Need advice with 2 week europe itinerary

Old May 26th, 2018, 02:44 PM
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Need advice with 2 week europe itinerary

Hello Friends

I am planning a 2 (14 days) week Europe trip - Want to cover ITALY (Rome, Florence) , Paris (and surrounding countries) AND Spain (will fly out of MADRID). Looking forward to your advice on how to plan for these stops and how to get b/w them (bus, train vs. Fly). I would prefer day trips from our stops eg. Rome, Paris, Barcelona - this way we don't have check in/out of hotels.
We are a family of 4, with 2 teenagers.. first time in europe. Interests - mostly sight seeing, history, culture, food etc
Any tips are welcome .

Thanks in advance !!

Regards
Pat
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Old May 26th, 2018, 03:09 PM
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I'm not sure what you mean by Paris and surrounding countries. Do you mean to visit, say, Belgium or Switzerland as they are adjacent to France?

My general advice is to plan an open-jaws route, that is, arrive and depart Europe from different cities. Limiting yourself to 4 cities at most would give you 3-4 nights in each, which would be wise since they all have tons of sights.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 03:14 PM
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Whoa - slow down just a little. 14 days home to home (I assume the 14 days includes travel days) will net you 11.5 days on the ground. With that you want to visit Rome, Florence, Paris and 'surrounding countries' (what ever that means), Madrid and Barcelona. Just the travel between those places (and not counting which ever surrounding countries you meant) will eat up 2.5 more days leaving you just 9 days free to explore 5 major cities. Back to the drawing board. Where are you flying in to? Your arrival city plus Madrid and ONE other place is about all you have time for.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 03:44 PM
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Yes impossible to do more than 2-3 bases in that short of time - Paris-Venice-Rome for example - take overnight train Paris to Venice or fly then train to Rome or Barcelona and Paris, etc. Figure in travel time between bases. For lots on trains - the only feasible way to travel between bases other than flying - cars are slower than either and terrible in large cities - che3ck www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com. Buy tickets as per www.seat61.com and save money - forget anything about railpasses.
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Old May 26th, 2018, 04:45 PM
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Makes sense. That's exactly the feedback I wanted. Thank you very much !
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Old May 27th, 2018, 04:21 AM
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You can't begin to "cover" even a single country in a mere 14 days. Europe isn't a board game to slide your piece across. Pick 2 places, and fly into one and out of another. Have everyone in the family read guidebooks and study maps.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 04:58 AM
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You could do Rome, Paris and Madrid in two weeks but you'd probably come home (like many others) saying "Europe's not that great, what's all the fuss about". That's cause you'd be seeing a lot of airports and just the few highlights of those cities. Words like 'covering' or 'neighboring countries' wouldn't even begin to fit.


Have you already got your flights? If so and therefore Rome and Madrid are musts, I would split the time between those two (flying between them) and do day trips. From Rome you can do Florence as a day trip but I would also do Orvieto so you can experience a smaller, hill town - but it's still easy day trip distance from Rome. From Madrid the two 'best' day trips would be Toledo and Segovia. Both are really interesting with tons of sights and very different from Madrid. This way you will get a 'taste' of both Italy and Spain as opposed to just seeing the few main sights. If this is too 'slow' travel style for you then I'd fly from Rome to Barcelona for a few days and then train to Madrid. At least that would eliminate one flight - over including Paris - (every day that you fly, even if the flight itself is only a few hours, really eats up the entire day when you add in getting to and then from the airport to the city centers, having to arrive two hours before the flight, etc.).
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Old May 27th, 2018, 08:59 AM
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You are flying out of Madrid but where are arriving?
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Old May 27th, 2018, 09:12 AM
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Hopefully flying into Rome. Presumably.
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Old May 27th, 2018, 03:58 PM
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Thank you for all of your replies. All your inputs have a common theme - to not cram in too many places. Thank you Again !!!
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Old May 27th, 2018, 04:49 PM
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Don’t be afraid to “cram a lot in” IF that type of travels suits ALL of you. The first time we visited Europe was also with two teenagers, and we weren’t sure when or if we would return. As I recollect we had 12 days and visited London, Paris, Florence, Rome and many hill towns in the Umbria area of Italy (my Dad and Mom had rented a villa there). Many years later, last fall, among other travel, we met our daughter in Barcelona (from where we visited Besalu, Girona and Dali’s hometown of Figueres) and 3 days in Nice (from where we visited much of the French Riviera and Monaco). We had been to Barcelona and Nice many times, so it was easy for us. Our daughter, who has become a seasoned traveler, feels like she also got a good view of both Barcelona and Nice. Obviously, not everything but many of the highlights. We once took a relative on a planned tour of 16 countries in 30 days, and did and saw so much that we compiled 100 blog posts. NOT for everyone. Many tourists bring lots of luggage; we travel with only carry-ons. That makes a difference in getting around. We don’t sit down for long, leisurely breakfasts. Our days and nights are full. Transportation by rail and by airplane, within Europe, can be inexpensive and easy. The places you want to visit CAN make sense. But it depends on the kind of travelers you ALL are. There are suggested itineraries on the internet for one day, two days and more for nearly every city in Europe. Take a look at some of them, discuss it with your family and see if that type of timetable would fit you guys. Good luck.
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Old Jun 16th, 2018, 02:54 PM
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@Whitehall .. Thank you so much for your suggestions !
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Old Jun 16th, 2018, 04:09 PM
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Different strokes for different folk - I too always loved to travel fast - really liked using bases and doing day trips from there. That said many first-time European travelers over estimate what is realistic - you've gotten some great advice about from both schools.
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