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ericarenee427 May 28th, 2019 01:50 PM

Updated December European Itinerary - Final Advice?
Hi all,

I posted a couple weeks ago with a rough itinerary for our December/January trip to Europe w/ a quick stop in N. Africa. I appreciated all the feedback I got, and we have made some changes to our itinerary based on suggestions received. For example we'd originally planned to fly RT from London, but will now leave out of Madrid to avoid the trek back to the UK. We also made Tangier, Morocco a day trip rather than overnight to avoid another pack-and-move. We have gotten more details from our family in the UK who we'll be spending Xmas with as to where we'll be, and we'll no longer but travelling from London to Dartmouth, Devon but to Sudbury, Suffolk instead which cuts out a good amount of travel time from London and back. We then took one night out of the UK and gave that to an extra night in Belgium.

We have booked our flights to London and out of Madrid, as well as our flight from Paris to Seville. Nothing else booked yet though until we finalize this itinerary a bit more.

Main questions I still have-
1) We are planning for 2 nights in Brussels then 1 night in Paris---but we haven't finalized this. We have been to Paris before and will stay NYE for sure as we have a flight out of Paris to Seville on 1/1. But should we perhaps just do 1 night in Brussels and 2 in Paris?
2) On our open day in Suffolk County on 12/26, what would be a good city/sight to see that day? We'll probably try to keep it a calmer day before the really hectic part of our schedule hits...but maybe Norwich, Ipswich, or even Cambridge?
3) Any other tips or things to consider changing up before we start to officially lock these places in?

Dec 23rd - Fly out of SFO in the evening
Dec 24th - Land in London early, travel to Sudbury, UK
Dec 25th - Xmas in Sudbury, UK with MIL's family
Dec 26th - Family day somewhere in that region, maybe Ipswich
Dec 27th - Travel to London UK from Sudbury, UK in morning, afternoon sightseeing in London
Dec 28th - London, UK
Dec 29th - Morning train from London, UK to Brussels, BE, afternoon sightseeing in Brussels, BE
Dec 30th - Brussels, BE
Dec 31st - Morning train from Brussels, BE to Paris, FR to spend NYE day and NYE.
Jan 1st - Spend day in Paris, FR---taking 5pm flight to Seville, ES
Jan 2nd - Seville, ES for the whole day
Jan 3rd - Drive down to and spend day in Rota with cousins stationed at Naval Base there and take ferry to Cadiz
Jan 4th - Seville to Tarifa, ES to catch the first ferry to Tangier, MA, spend whole day in Tangier then back to Seville.
Jan 5th - Day in Seville, late train to Madrid
Jan 6th - Madrid, ES
Jan 7th - Flight out of Madrid, ES to SFO

So the breakdown would be

Sudbury, UK - 3 nights
London, UK - 2 nights
Brussels, BE - 2 nights
Paris, FR - 1 night (or visa versa with above)
Seville, ES - 4 nights
Madrid, ES -2 nights

Thanks in advance I have appreciated the input thus far!

PalenQ May 28th, 2019 02:29 PM

Just about trains - book the long-distance trains you have very early to get possible deep discounts but they can sell out early - has lods on booking own tickets; general info - and BETS-European Rail Experts.

I'd spend two nights in Paris and 1 in Brussels - 1/2 day there enough for many casual tourists -Paris probably a lot livelier.

ericarenee427 May 28th, 2019 02:32 PM

Originally Posted by PalenQ (Post 16926807)
Just about trains - book the long-distance trains you have very early to get possible deep discounts but they can sell out early - has lods on booking own tickets; general info - and BETS-European Rail Experts.

I'd spend two nights in Paris and 1 in Brussels - 1/2 day there enough for many casual tourists -Paris probably a lot livelier.

Thanks!! Yes regarding the trains, I did already plan on that. Looked and we can't buy them yet but our dates should open up in the next month or so. I remembered that from my last trip to Italy---bought our train ticket from Rome to Naples the day they went on sale and it was about 19 Euro, as opposed to about 39 Euro later on down the line!

I'm starting to lean that way about Paris 2 nights/Brussels 1 night as well. I think some of the things we'd like to see in Paris (museums, attractions) will be closed 1/1 so we may want that extra day beforehand to do some of that and I have heard a couple times now that Brussels is more a 1-day city...

PalenQ May 28th, 2019 02:35 PM

every city is worth more than a day but in dead of winter I'd rather be in Paris which is more than a 1-day city - choosing between Brussels and Paris if not been to either - Paris for sure but only IMO/

ericarenee427 May 28th, 2019 02:37 PM

PalenQ Yes agreed but understand what you meant, that Brussels is the better one to spend 1 day in :) We have been to Paris but not Brussels which is why we thought we'd give that the extra day, however Paris will likely be more lively like you said and there is still plenty we didn't get to see on our last visit that we could do this time around.

StCirq May 28th, 2019 02:41 PM

It would be way, way more moving around than I'd be comfortable with, at a time of year with iffy weather and short daylight hours.

And I wouldn't waste a day on Tangier.

janisj May 28th, 2019 03:38 PM

This is very slightly better than the first plan -- but you are still 100% at the mercy of winter weather, train and flight delays.

I'd skip Brussels entirely and just do the UK, Paris, Seville, and Madrid . . . and ditch the day trip to Tangier.

Envierges Jun 1st, 2019 05:00 AM

Depending upon your interests of course. To me Brussels has always been underrated as a destination. I've stayed there for weeks and never ran out of things to do. As Brussels museums profited from the wealth of the Congo, the art collection of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium conglomerate is equal to the scope of the Prado and far far better than that the Louvre. The Art Nouveau buildings of Horta and Van de Veldt. among others, are spectacular. But if your time is limited. . . .

thursdaysd Jun 1st, 2019 05:26 AM

How are you getting to Sudbury? Are your relatives picking you up? You can do it by train, but it's a bit of a trek from LHR.

Ipswich in the middle of winter? I don't think so. I visited Norwich last year for the first time and there is plenty to see there, however, Cambridge is closer with even more. Or you might do Bury St Edmunds and Ely - Ely cathedral is one of the best. You need to check opening times for Dec 26th, that's also a holiday in the UK.

You couldn't pay me to do that itinerary, I'd settle for Paris and Seville or Madrid, maybe with a day trip, but to each their own.

Kathie Jun 1st, 2019 06:27 AM

I'd cut the little odds and ands that cause you to move around so much. I'd cut the day trip to Tangier and cut Brussels (even though we enjoyed our week there) and add those two days to Paris. It still isn't enough time for Paris, but it is better than one night!

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