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Blanche Jan 6th, 2003 06:32 PM

Planning 15=day first trip to Europe, suggestions for itinerary?
My husband and I are planning a trip to Europe for our 5th wedding anniversary next February (2004). Since we're not sure when we'll get to go back, we want to cover as many countries/cities as possible. We are thinking either London, Paris, Austria or Switzerland, then Venice to Rome. Or London, Paris, train to Monacco, a few days in Tuscany, then Rome (missing Venice). You're valuable advice is much appreciated.

Bob Brown Jan 6th, 2003 06:57 PM

I am not a fan of covering many places thinly, even if it is a trip to Europe. You will barely remember 10 different cities in 15 days. <BR>A city like Paris can soak up 6-7 days very easily, and still leave stones unturned.<BR><BR>Also, I don't think you will enjoy a rush, run, head for the train type of trip. A visit to Europe is not a marathon to be run as fast as possible; Europe is a cultural event waiting to be enjoyed.<BR><BR>That is at least my opinion. My approach has been &quot;Why do it if you can not remember it?&quot;<BR><BR>I would pick three or four major objectives and plan seeing them in such a way that your visit is memorable, enjoyable, and rewarding.<BR>Also, if you run to many places, a very high percentage of your time will be spent riding. <BR><BR>

janis Jan 6th, 2003 09:11 PM

Blanche - you and your husband have to sit down and decide what types of things interest you and why. Do you want warm, mediterrean, and ancient artefacts (Italy), culture and alpine scenery (Austria, Switzerland and maybe part of France), or the traditional biggies (London and Paris plus a few days in rural England or France).<BR><BR>If you have 15 days you will only actually have 13 days for touring so you need to pick ONE of the above and then we can give you good advice. You will not have time to see/do it all. Which ever you choose will be a wonderful trip - but don't be tempted to bite off too much.

k Jan 7th, 2003 04:33 AM

Instead of trying to dissuade you from city hopping, I'll offer this suggestion:<BR><BR>Fly into London:<BR><BR>London - 3 days<BR>Paris - 3 days<BR>Switzerland (pick a city/area, I haven't been there) - 3 days<BR>Tuscany - 3 days<BR>Rome- 3 days<BR><BR>Fly out of Rome. If you actually only have 13 sightseeing days, I'd spend 2 days in a town in Tuscany and 2 1/2 days in London.<BR><BR>Also, realize that this is ambitious and will require a lot of travel, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Try to find cheap flights between cities/countries to cut down on travel time. Also, look into overnight trains. They are fun and then you don't spend the daytime traveling.<BR><BR>Good luck!<BR><BR>Karen

maryjane Jan 7th, 2003 04:48 AM

I agree with those who recommend reducing the ground you cover to allow you to spend more time in each place. Unless you are a lover of the mountains, a suggestion would be to eliminate Austria and Switzerland this time. Then you might choose London and Paris and a short trip to the French countryside. Or Paris and Italy, with time for Venice, Florence and Rome. Since it is February, if you love snow and mountains, you could do Paris and Switzerland. Notice I have included Paris in all suggested options - for a first trip it is a must. Enjoy whatever you choose and let us know!

Ira Jan 7th, 2003 05:23 AM

Hi Blanche,<BR> I would also advise you to limit your sites.<BR> I also suggest that you should spend one week in Paris.

xxx Jan 7th, 2003 05:30 AM

Why do people insist on telling them to reduce the plan, when she specifically says &quot;we want to cover as many cities/countries as possible&quot;? <BR><BR>K's itinerary above at least answers the question. Blanche obviously knows a lot of travel would be involved. I have hopped countries and it's a great way to get a feel for different countries if you won't get back for a while (or ever).<BR><BR>Have a great time, Blanche!<BR>

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Jan 7th, 2003 05:38 AM

Blanche, It certainly is your call how you spend your time--and money. For a 15 day itinerary, I would suggest no more than 5 destinations with a travel time of no more than 4 hours to the next destination. I would drop London and stick with France and Italy. Fly into Paris and out from Venice and forget Rome.

elaine Jan 7th, 2003 09:20 AM

People come here for advice, and Blanche implies she hasn't been to Europe before. She wants to cover as much territory as possible, but others are suggesting, and I join them, and especially echo Bob's idea, of doing no more than 5 places in 15 days, and even that's overdoing it imo. When you add in travel time from place to place, packing and unpacking, checking in and out, that will end up being an average of 2 days in each place, with extra luck 2.5. That's hardly time to see even the top 5 sights, not to mention wanting to enjoy and stroll and breathe.<BR>When you go from one place to another, even if travel time is less than four hours, you'll end up losing at least half the day, often more, particularly if the plane or train is late, or the hotel room isn't ready, or the museums are closed that day.<BR><BR>I'm a pretty compulsive sightseer, but I again agree with Bob that with little time,so many places even will start to run together.<BR><BR>I'd suggest 4 days London, 4 days Paris,<BR>and 4-5 days Rome if you can fly into once city and leave from another. In the unlikely event you run out of things to see in those cities, you can take daytrips to nearby places. The extra days are travel days; if you can see anything on those days, it's a bonus.<BR><BR>Alternatively, start in Paris, spend at least 5 days. Take the train to Monaco (Nice). Move on by train (evening and night trains eat up less sight-seeing time) to Milan. From there you can continue on to the Lakes and Venice, or to Florence and Tuscany. Fly home from Venice or Florence or Milan. (If you are flying from and to the USA, only Delta flies direct from Venice to NYC I think; otherwise you can fly out of Venice or Florence but you will have a stopover in another European city. One of them could be Paris, in which case you could stop there for a few days on the way home rather than your first stop.<BR><BR><BR><BR>

marina Jan 7th, 2003 09:51 AM

This is definitely an ambitious is a little hard to answer without knowing whether you are willing/can afford to fly between certain places, or will be relying mostly on trains. One thing to keep in mind if you are using the trains is that you can take advantage of overnight train trips to travel long distances (for instance, Venice to Rome). If you have a rail pass anyway, you are saving money on a hotel that evening, and can cover some serious distance without losing a day.<BR><BR>I would first suggest purchasing a good map. I assume you have a map of Europe, but take good note of the distances you are talking about covering. Decent City maps and planning ahead (purchasing museum/tour tickets in advance of your trip, deciding which days to do what) will also help you make the best use of your time.<BR><BR>Also, I assume you planned on flying out of a different city than you are flying into. If not, consider it 0 they you don't have to do a big loop, just a one-way snake through a few countries and departure from your final stop.<BR><BR>Here's a suggested route of travel, based on what you wanted to see:<BR><BR>London - 3 days<BR>Paris - 3 days<BR>Geneva - 2 days<BR>Monaco - 2 days<BR>Cinque Terre - 2 days<BR>Venice - 2 days<BR><BR>The above adds up to 14 days, to give you some leeway for travel time, and of course you can shuffle whatever you like - I just based it on a one-way trip starting in London. Check into the areas and see if they are places that really catch your interest. You could always skip going to Cinque Terre in favor of Siena or Florence (farther in from Monaco) if Tuscany is really calling you. Anyway, consider these suggestions and have fun! <BR>

Beth Jan 7th, 2003 09:53 AM

My husband and I took a two week trip to Europe 2 years ago. We spent 6 full days in Paris, 5 days in the Swiss Alps, and 3 days in Venice, and had two &quot;travel&quot; days at either end. We were able to see a great deal without feeling rushed or tired, and the contrast between Paris, the Alps, and Venice was nice. We did an &quot;open-jaw&quot; ticket, flying into Paris and out of Malpensa Airport near Milan (we left Venice in the early evening and took a train over there -- it saved some money on the airline tickets). I definitely agree with the advice above not to cover too much -- you'll just end up being tired and frustrated.

topper Jan 7th, 2003 08:05 PM

topping for Blanche

Blanche Jan 8th, 2003 06:40 PM

Thank you so much to everyone for their tips, suggestions, and advice. My husband and I will probably be shaving the mountains from this trip, adding some overnight train rides to save on sightseeing opportunities, and create a more relaxed itinerary. It also looks like we might be upping the trip to October. Can't wait to give you guys the travel review!

up Jan 9th, 2003 02:26 AM

up again<BR>

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Jan 9th, 2003 03:35 AM

As usual, Elaine has hit the nail on the head. Less is more ! Blanche, you will return.

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