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Itinerary Check, please help!

I'm planning a 2 wk trip to Europe in May, and have got a rough itinerary planned out, but would love some advice on it! So far we have: Day 1: Amsterdam, Day 2: Brugge, Days 3-5: Paris, Day 6: Avignon (or somewhere else in Provence, any suggestions?) Days 7,8: Nice, Days 9,10: Florence, Days 11,12: Rome, Day 13: Venice. We've planned for travel times,(just not included because of length) and are taking a night train between nice and florence. We're also trying do 1 day trips to the places where we want to mostly absorb the culture, rather than see all the museums and tourist sights (Amsterdam, Brugge, Venice, Provence). This is definitely a whirlwind trip, trying to see as much as possible. Still, do you think there's too much going on? Any suggestions would be great=)

Posted by
3313 posts

Yeah, I think too much. You're covering a lot of ground in a very short time. The train travel will occupy a lot of time on the days you have listed for Avignon, Nice, Florence and Venice. Night trains are highly overrated as an efficient way to maximize your sightseeing - they stop frequently, they can be crowded and they're very hard to sleep on. And I have to imagine that there is no direct night train from Nice to Florence.

You really have two two-week trips on this itinerary. If there's no talking you out of concentrating on either France or Italy, I suggest skipping Brugges, Avignon and Nice to add more time to Amerstdam and Venice.

Posted by
12172 posts

I would want more time to cover the itenerary.

I think more time in Venice would be good, not sure where you would borrow it from. Florence takes two days minimum, be sure to get reservations to the Academia and Uffizi so your two days can cover the most important stuff.

You will need some two night stops along the way just so your time isn't wholly taken up with getting in and out of lodging/travel.

One day in A-dam is plenty for me and Brugge is small enough to cover well in a day.

Paris and Rome take a lot more time to cover. Consider this trip a sampler.

Posted by
4132 posts

I get from this that you want to have the most in two weeks that you can get. No stopping to catch your breath. Ninja travel. Carpe deim and let God sort them out.

I respect that. Heck, I've been there. But this is too much. You'll miss too many parts of travel. You'll miss your trip.

Slow down and absorb the culture. Which takes more time than seeing museums, not less.

Be brutally honest about priorities. I can only guess that the places you would only spend a day in (less, once travel times are factored in) are not really at the top of your list.

If so, start in Paris. Spend more time there. Meld Provence and Nice into a single stop. The night train is a good idea, but if Venice is on your short list go there, then work your way back to Rome. Or skip Rome if you can't spend more time there.

Italy is great but expect delays. A shame to spend your only day in Rome running around trying to get money because the banks are on strike.

Posted by
1358 posts

?Your Itinerary is too full. Take a sheet of paper and list your days down the left side and then
list the towns on each line you will be in for each day.

Then list the places you want to see for each day. Also estimate time for travel each day. That is
the only way I can ever plan trip.

Do research on the web for places which interest you in each town.

Do a google search for “Amsterdam sights” and look at the pictures for each sight. Then decide which ones you want to plan time to see. Then do the same search for each town.

When you do that for every day you will find that you are trying to see too much.

With some experience in travel you will learn how to choose the most important sights and allow enough
time for them all.

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks so much for all your advice! I think you're right, this trip is definitely a sampler. I will definitely talk to the group and see what we can merge, or maybe even cut out. It is good to know that we might not be completely off base in spending a day in Amsterdam and Brugge though!

Again, thanks so much for your help. Has anyone had good experiences doing a fast trip like this?

Posted by
4132 posts

Did you say "the group?" That is a warning sign--groups are not as nimble as singles or couples. More time needed to get out of town and settled in every time you change venues. Less time for your trip.

That's just another argument for cutting back to five or even four destinations.

You can still have an amazing trip even if you "only" see five great places in two weeks! I'm sure you will.

Posted by
30 posts

Haha yup, the group. Well, three of us to be exact. Hopefully that's not as bad as a big group of 5-6. Different priorities do make it harder to cut out destinations though, we've found. We'll have to work it out as soon as possible, I know it will be a great trip no matter what.

If you were going to cut any destination, which would you choose/why?

Posted by
206 posts

Why a whirlwind trip? It's impossible to see it all anyway, so slow down (so you will actually be able remember what you saw), go to fewer places, enjoy them more. There's always the next trip.

Which ones (tough): Amsterdam, (Brugge would take a day), Paris (travel time couple of days to unless you fly), Florence, Rome, Venice. Whatever you decide, just have a great time.

Posted by
590 posts

I did a similair trip like this with three friends for six weeks when I graduated from University. We were all very close, railed it the whole way and while we found it was a quick stop in each city, I wasn't too stressed about it. Maybe it was that I was young and able to be on the go with little sleep. Back then I wasn't too interested in spending time in lots of museums and spent alot of time just wandering the streets and taking in the atmosphere. I say do what you honestly feel you are capable of doing. You will slow down when you need to. I am going back after 10 years this May, and while some people may think I am going quick, I don't. I think that is more of a personality thing though. I have never been a "pokey" person. I think if you have done your research, know what you want to see, you can do it. Whether the whole group can work together, that is only for you and your friends to know if you can make it work. Only young once and you probably couldn't do this when your older

Posted by
590 posts

One more thing...if you are short on time in a city, it is strongly advisable to take a guided tour of some sort. It saves you alot of time getting from point A to B without getting lost. Plus the self guided walking tours in Rick Steves's books look very helpful. I am planning on taking advantage of them.