3 week trip

Hi,

I am planning a trip when I graduate in May with my boyfriend. We will be starting in Ireland (he will be there before I arrive) and plan on going to London, Paris, Switzerland (Geneva), Florence, and Naples. This is will be my first time out of the country. Any tips or advice on getting around and what order?

Thanks!

Posted by Lo
Tucson
1406 posts

Okay. I'll be the first to say it. Too many destinations, too little time. By planning this far ahead, you can easily refine this itinerary.

But I will ask the following:

Are you thinking of fly into Dublin and back home from Naples?

What do you want to see in all those locations?
How many nights are you planning to spend in each of them?

Posted by mmkappe
4 posts

Yes the plan is to fly into Dublin but not sure on the flight back yet because flying out of Naples will more expensive. As far nights, were not sure how long in each city probably 3-4 days in each. So far what we have talked about seeing is: Paris we want to see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Palace of Versailles. In Switzerland- the Chateau de Chillon and Jet d'Eau. In Naples we plan on going to Capri and Pompei.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1383 posts

I have a feeling that you may be paying the same whether you fly in and out of Dublin or into Dublin and out of Naples...you'll have to get from Naples back to Dublin to fly home which may even out the price in the end?
You can definitely do all of this in 3 weeks but probably won't have as much time in each place as you would like.
You'll need full travel days between Paris and Geneva and Geneva and Florence. If you only stay three nights in each place you've eaten up your entire three weeks including the travel time you'll need between cities. That only gives you two full days in each of your destinations which, in my opinion, is not nearly enough time. The only places you have listed that I would consider giving just two days to are Geneva and Naples. Two days is plenty to see Chateau Chillon and the Jet d'Eau, explore Geneva and walk the shores of the lake. Naples can easily be seen in a day and you'll have a day to go out to Pompeii if you want. The rest of your destinations deserve far more than just two quick days.
If it were me, I would fly from Dublin to London, take the train from London to Paris, fly from Paris to Geneva, fly from Geneva to Florence, and then train from Florence to Naples.
I highly suggest that you figure out the travel time between towns, decide exactly what you want to see in each place, and go from there. Maybe you just want a speedy overview this time around and will go back later for longer periods of time? If so, I say go for it. Start in Dublin and fly out of Naples. Getting back from Naples to Dublin will eat up a whole day and cost $$$. If you really want to explore and have a relaxing trip though, you need to cut your destinations down to just 3 or 4. Three weeks sounds like a long time but it really isn't when you're traveling.
Now for my last thought...not that I want to confuse the issue but here it is...consider cutting out Geneva, Florence and Naples. Add Amsterdam to your northern Europe itinerary and you'll have a fantastic combination of cities. Dublin, London, Paris, Amsterdam.

Posted by mmkappe
4 posts

Thank you guys so much! This helps greatly, thankfully I have a lot time to plan. Will post again if I have more questions!

Posted by Laura B
San Francisco
869 posts

As others have said, decide what you and your boyfriend want to see/experience -- and then prioritize. Is what you want to do worth the travel time to get to it? Compared to other uses of your time and money ?

Some things to start with -- apply for a passport (getting a decent photo can take several tries!), figure out your budget,

Posted by doric8
283 posts

laura b, one of my friends' theories is you don't want too attractive of a photo on your passport......you still want it to look like you after you have potentially spent 24 bleary hours in an airport........ esp with tightened security. wink, wink,

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
759 posts

Not to age myself, but my first trip to Europe 30 years ago was a whirlwind 3 week trip in a bus with 12 other people. While we saw 5 countries; Germany Switzland, Austria, Italy (Rome and Florence), and France (Riviera). What I remember today is the scenery from the bus and as we packed up to move on to the next destination, I wished I could have stayed in each place longer. Of course in those days, the Internet didn't exist and I don't remember doing any research before the trip.

In the past 10 years my husband and I have been to Europe 4 times, and the 5th is only 17 days away. So below are the countries we've visited and length of vacation. As you can see, I learned from the first trip. Don't get me wrong, my first trip to Europe was great, and was a teaser until had the time and money to return 20 years later with my husband for his first trip. But saver and enjoy. You'll go back again and again, even if it is years and years later.

2005- Portugal (8 nights)

2007- Dublin and London (9 nights)

2011- Drove from Germany (2nights) to Italy (12 nights)

2013- Italy - 14 nights

2014- UK- 14 nights

2016- Spain? or maybe France? 14 nights

One other thing I do to make sure I don't over schedule is a calculate how much time it takes to get door to door, whether traveling by car, train, or whatever. I figure I have no more than 14 waking hours that we are not in our hotel room. So if door to door transit is 4 hours (that might mean a 2 hour train ride), that leaves 9-10 hours at origin or destination to explore, chill, wander, eat, drink, tour, etc. In a 2 week trip, I plan only 1 or 2 days max where we are "traveling" all day, or more than 6 hours. So as you work through your itinerary, make sure you are not spending too much time on trains, airports, etc. Also, keep in mind that an hour flight is really a 3-4 hour door to door excursion due to security and transit to/from city centres.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

mmkappe,

you can use the info given above, but you can also learn some things yourself.

All you need to do is to print out a map of the areas you chose to see and connect the dots. you will see some sort of path evolve from where you want to go.

check out seat61.com seat61 link for train info.

good luck and happy trails.