Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page > If I visit Europe only once...what do I HAVE to see?
Notices

If I visit Europe only once...what do I HAVE to see?

Reply

Oct 10th, 2010, 12:46 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4
If I visit Europe only once...what do I HAVE to see?

I am planning a trip to Europe next year and I'm planning on spending between 10 and 14 days. This will be my first time in Europe. I don't know where I want to go, because I want to go everywhere! I will be travelling with my girlfriend and no kids.

When we travel, we like to immerse ourselves by eating, sleeping, and commuting like the locals. We enjoy diverse cultures and love experiencing those "wow" moments that only occur when you're experiencing something for the first time. We love new ethnic foods, and open air markets. We prefer having plenty to do as it is hard for us to sit and "relax" on vacation. To provide you with more interests, we enjoy the outdoors, history, and architecture. However, if I have to pick one thing we enjoy more than others, it's EATING!

I really want to do London eventually, but I'm afraid it will not be "foreign" enough and we really want to feel that culture shock.

Pretend as If I'll only be able to visit Europe once: where would you tell me to go? What things do I NEED to see, and MOST importantly, what do I need to do? Give me your top 4 or 5 SPECIFIC ideas. Your opinion is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Ean
ean1879 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 12:51 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Turkey
Paris/France

In 10-14 days, if you really want to 'dig into' a culture, only visit one place/country.

Europe..it's big
Michel_Paris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 12:52 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 9,134
I am planning a trip to the USA next year and I'm planning on spending between 10 and 14 days. This will be my first time in the USA. I don't know where I want to go, because I want to go everywhere! I will be travelling with my girlfriend and no kids.

Get the drift?
kleeblatt is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 12:58 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 42,094
I think it's probably impossible for anyone who posts on this board to imagine visiting Europe only once, but even if I could imagine that, and assuming eating was what I wanted to do most, I'd say Turkey or Italy or France. Just one country, though, if you truly want to immerse yourselves. 10-14 days goes by in the blink of an eye.
StCirq is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:01 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Every country will offer what you say are your interests. I'd read up a bit in order to narrow it down
Michel_Paris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:01 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 19,881
"Czech Republic , Germany , Ireland , Switzerland"

None of these countries would be in the top 10.

Start with the Greats - London, Paris, Rome & Athens.

As for London not being "foreign enough" - it's pretty foreign for most people who don't live in the SE of England
alanRow is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:04 PM
  #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 50,316
Paris and Rome.

5-6 days in each.
annhig is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:10 PM
  #8
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4
Yeah schuler...I get it. However, if you were to ask me a question similar to this, I'd actually give you my opinion and try to provide my opinion instead of being rude. For example, I might tell you that I loved NYC because of the hustle and bustle, that I loved Boston for the history, and Honolulu for the beaches, weather, and Pearl Harbor. However, thanks for taking time out of your day to try and belittle someone.

I understand Europe is big, and I plan on visiting many times, but I don't know 100% that I'll ever be back. I also value diverse points of view and I was trying to spark a conversation that might point me in the direction of a country or city I might really enjoy visiting.
ean1879 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:11 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 975
My first choice for you would be Italy. Several days in Rome followed by some time in Tuscany.
My second choice would be Turkey. Istanbul has so much to offer. History, great food, different culture. Love it!
I love London but agree it may not be as "foreign" as you'd like on your first trip.
grimmy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:18 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 659
I would choose either Paris or Rome and Florence.

10-14 days in Paris sounds like heaven. You could relax, wander around, see great sites and eat so well. You can leave the city for a day here and there if you are interested.

Rome and Florence would give you all of the above, but with some variety. Rome is so busy and hectic, and so amazingly historic. Not really relaxing, but wonderful. Florence would be slower and more peaceful, and again there are wonderful day trips. They are close enough together that you won't lose a bunch of time traveling between them. Beware of not being able to drive in the historic center of Florence. There are many reports of people on Fodors who got hit with tickets for having their cars in restricted areas.
cferrb is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:18 PM
  #11
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 4
Thank you to all of those who are sharing their ideas; especially those who are pointing out specifics!

I had never considered Turkey, but several people have now mentioned it. I'll have to start researching it.

I'm still interested in seeing what others have to say though...and remember, be specific!

Thanks!!
ean1879 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:28 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Turkey...Istanbul, Cappadocia, Turkish riviera, Ephesus.

Tour Istanbul by foot/transit rent car for remainder
Michel_Paris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:37 PM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,190
Are you limiting yourself to the 4 countries you tagged on this thread? If so, I would choose the Czech Republic because of the beautiful architecture, very foreign feel (few people speak English outside of Prague), and good food (if you like heavy northern food), very nice people, and the "culture shock" you want but stay away from Prague since you won't find any culture shock there. If you want to immerse yourself in the culture it will be difficult if you do not speak Czech or German.

If you want to include other countries I would choose Italy based on your #1 criterion - Eating. Italian food in Italy is very different from Italian food in the US (I'm assuming you're American although you didn't mention your nationality).

If you choose Italy and want to visit large cities then I would caution against "commuting like the locals" as you'll waste a lot of your precious time getting into and out of the city at the end of the day and you'll lose the magic of wandering around after dinner looking at the piazzas and buildings lit up against the night sky. You won't have the advantage of being able to freshen up at the end of the day before dinner because your hotel/apartment will be far from the city center.

If you want to immerse yourself in the culture and live as Italians do and experience "culture shock" then position yourself in a small town, away from cities. But then you will miss out on the wonderful art, architecture, and food the cities offer and you won't have a lot to keep you busy in small towns or suburbs.

You'll need to focus your criteria for this trip and choose criteria that blends - for instance, it's difficult to immerse yourself in a culture and also achieve culture shock simultaneously and in only 14 days.

Once you figure out what you want it will be easier for people to give you 4 or 5 things to see and do.
adrienne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:39 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
ean: You may wish to couple the major city with smaller towns and countryside.
Example: Paris coupled with Normandy/or Provence/or Dordogne
Example: Rome coupled with Amalfi Coast (AMC)/or Tuscany/or Umbria
Example: Barcelona coupled with Sevilla/or Granada/or Bilbao& vicinty (replace Barcelona with Madrid, if you wish)
Example: Istanbul coupled with the Cappadocian region, or the Turquoise Coast area west of Antalya.
(And not to neglect London and exposing yourself to further wrath, why not London, followed by the Cotswold region).

I think you are beginning to see the pattern. But in 10-14 days, I would suggest spending it in one country in a similar pattern as suggested above. This should result in giving you a good taste. You will be back. I'd bet on it.
stu
tower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:43 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 6,818
Note, ean. This same pattern above would fit with any of the other countries you "tagged"...
tower is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:54 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Ean, you would be surprised at how many people come here and think they can 'do' a country, a city, a continent in one short visit (not you, of course!)

I would never recommend someone to visit NYC, Boston, SF, and Hawaii on one 10 day trip. Can it be physcially done, sure, Should it, no.

We get the same in canada. In Toronto, would like to take a day to go to Vancouver/Rockies. Umm..no

You are headed in the right direction
Michel_Paris is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 01:58 PM
  #17
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 556
Well, I approached this a different way since I've been to many of these places many times.
If I had only one more trip to Europe before I die I would:

1. Go to Paris and see the Eiffel Tower and the "big 3" in the Louvre. Then I'd take an evening boat tour down the Seine and look at the lights of Paris. I'd have a drink at Harry's Bar.
2. I'd go to Venice and walk. I'd walk early in the morning. I'd walk at dusk and I'd walk at dark. I'd visit the Rialto bridge and I'd ride in a gondola down the side canals and in a speedboat down the grand canal. I'd have a Bellini at Harry's Bar.
3. I'd go to Rome and tour the Coloseum and look at the Sistine Chapel. I'd go and see Michelangelo's Moses. I'd have a drink at Harry's Bar.
4. I'd go to Florence to see "David" and the Ponte Vecchio. I'd have dinner at Harry's Bar (tricked you this time).
5. I'd go to Barcelona and take the slow train to Madrid (in the heat of summer).

I eat and drink all along the way and I'd take the train everywhere (including sleepers except for the slow train).
That's what I'd do.
I guess my point is that you will get a lot of "must see" suggestions and it depends on what YOU want to see. The best part of travel is not the checklist of what you see, it's the memories that you bring back of the experience.
Lynnaustin is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 02:11 PM
  #18
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 10,442
<<>>

Just as a thought, but you never know with 100% certainty that you'll get to do anything. Don't live your life based on not knowing with 100% certainty that you'll get to do something in the future or not. I would take my chances that I *might* not get to go back for a long time and would do my best to really enjoy the first time. Many people try to cram too much into a short time and it really detracts from what they're seeing. I've seen 4 countries in under 3 weeks, but that didn't give me a good view of any of them. I completely understand wanting to see everything (you should see my "to visit" list) but don't let that push you into trying to cram tons into a small amount of time.


If you want great food, Italy is fantastic. You could easily spend the entire time in Italy and see just Rome, Florence area and Venice. The food in the Florence area (Tuscany) is knock your socks off good. The history and architecture in each area is amazing.

A similar combo in France would be great fun.

While I know that you said that London wouldn't feel "foreign" enough, it actually really can. The history and architecture is fantastic. If you're used to a big city then it will feel more like home for you than it did for me, being from a pretty small city.


Basically, combine some big city time and some smaller city/town time and you'll get a good view of a country. I would suggest staying to one country simply because moving long distances takes time and there is so much to see and do in each country that you wouldn't risk boredom. 14 days sounds like a lot but it really isn't. Amazing history and architecture is all over the entire continent so you're not going to miss out on that no matter where you go.

In a big city, try to stay in the main area of town and leave the "commuting like locals" part for transport within the city. In Rome, we stayed very close to Termini and could walk in our area or could take the Metro to get throughout Rome. Just because some of the locals commute an hour each way doesn't mean you should.

As for what you "NEED" to see, there isn't anything specific. It all just comes back to your interests and personalities. This is somewhat blasphemous, but I wasn't that impressed with Paris (granted I was 15 at the time and with a student group). Most people would say that you "need" to see Paris, but I would lean more towards London. I've been to London twice and it still hasn't been near enough time. It all comes back to your personal interests.

Worst case scenario, get a map and some darts.
Iowa_Redhead is online now  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 02:16 PM
  #19
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 2,911
LOL. You nailed it schuler.

As for the OP's I'm still interested in seeing what others have to say though...and remember, be specific!: To be specific, please keep your overbearing arse out of Amsterdam. I might unfortunately see you there.

Did you ever think of getting a Guide book? Everybody loves to eat, and it is a necessity. WHAT do you like to eat? You can get a burger or pizza anywhere.
spaarne is offline  
Reply With Quote
Oct 10th, 2010, 02:22 PM
  #20
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,525
Of course, the easiest way to see a lot in a short time is...a coach tour. Depending on your age Contiki, for me, was a great first experience of Europe, and gave me a broad exposure and a lust to go back.
Michel_Paris 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 09:56 AM.