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30(ish) days train journey through Europe - Itinerary help appreciated!

Hello! Planning a trip later this year, 4 to 5 weeks. Below is a (very) rough itinerary that I'd love if you guys could critique.

Nights - Location

3 - Amsterdam

2 - Rhine Valley (Bacharach?)

3 - Prague

2 - Hallstatt (or Salzburg or Vienna?)

2 - Bavaria (Füssen?)

3 - Venice

3 - Rome

3 - Nice

3 - Lauterbrunnen Valley (Gimmelwald?)

3 - Paris

3 - London

I know there's too much here, especially after train travel time is factored in. Things will probably have to be dropped, or at least shuffled so some locations get longer than 3 nights - we're more into beautiful scenery than museums and the like though.

I'd love if you guys have any suggestions on what to drop/add/shuffle here. If anything should be dropped, perhaps Rhine Valley or Nice could go first. We were also hoping to see some beautiful beaches either in Spain or islands in Italy, but I don't think that's going to fit. Any beach recommendations that could work with the above?

Thanks!

Posted by
16894 posts

The number of nights you've allotted to each destination is not in itself a problem, but the average distance between them is relatively long, often using a whole day for train travel. If sticking with train, then cutting Rome and Nice saves a good amount of travel time. Rick’s Train Travel Time & cost Map gives you an overview of the fastest train travel times in hours, as well as regular (full-price) 2nd-class fares.

OR you could change this from an all-rail trip to add a few flights in the mix, such as Amsterdam-Prague and from Venice or Rome to France or Switzerland. www.skyscanner.com.

Which month you travel can affect what's open in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (some closures especially in November).

Posted by
33329 posts

Time of year will also affect beach comfort, and especially water comfort.

Posted by
4 posts

I am taking the same sort of trip for about the same time frame. I have been working on my itinerary for quite some time and would be happy to share with you as I have really been working on travel time between each destination.

Posted by
965 posts

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Posted by
7175 posts

EDITED
I would change your order perhaps...

Amsterdam (3 nights)
Bacharach (2 nights)
Lauterbrunnen (3 nights)
Bavaria (2 nights)
Prague (3 nights)
Salzburg (2 nights)
Venice (3 nights)
Rome (3 nights)
Nice (3 nights)
Paris (3 nights)
London (3 nights)

You could definitely do with more time if you can swing it. Enjoy.

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks guys! That train time estimate map is very handy, hadn't seen that before. Will try to redo itinerary based on suggestions. I do have to fly in to Amsterdram and end in London though.

We're actually going August/September so it would be nice to fit some tranquil beaches in there. I don't know if there's anywhere more accessible to the current route that compares to beaches in Spain or Sardinia (Italy).

Posted by
7906 posts

In my view, you have too much travel with too few days is some places. I suggest paring down your trip.

Have your already purchased your airline tickets? If not, flying in to Amsterdam seems a bit much, better to fly into Frankfurt.

You have three days for Vanice, which is fine, but only three for Paris, Rome and London. Those cities deserve at least 5 days each.
Also, you are going to Italy but skipping Florence. Not a good idea.

Nice was a bit of a disappointment for me and there is a lot better places to visit in Provence than Nice, but it does have beaches.

My view is don't plan of going to Europe for beaches. Enjoy the history and culture.

Posted by
35 posts

I disagree with the poster above who said you need at least 5 days in Paris, Rome, and London. To fully see them, yes, you need more than 3 days. But this type of trip is more about hitting the highlights of Europe (at least it was for me). 3 days in a city is enough to do that. And you'll get a feel for which places you like best and can plan to return to them for a longer time in the future. I don't remember the exact number of nights I spent in each location when I did my trip (it was over 10 years ago) but I know we didn't spend more than 3 nights in any city.

Mine was closer to 6 weeks in total duration, but we did: London, Paris, Barcelona, Nice, Geneva, Milan, Florence (with a side trip to Pisa), Rome, Venice, Vienna, Munich, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels. We basically made a loop around Europe, then took the Eurostar back to London to fly home from there so we could purchase a round-trip ticket.

If you are going to cut out a stop, I would skip Nice. It was nice to relax and swim at the beach for a day but its not somewhere I'd go out of my way to return to. Also the beaches are rocks, not sand (which we didn't realize beforehand), so its not very comfortable to lay on unless you have a padded mat or a lounge chair.

I would also suggest cutting Venice to 2 nights (it's beautiful and interesting but also a very small city with the major sites concentrated in one area) and add a night or 2 in Florence. The train ride from Rome to Florence is only about 2 hours, and riding through the Tuscan countryside alone makes it worth it. You can also make an easy trip over to Pisa from Florence (1-1&1/2 hour train ride) to see the Leaning Tower.

I hope this is helpful. Whatever you decide on, you will have a wonderful trip!

Posted by
4 posts

Thanks guys, itinerary is now looking like this (up to 32 nights) - we dropped Nice (before today's sad news), but then Rome > Paris train is very long - so we looked into flights. Which opens a lot of new options obviously.

For example flying from Rome to Sardinia or Barcelona (or elsewhere in Spain), and then flying from there to Paris. Any thoughts on this? Sardinia's beaches look beautiful, I know Spain has lots too - but unsure how close to Barcelona they would be. But Barcelona would obviously have other stuff to see.

To make extra time and add Florence we also dropped Bavaria for now, which looks beautiful, but I wasn't sure what else to cut. Any opinions on other things to drop/cut nights on instead?

I also adjusted the travel order based on an above post - any suggestions on that front?

3 - Amsterdam

2 - Rhine Valley (Bacharach)

3 - Lauterbrunnen Valley (Gimmelwald)

3 - Prague

2 - Salzburg

2 - Venice

2 - Florence

4 - Rome

3 - Sardinia/Barcelona

4 - Paris

4 - London

Thanks!

Posted by
15678 posts

From all I've read here, I doubt you'll find quiet beaches in Europe in August - when all the Europeans are taking vacations to the beaches. September - more likely. And you won't necessarily see beautiful scenery from the train. Your itinerary is heavy on big cities for someone who wants scenery and beaches. . . . just sayin' . . .

Posted by
4 posts

^ That's true, totally open for suggestions for beautiful scenery though! :D

We tried to go more for scenery than big cities in Germany/Austria/Switzerland at least.

Posted by
1136 posts

Barcelona has beaches! Going to the beach there was a highlight for us. Although we live in a great beach city in Southern California, we thoroughly enjoyed our Barcelona beach experience. There are peddlers walking up and down the beach that may be annoying to some but we thoroughly enjoyed their services. They were selling mojitos or sangria ( my son asked one of them for a beer and the guy ran to a store and got him one) for a not too outrageous price. There were Asian women offering to give massages ( you keep your bathing suit on, obviously) for E5 for 15 minutes. Some were selling henna tattoos. We also stopped at LaBouqueria for picnic food so we were well fed. It was a most relaxing day. We felt pampered by these folks and enjoyed talking to them too. There's no way we can get that kind of stuff here in good old USA! This was back in 2013.