Europe First Timers


Sep 23rd, 2017, 06:18 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2017
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Europe First Timers

Hi all,

Husband and I are looking for some input on a ~21 day honeymoon, we are thinking end of May beginning of June. We have not booked any flights/accommodations at this time.

A little about us, mid 20's, like nice scenery moderate hiking, good food, would like to see some tourist highlights, not big into art but don't mind some. Husband has previously been to Paris for 2 weeks. I have never been to Europe.

We are traveling from Canada. We have already scaled back after reading many posts here (we originally wanted to do Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy). We aren't looking to be too rushed but are happy to be on the go more days than not.

Here is our proposed travel itinerary:

1 - Depart Toronto to Barcelona in evening
2 - Arr Barcelona AM
3 - Barcelona
4 - Barcelona
5 - Barcelona to Paris - fly
6 - Paris
7 - Paris
8 - Paris
9 - Paris
10 - Paris to Venice - fly Easy Jet
11 - Venice
12 - Venice to Positano - train (not sure what the best way to do this is)
13 - Cinque Terre & Pisa to Florence - train
14 - Florence
15 - Florence
16 - Florence to Rome - train
17 - Rome
18 - Rome
19 - Rome
20 - flex day/flight depending departure time of return flights.
21 - Rome to Toronto

Some of our must see tourist attractions:
Eiffel tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre-Dame (these are mine as my husband has done all 3)
Cinque Terre, Trevi Fountain, Collesum

Nice to see:
Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, walk La Ramblas
St Peters Basilica, Vatican

We are open to all types of suggestions on places to stay (hotel, airbnb, vrbo etc. our ideal budget per night is 100EUR), things to do, places to eat.

Since we have minimal experience we are looking to get some feedback from experienced travelers.
cwesty is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 06:36 PM
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Mostly fine but it definitely falls apart in this bit:

>>12 - Venice to Positano - train (not sure what the best way to do this is)
13 - Cinque Terre & Pisa to Florence - train
14 - Florence<<

That is covering waaaay too much territory in too little time. Basically Venice, then 2/3 the length of the country to the Amalfi Coast, then back north to the CT and then to Florence in 2.5 days.

That whole section makes no sense -- no time for Positano/the AC and no time for the CT.

If you drop the AC then you'd have 3.5 to 4 days for Florence and the CT
janisj is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 06:43 PM
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Sorry, that;s my fault. It should read portofino. Not a must have destination for us but thought while in/near CT may check it out if we can find affordable accommodations.
cwesty is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 06:50 PM
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The trip might work better this way:

Barcelona>Paris>Pisa/Le Cinque Terre>Florence>Venice>Rome

Suggest you skip Portofino, but if you want to include it in the end, fly from Paris to Genoval airport, then go to Santa Margherita Ligure by train or taxi. Day trip to Portofino & le Cinque Terre, see Pisa en route to Florence, then after Florence go to Venice, then to Rome.

You might want to consider the pace of your trip if you are new to European travel and don't speak any of the languages of the countries you'll be visiting.

Your budget for lodgings is very low for all your destinations except Rome (and possibly Barcelona, I'm not sure)
massimop is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 06:54 PM
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Days 12 and 13 are really not possible. You can travel to all of the destinations in a 48-hour period, but you wouldn't be able to see/do much once you get there besides check in and out of your hotels, have dinner and a brief stroll.

Venice to Positano using public trans would take about 8 hours. (The fastest train journey of the day from Venice to Naples departs at 6:06 a.m., and the earliest journey that doesn't involve a connection departs Venice at 7:25 a.m.) You could save perhaps an hour if you hired a private driver to meet your train in Naples and take you directly to your Positano hotel.

And then the next day, you'd have a longer journey getting from Positano to the Cinque Terre. If your intention was to end up in Florence by the end of the night, then you'd have to figure out what you'd do with your luggage during your stop in one of the CT towns. There is luggage storage at the Pisa Centrale station which is open until 9:00 p.m.

I would skip both Positano/Amalfi Coast and the Cinque Terre. I'd add one day to Venice and one day to Florence. It would be easy to make even a half-day excursion to Pisa from Florence during your time there, but there are many other day trip options.
Jean is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 07:02 PM
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>>I would skip both Positano/Amalfi Coast Portofino and the Cinque Terre. I'd add one day to Venice and one day to Florence<<
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 07:05 PM
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Massimop - thanks for the suggestion to reorder. Do you think the trip from Venice to Rome would be lengthy to do all at once by train? Our lodging budget does have some flexibility knowing fully well Paris & Venice are much more costly than Rome & Barcelona. That being said we are trying to find simple, clean, low cost places to stay. We aren't opposed to a private room in a hostel while sharing a bathroom with others.

Jean - I mentioned above, but I meant Portofino not Positano. We are saving the AC for a trip of its own, one day. Portofino is not a must see destination for us, it was more a proximity to CT type thing.
cwesty is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 07:20 PM
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Have you looked into train and plane fares between all of these points? On some days, your travel costs (for two) will exceed your budget for one night's lodging. If you reduced the number of destinations, you could probably increase your lodging budget.
Jean is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 07:24 PM
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The fast train between Rome & Venice is quite quick and easy. Book in advance to get discounts. Read the website Man in Seat 61 to understand the trains.

If you do some good research, you should be able to find a nice b&b in Venice that is close to your budget, without sharing a bathroom. Paris is probably your toughest -- and the Portofino area is also not worth the bucks for what it sounds like you are seeking for your honeymoon by including the Italian Riviera. Although Portofino is a picturesque spot, it's tiny and too overdeveloped for cruise ship tourism & shopping. Stick with the le Cinque Terre area, where again, with plenty of advance planning, you can probably ferret out something pretty within your budget. Ask on the TripAdvisor forum for le Cinque Terre for advice.
massimop is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 07:28 PM
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Also, you might be able to cut the cost of one air fare + one hotel stay if you take an overnight train from Paris to Venice. After that, you could either head to Florence, Pisa, le Cinque Terre, Rome


head to Rome, Florence, Pisa/Le Cinque Terre if you can get a flight out of Pisa that connects you back to Canada.
massimop is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 09:15 PM
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I'd cut Florence/Cinque Terre entirely and spend more time in Rome and Venice. Unless you have definite interests in Florence, anyway. I enjoyed Florence but not nearly as much as I enjoyed Venice and Rome.

I agree with the point about traveling less and increasing your lodging budget. I had a similar budget. But you do have the advantage of planning further out than I did. I took a look at Paris hostels in May and I actually think you've got some good options to pick from that are not too far off from your budget. So Paris may be cheaper than you'd expect.

What were your interests in Germany? Lots of incredible stuff there and cheaper than France. But I'm loath to recommend skipping Paris- I love Paris.

I stayed in a lot of hostels and my advice is to look for small independent hotels or b&bs rather than private rooms in hostels. They tend to be more interesting and cheaper. But I'm thinking you may have to increase your budget a bit anyway. The place I stayed in at Christmas (al codega, close to your budget, great place) is more than twice that amount for late may and 2 people. And the generator hostel I booked to begin with is 180 for a private room, and the location was not the greatest (I went to check it out and get a drink at the bar). But you might find a deal on

I've never been to Barcelona, but from what I saw just browsing through hostelworld, hostel privates with ensuites may still be a bit above your budget, at least at the better rated hostels.

I think in your shoes I'd pick one country or two neighboring countries. And a lot of it would depend on where I could find good lodging that I was excited about. For what it's worth, on my first trip I spent a month between Germany, Paris, London, Venice, Rome and Florence- it seemed like a good pace before I went, but if I could go back in time and replan that trip, I'd probably do 2 weeks per country, two countries max. Travel costs precious time and money and even a week in a city like Rome feels like barely scratching the surface.

Google generator hostels and maybe play with their reservations calendar a bit. It's a chain of "boutique" hostels, and it would give you an idea of how costs vary from city to city for your dates. Generator is on the higher end, but usually they aren't that for off from other hostels. I suspect Venice is so expensive because Venice Generator hasn't got much decent competition. Or go to and play around with your dates. When you select "pick rooms" it'll show you both shared and private options. Hostel's can be more expensive on weekends, like hotels are, so you may want to add a day in one location and skip a day in another location.

Have fun planning!
marvelousmouse is offline  
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Sep 23rd, 2017, 09:37 PM
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I agree that you should look for a hostel or a budget hotel in Paris.
There are restrictions on vacation rentals in Paris.
Not so much in other cities.
fuzzbucket is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 01:27 AM
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Ok, I operate at the £70 a night level which is pretty close to your $100 a night. When on hoenymoon you don't want to be panicing about money so you need to reshape a bit. Certainly I'd look at Airbnb in Rome to get to those prices, Venice is possible but you need to get back from the main "streets". (Mrs Bilbo stayed iin a garret a couple of years back up 4 floors etc). CT ain't going to happen or if it does may not be so nice, but you could stay say in La Spezia and commute in by train or boat, La Perla del Golfo is about £65 and really nice little B&B (closer enough to the station to make it work and far enough away to be quiet).

Start with bookings, then go to google maps for the smaller B&Bs not on bookings.

Barcelona, might have to be a commute in, but why not? Get hod of the rough guide and look at towns along the train lines. Make sure the cost of ticket makes up for the saving on the room. Or aim at 2 star (stars don't mean what they do in NA, basically they are about lifts/pools etc not quality of rooms) and focus on locals hotels, I've paid way less for nice rooms with nice staff. Book direct and drop them a nice email to see if you can get a better price for 3 nights... I see (for example) Rome mate Emma Hotel is £88 on the web, with a push you might "our honeymoon" etc you might get a movement.

Paris, maybe hostel.

Alternativley you can cut down on costs by
1) Drink the local tap water and leave plastic contaminated water to others
2) Drink what the locals do, so no international brands
3) Go veggie for the holiday, you'll find that cuts about 1/3 off you eating bill
4) Eat ethnic (I'd not do it in Italy, 'cause Italian food is fantastic) helps a bit
5) Cut down on your bases, less travel, less wasted time, get a better deal on longer stays in the same place (in Airbnb you reduce the overhead costs per night.
bilboburgler is online now  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 02:04 AM
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On your honeymoon I would not recommend pinching on hotels by staying in hostels. This is your time. Scale back the length of the trip and pay a little more for hotels. I agree with most Positano/AC is a separate trip and way to far. For us we enjoy the unexpected in europe. The little cafe, shop, meeting other people even if it's a short conversation. Don't stay outside of Paris to save money. We enjoy the Marais #4 area the best anything around St Paul village. Hotel Caron De Beaumarchais is an awesome location 2 blocks to the Seine and 4 to Ile St Louis and Norte Dame
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Sep 24th, 2017, 02:17 AM
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Also earlier in May is better even though late May is perfectly fine. We have found that the closer to June you get the bigger the tourist crowd. 2 nights in Venice was fine as its small. The train to Florence was great and from there we did day trips. Airbnb will be a good choice
Cliff09 is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 02:23 AM
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staying outside Paris to save money is the wrong idea for sure.
bilboburgler is online now  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 03:22 AM
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I live on the Riviera and I totally and vociferously disagree with the advice to stay in La Spezia -- which is a crushingly boring and unscenic town.

If you cannot find something you like in le Cinque Terre itself, check out Bonassola, which is a very short train trip away and a thoroughly charming village in its own right, or neighbouring Levanto, which has a lot of lodgings and is a quite pleasant town.

But I think it might be possible to find nice lodgings in your budget in the le Cinque Terre villages. Again, ask for guidance on the TripAdvisor forum for le Cinque Terre before you give up.

For what it's worth, it's always interesting to hear how other people would do their own honeymoon, but if you have "must-sees", think long and hard before you give them up (unless, of course, they're not really must sees). I had friends who visited me on their honeymoon and their wish list was Prague, Venice, the Italian Riviera and Paris. They only wanted to be together in those places, and do specific romantic things to celebrate, not be students of history and art, and they had a wonderful time.
massimop is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 05:12 AM
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Take the overnight train Paris to Venice but make sure you buy a sleeping berth. It will save you a night logging and it will be an adventure.

Stay in one of the Cinque Terre villages (Manarola or Vernazza) not in La Spezia. Get up early to hike (Monterosso to Vernazza; or if more ambitious the higher trails) and beat the crowds and the heat. I think you will love it.

I don't think you itinerary is fast paced, especially considering you are in your 20s and it is your first time to Europe. The journey is as fun as the destination.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 06:00 AM
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Yes to thinking about overnight train Paris-Venice - for fares and booking. Yes is a great resource for booking own tickets - at a discount if you book far enough in advance. Other train sites for general info: and

Your overall itinerary looks very nice.
PalenQ is offline  
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Sep 24th, 2017, 07:23 AM
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A honeymoon in Europe is a great idea!

As a fellow Canadian and a budget traveller, these are the places I have stayed and were less than 100 euro per night.

Barcelona: Hostal Balkonis - small room with clean ensuite bath. Just a few blocks from the Aeroport bus drop off, easy walk to Las Ramblas

Rome- Hotel Julia - included a great breakfast, not far from Termini station. Easy walk to Trevi fountain, Spanish steps, the Collseum (underground tour was great)

Florence- Hostel Archi Rossi- double room with ensuite bath. Breakfast included and had an onsite cafeteria. The free walking tour of Florence was excellent. We took the train to Pisa from Florence for a day trip.

No specific suggestion for Paris except I stayed for 2 weeks out near La Defense and would recommend picking a hotel more central.

Book train tickets ahead of time to save money. I used Trainline to book tickets in advance for big discounts, however they are usually non-refundable.

I usually fly Air Transat from Toronto. Their schedule and non-stop flights (and no baggage fees) work for me. Book open jaw tickets for the flights.

Good luck planning your trip,
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