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Itinerary Help

Hello

I am from USA. I am planning to visit Europe in April and want to know if this itinerary is feasible. I will skip museums. I have list of important places and will be taking tours in some places. Every day I am allocating tour time from 8 AM to 7 PM. Travel times between places will be in the night. Tour starts and ends in Paris. First time europe traveler, will be making all train and flight reservations ahead.

  • Paris (France) - 2 Days
  • Bruges (Belgium) - 1 Day
  • Amsterdam (Netherlands) - 2 Days
  • Lucerne, Interlaken, Brienz (Switzerland) - 3 Days
  • Venice (Italy) - 1 Day
  • Rome (Italy) - 2 Days
  • Athens (Greece) - 2 Days

Please let me know if it's crazy :-D
Also, is weather going to be decent in these places in April?
Thank you

Posted by
16894 posts

You've stated your objective, so do you now want us to talk you out of it? What will be the definition of crazy? If you not yet have found flights and train schedules that fit your after-7 plan, then go ahead and look for them and pencil them onto a calendar and see if it raises any red flags for you. Are you counting full days of sightseeing above, or nights sleeping (shorter)? You can't take actual overnight trains between most of these destinations, so you have to sleep somewhere. Add that to the calendar, too.

Every traveler has limited time and must find a balance of how to spend that time, of breadth versus depth, and of pacing. Only seeing a city from outside gives you just that one snapshot of the city. Going into museums, attending events and festivals, chatting with locals, viewing different neighborhoods and times of day all can add to your understanding and experience. A lot of great stuff is inside museums for its own protection. That's why Michelangelo's David is no longer displayed on a public square and the copy that is outside somehow pales in comparison.

Posted by
3621 posts

Laura told you some of what's wrong with your plan. I'll just add that April weather is notoriously unpredictable. There is a good chance you'll have many cold, blustery, rainy days, especially in the more northerly cities. For example, we once arrived in Rome mid-April to 32 degrees F. That day it only reached 40. The next day was a little warmer, but raining.

Posted by
8238 posts

"Please let me know if it's crazy " I guess you could say it's a little aggressive.
Fly into Paris and stay 4 days.
Fly from there to Rome on a budget European air carrier and spend 4 days.
Take a fast train up to Florence and spend 3 days.
Take a fast train up to Venice and stay 2 days. Fly home from there.
Save the other places for your next visit.
We used to travel as far and fast as we could when visiting Europe. When we slowed down, we found ourselves traveling better and our trips were no longer a blur.

Posted by
11294 posts

Laura already mentioned this, but it's worth emphasizing. You said you will be traveling between your destinations "in the night." Most, if not all, of these places are no longer connected by night trains. So, start by researching how you can actually connect these cities, in 2017 (fewer and fewer night routes exist each year, so even if there was one last year, there may not be one now).

To find train schedules, use the Bahn (German Rail) website http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en, following Rick's tutorial: http://www.ricksteves.com/travel-tips/transportation/trains/online-schedules

If you can't find connections there, a good place to start (but it's only a start) is Rome2Rio: https://www.rome2rio.com/. You should never take it as absolute; always go to the bus company, airline, etc to check prices and routes directly.

Posted by
5 posts

@David - Its hard and costly to make multiple trips..so I am planning like this. I plan point to point very clearly which saved me a lot of time in many trips. I won't be searching for what to see and won't be carrying travel books to plan during the trip. Some confidence on my planning. I am thinking of removing Switzerland but thinking of keeping the rest.

Posted by
27409 posts

Yep, it's pretty much crazy. You're going to spend a great deal of money traveling to all of those places and not have all that much time to enjoy them. You may think you'll be fine traveling overnight--and as Laura points out, there might not always be overnight transportation available--but that's not usually very restful with the exception of overnight ferry trips with cabin accommodations. Some people manage on overnight trains, but they don't typically try to do that over and over again on the same trip. I fear you'll be a zombie long before the end of your trip.

Athens for sure needs to go. To go to the trouble/expense of flying or ferrying to Greece and only see Athens is misguided, especially since you say you're not interested in museums. There are many interesting (and, frankly, more physically attractive) places in Greece for folks who don't care for museums. The Acropolis will be waiting for you on your next trip, when I hope you'll have time for some additional sights.

I'm not sure what you plan to do in Switzerland, but if you're hoping for mountain walks, I think you've got the wrong month. Others warn that April tends to be very muddy.

Posted by
1443 posts

10 places in 13 days is, uh, nuts.

April in much of Europe is still fairly chilly. Maybe focus on warmer climates. April in Italy or Greece would be excellent weather-wise. Save northern Europe for the summer or late spring on another trip.

Try flying into Venice and home from Rome. 3 nights in Venice, 3 in Florence or Siena, then 4 in a small hill town in Tuscany or Umbria, and then the final 3 nights in Rome.

Posted by
2713 posts

Your responses indicate significant inflexibility, so, why ask advice? Even eliminating Switzerland gives you too many places, too far apart. Beginning with your starting and ending in Paris: why? Unless you've booked your flight, look at open jaw flights, arriving at one airport, departing from another. Save a lot of wasted travel time. Even with short train rides you are underestimating your travel time. Seeing Paris, Rome, Venice is a doable trip. Unless you can get more time, consider trimming the places you plan to visit and you will enjoy your trip. What you have planned is a whirlwind of places you can check off a list, but will not really see let alone appreciate. You asked if what you have planned is crazy? Very much so.

Posted by
1443 posts

"Beginning with your starting and ending in Paris: why?"

Alan - I've seen several folks post highly aggressive itineraries lately based on really good flight deals in and out of Paris. Perhaps this is EU's reasoning as well. It doesn't explain the mad-dash itinerary, which I predict he/she will come to regret unless it's pruned significantly, but it explains the start/end point being Paris.

Posted by
6670 posts

Yup, way too much for the time you have, I won't belabor what others have said. April is probably not a great month for Switzerland, especially the alpine scenery most people like -- still a lot of snow. But otherwise I wouldn't say April is a bad time. You should expect some cool rainy days but you could have them almost any month.

Posted by
677 posts

Have to agree with everyone. Way too much in too little time. Even if all you care to do is to say you've been somewhere and check it off your list, it's still incredibly frantic. Also, while a train or flight may only take "two hours", you have other lost time of checking out of hotel, transportation time to train, time to wait for train, time to get bearings in new city, time to get to new hotel, time to check into hotel. More time than you'd initially think.

I'd fly to your furthest destination upon arrival in Paris so you can spend your last nights in Paris. Avoid splitting Paris nights. You mention giving up Switzerland. I'd drop Athens too as it's an outlier. If I had my druthers, I'd tell you to give both Paris and Rome 5 nights each but to each their own.

I really hope you can get an itinerary that works for you. Every time I travel to Europe I find myself wishing I had more time, even in the small towns. I understand how tempting it is to try to pack more in but it really is to your advantage to slow down. Best wishes for your planning!

Posted by
430 posts

This new addition to the Man in Seat 61 website might be useful to you if you are determined to travel by night.

Posted by
7175 posts

If you dropped Switzerland, you could give this a shot ...

Day 1 - Arrive Paris (France) - 3 nights
Day 2 - Paris
Day 3 - Paris
Day 4 - am train to Bruges (Belgium) - 1 night
Day 5 - pm train to Amsterdam (Netherlands) - 2 nights
Day 6 - Amsterdam
Day 7 - Fly to Athens (Greece) - 2 nights
Day 8 - Athens
Day 9 - Fly to Rome (Italy) - 3 nights
Day 10 - Rome
Day 11 - Rome
Day 12 - am train to Venice (Italy) - 1 night
Day 13 - pm flight to Paris (France) - 1 night
Day 14 - Depart Paris (France)

Posted by
677 posts

Hi EU - I think you'll be much happier. If you haven't already, get some guidebooks and start planning out your days for each place. Look into daytrips if you think you'll have time to fill. Orvieto and Ostia Antica are popular for Rome. Versailles and Chartres are popular for Paris, just to get started. You'll have a great trip!

Posted by
5 posts

Ok. I decided to do this.

Paris (France) - 4 Days
Bruges (Belgium) - 1 Day
Amsterdam (Netherlands) - 2 Days
Venice, Rome (Italy) - 5 Days
Athens (Greece) - 2 Days

As I mentioned my entry and exit into Schengen area is Paris. So, can anyone suggest if I should apply for visa in France Consulate? I saw 3 conditions to select the consulate. As per these conditions, I may fall in 2nd category. But few are telling that if visa is issued by Italy consulate and if I enter in another schengen country it could be a problem. So, I am thinking of applying in France consulate as its first point of entry and I am going to have random stay in various schengen countries.

  1. In cases where the applicant will be travelling to one and only one Schengen country, the applicant has to apply at the appropriate embassy/consulate of the certain country.
  2. If the applicant is planning to visit two or more Schengen countries, it is highly recommended to be applying for the visa in the embassy/consulate of the country you will be residing in for most of the travelling days, referred to as the main destination.
  3. In case there is no main destination but just a random visit to several Schengen countries, the applicant has to apply for the visa in the embassy/consulate on the first Schengen country he/she will enter according to the itinerary.

Suggestions please.

Posted by
7175 posts

I don't think you will need any visas for what you plan if you are travelling with a US passport.

Posted by
7175 posts

Gotcha. I wondered if that was the case. Check with the embassy/consulate of your entry country.