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3 Weeks in Europe: Ireland or Mainland Europe?

Hi, my husband and I are planning a three week trip to Europe. His company will pay for the lodging and travel expenses to a country or countries he has never been to before. We both love France, Italy, Scotland, and England but we have been to those places before, alas, they are excluded from this trip.

We are debating between spending the 3 weeks in Ireland or mainland Europe. My rough itinerary for mainland Europe consists of Brussels - Bruges - Amsterdam - Bacharach - Rothenburg - Munich - Prague - Vienna - Salzburg..... (obviously with day trips and stops along the way)

We are both history buffs and enjoy beautiful scenery.

Do you think we should rent a car and travel a loop around Ireland or stick with the mainland Europe itinerary I made? We would love any suggestions!

I was leaning toward my itinerary because I thought it would make more sense to save Ireland for a future trip tied in with a return to England and Scotland...

Posted by
683 posts

There is MUCH more to see in ME than in Ireland.
As we have been there, we would suggest omitting Belgium and the Netherlands and instead doing Germany and the Prague-Vieena part, while adding Poland.
Poland is cheap, has wonderful scenery and great people.

Posted by
9363 posts

Though my immediate response was "three whole weeks in Ireland!", I have to say that under the circumstances I'd go with continental Europe this time. If his employer is willing to pay for you to move around that much, why not take advantage of that? Ireland can be done on your own at some later time, probably for a lot less money. I'd leave your itinerary the way it is, including Belgium and the Netherlands.

Posted by
655 posts

You are very fortunate to travel at company expense - particularly with the euro so expensive. We have done three weeks in Ireland by car and loved it BUT, given the circumstances do the ME itinerary. If time allows, in addition to Vienna and Prague, consider Budapest.

Posted by
1592 posts

Go to Ireland for half the time and then go to Norway and see the fjords. The Norwegian scenery is absolutely gorgeous, but the prices there make mainland Europe look like a bargain. If you have the chance to see Norway on someone else's wallet, go for it!

Posted by
4637 posts

If company pays for it I would do Scandinavia. And Switzerland. First class scenery, first class prices.

Posted by
3419 posts

I agree with Randy that Scandinavia (especially on the Company's dime) would be an excellent choice. Oslo is one of my favorite cities!

Posted by
1525 posts

I should add (from my earlier post) that we have looked into Ireland also, and while I'm sure that the lovers of emerald green would disagree, I think it's more of a 10-14 day trip for people who like to keep busy traveling. When we go (someday) we'll probably combine it with 10-14 more days doing the Scottish highlands.

I would love to go there someday, but it's just about the last place I would go, outside of North America, on someone else's dime.

Posted by
1525 posts

What kind of company is this?!? and do they have any job openings? :-)

Given your two choices, I would choose the ME itinerary. And in fact, we are going to take much the same trip, plus Budapest & Krakow in 5 weeks, this coming summer.

However, under the circumstances, I would highly suggest you go to Scandinavia, instead. We went for exactly three weeks in summer 2008 and loved it. Here was our itinerary: Iceland (on IcelandAir) for one night stopover, Copenhagen 3 nights, Stockholm 2 nights (3 days), night train to Narvik (above the arctic circle in Norway), one night on Lofoten islands, night train down to Andalsnes for one night (Norway), Gieranger fjord cruise, bus to Alesund for one night, short flight to Bergen, Norway for 2 nights, train and fjord cruise to Oslo for 3 nights, train to Stockholm to catch the overnight cruise ship to Helsinki for 3 nights.

The travel expenses were large, as were the costs of food and lodgings. If your employer covers it.....

In the summer Scandinavia is beautiful. Temps in the 70s-80's in the south and 50's-60's above the arctic circle. The capital cities are wonderful, with fantastic museums, and not so large that you get overwhealmed. Stockholm, in particular, will take your breath away as the sun sets and the city lights come up.

Plus, you will be able to come home and tell your friends all about places they have never been, or perhaps never even heard of.

Contact me if you want more specific information.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks for your help everyone, we really appreciate it! We have decided to do ME over Ireland for this trip. We have decided to save Ireland for a combined return trip to England and Scotland. The company wouldn't have paid for any nights in England or Scotland because we have been there before.

I should have mentioned it in my first post but there is a cap on the amount the company will pay for flights and lodging. Also, we have to pay for the rail travel, food, sightseeing, etc., ourselves. When we did the math, renting a car in Ireland appeared to be cheaper than traveling by rail throughout ME. Since the company is paying for most of this trip we thought we should take the more expensive ME trip now, as we will pay the difference.

Right now, though it could change, we are doing

Amsterdam (2 nights) - Bruges (2 nights) - Brussels (1 night) - Bacharach (3 nights) - Rothenburg (2 nights)- Prague (3 nights)- Budapest (3 nights) - Vienna (2 nights) - Salzburg (2 nights) - Munich (2 nights)

We are definitely keeping Scandinavia in mind for a future trip, so thanks for your comments and sample itinerary. I saved it! My husband has always wanted to go on a fjord cruise.

Posted by
1525 posts

Wow, add Krakow and Füssen to that list and you will have almost exactly matched our trip for this coming summer. It sounds great!