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Draft Itinerary - comments please


Sep 1st, 2012, 08:43 PM
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Join Date: May 2004
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Draft Itinerary - comments please


After some previous responses, (and some advice that I am still not following), we have the following draft itinerary for our three week trip to Europe.
Travelling with my wife and three kids (daughters 20 & 18 and son 16).

I have clipped a day each out of our original London and Paris plans to fit Venice into the itinerary, but it does seem to get frantically busy for the last week or so.

Would be interested in thoughts - I know that some of you have warned against the night train, but it will allow us to make a transfer without the "wasting" the at least half day that it takes to get to and from and airport in time for even a relatively short flight, and will bring us right into Venice early in the morning.

None of us have travelled to Europe before, and this will be our first (and probably last, given our kid's ages) international trip as a family, so we want to pack as much in as we can, and make it truly memorable.

Trying to stay a little bit flexible in London and PAris - getting everyone to write down the things that they really want to see and do, so that we can try to ensure that we do at least something that is special for each of us - which might even involve splitting up for a while!

Your thoughts would be appreicated - even if it to suggest that we get a supply of Red Bull or Gatorade on hand to keep up the pace!


Fri 30th Nov – 3am Depart Melbourne, Australia for London
Arrive London (Heathrow) 6pm
Apartment Kings Cross area
One day trip outside London – Windsor Castle OR Oxford OR Bath (considering one day car hire ex Heathrow for flexibility and to cover more territory

Friday 7th Dec
Morning Eurostar train ex St Pancras station to Paris.
One day to Versailles, otherwise enjoying Paris
Apartment - Latin Quarter

Wednesday 12th Dec
Night train Paris to Venice
Arrive Venice Thurs 13th Dec morning
Venice – Hotel Marconi, Grand Canal

Saturday 15th Dec
Morning train Venice to Florence
Accom somewhere central
Considering side trip (Monday) to Pisa OR Assissi (by train)

Tuesday 18th Dec
Early morning train Florence to Rome
Apartment – considering Coloseum area, but interested in opinions – have been told to avoid Termini Station area.
Wed – Vatican & Sistine Chapel – opportunity to see Pope
Thurs – Coloseum & Forum

Saturday 22nd Dec
Depart Rome for Australia
Monday 24th Dec – arrive Melbourne, Australia 2am

Get ready for family Christmas lunch at our house!!!!!
bendigo is offline  
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Sep 1st, 2012, 08:52 PM
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Looks like fun and doable, but Red Bull may be in order (with a shot of Italian espresso). I would take a day or two from London and add it to Paris. London, of course, has plenty to keep you busy, we just liked Paris more and wished we had more time to explore and soak it in.
oldmacdonald is offline  
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Sep 1st, 2012, 09:50 PM
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'we just liked Paris more and wished we had more time to explore and soak it in'

I agree for what it is worth...Paris is a great city to explore and so much to see and do. A matter of personal taste though.

I stayed near the Termini in a hotel and it was fine but I would chose a different area next time around. It is just not as "pretty".

Sounds like a great trip!
kelsey22 is online now  
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Sep 1st, 2012, 10:14 PM
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Other than cutting Venice a tiny bit short I think it sounds like a good plan. If I was to cut a day from London I'd add it to Venice. And I think you'll need the redbull for the family Christmas lunch if you're cooking for extended family!!

Colesseum area is not ideal. Near the Pantheon is our favorite.
We did a daytour from London with Astral Tours that went to Oxford, Stratford-Upon-Avon and Warwick castle. We really enjoyed it. Here is a link to my trip report along with pics. Skip to Day 6 to read about the Astral Tour.
jgg is online now  
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 03:17 AM
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Bendigo--sounds like a great itinerary to me except the family Christmas lunch at your house the day after a LONG flight home. My favorite area of Rome to stay in is the Campo de Fiori area. It is centrally located to almost everything you want to see.
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 04:11 AM
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Unless you are very keen on Renaissance religious art and Renaissance history, I think you are spending too long in Florence. It may be very cold there. Assisi is really too far for a comfortable day trip in the short days of the middle of December.

Unless you have a long wish list of things to do in Florence, considering seeing its highlights as a day trip from Rome or en route to Rome from Venice (park you luggage at the train station).
aguamineral is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 05:49 AM
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Just so you don't jump too quickly at aguamineral's suggestion to shorten your stay in Florence, let me weigh in on the other side. Florence is a treasure full of treasures. It is our favorite city in Italy and we've been there on every single one of our 8 trips. And there is more to Florence than Renaissance art although much of that is spectacular.

I agree that a day trip to Assisi is too long.

I would shorten London by a day and add it to Paris or to Venice - at the time of year you are going I would add it to Paris. Other than that, you have a pretty good plan and should have a great trip! And lots of luck with the Christmas dinner.
mamcalice is offline  
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Sep 2nd, 2012, 06:00 AM
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Train comments - Eurostar and Thello overnight trains can cost a ton if you do not pre-book weeks if not months in advance to score the limited in number deep discounted tickets each offers - just show up and literally pay hundreds of bucks more - check www.eurostar.com for Eurostar ticket prices in British Pounds - easy to print off your own ticket and www.thello.com for the overnight trains Paris to Venice.

Other superb IMO sites on European trains - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

For Italian trains www.trenitalia.com has all the fares and there are again there some online discounts in limited numbers that should be booked far in advance - and are hard to change so be sure of your times. You can always buy regular Italian train tickets even on the day of travel IME but you can save money by booking ahead.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 09:25 AM
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I do think the original itinerary by OP is PERFECT! Well thought out.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 11:05 AM
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I can find months of activities for visitors to London to do and never get bored - so choosing to cut a day from one to add to another city is always tough. I'll leave Paris and Venice to other experts to give opinions on, but as to your London trip - a couple of thoughts - think about a key theme for your trip - in addition to the top 10 tourist highlights are there are key themes you'd enjoy seeing - i.e. literary london, roman london, royal london, architecture, churches, historic pubs etc... if you have some specific wants I could point you in the right direction.
As to your day trip to Windsor, Oxford or Bath - all are very different so think about what you are hoping to see. Windsor is a great 'castle' but you could get your Royal fix with a Tower of London tour (a must do imo), and Bath's architecture and Roman history can to some degree be found in London. Oxford is perhaps a little more unique and a drive there, with some detours of the motorway into the country is probably my bias.
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Sep 3rd, 2012, 11:57 AM
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Add a day to Paris, AND decide while there if you even want to go to Versailles. Florence--add a day and take it from Venice or Rome.
Gretchen is offline  
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