Europe first-timer: London/Paris/Rome

Old Mar 24th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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Europe first-timer: London/Paris/Rome

Hi all,

So I'm a 25yo male, and looking to travel to Europe for the first time this summer. Although I'm a little more than hesitant about going the solo route, I hear it's far better than those youth tours and, of course, not going at all.

Anyway, I have between 1-2 weeks to use, and my wishlist includes London, Paris, and Rome. London and Rome are pretty much 1a and 1b, with Paris firmly behind them. I was also exploring the possibility of an excursion to Venice while I'm in Rome.

Now, I get the sense that I am biting off a little more than I can chew (especially for a first-timer), and wanted to get some feedback on how I should go about planning from some of you more experienced types. I know it feels like I'm cramming an awful lot into one trip, but my fear is that it's taken me this long to even think about heading across the pond, that who knows when I will next get a chance to go back. Anyway, any advice for both my planning and specifics for any of the places I am considering would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!!!
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 03:31 PM
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Well,the senior members will ask the normal question like;what are your interests. That will help us help you. Museums,outdoorsy,etc...
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 03:37 PM
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&quot;<i>between 1-2 weeks to use</i>&quot; How long actually? It makes quite a difference.

If only 1 week - then I'd pick one of those cities.

If 2 weeks - you could actually hit all 3, but not w/ much time to spare for Venice or anywhere else.

and w/ 10 days - you could do 2 cities.

So your fist decision is how long willyou take?

And no, you aren't biting off too much - as long as you don't try thr 3 cities in 7 or 8 days version.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 03:49 PM
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My general rule has always been at least 4-5 days in a major city, and the first day is pretty much a &quot;wash&quot; because of jetlag. Also remember that your first &quot;day&quot; is spent on the red eye going over.

So ... with one week, you can only do one city well, with perhaps two side trips.

Two weeks ... you can probably squeeze all three cities in, but you're basically doing 4 days per city, plus days for traveling.

I'd stretch it out just a bit, since this is a big trip for you!

Day one: fly to London

Day two: land in London, so some walking around to get over your jetlag. Maybe Hyde Park or Kensington Park. Be sure to look to the left crossing streets so that this isn't your &quot;ultimate&quot; trip

Days 3-5: touring London

Day 6: fly, or take the EuroStar, to Paris. Do a basic walking tour of the center of Paris. (Search this forum for walking tours of Paris)

Day 7-9: touring Paris

Day 10: fly to Venice. Half day of seeing Venice.

Day 11: Spend another half-day seeing Venice. In the afternoon, fly (or take the train) to Rome.

Days 12-14: touring Rome

Day 15: fly home

[You can add a day to one or more of the three major cities].
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 04:04 PM
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Thanks for the input so far. To clarify a couple of the points:

I know I'll at least have 10 days, and more than likely will be able to secure a full two weeks.

As for my preferences, especially being a first-timer, I'd mostly be interested in the &quot;main&quot; attractions, but would also gladly listen to any suggestions for things that I normally wouldn't think of to see.
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Old Mar 24th, 2007, 05:06 PM
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It sounds like you should do an open jaws ticket into London and out of Rome - with a cheapo flight from L to R. That will work for 10 days or more. With less I would do just one city - probably London - with a couple of day trips (easy by train or one day bus tour you can pick up on the spot). A couple of good choices: Windsor Castle, Hampton court Palace, Greenwich (Cutty Sark, maritime museum and Prime Meridian/observator), Stonehenge.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 06:14 AM
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Hi G,

Any reason why Paris, perhaps the best of the three, is a distant third on your list?

London and Paris make a great 1st time visit.

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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 06:37 AM
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Hi G,

I agree with our other posters. 1 week = 1 city with optional day trips outside, full 2 weeks, take your pick of highlights of all 3 or 2 cities with day trips.

Don't worry - you'll definitely find a way to go again!

Buon viaggio!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 11:05 AM
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Ira,
No real reason -- London and Rome have just always been &quot;more must-see&quot; to me than Paris -- not that I wouldn't love to visit Paris, though.

After reading some other posts in this forum, I'm now getting two seemingly general consenses:
1) Travelling Europe during July-August (when I am looking to go) is the WORST possible time (crowds, temps), and I'd regret it.
2) For a first-timer like myself, it may be better to stick with London and Paris and save Rome for another time.

Thoughts on either of the above? I would greatly appreciate it!
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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I have been to all three and Rome many many times- concentrate on maybe 2out of three. London and the chunnel to Paris is logical but for a young person Rome probably has the most reliably hot weather and since Italian cuisine has been ranked #1 in Europe-no problems eating well and cheaply! It is just a very dynamic city. You could fly to London-lots of cheap budget lines to take you into ITALY too! Either way you have the most interesting places on your agenda. A.
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 07:53 PM
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I wouldn't miss Rome. If I had to choose two cities on your list, it would be London and Rome. London and Paris would be easier to combine, though. I just think Rome is an amazing place. (Don't get me wrong, anybody, I love Paris too.)
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Old Mar 25th, 2007, 09:18 PM
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gman731 - My sister and I are what I would call &quot;extreme travelers&quot;... we like to see as much as possible in the time we have. We actually spent 24 hours in Rome and my friend who lives there said we saw more of the city than she had. Your feet will hurt, but you can do it if you just want a taste.

That said, we actually did London-Paris-Venice-Florence-Rome-Paris-London in 14 days, so you can certainly do your trip in 10.

One thing: trains are the most fun, but if you're pressed for time, consider a regional air flight between cities. I'm flying from London to Amsterdam in the summer for $50. BMI and easyjet are my favorites, but Ryanair is fine (bit grotty, but cheap).

If you have the money, sleeper cars are also a great alternative. My sister and I took one from Paris to Rome and it was fantastic. A hotel on wheels.

(btw, when you're in Rome, don't miss the Campo di Fiori or the Capuchin monastery... they were excellent!)
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 01:13 AM
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gman, if I may say so, you're a young man who unerestimates your stamina. Heck, at 20 I hit 7 COUNTRIES in 3 weeks (multiple locations in each) on a whirlwind trip of the continent.

1) Travelling Europe during July-August (when I am looking to go) is the WORST possible time (crowds, temps), and I'd regret it.

I wouldn't worry so much about the time of year. The weather will be glorious (in fact, down right hot in Rome) and the locals in these cities all flee to the beahces anyway so it won't be overcrowded. You won't regret it. Just make sure you get air conditioning in your hotels.

2) For a first-timer like myself, it may be better to stick with London and Paris and save Rome for another time.

Nah, even with just 10 days you could easily hit all three and get a good flavour of them. Rome is so different from the other 2 I thik it would be tragic to miss it. I'm actually with you on the London-Rome over Paris thing. Paris is beautiful, sure, but the other 2 buzz with a life that I don't think Paris can match.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 09:30 AM
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I made my first trip to Europe at 25, also alone, also in July and August but I'm a woman. (I also was lucky enough to go for 8 weeks.) Traveling alone is great, but if you want to meet people when you're there, just stay in a hostel rather than a hotel. I met so many people during my trip. Some I'd travel with for a day, some for longer. So, personally, I'd go alone rather than with a group anyday. You can always find someone to hang out with you. If you stay in hotels, it's a more solitary experience. But it's easy to meet people at hostels. Don't worry about the summer crowds. I also think you could do all 3 cities. Just depends on how much you like to do during a day. Rome was my favorite of the 3, but they're all great. Have fun!
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 11:30 AM
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Yes, at your age, do all three. It will give you a good overview of what you like best, and you'll know where you want to go back and spend more time. (Probably all of them.)

Go to a bookstore or your library and get travel books on your cities so that you can find what sights you are most interested in seeing. Then make a rough grouping of them so that you can see what is close together and not waste a lot of time going back and forth across the cities.

Have a great time, and let us know how it turned out when you get back.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 03:03 PM
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You could easily do all three cities. When I backpacked for a little over three weeks on my junior year abroad, I hit atleast 11 cities (1-3 days each) so you can certianly do three in two weeks. I did London and Paris (been to both before at tht point though) in five days a different time I went. London, Paris, and Rome are all cities you could do a lot of time in though. I keep going back to London and never get bored. It just depends if you want to be able to daytrip out of each city and how much you want to do. Buy a travel book and mark the things in each city you must see, would like to see, and if you have time to see and then decide how much time you need in each place. Remeber that summer is a peak travelling time so give yourself time for lines and the like. Once you know the cities look into getting train tickets or flying easyjet dot com or ryanair dot com for super cheap flights around Europe. Flying will save you some time over taking trains a lot of the time.
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Old Mar 26th, 2007, 08:43 PM
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gman - not sure if anyone has mentioned it, but be sure to use STA Travel &amp; get an ISIC card. They saved me so much money on my first few trips, and the ISIC card (especially with you being under 26) will save you money on your travels.
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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 04:51 AM
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Hi G,

&gt;For a first-timer like myself, it may be better to stick with London and Paris and save Rome for another time.&lt;

That's what I would suggest.

Fly into London and out of Paris.
See www.kayak.com.

Take the www.eurostar.com between cities.

Choose UK as your country (rates are often cheaper) and look for 1-day RT tickets (about 60 GBP).

Also check prices at www.raileurope.com.

What's your hotel budget?

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Old Mar 27th, 2007, 09:46 PM
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Hi there gman731! Whenever I travel, I don't usually make a list of the places I need to visit as well as for the things I need to do once I arrive in my destination. I just do things out of impulse. I guess things work better for me that way.
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Old Mar 28th, 2007, 12:06 AM
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London- is great but you don't want to spend more than 3/4 days there because it'll suck your budget dry- go at the weekend and go to cafe 2000- its a club on brick lane which is great!
www.gumtree.com is like london's craigslist.
Go to tate modern too. there's a cheap hotel beside victoria train station called the williams.. or something- i think its about 40 dollars a night.
Leaving you lots of time for Paris and Rome. www.way2stay.com have nice central apartments in Paris and area information/transport tips- I love Paris and its more economical to shop and cook out of supermarkets anyway. Rome is pretty hectic in the summer but beautiful.
i advise getting an inter-rail train ticket (2 wk one)so that you can see more of europe by land and if you get a tip-off about somewhere you want to go you can keep your options open..

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