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elmendez1922 Jul 27th, 2016 02:21 PM

Europe itinerary
Hello Fodor's community, this is my first post, so please let me apologize in advance for any newby comment or idiotic thing that i might be inquiring about,

As for my inquiry:

I will be flying to europe in late sep for 11 days. due to price and the fact that i have a few friends there i booked my flight with a 1 day stopover in Iceland. while in Iceland my couple and I plan to do a golden circle tour (8 hrs) then stop at the blue lagoon (2 - 3 hrs) and then head to the airport, we are taking a red eye from Reykjavik and landing in Paris really really early in the morning. we are landing on my couple birthday and Paris has been her dream city to visit.

she has friends in Venice so we are planning to go there. I was planning to spend 2 or 3 days in Paris, renting a car and drive to venice via Switzerland, I was thinking of doing a direct drive ejoying the drives and vistas. then we are thinking of spending 1 day in Milan and then head to Venice and stay 2 or 3 days. then drive back to Paris, stay that night near the airport and then flight home.

is this doable? are there any better alternatives? is driving though Switzerland a good idea? (i am looking for some amazing vistas of the alps if possible)

thank you for your help.

MmePerdu Jul 27th, 2016 02:43 PM

You don't have time for all that driving and vista-seeing with just 11 days. Significantly increase the number of days you have for this trip or fly from Paris to Venice & back. Even better, leave from Venice without backtracking to Paris.

PalenQ Jul 27th, 2016 02:48 PM

Have you investigated drop-off charges for renting a car in one country and returning it to another?

Are you going back to France - you could drop the car in say Nice to avoid those usually steep charges.

You can see just as much or more from the train of the Swiss Alps than a car - esp if you are the driver who has to keep eyes peeled on roads which also tend to tunnel under the high Alps - those that go up and over are neat but take so so long if going straight thru.

Cars are a bane in Italian cities -not just Venice - large areas of city centers off-limits to private cars these days - cars are great for exploring say rural Tuscany or Umbria but if mainly cities stick to the now fabulous Italian train system- could be much cheaper too if you buy discounted tickets if you book well in advance (

For loads of great stuff on European trains check great info on discounted tickets; and

There is an overnight train Paris to Venice too that could be an adventure and save overall daytime time and the cost of a hotel.

I'd suggest going via Switzerland by train and spending a day or two in say the Interlaken area - to me and many the essence of the awesome Swiss Alps:

Stay in a mountain village like Grindelwald (you can drive to it) - even if going by car spend a few days in Switzerland if you really want to see the majestic Swiss Alps up close.

A quick drive-by IMO is not worth the lots of extra time if going between Paris and Venice as quick as possible - possible but a long long day. Stay if possible in Switzerland a day or two.

Kathie Jul 27th, 2016 03:28 PM

Trains are more practical, less hassle and less expensive (when you take one-way drop off fees into consideration). And since you aren't diving, you can look at the scenery without worrying that you will hit another car or drive off the road.

Think about the proportion of time spent in the places you re going to Europe to experience versus the amount of transit time you have. The road trip you have proposed means you will spend at least half of your time in transit.

It isn't clear to me just how much time you have on the ground in Europe, as it appears that the 11 days includes your flight time and stop over in Iceland, yielding maybe 8 days on the ground. If that is all the time you have, then the suggestion to fly to Venice makes sense, though with the very short trip, you should also consider staying in Paris the whole time and taking a day trip or two.

StCirq Jul 27th, 2016 03:32 PM

Sorry, but this is not a workable plan. You don't have enough time to do even half of this. If you rent a car in France and drive it through Switzerland and on to Italy and drop it there, the one-way drop-off fee will cost you a small fortune. Plus, 11 days is barely enough time to visit even Paris and Venice, never mind throwing Switzerland into the mix. Fly into one and out of the other.

As an aside, the Blue Lagoon seems to appeal to a lot of people, but it is very expensive compared to the many, many lovely public lagoons and hot springs in Reykyavik and elsewhere in Iceland.

suze Jul 27th, 2016 03:53 PM

No, that doesn't work as you have outlined it... too much driving time, covering too much distance for the number of days you have.

How about:

3 days in Paris

Take the train to the Lac Leman area of Switzerland (train into Lausanne then say in Vevey or Montreux) for 3 days

Take the train to Venice, stay 3 days & fly home from there

janisj Jul 27th, 2016 03:53 PM

In 11 days Paris, Venice and maybe a day or two in Milan would be doable -- but certainly NOT if you drive.

If is is actually more like 8 days (which it sounds like) - just Paris and Venice and fly in between the two.

nytraveler Jul 27th, 2016 06:58 PM

Sorry - you are trying to squash 20 pounds of stuff into a 5 pound bag.

With just 8 days on the ground you need to limit yourself to 2 (TWO) places to stay. Either Paris and a place in Switz or Paris and Venice. For the former train between the two. For the latter fly.

Definitely fly into Paris and out of you second city - or you will be wasting a whole day getting back to Paris for your return flight.

If you don't agree then write down your trip as a day by day list. Put where you will start, what you will do or see, what travel there will be (specific, using train or plane schedules, for driving look at for time and add about 30%), then where you will sleep.

If you do this you will see how very little time you are spending doing/seeing things versus just trekking from one place to another.

And don't think I'm against road trips - we have done more than 30 of them and loved each one. But the trips were many days longer and did not focus on 2 cities in which cars are worse than useless (Paris and Venice).

elmendez1922 Jul 27th, 2016 07:08 PM

To all,

Thank you for your replies and tips on what to do with the days we have in Europe.

I thought of driving due to the fact that i have to return to Paris in order to return home. The rental Car after taxes for the week is just 237$ which I found reasonable (Besides I love to drive). I wanted just to drive Through Switzerland, but was not planning to stay (unless there is a must do thing there). My days without travel and taking out Iceland out of the picture are only 9 days that is correct. with that in mind,then i assume the best thing to do is Paris and Venice? (3 and 3 days, 1 day to travel in and 1 to travel back?) (Via Plane?)(My couple wants to visit her friend in Venice that is why it became a destination)

I am sorry if I am asking too much, is our first trip to Europe and to be honest the more I read the more thing I want to stuff in the itinerary.

janisj Jul 27th, 2016 07:52 PM

>>I thought of driving due to the fact that i have to return to Paris in order to return home. <<

Driving makes no sense at all. Paris > Someplace in Switzerland > Venice > Milan > Paris is a full 30 hours in the car (that is w/ no stops and not on the scenic side roads) so in 'real life' is a minimum 5 days straight driving. That doesn't include any sight seeing.

>>I am sorry if I am asking too much, is our first trip to Europe and to be honest the more I read the more thing I want to stuff in the itinerary.<<

Unfortunately, unless you add several weeks to the trip, you can't stuff in the things you already have.

>>only 9 days that is correct. with that in mind,then i assume the best thing to do is Paris and Venice? (3 and 3 days, 1 day to travel in and 1 to travel back?)<<

It is better to think in terms of night. When do you fly into Paris and when do you fly home?

Assuming it is 8 day/9 nights until we get clarification: I'd consider staying 4 days/5 nights in Paris, fly to Venice for 2 days/3 nights -- then return to CDG the night before you fly home.

elmendez1922 Jul 27th, 2016 08:00 PM

To all:

Thank you, NYTraveler that website has clearly shown me how uneducated I was on the subject of driving in Europe. now that I have seen this I think the only option is too fly (Which I am not too keen off to be honest).

if possible can someone read what i wrote below and tell me if I am crazy or does it sound like a reasonable plan please.

day of arrival" arrive in Paris (0600): complete day in Paris
next day: complete day experiencing Paris.
next day: last day in Paris
End of first segment
Following day: Fly to Venice as early as possible
land in Venice: go and visit GF friend and start sightseeing
next day: continue experiencing all Venice has to offer
next day: last day in Venice.
Next day: day trip to Milan (Using Friends car)
end of segment #2
Fly back to Paris (just wonder around, eat just enjoy the day)
Fly back home.

Is this doable? does it sound reasonable?

janisj Jul 27th, 2016 08:31 PM

Much better - :)

But taking a train from Venice to Milan makes more sense than driving. What would you do w/ the car IN Milan?

Kathie Jul 27th, 2016 08:38 PM

This is more realistic. Still, you are arriving after an overnight flight on day 1. Few of us are up for a full day of sightseeing after having napped briefly sitting in an airplane seat. So I wouldn't anticipate that you will have a full day to explore Paris, though you certainly can do something. So you really have two full days in Paris, plus part of a jet-lagged day.

The next day you fly to Venice, will have a few hours to see friend and sightsee, then you have two full days in Venice. Next, you plan to drive to Milan for a day. Parking in European cities is expensive and difficult to find. The car will be an encumbrance to you. Then there are the areas in each city that allow no cars. If you happen to drive into this area, you will get traffic tickets a couple of months later - to in this case, the friends will get the tickets. The train will be much more convenient.

I'd forget Milan. Decide whether you'd rather have that extra day in Paris or in Venice, but do yourselves a favor and don't add another destination.

PalenQ Jul 28th, 2016 11:39 AM

Cars and Italian cities are a bad mix more and more- hotels may well not offer parking and public transit is so so good.

Americans naturally are wed to cars when we travel around - but we have no real great inter-city train system as Europe does.

If going mainly to cities take the train.

If you have time to leisurely drive between cities then maybe drive but just to go say Paris-Milan-Venice-Etc cities take the train.

elmendez1922 Jul 28th, 2016 06:29 PM

Thank you for all the replies, I greatly appreciate it.

after all your suggestions and reading some more I have decided to do just Paris-Venice for this trip. we will fly to Venice, what i read it seems easy-jet is a good budget airline.

I do have one more question or curiosity. if it was you what would you do? would you do Paris-Venice ? or would you choose another destination (Paris-London?) I am just curious.

Thank you for all your help everyone.

StCirq Jul 28th, 2016 07:28 PM

I think we've all been really clear. Just do Paris and Venice. You really only have a very few days. On paper it may seem like a long time, but in reality it's going to fly by.

janisj Jul 28th, 2016 08:15 PM

Good decision. Yes - easyJet is fine. Be sure to follow their rules for both luggage and check in.

>>if it was you what would you do? would you do Paris-Venice ? or would you choose another destination (Paris-London?) I am just curious. <<

No one can answer that for you. Everyone will have a different favorite city pair. Me -- I try to visit London every single trip to Europe (London/Paris, London/Venice, London/Amsterdam, whatever). Others -- a trip to Europe isn't complete w/o a visit to Paris, or Barcelona, or Tuscany or wherever.

But Paris/Venice would be a really lovely trip. Don't second guess yourself.

PalenQ Jul 29th, 2016 08:05 AM

I do have one more question or curiosity. if it was you what would you do? would you do Paris-Venice ? or would you choose another destination (Paris-London?) I am just curious.>

As janis says everyone would have a different answer to that - I always do Amsterdam and Paris when going to Europe - if possible. Not sure many would find several days in Venice optimal as it is a small city but has some nice day trips- I'd be tempted to say 4 days in Paris - 3 days in Venice and 4 days say in Rome would be possible (or 4 days in Switzerland) but each travels to a different beat - that is not rushed to be - but to others it would be.

Lamorna Jul 29th, 2016 08:25 AM

I am from the UK and go to London regularly. I went to Paris for the first time this year and was shocked at how much it felt like London! I felt really 'at home', the architecture, colours, everything was the same. Obviously Paris has that unmistakeable vibe of its own, but there was a moment down by the river where I felt like I was at Embankment in London!

My point is that I find London and Paris really similar - large, cosmopolitan, arty working cities, whereas Venice I think would be something completely different, so I would do Venice with either Paris or London x

Sassafrass Jul 29th, 2016 08:30 AM

Some options to consider, advice and reason for these suggestions.

Since you do not want to fly, Paris and London would be a great combo for you because you could take the train between. Easier than going through lines at airports. However, what about GF wanting to go to Venice?

Let your GF choose. Makes for a happy GF and a happy trip. Shows you have respect and consideration for her.

If you stick with Venice, do not do a day trip to Milan. You could do Verona, but there are wonderful places even closer: Burano, Vicenza, Paduva.

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