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First Eurotrip - Begin in London or begin in Rome?

First Eurotrip - Begin in London or begin in Rome?

Old Jun 13th, 2009, 03:43 AM
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First Eurotrip - Begin in London or begin in Rome?

I am planning my first ever eurotrip... I've done all the Asian countries so now I am ready to tackle the continent across the pond

My plan right now is this:
London 3 days
Paris 3 days
Venice 3 days
Florence 3 days
Rome 4 days

Our tentative travel dates are March 26th to April 10th, which is actually my Easter break.

Now, knowing all this (Easter holiday) and taking into consideration weather, should we start in London first, or start in Rome first? I thought it might be better to start in Rome first since it's more south, but does it really matter at this point? What is the general weather like in late March to early April in these places? I saw that it said 60's for London... but to be quite honest, I'm not sure what that means anymore since we've been having some crazy weather in NY these days!

I would also appreciate any kind of advice/commentary on my itinerary (if I am spending too much/too little time in a certain area and should switch it up a little bit).

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 04:19 AM
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My preference is to fly to the farthest point first and them work toward home. But I would recommend flying into and out of wherever you get the best airfare or connections.

Your itinerary is a bit ambitious for 2 weeks. You haven't factored in the time it takes to move from place to place so your itinerary would really be (assuming beginning in London):

London - 2.5 days
Paris - 2.5 days
Venice - 2.5 days (assume flying from Paris)
Florence - 3 days (only 1.5 hrs from Rome)
Rome - 4 days

2.5 days is not really enough to explore cities that offer so much. I would either do London and Paris with day trips out of the cities (Versailles, maybe Normandy and the D Day beaches for a couple of days) or Italy with some sights between cities such as Siena, Pisa, Ostia Antica or similar places.

I've traveled both ways: running a lot between places and missing lots of sights AND spending more time in each place and really absorbing what the area offers. I prefer more time in fewer places which gives you the leisure to experience the city, lingering in cafes, wandering in gardens, poking into out of the way places.

You haven't talked about budget but it does take more money to move around a lot, especially among 3 countries.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 05:49 AM
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I would day that your tranport and check in and check out times will easily chew up half a day and very likely more.

IMO, your plan is simply too ambitious unless you really like to pack and unpack and spend a lot of time moving around.
I would choose to visit either Paris and London OR Italy but not the marathon trip you are considering.

Fly into Venice then train to Florence and fly home from Rome. Florence and Rome both offer good options for day trips, a better use of time than moving around so much.

JMHO.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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Hi aq,

I would do either Venice, Florence and Rome (in that order) or London and Paris, but not all of them at once.

You are spending too much time on the road and too little in the cities you wish to visit.

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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:19 AM
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Make that unanimous.
Italy or London/Paris.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:20 AM
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Appreciate all your advices.

Actually, the flights I am looking at right now are, flying overnight from NYC and arriving around 10AM in London. Paris is only 2.5 hours away from London, so I don't believe we'll be losing much time travelling between those two? Correct me if I'm wrong here.

From Paris to Venice, I was planning on an overnight train so as not to lose any sightseeing time. And then in Italy, I believe most of the cities are within 1.5-2hrs train ride away (correct me if I'm wrong here too)?

I know there's a lot to see/do in Italy... but we just want to get a taste of it for our first trip there. And then if we love it, we'll definitely return.

In terms of London/Paris... we are from a huge city too... so I didn't really feel like there is much to offer to us? Again, I may be ignorant in this regard since I have only just begun my research.

If I'm missing anything else, love to hear what you are thinking. And yes, brutal honesty is the best!

Thanks!
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:21 AM
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I'd personally hate your itinerary. The above posters are even being conservative w/ their 2.5, 2.5, 2.5 days

You will have about 1.5 days free in London (your first day will likely be a jet lagged blur - and possibly the 2nd day too)

Then, while each time move from one city to another does basically eat up 1/2 a day - that doesn't count the time you lose packing/unpacking/checking in/checking out.

In each place by the time you actually have it figured out exactly where your hotel is and how to get back there each evening - you are packing to move on.

In real "sight seeing time" your plan will allow you:
London 1.5 days
Paris 2 days
Venice 2 days
Florence 2 days
Rome 3 days (since your last day you will be packing and flying home)

If it was me, I'd pick just Italy and drop London/Paris -- or -- drop two cities in Italy and do London/Paris/Rome, or London/Paris/Venice

Many first timers assume the more places and moving around - the more they will see. It is really the opposite. The more stops/moving, the LESS one actually sees.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:32 AM
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you said to tell you if you are wrong.
YOU ARE WRONG.
Do as said above...
Trust us, we have been there and done that.
LESS IS ALWAYS MORE.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:38 AM
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Ok, we will correct you. You are wrong.

>>>arriving around 10AM in London. Paris is only 2.5 hours away from London,<<<<
Are you talking about by train? If so, do you know how long it will take you to:
Get through immigration (30-60 minutes)
Get your luggage (30-60 minutes)
Get from airport to train station (60-90 minutes possibly longer)
Get to Paris (2 1/2 hours)
Get to hotel and check in(60-90 minutes)

That equals first day GONE.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 06:39 AM
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Count me in with the other responding posters ... I would concentrate on either Italy or London/Paris. Either of those choices is still a lot to see in the time you have.

The first time I visited Paris, I spent nine days there --- every day was packed with plans, and still I don't think I saw everything I wanted to.

There is so much to see in any of the places you are considering - if you try to work it all in, what you will come away with is jumble of memories that make no sense when you get home. Not to mention, you will be exhausted.

Assuming you will return to Europe in the future, are you planning to continue to repeat this itinerary over and over, in order to gain knowledge of the countries you wish to visit?
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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Hmm, okay I will have to consider dropping Venice and Florence (yes I still want to stick Italy in somewhere to this itinerary).

I just don't see us spending 16 days in London/Paris and not getting bored.

What would be the cost benefits of overnight sleeper train from Paris to Rome vs flying? I just hate going to the airport, checking in, waiting and all these luggage requirements.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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I would do only Italy on this trip.
Pick 3 or 4 places and thoroughly enjoy yourself.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 07:33 AM
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we went to europe for the first time december 07-january 08, 15 nights, including london (4 nights), rome (5 nights), paris (6 nights). even that itinerary was a bit of a blur!

london was my surprise favorite! rome turned out to be my least favorite.

we arrived in london on boxing day evening (december 26), went straight to hotel by airport, went to bed. not too jet-lagged (flew in from ORD). definitely wish we'd planned more time in london. SUCH a VIBRANT, diverse city with so much to see and do. we spent scant time at major sites.

flew to rome for new year's eve- found rome to be a dirty city. (sorry, i know that'll offend many.) poop in the streets- animal and human. every bathroom (even in restaurants) was filthy with urine on the floors. and to top it all off, i got food poisoning in our last 36 hours there, and wound up in a hospital emergency room, which was also filthy, with filthy restrooms, no toilet paper, no soap. couldn't even use the restroom at the hospital because it was so unsanitary. i would skip rome and do venice or florence. i'm sure others will disagree. there were parts of rome that were beautiful and i'm glad i saw them, such as the fountains, the borghese palace, the colloseum....

paris was spectacular, as expected, and can't wait to go back some day.... you might even want to just do london and paris for this first trip, and include side trips such as giverny, versailles, stonehenge, etc.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 07:36 AM
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I lived in New York, London and Paris, and I'm so easily bored it's been a problem all my life, but I honestly think you don't need to go as far afield as Italy to put variety into your trip -- and there isn't a convenient way to get from Paris to Rome other than to fly. In some ways, Venice might be a better bet for you than Rome (it's climate tends to be more moderated by the Lagoon. And it is easier to get to from Paris.

My biggest problem with your ambitious plan is the time of year you are going. Like New York, it's a time of utterly unpredictable weather, which means you could find yourself rained out totally in a lot of places if you pick short stays, or facing unpleasant plane flights and delays because of squalls and storms.

Do you have any interest at all in Belgium and Netherlands? Both have great transportation options, there is fantastic food in Belgium, lots of indoor sightseeing if weather goes bad on you and some absolutely gorgeous medieval centers. Amsterdam, with all its bicycles and canals, is not like being in roaring New York City (and seeing the original Haarlem, and the old Amsterdam for people who now live in New Amsterdam) is not without its fascinations.

My suggestion might be 4 days London 5 days Paris and 6 days split between Amsterdam and Belgium -- but if you are determined to get to Italy, head down to Venezia but do day trips to Verona, Ravenna and Treviso to see a lot of more Italy than most tourists actually do.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 08:09 AM
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"<i>In terms of London/Paris......I didn't really feel like there is much to offer to us?</i>"

That is just soooooo wrong on so many levels!

Sorry - but if you think Paris and London will bore you, I honestly don't think there is much we can say to help you . . . . .

You could VERY easily spend your entire trip in just one of those two cities and not see all the major sites. (I'm not advocating that in your case - but at least it would be a better plan than 5 cities in 3 countries in 2 weeks) In 2+ days you will see next to nothing.

"<i>Paris is only 2.5 hours away from London, so I don't believe we'll be losing much time travelling between those two? Correct me if I'm wrong here.</i>"

Wrong - you are thinking 2.5 hours - leave London hotel at 10AM arrive at Paris hotel at 12:30. In reality:
• Pack at 9AM,
• check out of hotel at 10:00,
• taxi or tube to St Pancras - arrive at 10:30,
• advance check in/security 11:00 AM,
• board train 11:15-11:30-ish.
• Arrive Gare du Nord 3:00-ish (there is a one hour time difference between the two cities),
• 3:15 catch Taxi or Metro to your hotel
• 3:30-3:45 arrive at hotel
• 4:00 check in and begin to unpack

So even your simple 2.5 hour train trip will take up most of a day.

all your other moves will be the same or worse . . . . .
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 08:26 AM
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<< What would be the cost benefits of overnight sleeper train from Paris to Rome vs flying? I just hate going to the airport, checking in, waiting and all these luggage requirements. >>

You would have to do the comparison of flying vs. train to determine the best price as prices vary according to train types, class, sleeping accommodation, and airlines.

However I will tell you that Paris to Rome on the train takes between 14 and 20 hours.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 08:46 AM
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<<"In terms of London/Paris......I didn't really feel like there is much to offer to us?" >>

Then why bother?
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 09:09 AM
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Thanks everyone for all your useful advice, particularly raspberryberet and zeppole.

zeppole, that was actually my MAIN question from the beginning -- is this time a good time to visit. Would moving the trip to later April make more sense, although that would mean I am missing classes but we'd also be missing the Easter holiday and possible weather issues.

As an addendum, I did not say that London/Paris will bore us. I was afraid that after we've visited the sites that interest us, we may find ourselves with nothing to do except fillers of things that we don't care for. Just because there are a million things to see/do in one place does not mean they are everyone's cup of tea.
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 09:13 AM
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There is much good advice, above. Based on the recommendations of friends, here's another angle we've tried, successfully on four previous trips. Open jaws if at all possible with first, farthest, then return from the closest (less wear and tear on the return journey--no matter how much you'll love Europe, you'll sort of want to return home at some point and you might want to make this as easy as possible). We've also found that if England is part of the itinerary, it is a bit more relaxing to spend the last few days there, a country where some semblance of English is spoken--you don't have to work quite as hard at basic communications. As the saying goes: "...Chidren of one mother, divided by a common language."
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Old Jun 13th, 2009, 09:18 AM
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Here's what I would do with your 16 days: London 5 days, Paris 4 days, Venice 3 days, and Rome 4 days. I'd drop Florence altogether and save it for a Tuscany-based trip. Or, as others have suggested, just do London-Paris-Rome and have enough time for a couple of day trips out of those cities.
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