First trip

Old May 4th, 2024, 04:55 AM
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First trip - appreciate feedback

Hello,
Our family (2a,2c) is planning our first trip to Europe from mid September to early October.
After some research I think this will be best for us:
London - 4 nights
paris - 5 nights
agvinon - 2 nights
nice - 2 nights
Vienna -2 nights
grindelwald - 3 nights
lucern or Zurich - 2 nights (then fly out late back to Australia)

I initially planned to travel from Paris-Nice-Turin-Milan-Grindelwald
However the train ride from Milan to Grindelwald will take over 5 hours due to some track works at the tine we plan to travel.
So detour to Vienna and agvinon ( proximity to Paris and a provincial French town that isn’t too touristy?).
I would appreciate feedback on the revised itinerary! Also welcome any other recommendations.

Things we enjoy doing on holidays: hiking, cycling,museum,library( one kid loves books nd libraries!), theme park, shopping,eating out.
The kids are not too young and can do long days. also we don’t speak French 😂 but sure can use the google translate app.
Thank you!

Last edited by aliviv; May 4th, 2024 at 05:34 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 07:01 AM
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""I would appreciate feedback on the revised itinerary! Also welcome any other recommendations.""

Easy. Eliminate about 2-3 destinations, and choose destinations that are closer to each other.

You have 1 1/2 days in Avignon, 1 1/2 days in Nice, 1 to 1 1/4 days in Vienna, 2 1/2 days in Grindelwald, and 1 1/2 days in Lucerne. That's about 2-3 days "to few" at each destination. If you will be in Avignon, Nice, Vienna, or Lucerne on a Sunday or Monday when most shops will be closed - you will be disappointed.

See the attached itinerary for Avignon & Nice.

Stu Dudley
Attached Files

Last edited by StuDudley; May 4th, 2024 at 07:10 AM.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 07:17 AM
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Welcome to Fodors. This is very fast paced -- how old are the children?

Once you realize 2 nights will net you one full day in a place and 4 nights in London will really net you about 2 full days when you consider arrival formalities and jet lag for at least some of you after traveling all the way from OZ.

So in 'real life" what you have is:
London - 4 nights. Maybe 2 full days when everyone is operating on all cylinders.
paris - 5 nights = 4.5 days
agvinon - 2 nights = 1 full day
nice - 2 nights = 1 full day
Vienna -2 nights = 1 full day
grindelwald - 3 nights = 2 full days
lucern or Zurich - 2 nights = 1 full day

I would add at least 2 nights to London (which is TERRIFIC family destination and especially for all the [free] museums, galleries and libraries). I might add one night to Paris but that depends on what other places you cut out. And finally I'd lose at least two of your other destinations.

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Old May 4th, 2024, 07:30 AM
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Honestly, I would look at say London, Paris and Amsterdam and just do them in this time, the scatter gun approach across Europe really does not work. You spend more time travelling than holidaying
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Old May 4th, 2024, 07:39 AM
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Stu has linked his wonderful resource re Provence/etc -- lots of good info but don't let it overwhelm you. it is nearly 50 pages long and covers just a teensy part of your original plan.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 07:48 AM
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Vienna seems an outlier in this plan. Are you thinking of taking the train to Vienna, and then to Grindelwald?

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Old May 4th, 2024, 07:49 AM
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You are short-changing Vienna. I like the suggestion of London - Paris - Amsterdam. With more time in each city you would have the time for day trips. From Paris Provins could provide the French provincial town, and a great deal of the Netherlands is a day trip away from Amsterdam.



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Old May 4th, 2024, 08:06 AM
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IMO it doesn't make any sense to fly from NCE toi VIE and from VIE to ZRH for a stay at Vienna of only1 day.
Skip at least Vienna. I would skip Nice too and proceed from Avignon by train to Grindelwald..
Note that train rides to well hidden Grindelwald take always a lot of time:
3 hrs from Zurich airport
6 1/4 hrs rom Paris
7 1/2 hrs from Avignon
10 hrs from Nice (even if there are no works on the railway line)
11 hrs from Vienna
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Old May 4th, 2024, 08:13 AM
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20 nights, 7 destinations... and you specifically mention "hiking, cycling, museum, library (one kid loves books and libraries!), theme park, shopping, eating out." Other than eating out, the other activities require time in each place that you haven't given yourselves.

Would you fly from Nice to Vienna? How would you get from Vienna to Grindelwald??? This part of the itinerary doesn't really make sense to me.

I agree with the suggestions to reduce the number of destinations and pick places that are closer together.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 08:23 AM
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Good luck about not finding Avignon too touristy. But it is a lovely place and definitely worth a visit.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 08:33 AM
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I agree with the other posters. Your plan is short-changing all of these destinations that are far afield and I can't imagine there is an easy way to get from Vienna to Grindelwald which is if I recall rather small. Neither Avignon or Nice are in close proximity to Paris although there is high speed rail service out of Paris.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 09:32 AM
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I also agree that you are trying to do too much. London needs an extra day or two, especially if you would like to spend maybe a day in the English countryside to see something like Stonehenge or the Cotswolds…Definitely skip Vienna. Add the rest of your time to Provence with 2 extra days in Nice and the rest of your time in someplace like St Remy with a car. Alternatively just do London, Paris and Amsterdam as suggested above. There is Paris Disneyland and Park Asterix near Paris for theme parks. London has Legoland plus Warner brothers etc. lastly you could skip the south of France and do London Paris and Switzerland.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 01:33 PM
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Sorry i made a bad mistake 😂 should be Geneva not Vienna!
isince Grindelwald is a bit out of the way, I think it’s best to fly from nice to Geneva, take a rest and then train to Grindelwald.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 01:42 PM
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Hello,
thanks for your feedback.
We are stopping in Dubai for two nights so hopefully won’t be too jet lagged arriving in London.
i am not intending to travel to English country side so thinking 4 nights is enough - at least for this trip.
Only other places I could skip is either Avignon, nice or Geneva…
Avignon and Geneva were added more as transit points 😉
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Old May 4th, 2024, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean
20 nights, 7 destinations... and you specifically mention "hiking, cycling, museum, library (one kid loves books and libraries!), theme park, shopping, eating out." Other than eating out, the other activities require time in each place that you haven't given yourselves.

Would you fly from Nice to Vienna? How would you get from Vienna to Grindelwald??? This part of the itinerary doesn't really make sense to me.

I agree with the suggestions to reduce the number of destinations and pick places that are closer together.
Hello,
sorry it meant to be Geneva, not Vienna!
I was thinking of flying from Nice to Geneva. Take a shirt break then train to Grindelwald.
we fly out from Zurich so want to spend quality time in switzeland.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by aliviv
Sorry i made a bad mistake 😂 should be Geneva not Vienna!
isince Grindelwald is a bit out of the way, I think it’s best to fly from nice to Geneva, take a rest and then train to Grindelwald.

All that does is trade one full day in Vienna to one full day in Geneva (and easier transport). All of the other issues remain. Still too many places in too few days, not accounting for jet lag, etc.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by mjs
I also agree that you are trying to do too much. London needs an extra day or two, especially if you would like to spend maybe a day in the English countryside to see something like Stonehenge or the Cotswolds…Definitely skip Vienna. Add the rest of your time to Provence with 2 extra days in Nice and the rest of your time in someplace like St Remy with a car. Alternatively just do London, Paris and Amsterdam as suggested above. There is Paris Disneyland and Park Asterix near Paris for theme parks. London has Legoland plus Warner brothers etc. lastly you could skip the south of France and do London Paris and Switzerland.
I agree London would be awesome for our family! We could come back for more on the next trip!
This time I would like the kids to be exposed to the culture and languages other than English.
They are not too young but not too old to appreciate the English country side 😂 They enjoy the cosmopolitan more than the country side at this age.
they are 12,15 yo.
by the way, I only agreed to go to Paris Disneyland and no other theme park!
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Old May 4th, 2024, 02:41 PM
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Why don't you lay out your "current" itinerary so others can comment. I have no idea as to what you have eliminated & what you have included.
Format something like this:

- Sunday Sept 8. Land in London and spend 5 nights.
- Friday Sept 13. Take the train to Paris & visit Paris & Disneyland for 5 nights
- Wed Sept 18. Take the 9:38 TGV train to Avignon that arrives at 12:17 & spend 3 nights in Avignon
Visit Avignon, Arles (by train), and find a small van tour of the Luberon hill villages.
- Sat Sept 21. Taxi to the Avignon TGV station and take the 10:20 TGV to Nice that arrives at 2:00. Spend 4 nights in Nice
Visit Nice, Villefranche, Antibes and Rothschild villa
- Wed Sept 25. Take the 10:00 flight to Geneva that arrives at 12:00 (guess by me). Spend 1 night in Geneva (not one of my favorites)
- Thurs Sept 26. Take the train from Geneva that departs at 9:59 & arrives in Grindelwald at 1:40. Two train changes. Stay in the Jungfrau region for 4 nights in Grindelwald or Murren (my choice).
- Mon Sept 30.Take the train that departs at 10:17 and arrives in Zurich at 12:58. One train change.
- Tues Oct 1 fly home.

Consider flying from Nice to Zurich instead of to Geneva. Might be better flight & train connections to Grindelwald.

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; May 4th, 2024 at 02:58 PM.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 03:25 PM
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OP, what are your actual plans for each city and location? That will determine how long you have for each.

For example, 5 nights in Paris is great, and gives 4 full days for sightseeing and with one day devoted to D-land (and it will eat up the entire day) that means you only have 3 days left for Paris itself - 2 if you include Versailles (not sure if that is a plan) but that gives you VERY little time to hit many of the major sites in Paris. Even 3 days might be pushing it, imho. It is still very much high season in Sept/Oct in Paris.

Same logic needs to be applied to London, depending on your family's sightseeing goals.

Why the transit stop in Geneva? Do you actually want to see the city or have something any of you want to visit? You'd might be better off plugging through to the actual destination (wherever that may be) so you do not waste any time checking in/out of lodging and all other logistics associated with a one-night stay when you could just be where you want to be, albeit if transit actually works.

How do you intend do have library time? Does the reader want to just see the books or spend time actually reading some? I practically had to be dragged from the Library of Congress and the NY Public Library, but that is me.
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Old May 4th, 2024, 04:01 PM
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""Why the transit stop in Geneva? Do you actually want to see the city or have something any of you want to visit? You'd might be better off plugging through to the actual destination (wherever that may be) so you do not waste any time checking in/out of lodging and all other logistics associated with a one-night stay when you could just be where you want to be, albeit if transit actually works.""

I think the final destination from Nice is Grindelwald. If so - using Rome2Rio, the best way is through Basel and you can accomplish it in a reasonable amount of time. But it might eat up most of the day, unless the teens can get an early start.
https://www.rome2rio.com/

We visited Versailles in early Oct a few years ago - and it was mobbed!!! It really takes more than a day to visit it all. We took 2 half-days - one for the gardens & another for the interior. Reserve tickets ahead.

Stu Dudley

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