*My Itinerary*...is it "do-able"?

Hi! I'm Amber and my beau Kevin and I are taking a trip to Europe in March and April 2009. This is our tentative itinerary. Would just like to know if you travel gurus out there think that this itinerary is "do-able." I find it very helpful to have others look at our itinerary. Also, if anyone has any random suggestions about the cities we are visiting, how the weather may be, etc. I would appreciate it!

Thanks,
Amber

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Sunday, March 1st -- Fly Houston to Frankfurt, Germany

Monday, March 2nd -- Arrive in Frankfurt, Germany

(Day Trip to Heidelberg somewhere in there...)

Friday, March 6th -- Frankfurt to Hamburg

Tuesday, March 10th -- Hamburg to Berlin

Friday, March 13th -- Berlin to Dresden

(Trip to Sachsische Sweiz somewhere in there)

Tuesday, March 17th -- Dresden to Prague

Saturday, March 21 -- Prague to Munich

Tuesday, March 24th -- Munich to Vienna

Saturday, March 28th -- Vienna to Innsbruck, then to Venice

Wednesday, April 1st -- Venice to Florence

Saturday, April 4th -- Venice to Pisa

{Just wondering, should we cut back out time in Pisa and add more to Florence?}

Tuesday, April 7th -- Pisa to Rome

Sunday, April 12th -- Fly ROME to Barcelona, Spain

Thursday, April 16th -- Barcelona to Valencia

Monday, April 20th -- Valencia to Seville

Thursday, April 23rd -- Seville to Granada

Sunday, April 26th -- Granada to Madrid

Thursday, April 30th -- Fly Madrid to Houston

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4 Days FRANKFURT (Excluding Day Lost from Flight)

4 Days HAMBURG

3 Days BERLIN

4 Days DRESDEN

4 Days PRAGUE

3 Days MUNICH

4 Days VIENNA

4 Days VENICE

3 Days FLORENCE

3 Days PISA

5 Days ROME

4 Days BARCELONA

4 Days VALENCIA

3 Days SEVILLE

3 Days GRANADA

4 Days MADRID (Excluding Flight Day)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Posted by BG
Albany, CA, USA
1410 posts

Amber, I'm not an expert on all the cities you list here, but I believe there is a consensus among all posters to the helpline, as well as Rick Steves himself, the you do not need to spend much time in Pisa -- the only thing worth doing there is seeing the tower area, so I would definitely either skip it or add two of the days to Venice/Florence.

Posted by Ron
Carbondale, IL, USA
1201 posts

It seems doable. but it's an awful lot of traveling. If it were me (and it's not) I'd tend to consider staying longer in one place. a week or so and trying to coordinate day trips if you thought possible. People tend to forget about the hassle of changing accomodations. It can take signifiv=cantly longer than you think it ought to.

I would suggest taking 2 days from Pisa and adding one each to Venice and Florence.

Posted by Amber
Houston, TX, USA
71 posts

From what I read, I was "iffy" about Pisa, too. I appreciate your input very much!

Posted by Bob
Gettysburg, PA
1364 posts

8 days in Hamburg and Dresden seem way too long, IMO.Perhaps the cold temps of Germany in March will push you further south a little quicker.

Posted by Amber
Houston, TX, USA
71 posts

No, I have very close family there. It's non-negotiable, hehe.

Out of the cities in Spain, which do you think is best to cut to afford more time all-around in the trip?

Or which cities in general are best to cut?(excluding the German cities)

Posted by Robert
Hiawatha, KS, USA
53 posts

My assumption is you are taking trains with a rail pass. Unless you have a specific need to be Munich or Vienna on the dates listed; it would seem to me that it would take less travel time and less back tracking if you went from Prague to Vienna to Munich to Venice (via Innsbruck) rather then Prague to Munich to Vienna to Venice (via Innsbruck). Look at this on a map.
I don't think you would miss that much by dropping Pisa. Adding a day or two to Florence and planning a day trip to Pisa from Florence would be another way to work Pisa in. This would still leave you with one flex day to use along the way.

Posted by Bill
San Leandro, CA, USA
631 posts

Amber,

In response to your last question, I was surprised to see that you had included Valencia in your Spain travels...I've been there, but there are other more interesting places that you might want to see (I liked Alicante a lot). Our last trip to Spain we started in Barcelona (5 days) went by train to Madrid (3 days) then by express train to Seville (2 days) then by car to Granada (2 days) then by car to Nerja on the Costa Del Sol (2 days for the best small town on the south coast of Spain), then by car to Arcos de la Frontera for 1 night (stopped for Lunch in Rhonda), then on to Salema Portugal for 3 nights and finally on to Lisbon for 3 nights and a flight home.

Posted by Amber
Houston, TX, USA
71 posts

Well, interestingly...with our Railpass we have an additional country that we sort of aren't using. We are buying the Youth 5-Country pass for 15 days in two months. I'm trying very hard to work everything in so that we won't need a Global Pass, as they are expensive.

We truly want to see Prague, so have opted to add the Prague Excursion Pass to our Eurail passes, as the Czech Republic is not covered by Eurail passes.

Thank you for the suggestion on the Prague-Munich-Venice order.

Is Valencia not worth our time? I know Germany well, as my whole family is from there and I have been before. I am totally clueless as to the other destinations on our itinerary, though.

We really aren't interested in a lot of touristy stuff. Hence, why we chose to travel during shoulder-season. Our goal for this trip is to embrace other cultures, become closer romantically, and of course, have a wonderful time. This small town you speak of sounds nice, and might replace our time in Valencia.

Posted by Adam
Boston
2634 posts

1) Yes, doable

2) This is a very urban itinerary. On a trip of this length you want to vary the tempo here and there, allow some recovery days at a beach or mountain or village, and add pleasing contrast. Otherwise the cities can blur together a bit.

3) A minor point, but I think you could save some trouble going Valencia-Granada-Seville-Madrid, not V-S-G-M. Plus that takes advantage of the great Seville-Madrid AVE connection.

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

I, too, would vote against Valencia....a nice place, but not worth 4 days. And when you leave Barcelona, opt to go to Granada first, then Sevilla, otherwise you're backtracking on your route. After Granada, you can head down to Nerja for a couple of days on the beach, then back up and over to Sevilla. From Barcelona to Granada, there's only an overnight train, where you'll pay extra for sleeping accommodations, so you may want to fly that leg....clickair does the route for cheap. Don't forget to include the costs of reservations and/or sleeping accommodations you may need. I wouldn't recommend sleeping sitting up on such a long trip...you'll waste the next day recovering. I also echo the other comments that Pisa isn't worth more than a stopover.

Posted by Amber
Houston, TX, USA
71 posts

I, too, think that our itinerary is city-heavy. Germany is fairly charming, and we'll be with family in rural areas outside of the main cities furing that time.

Again, we'd love to see more natural areas outside of the city in both Italy and Spain. Yet, we are both youths planning on staying in hostels for cheap. Perhaps the smaller towns would have B&B's that may be affordable for the two of us. Any suggestions on more natural, warm places in Spain and Italy would be very helpful from those who have traveled there before.

I appreciate all of the help so far...this is great!

Posted by Sarah
Leonardtown
31 posts

As for smaller-town options- Tuscany!!! Turn your Pisa time into Siena plus day trips to places such as San Gimignano. unbelievably gorgeous. You could even look into a bike trip through the vineyards in that area. As for spain, I did not have enough time to do it, but the day trip from Seville to Arcos de la Frontiera is supposed to be great. Seville was one of my favorite cities on my trip.

Posted by steve
johnson city
100 posts

Amber, Take out Pisa. You can easily do Pisa in 2 hrs, maybe less with a 45 minute train ride from Florence. You will find yourself bored with 3 days. Use those 3 days in another city that has more to offer. My husband and I spent a week in Florence and didn't see everything there was (we take our time visiting museums and historical sites), so you could possibly add another day to that city.

Amanda