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How many countries can we see in 3-4 weeks

How many countries can we see in 3-4 weeks

Old Apr 15th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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How many countries can we see in 3-4 weeks

We are planning a european vacation sometime in October, and I have a wishlist started. I'm not sure if I am being overzealous or not. Would love to see Belgium (Brussels), France (south), Italy (venice, florence, tuscany), Austria (Vienna) and the Czech Republic (prague). Would be willing to fly. is this possible? Any suggestions?
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 04:42 PM
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Europe is not about countries, it is all about regions. Think geographically. I would forget Brusssels and start either in Paris or Munich and end in Rome. With 3 weeks you can do a max of 7 destinations--more with 4 weeks. Your big decison will be whether to drive for portions of the trip--certainly in places like Tuscany. I would start in Munich if you hope to include Austria and Prague--or fly directly into Prague. After 25 trips to Europe we have seen about half--you too will return.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 04:46 PM
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I would be inclined to use 1 country per week as a rule of thumb - trying to balance the desire to go multiple places with the desire to have the time to see enough in each place to make it worthwhile.

You can tweek it a bit - perhaps spend less than a week in Belgium and add time to Italy.

We have 2 weeks this summer, so we are going to Belgium and the Netherlands. Originally we were going to go to Germany too, but when we started planning, we felt that our itinerary was too rushed, so we cut out Germany in order to spend more time in the other two countries.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 04:49 PM
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There's seeing and there's experiencing a country/location/city. I find that for me, I like a minimum of 3 - 4 days for each new place I go to. Of course, the larger the city, like Paris or London, I like to spend a full week there...I don't know what your future plans are, but if you plan on going back, scale down where you're going to go and truly enjoy each place.

I also prefer to travel by either train or driving so I can see the areas outside of the main location I'm going to, you can find some great gem this way.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 04:52 PM
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Bob was posting at the same time that I was and I think his advice makes a lot of sense. By sticking to a region rather than going across the continent, you will be able to spend more time seeing places and less time getting from point A to point B.

My first trip to Europe was to Germany and I was amazed at the shear density of incredibly neat places to visit. We spent 2 weeks in Bavaria alone and feel that we need to go back because there is still so much we want to see

After that first visit, I was so hooked - my plan is to go back to Europe every couple of years as long as my budget will allow it. This Belgium/Netherlands trip will be my second to Europe and I am already thinking about where to go for my third
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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Thank you! This will be of great help, as we begin to plan our itinerary. Curious to know, after your numerous trips to Europe, your favorite destinations?

Thanks again
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:01 PM
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Listen to the previous respondends. Don't make the same mistakes we made 32 years ago - trying to cover too much ground. We REALLY started to enjoy Europe when we slowed down to about 1/10th speed.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Everybody is a philosopher!

I live in Italy - which is definitely a country where we all speak Italian. I don't think the "one country per week" rule makes sense. You may not want to spend a whole week in that country at one time!

I agree with bob you should start with Prague and Vienna (but why he added Munich to your itinerary, I don't know.) From there I would be tempted to head to Venice, by plane or train, on to Florence, rent a car to see Tuscany, and then drive a coastal route to the French border, lose the car and continue by train along south of France. Fast train to Paris, onto Belgium. I wouldn't spend much time in Brussels, but rather go to Antwerp and Ghent, and others like Brugge.

7 days for Vienna and Prague
3 venice
3 Florence
3 Tuscany
1 overnight near Italian border (I'd pick Cervo)
4 South of France
2 nights Paris
4 Belgium
home

You could cut the two nights in Paris and add them elsewhere. I'd probably add them to Tuscany.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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By the way, I'm proposing that itinerary on the presumption you are young and foolish and impetuous, and in great health. If you are over 40, I wouldn't recommend that trip.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:07 PM
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Favorite destinations

Paris
London
Rome
Venice
Tuscany
Amalfi Coast
Cinque Terra
Umbria
Dolmites
Cote d'Azur
Provence
Alps (France, Italy, Switzerland)
Languedoc
Brittany
Pays Basque
Burgundy
Beaujolais
Auvergne
Ardeche
Alsace
Amsterdam
Brugge
Mosel
Rhine
Baveria
Munich
Copenhagen
Bern
Vienna
Salzburg

Time to head to the Gym - don't have time to cover England, Scotland, & Wales.

Sooooo may different places to visit in Europe !!!!

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:13 PM
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And lastly, unless you or anybody else thinks I'm just a speed demon, my first trip to Europe I spent five months in London before moving on to Paris for 3 months. My first trip to the middle east I spent three months, roughly divided between 4 countries. I finally moved to Italy because it seemed silly to spend so much extended time over here without just moving here.

But I enjoy road trips and find glamor in motion.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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Also, I will note that most of the people telling you here not to move so fast quite frequently advise people taking two week trips to move among 3 destinations, spending a few days in each.

What is bothering them is that you are going for a month, or taking two back-to-back vacations.

Would anybody advise somebody visiting the US to stick to just doing regions? If somebody said they wanted to see Chicago and Texas, wouldn't you think that was fun? I would.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 05:20 PM
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There is a difference between travel experience and travel orthodoxy.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 06:05 PM
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Short answer - we couldn't. But some people could.

It depends on how you like to travel, if you want to see more than one place per country, if you like skimming the surface or really getting to know a place.

In a 3 week road trip we typically do 2 large cities - one at either end. If it's the first time in the city we do 5/6 days each. If we've been several times before we may do only 3 days each (but 3 days is 3 full days, as in 4 nights). then we do smaller cities and towns in between. We never stay less than 2 night anywhere - and in a 3 week trip would prefer no more than 5 hotels - but might push it to 6.

But we like getting to know a place, having time to relax in a cafe with a glass of wine - and not getting up at 7 am.

(You need to realize you lose a good part of the day in moving from one city to another - even if they're fairly close. If you're flying - it might take longer than train or car - in terms of getting to/fro airports, security lines, waiting for delays etc.)
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 06:08 PM
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The more you travel, the less you see.
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Old Apr 15th, 2009, 07:29 PM
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My favorites:
Italy--but that is 15 trips
Andalusia
Bavaria
Salzkammergut
Berner Oberland

The last 4 are what I mean by regions. Forget countries--those are just artificial boundaries with no historical nor cultural identity. See Stu Dudley above---same concept.
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