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Need help with planning my trip to Europe


Need help with planning my trip to Europe

Old Jul 15th, 2015, 04:29 AM
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Need help with planning my trip to Europe

Hi everyone,
I am so excited as I am planning my first trip to Europe.
I really need your help as I have no clue about how to plan my trip, and which cities should I spend more time and where to start, and what is the best way to transport to other cities. I have about 20 to 25 days to spend there. I'd like to visit Paris and Venice ( my dream cities), also Spain, German, .... .
What's your suggestion?

Thanks in advance
Soude from Australia
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 04:59 AM
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Paris, Venice and Spain are pretty far apart, so you're probably talking about full days of travel from one to the other. I'd start by looking at a map, figuring out exactly where you might want to go and Googling travel and train distances. If you're like me, you'll want to spend some time in these places (especially Paris and Venice) instead of rushing through them.

As far as getting from one city to another, that depends. Trains are often the best and most-relaxing way, but discount airlines can make traveling from one place to another very cheap (I believe Paris to Spain is one of those cheap routes).

As you'll see by looking at a map, Spain is often the beaten path on a Paris-Venice trip; Germany is more reasonable.
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 05:14 AM
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Month, year, on your tod or with mates, any idea of budget?

Look at Google maps, Venice is smaller than Paris so you need to be thinking 4 days Paris and 2 days Venice (say), you also need to plan in at least half day for every move.

Trains and planes are the way to go so

skyscanner, seat61, are places to read up. There are cheepo airlines and overnight sleepers (where it is tough to sleep). What interest you? Art, buildings, people, horses, mountains, wine..... give us a few clues
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 05:15 AM
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Some very different "dream cities" in Spain besides Madrid and Barcelona.

Sevilla, the undisputed queen of the cities in the South: http://www.andalucia.com/cities/sevilla.htm

San Sebastián, the food capital of Spain and some of the finest city beaches on the continent: http://www.euskoguide.com/places-bas...stian-tourism/

Medieval Cáceres: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/384
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 05:37 AM
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Fly open jaw if you can manage it, to save on backtracking - this will maximise your time.

Use trains between destinations where a journey can be completed in 5-6 hours or less.

I would strongly advise you not to book overnight/sleeper trains where there is a faster daytime service available - couchettes are more expensive than seats normally, and it can be very hit and miss as to the condition and age of sleeper trains. Also some of the routes you are considering have spectacular scenery that you won't want to miss.

Nb Be prepared for the fact that both of the above will cost a bit more than a standard return airfare, and budget airlines between cities but the difference is usually tolerable if booked far enough in advance.

You could use Barcelona as a starting point, then train to Paris, then onto Germany, then down to Italy, and home from Italy. With 20 days you might prefer to chop one of the destinations and limit to 3 countries though.
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 01:33 PM
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Thank you all for your helpful information.
I am travelling with my husband in next two months and our budget is quite flexible.
I am so stressed now,I have to do lots of searches and bookings and organising everything :/
I had a look on train and air fairs, and it seems that flying is even cheaper than train, isn't it?
With your advices, i am thinking of going to Switzerland instead of Spain and leave the spain for the next time

What I got by looking at a map is the most suitable plan is to start from Paris, then Germany, Switzerland and Italy. What do you reckon? Am I right?

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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 03:09 PM
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That will work, but as stated above if some of the routes can be covered by train in not much more than half a day then do that to avoid the stress of the airport, hanging around in the departure lounge etc etc - even if it is slightly dearer.
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 05:00 PM
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If you check bahn.de you will find train schedules for all of europe. For a trip if 5 or 6 hours on the train you are better off than trekking to/fro airports and doing a lot of hanging around - even if the flight itself seems much shorter. Also, trains are way more comfortable than flying - you can get up and walk around whenever you want as well a having much roomier seats.

Also on trains you can take on whatever luggage you can handle - unlike the very strict rules of some airlines.

However, if you are going in only two months you are leaving it late to get hotel reservations - and should try to nail down your itinerary and at least get hotels lined up.
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 07:40 PM
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Not to mention airfare from Australia, probably a good idea to lock in a good fare no less than about a month out.

A month worth of travel may require a lot of luggage, which is a hassle to move around. LCC flights may be cheap but they don't give you the kind of luggage allowance as on an international flight.

Once you get an idea of your itinerary, you might want to see what kind of laundry options are available every week or week and a half during your trip.

In big cities, it shouldn't be a problem to find services which will do the laundry for you for a reasonable price, like 10 Euro for a couple of kilos of laundry. Or there are self-service laundromats around, though you don't want to spend precious vacation time on doing the laundry.

Or at some hotels, they charge you a few Euros for each piece of laundry, which could get very expensive.

On the itinerary, Germany is a big country so maybe you want to choose one city (as you chose Paris for France). Munich makes a lot of sense, as it's in southern Germany, closer to France and Switzerland.

Do you want to mostly visit cities or would you want to see beautiful rural areas (for instance, visiting Bernese Oberland in the Alps as opposed to cities in Switzerland)?

You did mention Venice but depending on which part of Switzerland you visit, Lake Como might be easier to reach if you're driving.
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Old Jul 15th, 2015, 11:18 PM
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planes look cheeper than trains, well.... possibly. Trains go city centre to city centre and normally no security, they leave on time and arrive on time. Planes need you to get to the airport, early, hang around, fly, land late and then get back to the city. So normally trains are cheaper, however over longer distances planes take over.

Switzerland, IMHO the big cities are not the place to be, try and get a smaller city or a town/village on a lake or a hillside. The Swiss train service is excellent.

With 25 days (make that 23 after flights/jet lag days) you have roughly 6 stops in your locker (my advice keep it to six but I'm sure you will want to do more).

This might help or just make you get frustated

Paris 5 nights
Colmar/Strasbourg 3 nights (for the valley and the wine)
Stuttgart 3 nights (for the car factory tour)
Lucerne 3 nights (for the walking and lake)
Milan for 2 nights (duomo, shopping, last super, football, opera)
Venice for 4 nights (for romance)
Rome for 4 nights (for rome)

see, even I got 7

Now if say art is more important than wine you could drop strasbourg and put in Florence, if car are of no intrest drop stuttgart etc etc.

For very quick ideas of travel times use google and click on the train symbol. So Lucerne to Milan is 4 to 4.5 hours by train
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Old Jul 16th, 2015, 07:47 AM
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Get a guidebook--one of the best of Europe guides. These will be lots of useful information.
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Old Jul 16th, 2015, 08:29 AM
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Good advice...
I think Bilbo has a nice itinerary.
I would not put Firenze there, not with Milan/Rome/Veince, you'd get an indigestion and I don't like Stuttgart (I don't like cars) - was there last month, one evening was more than enough for me.

I think another important question is when you expect to come back to Europe - if you can come back easily, I'd remove stops and concentrate on say 4 places.
If not, then I'd add somewhere in Eastern Europe (Budapest, Prague...).
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Old Jul 18th, 2015, 07:31 PM
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If the budget is flexible, and the nights (days) spent are that many, then I suggest the following itinerary:

City of Departure [Australia] -> Vienna (Austria) [4]-> Munich (Germany) [3] -> Venice (Italy) [4] -> Zurich or Bern (both in Switzerland) - and then visiting the other [5] -> Paris (France) [8] -> City of arrival [Australia].

The number of days is strongly preferential. We spent 8 nights in Paris as there were lots of things to do, and we are glad we spent that many days.


1- I made the plan path such that the train/high-speed-train transports do not become incredibly long and exhausting.

2- The numbers in brackets are the suggested number of days-summed up to 24.

3- As mentioned above, travelling by airplanes will restrict the carriage of large luggage, possibly waste couple of hours in airports, miss the chance of seeing some of the most beautiful, if not the most beautiful sights in Europe, and add additional large charges using taxi/public transport from cities edges to centers, which is the most likely location of stay.

4- If you have particular sights, places, or ideas you would like to try, other than mentioned above, let us know so that we could be more of assistance to you.

That and please forgive me if I made a horrible mistake in the plan.

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Old Jul 18th, 2015, 09:49 PM
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You are confident that there is a "next time" good for you. That means you can slow down and be a traveler instead of starting off with a long list of places to go.

You didn't mention what you are interested in. As much as I adore car factories, you may not.

When you think of going to Europe, what are you thinking about?
Castles? Rivers? Forests? Hiking? Sipping wine looking over a valley or a castle? River cruises? Art museums? Shopping?

Tell us that and we can help you plan a great trip.
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Old Jul 18th, 2015, 10:55 PM
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Fly Emirates from Australia into Venice. Emirates arrives in Venice around 2:30 PM, and Venice is a great city to get over your jet lag. Give yourselves four nights there before moving on.

Trains are good, completely unlike trains in Aus. Good seats, WiFi on board, and you blast throught the countryside at about 160 km/hr.
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