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Europe! Best itinerary?

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Apr 20th, 2013, 11:35 PM
  #1
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Europe! Best itinerary?

Hi Everyone
We are a recently retired married couple, planning our very first trip to Europe, to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.
We have return tickets to & from London for 3 months travel. The first 3 weeks we will spend in England, Scotland & Ireland.
I would like to put an itinerary together taking in as much as possible, without rushing! That is, we would like to factor in time to relax as well as sightsee.
What countries do experienced travellers to Europe recommend not to miss?
We have little interest in too much night life, and we are not "foodies", we are happy with a pub meal, neither of us being big eaters.
Any recommendations are much appreciated, as we really want the best experience for our once in a lifetime trip.
Wayvan is offline  
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Apr 21st, 2013, 12:09 AM
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What countries do experienced travellers to Europe recommend not to miss?

Almost any country in Europe.

I think that guidebooks would be appropriate to help you make decisions. Rick Steves is a good beginning; Fodors would be a good choice; and the Michelin Green Guides are good for the historical sights.
Michael is offline  
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Apr 21st, 2013, 12:58 AM
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What are your inerests? Art, History (which coountry and which period?), Music, Paintings, Castles, Medieval cities, Greek temples, Roman theatres, WW2 sites, Mountains, Glaciers,hiking, Beaches, big cathedrals, big mosques, stunning landscapes, Mediterranean cruises, river cruises, Island hopping.........?
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Apr 21st, 2013, 02:05 AM
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<< I would like to put an itinerary together taking in as much as possible, without rushing! >>

Your first 3 weeks are already rushed - 3 countries in 3 weeks. That's a fast pace.

<< we are not "foodies", we are happy with a pub meal, neither of us being big eaters. >>

You don't need a large appetite to enjoy good food. I do hope you'll experience more than pub food during your travels as this is part of the European experience.

Since you haven't given any idea of your interests I would spend the time in France and Italy. There's more than enough to see and do in each country for a month each.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 04:23 AM
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What time of the year are you going?
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Apr 21st, 2013, 05:27 AM
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Why have you chosen to go to Europe? That will help you decide what to see. I would suggest starting your research with the glossy guidebooks with lots of pictures, like Eyewitness, Insight and See It Now, although Rick Steves seems to have a good grasp of what first time US travelers will like. Check out his website and Youtube videos. Also, read his "Europe Through the Back Door" for general help with travel in Europe.

It is a pity you already bought plane tickets, as you will have to backtrack to London. Don't forget that Europe has an excellent train system - see seat61.com. Also, most first timers stick to western Europe, but there is plenty of interest in the east, and it is cheaper, too.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 05:54 AM
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Hi Wayvan, what a wonderful idea! and a great opportunity to spend some serious time exploring europe.

That said, i think that after my not quite but almost whirlwind tour of the UK, i'd like a bit of a change so at that point I would pick an area I really want to see eg the Dordogne or Tuscany and I would rent a cottage or apartment for a month.

yes, that's right, a month. choose the area well, and not only will you have loads to see and do round and about, but also you can use it as a base for short trips elsewhere - in the Dordogne to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Perpignan and indeed Paris, and from Tuscany to numerous places from Venice to Rome.

in the end i think that you will see more that way, and have a more memorable experience than just moving from place to place every few days.

and by short trips, I don't mean just day trips - i mean overnights. no reason why you shouldn't use your base like that, leaving it for a few days and then coming back "home".
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Apr 21st, 2013, 06:00 AM
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ps - can i suggest you e-mail the moderators and get your thread re-classified? it's marked with the czech republic at the moment which is probably deterring posters from clicking on it and joining in.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 06:44 AM
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You really need to do some work to see what will be most interesting to you. Suggest you get some tour brochures - not to take a tour but because it will list and show highlights - and also get a couple of good guidebooks. That will help you identify some of your must sees. And do make a list of specific sights as well as locations.

If you come back here with that list people can help you build it into a complete itinerary.
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Apr 21st, 2013, 10:10 AM
  #10
 
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Wayvan, it depends a bit on the time of the year but in 3 months you should be able to do a fair bit, something like

1) British Isles 3 weeks,3 (I'd drop Ireland in this time scale, but you might prefer to drop Scotland)
2) France Paris 1 week,4
3) France Loire 1 week,5
4) France Alsace 1 week,6
5) Holland Amsterdam/Harlaam and surroundings 1 week,7
6) Mosel/Rhine or Berlin 1 week,8
7) Lake Constance, Ulm 1 Week,9
8) Italy Venice and Verona 1 week, 10
9) Italy Florence, Pisa, Sienna, Lucca 1 week, 11
10)Italy, Rome 1 week, 12

It's a structure you could cut about a bit. But of course you may say "but I wanted to go to Budapest or Madrid"
bilboburgler is online now  
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Apr 21st, 2013, 10:22 AM
  #11
 
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Whatever locations you choose, I'd just like to suggest you consider renting apartments or villas, rather than staying in hotels. It will be considerably cheaper, will feel more like "home," and will also allow you to prepare some of your own meals. Happy travels!
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