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-   -   Feedback Please - 17 Day Itinerary (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/feedback-please-17-day-itinerary-1017595/)

Matt_1313 Jun 20th, 2014 07:30 AM

Feedback Please - 17 Day Itinerary
 
Hello,

My girlfriend and I will be heading to Europe this November/December for 17 nights. Typically, we wouldn't go in November but we got a great deal on flights and couldn't pass up.

We've done some preliminary planning and are trying to plan out our route. She wants to try and hit as many of the major cities as we can, to get a brief but full and wide variety of experiences. We think we have a basic idea of where we would go and have this determined so far:

Nov 20 -- Arrive in Milan at 7:45am from NYC. Depart immediately to Zermatt
Nov 21 - Day in Zermatt, night train (8:00pm) from Zermatt to Rome via Milan.
Nov 22 - Rome
Nov 23 - Rome
Nov 24 - Rome
Nov 25 - Venice (would take train overnight on the 24th from Rome)
Nov 26 - Berlin/Barcelona (fly to Berlin around Noon from Venice)
Nov 27 - Berlin/Barcelona
Nov 28 - Berlin/Barcelona
Nov 29 - Amsterdam
Nov 30 - Amsterdam
Dec 1 - London
Dec 2 - London
Dec 3 - London
Dec 4 - Paris
Dec 5 - Paris
Dec 6 - Paris
Dec 7 - Home.

Any input on if we should do Berlin or Barcelona? That section of our proposal still seems up in the air and we can't really decide. The above route is based on going to Berlin, if we did Barcelona instead we would likely swap the route around a bit (Zermatt-Venice-Rome-Barcelona-Paris-Amsterdam-London).

Any thoughts, feedback, and recommendations are welcome. I realize this is probably going to seem rushed, just trying to squeeze in as much as we can.

mamcalice Jun 20th, 2014 07:46 AM

It is rushed. You underestimate the amount of time it takes to change locations. My suggestion will probably not sit well but with 17 days (actually 16 on the ground) I would limit my trip to 4 or, at most, 5 stops. I would eliminate Zermatt and Venice. I would probably choose Barcelona rather than Berlin at that time of year. Rome, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Paris and London would make a nice, if rushed, trip. Happy travels.

BigRuss Jun 20th, 2014 07:54 AM

Can't see everything. Three out of Barcelona, Rome, Paris, London would be good in this amount of time.

That said, it seems your flights to Milan and back from Paris are set. So you could fly to Milan, train to Venice that day or the next. Stay 2-3 nights, fly to Barcelona for 4, London for 4-5, Paris for the rest.

It doesn't "seem rushed," it will be rushed.

janisj Jun 20th, 2014 07:57 AM

Realistically this is a mess in the making. And especially at the time of year you are traveling w/ short days and possible bad weather.

What you really have is:
Most of 1 usable day in Zermatt (your arrival day will be eaten up w/ travel and jet lag)
2.5 days in Rome
1 day in Venice
a little over 2 days in Berlin or Barcelona
1.5 days in Amsterdam
2.5 days in London
2.5 days in Paris

You'll be spending a LOT of extra time/money just getting from place to place.

IMO you time is <u>especially</u> short in London and Paris, and Rome and Venice could use more time too (or skip Venice - Dec isn't the best time to visit the city). I'd also skip Zermatt - you are traveling over night, schlepping to Zermatt and then leaving before you even get your head clear.

Robert2533 Jun 20th, 2014 08:47 AM

Rushed doesn't quite fit. 5 countries, 8 cities, in 16 days is a little more than rushed! Unless this is part of some reality show and there's a prize for the first to cross the line at CDG.

Dukey1 Jun 20th, 2014 09:37 AM

Having been there, and more than once, the first thing I would do is cut Zermatt totally out of this "picture." Why? Because, and due to my major <B>assumption</B> that the main reason you are going there is to view the Matterhorn, that "view" is going to totally rely on clear weather and countin on that after going all that way is, I think, iffy at best.

The village itself (you can walk from one end to the other in an hour0 i simply do not think is worth what you are thinking of "paying" in terms of time, etc.

I would go either directly by rail to either Venice or Rome but not both.

Barcelona vs. Berlin: they are totally different in terms of what to do and see so try to pick one or the other.

Whatever you do, getting a wide variety of experiences obviously depends on the KIND of experiences you want.

More and very specific feedback from you might make advice giving a bit easier.

dwdvagamundo Jun 20th, 2014 10:00 AM

Concur with all the above.

Barcelona instead of Berlin at that time of year. And Venice is probably going to be dreary too and subject to acqua alta. So go to Venice only if you bring your hip waders or prepare to see Piazza San Marco from afar.

But this whole thing sounds more like a forced march than a vacation. We did something like that on our first trip abroad (to the Mideast) and have learned that less is more.

Why not see some of Milan--it is one of the great cities of Europe, then train to Rome, fly to Barcelona, train to Madrid, fly to Paris and then train to London (or Vice versa). That's still very rushed but it's more compact and gives you a little more time in each place.

ribeirasacra Jun 20th, 2014 10:38 AM

God I am feeling dizzy just reading this. Please slow down and see something of what you are visiting rather than ticking boxes.

debragartin Jun 20th, 2014 10:39 AM

My husband and I just returned from a month long trip to Europe. Our 30 yr. old niece joined us for 2 weeks, her first trip to Europe. We wanted her to see Amsterdam, Brussels (we have a friend there) Paris, Barcelona...4 countries in 2 weeks was too much. By the time you spend getting to the place, settle in, find your way around and get comfortable, it's time to pack up and go again. We ended up in Sitges for our niece last two days, which she said "We should have just come here in the first place" lol...after she left, we were suppose to go to Madrid and then Dubai...we changed our flight and parked our behinds on the beach in Sitges...awwww, it felt good to just settle in and enjoy...

Matt_1313 Jun 20th, 2014 02:54 PM

Thank you all for your feedback.

For the person that asked about confirmed flights, all that is confirmed right now is the arrival flight into Milan.

Do you think if we eliminated the Barcelona/Berlin leg adding those days to Rome, London, and Paris is might work out better?The itinerary would then look something like this:

Nov 20 -- Arrive in Milan at 7:45am from NYC. Depart immediately to Zermatt
Nov 21 - Day in Zermatt, night train (8:00pm) from Zermatt to Venice via Milan.
Nov 22 - Venice
Nov 23 - Rome
Nov 24 - Rome
Nov 25 - Rome
Nov 26 - Rome
Nov 27 - Paris
Nov 28 - Paris
Nov 29 - Paris
Nov 30 - Paris
Dec 1 - Amsterdam
Dec 2 - Amsterdam
Dec 3 - London
Dec 4 - London
Dec 5 - London
Dec 6 - London
Dec 7 - Home

Robert2533 Jun 20th, 2014 04:04 PM

It should work fine. It gives you enough time to relax and enjoy!

janisj Jun 20th, 2014 04:22 PM

Forget Zermatt. Really. What do you hope to accomplish by dashing from Milan to Zermatt? The chances of having any sort of views in that very short window of time ate pretty slim.

janisj Jun 20th, 2014 04:43 PM

should be >>are pretty slim<< . . .

AJPeabody Jun 20th, 2014 05:06 PM

"Nov 20 -- Arrive in Milan at 7:45am from NYC. Depart immediately to Zermatt" What? No deplaning, luggage collection, passport control? Will you make a connection to Zermatt, is the trip direct, will it involve changes? Quite a day! And with full jetlag! 7:45 am in Milan is 1:45 am in NYC.

"Nov 21 - Day in Zermatt, night train (8:00pm) from Zermatt to Venice via Milan." Does the night train involve any changes on the way to Venice? Will you actually sleep for something like a night?

Nov 22 - Venice Nov 23 - Rome Do you travel from Venice to Rome instantaneously? Of course not. Either Nov 22 or Nov 23 is mostly or completely dedicated to checking out, getting to the station, getting to Rome, getting to lodging, and checking in. Oh, yes, you may want to eat.

Nov 26 - Rome Nov 27 - Paris Ditto, more or less.
Nov 30 - Paris Dec 1 - Amsterdam Another ditto.
Dec 2 - Amsterdam Dec 3 - London Ditto.

Your trip is very heavy on travel and transfers. It's one thing if you are familiar with all these places, their languages, their local transport, their geography and locations of the inexpensive lodging, and international trains and planes, and so on. It's quite another matter to believe in instantaneous problem-free transfers every couple of days. If you count arrival and departure, seven days of your trip are travel days.

I am not trying to sound harsh, just adding a bit of realism. Please rethink and return for this site's help. I don't want to scare you off, just want you to have a trip that does not involve so much wasted time.

Jean Jun 20th, 2014 05:14 PM

Matt_1313, you won't get to Zermatt until almost 2:30p and the sun will set at 4:50p. The overnight train options on a Friday from Zermatt to Venice that I see involve long (5/8 hours) connections in the middle of the night in Domodossola or Milan. This is not the train just stopping in the station; you have to get off and wait for the connecting train.

If this were my trip, I'd skip Zermatt and go straight to Venice.

kybourbon Jun 20th, 2014 05:18 PM

>>>Nov 21 - Day in Zermatt, night train (8:00pm) from Zermatt to Venice via Milan.<<<

There isn't a night train from Zermatt to Rome or Venice. The latest you could leave Zermatt and reach Venice that night is 2pm. It will be a 9 hour journey with changes in Brig, Domodossola, Milan (you even have to change train stations in Milan). You need to forget Zermatt.

I would drop some of the northern cities in favor of southern cities for weather purposes. They days will be very short and cold.

Dukey1 Jun 20th, 2014 05:43 PM

Not to mention you'll have to wait for five hours in Domodossola until 5+ AM so as I recommended in my original reply, forget Zermatt.

nytraveler Jun 20th, 2014 05:46 PM

I think you have not allowed for:

The large numbers of transfer from city to another that will take almost half your trip

The fact that days will be very short and some sights will be open shorter hours due to being off season

You are not allowing for weather delays - perfectly possible in winter in almost all those places. You schedule is so tight that if you are stuck an extra day in some places you will need to completely reorganize your itinerary and reservations on the fly - at who knows what cost

And you need to understand that the tallest mountains are many days (perhaps more than half) not visible due to clouds - and you don;t have time to ascend anything.

Matt_1313 Jun 27th, 2014 11:06 AM

Thank you all for your feedback.

We've evaluated a bit and looked into additional travel options and have come up with the following plan.

Nov 20 -- Arrive in Milan at 7:45am from NYC. Travel to Zermatt after landing via train (allows for some relaxation, sleep if needed on the way), arriving at about 3:15
Nov 21 - Day in Zermatt.
Nov 22 - Travel to Rome in the morning, arrive around 1:00pm.
Nov 23 - Rome
Nov 24 - Rome
Nov 25 - Rome. Night train to Venice.
Nov 26 - Venice. Arrive at about 7:45am.
Nov 27 - Flight to Paris at 9:00am. Arriving around Noon.
Nov 28 - Paris
Nov 29 - Paris
Nov 30 - Paris
Dec 1 - Amsterdam. Early morning train, arriving in Amsterdam around 10:00am.
Dec 2 - Amsterdam
Dec 3 - Early morning train to London, arrive in London at 10:30am.
Dec 4 - London
Dec 5 - London
Dec 6 - London
Dec 7 - Home

ribeirasacra Jun 27th, 2014 11:58 AM

Still too rushed. One night stands do not work.
This trip is more like ticking boxes rather than absorbing the locations you visit.
Paris Amsterdam then back towards London is simply a waste of time. This needs a serious rethink.


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