going to europe this summer


May 23rd, 2004, 03:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 2
going to europe this summer

I'm going to be going to Europe this summer for about a month. At first I was afraid that this was too long but these past few weeks I have been doing a lot of research and now I realize for the amount of stuff I want to see I definetely don't have enough time. The problem with me is I want to see everything. I keep looking at all the cities I am going to and I keep telling myself I have to take a few of these places off my list because it won't be possible to all of it but I just can't decide what to take off. Obviously I can't spend 1 day in each city because then I would be missing so much from those major cities. Like how can Paris be done in a day? It can't. It would be a waste. Anyway here are the cities I want to visit. Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Brussels, Zurich, Munich, Vienna, Venice, Florence, Rome, amalfi coast, naples, french riviera (nice, monaco, st.tropez) Now this is a lot for just one month. Anyone have any tips for me? Does anyone see anything on this list not worthwhile that I could take off? thanks
bambachi is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 434
It's all worth while, but you're right: it's simply too much for one trip. I would focus on one or two countries and make the most of those places. For example, spend a week in Paris, a week on the French Riviera, and a couple of weeks split between Florence/Tuscany and Venice. Or just do Italy this time around. Everyone has different travel styles and different places they have a passion to visit, so the ultimate choice is up to you.
Carmen is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 03:49 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 290
I agree with Carmen - I think you should narrow your list down to a couple of places. This July, I'm spending 6 days in Paris, 5 days in London, and 8 days in Southern Spain, and I'm worried about not having enough time in each place. If it were me, I'd do a month in Spain and Portugal, or a month in Italy, or a month in Germany/the Netherlands/Belgium, or a month in France (split between Paris and the South of France).
abby97 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 2,707
The predicate for your question seems to be that this will be your one and only trip to Europe.

Will there not be another one next year, and the year after that? Most of us on this board have been there many, many times...
TuckH is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 04:25 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 13,194
Many people in your shoes are constrained by one of two things: time or money.

If you are constrained by money, I would recommend that you set aside one-third of the money you planned to spend on THIS trip, and let that be the good start you need on funding the NEXT trip (whether that means a year from now, a lot sooner or a lot later). Reducing your budget by a third might mean cutting back to 14-18 days. I agree that you should cut back to one or two countries.

What if your main constraint is time? For some people, time is harder to "bank" than money is - - particularly in some work situations. Nevertheless, I would urge you to figure out how you can "bank" 10-15 of these days, and still cut back.

You don't say when in "summer" you plan to leave, nor how much of your plan you have committed to, thus far. Purchased the travel that will get you to/from Europe? Constructed an overall budget? Equally important is a "time" budget. Sixteen destinations in ten countries in 30 days means approximately fifteen x four hours - - 5-10 days' worth of your 30 consumed in moving around. Use this motto: "see where you are more; move around less". This applies whether time OR money are your constraint.

And a corollary of "see where you are more" is to PREPARE yourself to "see more" about your shortened list of destinations. Even if it's two countries (or if you stay with your list of cities like beads on a string), you would do well to spend a LOT of time learning something about those destinations, cultures AND the LANGUAGES spoken there. And by the way, the culture of the countries is not just in the CITIES. The smaller towns and rural areas of Europe deserve at least a third of however many days you spend in any given country.

You should think about the motivation that makes you think you want to go to these various nations. They're not like sixteen different baseball teams; they're not even like a trip to "take in" sixteen different "venues" (Orioles, Steelers, Knicks, RedWings, Talladega, Pimlico, Augusta, etc...)

I realize that I am suggesting you go back to square one (perhaps you haven't much past square one yet). There are a large number of "us" (more experienced Europe travelers) here to help with your plan(s). And maybe, help you lay the foundation for becoming a lifelong Europe traveler yourself.

Best wishes,

rex is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 05:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,808
Just start by reducing it to a mathematical formula - you list 16 places you want to visit in 30 days. That's less than two days per plae - can't be done, as you have to figure in travel time between places and time to get "settled" and time to wander and relax. And there will be certain days in certain places when things won't be open, etc., and the whole trip there will have been for naught unless you plan exceedingly carefully.
You're also looking at a VERY expensive trip, no matter what form of transportation you use, unless it's hitchhiking, which I wouldn't recommend.
I think you need to go back to the drawing board and rethink and narrow your destinations down to at least 4 or 5.
StCirq is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 73,470
Hi bam,

As noted, you can't do 16 places in 30 days.

You can do 4 (best) to 7 (not recommended).

You should be able to get from one to the other in about 1/2 day or less.

Either make a loop (start end with Paris)or open jaw (fly into London and out of Venice)

Also keep in mind that this will not be your only trip to Europe.

You might want to consider for this trip

London (5 days), train to Paris (7 days), train to Nice (3 days), fly to Venice (4 days)(see www.europebyair.com)
train to Florence (5 days), train to Rome (6 days), fly home.

ira is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 73,470

You should be booking your hotels and airlines immediately.
ira is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,761
I think it's common for a lot of young people to think they have to see all of Europe the first time they go. Just get used to the idea that for a month, you can see a lot, but you have many years to to back and see other countries. You can really have a bad experience and create negative impressions of places if you aren't spending any time in any place and are exhausted and not enjoying anything, and then you may not enjoy visiting in the future (or have bad impressions).

I can name places I would knock off that list, sure, but since it is summer, you might consider that is not the best time for southern Europe due to the heat (ie, Italy). I think you could see Lisbon, Spain, some of southern France and then Paris and London in that month, and if you find yourself with extra time, take a short jaunt to Amsterdam between Paris and London. If you really have extra time, you could then fit Belgium in there, also. I'd forget Vienna, Italy and Zurich for now. Some of the places you name aren't really must-sees, they just seem unusual on a must-do list (ie, St Tropez, Brussels, Monaco, Zurich).
Christina is online now  
Reply With Quote
May 23rd, 2004, 07:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 145
I agree with Carmen and others. Don't try to fit in too much cause you won't enjoy it. I remember when I went to Europe for my first time 2 years ago. I went for 6 weeks and like you wanted to fit in as much as I could thinking this could be it. Well my fodorite buddies talked me out of it and now I am going back to Paris in Sept. and my husband already wants me to book for next summer to finish off Italy and go back to Croatia. Take it easy , enjoy every moment and you will fall in love like we did and you will be determined to go back no matter what.
ReddVelvet is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 04:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 886
Just one quick note on Christina's post (which contains excellent advice). Try and avoid Portugal (including Lisbon) this summer as there is a major football tournament going on there (Euro 2004). I know that it starts early summer, but if your going to be here for a month the chances are you'll clash.
All the best and have a great trip - whatever the itinerary you choose, you have to include London and Paris as a first timer.
AR is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 04:59 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 8,862
It sounds a bit much, but consider taking a tour as well. A tour can be more efficient in terms of covering a lot of round -- but you'll also be on tour buses or trains.

Actually I think that if you take a few places off your list, it may not be too bad.

For example, you can do the following:

A week in Italy (I would omit Naples/Amalfi Coast)

A few days in Vienna/Munich/Zurich (I would omit one of the three, probably Zurich)

A week in Paris/French Riviera

A week in London/Amsterdam (skip Brussels, or plan a very brief stop-over)

And try to squeeze in a few days in Barcelona or Madrid or Lisbon (pick one -- I've not been Lisbon, but my pick would be Barcelona).

Anyway, what I'd do is to narrow down the list, look at transportation, group the cities by regions and then plan the itinerary.

111op is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 1,942
You have the luxury of a month in Europe. You have so much you want to do. My first trip was a 5 week, 9 country marathon and I remembered little of many places but just enough to know what I wanted to do the next trip. Ira's suggestion seems just about ideal to me, especially if you like cities, which you seem to, judging by your list. Keep it manageable and allow yourself to enjoy each place.
mamc is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 07:11 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 886
I'd also second Ira's comment about booking now. Please DON'T come to Europe in summer on the hoof and expect to find hotels vacant. Once you've chosen your route then book all the hotels necessary. The last thing you want is to spend most of the days you do have looking for hotels. Yes, there obviously will be vacancies available somewhere but it can be done so much cheaper on-line. Also check the various budget airlines as they are mostly cheaper than car-hire or even trains.
AR is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 07:50 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 16,501
Way way too much !
Pick 8 destinations in France, Italy and the Alps and get a rail pass. And, plan a max of 4 hours between destinations. Make half of your destinations smaller cites--like Avignon, Siena, Salzburg.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 08:43 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,323
I'd do Spain and Italy or Spain and France or France and Italy or UK and Netherlands or Spain and Portugal and maybe Paris.

You want to do far too much, I'd see the major Spanish cities then fly to Paris and finish off with some relaxation on the French Riviera, but really you haven't considered anything from a practical perspective, you are human.
m_kingdom2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 24th, 2004, 12:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 88,033
It's WAY too much but only you can best cut down your own list. Which are your "dream" cities are you just dying to see? I'd pick maybe 3 like that and then 3 others that are close by and easy to get to (6 total not 18!) An open-jaw flight (into one city, back out of the city furthest away from it on your itinerary) will save back-tracking.

It is expensive and potentially a hassle to be moving around every-other day. Most 1st time travelers don't realize what is involved each & every time you change cities (pack bag, check out of hotel, get to train station by walking, metro, bus or taxi, long or short train ride, transport and check in to next hotel) - that can burn alot of time and you're not really seeing much. I consider it a 1/2 day "lost" with every location change. If you stick to your current list, you'll be seeing more of the inside of train stations, taxis, busses, etc. than the gorgeous cities and sites.

It a whirlwind trip & 18 destinations is truly what you want, then I would highly recommend looking into an organized tour group of some kind.
suze is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:00 AM.