If you could pick a 3rd city...

Old Jan 13th, 2014, 07:44 PM
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If you could pick a 3rd city...

Greetings.
Looking to hear from seasoned Europe travelers about what city you would choose to visit if you had 2 weeks and were flying into London and out of Paris. My wife and I are looking to spend 4-5 days in London and Paris (each) but would like to hop a train/plane to a nearby city for exploration. I thought it would be fun to hear where forum members would choose and why (I'm not asking you to tailor it to me, since I'm not giving you a lot of info yet, but more of "what would I do if this was my basic itinerary?"). The possible cities on my short list are Edinburgh (b/c a friend said it was "magical"), or somewhere in Belgium, Switzerland or Germany (we've been to Italy and Netherlands recently and opting for new regions). So if you have the time and energy, please name what cities you'd visit and why they are so awesome. Thanks and cheers!
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 07:59 PM
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Edinburgh because it is indeed magical.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 08:10 PM
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Trying to keep you in the general area, try Brugge. If this isn't what is next to "magical" in the dictionary, I want to speak another language;

http://tinyurl.com/klnfqte

And those are pretty crappy pictures (but it is the UNESCO World Heritage Site gallery page) Google up some of your own, like this;

http://tinyurl.com/k9pbl8m

You can visit Ghent (31 minutes, too), too, and it would make a nice counterpoint to the hustle of London and Paris.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 08:47 PM
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Would only say that if choosing Edinburgh you might want to visit there first or last, to avoid backtracking.
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 09:02 PM
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Depends on your interests and exactly how much time you have! Depending on whether you have exactly 2 weeks, or can stretch it a bit, and how much jet lag you might encounter, visiting London and Paris could easily leave you with "just" time for a day trip or two from each.

Some thoughts:

Are you sure you only want 4-5 days in London and in Paris? You might want to consider at least 5 (if not 6 or more) days in each.

Edinburgh IS charming IMO, but I think it merits at least 3 days and, as Fra_Diavolo notes, going there would mean backtracking and you would need to plan on time for your transportation both there and back to London.

Bruges is, IMO, the essence of charm; if you go there, plan on 2-3 days depending on your interests.

There are LOTS of great options for day trips from London and Paris. And LOTS of other places you could visit, depending on your interests and time frame.

To provide more responsive answers, it would help if we knew more about what you want to see and experience and why you want to make sure to go to some 3rd destination.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jan 13th, 2014, 09:03 PM
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Brugge. Gorgeous architecture, great food, a very attractive town. We loved it there and would go back in a heart beat. You could catch the Eurostar from London to Brussels then connect to Brugge. It's an easy trip. Then train to Paris. If you book ahead the Eurostar is very reasonable but ticket prices increase steadily after they are released.

We've stayed twice in Brugge and found it had wonderful accommodation with very hospitable owners but not cheap.

Kay
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 12:25 AM
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Amsterdam!

Whatever you choose fly into one and out if the last to save the time and expense of backtracking
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 04:56 AM
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Excellent suggestions, thank you! I agree about the problem of back tracking with Edinburgh. Brugge wasn't even on my radar but it has moved to the top of the shortlist now...I will begin research on it. We are young(ish) travelers who loves exploring cities. We enjoy creating maps of the cities we visit, with points of interest marked (whether large museums or a small shops/restaurants that we learned of via trip reports) and casually wandering and soaking up the sites, sounds, flavors and people.

What are people's thoughts on Switzerland? It intrigues both of us but we no next to nothing of the country. What cities make for wonderful exploration playgrounds?

Cheers.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 05:00 AM
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York should be on your radar, Brugge certainly, Strasbourg probably and Trier possibly.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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Firstly, i would visit some of the smaller towns which are easily accessible from London. Oxford and Bath are very attractive destinations.
Them, i would second Brügge, perhaps combined with Gent and Brüssel
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 06:14 AM
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"Backtracking" is (IMO) irrelevant if one flies. The combined airfare for London - Edinburgh - Paris is likely to be comparable (actually, less) than the cost of taking, say, the Eurostar from London to Brussels, then changing to get to Brugge, then training back to Paris (again likely via Brussels.) And in terms of the time required to travel, again, flying negates any advantage.

Just my opinion, but the difference is that Brugge is a magical museum, while Edinburgh is a magical working capital city. Edinburgh's medieval old town is a walkable, fascinating testament to the city's remarkable history, but there's so much more - the gorgeous New Town, Holyrood Park, a couple of medieval villages the city engulfed centuries ago, but still there (Cramond and the Dean Village); theater, wonderful pubs, surrounding countryside - fishing villages, the Lammermuir Hills, South Queensferry and the Forth Bridges... I mean the list goes on and on.

Brugge is beautiful. Edinburgh is that and more.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 08:03 AM
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I'll concur with the Bruges suggestion. It's an easy 1 hour flight from Heathrow to Brussels. Then you could make your way to the Brussels train station and take a 1 hour train to Bruges. Afterward, take a train to Paris for the last part.

Another way, very convenient albeit more expensive, is to take a train from central London to central Paris and then end your trip in Bruges and fly home from Brussels. Into London and home from Bruges is similar flight costs as into London and home from Paris.

OR ..make Amsterdam your "third city". Also very convenient and similar cost and travel times. Easy direct trains to
Paris. Not sure about "magic" but it's cute as all get out and very well suited to younger (under 40) travelers. Cost and convenience are about the same whether you fly home from Paris or Amsterdam - it just depends on what you prefer to do 2nd and last.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 08:51 AM
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Absolutely no reason to back track -- Edinburgh would be my 1st choice. You could:

Fly into Edinburgh, Train to London, Train to Paris, Fly home

or

Fly into London, train to Edinburgh, Fly to Paris, Fly home

or

Fly into Paris, Fly to Edinburgh, Train to London, Fly home

etc . . .
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 08:57 AM
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I liked Edinburgh but I missed the abra cadabra part.

Personally I would take the extra time and visit areas around London and Paris. Each city is easily worth 10 days each
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 09:04 AM
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I'd do that too - half and half London/Paris would be best IMO - but IF you really ewant to squeeze another city, Edinburgh is great.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 10:07 AM
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How about train to Tours, rent a car and see some of the wonderful chateaus in the Loire Valley? (and taste the wine)
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 10:41 AM
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Amsterdam (from London) or Venice (from Paris) if you really feel the need to add one more city.

But with what you describe I'd just split the trip and stick with your original two. For me I'd to 5 days London and 8 days Paris.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 11:00 AM
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I to feel the same about Edinburgh as IMDonehere, nice but 3 days is enough IMHO.
How about Barcelona? Amazing vibrant city with some great food and wonderful sights......
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 11:32 AM
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Amsterdam is a 4 hour train ride from Paris; an easy add on.
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Old Jan 14th, 2014, 01:52 PM
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Great stuff, thanks much. We already have our flights, which arrive in London and leave from Paris. I've been to Amsterdam so we'd like to visit somewhere new. It sounds like a lot of time can be spent in London and Paris, enough to fill two weeks, so I will consider that. However, a third city is just so enticing. I like the idea of Brugge, and as mentioned before, Switzerland seems intriguing. Anyone have thoughts on visiting a city in Switzerland? Or Germany? Not interested in heading to Spain for this trip. Cheers.
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