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Barcelona, Southern France, Switzerland and Italy tour itenerary

Barcelona, Southern France, Switzerland and Italy tour itenerary

Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 10:04 AM
  #1  
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Barcelona, Southern France, Switzerland and Italy tour itenerary

I am planning a 17 day vacation in End of April to Barcelona, Southern France, Switzerland and Italy. I will be flying from US East coast to Barcelona. Travelling with husband and my 4 yr old kid. Can you please help me with a practical itinerary. Any suggestion on places to stay and mode of travel would be highly appreciated.

Thank you very much in advance
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 10:34 AM
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4 countries 17 days rather too rushed. But possible. Trains are great in all those places and especially so in Switzerland. Rail info: www.bahn.de/en - all European train schedules; www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

Possible-

Barcelona
train to Avignon
train to Switzerland
train to Italy

I'd drop Barcelona and dwell on others bit more - Italy fine if only few places like Venice and Rome.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 11:08 AM
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Does the 17 days include travel days? If so, you will only have 14.5 days free on the ground. That is really enough for one country if you want to see/do very much. Or 3 or 4 cities (in one country or scattered in multiple countries).

With a young child the less dashing around you do the better since you can't travel at the same pace a couple of 20 something back packers could.

>>Any suggestion on places to stay and mode of travel would be highly appreciated.<<

No, we really can't since you have given us nothing to work with. Why not lay out at least the framework of an itinerary and we can help you tweak it.

>>I'd drop Barcelona and dwell on others bit more - Italy fine if only few places like Venice and Rome.<<

That may not be an option since you are leaving in April and likely already booked the flight in to Barcelona . . . and possibly home from there as well. If so, that will limit you even more because you will need to return to Barcelona the day before your return flight.

Give us more details like where you are flying home from and what sorts of things you want to do.

Last edited by janisj; Mar 3rd, 2018 at 11:11 AM.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 12:34 PM
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So you bought tickets to Europe without knowing what you want to do and see or how you were going to get around? Seems a little impetuous at best. Are they RT tickets to Barcelona? Because if you are set on visiting 4 countries, that was bad planning because you'll have to backtrack (and pay for it).

It's too rushed - 4 countries in 17 (or fewer if your count is not including travel days) with a 4-year-old is not going to be fun.

No one here can form an itinerary for you - that's for you to do. Plus, you haven't mentioned a thing about why you want to visit these places or what you might want to do there.

You'd best hunker down with some guidebooks and internet sites and form a plan. And do it quickly, as you're really late off the starting block for an April trip.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 01:17 PM
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Thank you all for the above guidance. I am flying from Washington DC to Barcelona. Have a relative in Barcelona. Hence fly in and out from Barcelona. Here is the itinerary I am thinking - Barcelona (2 days)- train to Montpellier-Marseille - Nice (all three in 2 days stay in Nice) - train to Zurich 1 day (Day trip to Lucerne) - Train to Interlaken (2 days. Day trip to Bern) - train to Venice (2 days) - Florence (2 days) - Rome (2 days) - Fly to Barcelona - Back to Washington DC. We would like to see main touristy places. If its too rushed, I can leave few cities that are off our route.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 01:29 PM
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That doesn't add up since you have not accounted for travel/logistics. You need 3 nights in a place to get 2 days (2 nights to get one day)

What you laid out would take 22 nights (counting transatlantic flights) and be very VERY rushed.

Think in terms of nights and you will see this is not doable.

I'd cut the number of destinations at least in half . . .
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 01:45 PM
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If taking all those trains a Eurailpass will be a great deal - but as janisj says it is really completely unrealistic in terms of time.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 02:07 PM
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Sorry, but it's horrible, and with a 4-year-old, super-horrible. Instead of rushing all over Europe why not pick two or three places and actually enjoy them instead of spending all your time in transit? Have you actually closed your eyes and imagined the day-to-day, hour-to-hour reality of this unimaginable plan, packing up, moving to the next place, getting oriented, unpacking, taking care of the 4-year-old, feeding yourselves...bla bla bla...or are you just plotting it out on paper (that never works)?

I live in Europe and take lots of trips that are relatively fast-paced, but I totally understand the hour-by-hour logistics of what a trip entails, and even then I sometimes get tired out or have to improvise if a train is late or a flight is canceled. Your plans will leave you completely wiped out, and they leave no room at all for improvisation if it's necessary.

I'd cut out Italy and Switzerland for starters. If Barcelona is a big draw for personal reasons, why are you going to zoom all over Europe from there? You could easily go up the coast into the Costa Brava and then France and enjoy marvelous places like Banyuls and Port-Vendres and Collioure and Perpignan and Narbonne and then Montpellier, and inland from any of those places, too, up into the Pyrenées, for example.

Your trip reads like a checklist of major tourist hotspots rather than an enjoyable jaunt with a young kid. You don't seem to have delved terribly deep into what it's possible to see and enjoy without jumping from one major tourist draw to another.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2018, 02:42 PM
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If you have already booked flights, OK, but next time, book multi-destination, into the first city and out of the most distant one, so it might have been into Barcelona and out of Venice or Rome. Anyway, that is advice for next time

To get a clear picture for yourself, lay out your trip day by day and night by night, including transportation time, even from your hotel to the train station and from the train station or airport to the hotel. These things take more time than you think. You must usually spend the last night in the city of departure. That is why backtracking eats up time and money. Never count days twice, even if you will be in two places. With a child, never less than 2 nights in one place. You need 2 nights for a full day, 3 nights for 2 days, etc.

Day 1, depart US
Day 2, arrive Barcelona, get settled, get over jet lag, 3 nts Barcelona
Day 3, tour Barcelona
Day 4, more Barcelona
Day. 5, Travel to A, 3 nts A
Day 6, tour A
Day 7, A & area
Day 8, Travel to B

Now, Spain is amazing!!! You are going at a great time of year. It is only a 2 hour fast train trip from Barcelona to Madrid. Consider seeing a few of these: Seville, Granda, Córdoba, Toledo, Madrid, Malaga, Segovia, etc. this trip, or look at a couple of places you can get to easily from Barcelona and where you can settle in for four or five days (5-6 nts) )and do some day trips. At least look at places that are close together or have easy transportation connections.
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Old Mar 4th, 2018, 12:37 PM
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Yes alot how many days in each country and add in travel days- 17 days ain't that much really. And your last itinerary has many travel days you have underestimated.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 03:39 AM
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I think in 2 weeks you could visit Barcelona, Tarragona, Figueres, Salses castle, Carcassonne, Nimes, Pont-du-Gard, Arles, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, St-Rhemy, Orange and may be Les Baux.
If you prefer to go to Switzerland instead (no weather guarantee!), fly from BCN to Geneva or Basle.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 08:29 AM
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neckervd-pretty ambitious though it seems.
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Old Mar 5th, 2018, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by amaaya View Post
Thank you all for the above guidance. I am flying from Washington DC to Barcelona. Have a relative in Barcelona. Hence fly in and out from Barcelona. Here is the itinerary I am thinking - Barcelona (2 days)- train to Montpellier-Marseille - Nice (all three in 2 days stay in Nice) - train to Zurich 1 day (Day trip to Lucerne) - Train to Interlaken (2 days. Day trip to Bern) - train to Venice (2 days) - Florence (2 days) - Rome (2 days) - Fly to Barcelona - Back to Washington DC. We would like to see main touristy places. If its too rushed, I can leave few cities that are off our route.
Amaaya: I undestand the need to see a lot, and I have had rushed itineraries in the past. But I will agree with the answers above, it is not realistic. I love Switzerland, but end of April, early May the weather might be unpredictable and cold, so skip it. But since you are open to leaving out a few cities/destinations from your route:

Day1: fly from Washington DC to Barcelona (arrive day 2 since it is more than likely a red eye).
Day 2: jet lagged. Catch a one way flight (check skyscanner.com) to Venice. Make sure you book it at least 3-4 hours after your first flight from the States arrives. Night in Venice.
Day 3-5: Venice
Day 6: Train to Rome. Night in Rome.
Day 7-10: Rome
Day 11: Fly to Barcelona (one way). Night in Barcelona.
Day 12-16: Barcelona (with day trips). Visit relative.
Day 17: fly back to the States.

I took out Nice because it is not one of my favorite cities, but other people love it, so it is up to you to decide if you want to include it. Also Day 2, I would prefer, especially with a small child, to just continue to my furthest destination and keeping all my days in Barcelona together instead of two stays. It would cut on the traveling time.

Also, you are only seeing cities. I prefer a mix of both countryside and city.
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