how is my itinerary?!! 4 cities, 16 days

Jul 1st, 2014, 10:31 AM
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how is my itinerary?!! 4 cities, 16 days

My husband and I (late 30s and 20s) took a med cruise last year and LOVED IT - we saw highlights of Barcelona, Istanbul, Rome, Venice, Florence, Sorrento, the Greeks islands, Athens...

We thought about doing a baltic cruise this year but decided to go back to the Med areas and explore on foot in more detail.

We would spend around 16 days (flexible) this September. We changed our minds multiple times on the itinerary but I think we now settled on London and Paris (both new to us) and then Florence and Rome (spent a day in each on cruise last year).

Is this too much? I was thinking to take the train, except fly from Paris to Florence.

If the itinerary looks ok, would you do it in that order or reverse? Any reasons why?

We don't want to burn out but we also don't like a very slow pace as we get bored relatively quickly. We will most likely skip all the tourist attractions (museums, churches, ruins) this time around as we saw PLENTY last time.

We mostly want to enjoy the culture and the cuisines. Do a wine tour for a day, ideally make it to Capri or Positano for a day (is this unrealistic from Rome?), explore small towns in Tuscany. Are the cities I chose in Italy not good for that? Any better suggestions (for example, Siena instead of Florence?)? Thanks for any advice!
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 11:15 AM
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You're looking at three countries in 16 days, not four cities. You'll loose at least 1/2 day traveling between destinations, another few hours checking into your hotoel. most check ins are in the afternoon, not morning. You may want to rethink your itinerary somewhat.
Robert2533 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 11:32 AM
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Positano or Capri would be difficult day trips from Rome. If you want to visit these places, why not spend you 16 days in Italy - Florence, Rome and the Amalfi Coast. I am curious what you plan to do in the cities you have chosen if you plan to skip museums, churches and ruins.
mamcalice is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 11:52 AM
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I am curious as to what I'll be doing as well?! All my research suggest different places to visit in each city... and not much else. I wouldn't mind checking out a few historic landmarks in Paris and London as we haven't seen any, but we already hit all the main ones in Italy.

Maybe I should cut London out and add AC as someone suggested? Or keep London and extend the trip a few more days? I'm still so confused and I need to plan this thing ASAP before all the hotel rooms are gone
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 12:04 PM
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We are going to Rome, Tuscany, Santorini, Greece, Brussels, Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Cochem in 16 nights.

I like seeing as much as possible whenever I go to Europe.

We have a great time, every time we do it.

I don't see why you can't experience London, Paris, Rome and Florence in 16 days.

Especially since you guys are young!!

"Just Do It!"
Masterphil is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 12:12 PM
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Sounds fun! Just a question... how will you get to santorini from Italy? Fly? I'm only asking because I really wanted to include a Greek island (for my husband) but I didn't see how it would fit with my itinerary (as you can see, I'm not exactly an expert lol)
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 12:16 PM
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>>>>>"You are looking at three countries in 16 days, not four cities..."

Should we count out those cities? Let's see....1, 2, 3, 4.....ummmm......

>>>>>"you'll lose 1/2 day traveling, packing, checking in...etc etc etc"

Let's give the frown-ups credit for knowing that time both exists and passes continuously and that if they can get to Europe they know how long it takes to pack and move

4 cities in 16 days is just fine and a great way to add in some new Europe to a couple of places you saw briefly and want more time with.

- London to Paris is 2:15 hours by Eurostar train
- Paris - Florence is 9:20 hours at it's fastest or 12:11 hours on a sleeper train with an early (6:23 am) change in Milan so flying makes sense.

CDG (Paris) to FLR (Florence) direct is about 69 Euros this September and its about 93 Euros from ORY (aris) to FCO (Rome). Flting to Florence makes more sense because you can then train to Rome (1:20 hours) and it will probably be much easier to find a flight back from Rome to wherever you are (???).

Starting in London and ending in Rome makes the most sense from a weather perspective in the fall - you will give yourself the best chance at getting better weather up north the earlier you go in September.

You can add days if you want but this is totally doable and don't worry the hotel rooms won't all be gone.

If you want even more specific answers, post away.
Aramis is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 12:21 PM
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Look at it like this:

Day 1 - leave destination
Day 2- arrive London in am, lose most of day 2 to travel and jet lag

Day 3&4 - London

Day 5 - travel to Paris (check out, get to airport/train station/travel/check-in)

Day 6-7 - Paris

Day 8 - travel to Florence (repeat day 5)

Day 9-10 Florence

Day 11 - travel to Rome (repeat day 5)

Day 12-15 Rome

Day 16 - travel home

So, yeah, it's do-able. But if you want to immerse yourselves in the food and the culture and really experience the cities, you could easily pick two and still have plenty to enjoy! Otherwise, you're just doing lots of moving around.
txgirlinbda is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 12:26 PM
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Thanks I apprecite everyone's reply! I just wrote it all out and found some flights, and I should clarify we will spend 16 NIGHTS on the trip. Here is my rough draft... add things in as you see fit!

9/2 DIRECT!!! flight from Detroit to London
9/3 Arrive London 11 am
9/7 Train London --> Paris
9/11 Fly Paris --> Florence
9/15 Train Florence --> Rome
9/16 ROME
9/17 ROME
9/18 ROME
9/19 DIRECT!!! flight Rome to Detroit around 11 am

We would arrive Fri 9/19 in the afternoon and have Saturday and Sunday to relax before the work week begins.

Thoughts?? Any daytrips or other suggestions?

moosey9 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 01:17 PM
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>> but we already hit all the main ones in Italy. <<

Not if you visited all those places as one day shore excursions.

W/ just 16 days I'd stick to 3 cities max. 9/3 is essentially a 'non-day/. With arrival at 11:00 you will be lucky to get to your hotel by 2PM. By the time you check in, un pack and freshen up, you have time for a short walk, dinner and an early night.

9/19 is a totally 'non-day'.

In between you are using nearly 2 full days for travel. (Half a day London > Paris; about 3/4 a day Paris > Florence; and another half a day Florence > Rome) Can you visit all 4 cities in 16 days- sure. But London for instance is the largest city in Western Europe (much larger than Paris, Rome and Florence - together!) and it has MANY major sites spread over a vast area.
janisj is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 01:21 PM
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You have been advised that 2 train trips totaling 3:35 minutes and a 1:50 flight (make it 4.5 hours with travel time to/from the airports) or, less than 8 hours of transit time spread across just 3 days of actual travel each of which are spaced 4 days apart during a 16 night trip - is "doing lots of moving around". Hmmmm, I would have to disagree.

Your itinerary looks great with the direct open jaw. If you want to try for a Tuscan day trip, consider coming back on Saturday, giving you one extra day which you can devote to Florence. The cheapest Paris Florence flight is in the late afternoon, as well, so that take a little of Florence's time. Tuscany is where I would suggest that you will get the most out of a day trip; Siena, or Lucca, both direct and under 90 minutes are prime targets. There are also many bus options to smaller towns but those are more "tour" oriented with an agenda.
Aramis is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 01:48 PM
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Personally, I am a pretty slow traveler, often spending a week or more in one place, so though not my style, I think your plan is great. You are spending four nights in each city, at least three full days, plus you are young and energetic.

One thing I would have liked better would be one or two areas outside of big cities, but you do have Florence. Maybe you can do a day trip from Florence to one or two of the hill towns.

Consider stopping in Orvieto on your way to Rome, or doing a day trip to there or Ostia Antica from Rome.

The Amalfi Coast, Positano and Capri, are not good day trips from Rome. It is simply too far for a day, and has so much to offer, a good combination of sight seeing like Pompeii, and relaxation, it really needs several days to enjoy the area. It is a wonderful combination with all the cities, but you would definitely have to cut something to do it. September is a perfect time for all the cities, but I love the AC in spite of the crowds, so it would be a hard choice for me. However, I have been to London and Paris each several times. You have not and they are great cities. Go and enjoy!

Do want to add that your one day from the cruise in Rome, for example, could only have given you a minuscule glimpse, but you will see when you are there on your own.
Sassafrass is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Loving all the replies! Thanks for the suggestions on the smaller towns... that's exactly what I was looking for. I may opt for an extra day in Florence instead of Rome depending on the number of daytrips we are interested in from each.

You are correct, our day in Rome was a blur. We saw a lot of the ruins, went inside the coliseum and St. Peter's. We did not see the Sistine Chapel or experience any of the "culture" in Rome so we are looking forward to that!

I'm definitely scrapping the daytrip to AC based on your replies... don't want to spend the entire time in Europe traveling. Although I am a little bummed that I don't have any coastal cities on my itinerary. Next time!
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 02:50 PM
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Your itinerary is feasible. You won't be able to do everything each place has to offer, but neither could you do this if you spent your whole trip in 3 places, or 2, or even one. You won't be bored.
Pack light, buy there what you forgot to bring, and break in your shoes before you leave!
AJPeabody is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 04:46 PM
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Vueling Airlines has a direct flight from FCO to Santorini.
Masterphil is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 04:58 PM
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I went to Florence when I was in my 20s and it didn't do much for me! We stayed there 2 nights and that was too long. (That's my honest feedback on Florence!). I think Santa Margherita Ligure/Portofino and a day trip to Cinque Terre or Venice is more fun than Florence.

Our upcoming trip (now in my 50s) we are going to chill in Montalcino area.

London is great, Paris is my favorite city, Rome is too crowded and not one of my favorites ( but worthy of a couple of days) Prague is outstanding and only 1 1/2 hour flight from London.

Enjoy the planning!!
Masterphil is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 06:01 PM
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If you took a short one day in Rome and Florence and think you saw the major sights - well, you just haven't. Rome IMHO takes 3 full days to see even the MOST major sights. (Something like the editors telling people they can seethe major sights of Rome and have lunch in 6 hours is a joke. You aren't "seeing" them - you are briefly and very superficially viewing a small portion of a couple of places - and probably grabbing a slice on the go instead of actually having lunch.

As for your plans - one can see Pompeii as a very long day trip Rome. Doing Positano really isn't possible unless you get a car and driver from the train station in Naples for a couple of hundred euros - and then you will be very rushed. But then you don;t have time to see Rome.

I agree that learning to live like a local - rather than racing from one sight to another - is a great idea. We often find a nice cafe for a drink at 4 or 5 pm before going back to the hotel to rest, shower and change before dinner. And wandering back to the hotel at 10 or 11 through the beautiful piazzas with floodlit fountains is incredibly romantic. BUT IMHO ignoring the major sights (3 days for Rome minimum) is not the way to "see" and "understand" the local culture.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 06:15 PM
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<<<>> but we already hit all the main ones in Italy. <<

Not if you visited all those places as one day shore excursion<<<

Agree with Janice. A few hours in each city on a port stop can't possibly hit even a fraction of the main sites.

Since you've been to Florence briefly, I would stay in Siena for something different. You can either rent car and tour around Tuscany or book a day tour or two. It's also easy to take the Sita bus to Florence for the day.
kybourbon is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 06:50 PM
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A few questions based on your replies:

Is Genoa the city where I would want to stay (instead of Florence) for day trips to cinque Terre and Portofino? Would you do that instead of Florence? Or are they doable from Florence or Siena?

Is Florence an ideal "home base" for exploring small Tuscan towns and villages, or is there a better place to stay for that?

Lastly, call me crazy, but now I'm debating skipping London in favor of spending a few days on the amalfi coast (Positano?).

Sorry so many questions
moosey9 is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 07:48 PM
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My question for you is if you've already been to Rome and Florence and seen everything you want to see, why are you going back. Why not rent a car and stay in the smaller towns.

Sorrento is a good base for the Amalfi Coast and Capri.

If you want to visit Cinque Terre and Portofino why stay in Florence or Genoa. Why not stay in Cinque Terre?

I'm confused about your choice of locations in Italy since you're not interested in museums, churches, or ruins and seem to prefer the smaller towns.
adrienne is offline  

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