Itinerary Questions- timeline. Suggestions welcome

Our first trip to Europe; Here's my timeline... so far. Do I have enough time, here and there??? Suggestions welcome: Day 1 Arrive early morning Edinburgh- Bus tour around the city, possibly check out the castle and take the train to York in the afternoon, stay over in York Day 2 Explore York, York Minster is a truly awe inspiring cathedral, especially wall and Parks Overnight again in York Day 3 Up early and head to London get to our accomadations and explore a bit- ½ a day in London Day 4 London Day 5 London Day 6 London to Stonehedge tour Day 7 London Day 8 up early and head for Paris ½ day in Paris Day 9 Paris Day 10- Day trip Palace of Versilles Day 11 Last day to Explore Paris Day 12- Train to Koblenz route through Saarbruecken Get off to be closer to Burg Eltz- Overnight in Moselkern Day 13 Train from MoselKern Travel on to Koblenz and explore a bit here here take the 2 pm KD on to Braubach, & see the Marksburg Castle, overnight in Braubach Day 14 Rhine River Cruise with KD cruise line and jump off to see Rheinfels Castle and back on to Mainz Overnight in Mainz Day 15 Mainz- Frankfurt- Frankfurt overnight Day 16 Frankfurt- Explore Frankfurt Overnight Day 17 Bus or Car Rental on the Romantic Road to Schwangau Stay the night Day 18 Explore the 2 Castles there: Neuschwanstein & Hohenschwangau castle overnight again Day 19 Bus or Drive to Munich
Day 20 Fly out of Munich If we do the car rental, we may spend more or less time in these areas from Maniz on...

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

I am sorry to tell you that I think this is far too much, in my opinion. I understand this is your first trip to Europe and want to see it all. Believe me, I have done it thinking would not get back again. Many, many trips later I realized doing three countries in three weeks is too much. Edinburgh alone is so lovely I would not just want to drive by it on a bus. I suggest four days, you could do it in three maybe, then York if you want for several days, then London for five with day trips and ending in Paris for the balance of your time. This is just my opinion, see what others think about skipping Germany on this trip. Good luck.

Posted by Norma
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
3409 posts

So much time in London and so little time elsewhere. I know you love your itinerary but it really needs rethinking, at least in my opinion. I would give much more time to Paris and France and a lot less (or none for this trip) to Germany. Your German itinerary is whole trip.

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
679 posts

I know how difficult it is to cut down your itinerary when you want to see everything. I have to cut mine back every time I plan a trip, but I'm wondering why bother with Edinburgh? I would fly straight to London and skip Edinburgh and York. Don't forget you will arrive very tired and jet lagged and to spend a half day just to leave seems like a waste. We try to spend an average of three night per city, four for large cities like London or Paris, and maybe two nights for the sleepy countryside villages. That seems like the perfect amount of time to still move at a good pace, but remember what you saw and get to know a place a bit. I know those are hard decisions to cut out great places and things you want to see, but you may find you wish you had planned it different when it is all said and done. Just my thoughts.

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

Thank all. Ya, I agree, it sounds like a lot. But I've been researching the train schedules and it seems to work. The reason to fly into Edinburgh was because we want to go to York, as my husbands ancestor's come from there. Rather than fly into London and take the train up to York and back and see the same scenery we'd fly into Edinburgh and see a bit there, it's not high on the list but we'd walk around. Get some fresh air and then on the train to York. York, again... just look around. We don't need to do anything...per say just see the old buildings and I'm sure longer would be better but... York 2 nights London 5 nights Paris 4 nights MoselKern 1 night Braubach 1 night Mainz 1 night Frankfurt 2 Hohenschwagua 2 nights Munich 1 night We are not fans of the big cities and the crowds. so, we are trying to allow lots of time to get to and fro.
Germany would not be off the itinerary since we want to see these Castles. We are starting our travelling a bit later than some of you.

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
679 posts

I guess my concern is the one night stays. I don't know the locations in Germany but I wonder if there is some place more central to take day trips from so you don't have to move as often. I realize you are covering ground from Frankfurt to Munich, but just be aware of how much time it takes to change locations. I don't mean just hours between cities, but packing, checking out, finding the next hotel, checking in, etc. Just know, at least from our experiences especially in small villages, the directions given are not always what you think: "leave the train station to the right, pass a foot bridge, go through the tunnel and we are just past the second foot bridge". It sounds fine until you are trying to actually follow directions. So, little things like that can take much more time than you would ever expect. So, to spend one night generally means you get about a half day sight-seeing, even if it is only a couple hours away. Everything seems to take longer! Maybe you could settle in the middle of a couple of those cities and see what you want, but just as day trips before moving again.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7827 posts

One night stays will not really work. A two night stay allows a person about 1.5 days of actual visit time. If a place is not even worth 1 full day, really , why bother. You have devised a "tour of train stations".. as you will spend majority of time checking in and out of hotels, getting to train stations, then finding next hotel.. this can be time consuming.

Posted by Nicole P
Truro, NS, Canada
711 posts

On our 2010 trip, we did..let's see...6-7 one night stays in a 23 day trip(hubby's fault)...and they don't allow much time for sightseeing (I know, I don't like to hear that either). We arrived Munich in the evening, had maybe from 9-4 to sightsee the next day before training to Salzburg...a few months later looking at pics of Munich, my husband couldn't even remember being there - he totally forgot, and there was no time for the city to make an impression. One nighters really are hard...I would maybe take off one London and add it too (well, I'd add an extra day in Paris, but I can't speak for all the Germany spots - we've only been to Munich...or were we?!)...?

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

York 2 nights London 5 nights Paris 4 nights MoselKern 1 night Braubach 1 night Mainz 1 night Frankfurt 2 Hohenschwagua 2 nights Munich 1 night
Okay, I get what your saying now about those 1 nighters. Yes We could totally head to a bigger centre called Koblenz and backtrack to MoselKern to see the Burg Eltz castle... but I figured staying one night in a very small town would be relaxing. Instead of backtracking we'll change trains from a TGV to Regional along the way and stop right at the little town of Moselkern. We'll arrive early afternoon. Check into hotel. See the castle. They only let you have about 1 hour tour of these castles. Allows for lots of relaxing time here. I really wouldn't want to stay more than one night here. The next stop is also a Castle town. Same thing...only let you in for 50 min. tour, so lots of time to relax...do laundry. I'm not sure who wrote it, in reply but I would totally take one day away from London, if necessary and add it to Germany, since the Castles are high on our list. But I thank you Sincerely for clarifying why you thought we needed more time. Not in some of these one nighters. That's really all we'll need, for sure. In London and Paris, we do not plan on going to all the museums. We love looking at the old buildings, even from the outside of some. So, that does not take long. I am more concerned about travel time in the city of London. not sure how that will all work.

Posted by Susan and Monte
Granite Bay, CA
679 posts

Well, it sounds like you are comfortable with your itinerary and pace you have planned. There are those on this board who do plan trips like yours and love them. The majority of us like to take things a bit slower. Each trip is a learning experience and you find what you didn't like and adjust for the next one.
Have a fabulous trip!

Posted by Janelle
Spokane, WA, USA
52 posts

I would really recommend a car rental for the portion from Frankfurt to Munich. It is amazing how much flexibility you have regarding the amount of time you spend in smaller towns. In Sept. with a rental car (and GPS) we spent two days in Schwangau. We arrive late one evening, toured the castles the next morning and hiked down from behind Neuschwanstein by 1:00. We had lunch at our hotel and then had time to see Wieskirche and wander around in Oberammergau later that afternoon. Very fun day, and we had the flexibility in our timing to hike again the next morning before driving to Salzburg because we weren't bound by train schedules.

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

thanks Janelle, you know I was thinking the same thing. I think it would give us much more flexibility on the Romantic road. we are not that interested in Frankfurt, we'd rather head off on our own and see things as they come. Did you go on the Romantic road? Cool, I didn't know you could hike behind the castle. Great idea. We'd love to do that too. :)

Posted by melissa
Austin
799 posts

Shelly, FYI it's a good 25 minute walk up the hill to Neuschwanstein- be sure you allow plenty of time to get up there and find your group! When I was there you could also take a carriage, but the lines for it were long.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1560 posts

It sounds like you will have a car in Germany, correct? If so, highly suggest you go to Dachau which is very close to Munich. It is certainly worth a half a day.

Posted by Charles
Austin, Texas, USA
308 posts

Shelly - i think your timeline looks great. I have been 10 times and usually have a schedule that looks like yours does. While the others have good points, they probably have a different style or preference than you and I. I have been to all the places you have on your list and agree with your thinking and time budgeted. You can make it work. Just double check the train schedules and if you can get from point A to B, then go for it. Don't let people with a more relaxed and leisurely style of travel scare you away from your plan. It can work!!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2501 posts

Just be sure that if you want to see a castle or museum on a Monday, it may be closed (seems to be the most popular day for closing).

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

Thank you Charles. Finally someone who gets it! It's a good pace but not crazy. I definetly have down time here and there.Good Point- I will be sure to check the train schedules and have that figured out well ahead of time. :) I appreciate your support.
Thanks Zoe, I knew that was the case at museums but didn't think of it for the Castles too. I'll check on that for sure. Thanks for the heads up. :)

Posted by Lee
Lakewood, Colorado
11274 posts

"overnight in Braubach.
"Day 14 Rhine River Cruise with KD cruise line and jump off to see Rheinfels Castle and back on to Mainz" You might want to check the schedules on www.k-d.de and reconsider. There is only one connection from Braubach to Mainz that would allow you to stop in St. Goar to see Rheinfels, and that for only two hours (12:20-14:20), and I don't think that is quite long enough. If you just go to Bingen or Rüdesheim, you'd have more options. Actually, I'd only go to Bacharach and take the train from there to Mainz.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2012 posts

Burg Eltz is somewhat difficult to get to without a car (with a car, it's not really "in the middle of nowhere" if you're already in the Mosel area, 30 minute drive from Cochem isn't exactly remote) but it's worth it IMO because it's a great castle in a great setting. But yeah, if you're short on time (and you are) it might make more sense to pick a car as soon as you get into Germany, although this creates a little difficulty with the car. You could always park the car, do the "best of the Rhine cruise" as outlined by RS, then train back to the car.

Posted by Shelley
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
257 posts

Thank everyone. Lee, I did check with the KD cruise line and have the 2013 schedule that I was working off of. If we get on the KD cruise line in Braubach @ 10:05 cruise along to St. Goar arriving at 12:20 there is a scheduled cruise @ 15:20 This leaves us just over 3 hours... or it's possible we'll choose to stay somewhere else along the Rhine and then finish up by train. Not sure about this. but I think it is possible. 2 hours looking over the ruins seems about right. Lee, Why would you only go on to Bingen, Rudesheim, or Bacharach and take the train from their to Mainz?

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
2696 posts

Hi, Three weeks for London, Paris, and the western part of Germany can easily be done provided that you time it accurately. Take the early train from Paris Est dep. 0706 to Saarbrücken. Then transfer to Koblenz. Leave Mainz in the morning for Frankfurt, a short ride. For the two nights in Frankfurt, I suggest staying close to Frankfurt Hbf. Some good, inexpensive hotels are there. And, I would suggest the same for the one night in Munich. No need for a car for Mainz or Frankfurt.