planning a trip to Europe next year!

Oct 17th, 2014, 09:48 PM
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planning a trip to Europe next year!

next year, i turn 28 and my best friend 29 years of age. we want to plan to trip to Europe. Thinking between august to september. any suggestions on where to go. we want to definitely include Paris, France and Rome, Italy. we're thinking 3 to 3.5 weeks for 4 cities? any suggestions. would really appreciate it.

mark_f3rd1nand is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 10:59 PM
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this site is a great place to start. if paris is important to you, then you want to avoid august, when it is sort of shut down... and maybe wait 'till the end of your trip.

almost a week per city is generous... we usually try to keep it to 4 nights per city... you may want to have some where you stay longer, and some as just a stopover.

if it's your first trip, and you have time, i would try to include part of switzerland on the way from paris to rome. do the alps or that sort of scenery interest you?
kawh is offline  
Oct 17th, 2014, 11:53 PM
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Thank you so much for your suggestion. Will keep that in mind. August is a no go for Paris. Will try maybe first second week of September!
mark_f3rd1nand is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 02:15 AM
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August is the main holiday period for northern europeans so I'd avoid a lot of Italy and France, probably the only place I'd consider is Paris. Yes there are fewer restaurants open but the place is more relaxed.

But like kawh I prefer September for these countries

Where to go? Well given how many great things there are to see in the two countries it is hard to know where to start. I think go to the library and look at some travel books. I suggest the rough guide to Italy and to France. I'd look at open jaw, so fly into Paris and out of Rome.

I'd plan everything around public transport, trains are Europe's greatest asset, you can get just about everywhere on (mainly) clean timely, fast, cheapish trains and with only two of you train works out cheap. give you some overview and how to access systems
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 02:17 AM
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If you want the four cities that you mention, then fly into London, take the train to Paris, then fly to Rome and train to Venice and fly home.

If you start in London towards the end of August, you'll move to Paris in early September and the school holidays will be ending. So although it will still be busy, it won't be quite as manic as through July and August. I've never noticed that Paris is shut down in August. There's always lots going on and hotels, restaurants, shops etc. seem to me to be open as normal.
Rubicund is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 04:03 AM
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Hi Mark,

I'm guessing that this would be the first visit to Europe for you and your friend, and you may be surprised to discover that europe is not all cities! No, I'm not being sarky, you are relatively young [very young compared to some of us here] and perhaps you would like to think about some activity based sectors of your trip. For example, if you flew into Amsterdam [Holland is unlikely to be unreasonably hot even in August] you could rent bikes and using the trains, explore a lot of the Netherlands in a week or so and have a lot of fun doing so, meeting up with other young people in hostels etc. Bilbo would probably know more about that than i do.

You could then head to Paris [an obvious choice given you've mentioned it]. From there [thinking about activities again] how about heading for Switzerland and the Bernese Oberland where you could do some interesting walking amongst wonderful alpine scenery?

After that take another train and end up in Rome where it might just have cooled off a bit.

I appreciate that in your OP you talk about visiting 4 cities; IME a trip that covers only cities runs the danger that by the time you get to the last one, you really can't remember what you saw where. Mixing the trip up can make it far more memorable and rewarding.
annhig is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 04:05 AM
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September is a very busy time in Paris so book your hotel early to get one you want within your budget.

You might want to mix things up with some locations that are not cities such as the D-day beaches or Loire Valley in France or perhaps some towns in Provence. You could visit one of these places on the way from Paris to Rome.
adrienne is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 04:07 AM
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I think it is silly to say don't go in August. I've been there in august. They did NOT remove the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, or any other structures that I noticed.
Ridiculous. LOL
The "knock" is that "perhaps" some stores and restaurants will be closed while THEIR proprietors go on holiday. There will be enough left open for you!! ;o)
Make your plans as you want them to be. It will be fine.

Oh, and September DOES get into the fashion weeks so it is a bit more difficult to get a hotel so earlier reservations would be in order.
Gretchen is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 05:09 AM
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Paris in August is NOT empty - granted many locals are on vacation but all sights - and most restaurants and local shops are open - but it can be very hot. You need to be aware that in europe the most modest hotels often do NOT have AC - so you need to be sure to look for that unless you are planning on a more substantial budget (you don't mention how much you have allocated for the trip.

Also I agree to add some time in the countryside - either as day trips from the cities you will be staying in or as allowing a few days between cities - such as spending several days in the Berner Oberland to see the Alps and charms of (very expensive) Switz.
nytraveler is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 07:56 AM
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Oh, if you like the countryside and following the many bike paths that Europe has to offer that is another thing. If I was going to Paris for the first time I'd book the Fat Tire (goodness knows where they get that spelling from) bike or Segway tour day one, gives you a great idea where everything is and you get to meet people from all over europe on the rides.

Going to Netherlands is a very different culture, imagine a country where taking a car to make a short journey is thought of as a little bit weird ( as in only the sick would do it )
bilboburgler is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 08:15 AM
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bilbo, I don't know whether the OP is interested in the countryside/cycling or not.

But I thought it was worth mentioning as sometimes people just don't know what is available in a place they've never been to before.
annhig is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 08:39 AM
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Are you going by train - you should IMO if mainly going to mega cities like Paris, Rome, etc. where cars are useless and public transit so so fine.

I would consider Amsterdam as well - just 3.5 hours from Paris and a city with lots of young folks there in its many hostels and youth hotels (your ages) - then maybe swing down thru Germany to Munich

take the train to Switzerland - hang out in a place like Grindelwald in the fantastic Jungfrau Region - the dramatic glacier-girdled Swiss Alps rising thousands of feet - hikes for all energies and toylike trains and cableways going off in all directions - and lots of folks your age also in its hostels, budget hotels and ski (in summer hiking) dorms.

Then take the train to Italy - Venice - don't miss Venice

take train to Florence and Rome - fly into Paris and out of Rome - a perfectly relaxed enough for younger folks 3.5-4 week trip.

Well there are lots of other possibilities if going between Paris and Rome and neat spots in between them - especially the route via Switzerland.

For lots of great info on European trains and rail passes which if doing more than a handful of train trips could be great deal check out these IMO superb sites: (download their free online European Planning & Rail Guide for lots of possible rail itineraries; and - the latter with great info on discounted tickets that are a cheap way to go if: you are not taking many trains; you do not desire flexibility as these tickets are sold in limited numbers and typically cannot be changed nor refunded and to secure before they are sold out must be bought weeks/months in advance - but they can be much cheaper than walk-up tickets - a rail pass is valid on nearly all trains and gives you flexibility to decide to take what trains once you are there.

First time I went I met others folks and decided to alter my planned travel - that could well happen with you and thus you may want to keep your itinerary flexible - especially if staying in Europe's many youth hostels and youth hotels you will meet folks your age from all over the world.
PalenQ is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 08:40 AM
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Travel info:

Replace "Italy" with any country, city or region. Doubles like this: Cinque_Terre

Day trips save on relocation time, because every time you change hotels you chew up at least part of if not a whole day.
RonZ is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 05:15 PM
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Thank you everyone for all your responses. I appreciate all the responses and suggestions. I think I wasn't clear on my post, we wanted to visit 4 cities. 2 of 4 must include Paris and Rome. I need suggestions on 2 more cities to visit. France and Italy are not cities, I can't seem to decide which other two I need to visit. Please and thank you.
mark_f3rd1nand is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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Add Amsterdam
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Oct 18th, 2014, 11:35 PM
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did you want to keep the other 2 cities to france or italy? if so, i might add venice (just because it's so visually amazing) and maybe someplace on the water in france-- maybe nice or nearby? need to know more about what you are looking for.
kawh is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 12:11 AM
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Kawh, it doesn't really matter to me. I'm open to any suggestions. Doesn't need to be in France or Italy. I just want something economical and doable in that amount of time we have.
mark_f3rd1nand is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 12:18 AM
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Fly into London, take the overnight ferry to Amsterdam, take the train to Paris, and fly to Rome. Then fly home from Rome.
jamikins is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 02:13 AM
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bigtyke is offline  
Oct 19th, 2014, 08:42 AM
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initially, we were thinking Barcelona, Paris, Venice, Rome

from Honolulu, fly in to Barcelona, train to Paris. Overnight train from Paris to venice. Then venice to rome. Fly home from rome. What do you guys think?
mark_f3rd1nand is offline  

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