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10 days 4 cities?

We want to visit Amsterdam for a day or two, Paris for a day and a half (my sister has been there before and said to only do it for a day and a half), then off to Rome and Venice. Is it possible to visit all these places if we fly between cities? We will be in Europe 10 days total... thinking of flying into Italy and leaving from Amsterdam or vice versa. Thoughts? I see sometimes the fights are cheaper than trains! I saw a flight from Paris to Rome for $95 USD and between Rome and Venice either direction $40 USD! I'm traveling in February. We are young and fast walking people... just three of us. Thanks!

Posted by
2487 posts

Far too hasty for me, but it is possible. Train between Amsterdam and Paris (3 hrs with high-speed Thalys) and between Rome and Venice (4 hrs on high-speed day train, or night train). Consult www.seat61.com/ for arranging these trips. Fly Paris to Rome and Venice to Amsterdam. Arrange tickets ASAP before the prices go up.

Posted by
152 posts

I think this is too rushed to really enjoy these wonderful cities...you'll leave Europe feeling like you missed so many things you wanted to see in each of them. One can spend endless amounts of time in Paris and Rome, but I'd allow at minimum 3-4 days for each of those two cities to feel like you really got a flavor of the place. Keep in mind that in addition to the vast numbers of world class sights to see, a big part of the fun of being in these cities is simply wandering or sitting at a cafe soaking it all in, so you want to allow time for that in addition to sightseeing.

I'm going to assume when you say 10 days, day 1 is your first full day in Europe (as opposed to your day of departure from the US), and day 10 is the day you depart (typically flights back to the US are late morning/midday, but Amsterdam might have a later flight out). This really leaves you with 9 full days of sightseeing. Unless you use overnight trains, every time you change cities it will take up basically a full morning (or I guess evening if you fly at night) between getting to the airport, security, flight time, and getting from airport to city center. For Paris and Rome, you're looking at anywhere from about 45 min to 1.5 hours to get from the airport to your hotel depending on traffic, or changing trains, etc. So, if you try to do 4 cities with 9 full days, you're going to spend about a cumulative 1.5 days of that time just in transit, which I think would feel frustrating when you have such limited time for your vacation, and leaves very little time for eventualities like strikes, etc., that might throw things off.

TL;DR: I'd suggest picking two of these cities and focusing on them for a more satisfying trip not bogged down by lots of logistics/transit time. You could do three if you're willing to move quickly. Four is too much .

Posted by
134 posts

And you might find Paris more interesting than did your sister. Ask yourself: Why am I going to Paris and what do I REALLY want to do. Then determine if you can do that in a day and a half.

The first time I was in Paris, I thought I had zero interest in the city and was merely there for a direct flight back to my home airport in the US, but the day I spent there barely scratching the surface prove my previous "I have no interest in Paris" thoughts wrong.

I went back the next year and spent 4 days there and when THAT time was done, I felt like i needed more time to see what I wanted. So, I will go back another time (and probably leave again feeling I did not allow enough time).

A day and a half in any of the world's great cities would not be nearly sufficient for me. Make sure you are spending the time you want, not the time somebody else suggests.

Posted by
2707 posts

I'm not recommending 4 spread out cities in this time frame, but if you are willing to spend upwards of 100 hours planning you can make it work well enough. Tips:

  1. Select lodging that is within walking distance of 5+ sights you want to see and also to the train station you will use or airport transit you need. Often there are 6 or fewer places that will fit the bill even in huge cities. You've no time to putter around town for charming or cheap or trendy.

  2. Print out walking and transit maps in advance. Scope out streets in google street view that you will be walking and view the entrances you need.

  3. Obtain reservations for busy sites. Check opening hours and days of what you want to see. You can't err here with a long line or closed sign.

  4. Buy all train / plane tickets in advance since there will only be one best one that fits your schedule anyway.

  5. Lower your standards for food, you'll have to take what comes. You'll only have time for 1 sit down meal per day (dining in Europe is often a drawn out affair). Buy something for breakfast the day before if it's not included with the room. Buy portable food and eat some meals on the run.

  6. Plan every step of each day including estimates of how long it will take to walk there, include estimates for waiting and transferring if using transit, read about each sight so you have an idea of how many hours you'll want to spend there. You won't keep to a detailed schedule but you won't start any day with an unrealistic itinerary. Scope out a bonus sight every day that you can add in if for some reason you find yourself with extra time.

I've managed to have highly productive 48 hour visits to London and Florence that were still relaxing but it took a great deal of planning months in advance.

Posted by
7124 posts

Ten days (is that 9 nights?) is just not enough time for these four cities. Stick to just 3.
Add either Belgium between Amsterdam and Paris, or Florence between Venice and Rome.

Posted by
4207 posts

I agree with the others about trying to see these four cities, so far apart, in so few days. I'd only add that the Thalys train between Amsterdam and Paris makes much more sense than flying, if you consider the time it would take to get to one airport, check in and go through security, disembark and (if necessary) get bags, then get to your hotel. The train goes from and to each city's center, all you have to do is get on and off. It's also scenic. I don't have Italy experience but I'd think the same would be true between Venice and Rome.

Posted by
4125 posts

You'll have a better trip if you don't try to touch so many bases.

I'm not saying not to cram in what you can, but aim for the best experience rather than the most of them.

Posted by
116 posts

I generally disagree with "country hopping" unless your total trip length is 10 days or more. You came to one country. Why not see all that it has to offer? 1.5 days in Paris? Could you imagine a newcomer to the USA spending 36 hours in New York City? You will spend so much time in transit and, if you fly around, spend a significant time in customs. The probability of a flight/train being canceled increases with the number of transitions you make as well.

For reference, when we went to Italy last year, this was our itinerary:

3 nights Venice (about 2.3 days given we flew into here our first day) - I wanted more - amazing city - We will be back
3 nights Florence - Felt about right for a first trip
2 nights Siena - Could have used 1 more
2 nights Vernazza (We went in March - if we went in summer/fall when more trails were open I would have wanted more)
4 nights Rome - felt pretty good

When we go to France this March, we are spending 6 nights in Provence (based in 1 location) and then 6 nights in Paris.

Slow down. Relax. The most memorable parts of our trips have been stumbling into random cafes or finding the perfect gelato. You will be back.

Posted by
447 posts

Decide where you're flying into and where you're flying home from - then plan your trip. From my experience, any major city with sights (i.e. Paris) is worth at least 3 nights minimum. Places that are the sights (i.e. Venice) deserve at least 2 nights. The more places you go the more time you waste traveling - be efficient.

Posted by
36 posts

Agree with others. Pick two cities. And your sister is not a travel or art person if she feels 1.5 days in Paris is sufficient. JR

Posted by
3436 posts

I've visited Paris at least 20 times and stay for a minimum of four days each time. I'll be going back soon, and certainly not with your sister. Seriously, moving around all the time on a very short trip is checklist travel. Slow down; understand more; enjoy better.

Posted by
487 posts

Personally for me this would be nuts. Yes, you can do it all. But what will your memory of your 10 day travelw ith your sister and other person be? For the amount of money used to keep hopping to your next destination, I'd devote those funds to absorbing and breathing in one destination or two. You have a home base (home) to venture out, explore, slow down and get local. Just my way of travel versus
cramming a checklist into 10 days.

Posted by
12091 posts

Hi,

Based on your time span, I agree with your decision to visit three cities and would do that myself. It's certainly doable. Be prepared that the day for flying might be taken up in transit, depending when the flight departs.

Posted by
81 posts

I would leave out either Italy, or France/Amsterdam. We are going for 13 nights and only doing 3 cities (7 nights in paris, 2 in Bruges, 4 in Amsterdam). We like to see all the sites but we like to spend a lot of time sitting in cafe's and people watching or finding a nice park and sitting with our books and a bottle of wine for a few hours. We try to have a few hours of down time in each day.

Posted by
32 posts

I cram a lot into my trips as well. It can be done! I am personally going to Paris & Amsterdam this summer (4 days in each), but my sister has been to Amsterdam before, and depending on how many museums you plan to visit, you can do it in 2-3 days. It's a compact city, so it really comes down to how much leisure time you want. There is a high speed train from Amsterdam to Paris, and then you could cheaply fly to Italy. I would recommend taking the train while in Italy, rather than flying, because you would have to figure in time spent getting to and from the airport, and time in the airport, and would be subject to any weather delays. Meanwhile, trains leave from city centers, so they are much easier, faster, cheaper (no taxis required), and usually reliable. The train station is very convenient to what you want to see in Venice; the airport is not.

I have been to Italy. I saw 7 cities in 9 days, with a broken foot. We spent 2 full days in Rome and 1.5 days in Venice. We flew from the US to Rome, quickly hopped a train to Florence, went to Pisa the same day, left Florence the next morning for Venice, then took an overnight train from Venice to Naples the night after that (and spent two days on the Amalfi coast), then it was back to Rome for a few days and a day in Pompeii. I am the kind of person who needs a vacation from my vacation!

Have fun!