Replies: 9 - Last Post: Aug 21, 2012 12:59 PM Last Post By: lucapal
Aug 20, 2012 12:27 PM
HelpMy family will be traveling in Western Europe for three weeks in December. Dec 14-Jan 3. We plan to be in Italy for December 23-27. Otherwise, we are open to plan around that. My son is studying at the University of Mannheim. We would like to see London, Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Salzurg, Monaco, Barcelona and Zurich. Prague is another option. Would you please suggest the best place to fly in and depart given these suggestions and what cities to stop in along the way that we could see castles, countrysides and villages. We would appreciate knowing about the route to take that will let us do the most during these three weeks. Please include any places to stay that you may be familiar with as well as things to do. Please also suggest the best mode of transportation to get to and from the destinations. This would be a huge help to us as it is time for us to book our air but do not know which country would be the best starting point and which best departure. Thank you so much for your advice and help.
Aug 20, 2012 2:31 PM
1Welcome to Thorn Tree.
From the FAQ at the top of the page:
1. Research before asking a question. It will help you get better, more detailed and useful answers from the community if you've already done some homework. It's also polite. The community is here to help, but we're not your personal search engine. Invest some preliminary time and we'll help you fill in the gaps.
You say your trip is December 14 to January 3. That is 21 days, less the four days for Italy. (And if it includes your arrival and departure days, it's 19 days less four.) And you mention eight cities that you want to see in the remaining 17 (or 15) days. That is on the face of it two days per city, but actually a lot less because it doesn't include the time necessary to travel between them. And you want other cities "to stop in along the way... castles, countryside and villages."
In the middle of winter days are very short. You won't have much daylight to do all this crazy rushing about.
Bottom line, your plan is totally unrealistic. With 15 days to play with, you should be looking at a maximum of four cities, unless you just want to cross them off a list so you can say you have "been there".
Aug 20, 2012 2:33 PM
As for all the other requests, use a travel agent. That's what they are there for.
Asking generic questions on this branch won't get you very far. Best to do research YOURSELF first and then come back here for specifics.
Aug 20, 2012 5:20 PM
Aug 20, 2012 10:14 PM
4You don't say where you're from so we don't know from where you'll fly to Europe. Will your son be with you all the time? Is he meeting you somewhere or will you start your trip in Mannheim?
Try booking an open jaw ticket, maybe fly to London and leave from Frankfurt. This way your son could see you off before going back to Mannheim, just one hour south of Frankfurt.
Then London - Italy for Christmas. Trains are not expensive in Italy. Where in Italy will you be? There is a good train connection from Venice to Austria, but if you are in Sicily you'd better fly.
If you plan to rent a car during your trip, keep in mind that you may have to drive on snow - are you used to that?
If you plan to use budget airlines to get around, read the small print especially about the luggage.
Aug 20, 2012 10:54 PM
5As the others have said, you really need to get a map and a guide book to start.
2) I go by a rule of 3.5 days per destination in Europe, to allow for getting there, getting from the train/plane to a hotel/hostel, checking in, orientating, exploring, eating, sleeping, email/calling home, laundry, more sleeping, personal hygiene, chillaxing over a coffee, checking out, getting back to the train/plane for the next place.
3) However, ref point #2 I just made, some of your destinations require more time than others. London and Paris could each occupy you for an entire week without you getting bored, especially if you throw in day trips to places such as Leeds Castle, Oxford for its 1,000 year old Uni, Stratford Upon Avon for Shakespeare, Versailles Palace, the Normandy D-Day beaches, Mont St Michel etc. Monaco on the other hand won't hold your attention for more than a day - there are only so many supercars you can see in one day - and the prices are breathtaking.
As a very rough starter - and I would take it as such until you've researched the cities with guidebooks to find out what interests you -
London requires 3-7 days
Paris requires 3-7 days
Amsterdam requires 3-4 days, more if you do day trips.
Brussels requires 1 day, another if you decide to visit nearby Bruges
Salzburg requires 1 day - another if the salt mines or eagles nest are open at that time of the year (I'm not sure)
Monaco requires 1 day though unless either of you are hardcore Formula 1 fans or high roller casino players, I'd personally skip entirely.
Barcelona requires 2-3 days
Zurich requires 2 days, but I'd go for the central mountains in the Bernese Oberland to enjoy (hopefully) a nice snowy landscape. Zurich itself if it hasn't started snowing yet will otherwise be grey, a few degrees above zero, and probably drizzling.
Prague requires for me 2 days, though others reckon you can stretch it to 4, I've no idea how.
Bear in mind the above durations to not take into account getting from one to the other + getting to/from airport/train stations, so add in another 1/2 day for each destination.
London is not great on Christmas Day - it shuts down almost totally. There's extremely limited public transport. I'd pick a different city for Xmas Day itself to be in.
Aug 20, 2012 10:55 PM
Aug 21, 2012 2:41 AM
Where in Italy, and doing what? It's likely everything will be closed Christmas Day there as well. I don't know what it's like in "not specified" - where apparently you live, which isn't very helpful at all - but in Europe it's family time and tourist sites as well as most shops etc. will be closed. You need to research this, as the chances of being able to walk into a restaurant on Christmas Day are probably minimal. Places that are open will probably require booking in advance.
Bridgetlogan, I think by now you should have realised that what you hope to achieve is beyond the bounds of possibility. There is another thread at the top of this forum about trying to see too much in too short a time. And in midwinter, you'll be at the mercy of the weather, in addition to the short days. It will be dark by about 4 p.m.
And another thing, I made a typo in my earlier post. You have total 21 days, less four for Italy, leaving 17, not 19 (in reality probably 15) for this whirlwind tour. It just isn't possible, unless you have a private jet. Cut the number of destinations to about one-third, or better one-quarter.
Aug 21, 2012 6:05 AM
Aug 21, 2012 12:59 PM
9I had 5 very nice days in Prague a couple of years ago Fwoggie.....
That included a day trip to Kutna Hora,but the other 4 were in the city....eating,drinking,going to museums (there is a good museum of Czech Cubism and the musum of Modern and Contemporary Art is huge and excellent)...then the castle and its grounds,some Communist Era stuff (architecture,old cars etc.)...various parks,a long walk along the river.....
Its not Paris but there is a fair amount to see and do there......
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