18 days backpacking trip from London
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Aug 23, 2013 7:34 AM Last Post By: lizzlesp
Aug 22, 2013 12:45 PM
18 days backpacking trip from LondonHi!
This is my first time posting here because I'm going on an exchange trip to the UK this September and am planning to travel around some parts of Europe during term break! The break is 3 weeks in December (Christmas vacation) but my friends and I are only thinking of travelling for 18 days as some of us have exams the week after.
This is my proposed itinerary:
London --> Belgium (Brussels, about 3 days)
Belgium --> Switzerland (Bern/Lucerne mainly, 4 days)
Switzerland --> Italy (Tuscany region/Pisa/Rome, 6 days)
Italy --> Marseilles (3 days, including day trip to Aix-en-Provence)
Marseilles --> Paris --> London
This gives us around 2 days worth of travelling time, but I'm not sure if that's enough.
Does this seem like a reasonable itinerary to you guys?
We're travellers who prefer sightseeing and trying local food, shopping at markets and local stores etc.
Also, we know it's be around wintertime so if you have any tips to share about the season, they'd be really helpful!!
Any feedback is greatly appreciated! Thank you (:
Aug 22, 2013 1:14 PM
1You are covering a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Physically do-able, but not particularly enjoyable.
For starters I would cut out Belgium, and if you're dead set on going there just go on some weekend via the Eurostar during the term. Most people would wonder what to do with 3 days in Brussels anyway.
Never been to Switzerland, but can't imagine you'd see much of the country in 4 days.
Italy part is very rushed... I assume you mean someplace else in Tuscany + Pisa (because Pisa is in Tuscany!). 3 cities in 6 days is too frantic for me. I spent 6 days in Rome and wished I had about 4 more.
Marseille I've only been to the airport... not really known as a big tourist draw although a friend of mine loved it there. Avignon might be more worthwhile. You also seem to have no time to actually see Paris (maybe you just want to change trains there though).
It's your trip, but I've found that focusing on 1 (or 2 adjacent) country/countries is a much more rewarding way to see Europe in the time frame you have.
Aug 22, 2013 1:49 PM
2Thanks so much for your quick response!
Is Brussels really so boring? Oh man haha thanks for the heads up!
And yes I meant Tuscany Region (Pisa, Florence) but I also want to visit Verona...
Hmm if scrap Belgium, I would add 1 day to Switzerland and 2 days to Italy. Yeah Rome is so full of life, I was there last year for about 3 days only.
I know Marseille isn't super touristy (not like Nice anyway) but that's the point I guess, to not go to big cities all the time (: And what's more worthwhile about Avignon, from your perspective? (also, yes, we just need Paris for the Eurostar haha)
Thanks again for your fast reply, and I know that the plan seems a bit rushed but it's not easy to come back to Europe from where I live. I'm just going to make the best of it!
Aug 22, 2013 3:57 PM
3.............er.. Marseille is the third largest city in France with a population of 1.7 million
Avignon is much nicer with the Palais des Papes and the famous bridge and is also a much better base for exploring places in Provence such as Nimes, Les Baux, Pont du Gard etc.
If you still want to go to Belgium then check out Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp which are at least as interesting as Brussels if not more so.
Aug 22, 2013 5:10 PM
4I don't think Belgium is all that boring, but with only 18 days it would not be on my list.
I can see Rome and Florence, but not Pisa.
I have been to Avignon and the Palais de Papes and the famous bridge (the only public project that ever stayed within it original budget). I also enjoyed Pont du Gard and the city of Nimes.
You say Paris, but do not say you will stay there. If you have not been there I would highly recommend it for three or four day. There is just so much to do in that city.
What are your interests and what do you really have a desire to see?
Aug 22, 2013 8:56 PM
5@Mrs_Trellis yeah but after researching online it seems like quite a chill place.. no? Haha. And are you suggesting skipping Marseille and going to Avignon instead? We'd really like to check out the Calanques though, but we're not whether winter/Dec is the appropriate time to do so.
And thanks for the suggestions!
@LouisXIV We will be visiting Paris at another time during our semester (:
We'd really like to sightsee (the more intriguing historical buildings, unique landscapes, quaint towns and places like that) as well as shop (flea markets/christmas markets, outlet malls) and eat good local food.
So far it seems like Avignon is a pretty popular location so I'll do more research on it!
Aug 23, 2013 12:53 AM
Aug 23, 2013 7:30 AM
7Skip Paris. This sounds brutal, but you will have chances for weekend excursions to this great city. Instead, fly back to London from Marseille Provence airport. If you buy the ticket far enough in advance you can get budget flights for peanuts, certainly (in this case) less than the trains. A good tool for finding low-cost airlines in Europe is www.skyscanner.com
The extra time can easily be spread among other destinations.
Marseille's reputation is being refurbished, especially since it is the European "city of culture" in 2013. You can Google that phrase for more info. At the very least, it will be warmer than the northern cities at that time of year, although certainly not "warm".
Aug 23, 2013 7:34 AM
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