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First trip to Europe

I am planning a trip to Europe for about 19 days/nights in late April to early may. My current plan is to fly into and do 3 nights around Amsterdam, 3 nights around Bruge or Brussels, 3 nights around London, 2 nights in North Wales or maybe South Wales, 4 nights around Edinburgh/Scottish Highlands, 2 nights somewhere in Ireland and 2 nights in Dublin where I plan to fly out of. I know it is alot to get in. What is the best order in which to visit them. I am going to try and use public transportation as much as possible, but I want to be efficient with my time. Where is the best point to get from the UK over to Ireland?
Thank you.

Posted by
3419 posts

Personally, I think you should re-think this. That's ALOT of moving around in that time period. I'd drop 2 or 3 destinations and focus more time on the others. EITHER 'do' London, Wales, Scotland OR London, Scotland, Ireland OR Amsterdam, Bruge, Brussels and MAYBE London. You loose 2 days for arrival and departure and at least 1/2 to a full day each time you make major location changes. So you wind up with less than a whole day in some of your locations with current plan.

Posted by
31303 posts

ssweet9,

I agree with the previous reply that your Itinerary is too ambitious for that time frame and covering that much area. You'll have to allow time for travel between each stop. While your plan might be feasible, it will be rushed and you likely won't be able to see much in some places.

As a first step, I'd suggest reading Europe Through The Back Door before you get too far in your planning. That provides a LOT of good information, including how to work out a realistic Itinerary.

To answer your question, the easiest and most efficient way to get from the U.K. to Ireland is via a budget flight.

I'd have to spend some time on it, but it may be possible to fit in most of the places you listed.

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
2081 posts

ssweet9,

welcome,

most of the places and times doesnt seem bad to me, its just that somethings are uknown. as in somewhere other than dublin.

i think train will not be an issue in most of the places. i havent been to the N/S wales so will let other speak on those. But a train from London to Edinburg is about 4 hours. It was a direct, no transfer, 1 or 2 stop train if i remember correctly.

i took Aer Lingus from Dublin to Edinburgh. It a puddle jumper flight, but they can nickel/dime you so read the fine print.

just a comment.

  1. depending on what floats your boat, you could easily spend 4+ days in London. 2+ days in Dublin.

happy trails.

Posted by
26025 posts

@9

You don't say in your profile where you are coming from so can we assume that you are already in Europe and your arrival in Amsterdam is just from a nearby town? If not, you will lose 1/2 a day after you touch down in getting settled and getting from the airport to your destination, and then there is all the jet-lag, depending on your body and where you might be coming from. For example if you are coming from South Africa you will have little or none, if from the USA or Canada likely your first day or two you will be very tired and in a fog.

Every two nights is only one day. So you are saying 2 days in Amsterdam (where will you go "around" in that short time?), 2 days in Brugge (not counting the half day getting there), only 2 days in London (no time at all to even consider "around"), less than a day somewhere un-named in Wales (why go? unless you just want to check it off a list?), 3 days in Scotland (ok), much less than one day "somewhere in Ireland" (see my comments on Wales) and one single solitary day in Dublin - unless that is the day you fly back in which case you have virtually no time there.

You started off by saying that you know that it is a lot to get in.

Do you want somebody to say, "that's OK, it will work", and validate your plan, or do you want to hear Toni - who has decades of experience in this part of the world - with a few home truths and some excellent ideas to make your trip enjoyable and memorable for all the right reasons?

Posted by
2246 posts

ssweet9, well- I reckon that you've been told, by some of the best. Take heart though, because I recall taking the first steps in planning our first trip to Europe-which we took this past September-and realizing, as Toni points out, that you do need to pick a region or a loop to do, and leave the other for that next trip. The whole thing about a first trip is that it is just that-a FIRST trip, and after you've returned you will begin planning the second trip!
I remember the day I sliced Venice off of our itinerary-it wasn't easy, but it meant 3 nights in Florence and 3 in Vernazza instead of 2 each, and that made a huge difference in the quality of our experience. I remember admitting to myself that we would not see Amsterdam this time around. But let me tell you, I also remember very well the places that we did go, and that's my point: in 22 nights we stayed less than 3 nights in a place only once, at the Cliffs of Moher.
Here's what we did, as an example:
Dublin 3 nights-day trip Belfast, Northern Ireland
Liscannor, Cliffs of Moher-1 night
Dingle Peninsula-3 nights, day trip Killarney National Park
Florence-3 nights (no day trip, I cut Siena!)
Vernazza, Cinque Terre-3 nights
Paris-5 nights (no Versailles, we'll do it next time!)
London-4 nights, day trip Greenwich

We will return, and when we do it will be as experienced travelers. Enjoy planning your trip, but keep it real; make sure your body and mind can keep up with your ambition. We were absolutely blown away by the experience, and we are hungry for more, we will get to it.
Best, Dave

Posted by
8288 posts

Very well said Dave! I understand the desire people have to see as much as possible. Especially for a first trip. The problem with cramming in too much is that later the trip becomes a blur and you will only have checked places off on a list, not really experienced those places. I never waste time going somewhere if there isn't something specific that draws me there. I usually start with a list of places I want to see, then check on the map to see how they line up. After that I eliminate places until I get to my final itinerary. I try to spend a very minimum of 2 nights in a location, but usually 3-4. Or longer if it's a large city like Paris or London. Also consider how easy or difficult it is to travel between the locations you choose.

Planning is fun. Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
503 posts

You've received excellent advice - and not to beat a dead horse but one thing to consider that hasn't been mentioned is that - it's your first time to Europe. Yes, you are traveling to countries where English won't be a problem but just about everything else will be different - the money, the transportation system, food, etc., etc. - which means things such as getting train tickets, finding your train or hotel, navigating public transportation, etc., etc. can take more time than you expect (i.e. the time it takes you to do this stuff in your own city). The itinerary you've outlined is doable - but as the others have said, overly ambitious. For such an itinerary to work however, your timing has to be pretty spot on - there is virtually no room for late trains, missed connections or getting lost - all things that can and do happen. With 19 days, I'd drop Amsterdam and Brussels and concentrate on England, Wales, Scotland and perhaps Ireland - there is more than enough to see and do just in England/Scotland/Wales for 19 days!

Posted by
2081 posts

ssweet9,

Im going to chime in again.

as has been said, figure out why youre going to a particular place. on my first trip it was mostly limited to the larger citys. I do that since when i go back, i will have a familarity with the areas (city) and transportation system. Not that it will be like i lived there for years, but i shouldnt have the deer in the headlights look when i go back.

Also, it was extremely difficult to NOT go outside of the citys and do more, but the citys i choose had more than enough. Also, the way i looked at it, it was more expensive in the city and once you get those out of hte way, its sometimes cheaper to go outside and my next time back would probably be just that.

When i was in Edinburgh,i did take a bus tour up to Loch Ness. It was all day, but that didnt stop me from having 2 full days in Edinburgh. When i went to Normandy, it was again, 4 full days. One full day was spent on a guided tour and i can say, 1 day wasnt enough for me even though the guide knew the area well, where i would be stopping to read the map/GPS or asking directions. I spent another full day at Mont Saint Michel. I still had 2 full days for the things i wanted to do and see.

in the end, i knew where i was going and what i had planned to do/see each day. That allowed me to make some decisions where to go and what to leave for my next trip. you may not be into the details and want to "wing it", but for me at this time and place, im planning. Planning allows me to make the MOST out of my limited TIME & MONEY!

on my trip this sept, i probably did more "skip this" and "spend more time here" things. sometimes i just skipped something since when i got there, it wasnt as appealing as it was on the www.

as others have said, even if you choose to keep what you have now or change it, your first trip will be a learning experience not matter how you look at it.

happy trail and good luck.

Posted by
516 posts

I think your plans are fine. I don't like spending a lot of time in one place if its the first time. Go with your plan and if you really like a place, go back and spend more time.

Posted by
147 posts

SSweet9, I have a little experience traveling in Europe, three trips, the last one 5 weeks traveling. The strong temptation is to see as much as possible since you are there and air travel is so expensive. The problem is you waste so much time traveling from place to place and then the whole trip becomes blur. I would prioritize what you want to see most and then narrow down the stops. You will visit again, save the rest for next time. P.S. Amsterdam does not warrant three nights, shift your time to GB.

Posted by
31303 posts

@9,

It would help to have some idea on where you're travelling from? Does your 19-day time frame include your two flight days? As others have mentioned, if you're travelling from North America, you'll have to deal with jet lag so you likely won't get as much touring done as planned for the first few days.

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 well in Europe. After that use the country or city-specific Guidebooks to plan hotels, sightseeing, transportation, etc.

Your proposed Itinerary may be feasible, but it's far too "busy" (IMO). Visiting seven locations in 19 days is an average of about 2.7 days per location, with no allowances for travel times between them. I'd suggest dropping at least one location.

Keep in mind that each change of location will require both time and money. Some trips will be relatively short (Amsterdam - Brussels), while others will be longer (Scotland - Ireland). It's prudent to plan for at least half a day for each change, and in some cases you'll require the better part of a day for travel.

The quickest way to get from England or Scotland to Ireland is with a budget flight. That can be worked out when the Itinerary is fine tuned a bit more.

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
26025 posts

The original poster only posted this single post, over a month ago, and has never come come back to allow us to help her/him in all that time. 11 helpful posts and no response.

There's a fair chance that we are all talking amongst ourselves in an empty room. Hear the echo - echo?