheon at the end of the piazza. it was breathtaking!

but, venice. aaaaahh... venice. as i said, we ended our trip there. it moves at a slower pace than rome, so i think it's a nice way to wind down from your travels. you can't help but toss your maps aside (not that maps help much here) and get lost walking the beautiful streets and canals of venice. our last morning there, we boarded our water taxi and set off for the airport (san marco). for a while, you can see venice as you speed away. we hardly said a word as we watched the city slowly disappear in the distance. i will remember it forever .

have a great time!
shollowood is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 10:30 PM
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We figured that we'll spend 2 nights in Reykjavik, 1 in Paris, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Rome. I think that leaves us with one more night. I wonder where we'll spend it. Is it better to end the trip in Venice or Rome? We were planning on flying back to CDG after finishing up in Rome. So there you have it. How does that sound?
Still sounds too busy to me, only hurricanes travel that fast over the continent.
I can't see what Reykjavik is doing in your schedule, even if the airfare is very low. Furthermore, Iceland is bloody expensive.
I'm sure with a travel agent as girlfriend, you can come up with a nice open jaw ticket...
baldrick is offline  

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