Itinerary - London, Paris, Venice, Florence, Rome

I have a tentative itinerary for my trip to Europe this summer. I am interested in visiting religious sites, especially John Wesley sites in London and early church sites in Rome, in addition to sightseeing. This is my first trip, and I would like your input. I have a few specific questions: - I want to add Interlaken, if possible. What do you think? - I plan to use train to move from one city to another. Is that good? - What's the best way to move within each city - from train station to hotel, from hotel to tour sites? Taxi..? Thank you in advance, and here is my tentative schedule: 6/11 Arrive in London 6/12-16 (5 days in London) 6/17 Train trip to Paris 6/18-23 (6 days in Paris) 6/24 Travel to Venice 6/25-26 (2 days in Venice) 6/27 Travel to Florence 6/28 (1 day in Florence) 6/29 Travel to Rome 6/30-7/10 (10 days in Rome)
7/11 Coming back home Hannah

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
679 posts

It sounds like a very reasonable plan to me. Good job planning your first trip and not moving too fast. I wouldn't add Interlaken. Save the alps for another visit when you have more time. Yes, trains are best, but fly from Paris to Venice (pretty cheap). You should be able to use trains or buses around town. I like to plan my hotels close to train station so I can walk there with my lugage, dump it, then use public transport around town to see sites.

Posted by Bob
Minneapolis
589 posts

Hi Hannah. Would be easy to add Interlaken via train between Paris and Venice; and would be a nice contrast since the rest of your trip is in cities. Just up to you whether you want to swap the days. If so, suggest you swap 3 days from somewhere else (maybe 1 from London and 2 from Rome?). If you go, I would suggest 2 days in Interlaken to give you a better chance of good weather, plus you will need one extra travel day. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by Sherry
San Jose, CA
1139 posts

Hannah, if you want to focus on the early churches of Rome, you might want to look up one of the lists of titular churches, the churches built at the sites of the early house churches. There are also some 'pilgrims guide to Rome' books that are particularly helpful. One of my favorite churches in Rome is Santa Prassede, which has beautiful Byzantine-style mosaics many dating from 10th/11th/12th C. Santa Sabina is a particularly well preserved early church. San Clemente allows you to see three levels of construction, including remains of the 4th C basilica. And the Papal basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore is beautiful (and very near Santa Prassede). In Florence, try to go to San Miniato al Monte, above P Michelangelo, with beautiful views over Florence and a stunning 10th to 12th C interior. And the Badia Fiorentina has some of the most beautiful liturgy I've ever attended. In Venice, Torcello has the earliest basilica on the lagoon (predates San Marco) with beautiful mosaics. And I'd probably add a few days to Venice and Florence (taking them from Paris or Rome), but your interests may be different.

Posted by Richard
Los Angeles
632 posts

That's a great trip and you certainly have time to add Switzerland if you choose. I would add one more night to Florence. I would look on vrbo.com for a rental in Rome.If you go from Paris to Venice,fly. If you go via Switzerland take a train (more like four trains).

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3505 posts

The best way of getting from hotels to trains depends on the time of day and the location of the hotel. In London and Paris, some of the underground/metro stations have escalators and elevators up to street level, others will require some stairs. In traffic taxis can sometimes take a long time end up being expensive. If you are flying into Heathrow, you can easily take the underground to the nearest station on the Piccadilly line to your hotel , then grab a cab for a short ride. In Paris, I'd probably opt to take a taxi from the train station to the hotel, just for convenience. If you buy your Eurostar ticket from London to Paris well in advance (up to 120 days), you can get a very good price on a non-refundable ticket. You will need to be at the train station at least 30 minutes (they say 60) in advance to go through security and passport control. From (and back to) the train in Venice, it's easy to take the vaporetto (water bus). Your hotel will be able to give you exact instructions. The train station in Florence is smack-dab in the center of town. It's often a short walk to a hotel (or a short taxi ride), but be aware that much of Florence is cobblestones, extremely narrow sidewalks and pot-holed streets. In Rome, I just take taxis to/from the train station from/to the hotel.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3505 posts

There are some very interesting 5th-7th century Byzantine churches in Ravenna, with amazingly beautiful mosaics. You might consider taking a couple of days from Rome to visit them. From Venice, you'd take a train to Bologna, then a slow regional train to Ravenna. Then back to Bologna to get a train to Venice. Because Ravenna is "out of the way" its churches were never destroyed, unlike most everywhere else. In two days, you could soak it all up.