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One Month in Europe w/ Toddler - help with itinerary

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Mar 17th, 2011, 09:37 AM
  #1
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One Month in Europe w/ Toddler - help with itinerary

My wife, 1.5 year old son, and I have a last-minute opportunity to travel for the month of May 2011. We want to go to Europe but need some help.

My top three places to see are Paris, Berlin and Rome. I've never been to any; but really, based upon my years of armchair travel, I could go anywhere in Europe and be pleased. I have been to Europe only twice (once to Spain via London, and once to Amsterdam) and would prefer to see new places. I will turn 40 this year and am feeling quite behind.

We live in San Francisco and equally enjoy large cities and rural/nature settings. My passions are food + drink, architecture and culture in general. My favorite thing to do in a new city is wander its streets and take it all in. Bonus: would love to be somewhere where we could bike ride with our son (sneaking of to the Loire Valley is very tempting). Second bonus: a listing of any restaurants, parks, etc in the cities I've listed that would be good for toddler.

I have conflicting thoughts about seeing as much as I can vs being practical (esp with a toddler in tow). I would be perfectly happy to spend roughly one week each in the 3 cities I mentioned, however, the distance between them seems impractical. I've looked at many itineraries (on this board and elsewhere), and all of the commonly recommended spots in between Paris, Berlin and Rome (obviously a wide swath) sound fantastic,

I would prefer to fly only to and from Europe and rely on trains once I'm there. I would also prefer to rent apartments as opposed to hotels.

So my question:

Can I do those three cities in a practical way within a month (and how would you suggest I put that together) OR should I give up one city to maximize my time in a more condensed area and maybe add an additional destination(s)?

It's last-minute and I am overwhelmed with my options, so I really just need to be pointed in the right direction to get started.

Thanks!
garrick5000 is offline  
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Mar 17th, 2011, 09:50 AM
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For day trips on a bicycle, Berlin may be ideal. It is fairly flat and has extensive bike paths in the woods around it. You might be interested in portions of this trip report:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...erlin-2007.cfm
Michael is online now  
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Mar 17th, 2011, 09:56 AM
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A month in 3 cities is in my opinion just fine. But then I like slow travel and time to appreciate where I am.

Get an open-jaw ticket. Fly into Berlin and spend time there. take an overnight train to Paris. Then when you are ready take an overnight train to Rome. Although the train to Rome isn't as good as the German night train. Or do day trains with an overnight stop in between. Between Berlin and Paris you could stay in Cologne. Between Paris and Rome you could stay in Zurich or Turin. There are good regular fast trains between these cities. Then fly home from Rome.

You can use Kayak.com to search multi-city flights (SF-Berlin and Rome-SF). Use http://www.bahn.de/i/view/USA/en/index.shtml to check train times throughout Europe.

Gives you somewhere to start...
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Mar 17th, 2011, 10:01 AM
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There are cheap flights between all three cities.

http://www.flylc.com/directall-en.asp
Michael is online now  
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Mar 17th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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Yes, there are cheap flights between these major cities, perhaps less than the overnite train. Why waste your time.
I am sure you like big cities, but I would add a rural destinaiton to this tip---Provence or Tuscany.
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Mar 17th, 2011, 12:27 PM
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Just as a tip, I think I would start the trip in Rome so that it is cooler and then move on to Paris or Berlin.
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Mar 18th, 2011, 09:07 AM
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Thanks for the replies. Very helpful.

Michael: thank you for the link. I enjoyed your report and photos.

mjdh1957: Thanks for your suggestions. I agree with you; I also like to get a feel for a place as opposed to rushing through (even a week feels far too short). However, would you still feel that way if you had yet to see most of Europe at my age? I am tempted to adopt one of those multi-city whirlwind itineraries (like the ones promoted by someone rhyming with Mick Reves).

Bobthenavigator: As I wrote, we like natural settings as much as cities. What town would you choose in Provence. That sounds like a great idea.

Thanks again,

Garrick
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Mar 18th, 2011, 09:16 AM
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I would train as far as Avignon and get a car there to explore the country side and small towns. Look at L'Isle sur Sorgue or Bonnieux as good plces to base.
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