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Honeymoon in Europe :)?

Hello all,

I'm from North Carolina over in the US. I want to plan a trip to Europe for our honeymoon, we(29M, 31F) are getting married April 23, and expect to do the honeymoon shortly after. I'm thinking around 2 weeks will be the duration. There is a lot I want to see and do, and unfortunately it sounds like 2 weeks isn't very much.

She wants to visit London, and I want to visit Rome. --Paris is in the middle as well as Venice, so if at all possible I'd like to see all 4....Although I'm sure I'll be recommended that it's just not doable. I know that you could spend all 2 weeks in London or Rome, and etc. But I want to get my experience in as who know's if/when I'll ever return.

I've literally watched hours of videos of all the high speed trains, seems like travel is fairly quick to be honest, which is fantastic. I'm not sure if it's cheaper or not for this particular itinerary, but I'd imagine flying is more expensive.

I'm not sure for a budget, I definitely don't mind spending a bit to get all of this accomplished as it's our only honeymoon :). I'm honesty clueless and not sure what to expect, so if you have any questions I'll be happy to answer them. --I did get in contact with a few travel agents, and just awaiting their responses.

Anyone have an idea at some nice places to stay in those 4 cities, I'm not a millionaire but I don't want to stay somewhere that is so so either...

Thank you :)!

Posted by
6567 posts

You're thinking right on your itinerary for a honeymoon.
You can take the Eurostar from London to Paris in about 2 1/4 hours.
The best way to get from Paris to Rome is on EasyJet, a good budget European air carrier. Just pack light.
Each of these great cities are worthy of 4-5 days each.
I would suggest you go onto Booking.com to find accommodations--paying close attention to the customer ratings and what's said about the properties online.
RonInRome.com is a great comprehensive website about Rome and the surrounding area.

Posted by
15 posts

Hello David,

Thanks a lot for the information. I'll definitely check out EasyJet. As well as booking.com ---May I ask if you've been to the places mentioned? If so can you recommend or mention any locations you've stayed?

Posted by
2785 posts

In Rome, we love the Hotel Alimandi-across the street from the Vatican Museums and serves a really good breakfast. You can save money in Rome by staying at a convent. You should think about how important it is to the two of you to go to Venice. If it's not an absolute must, your itinerary would be considerably less hectic if you eliminated it. You could then spend 4 full days in each of the other cities. I've been to Europe 9 times, went to Venice on my first trip and would have no regrets if I'd never been there . If you like Renaissance art, Florence is a really comfortable place to visit because you can easily walk everywhere-it is tied for my #1 favorite city with somewhere you've probably been-Charleston, SC.

We stayed at Trafalgar(Hilton) for several days during Christmas week because we got a decent deal-my husband is still raving about that hotel. It is well-located-husband and daughter walked to Buckingham Palace. We also really liked the Euston Road Hilton-enjoyed their convenient afternoon tea and it was walking distance from British Museum. We always pick hotels close to Tube/Metro stops-definitely decreases stress. Our experience has been that flying between cities(Paris to Rome) is easier than trying to figure out trains in a foreign language. I'm sure you know to fly open-jaw-into London and home from Rome. FYI-we never use travel agents-just Rick's books and website! We have been very pleased with all the hotels we have picked using his books-just use Hiltons because we have points.

Posted by
1067 posts

Hi alphaO. Great place to start would be to get the Rick Steve's book 'Europe Through The Back Door' at your library or bookstore. It has great, user-friendly info. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
433 posts

Congratulations!

In Paris we stayed in hotel on the Seine across from the Louvre. The 4th floor rooms have a balcony with a great view. The Hotel du Quai Voltaire was on sale when we stayed there but might fit your budget.

Fly into London, Eurostar to Paris, then fly to Venice and train to Rome sounds awesome, but could fill more than 14 days, so you may want to prioritize or add days :-)

Posted by
4744 posts

Your original post is correct, as I am going to suggest that for 14 nights in Europe, assuming that doesn't include flights here that you cut down the number of bases to two or three. More so if your time includes getting here. You will need some time to unwind from the wedding and the jet lag, so at least your first day here will be a write off. You can cover all four, but you will lose at least half a day each per transfer. Eg London to Paris is only 2.5 hours on the train, but you will need to get to St Pancras, say 0.5 hours from your hotel, be there at least an hour in advance and say an hour to disembark and find your way to your Paris hotel. Total travel time assuming no delays is 5 hours. That is the easiest transfer.

If you want the more romantic cities, drop London. The climate in late April will be similar in London and Paris and slightly better in Rome and Venice. Venice starts to get busy after Easter but it will not be as busy as June onwards. Look at open jaw tickets to save time. With such a short timescale, I would choose London and Paris, but judging by the posts on this forum, I think Americans do things differently!

It would help if you gave your budget in £ for London and € for Europe.

Posted by
1044 posts

If she wants London - as stated in the OP - I think it would be un-romantic to suggest to drop it :-)

I would suggest London (to get into Europe in an easy way), Venice (because that is my favorite city, but remember to stay east of Piazza San Marco), Rome (because that is the most stunning city I know).

I have never been to Paris, so maybe I am unjust in ruling it out.

Good luck with your wedding and your honey moon :-)

Posted by
384 posts

I can highly recommend Hotel de Londres Eiffel in Paris. Fabulous staff, excellent customer service, easy walking distance to the metro and surrounded by good restaurants. We were there for our anniversary and they upgraded us to room with a view of the Eiffel Tower. Absolutely loved the place! http://www.hotel-paris-londres-eiffel.com/en/

In Rome we stayed at Hotel Raffaello which is several blocks from Termini Station. Great breakfast, very comfortable room and lots of trattorias in the neighborhood. Have no qualms about recommending it. http://www.hotelraffaello.it/

In my planning I have found better pricing in booking directly with the hotel, rather than using a booking site. I personally like being able to communicate directly with the hotel should I have questions regarding my reservation or their services. I would encourage you to make use of the hotel's concierge services both before and during your stay. Best wishes on your upcoming marriage.

Posted by
12488 posts

Another congratulations here!
I'm in David's camp here that you're off to a good start. London, Paris and Rome will be three excellent cities for a first-timer, and you have just enough time to explore all of them without trying to cram everything in. I would take Venice off the plate as it would mean short-changing one or more of them which deserve the time.

Absolutely: Eurostar from London to Paris, and plane from Paris to Rome.

I'm also a big fan of booking.com as reviews can be trusted, and it's a very easy website for booking abroad. Just remember to read the individual fine print on each accommodation carefully for cancellation policies and whatnot. Also check the locations of hotels: as the cities are very large, an accommodation which promises to be 'in' Paris/Rome/London may indeed be so but waaaaaay out on the perimeters. Rates farther out may look attractive but you can end up trading that savings for daily transport costs back and forth - not to mention time. The historic centers are also fun for walkabouts in the evenings so it's well worth being closer rather than further away.

London can be just as romantic as Paris or Rome, depending on how you make of it. I vividly remember a walk along the Thames on a beautiful night, and just like Emma, we found some of the pubs to be mighty cozy little corners for end-of-day tête-à-têtes (yep, I'm a cheap date too). We've been married FOREVER and find that those 'moments' aren't planned as much as simply allowed to happen!

Posted by
3418 posts

If you can stretch the time just a bit, you'll get more value for your money if you want to do all of this. Unless you can stretch it to 3 weeks, I'd save Venice for another trip. It is doable- but everything has its pluses and minuses. Longer time in each place or more places with less time. Personally, for a honeymoon, I'd try for just the 'Big Three'- London, Paris, and Rome. Try to think along Rick's philosophical lines- "YOU WILL RETURN". London is an easy place to start. A week would be close to ideal, but 4-5 days is ok, too. (for me, I'd spend the whole time there and do several day trips, but it doesn't sound like that's what you'd enjoy). In that time you could include a 1/2 day or whole day to visit Windsor and maybe work in Greenwich. Kew Gardens would be very romantic (and it's one of my (and hubby's) favorite places to visit- plus its shop is awesome). The Tower of London, Windsor Castle and village, Greenwich (esp. on a Sunday) has a good market and its park is lovely. Also Think about if you ant to see some theatre while in London (I strongly recommend it). You might want to check out the Grosvenor Hotel in Victoria Station. Lovely old Victorian era 'station hotel' that has been remodeled recently. Great architecture. Or the Radisson Edwardian in the Neal's Yard/Covent Garden area.

We only did one day trip via the Eruostar train to Paris (and didn't like it, but most people do). And we haven't gotten to Rome, though I hope to convince hubby to do so sometime. I agree that train to Paris and plane to Rome are best choices. You could even think about starting in Rome and ending in London to avoid some of the summer heat in Rome. Though either direction would work.

Do read up about packing light and learn about the transportation in each city (ex. London and paper travel passes for the 2-for-1 deals, or Oyster card, etc.). Think about how you want to prioritize- are you more interested in visiting lots of museums or do you want to see lots of historical sites, or is architecture your focus, or do you want a bit of each.... Also think about dining... some simple meals and an occasional splurge? or gastronomic adventure? or ...... you get the idea.

Posted by
3477 posts

First of all, congratulations!!

Secondly, doing all four cities is doable. However, I would suggest doing only two cities. Definitely London (why start off a marriage on the wrong foot) and either Paris or Rome. Why? Because travel itself is always somewhat stressful and both of you will probably be stressed to the max by the time the wedding is over. In addition, going from one place to another seems to always take longer than anticipated. This should be a time to relax and enjoy -- not run a marathon. As young as you are, the odds of you going back to Europe again are really good. Let us know what you decide and the specific info you seek will be forthcoming.

Posted by
12488 posts

We only did one day trip via the Eruostar train to Paris (and didn't
like it, but most people do). And we haven't gotten to Rome, though I
hope to convince hubby to do so sometime.

Toni, a one-day trip from London is probably why you didn't like Paris. You need to give it more time than that as it's a wonderful city but I probably wouldn't have appreciated it on an exhausting day trip from London either. Rome is one of my favorite European cities (so far) but that's probably a personal thing. Florence/Paris are close seconds, and any number of places in Belgium rank right up there too.

Posted by
1049 posts

I have been to all four cities multiple times except for Venice which I did for the first time this year. Of the 4 cities, Paris is my favorite with Venice a close second. I would only recommend one thing and that is don't try to do too much. Traveling in Europe, especially your first time, can be very stressful even for a couple who have been married for many years. I would pick out the two cities that you really want to see and stick with them. You can always take side trips outside the cities if you find you are spending too much time in any city.

Once you have been to Europe, I am sure you will return.

Posted by
1010 posts

Please do not give up on London. Walking along the Thames and sitting on a bench, near Parliament and Big Ben - is really nice. We stayed at the Doubletree, in Westminister, three years ago. We could turn left out of our hotel and walk along the Thames and over to Parliament, etc. The Doubletree is right on the Thames. We have also stayed at the Crowne Plaza in South Kensington. Both hotels are located in very safe, romantic and picturesque areas. We have been to London five times and can't wait to go back. We have been in Rome and Paris three times each. We even stayed in Paris for two weeks. We don't care to go back to either one of those cities. London is a very safe compared to Paris and Rome. In Rome you DEFINITELY have to watch your wallets and purses. You can walk the streets at night in London, ride buses or the Tube and not be afraid. During daylight savings time, it is light in London until 11:00 PM.

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you everyone for the great responses and information. I really appreciate it. I'll try to address everyone since so many took the time to help! --Sorry if this is a bit long, didn't want to leave anyone out. --It does appear we will be in the 4750-5K for the flights/hotels. Hopefully it wont be 5k more for food/transport, as I think over 10K might be too much.---This is based off of looking at hotels on booking.com and just looking at prices per day stretch. We haven't booked anything yet, but we think it will be around this amount.

@lyndlamb1 -- My Fiance really loves Charleston, so I'll have to mention this to her. We did talk a bit today and we will be dropping Venice as 4 is just not doable. Maybe we will go there for a daytrip or something, who knows. --We will be doing Open-Jaw, ---Going to London, leaving from Rome seems to be the best deal. We are not going to use a travel agent. I'll try to work with the Fiance and do everything ourselves. Thanks for the advice, I will look into the books and read more on this site. Appreciate your advice and ideas on hotels :)

@Bob--Thank you for the reference, I'll look into finding/aquiring this book.

@Beth -- Thank you!! Oh wow a balcony. I bet that's pricey. I'll take a look at your suggestions and see if I can fit these suggestions in :). ---We were actually thinking of doing a overnight sleepy train to Rome, not 100% sure yet, we might fly too. We are still contemplating.

@Jennifer-- It's a bummer that a lot of the trip seems to be traveling, but it's required I guess :P We did lower it to 3, I won't go below that though, I think we can do 3 :)! We are strong! I can't drop London or Rome, those two are absolutely required as we both picked one, and decided Paris is in the middle so we will check that out too. --Not 100% sure on the budget yet, but we are at around 5k for hotel/flights when doing a preliminary check. Which seems okay. The hotels weren't as pricey as we thought, apparently there are 5000000 hotels per city too, which is nice!

@I.p.enersen --Very true, I don't want to get killed :P. Thank you :)

@emma-- Haha, there seems to be quite a lot to see and do in London so I definitely am more interested in going now.

@TravelBug79 -- I actually saw that hotel mentioned somewhere else, or maybe it was here. Can't remember but we definitely will be checking into that. That's awesome. Maybe I do need to book these places with the knowledge that we are on our honeymoon. Freebies is always very nice! Thanks for the link! --Interesting, I had not thought to book direct, I do that for my Las Vegas trips sometimes, but did not think to try here. I'll see if it's more affordable that way. thank you for all your hotel advice :)

@Kathy-- Thank you so much! Duly noted and we will be taking Venice off, I wish we had more time, but alas. Hopefully we will be back :). I need to get advice on the best locations to stay as these cities seem huge, but public transport seems to be everywhere. I don't want to end up really far from everything though, so that may be my next goal of knowledge to obtain. Very sweet to hear of your memories:) I'm very excited to make some too!

@Mike J--Hahaha!

Posted by
15 posts

Sorry had to split my post :(

@Toni -- I had not heard of the Kew Gardens, I'll need to google as we need some romantic spots for sure in London :). Windsor castle and village, argh my list is lacking a bunch of these places! I did see a market, borough or something?! I think we have that on our list, looks yummy :). We did look and we will definitely see a play/musical while in London for sure. We have so much on our list, we will have to narrow it down a bit I'm guessing. Thank you for the hotel recommendations. I will look into those mentioned. --It seems to be a bit pricier to go from RDU>FCO and then LHR>RDU--Not sure why. Apparently you are lucky to live in CLT, lots of direct flights?! MAybe we should drive there and take a plane :P!---Interestingly enough, we looked at food for a little time today, and most of London's food seemed Asian or Indian...I need some site recommendations for checking out food. Lots of it seemed pricey too! --I think we will have one super fancy meal per city and average all other times. Never had any of this new fangled Science food :) I would love to try though!

@TC-- Thank you very much! --I appreciate the advice, we will be definitely looking to calm it down a bit, I think I got ahead of myself with the 4 cities.

@yosemite1--We definitely don't want any stress, but I think we can do three and not kill each other or pull our hair out. I'm sorry to hear Venice is your second as that makes me sad we wont be seeing it, or seeing much. I really want to fit a day trip in to try a gondola ride at least though.

@Elaine-- Sounds like you're very high up on London, we are still going don't worry. I'm very excited to hear some high praise for London, it seems a lot of people really love it there, which makes me feel a lot better. I did check the things to do and it seems endless, so I can't wait! Thank you :D

Posted by
12488 posts

We were actually thinking of doing a overnight sleepy train to Rome,
not 100% sure yet,

As far as I know, there are no direct, overnight trains with sleeping accommodations between Paris and Rome. There's one (Thello) between Paris and Milan but you'd need to change there to a high-speed Frecciarossa or Italo train (non-sleepers) onward to Rome. Really, the distance is far enough that I'd fly it.

The cities can seem huge if you're just looking at a map but you'll be focusing on the centers where most of the attractions are so that narrows the field significantly. I would say that London's attractions are more spread out than Paris', and Rome's historic center is the most compact. We've only felt the need to jump public transit a couple of times over several trips there, and walking is the best way to see that one anyway. I'll say the same for Paris.

I think over 10K might be too much

Goodness, you shouldn't have to budget that much! We've done several 3-weekers to Europe and didn't spend that. Your biggest single expense will be airfare, with your accommodations coming in second. London can be an expensive city (and the pound-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate is sort of painful) BUT a great many of the museums are free. For Paris, there's a tourist pass (Paris Museum Pass) that I'd highly recommend for that one, and with a few exceptions a LOT of Rome is free for the looking; the piazzas, almost all of the great art in the churches, and a few ruins besides.

I like booking.com for searching and reserving our accommodations as it's very easy to use (with a map to show you exactly where they are) and reviews can be trusted: I haven't booked a 'dog' using that one yet. Do not focus on star ratings as they relate simply to the amount of amenities the property offers. We do not need concierge, room service, on-site restaurant services, etc. - and don't wish to pay for them - so a hotel (or apt) which has only three-star amenities ranking but great reviews is often just fine for us.

Posted by
25741 posts

overnight sleepy train

Not so sleepy. You will be sleepy the next day - like jet lag. Some people can sleep on some sleepers, many can't.

Posted by
12488 posts

Nigel, I'm one of those people. A 'sleeper'- even if it did go all the way through - wouldn't provide me a decent enough night's sleep to trade for a quick flight. But others may feel differently.

Posted by
15 posts

@Kathy -- Thanks for the additional info, yeah I saw there were no direct trains as well, bummer. I'm still looking into pricing and everything as well, If we do the train that's one less hotel night as well, so flight+hotel vs train ? I think that makes sense.
--Thank you for the additional tips, I was reading the Rick Steves book on Paris yesterday and saw that it mentioned that Museum Pass so we will definitely need to get that! --Glad to hear I'm over pricing it, 10k is a lot to think about haha. --I actually learned about the star rating recently, very interesting as that's not what I'm used to at all, but it's awesome to know. Thank you

Posted by
7124 posts

Fly in to Rome (3 nts)
Train to Venice (3 nts)
Fly to Paris (4 nts)
Eurostar to London (4 nts)
Fly home from London

....very romantic - congrats !!

Posted by
7124 posts

I would even go so far as to suggest stopping in Florence when en route from Rome to Venice.
Store your luggage at the station while you check out the Duomo, Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio.

08: 35 Depart Rome
10:07 Arrive Florence

16:30 Depart Florence
18:35 Arrive Venice

Posted by
15 posts

Hello djp_syd

Unfortunately flying into Rome is a lot pricier than flying into London, I've no idea why that is...

Posted by
15 posts

I should have better clarified, if i do
RDU>LHR FCO>RDU its like 2600-2700

if i do RDU>FCO LHR>RDU its like 3300 or something crazy?

Posted by
7124 posts

Are you comparing flights within the same airline ??
Taxes are different at each airport, and sometimes different for arriving vs departing.
Distance also is a factor as previously stated.
You could book to LHR and then an add-on with a cheap carrier, but that introduces connection problems and may not be worth the hassle for a few hundred bucks.
But if it is a saving of $700 for the reverse order, then I would definitely book it and reverse the itinerary.

Posted by
12488 posts

Air passenger duty tax (applies to all flights originating in the UK) for the flight from London to the U.S. could be contributing to the kick- up in price.

Posted by
15 posts

If I was absolutely set on doing a train from Paris>Rome, I could stay the night somewhere along the way, it wouldn't be so bad if I did that. Does anyone have any experience with this, apparently the sleepy train is a trap, so I'll not do that :X

Posted by
7124 posts

Fly in to London (3 nts)
Eurostar to Paris (4 nts)
TGV Lyria to Zurich (1 nt)
Train (Bernina Express) via Milan to Venice (3 nts)
Freccia or Italo Train to Rome (3 nts)
Fly home from Rome

Posted by
1976 posts

I should have better clarified, if i do
RDU>LHR FCO>RDU its like 2600-2700
if i do RDU>FCO LHR>RDU its like 3300 or something crazy?

Those prices seem very high. Are you sure you're not plugging in a bunch of one-way flights vs. a true open-jaw itinerary? You want to select the "Open jaw" or "Multi-city" option on a flight-search website like Kayak.com.

Posted by
12488 posts

I think those are prices for two so not completely out of line (except the $3,000+ is pretty steep).

Posted by
15 posts

1440$ vs 1550$ just checked with American airlines, which had the best flight (that had a direct flight).

Checking on Kayak, looks kind of better, but the flights even still for rdu>lhr instead of rdu to FCO are a whole lot cheaper.