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Nightfawl Feb 7th, 2014 04:44 PM

Itinerary Advice for 2.5 Weeks in Europe
My wife and I will be spending some time in Europe from June 14-July 1. We fly into Barcelona from Canada and here is what I have planned for our trip.

June 14-18 - Barcelona (3.5 Days)
June 18 (am) - Fly Vueling to Nice, France.
June 18-21 - Day 1 in Nice, Day 2 Cannes, Day 3 Monaco
June 21 (am) - Train or Bus to Cinque Terre, Italy
June 21-23 - 2 Days to relax in Cinque Terre
June 23 (am) - Travel to Florence/Tuscany by Car or Train
June 23-25 - Spend 2 Days in Florence or Tuscany. 1 Day visiting each.
June 25 (am) - Travel to Rome by Car or Train
June 25-July 1 - Rome. Make 1 day trip to Naples/Pompeii
Jule 1 (am) - Fly back to Canada

So in summary, 3.5 days in Barcelona, 3 Days for Nice, Cannes and Monaco, 2 Days in Cinque Terre, 2 Days for Florence/Tuscany, 5.5 Days in Rome with 1 Day trip to Naples/Pompeii.

I know this is a lot of traveling around for 2.5 weeks and we are prepared for a busy vacation. I also know that I won't have enough time in any 1 spot to see all of the attractions. This is our first trip to Europe, so our goal is to get a taste of the great spots from Barcelona to Rome.

Right now we are starting with a more detailed itinerary for Barcelona and I think 3.5 days is good enough to see quite a bit. We are now starting to plan more details for our next stop in Nice, but I wanted to ask what you all think of my overall plan for our travels.

We are also considering using AirBnb for all of our stops. I have heard nothing but great things and I think it would be a great way to save some money on hotels so we can spend more on attractions.


janisj Feb 7th, 2014 05:02 PM

The way you are spelling it out is misleading. You really can't count the same date as a 'day' in two places.

What you really have is:

June 14-17 Barcelona
June 18-20 - less than 1/2 a day in Nice, 1 day in Cannes, 1 day in Monaco
June 21-22 - 1 Day to relax in Cinque Terre
June 23-24 - 1.5 days for Florence OR Tuscany. <strike>1 Day visiting each</strike>.
June 25-June 30 - Rome. Day trip to Naples/Pompeii
July1 - Fly back to Canada

Sassafrass Feb 7th, 2014 05:13 PM

You must have reasons for your choices of places to see, so no comment on that.

Look carefully at your travel times.
You do not have two days in CT or two days in Florence.
Day 21 will be quite a lot of travel, so it can't count as a relaxing day in CT and
Day 23 you travel to Florence, so that is only one day to relax in CT.
You have only 1 & 1/2 days in Florence, the afternoon of the 23rd and the whole of the 24th, since you are leaving for Rome on the 25th.

It will be hot everywhere, but Pompeii will be super hot, so not a good day trip from Rome in the heat of summer.

I also like airbnb. However, it usually takes a bit more time to find the apartments and settle in than it does to get to a hotel. I do not try to save money on them either because I want the apartment to be well located and well cared for and there is a booking fee and a cleaning fee.

Nightfawl Feb 7th, 2014 05:13 PM

Regarding Barcelona, you are correct. But the rest you are not.

I will be in Nice by 10am, so I don't see how this is less than half a day.

We will be arriving in Cinque Terre early as well. So as I said, 2 days in Cinque Terre.

The same for Florence/Tuscany. We will arrive in one place, stay for the day and see some sights and then have the next day for the other.

I understand we have to include travel time but we will be travelling quite early in the morning to make the best of our time.

janisj Feb 7th, 2014 05:32 PM

You may be at Nice Airport by 10AM. But by the time you get to your hotel, get checked in and are ready to explore it will be lunch time - so yes 1/2 a day in Nice.

>>We will be arriving in Cinque Terre early as well. So as I said, 2 days in Cinque Terre.<<

How can you get to the CT early if you are taking a bus? It is at least a 4 hour drive (and that depends on which village you mean - could be longer. So again IMO you are overly optimistic.

>> The same for Florence/Tuscany. We will arrive in one place, stay for the day and see <<

You say you are traveling by 'car or train' to Florence -- well the drive will take more than 2 hours - and then what do you expect to do w/ your car?

You really aren't accounting for 'logistics'

Nightfawl Feb 7th, 2014 06:03 PM

Ok, I appreciate you explaining what you meant.

So what would you suggest? Maybe eliminate Cinque Terre and have more time for Nice and Tuscany? I would prefer not to eliminate but I also don't want to feel too rushed.

My justification was basically because I was told 1 day is enough for each of Nice, Florence and Tuscany.

All of them look so amazing! :)

artsnletters Feb 7th, 2014 06:29 PM

They are all amazing! Too amazing for a single day!

Whoever was telling you a day was enough for each of those is someone you shouldn't be listening to. You can see the bare basics of Florence in a day, but there is much more there than that.

And Tuscany - that's a whole province! In a day you could see Siena, or maybe Siena and San Gimignano. Or you could day-trip to the Chianti. You'd need more like three days to venture to the Val d'Orcia (around Montepulciano), which is an area that can't logistically be seen in a day unless you never step out of the car. So which of these days is that person referring to? Cuz he sure isn't referring to all of them.

Sassafrass Feb 7th, 2014 07:09 PM

Artsnletters is absolutely right.

You got some interesting travel advice from somebody about one day being enough for these places. I wondered about the choices of places to visit on your first trip to Europe as several would be way down on the list for many people. It might be good for you to study some guidebooks for yourself to see what these places have to offer.

Iif you share what your personal interests are (history, art, architecture, food, wine, partying, etc.), there will be well experienced posters on here who can give very good ideas and advice.

Hez Feb 7th, 2014 07:10 PM

If it were me I would cut out the whole Nice/Cannes/Monaco section - loads of travel time and not enough bang for the buck imho. Were there specific things you wanted to see/do in those places?

You can fly veuling from Barcelona to Florence, spend some time in Florence/Tuscany (seriously, someone told you 1 day in each was enough!?!?!), train to Cinque Terre and then train to Rome.

Sassafrass Feb 7th, 2014 07:51 PM

Hez, so right!

If they cut that stuff, they could even take a day from Rome, and use one of the days they cut from Monaco to go to Naples or Sorrento for a night or two and see Pompeii.

jamikins Feb 7th, 2014 11:29 PM

Agree, I would cut Southern France as well. Everywhere is going to look amazing but you won't have time to actually enjoy any of them if you are running from place to place. Pick fewer places and see what each of the remaining places have to offer!

mamcalice Feb 8th, 2014 04:41 AM

With the amount of time you have, I would visit Barcelona, Florence, the Tuscan countryside and Rome. As your itinerary currently stands, you have no time to actually experience any of your stops. If you spend 5 days in Barcelona, 5 in Florence and the countryside and 5 in Rome, you have time to squeeze Cinque Terre in.

StCirq Feb 8th, 2014 07:14 AM

<< I was told 1 day is enough for each of Nice, Florence and Tuscany.>>

That's patently absurd. I have spent the equivalent of half a year in those 3 locations and I can't come close to claiming I've seen even a third of what's on offer.

Hez is spot on. Drop the South of France and you might have the beginnings of a reasonable trip.

Nightfawl Feb 8th, 2014 07:24 AM

You are all reassuring some of my doubts about my travel agent. I phoned a travel agency here in Canada called Flight Centre and have been speaking with a girl. She is very nice and looking into things like Hotels, Flights, Car Rentals etc for me, but this is the easy stuff that I can do myself. I need someone who will give me good advice and I am obviously not getting that. I sent the exact same travel plan to her and she told me it was a great idea. She was also the one who told me 1 day is enough for Florence. So needless to say, I am disappointed.

My personal interests are the following and in order:


I also hope to spend a day or two at a beautiful beach possibly along the French or Italian riviera for some relaxation time.

Again, we are fine with a busy schedule, but at the same time don't want to feel rushed and stressed out about not having enough time in each place.

Obviously our must see locations are Barcelona, Florence and Rome. But I was looking at some stops on the way between the two and that is when I came up with Nice/Cannes/Monaco since they can all be seen within 3-4 days? And I also heard about Cinque Terre and looked online and it looked AMAZING!

So I guess I have to make a decision to either eliminate Cinque Terre or Nice/Cannes/Monaco. How would you compare? French Riviera or Italian Riviera? Which has a nicer beach since either one will be the stop to relax a little bit as we hope to do. I guess I also have to consider travel between Spain and Italy with one of these in between.

To be honest, if I had to cut one I was leaning towards keeping Nice and eliminating Cinque Terre, but I could be wrong, which is why I am interested in your opinions.

Thank you all for your feedback! :)

StCirq Feb 8th, 2014 07:33 AM

Monaco is nothing but a huge, overpriced pile of rocks and condos on a beach. It deserves a couple of hours, if that. Cinque Terre was stunning 25 years ago - now it's awash, literally shoulder to shoulder, with tourists. The French Riviera is glitzy and expensive with miles and miles of rocky beaches (if you want sand and relaxation, there are far better venues, such as in or near Sète, but that of course lacks the glam of the French Riviera). The Italian Riviera has some lovely spots, but in general is more shabby chic than the French.

I think the idea to dump the Cinque Terre and keep Nice is a fine idea.

jamikins Feb 8th, 2014 07:38 AM

And that is exactly why most of us never use a travel agent!!!

The beaches in the two areas you are considering are not great...cinque Terre has 5 villages on cliffs, only monterosso has a beach and I didn't think it was great. Most are rocky. People go to hike between the five villages.

jamikins Feb 8th, 2014 07:40 AM

Personally I would stick to your must see places of Barcelona, Florence and Rome and add either rural Tuscany OR Cinque Terre OR French Riviera. Anything more wouldn't give me enough time to enjoy and would waste too much time and money in logistics of getting between places for my taste

Nightfawl Feb 8th, 2014 08:11 AM

One of the reasons I was considering Southern France was because Nice just looks like a beautiful city to venture around for a day or 2. Cannes I was actually thinking can be our day at the beach? And Monaco for an afternoon just because it's Monaco. It looks like a nice place to walk around for a few hours.

We are not into hiking very much but Cinque Terre just looks BEAUTIFUL so that is why we added it. But maybe we should remove it.

Florence and Tuscany look very close together, so I was thinking to use airbnb for a few nights in Florence with a day to travel through some close spots in Tuscany.

Would this plan make more sense?

Barcelona 3.5 Days (June 14-18)
Nice/Cannes/Monaco 3.5 Days (June 18-22)
Florence/Tuscany 2.5 Days (June 22-25)
Rome 5.5 Days (June 25-30) with 1 Day trip to Naples/Pompeii

This gives me a little bit more time for my 2nd and 3rd stop by taking out Cinque Terre. I am leaving the most time for Rome because I research that you need 4 full days for Rome. This would give me 4.5 and 1 for Naples/Pompeii.

janisj Feb 8th, 2014 08:19 AM

Two quick comments --

You are still counting two places on the same dates. It honestly doesn't usually work that way. By the time you check out/travel/check in/ etc you will lose more than half a day.

And IMO Cannes and Monaco are not worth the time/effort - Monaco is really not a nice place to 'walk around' and Cannes is not a god place for a 'beach fix'.

Nightfawl Feb 8th, 2014 08:32 AM

I agree with you. We definitely need to figure out all of the logistics but this is pretty much what is in my mind right now.

Must See: Barcelona, Florence, Rome (1 day Naples/Pompeii)

Nice to See (Maybe pick 2?): Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Cinque Terre, Tuscany

So what I am trying to figure out is what makes the most sense from my Nice to See list. If I eliminate Cannes and Monaco and stay in Nice for 2 days, would it make sense to spend more of my time in Florence and try to get to Tuscany? Or eliminate the French Riviera all together and do Cinque Terre? I don't want to skip both French and Italian Riviera.

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