Europe in two weeks

Dec 5th, 2012, 11:06 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2012
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Europe in two weeks

I am planning a trip to Europe with my girlfriend in mid-September/2013: 14th-29th. This does not include the days when I'll fly to/from Brazil, so I will have 16 full days of travel.
I am 29 and she is 27, and as it's our first approach in western Europe, I'm interested more in the main touristic attractions, like the Eiffel Tower than in seeing all the museums other the Louvre and a few main others. I've done some research and I've come up with this itinerary:

Overnight flight to London
London - September 14th-17th (4 days)
(Early morning train to Brussels on the 18th)

Brussels - September 18th (1 day)
(Early morning train to Amsterdam on the 19th)

Amsterdam - September 19th-20th (2 days)
(Early morning flight/train to Paris on the 20th - whichever is cheaper)

Paris - September 21st-24th (4 days)
(Overnight flight/train to Barcelona - whichever is cheaper)

Barcelona - September 25th-27th (3 days)
(Early morning flight/train/bus to Madrid on the 28th - whichever is cheaper)

Madrid - September 28th-29th (2 days)
Fly home the morning of the 30th

Does this seem like a reasonable plan? I've allowed extra days for the cities with more attractions that I consider essential to see.

One question: is there direct travel from Amsterdam to Paris?

Do you suggest on taking any side/day trips? I've opted to stay on the main cities, because of the lack of time, but if you find it's worth visiting any other city that I haven't mentioned, please feel free to suggest.

Thanks in advance.
sl33p is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 12:26 AM
  #2  
 
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Does this seem like a reasonable plan? No one night stands do not work. The days you have allowed in large cities do not allow you to see and observe the places. What is the rush?

One question: is there direct travel from Amsterdam to Paris? Yes this one http://bit.ly/SP59qu
Do you suggest on taking any side/day trips? First of all allow more time in some of the locations you plan to stay.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 01:04 AM
  #3  
 
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I would skip Brussels and add the time to Amsterdam or London.
Cathinjoetown is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 04:35 AM
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Why bother going to Paris for the night - just fly directly to Barcelona from Amsterdam. You will waste more time getting to and from airports and train stations in Paris than you will seeing anything so its not worth the time and cost.
jamikins is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 04:41 AM
  #5  
 
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Too much real estate not enough time. London Amsterdam Paris with an open jaw ticket would be my suggested itinerary. Have fun with what ever you do. This is not your last trip!
PAplumber is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 04:46 AM
  #6  
 
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Agree - with 16 days I would see London, Paris, Amsterdam with maybe a stopover in Brussels.

Count on losing approx. 1/2 a day every time you move with checking in and out of hotels, travel to train stations/airports, waiting for trains/planes, travel etc.

1 night in a location gives you really two 1/2 days at most.
jamikins is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 04:46 AM
  #7  
 
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Brussels is not worth a visit unless you want to see the Penguin Museum and the odd brewery. The place is a hodge podge of the hated european government buildings and their employees.

I think I might do train London, Paris, Amsterdam and then fly to Barcelona (Schiphol is a big airport and very accessible from the centre of Amsterdam)

Side trips, each city has at least one or two standard tours, so stonehenge or Bath or Oxford is big from London, Paris has Versailles,Reims and Givenchy
bilboburgler is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 04:47 AM
  #8  
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ribeirasacra: Thanks for the link. I will think about cutting off Brussels, and extending either Paris or London (the big cities). The "rush" you mention is to see as much as we can in two weeks, which is the longest period we can afford.

Cathinjoetown: I'll think about it, however a friend told me they have the most beautiful square in Europe and the city is not big so one day would suffice considering I'll have to go there anyway from London to Holland (the train pass-by Brussels).

jamikins: As described, I'll stay 4 full days in Paris, not one night.
sl33p is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 05:12 AM
  #9  
 
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Trying to see as much as you can is a fairly common first timer error. By trying to cram in as many PLACES as possible you dont actually get to SEE much in each place. Not saying you have to spend all your time in 1 place, but giving yourself time to see the places you go means cutting back on the number of places. Your trip is doable as it is but you may consider making it slightly lessed rushed.

This is what you currently have:

September 14 – Arrive in London, get into city centre and ready to go out around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 15 – London (1 day)
Sept 16 – London (1 day)
Sept 17 – London (1 day)
Sept 18 – train to Brussels, get to hotel and get ready to sightsee around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 19 – train to Amsterdam, get to hotel and get ready to sightsee around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 20 – Amsterdam then fly/train to Paris (probably 3/4 day in Amsterdam)
Sept 21 – Paris (1 day)
Sept 22 – Paris (1 day)
Sept 23 –Paris (1 day)
Sept 24 – Fly early morning to Barcelona, get to hotel and get ready to sightsee around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 25 – Barcelona (1 ady)
Sept 26 – Barcelona (1 day)
Sept 27 – Barcelona (1 day)
Sept 28 – train/fly to Madrid, get to hotel and get ready to sightsee around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 29 – Madrid (1 day)
Sept 30 – fly home

I would drop Brussels - yeah it’s a nice square but you can see if in pictures and to me it is not worth the stop. But if you have to just see it as a stop on the way to Amsterdam. You can take the Eurostar from London to Brussels and you have to change there anyways to get on a train to Amsterdam. Take a couple hours and have lunch in the square then head on to Amsterdam to give yourself at least a full day there on 19 Sept.

I would also drop Madrid and fly home from Barcelona and add a day to London and Paris. You will likely be jetlagged in London and it could do with an extra day, as could Paris.

So you would have:
September 14 – Arrive in London, get into city centre and ready to go out around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 15 – London (1 day)
Sept 16 – London (1 day)
Sept 17 – London (1 day)
Sept 18 – London (1 day)
Sept 19 – train to Amsterdam (via Brussels if you want), get to hotel and get ready to sightsee around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 20 – Amsterdam (1 day)
Sept 21 – Amsterdam then fly/train to Paris (probably 3/4 day in Amsterdam)
Sept 22 - Paris (1 day)
Sept 23 – Paris (1 day)
Sept 24 –Paris (1 day)
Sept 25 – Paris (1 day)
Sept 26 – Fly early morning to Barcelona, get to hotel and get ready to sightsee around midday (1/2 day)
Sept 27 - Barcelona (1 day)
Sept 28 – Barcelona (1 day)
Sept 29 – Barcelona (1 day)
Sept 30 – fly home
jamikins is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 05:27 AM
  #10  
 
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Jamikins has a great plan. It is rushed but you will meet your goal of seeing as much as possible but leaving yourselves enough time to actually enjoy your destinations. Rushed but doable. I would skip Brussels even though you may pass through it.
mamcalice is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 05:44 AM
  #11  
 
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Posts: 79
I meant London Paris Amsterdam
PAplumber is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 06:26 AM
  #12  
 
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This summer we paid 39 euros for the Thalys train from Amsterdam to Paris. Booked months in advance, as soon as ticets for my dates were released( get cheapest tickets that way)

From Barcelona to Paris we flew on Easyjet, booked well in advance, cost for two of us, total including taxes was 97 euros, that included paying to check in a suitcase. Book early.

I also agree drop Brussels.. you are setting up a nice tour of train stations and airports, but I don't think that is your intention .

When you allow two nights in one place you are actually only getting one full day in a place, so plan accordingly.
justineparis is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 07:02 AM
  #13  
 
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I also like jamikins plan, if these are the cities you want to visit. On the Spain portion you only have 5 days - this is just enough for Madird OR Barcelona, but not both. It would be great if you could arrange to visit Barcelona during La Merce, the biggest festival of the year. The dates haven't been announced yet but it's likely going to be from September 20-24.

http://merce.bcn.cat/en
CathyM is offline  
Dec 6th, 2012, 10:41 AM
  #14  
 
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The "rush" you mention is to see as much as we can in two weeks, which is the longest period we can afford. But that is the point you will not see anything rushing around. Slow down observe and enjoy.
This trip is no organised bus tour. You have to count hours checking in and out of hotels; Packing and unpacking; getting to and from airports; Checking in for flights, waiting for flights.; upon landing you have to wait for luggage.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 01:35 AM
  #15  
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Many thanks guys for all the tips!

jamikins: Man, many thanks for the adjustment you did! I will probably follow this ininerary, as it's rushed but doable as mamcalice mentioned. I still need to check with Miles and More, as I'll be issuing tickets from/to Brazil with miles. I think that maybe Barcelona-Sao Paulo will cost more miles than Madrid-SP, so I'd need to adjust.

justineparis: Thanks for the logistics tips. I'll be monitoring the website for cheap tickets

CathyM: Thank you so much! I loved the idea of going to this festival!

ribeirasacra: Hi, I appreciate your advices, but if you've really wanted to add something useful to the conversation, you'd have to do more than criticize and maybe describe in terms of days quantity, like jamikins did.

I'm currently working abroad and travelling back and forth from Brazil to some African countries. Before that I've lived in Bulgaria, and have also visited US, Romania, Serbia, Greece, Paraguai, Uruguai, Argentina and Chile.
So, I'm not showing off, I just want to tell you that I have learned from some experience that it's not like an organized bus tour. Thank you for your tip on the train London-Paris, but really re-think about the "rushed" way you write your comments
sl33p is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 06:17 AM
  #16  
 
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Thank you for your tip on the train London-Paris, but really re-think about the "rushed" way you write your comments
My rushed comments? Sorry but you gave me credit for something I did not write about, may be you are rushed? I am willing to write loads, but only for those who have time to sit and listen. Unfortunately I feel you are not such a person. No matter how many counties you may have lived in you are still following a very rushed itinerary.
Enjoy your one night stands.
ribeirasacra is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 06:34 AM
  #17  
 
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Posts: 78,339
for Eurostar or 'chunnel Train' fares book very early as the cheaper ones are very limited in number - midweek days have lots more chance to get than busier weekend/Fridays do when demand is highest. - www.eurostar.com

For Paris to Amsterdam www.thalys.com - again the early bird gets the worm -cheaper tickets sell out very early and cheaper tickets could be much cheaper than flying - especially if you factor in cost of getting to the airports and back - even timewise trains being city center to city center can be nearly as quick and not as likely to be delayed or cancelled due to some Iceland volcano blowing its top.

There is an overnight train Paris to Barcelona - save day travel time and cost of a hotel - www.elipsos.com and again the early bird gets the worm for limited in number cheaper seats.

For loads of great info on European trains, night trains, Eurostar and Thalys, etc I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sites - www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 07:10 AM
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I'd ditch Brussels and Amsterdam and add one of those three days to each of London, Paris and Barcelona.

Brussels is just the Euro/Nato/administrative capital of Europe and taking a decently long train ride just to spend a night there is worthless.

Amsterdam is a bit far afield considering you're going to switch direction and go back west to Paris and south to Barcelona. All the moving around from London to EUville to Amsterdam in a short time will tire you a bit and make the first day in Paris less enjoyable.

London, Paris and Barcelona are all great and an extra night in each will allow you to do day trips (Dover, Oxford, Windsor, Cambridge, Bath-Salisbury, etc. from London; Versailles or other from Paris; Montserrat or Girona from Barcelona) and still experience a good bit of those cities.
BigRuss is offline  
Dec 7th, 2012, 09:22 AM
  #19  
 
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Brussels would rank very low on my attempt to see as much in two weeks as possible - lots nicer places to spend your valuable time - yeh hop on the Chunnel train - see the vastly overrated Grand's Place and statue of a boy pissing - the symbol of the city now and move onto Germany or France or go to Bruges, near Brussels for a memorable night in one of Europe's most romantic towns!

Amsterdam could really use an extra day - there is a whole lot to see and do there IME.
PalenQ is offline  
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