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Final Itinerary, Any Suggestions for Changes?

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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:17 AM
  #1
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Final Itinerary, Any Suggestions for Changes?

I recently acquired a round trip ticket to Paris. A friend of mine had purchased it for a work-stay, but now she can not go, so I bought it from her. I have done a lot of research as this will be my very first solo trip to Europe. I will be there for 6 weeks starting in Paris, and leaving from Paris. Sadly I can't change the ticket, so I do have to return to Europe. Here is my proposed itinerary. After Prague I have really seen all that I really want to... I put Frankfort in there as a way to get back to Paris. Any other suggestions? Discount train tickets? Advice?

Itinerary For Europe
Arrive in Paris at 8:30 a.m. on April 19th
April 19th-Walking Tour of Paris
April 20th-Walking Tour of Paris
April 21st-Day Trip to Versailles
April 22nd Ride Bikes in Paris
April 23rd-Day Trip to Brussels
April 24th - Day trip to Reims
April 25th - Final Day in Paris... have a picnic
April 26th - Ryanair to Rome $40 (5 Nights)
April 27th - Walking Tour of Rome
April 28th - Tour The Vatican
April 29th - Day Trip to Pompeii
April 30th - Eat Lots of Gelato
May 1st - Last Day in Rome
May 2nd - - Train to Florence ( 4 Nights)
May 3rd - See lots of Art
May 4th - Day Trip to Pisa
May 5th - Day Trip to Tuscany farmland either to bike or take cooking class.
May 6th - Final Day in Florence
May 7th - Train to Cinque Terre
May 8th -
Hike from Riomaggiore to Manarola 30 Min
Spend 2 hours in Manarola
Hike from Manarola to Corniglia 1 hour
Lunch and touring Corniglia 2 hours
Hike From Corniglia to Vernazza - 2 hours.
May 9th
Spend morning in Vernazza
Hike from Vernazza to Monteroso al Mare - 2 hours
May 10th - Train to Venice
Get lost wondering aimlessly
May 11th - Tour the 3 main islands
May 12th - Read, photograph, and write
May 13th - Train to Munich
May 14th - Explore and Drink German Beer
May 15th - Day Trip to Neuschwanstein
May 16th - Drink more German beer or Day Trip to Eagles Nest
May 17th - Train to Salzburg
May 18th - Tour Salzburg
May 19th - Train to Vienna
May 20th - Tour Vienna
May 21st - Visit museums of the musical greats.
May 22nd - Train to Prague
May 23rd - Tour Prague
May 24th - Tour Prague
May 25th - Tour Prague
May 26th - Train to Frankfort
May 27th - Tour of Frankfort
May 28th - Train to Paris
May 29th - Relax and remember all the awesome things you've done
May 30th - Plane home.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Of course you can fly from Prague to Paris and eliminate Frankfurt. Look at www.whichbudget.com.

However, before you go further, was the ticket transferable in the first place? It is possible that for work, she bought a transferable ticket, but since such tickets are super expensive, people usually buy non-transferable ticket.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:42 AM
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Yes, It is for sure. I've already had my name transferred to it and confirmed by the airline. Thank you for the tip! I will look into that!
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Jan 18th, 2013, 10:50 AM
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You are taking a lot of trains and thus should investigate some kind of railpass - perhaps a Eurail Select (Saver if 2 or more people traveling together) valid in Italy, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic - a 4-country Select Pass that gives you a certain number of unlimited travel days out of a 2-month period - the pass is first class is you are over 25 and there is a big perk to that IME of decades of European rail riding.

Use the pass to go between bases and then use local transport there - like to Neuschwanstein from Munich (train to Fussen then walk or mini-bus or taxi the 2 miles or so to the castles outside of town - in that case use a Lander Ticket bought locally that gives you unlimited trains and urban transports in Munich to boot for I think 29 euros.

Now discounted tickets are often great for folks only doing a few trips and especially inside one country - they are not always available on international routes and also have to be booked weeks early as they are sold in limited numbers and are typically non-changeable non-refundable - locked in stone.

A pass however in all the countries you are going to except Italy allows you to just hop on any train anytime - and in first class there are IME always empty seats - not so in 2nd class (compared the price of a first-class pass IMO to the cost of first class tickets - the cheapest tickets are 2nd class - point is you are doing so many train trips that the cost of 2nd class discounted tickets may approach or exceed the cost of a first-class pass that gives you ultimate flexibility to hop any train anytime.

And what if you some legs you cannot get the discounted tickets - then you have to pay full price - ouch those tickets are often very very expensive.

So really in your situation a pass makes sense IMO for all its benefits and also may be the cheapest and it is first class to boot - all in all a much more relaxed way to travel on trains - seats significantly bigger, easier to stow luggage as there are fewer passengers in first class fighting for space in overhead luggage racks, etc.

Anyway trains are great for solo travelers and IME are totally safe in all regards - do watch your luggage however - always keep it in sight IMO.

Now for some great sources to help plan a European rail extravaganza I always spotlight these IMO superb sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com (good info on discounted online tickets) and www.ricksteves.com.
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Jan 18th, 2013, 11:52 AM
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you are going to be in Prague during the czech beer festival so i would siggest you try and make at least one visit there ,easy to get to from anywhere in the city.
http://www.ceskypivnifestival.cz/en/
I will be there sometime during the festival but not sure what dates yet, great for solo travellers as there are always folk to talk to and live music on at various times of the day.It's not just beer but lots of various drinks ,great food and not bad music (does vary quite a bit).
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Jan 20th, 2013, 08:59 AM
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Even outside of the festival I've found the beer gardens in Prague to be most convivial places - the original Bohemian atmosphere in Bohemia - as today's Czech Republic was once called and Czech once were called Bohemians as my Czech grandpa always called himself!)
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Jan 20th, 2013, 11:20 AM
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yes the beer gardens are great, my favourite one is in Letna park it has lovely views over the river,but Riegrovy sady is a fun place especially if there is sport on the giant TV screen and the beer there is served in proper glasses instead of plastic as in the other places.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 12:10 PM
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good looking trip, lots of train journeys, you may want to take picnics. You could drop a visit to Giverny Garden into it? I'm not sure why you are going to Brussels, but if you must you must, Strasbourg is another day-out option.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 12:24 PM
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I am wondering if you could spend a bit less time in Prague and add it to Venice.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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Given that you may have already booked hotels, etc. and your trip will be wonderful as it is, I almost hesitate to say this, but what I would change, if I could, would be fly from Prague back to Paris and take those days away from Frankfurt and put them way back with Rome/Pompeii. I would not do a day trip from Rome, but would instead, spend those days on the Amalfi Coast seeing Pompeii, Positano, Naples, Capri, etc.

Unable to do that, I would look for someplace besides Frankfurt to spend them. I like Frankfurt - lived there for a few years - but so many other places I like more. Maybe with your free day there, you could do a river cruise.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 01:27 PM
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It is actually easier to see Pompei as a day trip from Rome than it is as a daytrip from the Amalfi Coast. Since you are already going to le Cinque Terre, I don't think adding the Amalfi coast would add much to your trip.

I have no opinion about Frankfurt. Perhaps you should drop it from your trip.

But it will take you nearly the entire day to travel from the Italian Riviera to Venice, and then the following day it will take you almost all day to visit the islands of the Lagoon, and they are very much worth seeing. It is a good idea to give yourself some downtime the next day, but if you leave the next day, you won't have seen much of the city of Venice. Even though it is small, it is a complicated, and lots of steps up and down, so you can't easily get a good idea of the city with so few hours spent inside it.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 01:39 PM
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Goldenautumn is certainly right about Venice. Perhaps also about the AC since you will be going to CT. I just love the whole Naples and AC area. Perhaps, however, take the time from Frankfurt and add that to Venice.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 01:50 PM
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A few thoughts on your wonderful trips. I have been to all of the places you will see. I concur with another reply that you should forget Frankfurt. Nothing too exciting to see and in comparison with more days in Paris, it's a no brainer! We'll be in Paris in May and it will be my 8th visit since 1970, all but two of them for at least a week. I'm not having any problem finding places to see that I still haven't got around to. No city on earth as beautiful! You'll only need the morning for Versaille. Do go out on the metro/train early in the morning to be there when it opens. It gets VERY crowded very fast, so go inside immediately and leave the gardens for the end. Do not go on a tour, as I did decades ago, cause it's super easy & faster to go on your own. The only tour I would suggest for you as you don't have a car, would be a day trip to the Loire Valley. We first visited pre-car days on a day trip out of Paris, saw 3 amazing Chateaux and had a lovely lunch. Not too pricey and it gives you a taste for more.
You won't need an entire morning in Vernazza. You'll take some great pictures and maybe eat and off you go. You'll love Salzburg and do by their 'card' that covers transportation (even up to the castle) and every museum very cheaply. Glad you're doing more days in Prague vs. Vienna - although I can't say that in front of my husband who was born in Vienna!
Don't know if you're aware of the amazing EasyJet airline in Europe. When you live there you use it all the time! You could save $ for a Paris hotel and lots of time by flying from Prague directly to Paris
http://www.easyjet.com/EN/Booking.mvc/SubmitStep1
In all the major cities you want to be waiting at the door when the popular museums open. In Paris buy the museum pass ahead of time and you walk right by the line-ups. It also saves you a ton of money. In Rome, be at the Vatican Museum when it opens for sure, then go into the church after.
If you like, you can email me directly [email protected]
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Jan 20th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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It is actually easier to see Pompei as a day trip from Rome than it is as a daytrip from the Amalfi Coast. Since you are already going to le Cinque Terre, I don't think adding the Amalfi coast would add much to your trip.>

Well I cannot disagree more with this comment.

It is not easier to do Pompeii as a day trip from Rome than from the nearby Amalfi Coast - Amalfi towns are connected to Sorrento by frequent buses and catamarans and then it is a short train ride to Pompeii - coming from Rome you have to go to Naples Centrale - 1.5 hours or so then take the train to Pompeii - at least another hour - longer than from Amalfi bases and about a zillion times more expensive.

and to say the Cinque Terre is about the same as the Amalfi is IMO inaccurate as well - they are very very different in so so many ways - I would actually chose the Amalfi over the 5 Terre if I had to - so much more to see and do here than just some seaside villages - islands of Capri and Ischia, Pompeii, Heraculeneaum sp), Naples and Paestum - one of the most substantial archeological sites in Italy are all easy day trips.
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Jan 20th, 2013, 06:31 PM
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Sounds like a fantastic trip. I agree with the time in Venice. We did just what your itinerary shows - train from CT to VCE. Left CT early in the morning and did not arrive at B&B in VCE until mid afternoon. It's a 6 hour trip, and that does not include transfer from VCE train station to hotel via vaporetto.

If you go to Basilica San Marco, you can get reserved time tickets online for 1euro. You then bypass the HUGE line. We were very underwhelmed with the Basilica and were in it for no more than 20 minutes. Doge Palace takes a good couple hours. You travel time between islands could be longer than you are expecting. The vaporetto are not necessarily very fast. No speed boats by any means.

If you do any stopping and viewing along the trail in the CT, your hike times may be slightly under estimated. Must also account for weather. If it is or has been raining and the trails are wet and/or muddy, that will add time as well. We took 2 1/2 hours to hike from Monterosso to Vernazza (the longest and most "rugged" of the trails). We didn't speed walk, but didn't crawl along either.

If your day trip to Pisa ONLY includes Pisa, and all you are going to Pisa for is the Field of Miracles "trilogy", that probably would not make for a full day trip. If you combine with Lucca, then you are getting closer to a full day. Lucca is a nice little village, Piazza Anfiteatro is a nice place for an afternoon snack and some people watching. If you combine, take Rick Steves' advice and ride the bus from Pisa to Lucca. It's 3euro and leaves from right outside the gate next to the Field of Miracles. Then drops you right in Lucca, where the train station in Lucca is a little bit of a hike to get inside the ramparts.

Your day trip to "Tuscan farmlands"...I would think in and around Siena. Siena is a wonderful town for a day trip, and the land around it would be beautiful for biking. Or Siena is a large enough town, they would probably have the cooking class available if you decide to go that way.
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Jan 21st, 2013, 07:59 AM
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Drink more German beer or Day Trip to Eagles Nest
May 17th - Train to Salzburg
May 18th - Tour Salzburg>

Berchetsgaden is a short S-Bahn trip from Salzburg and a shorter day trip - just in case that makes a difference.
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Jan 21st, 2013, 08:36 AM
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It is a 2 hour train ride from Rome to Pompei, without any danger of getting stuck in hideous traffic on the Amalfi drive (or getting nauseous on the Amalfi buses).

A trip to Pompei is a given in this itinerary, so that is not a reason to re-book the trip to include the Amalfi. It is extremely difficult and/or expensive to include Paestum if you are staying in one of the Amalfi coast towns.

However, if for some reason they want to be in the Amalfi instead of le Cinque Terre, they should head there first in Italy and see Rome second. But I wouldn't mislead them into thinking they are going to be easily sightseeing archeological sights if they book themselves into the Amalfi coast.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 08:26 AM
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No it is easier to go to Paestum from any Amalfi town than to day trip to Pompeii from Rome and two hours Rome to Ponpeii is just not realistic - the CircumVesuviana can take an hour itself and you have to walk to it, etc.

From any Amalfi village take a fast ferry to Salerno then train or bus to Paestum - or avail yourself off excursions that do it even quicker - no Paestum is not hard to reach from any Amalfi village - I just disagree with your characterizations of the Amalfi Coast as to you being just not worth it if you've seen the Cinque Terre - Cinque Terre is nice but the Amalfi makes IMO a far better base from which to hop to so many great sights and the buses IME are not always mired in traffic - have you ridden them much - not long ago I did several times and it was no more than an hour to Sorrento from Amalfi and then a few minutes by train to Pompeii.

day tripping from Rome you probably pay $100 or more for train fares Rome-Naples and back.
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Jan 22nd, 2013, 09:50 AM
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http://www.wien.info/en/shopping-win...wine/heurige-2

In Vienna many enjoy waltzing out to savor the Bacchanalian experience nightly that can be had at the many Heurigen on the edge of the fabled Vienna Woods - wine places that grow their own grapes I believe - anyway a Vienne institution. - Can take a tram out there.
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