COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Stay up to date with the latest on the coronavirus pandemic.   Learn More >

Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Please critic this 21 day European adventure, spring of 2014

Please critic this 21 day European adventure, spring of 2014

Old Oct 25th, 2012, 05:26 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3
Please critic this 21 day European adventure, spring of 2014

First, a little background on us. I lived for one year in France (near Toul) & two years in Germany (Wurzburg) in the mid-60s. I also did a 3 week trip to Germany, Denmark & Norway in 1997 with my wife and daughter. This time we are traveling with good friends who have never been to Europe. They would like to see parts of France, Austria & Italy. They do not want to "blitz" these countries. No hard core "go,go,go" We are all mid-60s but pretty healthy.

Our tentative plan is to fly into Paris & spend 3 or 4 days seeing the major sites. Then lease a car and head to Rheims & Toul (have to see my old home & school). Then off to Austria via Freiburg (see the cathedral), Neuschwanstein Castle and Garmisch. Then maybe Salzburg & on to Vienna for a couple days. Then on to Venice & Florence. IF (big IF) we have time & the energy we could park the car near Florence & do a r/t train ride to Rome for a couple days. Then back to Florence and on to Nice, Marseille and either to Barcelona or Paris for the flight home. Returning the car in Barcelona would cost some extra bucks but also save us some driving.

The odds of this trip going exactly as above are slim. We're very open to suggestions. I'm guessing the major criticism will be "too much driving" and "not enough relaxing". Well, let's hear your options.

philemer1 is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2012, 05:49 PM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 465
You said it - WAY too many places (I counted 15) for the amount of time you have - a little over one day per place, and that isn't even factoring in driving times or the fatigue and difficulty of driving in an unknown area!

For the time you have, I would suggest four or five stops. So you need to prioritze what you want to see, and also take into consideration the travel times between places.

More specifically, I would suggest sticking to France and Italy and forgetting about Germany and Austria.

Also, you're going to pay a premium for renting a car in one country and dropping it off in another.

There's a lot to see in Europe, too much to see in one short trip. If you don't try to do too much, you'll enjoy it more!
tom18 is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2012, 05:50 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 79
I would fly out of Barcelona instead of Paris, what is one more country. Mix up your car rental with rail and even a flight to close up some distance and give the driver a break. Dont back track, zig zag and hop you can do 21 cities in 21 days if you plan. Good luck with what ever you do.
PAplumber is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2012, 05:59 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3
Yep, agree. However, one of the travelers really wants to visit Austria & I really want to visit Paris. And you have to drive through Switzerland or Germany to get to Austria. Maybe we could skip Italy and concentrate on Paris & Austria. Then drive to Munich for a couple days & fly home from there. Hmmmmm.

Paying an extra fee & returning the car at a city other than Paris is not a problem.

Thanks for your ideas.
philemer1 is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2012, 05:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
I would consider skipping Barcelona and the Cote du Azur and returning home from Florence or Rome. Alternatively, you could skip Austria and Spain and travel only in France and Italy. As it is, you will be exhausted half way through this marathon.
mamcalice is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2012, 05:17 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 11,212
You need to set out your itinerary on paper so you can see that it's impossible. Use or for driving times and I always add 25% to the times they suggest (and always need that extra time). You also have to account for stopping for health and food breaks.

So an itinerary would look something like this:

day 1 - arrive Paris
day 2 - Paris
day 3 - Paris

And go on from there. You need to account for time to get to and from hotels, picking up rental car, stopping to get a vignette for Austria (and any other country that requires it). If you do this you'll see that you'll probably run out of time before you get to Italy.
adrienne is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2012, 07:12 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 7,160
Your second plan sounds better. But that drop-off fee for the rental car can run as high as $500. I'd spec it out, say at AutoEurope.

A vignette is a sticker that licenses your car to drive on that country's roads for a certain time period. They're obtainable at the border or at gas stations just beyond the border.

I'm wondering why you're doing so much driving. It's not as if you had a huge amount of time. You could fly on one of the cheap European airlines from Paris to Austria or Munich. Rent a car when you arrive. After Germany/Austria, if you still have time, drop the car and take a train into Italy. Or fly.
Mimar is offline  
Old Oct 29th, 2012, 08:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 3
Per my OP, I really want to leave Paris and stop and visit the area where I lived & went to school for a while. And that is in Toul/Verdun area so we need to rent a car. Then head for So. Germany & Austria. Given this first part (Paris & Toul) as nonnegotiable would 4-5 days in Austria and 5-6 day in Venice & Florence be reasonable? That would leave us 4-5 days to drive from Florence>Barcelona (or possibly Paris) and fly home.
philemer1 is offline  
Old Oct 30th, 2012, 07:04 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,631
Hi phi,

>... traveling with good friends who have never been to Europe.

How can you deny them less than 5 nights in Paris?

You might want to consider this:

You can travel from Paris to Toul for about 40E pp - 2:40 hr.

This could be a daytrip from Paris OR
Rent your car here and spend a couple of days visiting Alsace.

You can drop a rental car on the French side of the Basle-Mulhouse airport without paying an extra fee.

Basel --> Vienna is $306 pp

You can base in Vienna and visit Salzburg as an overnight by train.

The 20:40 from Wien Westbahnhof will deposit you in Venezia San Lucia at 08:40 - 129E pp in a double sleeper. See

See for the trains between Venice and Florence.

You can depart for home from Florence or Pisa.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
May 13th, 2011 10:34 PM
Jul 7th, 2009 06:07 PM
Jun 14th, 2009 08:02 AM
Matthew Sigel
Oct 23rd, 2002 09:18 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information