Were planning a month long trip in September. We would be leaving from Vancouver, BC and would like to start out in Turkey and make our way to Greece (Greek Isles), Italy and Croatia. We have never been to Europe and we really need some help as to were to start our journey and how many days to allow for each destination. Any experienced travellers out there with suggestions?
Get yourselves some guidebooks for the countries you want to visit. You can find them online, in bookstores and at the library. It's difficult for anyone to advise you without knowing what you have in mind, so you need to make some choices. Averaging a week in each country really isn't enough time. It's unrealistic, especially when you subtract your travel days in between stops, as well as the time it takes to return to the airport from which you will return home. Practically speaking, you really only have about 3 weeks to explore. If I were you I'd stick with 2 countries instead of 4, even though you want to see everything possible on your first European vacation. You'll have a much better time if you don't try to push it too far. Italy and Greece or Greece and Turkey work well in combination.
I agree with all of Lee's points. In addition, the connections between the four countries you listed aren't necessarily ideal. From Turkey to most Greek islands, you'll probably have to connect flights through Athens. From Italy to Croatia, the connections involve overnight boats, very long train and bus rides, or limited flights (again, often with connections in farther away places like Munich). So, you have to allot a full day when you change countries, and possibly a lot of money and hassle as well. If you say what made you choose these four countries, people can give better suggestions.
Your probably right, 4 countries in 4 weeks is way too uch. We picked those countries based on where we always wanted to go in Europe. Were looking for a trip that includes sightseeing and beach days. We are just starting to check out where, what and how to go about it without too much chaos. We'll have to decide which 2 out of the 4 countries will offer us the most out of our trip.
Our budget is moderate so it might depend on how expensive each of these countries are.
I don't agree you need to cut it to two. I think if you start in Rome, head up through florence, to venice, into croatia and down the coast to dubrovnik, then fly to Turkey, you will see a lot. Were I forced to choose two countries it would be Italy and Turkey.
It's possible to make such a trip work provided you are flexible on which parts of each country you will focus on - for example, you can easily get to Kos and Rhodes islands in Greece (and leave it at that for Greece...it will save you any Athens connections or flights) from the southwestern Turkish coastline (I saw ferries from Bodrum going to both places - I would highly recommend a trip from Istanbul and down the coastline, but such a trip could easily take > 10 days if you want to hit major highlights along the way). Same as Italy - it's easier to get from northern Italy (e.g. Venice) to the Istria region in northern Croatia (but that also imples that you can't fit in everything, including the Adriatic coastline, which is also fabulous). Or you can sail from Split overnight and catch some of that coastline (I think to either Bari or Ancona, check the Jadrolina website, the ferry system in Croatia). Again, it depends what pieces you pick and what types of scenery you'd like to "mix and match" across the 4 countries. My recommendation would be to focus on specific regions/subregions of each country that would make for easy, and relatively quick jumps to the next country....instead of flying from one far away point to another. Because you haven't been to Europe, I bet you'll enjoy everything you see, no matter which parts you pick.
Sure, it is possible to visit all 4 countries in 4 weeks, but you would need to accept that you are only getting a very small taste of each. A week for Italy? That would be a tough choice. You could easily spend the whole month in Italy and be just scratching the surface. I think you would have a better experience if you cut the number of countries in half. For what it's worth, Italy & Croatia are fairly expensive. Also, if you're traveling fast, you will tend to spend money even faster. If budget is a concern, I'd suggest you slow down and do no more than 2 countries, probably Turkey and Greece, which fit together nicely.
Bernice, I also agree with Lee and the others, especially for such a short time frame. For a first trip to Europe, it would be better to visit fewer countries just to get a taste, and "assume you will return". The transportation logistics are another reason to limit your trip to perhaps two countries. Transportation is not as "simple" in Croatia, so it might be prudent to leave that for next time. Also, travel to and from the Greek Islands may be easy or more challenging, depending on which islands you plan to visit. Using open-jaw flights will of course be the best method. You'll need to allow for your two travel days (you'll arrive in Europe the day after you depart YVR). As this is your first trip to Europe, I'd highly recommend reading Europe Through The Back Door prior to your trip. It provides a LOT of good information on "how" to travel in Europe. Use the country-specific Guidebooks to fine tune the sightseeing, hotels and transportation in the places you'll be visiting. It would help if you could provide some information on which cities you're most interested in seeing in each country. That would help in working out an efficient and realistic travel route. For a first trip, you might consider arranging your trip along the lines of "least culture shock" to "most culture shock". Also, starting in the north (Italy) and then moving south may be preferable, as the weather could be an issue in the latter parts of your trip. With four weeks and precise planning, it may be possible to fit in Italy, Greece and Turkey, with the time "weighted" more towards Italy. Good luck with your planning!