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Itinterary Advice - December Trip to Europe and North Africa

Itinterary Advice - December Trip to Europe and North Africa

May 15th, 2019, 05:32 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2019
Posts: 6
Itinterary Advice - December Trip to Europe and North Africa


My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe with a stop in North Africa for this coming December/Jan. He has family in England that we plan to spend Christmas with then go out to other places from there. He also has a cousin who will be stationed in Rota, Spain that we will visit during the trip. Some of the below itinerary is pretty loosely planned right now, but some days are non-changeable as we already have things laid out with family (days in Devon, NYE in Paris, time in Rota).

Here are some main questions I'm wondering about the below itinerary before we start booking lodging and solidifying certain stays:

1) Is Brussels more of a 1-day town or should we stay for the full 2 days?
2) Is it trying to pack way too much in to go on the 30th for a day trip from Brussels to Amsterdam?
3) In the area of Spain we'll be in, what other cities are recommended to visit? Is Jerez de la Frontera worth a see? We'll have most of the day on the 6th until we leave Seville late in the evening to go back to London.
4) Should we try to make Seville an overnight from Rota or a full day trip should be good?
5) Any other suggestions to consider?

Dec 23rd - Leave SFO
Dec 24th - Land in London, UK and travel to somewhere in Devon, UK
Dec 25th - Christmas somewhere in Devon with MIL's family
Dec 26th - Family day somewhere in that region or TBD
Dec 27th - Travel from Devon, UK to London, UK
Dec 28th - London, UK
Dec 29th - Travel from London, UK early morning to Brussels, BE.
Dec 30th - Brussels, BE
Dec 31st - Earliest train from Brussels, BE to Paris, FR. Spend NYE day and NYE in Paris.
Jan 1st - Spend morning in Paris, take afternoon flight to Seville, ES. Rent car or take bus to Rota, ES
Jan 2nd - Spend day in Rota with cousins stationed at Naval Base there and maybe also visit Cadiz
Jan 3rd - Seville, ES
Jan 4th - Rota to Tarifa, ES to catch the first ferry to Tangier, MA where we'll spend the night
Jan 5th - Morning in Tangier, MA then afternoon ferry back to Rota, ES
Jan 6th - Spend day in Spain (TBD where), take evening flight back to London from Seville
Jan 7th - Flight out of London back to SFO

ericarenee427 is offline  
May 15th, 2019, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,266
Honestly -- I think this is an incredibly difficult/hectic/ill considered itinerary.

Six countries (and hitting the UK twice) - most in the dead of winter and over the Christmas-New Years holidays . . . with 13.5 days free on the ground. One snow fall, one foggy day, one ice storm . . . and your entire plan would be shot out of the water.

You have time for the UK and Paris plus maybe some time in Belgium . . .
janisj is online now  
May 15th, 2019, 06:06 PM
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janisj I hadn't really considered the weather being a big factor, I have not been in winter before but we will consider that. The Netherlands is a longshot so its likely 5 countries we'd be trying for. Are weather delays mostly for trains or planes or both? Asking as someone who does not live in a place with winter weather and travels through it very infrequently.

Spain is not negotiable, we have to do that stop as we are seeing family there and it's a main component of the trip. If we cut out anything it would likely have to be Belgium unfortunately but we are not looking to spend more than 1 day in London as we have been and just want to see the Holiday Markets and decor really.
ericarenee427 is offline  
May 15th, 2019, 09:21 PM
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Why go to Brussels at all? Go straight to Paris from London. That way you have more time in Paris.
menachem is offline  
May 15th, 2019, 09:37 PM
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>> but we are not looking to spend more than 1 day in London as we have been and just want to see the Holiday Markets and decor really.<<

You have a minimum of two days in London without seeing anything because your arrival and departures are through London. So that is two days right there. Plus travel all the way to Devon and back. So even if you only want one sightseeing day in London and two days/three nights in Devon - you need a minimum of 6 nights in the UK. London + Devon = 6 nights. Most of a full day for travel to Spain. 5 nights/4 days in Spain. Then another night/day back in the UK. That totals 12 nights and you only have 14 nights total. If you want to spend New Years Eve in Paris -- that is ALL you have time for.

The UK bits 6 nights, Paris 2 nights Dec 30/31, leaving 1 January, Spain 5 nights, then back to London 1 night for your flight home. Still hectic but doable (without Brussels or Morocco)
janisj is online now  
May 15th, 2019, 09:39 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
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. . . and pray there are no weather delays.
janisj is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 06:05 AM
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Posts: 9,359
Good that it is loosely planned because, as Janis says, it is incredibly hectic and not well thought out yet.

Do you have tickets yet?
If not, save a lot of time (and money) by not backtracking to London. Buy multi-city or multi-destination tickets. Arrive in London. Return from Spain: Seville, Malaga, ?

How do you plan to get from London to Devon. Surely not rent a car and drive after such a long flight from the US, but train and bus will take hours, depending on arrival time in London. Won’t you be totally wiped out by time you get to family in Devon? Will you be awake for Christmas? Can you possibly depart for the trip one day earlier to allow for a little jet lag?

Brussels, just not worth the travel time and money for a rushed visit.

Have you been to Paris? You say spend the morning in Paris and in the afternoon fly to Seville. Chances are you will be up very late on NYE, so not want to be up and out
early the next morning. Swap the time in Brussels for an extra day in Paris before NYE.

Have you been to Spain? I find it beautiful, but the landscape can be bleak at that time of year plus sometimes wet and chilly.
Are you spending only one day with family in Rota? There is so much to see in that area, I recommend concentrating on that, and would not go to Tangier. Consider an overnight in Granada instead. Also, departing from Seville, do not do a day trip from Rota. It is doable, but better to put sightseeing time in Seville at the end, combined with the trip there for departure. That is, unless you depart from Malaga. Córdoba is only an hour by train from Seville. If you spend three nights in Seville, you have most of one day and two full days for sightseeing, so could make one of those days a day trip to Córdoba.

I personally like Cadiz, but it really depends on your interests. It will be enjoyable if you get a warmish, dry day. Consider some of the white towns and, can’t think of the name off hand, there is an archeological site near Rota. You have a ton of options.

London and Devon. . .
Dec 29, Travel to Paris
Dec 30, 31, Paris
Jan 1, Travel to Rota via Seville or Malaga
Jan 2, Rota
Jan 3, Cadiz? Granada?
Jan 4, Travel to Seville
Jan 5, 6, Seville with Day trip to Córdoba
Jan 7, depart for home

Sassafrass is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Definitely avoid backtracking to London.

Definitely do not plan to drive to Devon right off a night flight.

Travel by public transport on Christmas Eve in the UK will be problematic (as in both crowded and shutting down for the holiday). You really need to arrive the day before. Where in Devon?

There have been a number of discussions here about the desirability of a day trip to Tangier. The consensus is against it. (And yes, I noticed you would spend the night, I would still vote no.)
thursdaysd is offline  
May 16th, 2019, 09:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 77,681
Book long-distance trains early to get possible discounts - www.seat61.com tells a lot about that - general train info -- BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.
PalenQ is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Looks totally nutso to me.

Just for starters, I'd eliminate the overnight in Tangiers, which is SO not representative of Morocco (where we spend about 6 weeks each year). NOT worth your time for a cheap shot at a wonderful country.

The rest of the trip is also just a jumble of rather ill-conceived illusions, especially given the time of year.

I'd start over, and quit "aiming for 5 countries" in 13.5 days - that's just unreasonable. Aim for some quality time in a few well-chosen places.
StCirq is online now  
May 16th, 2019, 05:14 PM
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 985
I agree with St. Cirq. Eliminate Tangiers and Brussels at the very least.
KarenWoo is offline  
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