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Southern Europe trip (10 NIGHTS - Paris, Barcelona, Milan-Venice-Rome)

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Mar 29th, 2015, 05:17 PM
  #1
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Southern Europe trip (10 NIGHTS - Paris, Barcelona, Milan-Venice-Rome)

My husband and I are planning a fast paced euro trip, sort of a "taste of Sourthern Europe" deal. He hasn't travelled much and enjoys places where there are lots of things "to do" versus just scenery and beaches.

So far I am thinking the following.

Fly Toronto to Paris Jul 8th
stay in paris for 2 nights (major sites, shopping, dining)
Fly Paris to Barcelona Jul 10th (1h30 mins)
Stay in Barcelona for 2 nights (gaudi's work, bar hopping, maybe beach)
Fy Barcelona to Milan Jul 11th (1h30mins)
Stay in Milan 1 night, Jul 11th rent a car
Drive Milan to Venice Jul 12th (not sure how long)
Stay in Venice 2 nights
Train Venice to Florence Jul 14th (1h30 mins?)
Stay in Florence 1 night
Train Florence to Rome Jul 15th (1h30 mins?)
Stay in Rome 3 nights
Fly Home (Rome --> Toronto) on Jul 18th

I know this trip seems very rushed, but trying to get as much in on this trip as it is our last one before the baby! I just want to know your thoughts on if it is realistically "doable" I guess. Our main objective is to have funfilled getaway which involves some major european sites, shopping, wining and dining.

Any suggestions are welcome. I.e. should we just skip barcelona? The only real reason I have added Barcelona in here is that I get 2 free nights in barcelona at the the Barcelona Arts Hotel. Multi-way flight paris ---> Barcelona; Barcelona ---> Milan ends up bieng around $200CAD.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 05:40 PM
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Well you said it's "very rushed" and that is the understatement of the year. You are bouncing around like a ping pong ball and have hardly any time to see even one or two major sights in each place - never mind enjoying relaxing, wining and dining.

Also:

Renting a car to drive formMilan to Venice makes no sense at all (why take a car toa palce with no streets?).

You have:

1.5 days in Paris, the first het lagged
1.5 days Barcelona
.5 day in Milan
1.5 day Venice
.5 day Florence
2 days in Rome

There is no way you could pay me enough to do this trip - but if you're sure it's what you want be prepared to make changes on the fly in case there are any delays (fight delay or cancellation, bad weather, train strikes, etc). This could completely sink your itinerary - so you have to just stay a day longer somewhere and cut out a city completely.

But - it's your funeral.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 05:47 PM
  #3
kja
 
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Sorry, but I agree with nytraveler -- WAY too rushed for my tastes! I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, add some time on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus station or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, getting oriented, etc.). Then see how things fit together.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 06:43 PM
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I have never said this directly to anyone before, but your trip is not rushed. It is nuts.
With this itinerary, you will not see more. It will be a blur - of airports and train stations.

You must allow time for getting from your hotel to the train station (or airport) and from the station (or airport) to your next hotel.

You will probably be jet-lagged on arrival to Paris.
Are you departing Canada on the 7th or 8th? Exactly what time will you arrive in Paris?

Many people with only 10 days would see Venice, Florence and Rome with some day trips to places like Siena or Lucca.

First, unless you are dying to see The Last Supper and looking for high end shopping, cut Milan.
Fly to Venice.

Even if you did go to Milan, renting a car to drive to Venice is not good. Trains are cheap and more efficient in Italy since they take you city center to city center.

OK, two free hotel nights in Barcelona, but how much is it costing you to get there and to then go someplace else? Barcelona is actually a fun city, and for someone interested in Gaudi and going to the beach, not a bad choice. It also pairs well with Paris. You could do Paris and Barcelona with a day trip or two from each and totally fill your time, or Paris, Barcelona and one other place, perhaps San Sebastian for beautiful beach and great food.

You could forget about the two free nights in Barcelona, and fly from Paris to Venice and go from there. Venice does have a beach also - the Lido.

This may seem harsh, but it is realistic. Hope it helps you to make a better plan.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:38 PM
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What a nightmare! Two nights in a place is just one full day. One night is just that - no time for sightseeing, exploring etc. While you know how long the flights/trains take, you have forgotten that isn't all it takes to get from one place to another. So, from Paris to Barcelona, you'll need to figure an hour to get to the airport and you'll need to arrive 1 - 1.5 hours before your flight. Once you land in Barcelona you still need to allow an hour to get to your hotel. So your hour and a half flights will take you a minimum of 5 hours if you don't run into bad traffic or delays. While trains are more time efficient because the train station tend to be close to the centers of the cities, you will still lose half a day minimum each time you change locations - and you are changing locations a lot. With 10 nights, you've listed 5 cities. You will be traveling half of your days in Europe.

If that is your idea of a European trip, then do it. If what you had in mind was getting a chance to see/experience at bit of these cities, then cut your destinations down to not more than 3, and you'd be better off with just two cities in 10 days.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 07:53 PM
  #6
 
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You stated this:

"[B]ut trying to get as much in on this trip as it is our last one before the baby!"

Based upon that, I'm guessing you are pregnant and/or will be at the time of the trip?

If so, how far along will you be at the point of your trip?

THAT should be another thing for you to keep in mind for this trip. Yes, it is horribly rushed and I agree with others---make some serious cuts. But also, figure on your body, too. You're going to some warm/humid areas in the summer--that can make a pregnancy extremely uncomfortable, especially if you're used to a different climate as I would imagine Toronto has a different climate in the summer than Italy or Spain (and France even).

But if not and I took something out of context, definitely make cuts no matter what. No more than three major cities, but ideally two depending on where you've decided to go.

Also, keep in mind that your flight days to/from home suck up a day each of sightseeing.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 08:48 PM
  #7
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Thank You All.I really appreciate the time you took to provide me your advice and opinions

I do agree ...and don't know what I was thinking!!! There are just so many places I want to see, especially since this will be my last trip to Europe for a while. I got really carried away. (Sidenote -to clarify I am currently not pregnant, but if all goes as planned we are hoping to be pregnant with our first within the next year.)

I have decided to take some of Sassafrass's advice and stick to Paris and Barcelona. However, my husband already booked our flights into Paris and out of Rome.

So we I think we will stick to Paris - Barcelona - Rome.

Do you think even doing Paris (3 nights) + Barcelona (2 nights) + Venice (2 nights) + Rome (3 nights)

I forgot to mention I have been to Rome and Barcelona when I was I University so have visited the major touristy sites already.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 09:15 PM
  #8
kja
 
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" my husband already booked our flights into Paris and out of Rome."

Your time should allow for a wonderuful visit to Paris and Rome! Period. As in JUST those 2 magnificent ciities! You MIGHT be able to fit in a day trip from one or both....

"So we I think we will stick to Paris - Barcelona - Rome....Do you think even doing Paris (3 nights) + Barcelona (2 nights) + Venice (2 nights) + Rome (3 nights)"

Question: Is your goal to see lots of train stations while you still can, or is your goal to have some leisurely, romantic moments in Europe? If the former -- go for your original itinerary. If that later, enjoy your time in Paris and Rome. Honestly, if you visit ONLY Paris and Rome, you will still need to be selective -- there is SO much to see in each place!
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Mar 29th, 2015, 09:33 PM
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Paris and Rome will make a great trip. Adding in Barcelona and Venice will be too much. If you really have to add in another place, you could visit Florence from Rome as it is close by.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 09:40 PM
  #10
kja
 
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"you could visit Florence"

Depends on your interests -- I thought Florence worth at least 5 full days.
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Mar 29th, 2015, 10:41 PM
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I only mentioned Florence as the OP seems intent on a very busy pace. Personally, I would stick with just Paris and Rome
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Mar 29th, 2015, 11:49 PM
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I did once Rome Florence Venice Siena on a same trip.
Lasted 2 weeks and this is the only trip I regret.
It was a waste of such beautiful cities. It is all a blur and the only things I remember was being bored to death visiting churches and museums.
Stick to 2 cities, they are so great you can't have enough time in those. Do a daytrip from each..
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Mar 30th, 2015, 12:03 AM
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I suggest you stick to Paris - Barcelona - Rome.

Barcelona is a fabulous city in so many ways, and will also allow you some time at the great Barceloneta city beach. All kinds of people and all kinds of activities until sunset out here. The Barceloneta district - just inland from the beach - is local atmosphere and much fun: http://www.theguardian.com/travel/20...taurants-spain

A couple of Barcelona tips:

Make a reservation at Tickets, the Adrià brothers (El Bulli) paradise versions of traditional tapas ++ restaurant. Currently ranked #57 on the S.Pellegrino World's best restaurant list. Very affordable for what you get, some 70-80€ pp for some 15 courses with drinks included. You must make reservations at midnight Barcelona time exactly 60 days prior to your visit. Ten minutes after midnight all tables are gone: http://www.ticketsbar.es/web/

Perhaps a concert at Palau de la Música Catalana, worth a visit in itself. http://www.palaumusica.cat/en/the-ar...building_23602

Visit Boqueria, one of the finest food markets in the world: http://www.gardenista.com/posts/la-boqueria-market

Take the cable-car up to the castle on top of Montjuic (Jewish mountain) right in the city centre. Much Barcelona history and fabulous views of both the city and the sea. Loads of cultural institutions and 1992 Olymic games venues up here. Had a huge visit to the Miro Foundation a couple of weeks ago: http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/Engl...SJpH1t4T6vJumh

Have a traditional and excellent Catalan lunch or dinner at 7 Portes from 1836, an institution in town with tons of history in the walls. http://www.7portes.com/angles/

See top of the shelf flamenco artists in Tablao Cordobes right on Las Ramblas. The venue now celebrates its 45th anniversary, and fabulous dancers such as Karime Amaya - grand-niese of the greatest flamenco dancer in history, the barcelonesa Carmen Amaya - and Belen Lopez perform here regularly: http://www.tablaocordobes.es/en/

Karime Amaya: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CklXLAvSIyc
Belen Lopez: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzKthOc5MqE

And you have of course all the fantastic Gaudi architecture, from the famous Sagrada Familia to the lamp posts on Plaça Reial: http://www.globotreks.com/destinatio...ngs-barcelona/
http://www.barcelonaturisme.com/Gaud...GM8INtiuEzdqdw

Many tourist traps in Barcelona when it comes to tapas bars. Cañete and Tapeo are definitely not.
Cañete: http://www.barcanete.com/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/ca%C3%B1ete-barcelona-2
Tapeo: http://www.tapeoborn.cat/
http://www.yelp.com/biz/tapeo-barcelona-3
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Mar 30th, 2015, 12:26 AM
  #14
 
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Even limiting your trip to three places will be rushed.. doable however.. but rushed. Has your husband been to the places you have.. if not.. bet he will want to see the main tourist sites anyways( so some repeats for you.. I have had to do that many times )

Keep in mind the logistics of changing places in itself eats up a lot of sightseeing time. Flying to Barcelona from Paris is only 1.5 hours , this is true ( I have done it) but , remember you will have to leave your hotel about 3 hours before your flight to arrive at airport in time to check in etc.. so even that 1.5 flight is eating up 1/2 a day right there.. then get from Barcelona airport into city.. check into hotel.. etc.. time gone.

I think I would do Paris, Barcelona and Rome and leave it at that.. if you want to visit Venice.. then I would eliminate Barcelona and do Paris, Venice, then Rome.
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Mar 30th, 2015, 09:47 AM
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Thank you for your clarification.

What has your husband been to? What does he want to see? You say you have been to Rome and Barcelona and you have seen all of the touristy spots already.

What if your husband hasn't seen those touristy spots and wants to see them, too? You will need to plan for that and may find your schedule of three cities won't be do-able.

Now that we know how you booked your flights already (that would have been helpful info to know in your first post), research the cities--or have him research if he has never been. You may find that leaving it just to be Paris and Rome will be your best bet. To be honest, I could spend the entire trip length in either city, but that's me.
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Mar 30th, 2015, 10:19 AM
  #16
 
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Paris Rome is MORE than enough for this. Just give up the rest.
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Mar 30th, 2015, 12:11 PM
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Just noticed you have flying into Barcelona on July 10th and flying into Milan on July 11th, yet staying two nights in Barcelona. How can that be?
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Mar 30th, 2015, 01:46 PM
  #18
 
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for your Italian train trips if you book way early you can get big big discounted off normal fares but then they are train-specific and non-changeable non-refundable I believe - go to www.trenitalia.com and see what is up - and those fares are sold in limited numbers so do sell out early (or may not) - some sights with good info on Italian trains: www.seat61.com - great info on discounted tickets; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. In no way are yous traveling enough to consider the Italy Eurailpass! You can always IME get on trains right up to the day if you need to and are paying full fare.
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