Another first-timer in need of advice.

Old Jan 1st, 2019, 04:49 PM
  #1  
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Another first-timer in need of advice.

My husband and I will be traveling to Europe for the first time in early July for our anniversary. There are so many options, I'm not sure which to choose. I want to pare down my trip to 3 stops (which will really be 4, because we're going to start by visiting Boston for two days on our way). The only definite stop is London/England, and I want 5 days there, at least. Many of the flights we are looking at have a stopover in Reykjavik that we can extend for no additional airline charge, yet I don't want to spend tons of time there. Here are some options I am considering - thoughts? We enjoy beautiful scenery and architecture, easy/short hikes, comfortable accommodations, and casual dining. Thanks in advance!

OPTION A
Edinburgh - 3 nights
London - 6 nights
Paris - 4 nights (or skip Paris and do Reykjavik?)

OPTION B
London/England - 7 nights
Paris - 4 nights
Reykjavik- 2 nights

OPTION C -
Zurich (Interlaken) - 3 nights
Paris - 3 nights
London/England - 7 nights
angieh425 is offline  
Old Jan 1st, 2019, 05:02 PM
  #2  
 
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I would choose option B.

The two night stop over in Iceland is worth it. I did it several years ago and had a great time. I've wanted to go back ever since, and hopefully soon I will, but I'm so glad I at least had that. Here's the trip report I wrote about it - Iceland: The classic two day stopover trip The photos are now at: https://andiamo.zenfolio.com/p68953863

Seven nights is plenty for London, even with a day trip or two. But I hope you don't mean going to other places in England in addition to London, except for day trips. There are tons of good choices for those that let you get out of the city and see some countryside, castles, etc. but still are close enough to be done on a day trip.

And four nights for Paris is good for an introductory visit.

Sounds like a nice trip.
isabel is online now  
Old Jan 1st, 2019, 05:20 PM
  #3  
kja
 
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If you have already committed to flying through Reykjavik, then I would think it makes sense to consider taking advantage of the opportunity. I rather like Option A. To me, 4 nights is just too little for paris; in contrast, you could use that time to see Reykjavik, maybe add another location in the UK (Bath or Oxford or whatever) or add time for day trips from London.

Personally, I would not like Option C -- too little time in Switzerland and FAR too little time in Paris.

I'm sure any of your options will make for a great trip. Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 1st, 2019, 06:34 PM
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If it was my trip (and it isn't) . . . and IF Iceland has to figure in the computation - I'd probably do Option B. But if Reykjavik isn't a must, I'd definitely do Option A with Paris.

>>Seven nights is plenty for London, even with a day trip or two<<

Seven nights is OK to (barely) scratch the surface in London. When ones starts taking day trips - which can be great BTW, you end up with barely a taste of London. Just depends what you enjoy. Some people don't enjoy London - but the vast majority do. I go there at least twice every year and never ever run out of things to do.
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Old Jan 1st, 2019, 07:00 PM
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Seven days is good for London with a day trip or two.

I would drop Option 3. If you are going to Switzerland for the first time I would absolutely recommend time in the mountains, not the cities. Plus, Zurich is quite remarkably expensive, and while pleasant enough, not in the same class as London and Paris. Or do you mean flying to Zurich on the way to Interlaken? If so, it sounds rushed.
thursdaysd is offline  
Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 05:12 AM
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Option B would work for me. You can race out of Paris for day trip if you want to. From London you can do the same to loads of places.

Reykyavic is probably more interesting than you think. We always find amazingly interesting things to catch our attention there..
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 06:02 AM
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Consider plan C alternate:
London 6-7 nights, Paris 5-6 nights, Reykjavik 0-2 nights, your choice on order. I recommended the longer time in Paris than in your plan as you will need some orientation time, and the longer time in London as there is theatre in addition to the "usual suspects."
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 07:17 AM
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Yes a couple of nights in Iceland is worthwhile, but if you do the golden tour (with a mini-bus firm is best so you can talk to the guide about the weird place) that only gives you two evenings in town, for one of the go to a hot tub at one of the public baths. Public transport is easy in town or you can take taxis or walk.

I'd give more time to London to Paris, just because it is so much bigger, 4 nights in Paris and 6 in London would be a good first taster, with day trips maybe to Oxford or Cambridge or Salisbury or the Cotswolds. Paris to Rheims for the Champagne perhaps.

If you give us an idea of your interests we can help more.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 09:56 AM
  #9  
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I really appreciate all of the great advice. We usually choose to vacation in Hawaii for the weather, beaches, and laid-back atmosphere, so this is a totally different vacation concept. We do enjoy the theater, window shopping, people watching, and history museums. We don't drink at all so not really interested in wine regions, whiskey tasting, or finding the best pint, LOL. We are from Seattle so we are choosing not to go where it's too hot in July.

Thanks all, for taking time to reply!
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 10:05 AM
  #10  
 
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The main market in Reykjavik is fascinating, with seagull eggs etc on sale
London, the majority of museums are free and most have good restaurants for light lunches. Markets in Paris and London are fascinating, as is street food. Paris allows Segways, London does not. Tipping rules are different from the USA, but search this website for a few threads on them.

Other than that you'll need to look at the city websites to plan your day or you could read notes on this forum. Museums and people watching sounds like a good way to spend holiday time.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 10:24 AM
  #11  
 
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anglieh245, as you now know, there are several viewpoints here! Decide what you want to do first. Don't worry, though, you will return! That being said, I like plan b also.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2019, 11:02 AM
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Well any of the three would be fine and as all involved taking the Channel Tunnel Eurostar train be sure to book that train as soon as is possible at www.eurostar.com - can save tons by booking way in advance.

Option 3 could work yes with some tweeks - drop 2 days from London and put into Reykyavik

If 3 book the Interlaken-Paris trains way in advance too - check www.trainline.eu for that - www.seat61.com has tons on booking your own discounted tickets - general info trains www.ricksteves.com. and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.

And after having stopped in Reykyavik twice I'd say do it for two nights - opportunity may not come around again and a fascinating if somewhat boring IMO place.

Last edited by PalenQ; Jan 2nd, 2019 at 11:05 AM.
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Old Jan 6th, 2019, 09:07 AM
  #13  
 
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With 13 nights you could do a Ring Road trip around Iceland. It was undoubtedly the greatest trip I've ever taken. I love Paris and London and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Interlaken area of Switzerland (haven't been to Edinburgh yet but plan to go to Scotland this year). My best recommendation is to see something well rather than hop around a lot in a two week time frame. If you are set on England, maybe spend the whole trip there and see it as well as you can. A two day stopover in Reykjavik, in my opinion, is really just kind of a tease. As opposed to other major capitals of Europe, the main draw of Iceland is not at all Reykjavik. Paris, Rome, London are attractions in themselves. The great thing about Iceland is the scenery and the countryside. With two days you really don't have time to see much of the country and scenery at all. Reykjavik is cute and we had fun there but it's not the reason Iceland was the greatest trip I've ever taken in my life. Another option would be to spend a week in Iceland and 3 nights in London.
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Old Jan 6th, 2019, 09:38 AM
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I would just do London and Paris. Those seem to be of greatest interest since they show up on each of your itineraries. "First timers" often under estimate what it takes to move around so much (effort, time, costs). Especially if you can fly into London and out of Paris this would be a lovely trip. If it doesn't seem enough for you add in some day trips from those two cities. That's my suggestion
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Old Jan 6th, 2019, 02:58 PM
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Are there any restrictions with the airline? Meaning is your Stopover in Iceland via Iceland Air or WOW?

I know Iceland Air requires a minimum of a 3 night stopover but I am unsure of WOW's restrictions, if any. So that might be something you need to factor in if there are any restrictions.

That being said, I did the Iceland stopover program this last October and traveled to Edinburgh (4 nights) and Reyjkavik 5 nights. I personally wanted more time in Iceland, especially since it took over 4 hours to arrive in the city the day of arrival due to high winds not allowing us to disembark from the plane. So, plan on weather factoring into your travel to Iceland- even in the summer.

I felt my time in Edinburgh was plenty, though I wish I had more time to head to the countryside and Highlands (but my base would have also had to change for that region).

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Jan 6th, 2019 at 02:59 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old Jan 10th, 2019, 05:22 AM
  #16  
 
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I will suggest you to go with option A because there is so much to see in Paris.
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Old Jan 10th, 2019, 05:39 AM
  #17  
 
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Originally Posted by travfreak13 View Post
I will suggest you to go with option A because there is so much to see in Paris.
So why pick A rather than B, which has the same amount of time in Paris?
thursdaysd is offline  
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