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Looking for some advice for an April Itenerary!

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Jan 25th, 2015, 11:26 AM
  #1
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Looking for some advice for an April Itenerary!

Hi guys!

I am looking for advice for a trip this April in Europe. We are flying in to Dublin and flying home from Madrid. We will have a span of 19 days, starting on the 2nd of April. We are having trouble figuring out where to go in April. There are tons of options, and we are looking for a mix of big cities and nature. We have already been to Rome, Venice, and Cinque Terre but we have not spent any time in Florence or Tuscany. We have also been to Paris, London, and Barcelona. We are interested in Amsterdam, Prague, any area of Austria, and Berlin. We are very interested in Switzerland but we know that it can be a pricey area. We realize that some areas might still be closed due to weather but we are really open to any suggestions. Any ideas for a wonderful trip to Europe in April? We would like to keep it about 3 to 4 days in each major city, to really get a feel for the city and spend less time traveling on train/plane. We have been to Dublin and Madrid before so we don't include them in out big cities. They were the most cost effective to fly into and fly out of! We have spent plenty of time in each city already but we love them enough for a few extra days in our trip.

Any ideas or suggestions are truly welcomed! Please help! Thank you so much for your time and considerations!

~C.
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Jan 25th, 2015, 12:34 PM
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At that time of year you might opt to see the tulips in Amsterdam. After a couple of days there, you could catch a cheap flight (Transavia) to Pisa and see Florence in the bargain, then rent a car to take a swing through Tuscany. Drop off the car at a Rome airport to take a cheap flight to Madrid -- or drop the car off at Bologna airport and take a flight to Sevilla, and ultimately head up to Madrid by train.

I don't think it makes sense to go to Switzerland in April. If you want to move faster in the itinerary above, you could spend a few nights in Amsterdam, then fly to Berlin, then fly to Pisa/Florence, rent a car to swing down to Rome airport, then fly to Madrid.

The only airport in either itinerary I listed that is a pain is Rome, and Madrid of course is very large as well.
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Jan 25th, 2015, 01:07 PM
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Thank you so much for your help! I was wondering if the weather will be nice in Florence at that time. How is Berlin? Are there any other areas in Austria or Prague that may be better to visit in April instead of Berlin? The itinerary that you set up is wonderful, we really like the second idea of Amsterdam, then Berlin, then Florence and back to Madrid. We love the idea of the Amsterdam tulips! We are really grateful for your advice!
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Jan 25th, 2015, 02:24 PM
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Regarding Florene. it is really hard to predict spring weather. You could have glorious flowers and fluffy white clouds in a blue blue sky, like a Renaissance painting, or you could have bous of rain, anything from passing showers to stubborn downpours that stretch more than 24 hours. You would need to pack a rain coat (but you will need it for Amsterdam anyway) and clothes to keep you warm once the sun goes down. However, there is always a lot to see and do indoors in Florence (and Siena and Pisa).

Just to give you an idea, here is the history of what the weather was in April, day by day, in the past few years in Florence. You'll see some years got more rain than others (and the trade off for sunny days was having it be a bit windy).

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...ze/2014/Aprile

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...ze/2013/Aprile

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...ze/2012/Aprile

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...ze/2011/Aprile

http://www.ilmeteo.it/portale/archiv...ze/2011/Aprile

Really can't answer your questions about other places. I think any scenic destinations further north, esepcially mountain destinations, have a high chance of having unfavorable weather for enjoying the scenery. Cities like Berlin (which is fascinating) and Prague (where I've never been) have lots of indoor sights and cosy cafes and warming foods, and if the weather is at all nice, I imagine it is not too cold to walk around comfortably if you have the right clothes.
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Jan 25th, 2015, 02:33 PM
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April in central Europe can be cool and blustery - in Paris too or it could be rather nice - a crap shoot but if you go south like Florence or Tuscany or Barcelona or the French Riviera the weather will likely be rather nice and dependably warm.

Lets see 19 days

Dublin - 2 days
Fly to Amsterdam for tulips (don't miss the Keukenhof Flower Show at that time of year (www.keukenhof.com) and the miles of tulips in fields adjoining it)

Amsterdam 3 days

train, plane or night train to Munich

Munich 4 days - many a few day trips like to Salzburg, Austria - just about 1.5 hours each way on a train and one of Europe's most serenly beuatiful city or to Fussen for Mad Ludwig's Castle, Dachau, etc

Train or fly or overnight train to Florence

Florence - Tuscany (easily done by bus from Florence)
Florence 4 days - day trips to Tuscany, Pisa or even the Cinque Terre possible

Fly to Madrid

You;ve seen Madrid but have you day tripped to fantastic places like Toledo, Avila, Segovia or El Escorial - some of the nicest towns in Europe - with Toledo being simply wonderful.

For lots about trains and night trains check out these IMO superb sources: www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com (check out their free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of suggested itineraries in lots of countries.

You will not be traveling on trains enough to merit any kind of railpass IMO.
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Jan 25th, 2015, 08:46 PM
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Thank you so much for your recommendations! The Keukenhof Flower Show looks absolutely incredible! We love the itinerary idea that you placed together! We truly appreciate the time you spent putting it together. Munich sounds like an amazingly beautiful city, and it's surrounded by some stunning day trip places. We plan on doing flights between the major cities to save time, and use the train for any day trips. We hadn't even known about Munich for an option and now we are so excited for the opportunity to visit there! Thank you again for all of your help!
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Jan 26th, 2015, 09:55 AM
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Try to go to the Keukenhof on a week day - weekends when more locals go can be very crowded - easy to do on your own - take a train to Leiden from whose train station shuttle buses go constantly to the Keukenhof. No need for a tour.
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Jan 26th, 2015, 01:39 PM
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Another route to the Keukenhof goes via train to Haarlem then train towards Leiden from there - get off at the Hillegom station which is smack in the middle of undulated pulchritudinous flower fields and just a 2-3 mile walk from the Keukenhof - I did it and it was like tiptoeing thru the tulips at certain points - nice little used paved roads with wide shoulders. Then take the shuttle bus to Leiden and train back to Amsterdam.
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Jan 29th, 2015, 10:51 AM
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Quick question PalenQ, will the tulips be in bloom around April 6th through the 8th or should we plan Amsterdam/Keukenhof for the end of our trip just to be safe? Any ideas? Thank you again for all of your help and guidance!
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Jan 29th, 2015, 10:59 AM
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Keukenhof opens IN MARCH http://www.keukenhof.nl/en/

There is usually always something in bloom/to see or both. I would go for it if you are at all interested in absolute OVERLOAD in terms of visuals.
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Jan 29th, 2015, 11:44 AM
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I guess my question is really hard to predict. I was considering changing the Amsterdam portion of the trip by making it more towards the end of it instead of the start. I am definitely going to the garden, I am just trying to pick the best time frame. When is the best time to go? Is there even a best time or can you go at anytime in April and be able to see a visual overload? I love the idea of a visual overload! It's so very exciting! Any ideas? Thank you so very much! I truly appreciate it!
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Jan 29th, 2015, 11:52 AM
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Wikipedia says best time for tulips is mid-april and this site says last 2 weeks of April.

http://www.holland.com/us/tourism/re...wer-fields.htm

But maybe it also depends on new climate change calculations -- and maybe some local who posts here or on Tripadvisor knows whether this April is likely to see "early" tulips or "late" ones (or maybe it is just too early to know).
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Jan 29th, 2015, 01:49 PM
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There is no best time to go to the Keukenhof Gardens as those major exhibigts are mainly in hothouses and are of all kinds of flowers that Holland grows for export - some tulips but not at the heart of the show - now in the fields surrounding yes are some watches of tulips but gthe gardens themselves don't matter much - but again avoid weekends IME because of crowding.
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Jan 29th, 2015, 04:02 PM
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With respect to Keukenhof Gardens, if you have any interest in photography, this is a spectacular venue. However, the crowds from the tour companies and riverboats really clog up the area in the mornings and through the early afternoon. From about 4 on, light is better and you have a much better chance of getting some unobstructed shots.

Even if you are not a photographer, mornings are really crowded there.
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