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Forums » General & Multi-Country » Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

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Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by Ramblinman »

As I'm sure others will tell you, you need to describe your interests more specifically to get good advice.  For instance, people who are interested in museums would need different advice from people who aren't.  Also, when are you going?  All kinds of advice would be different for summer than for winter.

That being said, a few random comments based on my own opinions/experiences:

  • Six days seems too little for all of France.
  • A week for Ibiza?  Well, if you want, but I would find that getting old pretty fast.
  • Geneva is a convenient base for some day trips, but personally I found the city itself one of the least interesting in Switzerland.
  • A week in Milan?  Why?  Better Florence, Siena, Verona, Ravenna ...
  • Likewise, why all that time in Frankfurt?  Except for the Zoo and Goethe's house, I haven't found much to keep me there.
  • Try to make room for Amsterdam.
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kringenwally

RE: Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by kringenwally »

 

Wow, trip of a lifetime, eh? Congratulations. I wish you good shoes, resilient stomachs, stamina, and much patience and good humor. 

 

With this much moving about, pack light. Pack, throw half of it out, pack again. Repeat. A cabin-legal carry-on plus a smallish daypack (bookpack, crushable slingpack, etc.) should be all for each of you, otherwise you'll get seriously ticked off after the first week of schlepping. They sell anything you need that you didn't bring, if you really need it…

 

The Spain portion could do with some changes. You're so close yet not going to the super targets of Cordoba (Mosque/Cathedral Mezquita) and Granada (Alhambra)? In many seasoned travelers' opinions these two rival or even outweigh Sevilla!

 

Day 20 Seville, on your schedule, isn't really a day at all, whether you get there by train or plane from Madrid.

 

I see that you're aiming at a bit of well-earned R+R on Ibiza, but a couple of those days should go towards the south of Spain. And you can bypass Valencia by flying to Ibiza. 

 

Days 17-18-19-20 Madrid

 

Day 20 take a late train to Sevilla, like the 18:00 (arr. 20:30) or the 19:00 (arr. 21:30) - you get there and check in before dinner time (remember, dinner starts at 10PM in Spain).

 

Night of Day 20 and again of Day 21 sleep in Sevilla, to have a full day there

 

Day 22 pick up a car and drive to Cordoba (about an hour and a half), then after visiting the Mezquita drive on to Granada.

 

Day 23 visit the Alhambra (book way ahead, make it a morning appointment, you get assigned a specific narrow timeslot to enter the palace inside the grounds, but you can spend as much time in the grounds themselves as you wish as long as it's morning or afternoon as per your ticket).

 

Late on Day 23 fly to Ibiza with the 19:00 departure from Granada (arrives either 22:50 or 23:25 depending on which connection you book - see www.vueling.es). Or sleep in Granada and fly the next day - no need to make the much longer journey via Valencia if that's all you wanted to do in Valencia.

 

Then again, you could turn this around, by going from Madrid first to Granada, then driving via Cordoba to Sevilla, and from Sevilla you can fly to Ibiza. Three days a week you can take Ryanair (nonstop but with severe luggage restrictions), or you can make it a two-hopper with Vueling.

 

The fastest train from Sevilla to Valencia takes 3:30, the others take 4:33 or 4:45. The 17:22 arrives at 21:12.

 

From Granada you could take the night train to Valencia, saves a night in a hotel. It is called TRENHOTEL, train nr. 894 leaves Granada at 21:30 and arrives at 04:10 - you can sleep on the train. Then explore Valencia at the sun comes up, and by 12:30 you can be on the ferry to Ibiza.

 

More info on trains at www.seat61.com/Spain-trains.htm#.UYk8nb9YVWs - also guidance for booking online.   

 

Instead of basing yourselves in Geneva (not too attractive a city), book a room near Montreux - up above in Glion or Caux, both with splendid views across the lake onto Mont Blanc even if it is foggy down below, or down by the lake, Montreux -Vevey or in between. 

 

To access the Mont Blanc region you take the train from Montreux to Martigny and switch to the Mont Blanc Express (sometimes substituted by coaches for a stretch that may still be under reconstruction).

 

Check out http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/p/m/ea7ae/ and also http://tinyurl.com/bll8rmh

 

Above Montreux is the wildflower paradise of Les Rochers de Naye, there is a cute mountain goat of a train that goes up, see www.goldenpass.ch/?OrgID=7

 

Near Montreux is the famous Chillon castle (www.chillon.ch/en/index.cfm) - reached by trolley bus or by public boat - see boat schedules at www.cgn.ch.

 

Note that the lake Geneva is only called that in English, when you look up schedules or directions it helps to know that locally it is the Lac Léman - or, in German, Genfersee.

 

To get to Milano there is no point in doubling back to Geneva, you can fly from Zürich (the bigger airport anyway), or take the fast trains from Zürich through the alps (past Lucerne and through the Gotthard tunnel).

 

Your routing is not really efficient after that. I would go from Milano to Rome, via Pisa. There are a few trains, Intercity (slower than the Frecce which means arrows, the express trains), that require no change between Milan and Pisa, they take about an hour longer than those where you switch trains in Florence. Either way, you can be in Pisa long before lunch, leave your bags at the station, and walk to the leaning tower and cathedral and baptistry, best through the old town by crossing the Ponte di Mezzo.

 

Then take one of those trains that go from Pisa Centrale station to Rome not via Florence again, but down the coast, like the 13:52 that arrives in Roma Termini at 16:28, or the 15:10 (arr. 18:18).

 

Then after Rome I suggest at least two nights - one full day at the very least - in Florence, take these days away from Milano where you don't need as many days (unless you have specific daytrips planned?).

 

Then from Florence to Venice, then to Innsbruck (if you really wish…) and then to Munich, then to Salzburg and on to Vienna, then to Prag and Berlin, in that order.

 

Why Frankfurt? Unless it is to begin a leisurely trip down the Rhine valley to Cologne, but that's a different story and requires even more time. Skip Frankfurt, it is a rebuilt nondescript city full of office buildings and not really much more, not when compared to many other destinations for which you don't have time (not on this trip, anyway - you'll be back!!!).

 

Hope this helps.

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RE: Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by mushroom »

Hard to advise without knowing what time of year you will be in some of these places. 

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RE: Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by shraddha »

Hi there,
My husband and I are planning our first 3 month trip to Western Europe with the itinerary below and would like to get your feedback:

  • Is the time in each city too less?
  • Am i missing any city/town that I shouldn't on anyone's first?
  • Assuming all travel will be via train, are there any specific routes that I should book well in advance?
  • Would you recommend against living in hostels (premium rooms) in any of the stated cities?
  • Any other feedback welcome!

Day 1 London
Day 12 Paris
- - - Subtrips to Tours, Loire Valley, Eperney
Day 17 Madrid
Day 20 Seville
Day 21 Valencia (Simply as an entry port to Ibiza)
Day 22 Ibiza
Day 28 Barcelona
Day 32 to Day 38 Montpellier to Nice (Drive)
Day 38 Geneva
- - - Subtrips to Chamonix, Mont Blanc, Monterux
Day 41 Lucern
Day 44 Zurich
Day 46 Geneva
Day 48 Milan
Day 53 Venice
Day 57 Rome
- - - Subtrip to Naples, Amalfi Coast
Day 63 Vienna
Day 67 Innsbruck (via short stops at Linz, Salzburg)
Day 69 Munich
Day 72 Prague
Day 75 Berlin
Day 78 Frankfurt
Day 83 Brussels
Day 86 London
Day 91 Depart London

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RE: Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by shraddha »

Hello mushroom - This itinerary is for travel from Aug 13 - October 13 .

Hope you can shed some advice!

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RE: Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by Road Crazy »

I don't think you are allowing enough time for Paris, given that you want three day-trips while you are there.  That leaves about three days for Paris itself.  Paris is a lot like London, in that there are so many things to see and do that you could spend a year there and possibly not get to all of it.  I would give it at least two more days.

Zurich isn't a very interesting place as Switzerland goes, and I agree with Wally that there's no reason to return to Geneva so you can go to Milan.  What I would do with those three days is visit the Berner Oberland, the area around Lauterbrunnen south of Bern.  It has spectacular scenery, including the three soaring mountains of the Eiger, the Monch, and the Jungfrau (the Ogre, the Monk, and the Maiden).  There are also charming little villages you reach by cable tram, no cars permitted.  A much more exciting stop than Zurich.

You can't realistically visit Naples and the Amalfi Coast in a single day from Rome - it is just too far to get around the Coast from that distance if you want anything more than a drive-through on the bus, and that would still probably preclude spending any significant time in Naples.  You could certainly see Pompeii and get a taste of Naples in a single day, but if you want to see the Amalfi Coast, I suggest you relocate for at least a night so you have time to stop in the villages as well as travel between them.

I can't imagine spending five days in Frankfurt unless you have specific reasons for visiting there.  If you are thinking of using it as a base for exploring the Rhine, I strongly suggest you base yourself somewhere along the most scenic part of the Rhine, between, say, Bingen and Koblenz.  You might also stop for a half-day in Koln/Cologne before heading west.

And I vote with Ramblinman, try to fit in Amsterdam.

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RE: Western Europe 3 Months - Itinerary Review

by mushroom »

shradda,

If you are starting your trip in August and ending it in October, then it is probably better to start in the central mountains and Alps, so you can enjoy clear skies for views and the cooler temps, and put places like Italy and Spain at a time when it isn't so terribly hot and the beaches aren't mobbed.   Some of your destinations are generally pretty rainy but have lots to do indoors, so it doesn't matter when you go.  

If you haven't already, think about whether you do or don't want to be in Munich for Oktoberfest.  Likewise, do you want to be where the vactations crowds are in the last two weeks in August, or do you want to slip into the cities and enjoy them when they are quieter? 

So if this were my trip, I'd probably be thinking of taking this kind of a route were I starting in August:

London

Switzerland

Germany

Austria/Prague

Italy

Spain

Amsterdam/Belgium

Paris

London

You get the idea.... I might break up my Germany visits into north and south... I'd obviously be looking to take some cheap flights. Even if I wanted to stick to trains, I'd be looking for a loop that maximized clear weather for Switzlerand and other mountain beauty spots than can start to get cloudy and rainy (no views) once summer is over.

But basically I'd be trying to give myself pleasant weather in places where it would really make a difference to my enjoyment of the destination.

 

 

 

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