Newlyweds' First Trip to Europe

Old Jul 24th, 2018, 08:40 AM
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Newlyweds' First Trip to Europe

Hi All,

My wife and I have begun discussing potential destinations for a Europe trip next year - but we are all over the map! (Pun intended)

I have been to Ireland, and my wife has never crossed the Atlantic. That said, we are open to essentially anywhere. We've discussed a loop consisting of London, Paris, Rome or Barcelona, Paris, Rome - yet are also interested in Eastern Europe (namely Germany). I am more of a history buff than she - but we both enjoy walking, sight seeing, and sampling local cuisine. We will likely have about 10 days to adventure - so thinking 2-3 key destinations is right. Hoping to hear of recommended trips any of you have done previously... consider this a "Europe for Beginners" request

Any help/recommendations/must-do's would be a TREMENDOUS help!

Thank you all!
Brendan
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 10:34 AM
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You might want to ask the moderators to move your post to the European forum. Lots of contributors there that can help you.

That said, with only 10 days trying to visit all the cities you mentioned on your own isn't going to give you much time to actually see anything. To paraphrase a tour company's marketing phrase - you'll be spending more time "getting there" than actually "being there". For instance, you can spend 10 days just in Paris or Rome and still not see everything. With only 10 days, doing less will give you more.

If you want to visit several different places look at doing an organized land tour, Mediterranean Cruise or River Cruise - there are hundreds of different 10 day itineraries that you can do. One suggestion would be to visit Rome with a side trip to Tuscany, another suggestion would be a trip to Paris with a side trip to Versailles and/or Normandy, or perhaps a barge canal trip through Burgundy or the Loire Valley.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 12:01 PM
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Loop of: London, Paris, Rome or Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Germany

With only 10 days you need to pick just one or two countries... no way can you do all of those above!

And maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it doesn't make sense doing a "loop" if you mean visiting Paris and Rome at two separate times.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 12:06 PM
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Sorry - that is a bit unclear. I meant to say a trip that follows London, Paris, Rome -OR- Barcelona, Paris, Rome and spending ~3 days in each city. But, I get the feeling that may be a bit aggressive.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 12:30 PM
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Oh, OK, and either of those could work.

It's "a bit aggressive" because you haven't figured in the time to change between places. You can't have 3 days in 3 cities in 9 days, because you lose at least 0.5 day when you move between places. Takes time to check out of a hotel, get transportation to the train station or airport, take a flight or a train, get transportation or walk to your next hotel, check in, etc.

So in reality would look more like:

arrive London (try to get over jet lag) 2.5 days sight-seeing
0.5 day to go from London to Paris and get checked in to a new hotel there
2.5 days sight-seeing in Paris
0.5 day to take a flight or a train to Rome
2.5 days sight-seeing in Rome
0.5 last day go to the airport to head home
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 06:35 PM
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10 days does not give you nearly 3 days in three cities. To get 3 days you need to stay 4 nights, when adding the transatlantic flights your 3 days in 3 cities becomes a 14 day trip.

Pls 3 days in London or even Paris or Rome is nothing. But especially for London -- it is the largest city in western Europe by a long shot. even spending your entire 10 days in London (with maybe a day trip or two) you would barely scratch the surface.

If your trip is actually 10 days - pick at very most two cities. Because 10 days will net you 7.5 usable days on the ground. Even if you can squeeze out 2 full weeks I might still only pick two major cities and then think about possible day trips. From London -- Oxford or Windsor or Hampton Court. Paris - Giverny or Chartres or Versailles are doable. Rome - Ostia Antica or possibly Florence.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 06:48 PM
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We need to know exactly how long you have, and how you're factoring in travel days. Below is a trip I think is doable:
01 leave home
02 arrive London / tired sightseeing
03 London
04 London
05 Early train to Paris / Paris
06 Paris
07 Paris
08 Early flight to Rome / Rome (or Barcelona)
09 Rome
10 Rome
11 flight home

If you don't have 11 full days then I'd stick to London and Paris.

I've taken multiple trips that follow the format above, 2.5 days in a city with half day travel to the next location. I agree you could spend 10 days in one city, but personally I'd get bored doing that on my first visit to a major European city. Save the slower, "get to know the locals" type trips for your third, or sixth or XXXth trip. That's just my personal opinion, and it's served me very well for the 5 trips I've planned. It really depends on how YOU like to travel.

Last edited by Wekiva; Jul 24th, 2018 at 06:54 PM.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 06:54 PM
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When? Time of year might push you more one way than the other.
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Old Jul 24th, 2018, 07:32 PM
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Besides time of year, you may also want to see how the flights from/to your home airport would work with any group of cities you consider. I like to have no or only one connection on the front end. The more connections you have, the more opportunity there is for delays, and delays at the start of a trip can have a domino effect that ruins the whole thing. Nobody complains much about getting home later than planned.
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Old Jul 25th, 2018, 04:34 AM
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Pick one of those cities plus an area in the countryside to give you a better experience. Examples: Paris and Normandy or Provence, Rome and Tuscany or Amalfi Coast, London and Cotswalds.
Or just visit two of the cites you mention. If you prefer Germany, Munich or Berlin and then venture into countryside,
.
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Old Jul 25th, 2018, 05:10 AM
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London and Paris would work fine and maybe do a day trip or so from each. Trans are great - London to Paris in abuout 2 hours and daytrips easy by train - or say just Italy - the classic Venice, Florence and Rome 10 days. Or Paris and overnight train to Venice and Rome. For lots about trains check BETS-European Rail Experts and www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com. Book your own train tickets online.
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Old Jul 25th, 2018, 05:19 AM
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Germany isn't eastern Europe, Ukraine is eastern Europe as it goes all the way over to the Urals.

Less is more in this sort of thing, I'd look at say London, Paris (by train) and then maybe Strasbourg or Reims (both very pretty and small cities with plenty of countryside around), use the train for all movements and fly back from Paris or Brussels/Basel depending on the best deals you can find. 3 cities should be your upper target
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Old Jul 25th, 2018, 05:44 AM
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If you want to do 'eastern Europe' - really central Europe - that would be a destination in its own right - say Berlin-Prague-Vienna. Or Munich-Prague-Vienna, etc.
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Old Jul 25th, 2018, 03:19 PM
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I agree with PalenQ...

London & Paris (open jaw flight) with a day trip from each. There are lots of choices.
  • Good ones from Paris include Giverny (in spring), Chartres.
  • Good ones from London include Oxford, Cambridge, Canterbury.
Plus many others that Fodorites may suggest.
There is so much to do in those two cities, that you will not run out of ideas once you look at the guide books during your planning stage.

However, Paris and Rome (with overnight in Florence, which is only 1:40 from Rome by train) makes a good itinerary, too. There are flights between those two cities for $75 or less.
My main point is that two cities, with side trips provides an unhurried trip with little time wasted going between cities.

ssander
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Old Jul 25th, 2018, 05:15 PM
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and for those wishing to experience European overnight trains, you can take a night train from Paris to Milan and in morning go onto Florence. www.thello.com.
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Old Jul 27th, 2018, 06:05 AM
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If you have time, I'd visit Spain (San Sebastian, Barcelona, Madrid). Such a beautiful country!
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Old Jul 27th, 2018, 07:33 AM
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Sorry - that is a bit unclear. I meant to say a trip that follows London, Paris, Rome -OR- Barcelona, Paris, Rome and spending ~3 days in each city. But, I get the feeling that may be a bit aggressive.>

10 days - figure about a day between each - 7 days means probably only two major cities - can't you wrangle a few more days to better do all three?
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Old Jul 27th, 2018, 07:42 AM
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I'd just go to London OR just go to Paris this time. There are so many things to do in either city and enough day trips that even your 10 days won't be enough. Take a look at the guidebooks for each and see what calls out.

I'm leaning toward London for the history and I think another English-speaking country can be a good intro, but just the idea of telling her friends that she's going to Paris will win you years worth of points with your new partner!

Newlywed congrats!
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Old Jul 27th, 2018, 08:43 AM
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At least one place should have something she has dreamed of seeing or is very interested in!

The first place we went was Paris, mostly for the art museums. Next was the Netherlands for the same reason (art), then Italy.

So, make the trip personal, especially for her!
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