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Europe for 22 days during October 2013

Old Sep 4th, 2013, 03:02 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
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Europe for 22 days during October 2013

hey guys so im Planning my first solo europe backpacking trip. Im a 20 year old female who loves art, great food, wine and music. i will be flying in to London and flying out of Madrid, staying 22 days not including the day i arrive and departure. I was wondering if any of you guys had any tips/revisions on my itinerary. I'm planning on mostly staying in hostels, and maybe couch surfing and will be getting around by train. do you guys think is doable? thanks in advance

Europe Itinerary

London (3days)

Paris (3days)

Amsterdam (3days)

Venice (2days)

Rome (3 days)

Florence (2days)

Barcelona (3days)

Madrid (3days)

Am I trying to see too many places in so little time? Should I cut increase/decrease days in a city?
covsteff is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2013
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Oh, boy, too much--way too much. Given that you are flying home via Madrid, I'd eliminate Italy. Do you have any idea how long it would take on the train between Florence and Barcelona? If you are wedded to this itinerary, see if you can fly between Florence and Barcelona. Amsterdam to Venice is not a cake walk either. You will also find out that the strategy of sleeping on trains is not great. You don't get much sleep because the trains make noise. After one of those epic night journeys, you are totally exhausted in the morning.

Look, I have been to Europe about 25-30 times (lost count ages ago). I am, of course, a bit older than you are to make that statement. Having said that I once spent an afternoon in Venice and I've never been to Barcelona.

You are doing way too much. Why not just do London, Paris & Madrid for 6-7 days each and be done with it.

There is no prize for beating your Eurail pass to death. The itinerary I suggest would probably be cheaper if you got individual plane or train tickets. There are some good discount air carriers in Europe. I am sure a flight from Paris to Madrid should be no more than $130.

Feel free to ignore my advice and kill yourself. You cannot do it all. You see a few things and then go home. That schedule you have mapped out will be thrown in the trash on the 2nd day of your trip.

Your schedule would be more appropriate if you had 8-10 weeks. Remember, every time you pack up and move, it is stress.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2013, 03:40 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 2,351
Your routing was off a little - Florence before Rome and Amsterdam before Paris;

London (3days)
Amsterdam (3days)
Paris (3days)
Venice (2days)
Florence (2days)
Rome (3 days)
Barcelona (3days)
Madrid (3days)


If these are the places you want to see then this is about the best timing and routing you can fit. Every places is 'worth" more time and the response you get will almost universally advise you that you are trying to see too much and suggest some greater concentration of time in their favourite places while suggesting you skip the places they find less interesting. The problem with that is, you are not them and for every person that dislikes Amsterdam, or Paris, there is another who would pack and move there tomorrow if they could manage it.

The questions you need to ask yourself are;

Do I want to move quickly through major cities and see a limited number of the major sights before moving on?
Do I want to spend as much time as is necessary to travel between each of these far ranging cities.

For some people the answer is going to be an easy "Yes, definitely" to both questions, for some "On second thought, maybe not".

Paris to Venice, for example is a 10 hour day-time train trip or a 13 hour overnight jaunt. Rome to Barcelona - forget the train- 15 hours taking up a whole day or 24 hours overnight - you pretty much have to fly. But it's a cheap route.

If you know the answer to the questions, do what you want, despite what you might be told you should be doing. There is always some sacrifice between time and money involved in planning travel.

Clearly, to make it easier you could consider cutting out either Italy, or Amsterdam/Paris entirely. London and Spain are obviously fixed. Cutting out either of those 2 other areas would give you back 6- 7 days to spread between your 6 or 7 remaining destinations, adding a day to each or some other combination and reducing the transit time significantly (you would probably want to fly to Venice from London because that is another horrendously long train ride.

If you can't see yourself with a budget that includes airfare, then dropping Italy makes the most sense as a London - Amsterdam - Paris - Barcelona - Madrid train trip with 4-5 days in each city is very doable. Paris to Barcelona at 6:40 is by far the longest train trip on that route London - Amsterdam is about 4:35.
Aramis is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 11:43 AM
  #4  
 
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I would also advise you to cut Italy this time. This will give you an extra week. So you could either add an extra day in London, Paris and Madrid, see some of the smaller cities in France and Spain, or, my preference, see Andalusia by taking a train or flying to Sevilla from Barcelona and taking a bus around from there
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 11:53 AM
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In 2011 we flew in to Paris, took the plane to Madrid (6 days), flew to Amsterdam (6 days), took the train to Brugges ( 2 days) and took the TGV to Paris (9 days). We enjoyed each cities and were able to do day trips as well.
annakarina is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 11:56 AM
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I assume you are going by train? If so you are traveling enough to benefit from one of the Youthpasses - for folks under 26 - a bargain that lets you in many countries just hop on any train anytime - for lots of great info on European trains and to plan a trip check out these IMO fantastic sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. You can take overnight trains to save time covering long distances and save on the overnight cost of a hostel, hotel, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 04:53 PM
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Whatever decision you make you need to understand that you have miscalculated your days everywhere. It takes from 1.2 to a whole day to get from one place to another - so you really have 1 day fewer in each place than you have listed; that is you have 2 days each in Paris, Rome and Madrid - not 3.

If that's your choice fine - but do understand how little time you will really have. (My first trips to europe, when I was 19, we did 7 destinations - but in 5 weeks - and that was rushed.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Sep 5th, 2013, 05:04 PM
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You'll have NO time anywhere. Eight places in 22 days is about 1.5 days anywhere - ridiculous, as you'll have no time to see anything. Cut it down to about 4 places and cut out Italy totally.
StCirq is online now  
Old Sep 6th, 2013, 04:30 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 761
I think everyone is on the same page here. The first time to Europe with a Eurail pass, you run around trying to max out the number of places you can tick off your list. When you are young and have a lot of energy, you can do that. When you are older, that is untenable.

Again, there is no prize for maxing out the Eurail pass. Having said that, when I first flew to Europe in the Late Middle Ages, I did an itinerary that looked like this: London-fly to Rome-Florence-Zurich/Lucerne-Vienna-Paris-Amsterdam-Copenhagen-fly to Edinburgh-London. That was in 5 1/2 weeks. It was nuts but I had a good time--and I returned again and again, but I never did that sort of itinerary again and neither will you.

In 1990 I settled into home exchanging. I make my home exchange homes the center of my day trips--and they can be in off the beaten path locations.

I used my Toulouse home this year to finally see Carcassone. I also did side trips to Albi, Cordes sur Ciel for a Medieval Festival and the Caves of Niaux (one of the few actual open caves with really spectacular cave paintings which I ran into accidentally). Of course, I heavily visited Toulouse and had a tour of the Airbus factory.

I used my Bordeaux home hospitality exchange (only a week; the woman had previously visited me) to visit vineyards, see the summer spectacular La Bataille de Castillon and visit the center of Bordeaux.

I then went on to Spain (by air) where I was centered in Salamanca. I did do a side trip to Santiago de Compostella, but otherwise it was all day trips centered out of Salamanca. I did spend a total of 5 days in Madrid during my trip (in a hotel). Madrid is a fabulous city and it was not enough time to exhaust it, but it was enough time to exhaust me.

I had done several trips to Europe before settling into home exchanging (which is not for everyone). I will be going to Bielsko-Biala and Krakow in Poland and Frankfurt, Germany, next summer. Even in a lifetime of trips--and I am now retired--you see a few things and you then go home. I have done a total, I think, now of 22 home exchanges in Europe.

I tell people I see Europe little piece by little piece. It is a way to do it without killing myself--and I have had many interesting experiences (mostly good, but some bad).

Best of luck with your trip and I hope you take our advice so you can have some down time.
lauren_s_kahn is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2013, 09:36 AM
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To me it is covering WAY too much ground in a short amount of time. If you want to spend a lot of time riding trains and just have a little peak at a bunch of different places I guess it could work. If you want to actually see anything anywhere, I'd cut out at least 3 stops. Either skip Italy this time. Or skip London/Amsterdam and just to go Paris directly from Heathrow, and keep Italy.
suze is offline  
Old Sep 6th, 2013, 12:42 PM
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Yes add a day each to each place except Madrid IMO and either do a longer trip or cut off a couple of places. Relocating always takes much of a day with travel, packing up, un-packing, etc.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2013, 09:08 AM
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Madrid and Barcelona are two outliers here - cut them and enjoy the other cities more perhaps.
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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I would do London, Paris and Rome. I do think you are changing cities too often.
denisea is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2013, 10:08 AM
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I would do London, Paris and Rome. I do think you are changing cities too often.>

at 22 days that's a week per city and that would bore many novice travelers - I think perhaps 4 days is tops for the average first-time traveler that wants to see more than three cities - I agree your initial post is a bit too ambitious - 3 to 4 full days IME is enough for any city in Europe - I mean how many churches and museums do you want to visit?
PalenQ is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2013, 10:14 AM
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Sounds to me like the plane ticket has already been purchased? Into London and out of Madrid (if so, she can't cut Spain).
suze is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2013, 12:33 PM
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Italy and Spain are far apart so the wise way to combine them would be to either fly between them or take the overnight ferry from Barcelona to Livorno - near Pisa - perhaps the boat goes to Genoa? Save a night in a hotel and experience a quasi-cruise ship.
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