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Itinerary for France, Italy, Switzerland, England

Itinerary for France, Italy, Switzerland, England

Old May 9th, 2024, 06:33 AM
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Itinerary for France, Italy, Switzerland, England

I could really use some help with my itinerary. This is our first trip to Europe and I'm sure it will be our last also., since we are in our 70 and 80s(my husband and I are married 55 years) We plan to take trains as much as possible. Don't want to waste time in airports but we could fly if needed, but hoping to make our way by trains or a bus if needed. Here are the places we are wanting to go. Certainly can tweek this if necessary. Start at Barcelona where we have arrived by cruise from Miami, on 5/12, no flying for my husband for that long a trip as he has bad knees. So we want to visit Marseille (Aux-en-provence) Monaco (Nice, Monte Carlo), Genoa, Pisa ( Florence,Cinque Terre, La Spezia) Rome Naples Venice Bologna Milan Geneva Zurich Paris London. From London we will take a cruise to New York. So I have 25 days from Barcelona until we leave on a cruise from Southhampton, England on 6/6 to New York. I know,lol, at our age we should be taking a tour but they just don't visit where we want to go. And I am being budget conscious.
Thank you in advance for your help.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 07:01 AM
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Welcome to the Fodors Forums. We moved your thread from Tech Support to the Europe forum and tagged it for France, Italy, Switzerland and the UK
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Old May 9th, 2024, 07:07 AM
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Looks like you're a city person. There are so many beautiful places in Switzerland, so why Zurich?
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Old May 9th, 2024, 07:13 AM
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When is this trip? I ask because you stated a cruise on 5/12. Is that May 12th like 3 days away, or is it May 12, 2025?

How long will you have as well total post-cruise? Edits: I now see I missed the 6/6 cruise from the UK. With that, I echo Janisj's sentiment that it would be way too much.

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; May 9th, 2024 at 07:41 AM.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 07:20 AM
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Welcome to the boards. That is an afwful LOT of moving around in not very many days. You have listed nineteen different locations -- and you have just 23.5 days from arrival in BarcelonaMay 12 through June 5, and sail home June 6.

That would be extremely rushed for a 24 year old back packer, let alone 2 older folks, one with bad knees. You would literally see more trains/train stations than sites.

I'd cut back to a couple of countries and slow down a LOT. (and no matter which countries you cut -- 100% eliminate the CT. It will be a mob scene)

Back to the drawing board I'm afraid.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 07:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dsmith7367
I could really use some help with my itinerary. This is our first trip to Europe and I'm sure it will be our last also., since we are in our 70 and 80s(my husband and I are married 55 years) We plan to take trains as much as possible. Don't want to waste time in airports but we could fly if needed, but hoping to make our way by trains or a bus if needed. Here are the places we are wanting to go. Certainly can tweek this if necessary. Start at Barcelona where we have arrived by cruise from Miami, on 5/12, no flying for my husband for that long a trip as he has bad knees. So we want to visit Marseille (Aux-en-provence) Monaco (Nice, Monte Carlo), Genoa, Pisa ( Florence,Cinque Terre, La Spezia) Rome Naples Venice Bologna Milan Geneva Zurich Paris London. From London we will take a cruise to New York. So I have 25 days from Barcelona until we leave on a cruise from Southhampton, England on 6/6 to New York. I know,lol, at our age we should be taking a tour but they just don't visit where we want to go. And I am being budget conscious.
Thank you in advance for your help.
thank you for the replies. This trip will be next year 2025. Also I've got 15 places that I thought we would stop and stay and the other ones were something I thought we could do for a day trip while we're at those places. Yes I realized that probably is too much for us to do. Don't really know what I should take out. Any suggestions of the important things to do rembering this will probably be our only trip to Europe?
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by dsmith7367
thank you for the replies. This trip will be next year 2025. Also I've got 15 places that I thought we would stop and stay and the other ones were something I thought we could do for a day trip while we're at those places. Yes I realized that probably is too much for us to do. Don't really know what I should take out. Any suggestions of the important things to do rembering this will probably be our only trip to Europe?

Sorry but that still doesn't work. Just not realistic. Fifteen destinations in a little over 3 weeks gives you very little time for each place and literally no time for day trips. One needs to account for travel time . . . every single relocation eats up between half and a full day just for the transit. Two nights in a city nets one full day. And you wouldn't have time for even two nights in most places -- 24 nights 15 cities = 1.66 nights per city.

Cities like Rome or Paris or London require 4 or 5 nights at minimum just to get the lay of the land and see a few of the major sites.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:26 AM
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Trim, trim trim!

As for 'important things to do' only you can decide. You really need to do some research to determine what most interests you and go from there.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:29 AM
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I'm with Melnq: Neither Zurich nor Geneva are cities to write home about. If you don' want to visit the real gems of Switzerland, you can just spend 1 night at Montreux, coming by direct train from Venice (1 daily) or Milan (3 daily) and continuing via Lausanne and Dijon to Paris.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for the clarification on the travel dates.

Now we know that you have time to plan and that means you have the time to trim and prioritize. No one here can tell you what is "important" or a "must see" as that must be determined by you and your spouse. Get some guidebooks, even from the library (hours of attractions might change, but the landmarks stay put) and from there, determine what is your absolute "we must see" in each chosen location. If you find you only have one in a town or even a country - that's how you determine what you remove. Also, figure out if you want to actually visit a specific attraction vs. going in/on it. The Eiffel Tower and Colosseum are great examples: Would you want to go on or inside, or would you be satisfied with seeing the exterior? Landmarks of that nature take planning and have to figure in how long you might spend there, for instance.

Once you have your priorities (and they will get trimmed again!), you need to determine how many nights. Also figure in transit in this plan. As an example, 4 nights in a town will net you 3 full days sightseeing. Traveling between locations takes time - and money - from your sightseeing "budget." As a baseline, for most people's full itineraries in large cities like Paris, London, or Rome - 5 -6 nights typically allow you to see most "major" attractions.

You mentioned you have day trips planned for some of your locations. If you have a day trips, you need to figure those days in the above plan. For example, if you go to London for 5 nights and want to see the major attractions AND some day trips, you need to add a couple more nights (at minimum) to your London leg such as, 7-8 nights, to accommodate the day trip(s). If more, adjust accordingly.

You need to figure in transit times as well. Use Rome2Rio website for base idea. This will tell you how many changes and general resource for transit time. Also for trains, a great resource is seat61.com. Transit eats up a lot of itineraries and time checking in/out of lodging as well.

You're going to be doing a LOT of traveling in this 25 days between the cruise book ends. You will need to plan for some downtime, too. Trust me, you will need it. I need it at 45! And, keep in mind, May and June are high season. While it won't be August level of crowds and heat, it still may be crowded and even pretty warm in some of these places.

Once you and your spouse have spent some time perusing and trimming, come back and let us know what those priorities are and we can assist in an itinerary.

Sorry to be repetitive in my response. I was typing as others were responding!

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; May 9th, 2024 at 08:35 AM.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:42 AM
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Not to pile on but maybe look at it this way: Would you plan a 3 week trip covering 1) San Francisco (day trips to Carmel, Tahoe and Yosemite), 2) Los Angeles (day trips to Palm Springs and San Diego), 3) Phoenix (day trip to the Grand Canyon) 4) Las Vegas (day trip to Zion) 5) Denver 6) Chicago 7) New Orleans 8) Miami (day trip to Orlando) 9) Wash. DC (day trip ro Williamsburg) 10) NYC (day trips to Boston and Philly) . . . That is only 10 major cities and you are thinking of hitting fifteen.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:45 AM
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Your one and only trip to Europe... You must first accept that you can't possibly see/do everything on your list in 3+ weeks. You need to prioritize your wish list, be very realistic about the logistics and time involved in moving around, and lastly be honest about what you two are physically able to do day after day for week after week.

The website rome2rio.com can help you understand the transit options and travel times.

Touring on the ground is not comparable to port stops on a cruise, and your trip would seem to encompass about 6 weeks in total. You'll need to pack much lighter than most cruisers do, because you'll be schlepping that luggage on/off trains, in/out of stations. The more you move around the more you'll be dealing with the luggage. If you're changing hotels every day or two, the luggage will begin to feel like a ball and chain. And also in the Mundane Dept., packing light for a trip of that length involves consideration of when/where/how you plan to do laundry. If you want to utilize a hotel's overnight service, make sure it's offered and that your items will be returned before you want to check out and leave.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:47 AM
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We all sound like a broken record...
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:48 AM
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I make it 20 different places. Thos places in brackets are still separate places which will need a day each at least. As it stands it's pretty much completely unworkable for a young and very fit person with little attention span.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean
We all sound like a broken record...
No, we're all on the same page. 🤣
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Jean
We all sound like a broken record...
Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
No, we're all on the same page. 🤣

And all posting at the same time
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Old May 9th, 2024, 08:55 AM
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And all saying the same things.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 09:39 AM
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Like everyone else, I'll add that this is impossible. Not only is it impossible to see that many places (even without considering transit time between places), I would think that it is physically impossible. Have you really considered the wear and tear of getting on and off all those trains? You wouldn't always be able to get a direct train, and stops with a change to another train only adds to this. As someone with bad knees and in early 70's, this would be a deal killer. (I'm going to Italy soon with four train rides, and I only figured I can do it because all the trains are direct and I have plenty of time in between the rides.) Plus, it's impossible to go to Europe without a good deal of walking for sightseeing.
I think you can have a wonderful trip if you're realistic in your planning.
Think in terms of having an absolute minimum of three nights in a place, and forget about day trips. Places like Rome, Paris & London need more. And if you're on a budget, you add cost every time you move.
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Old May 9th, 2024, 09:49 AM
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What are your interests? As the others above have mentioned, which places are your absolute 5 star places you've always wanted to visit? You mention being budget conscious and transportation costs for all of the places you have listed will be pricey. Your trip is way too busy and you really won't have time to see much except for the inside of trains and buses. A rapidly paced trip that will allow you to visit some sights might be something such as:

5/21, 5/22 Barcelona
5/23 Fly to Rome
5/24, 5/25, 5/26 Rome
5/27 - train to Florence
5/28, 5/29 Florence
5/30 day trip to Pisa (stay in Florence)
5/31 - train to Venice
6/1, 6/2 Venice
6/3 Fly to Paris
6/4, 6/5, 6/6 Paris
6/7 Train to London
6/8, 6/9, 6/10 London
6/11 Train to Southampton
6/12 Depart

I tried to include as many of the places you mentioned as possible. This itinerary won't give you much time to rest and relax but is a starting point.

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Old May 9th, 2024, 10:10 AM
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If you flew back to home from
England you would free up ? 7 more days in Europe
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