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Is this doable? Scotland to France to Belgium in 16 days

I’m planning a trip to Europe for fall 2021 and want to know if this itinerary is doable. Thanks. Two nights Glasgow, train to Edinburgh for one night, train to London for two nights, train to Paris for four nights, train to Nice for two nights, train to Colmar or Strasbourg for two nights, train to Bruges for two nights ending in Brussels or Amsterdam for one night and flying home. Paris and Alsace are must sees for us. Everything else is negotiable.

Posted by
6210 posts

Is this doable?

Do you mean in the sense of the logistics of moving from place to place, or as pleasant vacation experience?

If the former, yes. If the latter, leave me out.

Posted by
3136 posts

From your description, the highlights of your trip will be regular rail transportation, packing, unpacking, checking in and checking out of hotels/B&Bs.

I would never do this.

I would select two areas and spend a week in each and include day trips if you like. This will allow you time & energy to EXPERIENCE the areas you visit.

Posted by
4212 posts

You could use Rome2rio to plot out the transportation options for this trip. I haven't tried to do that, but I expect you could find trains that would get you from place to place on that schedule, But, like Joe, I think it would be a trip mostly about trains and stations instead of the cities you crossed the ocean to see. It looks like nine of your 16 days will involve a flight or a train ride, so only seven full days for Glasgow, London, Paris, Nice, and Alsace. I'd find that a brutal schedule.

If Paris and Alsace are the must-sees, then you have time to see them. Fly into Paris, spend time there, then time in Alsace, then back to Paris or maybe on to Amsterdam if you prefer to fly home from there. Save the UK for another trip, likewise the south of France.

Posted by
2378 posts

I would do a week in either Scotland or London and and week in Paris/Alsace. Skip Nice, Belgium and Amsterdam.

Posted by
489 posts

As said it’s doable and you’d be spending a lot of time on transportation. You have 8 lodging bases for 16 days. I like the tip from Rick where he takes the legal pad out and writes down where he wants to go with the number of nights. Then he reviews it and edits it by deleting a base, adding or subtracting nights stay. I’d say focus on where you feel you really want to be and enjoy that, and perhaps add one other base.
So like you said priority is Paris & Alsace. If you want some of the U.K. then add London for 3 -4nights before you go to France. If you want the Netherlands or Belgium you could start there then move on to Paris & Alsace. So now you have 3 bases for 16 days/nights. You can soak it up, explore, tour, take side trips from your base. You would be rested and not rushed if you eliminated the number of bases.

Posted by
5702 posts

ONe night in a place is no days -- it is only suitable for a place you might stop on a road trip in transit. Two nights, gives you one full day. The cost of moving from such distant places to others is very high to have so little payoff in being there. I would never do 3 days/4 nights on a first trip to Paris -- either spend enough time to enjoy the place or save it for another trip. Tremendous amount of travel with almost no 'being there'. One person gets a belly ache one day and the trip is a shambles.

I would drop drop Scotland, and Nice for starters. and do 5 nights in London, 5 in Paris and then 3 in Alsace and 3 in Amsterdam and home -- that is still a lot of moving around but at least you have enough time to 'be there'. Amsterdam is a good 3 night town; 3 nights gives you a taste of Alsace. -- London and Paris each really deserve at least a week on a first trip.

Posted by
489 posts

Fall meaning October or November? Don’t forget the time change for when you’re planning.
You may or may not be losing one hour of daylight

Posted by
769 posts

This is not doable at all, not if you want to actually enjoy your trip. I would suggest either Scotland with a little more time there ( I love Scotland) and London OR London and Paris. Drop Nice, Colmar/Strasbourg and Bruges. I just noticed you said Paris and Alsace are must-sees, so why not focus on that and drop everything else? You could add to those 2 either Normandy or the Loire and have a very nice 2 week trip.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you all so much. This is not my first trip to Europe, but it is my husband’s. His family emigrated from Alsace so that’s why we’re interested in going there. I really would love to go to Glasgow and I love Paris. We both love trains so we thought it would be fun to take them during this trip. Based on all of your good advice I think we’ll eliminate Nice and Britain. Would you recommend staying in Strasbourg and day tripping to Colmar or vice versa? We’ll probably go in late Sept. or early Oct.

Posted by
16826 posts

The choice of Alsatian base should be determined by what places you want to see in the area. Both Strasbourg (quite a bit larger) and Colmar have lovely historic areas. If your itinerary includes several of the little wine villages, Colmar will be more convenient geographically. Colmar is also closer to Haut-Koenigsbourg, which some visitors want to see.

For seeing the little wine villages a short-term car-rental would be helpful. Absent that, you'll need to dig into bus schedules and possibly budget for a few taxis to get from one small village to another.

I agree that significant itinerary-trimming is needed. Although I like southern France a lot, I would not travel all the way there from Paris or Alsace for just 3 nights in Nice. That would give you only two days of sightseeing time, and most folks who go to that area want to see several of the coastal and hill towns, not just Nice itself--though if you're big on art, Nice has at least six worthwhile art museums. Edited to add: Upon re-reading the original post I see that the idea was to travel all the way to southern France just to spend only two nights in Nice. Just no.

Posted by
2436 posts

there is no point in staying in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.It is only 45 minutes by train between both cities so pick one and do day trips to the other from there.

Posted by
287 posts

It's sounds like the kind of European trip I used to do in the 70s and 80s. Fine when you're young, but hell if you're not (according to SWMBO). Personally I'd go for it, but I wouldn't bother moving base for any distance you could do as a day trip.

Posted by
4153 posts

These are all great places to visit, but you have WAY too much travel.

Three nights in Scotland? You aren't going to Inverness, the highlands or even St. Andrews. Spend some more time in Scotland.

Two nights in London, you might have time to see the Tower, Westminster Abbey, Parliament and Buckingham Palace, but no more.

Four nights in Paris, still need a couple of days more. Nice and south of France for two nights, what do you plan to see there? There is a lot to see in that part of France.

Cut down your travel and stop riding trains all the time, enjoy your trip more.

Posted by
4212 posts

Note that the OP has reposted, planning to scale down the trip considerably as most of us suggested. Her most recent request is for advice on Strasbourg vs. Colmar as a base for Alsace. (Never been there so I can't help.)

Posted by
89 posts

I have a home in Strasbourg and had home-based in Colmar for 1 week to day-trip to other pretty towns using public transport. Colmar has train to Strasbourg/Selestat/Basel and bus to Eguisheim/Riquewihr/Kaysersberg/Ribauville (bus stop is near Tourist Office/Theater/Unterlinden Museum. Tourist office has the bus schedule). Strasbourg can easily be a day-trip from Colmar. There are direct TGV b/w Colmar&Strasbourg and Paris CDG airport. Convenient/comfortable Lufthansa Express Bus runs between Frankfurt Airport and Strasbourg Train Station.