Please critique my itinerary!

Old Mar 25th, 2001, 01:34 PM
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Please critique my itinerary!

I am going to Europe for the first time in May and am not sure about the itinerary that my wife and I have been planning. We are fortunate enough to have 4 weeks, and have already booked tickets into London and out of's the rest:
-3 days London
-3 days Paris
-2 days Amsterdam
-2 days Romantic Road, Fussen
-2 days Munich
-1 day Zurich or Lucerne
-3 days Interlaken, Gimmelwald and the Alps
-3 days Venice
-3 days Florence, including a 1/2 to Pisa
-3 days Rome
-1 day Pompeii
-2 days Amalfi Coast
I know this might be a bit on the ambitious side but let me know what you think! Thanks for your help,
Old Mar 25th, 2001, 01:59 PM
wes fowler
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Ambitious indeed! Will you be traveling by auto? Have you booked accommodations?I wonder if you've considered travel time between destinations and the hunt for unbooked accommodations. Your two full days in Amsterdam for example will be somewhat less than that due either to time lost from Paris to Amsterdam or Amsterdam to Bavaria. You are certainly wise to have opted for an open-jaw ticket rather than having to circle back to London.

You're going to have two less than idyllic memories of your trip. One will involve packing and unpacking every other night or so. You might, in order to reduce costs and too frequent upheavals, consider one four day stop in Bavaria rather than two days in Fussen, two in Munich. An inexpensive yet charming inn in a village on one of Munich's suburban train lines would allow you to visit Munich by train, avoiding parking and traffic problems, yet drive through Upper Bavaria to the sights and sites it offers. You might consider combining your nights in Switzerland into one stop as well. It's a relatively small country and conducive to day tripping.

Your other less than idyllic memory will simply be that of a memory muddled by an awful lot of sights seen. A daily journal will help sort things out and keep track of impressions if you're dedicated to maintaining it.
Old Mar 25th, 2001, 02:21 PM
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You may not like this but here goes:
4 days London
4 days Paris
5 days in Bavaria (I like Wes' plan
for Bavaria)
3 days Venice
6 days Florence and Tuscany
5 days Rome
3 days Amalfi Coast
As it is your first trip I understand the "see as much as possible" theory. However, we have been to Europe several times, usually for 3 to 4 weeks and ALWAYS stay in ONE country.
You will not regret the mix of small towns and large cites. You will regret the constant packing and unpacking your itinerary calls for. You will spend a huge amount of time locating hotels and sights.
With this said, have a wonderful trip!
Old Mar 25th, 2001, 02:43 PM
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I think Nina's intinerary makes more sense. My husband & I did the "its Tuesday, it must be Belgium tour" for only two weeks a few years ago and by the end of it we could not remember which sight was in which city - we spent too little time in each city to truly appreciate the uniqueness of each place.

Your mode is travel is important - we hired a car and booked hotels along the way. Lessons learned: Double your travelling estimate between each point and then add another two hours for finding an hotel at the destination.

Don't talk to me about luggage and packing! Even if you buy nothing in each city (and who could avoid it) your luggage will swell by at least 20% and packing becomes a longer and longer task each time.

Don't forget, in some cases, getting from A to B is wasted time as the countryside is dead boring.

Old Mar 25th, 2001, 03:01 PM
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I was a little worried about the packing and transportation required by this trip, and we are planning to purchase rail passes. Sorry for not including this in my earlier post. Wes, I found your idea of stopping in a single community in Germany a very good one. I was considering making a night stop on the Romantic Road only because I thought we would see the sights as we travelled down from Amsterdam. Did you have a good destination in mind? Or perhaps a better way of seeing some of the sights on the Romantic Road? In regard to hotels, we have not booked ahead because we want to be able to vary our schedule, and our plan (though I don't know how well thought out this is..) was to call ahead from the previous this overly optimistic? (We have a guide book and may be relying on it too much..)
Thanks again to all,
Old Mar 25th, 2001, 03:23 PM
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Shawn: Regarding calling ahead for hotels ....

Great in off-season and if you speak all european languages ... every town my husband & I ended up in had some damn festival going on (worst was Avignon at midnight after a 14 hour drive, big festival, no room. Finally stayed in a Five Star DELUXE hotel, two room suite that cost us more than our airfare) . (If you are OK with kipping in the train station the odd night - no problems).

You may spend many lost hours trying to find accomodation (and need I mention that the tension of finding an hotel late at night can cause the odd arguement?) Also, I have found that another 12 million travellers have the same tour book that I have and they always seem to get their booking in before me - I find you can't rely on them unless you book WAY ahead.

If you want to maintain some freedom in your itinerary, what about simplifying your schedule, booking about 50%-75% of your nights (it will at least give you some idea about problem towns you may want to avoid), checking the cancellation conditions and work from there.

Also, re trains, love them but its a pain schlepping luggage on and off every two days. Another reason why you might consider simplifying your schedule.


Old Mar 25th, 2001, 05:02 PM
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How I wish I had 4 weeks. However, I think you schedule is too ambitious. Take more time in each place - at least 4-5 days and take in the whole experience. Like a previous writer said - if you do too much in one trip it will be hard to remember everything. I have only been to England - 12 days, and Switzerland - 6 days and am planning an 8 day trip to Poland, but I think you will get more out of the trip if you do less traveling and more experiencing.
Old Mar 25th, 2001, 05:25 PM
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Great advice, Ger!
She is right on all accounts! Book some of those rooms now. She is quite right about the late night hunt for hotel rooms! It is not fun!
Old Mar 25th, 2001, 11:07 PM
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I agree that you are trying to fit too much into too little time. Try to focus on the most important stops and spend more time in them. It's geat that you booked into one city and out of another. That will save you a ton of time.

I recommend that you at least book in advance a hotel for your first stop and your last stop. That will eliminate some stress, and you know you will have to be in both cities on those nights. You can wing it on the other, but I highly recommend you arrive at your destination before 1:00 pm to search for accommodations. Arriving at night may leave you sleeping in your car if you stumble upon a city with a festival as an earlier poster mentioned.
Old Mar 26th, 2001, 07:55 AM
Bob Brown
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I have a generic question to ask.
Why is it that many people measure the success of a trip by the number of different cities visited?

After 14 - 16 days of moving from city to city, I see nothing but big blurs. So this is Versailles? So what? Oh yes, we are in France, and this is where some Louis lived. And who is the guy on that lumpy horse? Charley who?

Old Mar 26th, 2001, 08:41 AM
wes fowler
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I'm disappointed to find that you'll be traveling by train rather than auto. Truly the best way (and easiest) to explore Upper Bavaria is by car. Many of the impressive sites are not readily accessible by train or if so, train schedules are neither convenient nor do they optimize time.

Having said that, and nevertheless, here are some thoughts. You might consider staying on the outskirts of Munich in a reasonably priced gasthaus that's on a suburban train line to Munich. I'd suggest Herrsching on the S-Bahn 5 line. Herrsching is situated on the Ammersee, one of Bavaria's Alpine lakes. It's not too far from Andechs, a town with a magnificent abbey and equally magnificent beer brewed by the monks. (One of the finest beers in the world, by the way.)

Check the website
enter the town name and you'll find a listing of accommodations and can get info on costs, amenities and make inquiries re availability.

From Herrsching you can train to a number of sites worth visiting, Wieskirch in Steingaden, the Baroque monastery church in Rottenbuch, the panoramic Alpine views from Hohenpeissenburg and Munich, of course.

The alternative might be to rent an auto for your four day stay and really tour the area. If you choose that option, drop me an Email; I can give you some itinerary suggestions.
Old Mar 26th, 2001, 11:27 AM
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Lucky you...
Will you go by car for train?
I would recommend just a day or two
in Florence and Venice, both wonderful
places you fly out of Naples
or Rome? I would recommend staying
in Sorrento (I know 2 good hotels if you
are interested)...see Naples, Pompei,
the coast, Capri and RELAX at the end
of the journey in a beautiful area.
Old Mar 26th, 2001, 01:15 PM
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I agree with everyone else. You should spend more time in less places. I travel for 2 1/2 weeks from Rome to Zurich, and would have like to spend more time in most places. I traveled by train the whole way, and it was wonderful. Go with the 1st class tickets, it extra money is well worth it. Skip Zurich, there is really not much to see, except the train ride was beautiful. Venice, Seina, and Rome were cities I would definatly return to. Skip Pisa, take a day trip to Florence from Siena. Next time I would like to spend more time in Tuscany. Paris is also a great city, but 3 days is too little to get it all in, I would spend 5 days there.
Old Mar 27th, 2001, 08:12 AM
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My wife and I are about to debark on a four week sojourn to Europe. With the help of fodorites we took a 'similar' packed itinerary and cut it down to something more realistic. Also combined train (some night travel) and car rental for part of the experience.

Our objective was to get a 'taste' of places we have not been to, with the idea of going back for a more concentrated experience in the future (example - tasted Naples area two years ago and went back for two weeks last year for depth.)

Our trip looks like this:

3 days - Rome
3 days - Florence
2 days - Venice (night train to Munich - rent car)
4 days Southern Germany including a taste of Salzburg (turn in car in Munich - night train to Prague)
3 days Prague (train to Nurnburg - rent car)
5 days Rothenburg to Rhine River (turn in car in Koblenz - train to Paris)
7 days in Paris

(We cut out the Netherlands, Belgium and Northern Germany)

The advice I have received from fodorites and others has been invaluable. My planning strategy for this type of trip - in order of decisions - is:

a. determine the itinerary
b. determine combination of transportation (based upon what I want to taste)
c. determine accommodations
d. determine - 'must see' sights (usually no more than 1/2 time to keep flexibility for discoveries)
e. research possible attractions in each area as potential diversions if disappointments are encountered.

A note on whirlwind 'taste' tours. Packing is our key to success when we are going to change hotels frequently. Rules I follow - typically 2 nights for any hotel, therefore location, location, location is important. Packing/unpacking is a ten minute exercise - I think of it as a business trip.

My experience with advice seeking is: the more information on objectives, interests, concerns etc. that you provide - the higher the quality of advice you get from fodorites.

Have a great trip - and as a first time European traveler don't forget to have a 'list' of common phrases and words for the many languages you will encounter if you are not multi lingual - carry a cheat sheet. English is a common language, but the quality of your trip is enhanced with basic communication in the local language.

Old Apr 22nd, 2001, 10:04 AM
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Too many places-not enough time!!
It all depends on your objective... I have been to europe many times and I really enjoy to spend a little more time to be able to enjoy the "atmosphere" of the place and try to avoid tours and too many touristy places. You will be amazed on the beatiful places that are not the usual tourist stops.

The beginning of your trip is great (up to Amsterdam) after that I would go only to Italy and go to Pompeii on your way to the Amalfi Coast, not worht the night there.

But then again if you are the hyper tipe enjoy your long trip

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