My boyfriend and I are planning a 4 week trip to Europe in the spring. We have already bought our flights to london and know that we will be going to Ireland after we get there for St. Patricks Day. But we are having a hard time deciding what cities/countries to go to next and how much time we have to spend in each? We would like to spend the bulk of our time in Italy, but also see Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam. Is this possible? Any suggestions?
Emily, you may want to also post this on the "General Europe" portion of the site as more people will read it and it pertains to more than just "The North." : )
I just wanted to say thank you to both of you. I am going to do the grid carl suggested and try to plan it out that way so it's not so overwhelming. And Ami, I took your suggestion and posted on general europe. For some reason that's where I thought I had posted it! =) Can you tell I am new on here? =)
?Take time to devise your itinerary.
I always plan my itinerary by creating a page with the dates down the left and activity columns across the top.
List the town where you spend the night, travel time to that town, cost of accommodations, cost of meals,
miscellaneous expenses and any other items of
importance to you.
In that way you can budget your travel time, sight-seeing and nights. You can add the estimated cost for each day and determine how much your trip will cost.
Spend some time studying a map of Europe so you will
know the distances between towns. Estimate travel
time between towns where you will spend the night.
If you research on the web for travel costs, such as
train, ferry, air fares and hostels in each town you
can save a lot of money. The key is RESEARCH.
After 20 years of planning, I have come to rely on
info gathered on the web. It is invaluable; and I have found it mostly accurate. Although you will find
Always use your ATM card to purchase local currency. It is by far the cheapest, easiest and quickest way. You will find machines in supermarkets, service stations, in front of banks, hotels, air and RR terminals and shopping centers.
So that you won't have to carry excess currency, use
your credit card for accommodations and meals. Be
sure to ask if that business takes credit cards before you make your purchase.
If you scan this Graffiti Wall in other categories you will find lots of tips from other travelers. And read the Graffiti archives too.
Welcome, Emily! I love using this site as a resource when we plan trips to Europe. I love all the advice! It's like an interactive travel book.
I'd be interested in seeing what you end up choosing to do. I think with four weeks you have enough time to see whatever you like. I like to dream about what I would do in 4 weeks. Probably something like 1 week in Ireland with a rental car, Paris to Rome over the course of 2.5 weeks all by train, fly to Barcelona for the final 3-4 days and fly home.
Given your home location, I'd suggest you drop by the ETBD offices in Edmonds and use their Library (free AFAIK) to research which cities and attractions you most want to see. It's unfortunate that you've already bought your air tickets, as open jaw flights would have been a much better option, especially for such a short trip. There is an "Itinerary Planning" section in Rick's Europe Through The Back Door that you might find very useful.
Your plans to "spend the bulk of our time in Italy, but also see Paris, Madrid and Amsterdam" sound a bit too ambitious. I probably would have started in Ireland and then worked towards the continent. Which city will you be visiting in Ireland, and how long were you planning to stay there? I'm assuming you have to return to London for your flight home?
If you could provide a list of cities that you want to visit in Italy, I'll try to suggest a route that might work for you. I would probably drop Madrid from the list this time - as Rick says in his books "assume you will return".
Luckly you four weeks, that is a decent amount of time, and you will be able to see quite alot, but, really , I would likely cut out one country.
I think the minimum any country should get is one week. You do England( London, and maybe a few daytrips ) Ireland, then Paris( a day trip or two) and Rome ( and perhaps consider 2 days in Venice, or a long daytrip to Pompeii( depends on your interests of course).
I haven't been to Madrid, and its not high on my list , so I'd likely cut it, but, you could certainly consider cutting something else or squeezing it in anyways.
Have you sat on the computer for a few hour, pen and paper handy,, and just looked at the budget airlines in Europe that connnect the places you want to see? You may be able to get some really cheap flights, this will save you lots of travel time. Also the Eurostar between Paris and London can have really cheap rates if booked far in advance. You can really have fun planning this trip with all that time!
Is your airline ticket round trip out of London?