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Honeymoon in Europe...too many options! Help!!

Honeymoon in Europe...too many options! Help!!

May 1st, 2010, 01:35 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: May 2010
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Honeymoon in Europe...too many options! Help!!

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to the world of Fodor's so please forgive me if I'm repeating things that others have asked before.

My fiance and I are getting married this October but aren't planning to take our honeymoon until Summer 2011. After much convincing, he's agreed that Europe would be a great trip (we've already been to the Carribbean this year and will be going again next March, so a Summer Honeymoon somewhere else is ideal). We know that we definitely want to go to Italy (specifically Venice and Rome). We think we'd like to do Greece as well, and I'd love to go back to France and Belgium (was there in 2007 and am itching to go back...LOVED it!)
In all reality, I think we'd probably love any European Vacation, so the places I've mentioned are not set in stone. More just a guide.

Now, what we need to figure out is whether we want to do independent travel or a tour. I'm hoping for a fairly high level of convenience and simplicity--I don't want to be stressed out with foreign driving laws, street signs, and directions. We like that a tour will plan our hotels and some meals for us, and will provide transport from place to place. However, I don't want to be nailed down to a schedule. What I think would be ideal is a tour that does all these things for us, but lets us get on/off as we choose...but that doesn't really seem that feasible.

We've also been told that we might enjoy a trip where we plan our own stays, and just get a rail pass. I don't know much about this...but it doesn't sound as though it conforms to my desire for simplicity and lack of stress.


Basically, our priorities are:

- getting a chance to see a variety of cities and landmarks without being stuck to someone else's schedule ALL the time
- being able to get from place to place fairly easily
- NOT having to book hotels on-the-spot
-being able to enjoy the trip and eachother's company (it is our honeymoon, after all)

(Sorry for being so long winded.)

Can anyone point me in the right direction?
gillymarie is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 01:46 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 100
I would recommend Santorini. I would not take a tour and I would not drive. Take the train around Italy, fly to Santorini, fly from there to Athens and fly home from Athens.

I also would not buy a rail pass. You have to ride the train almost non-stop to save any money.
Rich2000ac is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 01:55 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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How long will this trip be? but with some planning you should be able to design a nice trip for yourselves with low hassle factor. Tell us how long you will be traveling and you will get some good itinerary suggestions. Italy is very easy to do on your own by train (probably with point to point tickets) you don't have to drive! You have plenty of time to book some hotels - it is very easy with the internet. Not sure you can do all those countries unless you have alot of time but I suggest you plan a trip and spend at least 4 nights in most locations and tell yourself - YOU WILL BE BACK - you can see the other places on your next visit.
suec1 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 02:22 PM
  #4  
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Our trip can only be 2 weeks. I'm a teacher and have summers off, but he can only get a max of 14-16 days off at a time.
gillymarie is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 02:54 PM
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Vacations to Europe are not the same as vacations in tropical destinations. In Europe there's a lot more to see and do. Two weeks between two different countries is just not enough time. The more destinations you try to "do" the more stressful and less-satisfying it will be. Choose Italy or Greece, but not both.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 03:01 PM
  #6  
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If I had to choose one country, Italy would be it.
gillymarie is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 03:29 PM
  #7  
 
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What would you like to see in Italy or which areas? Book open jaw tickets into somewhere in the north (Milan, Venice) and out of Rome so you don't backtrack. When looking at airfares, select the multi-city option to book an open jaw.

Between most cities you can easily train, but some of the smaller towns it might be better to bus. A rail pass is probably not cost effective for your trip, but once you decide where you want to go, then that can be determined.

Do you have a budget?
kybourbon is online now  
May 1st, 2010, 03:50 PM
  #8  
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I'm sorry...I think I must be a total newbie. Can you tell me what "open jaw" means?

We don't have much of a budget. Of course, we don't want to spend more than is necessary, but cost isn't the number one priority. I've been saving specifically for our honeymoon for a while, and so by the time we take the trip, we should be able to do so fairly comfortably.

Just another quick thing to note...I am Canadian and will be flying out of Toronto (most likely). We MAY fly out of Buffalo, NY if it really saves $$, but Toronto is the more likely and convenient choice. Not sure if this changes any planning we'd need to do.
gillymarie is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 04:26 PM
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You are asking for advice from a lot of people who like nothing more than planning a trip to Europe. Everyone is already telling you how easy it can be to do it yourself--and it is. But if you really would rather have it all planned out for you a good tour would probably be better. i've seen plenty of threads on this site that debate the relative merits of one tour over another, often based upon the kind of criteria you so nicely set--freedom of travel without having to do everything for yourself but without being regimented at all times. Perhaps you can search this site using terms like "Italy tour company", or Italy tours with free time or even something more hokey than that.

As a devout independent traveler, I too would urge you to try to handle the details yourself so you can be assured of going where you want to go, but if you really don't want to spend much time at all deciding where that would be, how to get there, and where to stay once you do, explore tours and ask questions here to get info from others who have taken them.
JulieVikmanis is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 04:26 PM
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The month may dictate. I would not do the Greek Isles in July or August. I would do the Swiss Alps and Lake Como as a great honeymoon after June 15.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 04:35 PM
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I think flying into Rome and then taking a train to the Amalfi Coast (stay in Sorrento maybe, visit Pompeii) would be perfect for a honeymoon. If it were me I would do 4 nights in Rome (3 at the beginning and 1 at the end) and a week on the coast somewhere with a pool and a view and within walking distance of shops and restaurants. No cars, fly in and out of the same great place, and get both a city and seaside experience. Molto bene.
voyager61 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 05:06 PM
  #12  
 
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I am definitely a DIY-sort of traveller but I strongly suggest that if you do decide to use a tour company to put your trip together for you, find one in the country or countries you plan to visit so that if there are any unforseen problems that arise you'll have someone locally to contact for assistance. In Athens that would be Fantasy Travel and Dolphin-Hellas Travel. Both have websites.
brotherleelove2004 is offline  
May 1st, 2010, 05:06 PM
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An open jaw ticket would be flying from Toronto to Venice (Milan, Pisa or w/e city you pick) going to Italy and Rome/Toronto on the return. It doesn't usually cost extra to fly like this to Europe and it saves time by not backtracking (taking you to the same city twice).
kybourbon is online now  
May 1st, 2010, 06:06 PM
  #14  
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Thank you everyone for your help so far! After reading all of your feedback and talking it through ourselves, we are thinking that planning it out ourselves is the better route for us.

The trip would definitely take place in July or August. I'd prefer July, but it will depend on when he can get his holiday time from work. That said....here's the next thing on my "to find out" agenda--where to go. Venice and Rome are the only spots that we absolutely must get to. Beyond that, we are pretty open. We're thinking that we'd like to stay in hotels in larger cities, but we'd also like to get somewhere off the beaten path at some point as well....perhaps a home stay in smaller town or village en route between larger locales? Suggestions and feedback are once again welomed and appreciated.
gillymarie is offline  
May 2nd, 2010, 10:33 AM
  #15  
 
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If you want to do Rome and Venice for sure, then just pick a small hilltown in Tuscany (Chianti is gorgeous) and stay for a few days. Rentals are usually a week minimum from Saturday to Saturday, so if you can't devote a full week to the rental, you'll have to do some kind of hotel. For a rental, I can recommend Il Palagio in Panzano (just Google it) if you want a pool, incredible views, walkability to a small town with restaurants and access to other hilltowns if you have a car. Without a car, you would have less flexibility to see the rest of Chianti...but it would still be a wonderful respite in between the cities and very romantic, almost like a beach vacation, but in Tuscany.
voyager61 is offline  

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