I am planning a trip in June of 2014 to celebrate my 50th birthday. I traveled to Europe as a teenager and did Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. My husband has never been to Europe. We have about two weeks and don't like guided trips. I am looking for guidance since I am overwhelmed by all of the options. We have interest in Barcelona, Paris and Italy, we are beach people also so would like to do some coastal travel. We plan on two-three weeks. Any suggested itineraries? Thank you so much!
You could divide the time between Italy and France and hit some beach towns in either country. Or, if Paris is someplace you would like to spend a bit of time then why not do a week in Paris, a few days in Normandy and the beaches up that way, then head south to Provence and spend some time exploring the beach towns on the French Riviera (from St. Tropez, to Cannes, to smaller towns like St. Maxime and the Carmague with its beaches and pink flamingos and wild horses)
If at all possible take 3 weeks instead of two.
This may or may not interest you, but because I grew up in Pennsylvania, my favorite coastal region of Europe is in Belgian and southern Netherlands. Towns like De Haan, De Panne, and Domburg remind me most of the good aspects of the southern Jersey shore. Of course, if you like to lie out in the sun, the weather here isn't as reliable, but if you like the beach as an escape from summer heat, rather than a place to get warmer, this region is perfect.