Itinerary Advice for 2.5 Weeks in Europe

Feb 13th, 2014, 05:36 AM
  #41  
 
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Hez - for a 4 stop itinerary, that looks pretty good.

Nightfawl - of course there are an infinite number of choices, but IMO part of successful trip planning is realising that there is no perfect trip. Sooner or later, you have to bite the bullet, push the button, and grab the credit card.

you've got a bit of time left to make the decision about your flight out of Barcelona, but not that much if you want the best prices. even if you decide to drop SML and go straight to Florence, the flight would not be wasted as you've got to get to Italy somehow, and there are trains from Genova to Pisa Centrale where you could change for Florence.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 05:43 AM
  #42  
 
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I would not recommend spending time in Milan..it was our least favourite part of Italy, lacked charm and was expensive. That would be the last place I would recommend.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 10:45 AM
  #43  
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Hez - Yup, I saw your post and very much like your idea. If I do go to SML rather than CT, how would you compare them? Or is it worth seeing both like you are suggesting? The only problem with that itinerary is that flying into Genoa there is no flight on the 18th and the only flight on the 19th departs BCN at 7:15pm. So I don't know if that will work unless I fly into another part of Italy. Milan and Florence seem to have the most variety of flights from BCN.

annhig - I agree with you. I wish there were more options to fly into Genoa.

I am very much considering dropping Nice all together. Not only would I have to fly there wasting half a day, I will waste almost another full day getting into the part of Italy by train I want to see (even though I'm sure the scenery along the way is very beautiful). So almost 1.5 days completely wasted so I can go to Nice. Probably not going to happen.
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 12:27 PM
  #44  
 
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Nightfawl,

if you want to stick to this schedule as far as dates are concerned, you could still fly to Italy on the 18th, into Milan as I suggested earlier.

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

The train from Milan to SML takes about 2 1/2 hours as opposed to the 30 mins or so it takes from Genova, but as the plane arrives so early, you'd still be there in time for a late lunch. check train times here:

www.trenitalia.com [you have to put in a date which is earlier than 18th June as the timetables aren't published that far ahead yet]

I thought that you had already abandoned Nice but glad to see that you are definitely doing so now. IMO that's a good decision as it would have take up too much of your time for too little reward.
annhig is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 01:45 PM
  #45  
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Yeah, I was thinking the same thing since there seem to be quite a few flights a day going from barcelona to milan.

Just out of curiosity, is there another place besides SML or CT that is worth considering? Maybe a day or two in Milan instead since I'll be right there? And then straight to Florence via Pisa? I would like 3 days in the Florence/Tuscany.

I'm also thinking about spending an extra day in barcelona (since I'm not going to Nice) and leaving on the 19th instead. Barceloneta beach maybe for the extra day.
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 01:59 PM
  #46  
 
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Nightfawl, Italy is FULL of places that are worth going to. That is part of the problem - too much choice.

however, I think that most people here would not suggest swapping SML for Milan, and with 2 1/2 weeks, you probably do have time to fit in 4 places, though if you want to go straight to Florence, that would give you more time for day trips as well as exploring the city itself.

If I may say so, I think that you have probably reached the stage where you need to do some reading and research of your own, so that you work out the sort of trip YOU want. Do you want to concentrate on cities? or to have a mixture of different experiences? what is it that you want to see in Florence? or Rome? a good guide book will set out a number of ideas for 1,3, and 5 days in those places.

BTW, have you ever been to Venice? just an idea.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 02:32 PM
  #47  
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Venice was on our list of places to see at first but when I looked into the logistics of getting there I'm not sure if it made sense. Its so far up to the north east of Italy. Quite a distance from Tuscany. So we removed it. I also read that it isn't really worth the travels from the other places we want to see.

I actually ordered 3 travel guides from Lonely Planet. Barcelona, Tuscany and Rome. We're hoping for a mix of architecture, history and scenery on this trip.

But I agree and trust me, I am doing quite a bit of research on what we will see. Asking all these questions is just part of it. Basically I am trying to decide which places we will go to and for how long. Then I will be working on an itinerary for each day in those places.

Your input is very valuable and very much appreciated!
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 13th, 2014, 04:14 PM
  #48  
Hez
 
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I just think SML is a much more laid back, authentic Italian Riviera resort town. CT I think has suffered from becoming too popular. I really only suggested stopping in CT as you would literally be going right through it from SML to Florence.

I would definitely not change out Milan for SML or CT!!! It's worth the extra train time IMHO.

However - I can't see that Venice would more difficult than SML or CT. In fact it would be a lot less hassle. You could fly direct from Barcelona to Venice then train down to Florence which is only 2 hours. I think when you had Nice in the mix it would have been tricky, but given your current plan it really could work out well. Before you mentioned skipping CT/SML I wouldn't have thought it was a good idea as I though the Riviera was a top priority, but if it's not I would seriously consider this option.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 05:31 PM
  #49  
 
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We went to Nice last summer after driving from Paris to Burgundy to Provence. Nice was our least favorite place. It is a huge city with a nice beach but tons of people and traffic. Antibes was a little better but again lots of people and small beaches. We drove over to Monaco and it was a beautiful city but I would not go back. St Paul de Vence was beautiful and we drove up into the mountains which was gorgeous. Save Nice for another trip when you could visit Provence too. Spend more time in Italy.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 05:52 PM
  #50  
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Hez - After looking at flights and train schedules, you are absolutely correct that Venice would fit perfectly into our plans. We are probably leaning towards going there for a couple of days instead.

I really did want to go to either the french or italian riviera but Nice isn't going to happen anymore (based on negative feedback and research). And the CT or SML option although I prefer not to miss, just seems like a little bit of a logistical nightmare.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 06:33 PM
  #51  
Hez
 
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If you're into modern art at all we loved the Peggy Guggenheim in Venice.
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Feb 13th, 2014, 07:05 PM
  #52  
 
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Just go to Venice. I''ve spent 40 years traveling France and have owned a house in the SW there for 21 years. I've been all over Europe - hundreds and hundreds of trips. Everything is subjective of course, but the French Riviera doesn't interest me much at all - way too many tourists, overpriced, rocky beaches, just soi Atlantic City gone European. Don't care if I ever see it again. Monaco - useless place.

Italian Riviera? Desperately wants to be the French Riviera but doesn't have the cash or the caché. Shabby chic with a few exceptions. More rocky beaches. I really don't get what anyone who isn't in the Yacht Set gets with going to these places. OK, yes I do, but they certainly aren't my cup of tea.

But Venice...who can't love Venice? There's nothing like it on earth. It's romantic, it's watery, it's full of art and history, it's a get-lost-to-your-heart's-content ideal, it's got museums and Italian treasures in churches and synagogues; it's got gondola rides and islands and misty mornings and amazing historical significance. And even the overhyped Piazza San Marco cannot fail to make you hyperventilate with joy
v
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Feb 14th, 2014, 03:53 AM
  #53  
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I didn't realize how close Venice was to Florence, which was why we didn't consider it at first. But after looking at flight options from Barcelona and trains to Florence, it would more than likely fit too perfectly into our schedule to bypass.

So now this is what we're looking at:

June 14 arrive in Barcelona (Stay for 3.5 days)
June 18 fly Ryanair to Venice arriving at 12:40pm. (2.5 days for Venice)
June 21 train to Florence. (May consider looking into a train that goes through Pisa, but not a must). Stay until June 25 to allow 3 FULL days. 2 for Florence and 1 day trip through northern Tuscany (Sienna).
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.

Would it make more sense driving from Venice-Florence/Tuscany-Rome, rather than using a train?
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 05:20 AM
  #54  
 
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That is a wonderful plan.

>>Would it make more sense driving from Venice-Florence/Tuscany-Rome, rather than using a train?<<

No. You could rent a car for a day to explore a bit of rural Tuscany -- but trains are by far better for the Venice - Florence - Rome legs.
janisj is online now  
Feb 14th, 2014, 05:49 AM
  #55  
 
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Pisa is on the other side of Florence so no trains from Venice will go through Pisa on its way to Florence!

Sounds like you have a great plan!
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Feb 14th, 2014, 07:47 AM
  #56  
 
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You have received a lot of good advice, most of which tells you to simplify your schedule so that you actually get to SEE something rather than spending time (and a heck of a lot of money) just for transport, check in, check out.

I'm looking to what you posted here as to your desires:
Architecture
Scenery
History
Art
Food

To me, your list says, given the itinerary you originally listed...
Barcelona (daytrips up to Dali musuem if needed)
Florence (daytrip to Pisa if needed)
Rome (day trip to Pompeii if needed)
and possibly...
Nice ONLY IF YOU ARE THERE FOR THE ART

AND NOTHING ELSE

I'm dead serious.

We are huge art fans, and we love architecture and history. We are also foodies.

We spent a WEEK in Florence pounding pavements (with frequent gelato stops, of course), and in our minds, barely scratched the surface of Renaissance Art.

Barcelona's architecture is unique. We shall go back when we have time.

Rome--what more could I say? Sistine Chapel and Gallery Borghese alone are worth the trip, and I could have immersed myself in any century for a week.

Nice's MAMAC, Chagall Biblical Museum, Matisse Museum etc are certainly worth your attention. The beach there is not. You decide if Nice is worth the detour!

Note: I am not downplaying the Riviera as far as art at all. We spent a week on the Riviera doing nothing but art (and gelato). There are fabulous things along there: Renoir's house in Cagnes-sur-Mer, the Picasso museum in Antibes, Jean Cocteau museum in Menton, and OMG, the Fondation Maeght museum which is certainly a blow-your-socks off place. But everything outside of Nice takes a bit of time to get to, and you would have to plan all of that carefully.

So you must choose; you must limit. And only then can you really enjoy.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 08:41 AM
  #57  
 
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Nightfawl - given your interests, IMO it would be difficult to improve on your latest itinerary.

go for it!
annhig is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 09:46 AM
  #58  
 
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June 18 - fly to Milan. [the easyjet flight leaves at 8.45 am, arrives at about 10am] train to SML, arrive lunchtime.>

A novel way to go between Barcelona and Italy - near Genoa and the Cinque Terre is to take an overnight ferry - for the romance perhaps and utilitarian nature of saving a night cost in a hotel and having the trappings of a cruise.
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Feb 14th, 2014, 10:37 AM
  #59  
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We've decided to go with Barcelona - Venice - Florence - Rome. Its such a perfect fit and once we get to Italy, the train schedules are so flexible so it will give us the opportunity to travel exactly when we want between the 3 Italian spots.

We're missing out on the French Riviera (Nice) and the Italian Riviera (CT & SML) as well as Pisa (more than likely) but I think we are ending up with a very good itinerary.

Here is what I have written down on a schedule I made up:

June 14 - Arrive in Barcelona at 12:30pm
June 19 - RyanAir flight to Venice arriving at 12:40pm
June 22 - Train to Florence. Trains every hour all day but will probably leave approx 10am arriving in Florence by Noon.
June 25 - Train to Rome. Again trains every hour. Probably spend the morning in Florence and arrive in Rome by mid-afternoon.
July 1 - Fly home.

This leaves us with Barcelona (4.5 days), Venice (2.5 days), Florence/Tuscany (3 days), Rome (5.5 days).
Nightfawl is offline  
Feb 14th, 2014, 10:45 AM
  #60  
 
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Great schedule, you will have a lovely time!
jamikins is offline  

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