Itinerary Advice for 2.5 Weeks in Europe

Feb 8th, 2014, 08:42 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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Maybe you need to tell us what you expect from visiting the Riviera (either French or Italian) . . .
janisj is online now  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:06 AM
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Florence is IN Tuscany; it's the capital of the region. While staying in Florence, it's possible to make some day trips outside of the capital. Another idea is to stay in some other place, such as Lucca or Siena, and visit Florence as a day trip. If you want to visit more than one museum or more than two of its churches with art treasures, you should stay in Florence. If you only want to see the city, a day trip from Lucca or Siena would be fine. The advantage of Lucca is that Pisa is an easy train or bus trip from there. The advantage of Siena is that there are a few of the famous Tuscan towns that can be easily reached from there.

I've never been to Nice, so I can't comment on that.

There are really no beaches worth the trip to the Cinque Terre. Most of the towns have only a very narrow strip of rocks and sand. The beach at Monterosso is also very narrow. The scenery is beautiful, but there's beautiful scenery in many other places in the world. I've been there twice, and the towns themselves were sinking under the weight of the tourists both times, including once on a rainy day in October.

If you go there, I would stay a minimum of two nights to be able to do a little hiking and breath a little air. If you're not interested in hiking, I would skip it, as the only other thing to do there is buy postcards. It takes a fair amount of time to get there and back from nearly anywhere, so I don't consider it a good day trip destination, especially since you'd be there at the same time as the hordes.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:22 AM
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Like I said above, I would only pick 1 additional location. As you will be in cities for the whole trip I would pick rural Tuscany. But I would do that with a car.
jamikins is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 09:54 AM
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If 1 day is enough for Nice, Florence and Tuscany depends entirely on what you want to see and do.

IMHO you need at least 3 or 4 days in Nice (you had better not be moving to Cannes or Monaco - that would be a huge waste of time - visit everyplace on the Riviera from Nice. And drop Monaco unless you have a LOT to spend and just really want to watch the uber rich at play and shop in designer boutiques.

Florence IMHO is worth 2 full days PLUS the day you arrive - and as for Tuscan you can visit one town or a dozen in a week of more. Which town(s) do you want to see and why. Sounds like you spoke to someone who did a :it;t Tuesday this must be Belgium bus tour - or who doesn;t really want to explore europe.

I think you need to makea list of what YOU want to do - and then check with Michelin green guides to see how long it takes to see.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 8th, 2014, 10:06 AM
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>> Sounds like you spoke to someone who did a if it's Tuesday this must be Belgium bus tour - or who doesn;t really want to explore europe<<

Per the OP's posts -- he got most of this advice from a Travel Agent (who probably has either never been or has only been on a TA junket)
janisj is online now  
Feb 8th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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hi nightfawl,

it's worth looking at what flights are available, before finalising your plans - for example, easyjet fly from Barcelona to Milan, which would put you in an ideal place to go to the CT.

from there you could go straight down the coast on the train to Rome, or detour to Florence.

you could also hire a car, and tour northern Tuscany, taking a day trip to Florence.

Then return your car, and catch the train to Rome.

in 2 1/2 weeks, staying in just 4 places would make sense, so that you don't lose too much time as you move from one place to another.

you could do something like this:

June 14 - arrive Barcelona.
June 18 - fly to Milan. [the easyjet flight leaves at 8.45 am, arrives at about 10am] train to CT
June 21 - train to Pisa, pick up hire car or train to Florence
June 25 - train to Rome.
July 1 - fly home.

This gives you at least 3 nights in each place, but quite a lot of variety if you want it.
annhig is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 08:52 AM
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I'm considering your option for Milan, but I really do want to see either the French or Italian Riviera.

We are definitely settled on Barcelona, Florence and Rome but would like to add something between Barcelona and Florence. I am still leaning towards parts of Nice (for 2 days) and as suggested by some other posters to remove Cannes and Monaco from our trip.

Once I figure out what cities we will be going to and when, I will then be digging deeper and figuring out what we will be doing on each day. But for now, here is an option I am considering.

June 14 arrive in Barcelona (Stay for 3.5 days)
June 18 fly Vueling to Nice arriving at 10:30am. (2.5 days for Nice/French Riviera)
June 21 travel to Florence later in afternoon with possibly a stop in Pisa on the way. Maybe we can rent a car for this trip?Stay until June 25 to allow 3 FULL days. 2 for Florence and maybe 1 day trip through northern Tuscany (Sienna?). I have to put more research into this but wondering if this will work.
June 25 travel to Rome. We would then have 5 FULL days for Rome. We can then use 1 of those days to travel to Naples/Pompeii.

Does this make a little bit more sense? Again, I know I have to figure out logistics after Nice. Not sure if Train or Car is best for travels through the stops in Italy we would like to do.

I hate to eliminate Cinque Terre from our trip, but with time being against us, we can only pick one more stop between Barcelona and Florence and Cinque Terre seems like it is not very easy to get to.
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 11:37 AM
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You absolutely do not want a car in Florence, for a lot of reasons, but in particular the ZLTs - no one wants to get a hefty fine in the mail a year after the trip is over.

For rural Tuscany you almost certainly want a car. Problem is, your time is so short, and a 1- or 2-day car rental is an expensive proposition. There are good bus lines around some of rural Tuscany, so that's likely going to be what you'll need to use.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 9th, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Nightfawl - you can get a train from Nice to Florence, it'll take between 7-8 hours. [see]. Whatever you do, you DO NOT want a car in Florence. I've driven in loads of places, Crete, Tunisia, London, even Toronto on an 18 lane highway straight out of the airport after an 8 hour flight, but I wouldn't dream of driving in Florence.

if you want to see Florence AND some of the countryside, you can either split up the time you have between city and country, or do a day trip. There is a bus every hour from Florence to siena [it goes from the bus station next to the SMN railway station in Florence] and itself takes an hour or so, and drops you in the middle of Siena. [better than the train which requires a bus journey into the centre]

or you can hire a company like Hills and Roads to put together a day trip into the countryside for you.

[i haven't used them but they get very good reviews here and elsewhere].
annhig is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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I was in both Nice and CT this past summer. Personally I wouldn't choose either - I would go north of CT to Santa Marghuerita Ligure, still Italian Riviera but not nearly as touristy as CT. CT was crazy crowded and touristy. Nice just didn't grab me at all - as my sister-in-law said, Nice is where one goes to be seen, not to see.

Vueling fly from Barcelona to Genoa. The train is an hour or so to SML. After few days of beach time (it's all rocky beaches where you can rent a beach lounger -don't expect beautiful white sand) you can take the train to Pisa which goes via CT so you could spend a couple hours there to see what it's about and then head on to Pisa, see the tower, and train on to Florence. It would be a full day, and if you have lots of luggage could be a bit difficult, but doable in my opinion. I believe there are left luggage facilities at Montorosso train station in CT - trains go up and down the coast very frequently.

There is left luggage at the Pisa Train station and then about a 1 mile walk each way to the tower. I believe there are buses as well, and surely taxis.
Hez is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 12:59 PM
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Hez - that's a nice [excuse the pun] plan.

Nice in mid-summer does not seem particularly enticing.
annhig is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 04:30 PM
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Thanks annhig.
Hez is offline  
Feb 9th, 2014, 04:52 PM
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Depending on your interests, you may want to eliminate CT, spend less time in Monaco/Nice to have more time in Florence. Despite the heat in Pompeii, I would make it a priority, but your interests may differ.
lucy_d is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 04:44 AM
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A lot of the feedback I am getting is telling me to skip Nice as I may be disappointed that I didn't spend more time in either Barcelona or Florence/Tuscany. It also seems like Nice is extremely expensive for meals.

But on the other hand, I also read some opinions that Nice should only be used as a base and I should use my 2-3 days to visit places like St. Paul De Vence, Corsica or VilleFrance.

I'm having a very difficult time making up my mind. Spend an extra day in Barcelona and Tuscany and only have 3 destinations, or maybe try another spot to stop in between???
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 08:14 AM
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I'm having a very difficult time making up my mind. Spend an extra day in Barcelona and Tuscany and only have 3 destinations, or maybe try another spot to stop in between???>>

Nightfawl - there is very little danger that you will run out of things to see and do [or day trips to take] on any of those places - they are in themselves excellent bases [as of course is Rome, which I remember is your third/fourth destination]. some of the best trips we've done have been where we've spent 5-7 days in one place; you can explore the city one day, do a day trip the next, and so on, always coming back to the city and getting to know it a little better every evening.

My advice would be to leave those "other spots" to another trip.
annhig is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 01:50 PM
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annhig - I very much appreciate all of your feedback. The reason I am thinking about trying to add a stop for a couple of days between Barcelona and Florence is pretty much because we have been wanting to do a Europe trip for YEARS and I really want to try to get in as much as possible. At the same time I don't want to rush things, which is why I went from 5 stops to 4.

I totally agree that we won't get bored if we had 5 days for each place but I think we can squeeze it down a little bit because I really feel that 4 stops would be ideal.

I'm just trying to figure out what I should do for my 2nd stop. It doesn't HAVE to be southern France (Nice). I have heard other suggestions to fly to Milan or Genoa and work my way down Italy from there and stop in Cinque Terre or somewhere else along the Italian Riviera like Santa Marghuerita Ligure. I'm open to all kinds of suggestions!
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 02:37 PM
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Actually, that doesn't seem to be the case, as you've already been given a huge number of suggestions, by helpful folks who have traveled extensively in this part of the world, and you seem bound and determined to ignore those suggestions. Not sure what in the world you want us to keep suggesting. You have conflicting goals: get in as much as you possibly can and not be rushed. Not possible, so toss a coin and get on with it.
StCirq is online now  
Feb 12th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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StCirq - I'm not sure what you're talking about. Maybe you should try re-reading the entire thread again before you criticize me. I've already taken many suggestions like to skip Cannes and Monaco (which was actually your suggestion) and to choose between Nice and Cinque Terre since its too much to do both. I'm also considering going to Milan like one of the posters suggested. Sorry for keeping the conversation going, but isn't that the point of a message forum? If you don't want to add anymore to this thread, that's fine. But I do appreciate your input.
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 04:10 PM
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No, I had the same impression as St.C.-- you are still going to Nice, etc. Just so you know.
I think those places are a waste of your time--but you seem fixated on Nice-maybe you let go of Monaco.
Tell us WHAT you are now doing.
Gretchen is offline  
Feb 12th, 2014, 04:11 PM
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I suggested a perfectly good itinerary with four stops so not sure what else you're looking for. In case you missed it...

Santa Margherita Ligure (fly to Genoa on Veuling, train to SML)
Florence (via train stopping at CT & Pisa on the way)

And btw, as far as I can tell no one has suggested going to Milan - just flying there to go to CT.
Hez is offline  

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