Where next?

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Sep 4th, 2018, 02:46 PM
  #1
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Where next?

I hope this question is not too open-ended, but I have no where else to turn

I have been reading Fodors Forums for quite a while for tips and suggestions in planning our previous vacations and they have been very helpful. Over the last ten years, my wife and I have planned many European trips and we have been to France, Rome and northern Italy, Spain, Holland and Denmark, northern Germany, the UK and Greece.

We are just starting to think about next summer's vacation and have narrowed our choices to four destinations:

1. Croatia/Slovenia
2. Estonia/Lithuania/Latvia/Poland/St. Petersburg
3. Southern Italy (including Naples and Sicily)
4. Southern Germany (including Munich)/Czech Republic/Switzerland)

I know they are all so different but maybe some of you have taken two or more of these trips and can offer your advice and thoughts. We are both in our early 30's (no children, yet) and really do adore the European way of life, from the small villages to the larger cities, the food, the art, the architecture, beach days (if available), people watching and ancient and medieval history.

Thanking you in advance.

Andrew
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Sep 4th, 2018, 03:04 PM
  #2
 
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The "European way of life?" Oh puhleeze. It's not Disneyland here.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 03:08 PM
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Such a warm & friendly welcome for a new and first time poster on Fodor's.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 03:11 PM
  #4
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Well, that is not what I thought the first response would be.

The reason Europe gets so many visitors every year is exactly because of Europe's way of life, how Europeans value their history and various cultures and learn to incorporate them into their modern, daily lives. I am not sure where you are from, but if I offended you, I apologize.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 03:15 PM
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StCirq now lives in France she moved there from the USA (if that helps as an explanation or to soften the rude reply).
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Sep 4th, 2018, 05:21 PM
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I donít see how moving to France from the US justifies that kind of response. I moved to Paris from the US at the beginning of this year and life is very different. I think if you canít answer questions more helpfully maybe you need to take a break. It does get old after tens of thousands of responses.

To answer the question I would probably choose number 2 then number 1 for things sufficiently different than the places you have been. But only you know what really calls to you.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 07:06 PM
  #7
kja
 
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How much time do you have? Personally, I had difficulty cramming #1 into a very fast-paced month, can’t imagine how you would narrow # 2 down to anything less than a month, wouldn’t try #3 with less than 3.5 or 4 weeks, and – depending on your interests – think you might be able to see some of the highlights of #4 in less than 3 weeks if that’s what you have.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 07:50 PM
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The amount of time is an important variable. For instance, my top pick from that list would be Sicily (and just Sicily) but you really need three weeks.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 08:41 PM
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I agree with everyone who has said that the length of your trip is very important. How many nights do you have? And does this include travel days or not?

And what month? June, July, or August? July and August will be very crowded, Especially #1 and anywhere in Italy. We visited Czech Republic twice, once in October and once in August. I didn't find the crowds to be as bad as I thought they would be in August but that was in 2009, and summer crowds could have changed drastically since then. The Charles Bridge and Old Town are always the most crowded.. And the temperatures were comfortable for sightseeing, 70's and 80's. If you only have around 10 days, for example, I think Prague and some smaller cities outside of Prague (such as Cesky Krumlov, Karlovy Vary, Telc, etc) would make a nice vacation and you aren't wasting too much time moving around. We did this route one year easily by car. June would be the least crowded of all the summer months. I hope this helps.
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Sep 4th, 2018, 10:08 PM
  #10
 
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Geez, St.Cirq. Your responses are becoming as predictable as the other poster who copies and pastes train schedules. I agree with Belinda, why clog up the thread if you can not offer something useful? Perhaps you do need a break; there are lots of us here who like to help others plan their holiday; we might even be able to help you.

GoYourOwnWay, I'll offer commentary on a favorite topic of mine, eating, for whatever usefulness it offers.

1. Croatia/Slovenia. We have Slovenian friends with a summer house on Krk (Croatia); the seafood and the wines (both countries) are luscious.
2. Estonia/Lithuania/Latvia/Poland/St. Petersburg. The cuisines of my Eastern European heritage. Not terribly bold (pierogi, pirozhky); generally predictable though some of the foods can be heavy. Cold summer soups (Cucumber, Borscht) are refreshing. We can consume summer compote by the liters in our house.
3. Southern Italy (including Naples and Sicily). We haven't explored these parts of Italy, but it's Italy. Everything will be delicious.
4. Southern Germany (including Munich)/Czech Republic/Switzerland). The cuisines of our adopted home country (Austria), more or less. To be honest, the sausages and potatoes get old after awhile, especially in the summer. Thankfully the seasonal menus will offer lighter options. Grilled whole fish in Bavaria and CZ are quite good any time of the year.

I can not offer a destination preference because we have traveled to various destinations within 3 of your proposed itineraries, but in bits and pieces during our time here.

Hope this is helpful.
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Sep 5th, 2018, 08:33 AM
  #11
 
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knowing nothing about any of these places... my pick would be #3 (but then i'm italian by blood). i hope you'll check back and let us know how long you have to travel. and more details within the itinerary options you're considering. oh yes i have been to switzerland quite a few times so i like #4 as well.
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Sep 6th, 2018, 03:47 AM
  #12
 
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I guess he was scared off by post #2. Can you blame him?
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Sep 6th, 2018, 08:29 AM
  #13
 
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How about St. Leonhard ? It is a really beautiful place in the alps! https://www.stroblhof.com/en
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Sep 6th, 2018, 08:32 AM
  #14
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Hi everyone,

Thank you for all of your responses.

And no, I was not scared off I was only able to write two posts in the first 24 hours. It takes alot more to scare me off than a rude post from someone with nothing better to do.

We usually travel for about three weeks and we may have a few extra days next summer. As well, depending on when we are free, we may travel in June, July or August. We know that there may be more tourists in July and August, but that is not a big deal for us.

Also, we usually travel by car throughout our vacations, but we will use trains and short flights if it makes sense.

Thanks again.
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Sep 6th, 2018, 08:56 AM
  #15
 
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My preference is also for getting a car and exploring; I prefer small towns and villages to big cities, particularly in the mid-summer. If I want to include a big city I tend to look for a small town or village with reasonable bus or train access to the city and base there; they're usually cheaper and more car-friendly.

You listed the countries you've already visited, but you haven't said where in those countries you've been. For example, France: have you been to the mountain edges - Pyrenees and Alps? Or the UK - Scotland or the North of England? The point being, a base in southern Germany or Switzerland could allow you to include parts of France - Haute Savoie or Alsace for example - or the Dolomites in northern Italy.

With three weeks you could conceivably make the trip into a twofer. Fly to Munich or Zurich and cruise around the Alps for a couple of weeks, then fly to Edinburgh and spend a week in that marvelous city and head down the stunning Northumberland coast, eventually to Durham and York. Or some similar plan could be executed involving Slovenia, Croatia and the Italian mountains, or a visit to the Baltic states combined with parts of Finland or Sweden.

I guess I'm saying think big.
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Sep 6th, 2018, 09:00 AM
  #16
 
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Any of those would make a great trip, but I would definitely try for June--It makes a huge difference in Croatia and Italy in terms of traffic, crowds, and weather.
I have not been to the other two, and I really don't think you can wrong with three weeks (lucky you!). If I had to go in July or August I would choose one of the other more northern spots though.
Three weeks in Sicily would be my idea of heaven.
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Sep 6th, 2018, 05:26 PM
  #17
kja
 
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That additional information really helps!

#1 – with 3.5 to 4 weeks, you could have a very nice trip that includes a nice comgination of the things you say you like. You probably wouldn’t be able to see everything that you’d like to see, but – depending on your interests – you could see a lot! Earlier in the summer would definitely be better than later.

#2 – I don’t know enough to comment, except to say that I think you wold need to narrow your wish list down substantially to come up with a reasonable plan.

#3 – Figure 2.5 to 3 weeks for Sicily, another 1 to 1.5 weeks for Naples – all at a time of year when these places can get uncomfortably hot. Check timeanddate.com for climate data.

#4 – Again, you’d have to do some research to decide what, exactly, meets your interests (I spent a month in just Switzerland, and had to skip a LOT to make that possible), but could be a good option for your interests and the time of year.

How much to rely on a car and how much to take advantage of public transportation will depend on your final itineraries.

Hope that helps!
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Sep 7th, 2018, 08:02 AM
  #18
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Your responses and all the information and advice you have taken the time to write is more than I expected and we thank you.

Can I add another two areas of France to the mix: Corsica or Languedoc? I could try and move my vacation to closer to four weeks to cobble together two or even three regions, either driving, taking a train or flying between areas

As well, here is a summary of the areas we have visited in the various countries;

France: Paris, Provence, Nice
Italy: Rome, Florence & Tuscany, Lake Como, Venice, Emilia-Romagna
Spain: Barcelona and Madrid
Germany: Berlin, Hamburg, Dresden
Greece: Athens, Peloponnese, Santorini, Rhodes, Paros
UK: London and drive through surrounding area
Holland: Amsterdam and drive through surrounding area
Denmark: Copenhagen and drive through surrounding area

Thank you for your help.
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Sep 7th, 2018, 08:18 AM
  #19
 
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Been to both Corsica and Languedoc. I'm something of an anti-heat person, and in the summer both those areas would be too hot for me, and in Languedoc close to the coast, possibly too humid, but YMMV.

If you could make four weeks available, then a two-region itinerary might be a terrific idea. My own tastes would be (a) to follow the food, in which case I'd put Alsace or southern Italy near the top, and (b) scenery, in which case the Alps or the Scottish Highlands would be at the top. Of course there's great food and great scenery everywhere.

I will make one suggestion for you to research, given your priorities. Look at Brittany in northwestern France. Historic, gorgeous, great food, affordable... just a suggestion.
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Sep 7th, 2018, 06:13 PM
  #20
kja
 
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I must admit that I'm not a fan of trips that include two geographically distant areas, because I find the differences between locations that are near one another absolutely fascinating and I think it's easier to notice those differences if on the same trip. For example, the influences of disparate historic realms in Croatia are evident in different architectural styles, not to mention current traditions and cuisines. The Venetian / Ottoman influences evident in Dubrovnik are incredibly different than the Roman / Slavic influences of the area in and around Split which are incredibly different than the Italian influences of Istria which are incredibly different than the Austro-Hungarian influences of northeast Croatia, etc.

Just something to consider....
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