What to see in just 3 weeks in Europe?


Feb 3rd, 2018, 09:47 PM
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What to see in just 3 weeks in Europe?

I decided to go to Europe after years of dreaming. I only have about 3 or 4 weeks to pack those years of dreams in and would like advice as to where to go first. I will be going solo and traveling in may til the end of June. I know I will not be able to fit in even half of the places I want to go because I want to see it all. I don't want to miss a thing but also want to fit a lot in because I do not know when my next chance to go back will be. I would like to have London be apart of my trip and from there would going east to Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris be ok? or perhaps the route of Scottland and Ireland be best for the first trip? I'm open to other suggestions too! London would just have to be in the mix. Thank you!l
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Feb 3rd, 2018, 10:15 PM
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IMO, with 3 or 4 weeks, London, Amsterdam, parts of Belgium, and Paris could be an absolutely wonderful and memorable trip!

May into June can be a delightful time to travel -- May is "shoulder season" for some of these areas, so perhaps a bit less expensive, and if you can complete your trip before school vacations start, you will avoid some of the crowds of summer.

I'm a solo traveler, too, and those were parts of my second trip abroad, during which I also spent a few days in Scotland. Like you, I planned that trip not knowing when or if I would ever return; I think you are being very wise to keep your wishlist short.

While it really depends on what you want to see and experience, and whether you end up with 3 or 4 weeks, I can imagine a delightful trip that would involve a week in London, a week in Paris, 3 or 4 days in Amsterdam, and the rest in parts of Belgium or Scotland or even both if you can make that work within your time frame. Public transportation should work well for such a trip.

Get or consult some good guidebooks and be sure to come back to us with your questions.

Should be a great first trip to Europe!

Last edited by kja; Feb 3rd, 2018 at 10:17 PM. Reason: to correct some typos
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Feb 3rd, 2018, 10:23 PM
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Remember you are going to lose at least 1/2 day every time you change a city. Pick what is most important to you. Your dreams are your dreams and not those of strangers. If you rush through everything, you can say you saw it, but what did you actually see?
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Feb 3rd, 2018, 11:37 PM
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Originally Posted by travelpanda View Post
after years of dreaming.
If you rely on someone else's advice on where to go, you are living someone else's dream. Here is a speech by someone you probably know very well talking about following someone else's life www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF8uR6Z6KLc starting at the 12:31 mark.
Taking into account other's advice on specific matter: how to connect A to B, where/when/how to buy tickets, etc, are time and money savers. You are still following your dream in this case.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 06:26 AM
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I advise a boat trip to Greenwich. The ride is interesting and once there you'll find lots to do - the free Maritime Museum, paid attractions such as the Cutty Sark and Royal Observatory (where you can stand on the Greenwich Meridian), a lovely park to run off steam, a great market and lots of places to eat and drink.

Before or after eating you can try London's escape rooms. It has to be attractive. Today there are tons of different experiences you can try. I personally suggest you this one: you can see the London and have fun at the same time. Up to you, really. visit the Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, go to a city farm, or to the London Aquarium.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 08:14 AM
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London-Paris-Brussels-Bruges-Amsterdam would be an ideal first trip - maybe do some day trips from London and Paris and Amsterdam. Trains are best for sure - Eurostar train to Paris- www.eurostar.com - Thalys to Brussels - www.thalys.comn - book trains early for nice discounts - www.seat61.com has loads on this - good sources for trains and where to go by them www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 08:32 AM
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How can you ask the question "where should I go" when no one knows anything about you, what you like, what you're interested in, or what you can afford? Europe is not one-choice-fits-all. Despite the EU's best efforts, Europeans have a great deal of freedom, which benefits you as a traveler because you can pick and choose what you want to see, when, and how instead of being led around by the nose as if you're visiting North Korea.

Considering that Heathrow is the busiest international airport in Europe, making London part of your trip is the least difficult aspect of planning.

And how much time do you actually have? End of May to End of June is minimum 4 weeks, if not more.

Last edited by BigRuss; Feb 13th, 2018 at 08:33 AM. Reason: additional question
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Feb 13th, 2018, 09:02 AM
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Please, please think about what really interests you! Tell us that and then suggestions will be of more value to you.

Some one suggested Greenwich. I did it for my husband. The whole day was of no real interest to me and were it not for the fact that I have had numerous opportunities to travel and he very generously goes along with me, I would have resented the loss of that day.

My interest is mainly churches, architecture, art, theater, music, specific eras of history and a few people in history. In London, we went to at least one show or concert every day, visited churches, did a canal boat cruise, a couple of museums and Lord Nelson's grave. We then spent several days in Bath for the architecture, history and Austen connection. We did other things too, but what I am saying is, with your limited time, focus on things of personal interest.

Your interests might be major tourist sights, which is often a good first trip, but it might be parks, seeing particular works of art, touring a castle or church, riding the London Eye or doing a canal boat cruise, attending a play at the Globe, shopping, eating a particular food or a hundred other things. It is great to discover a new interest, but for the most part, forget random suggestions and concentrate on your own interests.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 09:08 AM
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I think Moldavia would be perfect.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 09:30 AM
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I'd go with the big 3! London, Paris and Rome! For less than $200 in 2 hours Vueling airlines will have you in Rome from Paris.

Personally, I didn't particularly like Amsterdam (they had a hemp parade there that day and every freak known to mankind was there that day - might have something to do with my opinion.) Belgium was kind of boring and I had wished I had chosen somewhere else after going there.

Since this is your first time, I would make it worth your while!

If you like hiking and absolute beauty, just head to the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.

Good luck with your research!
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Feb 13th, 2018, 11:33 AM
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Ireland and Scotland are nice but sans car harder to travel around IMO. Paris and Amsterdam and most of Europe is a snap to travel around in by public transit - a single person would find a car very isolating.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 02:37 PM
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You could go first to Amsterdam by new direct London-Amsterdam trains starting in April - then back thru Belgium (Bruges is a favorite of many and to me one of dreamiest cities in Europe - Paris

then head over Switzerland and go to say a lovely Alpine area like the Jungfrau Region near Interlaken for a few days

then to Italy - Venice, Florence and Rome and fly home from there.

Lots of possibilities and that's just one.
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Feb 13th, 2018, 10:04 PM
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I agree with Russ, but I also know it's hard for you to answer. .We took our teens (oldest actually 20) two summers ago to England and Scotland. I tried to ask them "what do you want to see," the problem is that you don't know what you don't know.

Maybe start with this: do you have a hobby or passion? My oldest loves all things tek, so he and my husband went to Bletchley Park to see the birthplace of computers. If you spent your growing up playing medieval games and want to see true medieval castles--or ruins of them, it's worth knowing. If you get bored in art museums, that's also worth knowing.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 07:21 AM
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What teens would not be rather bored in art museums? Most would be on their phones checking stuff there rather than in the museum.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 07:27 AM
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>>the problem is that you don't know what you don't know. <<

Which is where a guide book or two comes in

>>What teens would not be rather bored in art museums? Most would be on their phones checking stuff there rather than in the museum.<<

LOTS and LOTS of teens enjoy art and other 'interesting' things.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 07:44 AM
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I assume the OP is not traveling with teens as they did not mention it. However, IMHO, if young people are not introduced to art until they are teens and going to a museum for a first time and know nothing about the work they are seeing, yes, they might bored. However, I took teens on several trips to Europe and when they were properly prepared for what they were going to see, they loved museums like the Prado, the Uffizi and the Victoria and Albert.
It is also true that sometimes we do not know what we do not know or what we might most be interested in when we first travel, so suggestions can be good. It is still up to the OP to become informed enough to make the decision about what to see and what to skip. A friend who wanted to take a trip with me was so enthusiastic, saying they would like anything I wanted to do! I insisted they review and understand my plans before booking. When they did, fortunately, they realized nothing about it interested them!
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Feb 14th, 2018, 09:13 AM
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You might want to do some research and see "what's on" at some of the museums. I was in London and Paris the month of October, last year, and had discovered while checking museums on line before the trip, a Balenciaga exhibit at the V & A, in London, and a beautiful exhibit of Dior at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs. (my friend and I both love fashion and she sews) Dior closed last month, but there is always something special going on at most of the museums so check them out and you can focus on what interests you.

Three weeks sounds like a lot of time, but it's not so kind of get your thoughts organized. There has to be a reason you want to go to Europe so try to get a focus on what draws you and what is most important to you. Keep an open mind and sometimes you may surprise yourself.

I had never been to Stonehenge on prior trips and decided to go this time. Honestly, I had always called it "a pile of rocks" but I am glad I went and when you learn more of it's history, how much more they have learned about it's origins and so on, I was really impressed.

I had a list of things that I had not done on prior trips and I'm never about just "ticking boxes" but wanted to cover some new ground and I did. Still more to do and I hope to get back again. Not certain I will but one should never say never.

It's fine to be all over the map right now, but at some point you'll need to get a plan that's feasible for the time you have and hopefully will be a trip you will always remember and a trip that will make you want to return again and again.

Last edited by crefloors; Feb 14th, 2018 at 09:14 AM. Reason: Change some text
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Feb 14th, 2018, 10:14 AM
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Yes Stonehenge is best if you research its history and all before going - many just go on tours have a quick look at the stones and come back non-plussed. Old Sarum on edge of Salisbury is also an interesting sight and the Avebury Circle of stones about as ancient as Stonehenge is wonderful if you have a car.
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Feb 14th, 2018, 11:55 AM
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London be apart of my trip and from there would going east to Amsterdam, Belgium, Paris be ok?

Yes that's OK. Pretty much perfect for a first trip and for a 3-week time period.

That said, nothing wrong with Ireland & Scotland... which sounds better to you? No right or wrong answer, just what is your preference?
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