first time euro road trip...... help!

Aug 21st, 2007, 07:37 PM
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first time euro road trip...... help!

My wife and I are flying into Amsterdam as part of a round the world flight. We have 3 weeks to see as much of Europe as possible and are hoping to drive from Amsterdam through Germany, Austria, down to Croatia, over to Venice, Rome then make our way back up through the Italian / French alps for some snowboarding and finally fly out of Paris. Is this a little ambitious!? Does anyone have any suggested routes / places to see? We love food, art and architecture (in that order!) museums etc are a must.

Thanks heaps for your help.
camrowe is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 07:40 PM
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I didnít mention were traveling its from feb 15 to early march.
camrowe is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 08:05 PM
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It is a lot of driving in what could be in some areas bad weather.
If museums are a must, you will not be able to see too many on that schedule.
Amsterdam, Venice , Rome, Vienna and Paris all deserve at least 4 days each.

danon is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 09:22 PM
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Yep. Too ambitious for only 3 weeks, especially if you're driving. Croatia is VERYYY far and it's not the season for beaches which are amazing there.

Train travel is preferred and very easy in Europe btw. A car is only necessary if you really want to stop by small villages along the way, but that takes time and you wouldn't be able to go far in 3 weeks since you have to come back to Amsterdam if you make a few of these stops. I would stick to train travel and visit the major cities with the things you are looking for that are not too far south. If you're looking to go to Spain and southern Italy, I would consider using one of the discount air carriers in Europe to fly south and then make your way back up, or the other way around.

The cities I would consider that fit your requirements would be: Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna, Prague, Florence, Venice, and Rome. That's more than enough for a 3 week trip actually since you need 3-4 days minimum in all of those cities except mayb 2 in Venice. The first four are easily accessible with short train rides. You can also get from Vienna to Venice relatively easily and make your way down to Rome by train. Like I said, I would fly from Rome back to Amsterdam. Btw, even with this itinerary, you may have to cut 1-3 cities if you don't want to rush.
smartcookie is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 09:33 PM
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If you are stopping in Florence to see the statue of David make sure you are not there on a Monday like we will be.

Also, if you are driving this yourself instead of train, you hopefully have access to a chip and pin card (which apparently are not issued by US banks) to buy your gas and pay your tolls when stations are not attended.

We are wanting to rent a car in Southern France on a holiday Sunday and I am finding this to be a problem.
coyote_lakes_golfer is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 11:33 PM
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Even with a chip and pin card you probably can't buy petrol at an unattended petrol station - they accept local issued cards only, so even with my Dutch card I can't buy petrol in France with my CC.
3 weeks is not enough time for what you have planned. Drivng through Austria/Italian/French Alps you may need chains at that time of year, which will not be standard with a rental car from Amsterdam.
You will have to make some compromises, and whilst I am a fan of road trips, maybe February March is not the best time to do one in Europe. Look into trains too.
hetismij is offline  
Aug 21st, 2007, 11:49 PM
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"little ambitions?" sorry - but that itinerary is totally unreasonable. It would be close to impossible in June, but in Feb it is insane IMHO.

even w/ a full 21 days not counting travel days to/from Europe you are looking at something like 2 days A'dam, 3 days Germany, 2 days Austria, 3 days Croatia, 2 days Venice, 3 days Rome, 3 days in the Alps, and 2 days in Paris. Unfortunately, you need to add in several more days to drive between all those places.

Just nuts . . . .
janisj is online now  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 12:12 AM
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A GPS navigating device may help. Be sure it has an English base.
GSteed is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 03:48 AM
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I know you want to drive it all and but I would not only scale it down somewhat but also look at the possibility of using budget airlines to cut down on travel time.

The problem with that is the possibility of not meeting the checked luggage restrictions or not being able to find convenient flights.

Frankly, you might want to read your own words again: "to see as much of Europe as possible"

If museums are a "must" as you claim then I would include both Amsterdam for the Rijksmuseum and Paris for the Louvre as well as italian sites.

Ergo, my own three-week itinerary would include A-dam, Paris, and Italy and that would be it.

Yes, Berlin, for example has great museums, too, as does Madrid but...having been to ALL the places you mention the three are what I would do.
Dukey is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 05:31 AM
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Posts like this always amaze me. The Op is spending mega amounts on a RTW ticket but hasn't invested in the ultimate purchase for this part of the trip - a good up to date road map of Europe.

Or maybe they have, and don't understand it.

There is no point in visiting places for one night, or even two, especially great cities.. Why bother, unless it's to tick places off a list?

Do yourselves a favour - cut down the itinerary and really BE WHERE YOU GO. Instead of thinking about the next place tomorrow.

chimani is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 05:42 AM
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Hi C,

>We have 3 weeks to see as much of Europe as possible...<

Usual first-timer mistake. 6 countries in 21 days is not going to leave much time for snowboarding.

Plot your route at and and see how much time you will be spending just getting from place to place.

You will be driving in winter, when roads might be closed due to snow.

If you pick up a car in Amsterdam and drop it in France, you will have a hefty drop-off fee.

I think that if you were to set an itinerary of 1 week each in Germany, Italy and France, and travel by train/plane you would have a much more enjoyable visit.

ira is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 05:59 AM
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>You will be driving in winter, when roads might be closed due to snow

Even though main roads are very unlikely to be completely closed, any snowfall will lead to traffic jams. I cannot imagine a less enjoyable way to spend your holidays than sitting in a traffic jam...
altamiro is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 07:44 AM
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I think it could be possible done as a grand prix style road trip, driving fast, long distances every day for 21 days. Problem being, you haven't left time to stop and get out of the car along the way!
suze is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 08:08 AM
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It's certainly doable--if you didn't run into bad weather you'd probably be looking at a total of about 35-40 hours actual on the road drive time over 3 weeks. Or something under 2 hours a day, average--of course in actuality some days might be all day driving and other days none at all.

I do think that Croatia might not be an ideal destination that time of the year. If you cut out that portion, then the drive over 3 weeks is very reasonable, as long as you do enjoy driving.
wyostiv is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 08:14 AM
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Have you looked into the logistics/cost of car rental and drop off fees?

Train would be a better option and then renting a car locally for places like Italy. If you must go to Croatia, consider budget airlines, just be aware that sometimes the airports they use (esp. Ryanair) can be a long way from the city.
Sarvowinner is offline  
Aug 22nd, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Way too ambitious - esp in the winter when you have very short days and are likely to have bad weather that will slow you down.

We have done many rod trips in europe - but most in May/June and a couple in September/Oct. Even in the latter the shorter days and earlier closing times of some sights are irritating. In winter it will be worse - and bad weather can slow down traffic considerably.

Separately, we have done several 3 week trips - and none covered nearly the territory you're talking about. The major cities need at least 3 days (4 nights) to see much of anything - and you're talking about at least 7 countries and who knows how many cities. I would limit yourself to 3 countries and no more than 5 or 6 hotel stops if you're really want to be able to see/do much besides just drive around a lot of highways.

As examples, we have done 3 week trips as follows

1)Rome (pick up car when leave), Florence, Venice, Lucerne, Paris (drop off car)

2)Brussels (pick up car), Bruges, Spa, Trier, Frankfurt (drop car), Prague

3)Paris (pick up car), Loire, Burgundy, Strasbourg. Geneva (drop car)

We've done a lot more - thee are just a few examples of what it's reasonable to cover in 3 weeks, seeing not everything but most main sights

During all of these trips we didn;t see everything we wanted - and would have been happy to have more time in most places
nytraveler is offline  

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