Western Europe in 2.5 months
Replies: 27 - Last Post: Dec 7, 2012 11:20 PM Last Post By: lucapal
Dec 4, 2012 5:19 AM
Western Europe in 2.5 monthsHi everyone,
My wife and I plan to visit Western Europe from March 2013 for 2.5 months/10 weeks. We would like to see the following countries in the following order. Below is a extremely rough mind map of what and where we MIGHT like to see and visit:
1. Portugal: Lisbon and the Algarve (1 week)
2. Spain: visit Seville and Cordova en route to Madrid, possibly staying in the city doing the odd day trip to towns like Cuenca, Segovia, etc. Visit Barcelona before moving to France (2 weeks)
3. France: Marseille (1 week), also exploring the Provence region, move to Paris, explore around (1 week)
4. Germany: from France to Frankfurt then stay in Berlin and Munich (2 weeks, explore around)
5. Austria: move to Vienna from Munich, 1 week in Vienna, explore around
6. Italy: Venice, Florence, Rome and maybe Naples (2 weeks)
That looks like 9 weeks, with all the rail travel time I reckon there maybe a few days to spare! Again this is all very rough.
We're not crazed about 'seeing it all' and are quite happy to do less if this looks too ambitious!
Just would like anyone's expert opinion, suggestions to the above itinerary. Thanks!
Dec 4, 2012 5:22 AM
Dec 4, 2012 5:29 AM
3Agree with lucapal, looking of some of your ideas, you are giving the same amount of time to Berlin and Munich as you are Venice , Florence, Naples and Rome together, but as above as we do not know your interests it is hard what to suggest. I would personally miss Austria and Germany and save it for another time. There is so much too see in Portugal, Spain France and Italy, concentrate on those 4.
Dec 4, 2012 6:45 AM
Dec 4, 2012 7:09 AM
Dec 4, 2012 9:30 AM
6A week in Marseille - ? Why? And why Frankfurt in Germany, there are (literally) hundreds of more interesting places.
Also you seem to be concentrating far too much on cities. Take Austria for instance. For me Austria is about mountains, lakes and pretty villages; the Tyrol, Salzkammergut and Wachau spring to mind. Vienna is a pleasant enough place but is not a good base to explore Austria
Dec 4, 2012 11:22 AM
7Firstly, you are going to be in Europe for several public holidays. Easter and Whitsun (late March and mid May in 2013) plus May Day and possibly a couple of others depending on which country you are in - it might be worth checking on the dates for each country as often museums might be closed, transport run to a reduced schedule etc.
I can onlycomment on the second part of your trip, but agree with some comments above about your plans. Assuming you start from Paris, consider heading via Trier to the Mosel valley (possibly Cochem and koblenz) then the Rhine (steamer from Koblenz to Bingen). Yes Frankfurt is not too far from here but it is a business city not a tourist hub. As you willbe in thsi area lateApril / erly May, how about the Harz mountains on yout way to Berlin?
Between Berlin and Munich it wouldn't be difficult to make an itinerary for all your 10 weeks in Europe - you really need to considerwhich of Dresden, Leipzig, Erfurt, Weimar, Thuringian Forest, Bamberg, Wuerzburg, Nurnberg etc etc appeals - you need to do your own research. And what do you plan between Munich and Vienna? - Prien and the Chiemsee, Berchtesgaden and the Eagle s Nest, Salzburg? And you will need all your two weeks in Italy if you want to see the four cities you listed, and a bit longer if you want to visit some of the stunning countryside in Tuscany, Umbria, the Amalfi coast
And finally, I assume you will be using an open jaw air ticket so you don't have to back-track across Europe, but even so if you want to see all those countries in 10 weeks you'll miss out more than you'll see.Over toyou.....
Dec 4, 2012 4:39 PM
8Having travelled in France in late March and early April several times I would like to suggest you take a look at the actual amount of daylight you're going to have, esp. in the more northern cities.
Normal temps for Berlin: March high 8c/46 F low 0c/32 F April high: 13c/55 F low:4c/39 F
with an average of 5 to 6 hours sunlight. I'd suggest checking out all the cities you're considering and see how much actual time you'll have to enjoy the place. I know in France I had to deal with that. I was in the countryside so it mattered less but one trip it rained a lot and I ran into other visitors who said it ruined their vacations (I love the rain, so not me).
I echo the questions about Marseille, unless you have specific interests that only Marseille can answer. It has a long, long history but much of that has been destroyed by the last war and other parts of it are definitely dodgy...someone who had worked and visited there on business advised me against it.
Dec 4, 2012 4:47 PM
Dec 4, 2012 10:49 PM
10"explore around" = "we haven't done the research yet, but we assume there's something there"?
Well yes, there is. But as mike9 points out, there's too many somethings. So you'll still have to do the research to prioritize and decide what most appeals to you.
For major cities like Paris and Rome, I'd plan on a minimum of 5 nights before exploring around. Better yet, spend a whole week to get a decent soak in them (that is, have some time when you're not rushing from sight to sight).
That looks like 9 weeks
I count 10.
Dec 5, 2012 12:47 AM
Judging from the posted itineraries here on the forum, the so-called beginner mistakes have mostly to to with little awareness of the practicalities involved in travel. They think travel involves a string of tourism highlights, and that misconception is what messes up their itinerary. You have to plan in eating, sleeping, moving around, relaxing and a host of other things.
The second general error is the level of abstraction in how they think about trips. They use a category such as 'Europe' or a specific country name such as Portugal-for-a-week. In reality, you have to match very specific places with a list of possible attractions/activities. If you do not do this then you will be blocked by that VFAQ "Is this enough time in ..?" Fact is, if you cannot say what you are going to be doing anywhere, it is impossible to say how much time is enough.
When the typical LP regular says that you need at least X days in some big city, this has partly to do with the number of attractions in that city. While this still assumes you want to see all the attractions on the unspecified list, it remains true that most big cities can keep a tourist occupied for a couple of weeks, making the questions "Is this enough?" "Is this doable?" etc. practically meaningless. But added to the tourist attractions are all those daily-life activites I mentioned. A great way to visit anywhere is to simply wander around, sit in cafes, watch the life of the city or town.
Now I can blabber on for another few thousand words on this theme. I'm not sure if it will help much because nothing takes the place of actual experience. Take your trip, and all your questions will be answered. I can imagine that after that first week in Portugal (Lisbon, Algarve) you will already have a glimpse of what the rest of the trip has in store for you.
What you can do is to be more aware of travel logistics. You have to get to and from places, that takes hours out of a day. And think about rest, relaxation, and 'down time'. Work all that into your thinking.
Regarding the specifics, one solution is to stick with a rough series of plans (places and attractions/activities) but make final decisions about where and how long only after you have started the trip. Naturally, you have to be prepared to improvise and be flexible, and be prepared to not get everything done.
The other solution is to plan everything in advance: commit to an itinerary of x days in location z etc. Then live with it.
Dec 5, 2012 3:21 AM
12Thanks for all your inputs, guys.
We've decide to leave out Portugal and Germany this time as we do not want it to be too rushed. Thus it'll be Spain, France, Italy and Austria, which I believe will give us more time to soak in the cities with day trips and stay in the odd town or so.
Hope to get all your thoughts again once I firm up the itinerary!
Dec 7, 2012 4:18 AM
13Right guys, we've decided cut down our destinations and spread things so the trip isn't too crammed, which is what we never really wanted in the first place.
We're now visiting 4 countries which will just stretch slightly over 2 months: Italy, Austria, Germany and France. We think the itinerary would allow us to enjoy the trip and soak in the places and people, but would love your input and suggestions. The experts here will most likely know the main attractions associated with each destination so I won't list them :)
Italy (19 days)
Rome: 6 days
Sorrento: 6 days
Florence: 4 days
Venice: 3 days
Austria (16 days)
Graz: 3 days (1 day is spent mostly travelling from Venice to Graz!)
Vienna: 7 days
Salzburg: 3 days
Innsbruck: 3 days
Germany (15 days)
Munich: 5 days
Berlin: 6 days
Heidelberg: 4 days:
France (20 days)
Paris: 8 days
Cannes: 5 days
Aix-en-Provence (7 days)
Dec 7, 2012 4:41 AM
14That is not a bad trip cannot comment on South of France as do not know it that well. I personally would not stay 6 days in Sorrento the towns of Positano, Amalfi and Ravello are much nicer places to stay.
Innsbruck requires no more than a day so unless you have plans for trips out would not stay there for longer than one night.
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