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Itinerary Game: Help us Choose which beach town please!

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Itinerary Game: Help us Choose which beach town please!

Old Jun 20th, 2020, 03:30 PM
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Itinerary Game: Help us Choose which beach town please!

Hello Everyone!
We are a couple in our mid thirties from New Orleans that will be traveling to Europe in September for 15 days. We know for sure the beginning and end of our trip, but need help with which coastal area we should choose for the middle section. I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions on our itinerary plus if you could vote option 1, 2 or 3 to help us pick a winner. We would appreciate it so much!

A couple things I want to mention: In September, I will be almost 6 months pregnant so, as much as I like to be an active traveler, I need to not overexert myself as I know it will be hot/warm at this time of year.

We know we are starting in Amsterdam, then a few days in Rome and finally ending in Paris. In the middle of our trip, we have about 5-6 days to spend in a coastal destination. We are interested in Nice and the surrounding Southern France area, Cinque Terre/Portofino or the Amalfi Coast.
(Or something brand new for both of us like southern Spain instead of Rome but trying to stay on track here !)


ALREADY SET ITINERARY 🗺:
Sept 4th: Arrive in Amsterdam🌷
Sept. 5th-6th: Amsterdam🌬😑
Sept. 7th: ✈️ Fly to Rome 🇮🇹
Sept. 8-9th: Rome 🏛

** Middle Section we need help with. See 3 Options below to help us choose. We have 5-6 days to go to a coastal destination. **

Sept. 15th/16th-19th: Paris 🗼
Sept 20th: Fly back to the US 🇺🇸

Option 1 (Amalfi Coast):
Sept. 10th: 🚂 Train to Rome -> Naples -> 🚖 and arrive in Amalfi Coast
Sept. 11-13th: Amalfi Coast 🍋🍕 (Positano, Ravello?)
Sept. 14th: 🚂 Train from the Amalfi Coast -> Naples -> back to Rome
Sept. 15th: ✈️ Fly from Rome-> to Paris🗼
(*Or we could leave for Paris on the 16th and have an extra day in Amalfi but one day less in Paris.)

*If we select Amalfi Coast, which town/village should we stay in? I've done Capri twice already and Ravello once. Should I go somewhere different like Positano?

Option 2 (Cinque Terre/Portofino, Monaco and Nice):
Sept. 10th: 🚂 train from Rome 🏛 to Cinque Terre (5hrs)
Sept. 11-12th: CinqueTerre/Portofino ⛵️
Sept. 13th: 🚂 train to Monaco day trip on the way to Nice (sleep in Nice)
Sept. 14th-15th: Nice 🏖
Sept. 16th: Travel Day ✈️ fly from Nice -> to Paris🗼

* I remember Cinque Terre having steep hills and needing to hike from place to place. Would this be too much if I'm about 6 months pregnant?

Option 3 (Just Nice, southern France with a day trip to Monaco):
Sept. 10th: ✈️ fly from Rome 🏛 to Nice
Sept. 11-12th: Nice 🏖
Sept. 13th: 🚖 day trip to Monaco
Sept. 14th: 🚖 day trip to St. Tropez or Eze
Sept. 15th: Travel Day ✈️ fly from Nice -> to Paris🗼
(*Or we could leave for Paris on the 16th and have an extra day in southern FR but one day less in Paris.)

Any adjustments, thoughts or suggestions on this itinerary are welcome + please select which option you would choose. Thank you so much !!

Last edited by julesdc; Jun 20th, 2020 at 03:47 PM.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 05:17 PM
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I travelled at the beginning of the third trimester on a local weekend trip away (an air trip, with a rental car) and was miserable with swollen feet and legs and generally feeling heavy the whole time. It's a risk. No-one knows how you will feel on a longer trip, let alone a trip with hills or lots of walking. You could be fine or it might just all be too much stress. You will probably also need a letter from your doctor for the airline(s) clearing you to travel. If you must plan now, plan a trip with fewer destinations and a lot of options to just sit around and do nothing. You can always scale it up with local excursions, but if you plan a big trip with lots of stressful changes, packing, unpacking, you will be the victim. If it were me I think I would just stay with one country (in your case, maybe the Netherlands) and do that really well. They have beaches as well. Or just an area / country which is more beach-oriented so you can just hang out and laze around (a week at the beach?). Maybe build in a car into your plans (but not in Amsterdam) so you aren't dragging suitcases around. Just be kind to yourself generally . Also the Netherlands has good medical care and lots of people speak English - if you wind up needing medical care or hospitalisation I would be thinking about doctors who speak English. Nothing is really out of the picture but you can think about the worst possible case scenarios and plan accordingly. And the Netherlands is a nice destination anyway!

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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 05:58 PM
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True which is probably why I should take out Option 2 bc it's too much running around. With Option 3 we could do day trips if we feel like it or just stay in Nice the whole time ?? Unless it would be boring to spend 4 days in Nice.

Maybe we do Amsterdam, Rome, either Nice or Positano and then end in Paris. 4 places in 16 days so 4 days in each place including travel days. Still too much?

My husband really wants to go to Rome and I don't want to do all cities so wanted at least one beachy spot :/

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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 06:12 PM
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I don't think of some of the places you are mentioning as "beach towns". But maybe you only mean places that are on the coastline with views of water? Not actually hanging out at a beach??
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 06:58 PM
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I sounds like you're buzzing around all over Europe, which will not be at all relaxing. If you haven't booked your flights, then I'd consider a more logical route. I find trains much more relaxing than taking planes and they take you from the centre of town to the centre of town, don't require you to be at the airport well in advance, etc. Four nights (three full days) in each place is fine but your places are spread a long way apart.

The Amalfi coast is beautiful but, in my opinion, its beaches are rubbish so if you want to spend time on the beach, then I wouldn't recommend the area. I would say the same of Cinque Terre but don't know the rest of the Ligurian coast.

Are your flights to Amsterdam and to Rome set in stone?
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 07:48 PM
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Yes, I don't really mean beach towns... sorry. Just meant coastline with views of the water where I could lay out at a hotel pool with a view or maybe a pebble "beach."

So far the only plans that are set in stone are: our flight to Amsterdam and a place to stay there and then the flight out of Paris back home. I'd like to end in Paris bc it will be my birthday and I went to school there years ago. My husband wants to go to Rome bc he's never been to Italy but it's not a must. Is there another beachy/coastline spot you would suggest that would be more convenient if we are dead set on Paris and Amsterdam and we throw out Italy completely?

I know it's not very logical to go from Amsterdam down to Rome and then back up to Paris but since the flight time was only 2 hrs (but obviously not including getting to CDG airport and to the hotels etc.) we thought we could make it work.

Last edited by julesdc; Jun 20th, 2020 at 07:51 PM.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 08:21 PM
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I think leaving Rome to another time makes more sense, in which case you are only constrained by arriving in Amsterdam and leaving from Paris. I would stay in France, where there are a million beautiful places to visit. I will be the first to say that I'm not very familiar with French coastal towns but did spend a week in Nice which we really liked and it is a great transport hub for easily exploring other places (of which there are many). For the beach near town, I don't know whether it was just where we swam there but the water shelves quite quickly. Antibes might be another choice worth exploring (have only visited for a short time so ask others if interested). Of course France has quite a long coast line with many choices of beautiful towns but you mentioned being keen on the Cote d'Azur. Although not a fan of flights, you could perhaps fly from Amsterdam to Nice, explore that area, then stop enroute back to Paris (maybe St Remy or Dijon?) before your Paris stay and flying home. Of course, you could take the train directly from Nice (or Aix en Provence or wherever) to Paris if you prefer to spend longer down south. Your choices are so many that the challenge will be in choosing just three or four places in which to base yourselves. I hope you have a wonderful time.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 09:17 PM
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Into Amsterdam and out of Paris is not a bad scenario. There is a whole coastline of beaches from Zandvoort to De Panne to Honfleur and the weather will be good at that time of year. Spend 4 days in Amsterdam, 4 in Paris and pick two other interesting destinations as a base. If you feel good and have lots of energy, you can radiate out from your bases on day trips. If you need to rest, you can stay closer to home. A less ambitious trip, which will still fit in a lot of variety.

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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 10:22 PM
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I suppose I should probably point out the obvious - whether you go or not may be constrained by where you come from and whether your destinations will let you in in this current lockdown environment. September may be too soon, so instead your plans might be for three next year ...

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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 10:31 PM
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I like Nice (a fair bit) but it wouldn't be my pick to spend four days of lounging around the pool. You seem to know the beach isn't tropical sand. It can be more expensive.

What are you hoping to do in Nice and Monaco?

Personally I might think about Barcelona instead. Find a hotel nearer the beach. Or plan on taking a cab to the beach. Not exactly palm trees but nicer than the Nice beach. I guess the yachts are nicer around Nice

On the heat issue it really depends on what you think is warm. Mid/end of September things around the northern Med will already have started to cool down. I'm not implying it'll be cold but it might be cooler than you're expecting.

All your beach destinations are more or less cities. IIRC Nice is the fourth or fifth largest city in France. Big enough to have direct flights to North America.
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Old Jun 20th, 2020, 10:40 PM
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Have you taken into account your trip may not materialize due to coronavirus risks?
Especially if you also expect to fly within Europe: the flight from Amsterdam to Rome would have me worried.
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Old Jun 21st, 2020, 09:36 AM
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On the Cinque Terre, the trails range from coastal sidewalks to narrow goat scrambles, in progressing orders of difficulty. Some sections are still closed. There are some beach strips in some villages along the ligurian coast (and some larger, even sandy ones, in places not mentioned).

As others noted, Antibes has some sandy beaches (although those are not the ones closest to the old town). From Nice, the public transit links are the best. I sometimes hop the train for a short journey to Juan Les Pins, where the strip of sandy beach is close to the train station (a similar case in Cannes... in Antibes the best beaches are further away. Villefranche-sur-Mer also has a large grain/tiny pebble beach with an excellent beach club and view). However, more often than not I just head down the block from my place and sprawl out for a few hours. From about the mid to late September some of the beach clubs start to close down, but most are available through the end of the month. Some hotels (like in Antibes/JLP) have pools with views of the beach but in Nice they tend to rooftop (e.g., Hyatt, Le Meridien), or they have an arrangement with a private beach club (the beach is large "pebbles" but it is generally not too crowded, unlike some of the small italian beaches in the Amalfi).

St Tropez is difficult to reach by public transport (except by the ferry from Antibes/JLP), and a car is really required to go to the best set of beaches at Ramatuelle (Pampalonne), especially for a day trip (but its one of the best beaches in the area, with a less built-up feel as it is backed by dunes). Some of the luxe hotels back in the hills have shuttles to the beach, like the Chateau de la Messardiere.


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Old Jun 21st, 2020, 11:13 AM
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If you decide to forget Italy, consider beaches in Normandy or Brittany.....sort of on the way between Amsterdam and Paris, likely cooler and less crowded than cities farther south.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 09:18 AM
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** We have decided to throw out Italy all together as that seems better to do as a separate trip. **

Now trying to figure out where else to go besides Amsterdam and Paris for our extra 5-7 days in the middle.

Gooster thank you for your French beach suggestions. I'm starting to do research on those areas. Thank you all so much!

Best "beaches" in France, anyone?? I've been to Normandie and Brittany but never the Provence area.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 01:27 PM
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Bruges, Belgium? and some of the beaches in that area might be a good option.
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 02:00 PM
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Etretat, France. A beautiful sandy beach in a small bay with dramatic white chalk cliffs, scenes that were popular with Claude Monet. There is an amazing plant and sculpture garden with great views of the bay. The charming fishing village of Honfleur and the ruins at Jumieges would be easy day trips. On the way to Paris, you could stop in Evreux or Rouen

https://etretatgarden.fr/en/
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Old Jun 22nd, 2020, 05:30 PM
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If you go to Bruges then you might be interested in Knokke-Heist (Belgian seaside town, accessible by rail, not far from Bruges). However, it is not unspoilt beauty, but quite built up. It has a casino. Nearby is the wildlife sanctuary Het Zwin (on the Dutch border). There is a coastal tramway (de Kusttram) so you can visit other beachside towns also, right up to De Panne on the French border. Different beaches have a different vibe, some are more for families. Knokke is posh and more for adults.

I also second Jean's Honfleur which is a small port but has surrounding beaches. The shops are very nice, although you will find a lot of tourists there. And Rouen is fabulous although not anywhere near the beach. You could easily spend a few days there, and it's not that far from Paris.

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Old Jun 23rd, 2020, 04:47 AM
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The beaches I like best in France are in both Languedoc-Roussillon and the Pays Basque, but neither is anywhere near any of your proposed itineraries.
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Old Jun 24th, 2020, 09:22 AM
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Does your Obstetrician approve of your traveling at all during the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic?
You are changing locations too much. Each flight and airport creates hazards of catching the virus plus you are trying to cram much too much into your trip.
A few thoughts...Nice has a large beach made of stones, not sand. We love Nice though. Sandy beaches are a short distance west of Nice. Look at St- Tropez, Ramateulle. We loved Ramateulle, up on a hill overlooking the sea and wide sandy beaches below. Monaco is worth a half day at most. Do not stay there!
We also love the sandy beaches in the Pays Basque. Look at beautiful St- Jean de Luz.
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Old Jun 24th, 2020, 03:04 PM
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HappyTrvlr, I don't believe this trip will get off the ground ... for example, where I live the virus has mostly been brought under control but now we are having a second wave and parts of our country are reintroducing measures of various kinds. If this happens in any of the destinations then September is unrealistic. No-one wants a 16 day trip where the first two weeks are in quarantine, and perhaps the two weeks afterwards as well (are you Americans doing that for travellers as well?). But it's nice to dream, and it's nice to plan where you might go when all this is over. I agree with you about the obstetrician and the changing of locations, but without this daydreaming the board ceases to exist!

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