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Month Long European Trip (First time visiting!) ADVICE NEEDED! Please!

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Jan 20th, 2015, 01:17 PM
  #1
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Month Long European Trip (First time visiting!) ADVICE NEEDED! Please!

Hello all!!,

I just graduated college and am planning a month trip to Europe with my boyfriend. I have a draft itinerary set out and hoping to get some feedback. I am concerned I am trying to fit too much in a month but there is so much I want to see! Here is what I have so far (only flight to London booked). I would appreciate any and all advice!

Day 1 - Arrive London
Day 2 - London
Day 3 - London
Day 4 - London
Day 5 - Train to Amsterdam
Day 6 - Amsterdam
Day 7 - Amsterdam
Day 8 - Train to Paris (I realize this is back tracking but need to meet a friend in Amsterdam on the weekend)
Day 9 - Paris
Day 10 - Paris
Day 11 - Paris
Day 12 - Flight to Venice
Day 13 - Venice
Day 14 - Venice
Day 15 - Train to Florence
Day 16 - Florence
Day 17 - Florence
Day 18 - Florence
Day 19 - Train to Rome
Day 20 - Rome
Day 21 - Rome
Day 22 - Rome
Day 23 - Rome
Day 24 - Flight to Barcelona
Day 25 - Barcelona
Day 26 - Barcelona
Day 27 - Barcelona
Day 28 - Flight to Lisbon
Day 29 - Lisbon
Day 30 - Lisbon
Day 31 - Lisbon
Day 32 - Flight home

I am spending the most time in Rome and wondering If I instead should spend an extra day in Paris (or Florence/Barcelona/Lisbon). Is this feasible or am I doing too much?

Thank you in advance!!! Means so much for your insights.
mgallipeau is offline  
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Jan 20th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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7 different locations in 31 days? A little too much traveling for me, but you're young, go for it! When you're older, you can return for a week or two to one location, and get to enjoy it.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 01:33 PM
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For train info - assume you are flying some and taking the train some - check these superb IMO sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com. If you are under 26 you can qualify for an especially cheap Eurail Youthpass - not sure you are taking enough trains though as the Amsterdam to Paris Thalys train charges a steep supplement for pass holders and you can actually buy cheaper discounted tickets if booked months in advance at www.thalys.com. Actually looking at your itinerary the pass would not be a good deal but if you change your itinerary and ride more trains then yes - just a thought.

You could also take an overnight train Paris to Venice and have that exotic experience and save time and the cost of a hostel or hotel to boot. www.thello.com has fares with sleeping berth as low as 59 euros - no extra fees like airlines which now can charge a lot for baggage and even things like reserved seats on some - plus cost and time of getting to airport and back in, etc.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 01:35 PM
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This seems totally feasible and fun: fast paced but not crazy at all.

In terms of where to put an extra day/night, only you know what you are most interested in. Why did you add more time to Rome initially? I'm sure something was sparking your desire to spend more time there. What are you most interested in seeing/doing/experiencing in all of these places?

I might take a night from Rome and add to London, and from Lisbon and add to Paris, but you may feel differently based on your interests.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 02:32 PM
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I think you have too many big cities and need the throw in some small towns or countryside. What time of year is your trip?
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Jan 20th, 2015, 03:30 PM
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Actually, your pace is much, much better than many people try to do their first trip. It is quite well planned and you have allowed for travel days. Bravo!

As Kybourbon indicated, it is awfully heavy on cities, and IME you experience more of the culture of a country by seeing and exploring smaller towns. If you can manage a day trip or so outside of some of the cities, that would be great.
Venice offers so much, you probably would not want to leave, but you could go to another island, perhaps Burano, or another small city like Vicenza, depends on your interests.

You could stop in Vicenza, Padova or Bologna for a few hours on your way to Florence.

You certainly have time for a day trip from Florence. Luca or Sienna

From Rome, Ostia Antica or Orvieto.

Just google or ask for options.
Sandralist and Kybourbon could probably help with that.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 03:43 PM
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I would save Lisbon for another trip, and add more days to Paris and Venice.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 03:58 PM
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I wouldn't take a day from Rome; there's such a lot of things to see there. I might take a day from Lisbon and add it to London. However, it depends on your interests. It's really hard to advise you about the number of days to spend in each place without having even a slight idea of what your interests are.

The number of days you should spend in Florence would depend on whether you're planning to visit many museums and churches, and also whether you're planning to take any day trips.

I also tend to agree that your itinerary is a bit heavy on big cities. You might want to substitute a few of them with a nearby smaller town, for instance Leiden instead of Amsterdam.

Lisbon really didn't light my fire, but I was mainly there for a conference and a day or two extra. I've never been to Barcelona, so I couldn't advise much about the number of days you should spend there, even if I did know your interests.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 05:17 PM
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This is doable but I think you are giving London and Paris short shrift - esp the former. I would bag Lisbon and divide the days between the other two.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:16 PM
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I would love your trip. There is nothing wrong with going to the big cities. I've been to all the ones you named and very glad about it. Of course I have my favorites (London really never lights my fire and I can't stand Barcelona -- but so what? They are other people's favorites! Adding the countryside is only important to the people who like that and don't like cities. There is nothing objectively "better" about a trip that would take you to the countryside instead of other countries. Whether you learn more about the culture of a European country by cramming in a trip to the countryside is highly disputable, even by the natives of the various countries. Most of them have invested mightily in their cities. And by going fewer countries, you would end up getting less of a sense of what Europe is today.

By all means go to the countryside if it suddenly occurs to you to be a great idea. But there is nothing missing from your trip as an educational and fun adventure.

I think by the time you get to Rome you will be glad to have a longer stretch. If you are both bored, you can take a train to the countryside.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:17 PM
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PS: Lisbon is beautiful and romantic, which marvelous wine and food and water views, and so cheap it is great fun in contrast to the other expensive places you are going.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:22 PM
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Good perspective from Sandralist.
One thing you can do is learn what options you might like, but play it by ear when you are there. Day trips can always be impromptu.
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:42 PM
  #13
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Wow! Thank you for all the great advice!

I am going this April.

I know little about Lisbon and added it because it had the least expensive direct flight home and I would already be somewhat in the area (Barcelona; I considered going to Madrid but thought I should probably not go to another large city). A friend highly recommended Lisbon as an affordable and beautiful city, but I would be OK with cutting it for more time in Paris or smaller cities.

For those of you who recommend smaller cities, do you suggest keeping a "base" and taking day trips or rearranging my route to make more stops along the way?

PalenQ have you taken the Paris to Venice train? I looked into it and it seems more expensive on the surface than a flight but maybe the experience/views make it worth it?

Interests:
Site-seeing (first time to all these places)
Walking (or being able to get around easily in order to fit in a lot of stuff in one day)
Art/Museums
Food!!

Less important:
Nightlife/Clubbing (want to be up early each morning)
On a budget so activities that are super expensive

I actually would like to spend more time outside of cities so I am glad I got this feedback! I was trying to hit many of the "must-see" cities, but I guess that is not necessarily the right approach for a first-time trip.

Thank you for all your responses! Great to hear from experienced travelers
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Jan 20th, 2015, 06:56 PM
  #14
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What worries my about the country side or smaller cities is the transportation (getting to and from and getting around). I don't plan on renting a car, so this may make small town travel limited.

Another question: For my return flight home, does it really matter what airline I take? (and flying within Europe for that matter)

I read some horrible reviews about Sata and Turkish Air (5+ hrs delays, freezing cabins, etc). I am an easy going person, but do want to get home in one piece so wondering if you recommend to "stay-away" from particular airlines. This could also apply to flying within Europe.

Thanks again!!
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Jan 21st, 2015, 07:42 AM
  #15
 
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PalenQ have you taken the Paris to Venice train? I looked into it and it seems more expensive on the surface than a flight but maybe the experience/views make it worth it?>

well I was referring to the overnight Thello train (www.thello.com) as potentially being cheap - fares I've seen from 59 euros for a shared couchette type cabin and on up from there - saving a night in a hotel cost too and time.

Daytime it's a long LONG train ride if go straight thru and yes probably more expensive than flying as you have multiple trains to take - at least two with separate fares I believe. And so-so scenery IMO.

So only the overnight Thello train I have taken could save money over flying - not the day train I think.
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Jan 21st, 2015, 10:59 AM
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Be carefrul = my friend when he was about your age and his new wife took the Paris to Venice night train and got a private compartment -a double - which can be rather pricey over the 4- or 6-person couchette compatments - but with the double - some wine - he swears his first son was conceived on that overnight train ride!
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Jan 21st, 2015, 11:28 AM
  #17
 
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Your trip sounds fine. Fast paced, but not terribly so.

You can take the train or a bus on day trips from some of the cities. For example, from Paris, you could go to Chartres by train--not exactly the country, but a much smaller city.

From London, take the train to Hampton Court Palace and then the boat back to London on the Thames.

From Florence--Siena, from Venice--Padua. But best idea for Venice would be to take the Vaporetto out to Torcello. You'll probably get a pass anyway so it won't cost you anything and Torcello is pretty rural.

From Roma, you can take a bus to Tivoli or the train to Orvieto.
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Jan 21st, 2015, 05:25 PM
  #18
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Thank you everyone! I've got some good notes!
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Jan 21st, 2015, 05:30 PM
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I think your proposed itinerary is very good, much better than what we usually see here from first-timers. I too would consider adding time to London. Assuming you're arriving in London after a long overnight flight, you will be sleepy and jet-lagged for the first day or two. So an extra day to recover is good. And there's so much to see in London.

Easyjet has a flight from Paris Orly to Venice. That would be quicker than a train, but if the romance of a night train appeals to you.... Not me but I want to sleep or see the countryside.

Will you be getting a Eurail pass? It won't pay for the Eurostar trip London to Brussels (en route to Amsterdam) though you can get a discount. For the rest of your train trips buying individual tickets well ahead of time may add up to less than the pass. Especially since in some countries and on some high-speed trains you have to buy a seat reservation (best done a day or two ahead of time since the seats for pass-holders can be limited).

Do buy the Eurostar tickets early for a considerable savings.

Will you be booking your hotels ahead of time?
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Jan 21st, 2015, 06:01 PM
  #20
 
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I agree that you might want to add some small or medium sized cities, and concur with Sassafrass on how to add them into your existing travel days. I would suggest one of the following, which are on the most direct train lines between your overnight stops:

1) Bologna on the way from Venice to Florence - about half way, easy to see in a day
2) Orvieto on the way from Florence to Rome, easy to see in a few hours.
3) Or if a day trip is preferable, then Sienna from Florence

If you want a really different take on things, consider renting a car in Florence and driving through Tuscany, stopping at little hill top towns like Montalcino or Montepulciano. You can do this either as a day trip, or as on drop off on the way to Rome. Personally, I love driving in the countryside (and not in the city) so if you do this, I suggest not trying to return it to a big city like Rome.

Whatever you decide, have a great time!
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