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ashleykat1 Apr 28th, 2014 08:46 AM

Help with planning my May-June 2014 itinerary? Much appreciated!

I'm a first time solo female traveller, and am leaving right after grad, so late May / early June 2014, and staying for just over 3 weeks. I was hoping to get some advice on my trip. I have a lot of things semi-booked, but I am at a crossroads, and since these forums have been so helpful, I thought I would make my own post. Any advice / help is greatly appreciated - thank you in advance!!!

So I am thinking of a few different variations of my itinerary, and was hoping people might be able to tell me what is best! Unfortunately, I have to fly in and out of London. Just a few things about me: I've never been to Europe before, nor I have travelled solo before (so a bit nervous about this!) , I'm 26, a quasi-foodie, love urban areas, shopping, culture (i.e. history, etc), and the beach. I don't mind being in a bit of a rush, I'm pretty high energy (just finished grad school!), but I do want to have time to enjoy the experience.

Lastly, if there is another variation that would work better, please suggest it. I want to see London, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Barcelona for sure - it's just filling in the other spots that is tricky - I really wanted to get in some good beach time (hence thinking of Greece) too. In total I have 22 nights.

Version # 1
London for 1 night, Paris for 4 nights, Rome for 4 nights, Florence for 4 nights, Athens for 2 nights, Mykonos for 2 nights, Barcelona for 3 nights, London for 2 nights.

Version # 2
London for 1 night, Paris for 4 nights, Rome for 4 nights, Sorrento for 2 nights, Florence for 4 nights, Madrid or Venice for 2 nights, Barcelona for 3 nights, London for 2 nights.

Version # 3
London for 1 night, Paris for 4 nights, Rome for 4 nights, Florence for 4 nights, Venice for 2 nights, Barcelona for 3 nights, Madrid for 2 nights, London for 2 nights

Version #4
London for 1 night, Paris for 4 nights, Nice for 2 nights, Rome for 4 nights, Florence for 4 nights, Barcelona for 3 nights, Madrid for 2 nights, London for 2 nights

Thank you!

suec1 Apr 28th, 2014 08:57 AM

How do you plan on moving place to place? flying? as is, it makes my head spin - too many options. But I'd take Greece out of the trip for sure. Get your beach fix in either Barcelona or maybe Nice, Venice also has a lido (beach).

JoeCal Apr 28th, 2014 09:16 AM

I think you are (or should be) limited to no more than 5 cities in 22 days. Realistically, that means 3 days per city as you must travel - quite a bit based on what you selected. Personally, I would knock it down to 4 cities. I could easily spend a week in Paris alone - and run my a-- off the whole time. Unless you are flying city to city, I would not spread my destinations so broadly. So maybe give London more time on your return. Believe that you will return to Europe and save something for your next trip.

Good luck!


dwdvagamundo Apr 28th, 2014 09:29 AM

Makes my head spin too.

On our first trip overseas, we wanted to go everywhere and see everything, but learned that was impossible. The more places you go, the less you see in reality.

So drop everything but the five places you really want to see. I would drop Barcelona too as that is an outlier, unless you really, really need beach time.

IMO, the two cities that deserve relatively more time are London and Rome. Many on this board will say Paris as well, but I think you can get a good look at Paris in three or four nites for a first trip. Note that two nites means only one full day, and every place you've listed, except perhaps Mykonos deserves more.

So five nites each for London and Rome. I like Version 3, except I'd leave out Spain. Also, I'd either stay all my time in London either at the start or at the end and, if it is at the end, see if you can get to Paris for your first nite.

BTW--you're wise to plan by the nite. Good start on what I hope will be many happy European trips for you.

MmePerdu Apr 28th, 2014 10:16 AM

If the forums have, indeed, been helpful, I suggest you look again at the advice most often given to inexperienced travelers, to eliminate stops and stay longer in each destination you keep.

Four places in 3 weeks would serve you well. For instance London-Paris-Rome and EITHER Barcelona or Greece for beach time. Don't stay just 1 night anywhere. If you not interested enough, leave it out.

Four places is 3 days travel between. Divide what's left as you will and resist the temptation to spend any more of your precious days on the move. Give yourself time to settle in each place and to realize and enjoy what each has to offer. To do it any other way is a big waste of your time and money, I think.

Sassafrass Apr 28th, 2014 10:17 AM

You are locked into London. Rather than getting into the city, checking into a hotel and out of it the next day, etc. head straight on to Paris by train or to one of your other destinations by plane. Yes, you will be a bit jet lagged, but you won't accomplish much in London by staying that first night anyway. Put all your time in London at the end since you have to be there for your return flight.

You are going to Italy anyway, so it makes sense to see more places in that country. There is such variety and train is easy and cheap between places.

How I arranged things would be determined by available flights and the costs. I might go South first to avoid the beginning of Summer heat, but you want the beach so you might want it last. I would opt for time in Sorrento, seeing Pompeii and the AC over time on a beach, but that is personal interest. I would opt for that over Madrid also, because it gives you something different from cities, plus you are already in Italy and less likely return just for that. Also, Madrid would be better as a combo with Toledo, Segovia, Andalusia (Seville, Cordoba, etc.) rather than just a couple of days by itself.

Arrive London, fly straight on to
Italy: the order of Italy depends on flights from London and to Barcelona (Rome, Florence, Venice or the reverse, or Naples if you plan on Sorrento)
Fly from Italy to Barcelona
Fly from Barcelona to Paris
Eurostar from Paris to London

Arrive London, straight away to Paris by Eurostar
Fly, Paris to Venice (tour Italy) (beach near Rome and near Venice)
Fly, Rome to Barcelona, (beach near Barcelona)
Fly, Barcelona to London

Paris, 4 nights
Venice, 2 nights
Florence or other place in tuscany, 3 nights
Rome, 4 nights
Sorrento, 3 nights
Barcelona, 3 nights
London, 3 nights
This is very, very rushed. I would cut Barcelona, but that is on your must see list, so cut something from Italy - your choice. You need an extra night in Barcelona if you are going to the beach there. Cut Venice and add a night to Barcelona and to London or cut Sorrento and add wherever you want.

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