Sep 15th, 2006, 12:14 PM
Original Poster
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My husband and I (in our 60's) have the following itinerary. What I would like to know is when the best time of the season to take this trip (we're thinking May) so that we're not overloaded with tourists and also has anyone done a similar trip. We have about 3 weeks and approx. how many days in each city and surrounding areas. I have a fair idea thanks to Fodor's website but I could use input. We're not expecting to see everything but enough to make it worthwhile. Thanks. We like seeing the terraine, old cities, taking bus tours (won't drive in Europe).

From Toronto Ontario to Amsterdam
Amsterdam to Barcelona and around Spain
Spain to Rome and southern Italy
Southern Italy to Athens and a couple of islands.
Greece to Toronto

MxSmrs is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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Three weeks isn't really a very long time. I think you should at the least leave out either Spain or Greece.

May and October are our favorite months to travel. We are retired and can go when we please.

We travel to Europe twice a year and one of our favorite trips was when we traveled in April for three weeks with Europasses and no itinerary. We don't drive in Europe either.

I'm sure you will have a great time wherever you go.

Judi is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 12:41 PM
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"best" times are probably late April through early June, and mid sept through mid October.

But you have way too many countries spread over waaaaaay to wide an area for just three weeks. Pick 2 of those countries and then start asking itinerary questions.
janisj is online now  
Sep 15th, 2006, 12:53 PM
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I think you have WAY too much on your list for only three weeks time. Plus none of those places are close together. Possibly Amsterdam, Spain, and a bit of Italy? Or Italy and Greece? Four countries so spread out from each other seems not reasonable. You could also consider a flight for some of the long distances. A bus from Amsterdam to Barcelona must be one heck of a ride!
suze is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 01:03 PM
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back in the dark ages I was on a high-school "art" trip. Several days in Rome, Pompeii, Naples...then "we" got on a pretty nice ship and cruised thru the Greek Islands and Athens.
Was pretty darned nice!
That might be fun for you
SuzieC is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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I think the fact that the places you want to see are very spread out isn't as important as it used to be. You can get all sorts of reasonably priced flights between European cities, making quick travel between countries much more feasible than it used to be. Check out to see which budget airlines fly between the cities you choose.

I don't think your itinerary is so impossible. You could spend a couple of days in Amsterdam, fly to Barcelona and spend four or five days there including day trips to surrounding areas by bus. Then fly to Rome and spend a week including day trips.

From Rome you could fly to Athens, take a bus tour of classical sites in mainland Greece for three or four nights with day trips to nearby islands, or spend a couple of days in Athens and a couple days on each of two islands.

Personally I think I would eliminate Amsterdam, however, which would give you a week in Spain, a week in Italy, and a week in Greece to see what you want.
Nikki is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 01:25 PM
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To me me very far apart and not possible in the time. If you want to check out cheap flights try lets you see most of the cheap flights.

Look at trains as they can be fast and also start in cities. The german train site is pretty good for international trains

Decide what you want to do.

Have you included Cordoba and Seville. In three weeks I might try to fit in top site in France and Spain
bilboburgler is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 01:28 PM
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If you go in the spring (e.g. early May), you might want to reverse your itinerary and start at the point farthest south, and work your way up to Amsterdam. It's not a whole lot of time, but I bet Amsterdam is generally warmer on May 20 than it is on May 1st.
missypie is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 02:16 PM
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The distances apart don't bother me either. Last summer when we included Venice, Bellagio, Nice, London, and Paris (among others) it would seemingly make little sense that we did London between Venice and Nice, and then back up to Paris. But with cheap and easy flights, it all worked out to our advantage.

But the fallacy of all this is you can't think of seeing Barcelona "AND Spain" or Rome "AND Southern Italy". You're just trying to cover too much in my opinion.
If you are content with flying to Spain for the sole purpose of seeing Barcelona for a couple days, that's fine, but it is pointless to try to "see" Spain in four or five days.

My suggestion with the number of nights: Amsterdam (4), Rome (5), Amalfi Coast (maybe two different stays) (5), Santorini (2), Mykonos (2), Athens (3).
I've based those numbers on the idea of doing a number of bus tours and visiting sites outside of those stays.

Or my personal preference would probably be not to do Greece at all, but use those 7 nights to add Barcelona and a little more of Spain or heading to Sicily or other parts of Italy.
Sep 15th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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I agree that one of the legs should be left out. If going to southern Italy and Greece, the second half of April might be the best time.
Michael is online now  
Sep 15th, 2006, 04:55 PM
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Neo makes a good point. That the problem is not so much the distance between 4 different cities, but the desire to see entire parts of a country in a short period of time.
suze is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 05:40 PM
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You're just tring to cover way too much territory. To really see most of the basics of either Spain OR Italy you would need 3 weeks.

I agree that low cost flights make a spread out itinerary easier - but it can;t add days that don;t exist. If you wanted to do 3 days Barcelona, then 3 days Rome that/s easy - but once you start adding "and around Spain" you've just turned the "Barcelona" section into a 3 week trip.

So - you need to decide if you want to do a tasting (4 or 5 cities with flights in between - but nothing else in any of the countries) or see something (by no means even all of the basics) of two countries.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 15th, 2006, 06:56 PM
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You wrote:

"We like seeing the terraine, old cities, taking bus tours (won't drive in Europe)."

Are you flying to Amsterdam to minimize the time you are cooped up in a plane overnight? If not, I would also suggest skipping Amsterdam this trip, as much as I love Amsterdam.

If, however, you'd really like a few days in Amsterdam to shake your jet lag, makes sense. Take a side trip to Haarlem. Then fly to Barcelona. I suggest 4 nights there, to give you time to take a day trip to Girona. (By the way, although Barcelona is a good airplane hub, I think Madrid, with sidetrips to Toledo and Segovia, might interest you more.)

Then fly to Roma, with 4 nights there and then go to Pompeii (stay in Sorrento). Make a day trip to the Amalfi coast to see the views, but then fly to Greece. Have a week in Greece.

Have fun!
nessundorma is offline  
Sep 21st, 2006, 08:06 AM
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Thanks for the great ideas. We were intending to fly from one place to another (depending on how expensive it gets). I think I have enough material now to evaluate the situation and assess it. We're flying in to Amsterdam because 1) my husband always wanted to see it and 2) I think we can get a cheaper flight from Toronto as a base. If this turns out to be too much, I'll decide what's more important and go for it. The time, the end of April or beginning of May, works out perfectly because I've got to get away from work and this makes it not too far in the distant future.
MxSmrs is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2006, 09:17 AM
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If your husband has always wanted to see Amsterdam, that's a very good reason to go to Amsterdam, especially since it has such a good transport system.

You can easily fly to Roma from Amsterdam. Consider giving Spain a skip this trip, or Greece.
nessundorma is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2006, 09:41 AM
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Sorry, I have never understood this type of itinerary. You have 3 destinations here that demand 3 weeks each. And, you are killing too much time in transit, not to mention $$$.
See Spain, or southern Italy, or Greece but not all 3.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2006, 10:06 AM
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Definitely keep Amsterdam then. But I do think you need to skip one of the other regions (either Greece, Italy, or Spain). Gives you one week in each of three places.
suze is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2006, 11:01 AM
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bobthenavigator, we all have different ways we like to travel.

While I've already mentioned the idea that you can't cover entire countries in that time, there is nothing wrong in my humble opinion with doing three different cultures instead of concentrating on one. For some, variety is the spice of life.

If one is spending three weeks in Spain, I suppose they will spend time in several cities -- for the sake of argument let's say a week each in Madrid, Barcelona, and Seville. Well, for some that's all too much the same. So what's wrong with instead making the three cities Rome, Barcelona, and Athens? Just more variety but perhaps the same amount of time in each city selected. Meanwhile the time spent traveling between those two different sets of cities could be almost the same with low budget airlines.

Sep 22nd, 2006, 11:46 AM
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Judi. Aren't you off to Portugal soon?
Sher is offline  
Sep 22nd, 2006, 11:54 AM
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"So what's wrong with instead making the three cities Rome, Barcelona, and Athens?"

Nothing at all - except MxSmrs wants to also visit Amsterdam and the Greek Islands. That is simply too much for three weeks.

Rome, Barcelona, and Athens would be fine,
or Amsterdam, Barcelona and Rome,
or A'dam and Italy,
or A'dam and Greece
or any other basic combo

But not Amsterdam, Rome, Barcelona, Athens and some islands.
janisj is online now  

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