First Draft Itinerary - Need Input

Old Jan 13th, 2001, 07:53 AM
  #1  
Bill
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First Draft Itinerary - Need Input

I'm planning my first trip to Europe for a solo 3-week excursion sometime between May-July. Here is my current plan, and I'd appreciate input on if I'm trying to pack too much into my trip or not. <BR> <BR>Paris (2-3days) <BR>Interlaken/JungFrau Region (5-6days) <BR>Venice (3 days) <BR>Florence (2 days) <BR>Cinque Terre (2 days) <BR>Nice (2 days) <BR>Paris (1 Day-fly home) <BR> <BR>I should have an extra day or two left over, which I'm planning on using in an area I'm enjoying. <BR>I'm taking night trains between Paris, Interlaken, and Venice to try and save on cutting into my day time activities. <BR> <BR>Let me know if this is too much! I thought about cutting out Florence, but I hear it's too great to pass up. Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 08:00 AM
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cmt
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TOO TOO MUCH! You could easily spend 3 weeks in Paris alone, or in Florence and environs, or in a portion of Provence maybe starting with Nice. Also unless you are very fluent in several languages, it can be difficult to change countries during such a short time span and be able to switch to speaking in each of the local languages.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 08:15 AM
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Ed
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Possibly a bit too much. I'd not worry about the language "problem" though, as you can easily learn a few words in each as appropriate. <BR> <BR>Do consider going beyond Interlaken and staying in one of the villages in the interior of the mountains. Our favorite Muerren, Wengen a good second choice. Gimmelwald an interesting choice for the young and extremem budget-minded. <BR> <BR>While I'd rather spend time in the mountains than riding through them, it's a shame to make the Switzerland/Italy trip in the dark. It's great scenery. <BR> <BR>Also, consider hitting the southern part of your trip first, then working your way north. Not a lot of difference over three weeks, but your allocation of time suggests a strong interest in the mountains. Statistically, much better weather in June than in May. More info on the area including weather considerations beginning at www.twenj.com/bovisit.htm <BR> <BR>Ed
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 08:23 AM
  #4  
s
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Bill, <BR>I see you're returning to Paris only to fly out -- have you considered the open-jaw option? Maybe fly into Paris and out of Nice, Milan, or Venice? That'll save you considerable hassle and add one or two days of leisure. The fare is usually only marginally more than the flat rt. <BR> <BR>s
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 08:27 AM
  #5  
Patrick
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As a person who spends up to 5 months at a time in Europe, I agree that a week in any given place is great, but as a first timer to Europe and assuming that you have already picked places that seem to appeal to you, I think your itinerary is just great. I do agree that your time in Switzerland would best be spent by staying in Murren or Grindlewald area, not Interlaken itself. I assume you are using a Eurrail pass, or one of the special related passes? As a solo traveler, I think that is your best bet. I don't speak more than a very poorly pronounced couple of basic phrases in any given language, but I wouldn't give that a second thought for any of the places you are visiting. Language is simply not a problem (although the Cinque Terre is one place where you may find a lot of non-English speakers). I would opt for a June rather than a May visit, should be better weather and still beat the masses of tourists.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 08:55 AM
  #6  
Bill
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I took part of your advice and checked into flights leaving from Nice/Milan/Venice instead of travelling all the way back to Paris, but the cost is considerably more. I basically have to by 1 way tickets... a round-trip ticket to Paris is about $800, and 1-way ticket to Paris is $1000. That is MORE money for the 1 way ticket, and I haven't even purchased a one-way ticket from Nice/Milan/Venice back home yet. <BR> <BR>I appreciate your idea, but unless you know of a special place I can find the airfares you're talking about, I think it'd be worth the extra hassle of a long train-ride back to Paris to save about $1000 bucks in extra airfare.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 09:16 AM
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Beth
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You may have misunderstood the advice about flying out of a different city than Paris. This is called an "open jaw" and you do not need to buy two one-way tickets. You treat the trip just as you would a round trip, except that you're flying into one city and out of another. For example, for this summer's trip to Europe, we're flying into Paris and out of Milan. Typically, this does not cost much more than a "regular" round trip and sometimes even is cheaper (if, for instance, an airline is running a sale into one of the cities). Try doing a search on Expedia using the "multiple destinations" option and I think you'll find that the cost will not be $1000 more than what you have found already.
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 09:24 AM
  #8  
Bill
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OMG - That made so much more sense. Sorry I doubted the "open-jaw" method. I found total tickets will cost me about an extra hundred dollars. Well worth the extra money to have all that extra time. Thanks for the help!
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 11:48 AM
  #9  
s
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Bill, <BR>Sorry I missed your 12:27 post (***what*** was I thinking . . . to leave the forum for a few hours . . . unthinkable!!), and also sorry that my poor brain gave such a lame explanation of open jaw. But as Beth explains, the open jaw is essentially "half the rt to Paris" plus "half the rt from Milan." I use it often. <BR> <BR>Let us know as your planning progresses. This is somuchfun!! <BR> <BR>s
 
Old Jan 13th, 2001, 01:02 PM
  #10  
Tony
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Don't be put off by the trying to do much theory, as I think your itinerary is excellent. <BR>Whilst in the Interlaken area you will have the opportunity to take the Brunig Panorama Express to Lucerne for a lake cruise and/or a possible trip on the Rigi Bahn or the round trip up Mt.Pilatus. Also the Golden Pass train from Interlaken to Montreux, with a lake cruise to Evian and Lausanne from where there is a fairly quick train ride back to Interlaken via Bern. Both of those day trips are well worth doing, in between exploring the Jungfrau area, which is best left for really clear days incidentally.Eurail passes cover all trains and lake steamers for free, except some Jungrau trains on which you only get a discount. <BR>I think June is the best month for this, better weather than May, and just ahead of the Summer time crowds in July. <BR>Nice is a rather big city (which bothers me, but maybe not you). Consider Villefranche, close to Nice, or Mentone, on the French Riviera. <BR>My guess is that your extra days will be best enjoyed in the Cinque Terre area. <BR>I would also second the earlier post about the scenery on the Interlaken-Venice trip, and Id be against a night train for this journey. If you are on a rail pass, travel via Lucerne, slightly longer way round but gives you a super trip over the Gothard pass with connections to Venice in Milan. In fact I think there is at least one through train a day from Lucerne to Venice with no changes at all. <BR>One last suggestion - buy the latest copy of the Thomas Cooks European Train Timetable on arrival in Paris, from any Thos.Cook travel agency. You will find this absolutely invaluable for the entire trip.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 08:21 AM
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J. D. H.
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I believe that you are attempting to cover too much territory in the time available. What you have outline can be done, but in my opinion you can experience the culture more intensely if you stay longer in a given region instead of rushing through to the next. It could be a lot worse, like the people who try to "do" Europe in a month or worse in two weeks. But I think you will be spending too much time experiencing transportation, which is often not too pleasant when solo, instead of walking around,wandering side streets or country trails, seeing scenery up close, entering interesting tourist sites, talking to people in a relaxed way.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 08:32 AM
  #12  
JDH
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In case you care, my e-mail was incorrect. Should be redhen72
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 09:58 AM
  #13  
BOB THE NAVIGATOR
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Bill, Ed had good advice---start south by going into Venice or Milan, and end up north, probably departing from Zurich. The weather will be a factor in the Alps. I would skip France for this trip. You have a full plate with 4 destinations in Italy and 2 in the Alps. <BR>Try to hit Luzern as you last place before a Zurich departure. That will work. Let me know if you need help.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 10:17 AM
  #14  
Bill
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I'm still interested in seeing Paris.. my priority is Switzerland, and Italy would be great. I'm considering cutting out Venice/Florence, and spending my Italy time in Cinque Terre, flying out of Milan to come home. <BR> <BR>From talking with other people that have gone solo, they said they usually end up hooking up with other people on their journey and take little side trips with them that wasn't planned for. I figure, if I have 3 main regions I'm interested in seeing, I can still make that on a 3 week journey while enjoying my time as well.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 01:13 PM
  #15  
Anna
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I think your itinerary looks good, especially if you do an open jaws ticket. You did say you had a few days extra to play with, so I'd go for it. You could also probably get a night train from Interlaken to Venice which would save some travel time. Maybe skip Nice since you'll see the Italian Riviera instead, fly out of Milan, and if you have extra time you could check out Lake Como instead. Cinque Terre is awesome, 2 days might may be enough for Venice.
 
Old Jan 14th, 2001, 06:24 PM
  #16  
Deborah
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Bill, I did a very similiar itinerary on my own last year with the exception of the switzerland piece. To me, the french riviera was my least favorite part. Don't miss Florence or Venice they are wonderful, as was Cinque Terre. <BR>I don't think you are moving around too much for a first trip. When traveling alone I find myself covering alot more ground than when with someone else. And don't worry about all the travel, The trains were place where I met the most people. Although do check out the websites for train travel to see how much time to get place to place, it can take a big part of your day. Have a great time.
 

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