Help with our Trip. What do we remove/Add?
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Dec 5, 2012 4:14 AM Last Post By: gawkabout
Dec 3, 2012 2:09 PM
Help with our Trip. What do we remove/Add?My wife and I are planning our first trip to Europe in May of 2013. We have only put in place a few things so far and have put together a rough itinerary for the trip. I am hoping that you can assist us in making sure that we enjoy our time and don't spread ourselves too thin.
The only things set in stone at this point are the flights and the Grand Prix in Monaco, we have our GP tickets and the two nights in Nice. I do understand that we have a lot on our plates for the trip, but we are young and don't mind getting up early or staying up late to fit a lot in. I do want to make sure that we get a good taste of culture but also a nice mix of the "sights". I think that in Rome we will want to make sure to do the big stuff (Coliseum, Vatican City, etc.). Is Florence necessary? We are huge racing fans so the day at Ducati/Ferrari is a must. We are staying in Nice to save on cost with the Cannes Film Festival and the Grand Prix both right there that same week this is the cheapest route.
The days after the Grand Prix are somewhat open, I think we would both like to mix time between some beach/countryside options. My wife is really looking forward to Carcassonne, but what else would you do with essentially 5-6 days between Nice and Barcelona? One of the areas I am a bit clueless on is when to drive and when to do the train, I feel that sometimes it may be nice to have the car (Maranello to La Spezia, Drive to Nice, in and around Carcassonne southern france) but what have others found to be best in these areas?
Well with all of that being said here is our rough trip plans so far.
Saturday, May 18, 2013 - Depart Denver To Rome.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 - Land in Rome at Approx. 8:50 AM, leave big bags at hotel and half day in Rome.
Monday, May 20, 2013 - Full Day in Rome.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - Train to Florence, day in Florence.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - Half day in Florence, Drive/Train to Maranello/Modena Dinner in Maranello.
Thursday, May 23, 2013 - Ducati in Morning, Ferrari Afternoon. Restorante Montana or Restorante Cavallino for dinner.
Friday, May 24, 2013 - Drive/Train to Cinque Terra, day taking in the coast, night in La Spezia.
Saturday, May 25, 2013 - Drive/Train to Nice (drop car in Genoa then train?), Train to Monaco, afternoon in Monaco.
Sunday, May 26, 2013 - Train to Monaco, Grand Prix stuff all day.
Monday, May 27, 2013 - Drive/train from Nice to Cannes for the morning, Saint Tropez for the afternoon. (flexible). Drive/train to Aix-en-Provence for dinner and the night.
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - Breakfast in Aix-En-Provence, drive to Pont Du Gard and spend afternoon in countryside. B&B for the night.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - Countryside, Millau Bridge, Carcassonne.
Thursday, May 30, 2013 - Carcassonne in morning then off to fishing villages such as Vilassar De Mar. Stay in/near Barcelona
Friday, May 31, 2013 - Day in Barcelona Gaudi Architechture. Last night
Saturday, June 01, 2013 - Depart for Denver
Dec 3, 2012 2:54 PM
1Please be aware there are two different Carcassonne's, the modern town, and the old town where the castle is.
And in Barcelona, Gaudi's architecture is every where, it is one of my favourite cities because of him, a true genius and his work is so striking and as he used tiles a lot it has that 'just built yesterday' feel to it, i hope you guys enjoy it as much as i did myself.
Dec 3, 2012 4:42 PM
3Young and energetic or no, the plan is too cram-packed. For instance, in Rome you'll spend the first day dazed and jet-lagged which leaves one day for sightseeing, dedicated mostly to the Vatican and the Coliseum. When are you going to have a chance to get more than the most superficial taste of Roman culture? You are severely underestimating the time it takes to travel and to orient yourself to a new city (with a different language, new transit system, etc).
Also, when you say you're going to the Cannes film festival, are you mostly wanting to gawk at industry people? It doesn't look like you'll have time to watch many movies.
For two weeks, I'd reduce the number of places you're trying to see. Maybe 1 week in Italy (Rome + Modena) and 1 week in France (Nice + Caracassonne), minus the night you'll have to spend in/close to Barcelona.
Dec 3, 2012 5:51 PM
4Ahhh slow down. Oedipamaas is right, your schedule is far too hectic and rushed. People easily spend 2 weeks in Florence + Rome and only scratch the surface of what they both have to offer. I don't think I've ever seen anyone ask if Florence is "worth it," the city is one of the most revered in the world, let alone Italy. But I suppose, that depends on your interests. Personally, I am not much an art person but I still love Florence. The sheer amount of history, beauty and delicious food is really a shame to deem unworthy.
Rome certainly deserves more than a single day and you have to realize that the Vatican and Coliseum cannot necessarily be both done in one day. Although you aren't going during the height of Summer, Rome has a constant crowd. The Coliseum and Vatican City are on two completely separate ends of the city and the line to get into either is massive. I've never seen the queue for the Sistine Chapel not wrap around the entire square of St. Peter's at least once.
Once again, a single day in Barcelona is also stretching it...
I'd recommend doing a little more research, prioritize and about a week in each country was a great suggestion. As of now, your itinerary is essentially the inside of a car (or train) and a faint glimpse of each location. Just enough time to snap a photo for everyone at home and not get a feel for what the place is truly like.
Dec 3, 2012 7:04 PM
5all the stereotypical mistakes- especially moving too fast. Not even a full day in Floren, nor in CT, nor in Aix, and perhaps not in Barcelona either.
Pls read this: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2153476
Dec 3, 2012 7:41 PM
6Thank you for the suggestions. This is the time we have, I will empty our itinerary and hopefully you can help us fill it in.
To make some clarifications, we are not planning to participate in the Film Festival, I was just saying with that happening 30 minutes west of Nice and the Grand Prix 30 minutes East we are staying in Nice to not bust the budget. The only thing we plan on doing that Saturday/Sunday is the Grand Prix activities. So with that in mind, if we assume the day we fly in plus at least one more in Rome what else do we do that first week in Italy keeping in mind that I am a lifelong Ferrari Formula 1 fan and I want to do the tour in Maranello. If we assume our second week is all in France/Spain and that my wife really wants to see Carcasonne. What would we be best served by seeing. We would like to do some of the big sights in Rome, we are less dedicated to really taking in Barcelona and I think would be happy spending the afternoon taking in perhaps the Cathedral and a great final dinner. So with it opened up a bit more, how would you mix in the touristy parts with the culture given that we only have the two weeks.
Sunday, May 19, 2013 - Land in Rome at Approx. 8:50 AM. Rome.
Monday, May 20, 2013 - Rome
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - ?
Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - ?
Thursday, May 23, 2013 - ?
Friday, May 24, 2013 - ?
Saturday, May 25, 2013 - At least half day or evening in Monaco.
Sunday, May 26, 2013 - Grand Prix stuff all day.
Monday, May 27, 2013 - ?
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - ?
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - ?
Thursday, May 30, 2013 - ?
Friday, May 31, 2013 - Barcelona in the Afternoon at Least.
Saturday, June 01, 2013 - Depart for Denver @ 10:45
Dec 3, 2012 8:06 PM
7I'm glad you're open to the idea of slowing it down. Trust us, you'll have a much better trip for it.
So with that in mind, if we assume the day we fly in plus at least one more in Rome what else do we do that first week in Italy keeping in mind that I am a lifelong Ferrari Formula 1 fan and I want to do the tour in Maranello.
I would spend more time in Modena or if you want something rural, a small town in Emiglia Romagna - you're traveling all that way and it would give you the chance to see something off the main tourist trail (which it sounds like you want to do). Divide 4nts Rome/ 2nts Modena or 3/3, as in this plan:
Sun May 19- Wed May 21 (3 nts) - Rome
Wed May 21 - Sat May25 (3 nts) - Modena
Sat May 25- Wed May 28 (4nts) - Nice (in addition to going to the Grand Prix you can enjoy the beach, sightsee, visit surrounding towns)
Wed May 29 - Fri May 31 (2nt) - Carcassonne
Fri May 31 (1nt) - Barcelona
A good balance between seeing a lot and taking your time to actually enjoy the places you're going to.
Dec 3, 2012 10:10 PM
8The next question is how to navigate between these places. Given you're hitting cities, I'd simply take the train, innit. Reasons:- 1) Dehiring a car in a different country is expensive 2) Fuel prices are roughly 2.2 to 2.4 times the US prices. 3) If booked sufficiently in advance, train prices are very cheap 4) Driving in Barcelona, Nice and Rome in particular is a bitch, ditto parking the thing.
Train Rome to Modena = 2:44, change in Bologna. A shuttle bus service operates from Modena station to the Ferrari museum. See http://museo.ferrari.com/ for info.
Modena to Nice = 8 hrs, so you may wish to overnight in somewhere like Genoa or Milan after doing Ferrari to break the trip up. You'd have to change anyway en route to Nice, so it's up to you depending which train you take.
Nice to Carcassonne takes 7-8 hrs by train by day, or 12 by night if you take the sleeper train.
Carcassonne to Barcelona takes 4:15 if you take a TGV.
I'm not sure you need 3 days in Modena mind as #7 suggested; I'd chop 2 nights and add them to Barcelona and Rome.
Dec 3, 2012 10:42 PM
9Sunday, May 26, 2013
Grand Prix stuff all day - why a full day? The F1 starts at 2pm and need not more than 2.5h - to go and to leave maybe 3.5h but not more. And to visite the track you can take a local bus as it runs on normal streets. On Saturday you can visit the stands and pit stop line without any problem.
Monday, May 27, 2013
Drive/train from Nice to Cannes for the morning, Saint Tropez for the afternoon. (flexible). Drive/train to Aix-en-Provence for dinner and the night.
For information the Filmfestval is over on Monday and there is no train to/from St. Tropez. Time to drive: Nice - St. Tropez about 3 hours along the coast, St. Tropez - Aix 3 hours.
Dec 4, 2012 12:35 AM
Dec 4, 2012 1:14 AM
Dec 5, 2012 12:18 AM
12Is Florence necessary?
If you have to ask, then it probably isn't--for you.
Your focus on Formula 1 should strongly suggest how subjective "must-see" sights are. So you really need to toss out the rule book and decide for yourselves precisely what your priorities are. But--if you do prioritize something, please give it the time and attention a priority deserves. This is also the only way you'll get an inkling of the cultures you're traveling through.
In your original itinerary, you'd have just enough time in Rome to do what you say--visit the Vatican Museums/St. Paul's, the Colosseum--and that's it. Plus a little bit of wandering. So even Rome isn't necessary--unless it is to you. And if it is, it certainly deserves to be treated as such.
Is Carcassonne really a priority? Or just the nicest place to break up an otherwise 18-hour train trip? And why depart from Barcelona if you have such little interest in it (little enough that an afternoon and evening will suffice)? You might find that changing your flights to a more convenient departure city won't really cost much more than the expense of getting to Barcelona. You're doing the equivalent of flying into Boston to visit Washington. From Nice, even Paris would be faster. Likewise, there are a lot of airports closer to Modena than Rome (Bologna, Verona, Milan). This is like flying into New York to visit Washington. Unless you really want to see New York first. In which case, you'd give it more than one full day, I'd guess.
You've already made some personal, subjective choices. Keep doing it. But if you're truly stuck with those airports, make the most of it. They happen to be adjacent to two of the most rewarding cities in Europe.
Dec 5, 2012 4:14 AM
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