Europe in May

Old Mar 9th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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Europe in May

Hello! My husband and I just learnt that we have an unexpected 3 week break from work in May, and are really excited about using that time to travel around Europe. Our initial plans are to do Spain, Italy and Austria, but wanted to ask how would you spend 3 weeks in Europe in May... (we have already been to Paris, Amsterdam and Switzerland and loved it). We love history, culture, natural beauty and good food.

Thank you for your inputs in helping us plan a (well-deserved! ) holiday that we hope will be truly special.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 07:36 PM
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My wife and I are city people, and you might get different responses from those who like the countryside. If it were up to us, we'd fly to Vienna and spend three days there, and then go to Prague (two days), Venice (two days), Florence (three days), Rome (four days), and Barcelona (three days), flying home from Barcelona. Considering travel time, that makes up your three weeks.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 07:48 PM
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We are city people but we like staying in one place longer and doing day trips.
What do you like? Are you going to rent a car?
There is so much to see and do in all 3 countries - all have loads of history culture, great food and natural beauty to spare .
 
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 07:56 PM
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I'm a city person as well but wouldn't agree with that itinerary (just my opinion). It's too spread out and not long enough in any one spot. You lose a minimum of 1/2 day and sometimes longer each time you move. Personally, I would spend the whole three weeks in Italy, but I admit I'm an Italy lover!

Still, I think with three weeks, two countries would be better than three. Maybe 1-1/2 week each in Spain and Italy. I can't help with the Spain part, but with 10 nights in Italy, I'd do 3 nights Venice, 3 Florence and 4 Rome. With the whole time in Italy, I'd fly into Venice and spend 4 nights there, train to Florence and spend 3 nights there, rent a car and spend 5 nights in Tuscany visiting numerous hilltowns and 5 nights in Rome, flying home from there. I did this itinerary a year and a half ago, and it was a wonderful trip!
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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Regardless of where the folks recommend you stay, my advice is start in the south and head north as the month progresses, hopefully, to get warmer.

In your case, it's Spain to Italy to Austria.

Weather is very unpredictable. The best weather I've ever had in Europe was the year before the worst weather I've ever had.

To avoid long travel times, check out the discount airline companies... or check out the departures of the last town/city you're visiting in each country.

Last year I needed a Switzerland to Venice without a 9 hour train trip, and found Baboo Airlines. It was a lot of fun as we flew a turboprop low over the Alps.
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Old Mar 9th, 2007, 08:40 PM
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3 weeks gives you 19 days including travel time from place to place.
Venice 3 days train to
Florence 3 ( Sienna) train to
Rome 4

Fly to Seville 4 or 5
( side trips) and Granada fly to
Barcelona 4 or 5.
Love Vienna but cannot fit going to
a third country


home

 
Old Mar 9th, 2007, 11:59 PM
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Where are you flying from?
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 05:30 AM
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Thank you all for your suggestions. It looks like we are down to Spain and Italy then... Seville, Barcelona, Florence, Venice and Rome seem very interesting and we agree that they will take up our time. We had a couple of follow on questions:
a) When in Spain, we are surely headed to Seville, Cordoba, Granada, but feel we may have to trade off between Barcelona and Madrid. Would you recommend one over the other, or can we do both?
b) In Italy, we are certainly doing Florence, Rome and Venice. Is Naples / Capri recommended? Doable?
c) Within Spain and Italy, would you recommend renting a car or can we rely on public transport for our sightseeing?
d) Can you provide any names of low-cost airlines to fly from Spain to Italy? We live in NY and will likely fly out of JFK to Spain. What will be a good place to fly into first? [Seville?]
e) Would you have any suggestions for places to stay in?
Thank you so much for your responses and guidance in planning our trip.
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 06:13 AM
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hi love - how lucky!

can i make another suggestion, based on the south to north idea? [and assuming you can do open jaw]

in fact, two suggestions:

1. [assuming you don't want to go back to Paris, in which case you could drive up through the dordogne instead] fly to seville, work your way through andalucia, train to Madrid, train to BCN, train/drive to perpignan, drive through southern france to Marseilles/nice, fly home.

2. fly into sicily, tour the island, then fly to Bari, and drive up through southern italy to Rome, train to Venice, pick up car and drive through the dolomites, ending up in austria.

like OPs, I don't see how you could comfortably do all three countries.

oops, third idea, after andalucia, drive to portugal, and fly home from lisbon.

regards, ann
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:56 AM
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Hi L,

>..b) In Italy, we are certainly doing Florence, Rome and Venice. Is Naples / Capri recommended? Doable?<

Doable but not recommended.

See www.kayak.com for open-jaw flights to/from Europe.

See www.whichbudget.com for flights in Europe.

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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 08:10 AM
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www. vueling.com has good prices and connection between Italy and Spain.
(We are flying from Barcelona to Granada for 40 euros ). You can fly to Madrid for 3 days, take a fast train to Seville (less than 3 hours)stay around ( rent a car for 3 days) and fly to Barcelona for 3 days.
From their, there are flights to Venice 3 days, Florence 3 (Sienna) train to
Rome 4 days.
I would leave the rest because you might end up spending more time in airports and packing, checking in and out of hotels than enjoying your trip.
Even this is very packed for my taste.

 
Old Mar 10th, 2007, 08:15 AM
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sorry there not their
 
Old Mar 10th, 2007, 08:18 AM
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I think this is too much for three weeks. Andalucia - Granada, Sevilla and Cordoba - sound great. If you fly into Madrid, you could spend a day or two there if you really want to see it and then take the AVE high speed train to Cordoba. I'd skip Barcelona this trip. You could then fly to Rome and do Florence and/or Venice. Do you like the countryside at all? Cinque Terre on the Italian coast is amazing - five picturesque villages nestled in beautiful settings, all connected by a walking trail and a local train. Google it and check it out. You could skip Venice and do Rome and Florence along with Cinque Terre for a day or two.

One decision you'll have to make is train vs car. We like the freedom of having a car to see the small towns and villages between cities, but if you are mainly interested in the cities, the trains will suit you fine.
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 12:27 PM
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I'm a One World person and I just checked their schedule. It's about 9 1/4 hours JFK to Seville via Madrid.

I'd still squeeze in Barcelona if I could. From Barcelona to Rome is 1 hour 40 by plane, and the same time to Venice.

Once you get an idea (through One World as I did) check out alternative lower cost airlines.

Personal choice, I prefer Barcelona over Madrid.
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 06:28 PM
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Hi everyone!! Thanks for all the valuable inputs. We have arrived at the following itinerary...Please let us know what you think.

This is like a second honeymoon for us So, we would like to stay in 3 - star hotels at all locations. In particular, we have heard that Venice is a very romantic place, so, we would like to stay in a really nice/romantic hotel there. Any suggestions are welcome...

We would also appreciate any suggestions on must sees and must dos.

Do we need to buy the train tickets in advance? Also, would you recommend buying tickets in advance for any of the museums / shows (bull fight, flamenco, alhambra)/ any other places of interest?

Are there any dance/music shows that are unique to Italy that we should see?

Day1 - Fly into Madrid from NY....spend the day in Madrid

Day 2, 3 - Stay in Madrid - while in Madrid, we would like to watch a bull fight....would you recommend this? Any suggestions? (Should we do this in Seville instead?)

Day 4: Start out for Seville...spend the rest of the day in seville (We are interested in watching Flamenco dance + music. Is there anything you would recommend?)

Days 5, 6 - Walk around in Seville

Day 7 - Day trip to Cordoba from Seville

Day 8 - Travel to Granada and stay there (we plan to visit the Alhambra during the day and night on the same day...is it doable?)

Day 9 - Fly to Barcelona from Granada

Days 10,11,12 - Barcelona. Would you recommend visiting Montserrat?

Day 13 - Fly to Venice.

Days 14, 15 - Stay in Venice

Day 16 - Train from Venice to Florence

Days 17,18,19 - Stay in Florence.(We plan to explore Florence in 2 days and visit Pisa and Siena as well)
As of now, we do not intend to rent a car. Will we able to walk around Florence and do the day trips to Pisa and Siena by taking a bus/train?

Day 20 - Train from Florence to Rome

Days 21 - 23 - Stay in Rome

Day 24 - Fly back home
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Old Mar 10th, 2007, 07:01 PM
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you MUST book tickets for Alhambra ahead of time!
We took a bus to Siena , easy day trip .
Don't know about Pisa ( visited the place long time ago, nothing much there except the tower. I would rather stay in Florence)
 
Old Mar 11th, 2007, 06:22 AM
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Topping....Any comments on our itinerary? Please help.....
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 06:31 AM
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If you are set on a bullfight, either place, Sevilla or Madrid, would be great but you need to make sure your visit will coincide with the corrida calendar. Your hotel can get tickets for you once you arrive.

What kind of hotel budget do you have?
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 09:08 AM
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Hello! Should have said this earlier, but we were hoping to spend about Euro 100 - 125 per night on average, except in Venice where we are ok to go to Euro 200. Is that reasonable? What places to stay would you recommend?
Thank you.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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hi, love -

glad you're cutting down a bit - you'll see and enjoy more in the end.

As for the alhambra, you can do both day and night visit in one day, though we did the night visit on the evening we arrived, and the day visit the day after.

if you access www.alhambratickets.com, you'll find that you can buy tickets direct online [other agents are selling guided tours, which IMO are unnecessary] and that you have a choice, for day visits, between am and pm. So far as I've been able to work ouit, of you hve a morning ticket you can stay all day; if you have a pm ticket you can only enter at 2pm onwards, so the morning ticket is the way to go. then you need to pick you time - 8.30am onwards - for your entrance to the Nasrid palaces [you can access the site itself at any time within your time slot, the time on the ticket refers to your 30 minutes for entrance to the palaces, not the other parts of the alhambra, but you can stay as long as you like in the palaces once you are in there.]

For the night visit, again you can enter the site at any time you like whilst it's open, but you must enter the palaces[ the only buildings open at night] during your 30 minute time slot.

IMO it is well worth seeing at night as well as the day - just the gardens at night are lovely, and the palaces take on another character.

We stayed at the hotel guadelupe just opposite the alhambra - 60e per night for a large room with full bathroom, plus discounted parking in the alhambra car park opposite. there's a bus into the town from just outside the alhambra, and more importantly, plenty of buses back up from the square in the middle of the town.

we didn't see any flamenco while we were there, but there are plenty of shows advertised.

If you click on my name, you will find my trip report of a recent visit to Madrid, and detials of the flamenco show we attended.

regards, ann

If you access the official alhambra website
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