My new wife and I will be spending 4.5 weeks in Europe on our honeymoon - flying into CDG and out of FRA. We will be traveling mid Septmeber through mid October. Some of the sites we have thought about include Chamonix, Lauterbrunnen Valley, Lake Como, Rome, Venice, possibly Croatia, and then ending up in Frankfurt somehow. Anything in here that is an absolute must or don't do? Any other reccomendations I might have missed? Is it best to do this kind of trip by rail or rent a car?? Any insight is appreciated!!
Since you have a month you might consider adding florence or the Cinque Terre in Italy. Also, you are flying out of Germany but don't mention any stops there. Bacharach on the Rhine, Rothenburg, and Bavaria are all nice stops.
Having a car gives you a little more freedom, but taking the train is more stress free. For me, I would for sure take the train in Italy. You can't drive into Venice, and you wouldn't want to drive in Rome.
Well - You didn't state this, but I assume you will be spending some time in Paris! this is my #1 suggestion. Venice is 2nd.
Yes, to Paris. Probably 2-4 days; I have been twice but she hasn't. Any recommendations on Venice? I was there once only for a day due to a train strike (we had to get out while we could). Thanks!
Stay in the city. Then you can stroll through it in the late afternoon and evening when all the hordes of cruise ship people are gone. Catch the serenading bands in St. Marks - sounds corny, but I bet you will totally love it when you are there. It fits the scene perfectly. You will not find a more romantic place to be than Venice, it's perfect for a honeymoon.
I also recommend taking a gondola ride at night, if you decide to do this. It's romantic, and slightly creepy -- sort of a real world version of "Pirates of the Carribbean" at Disneyland, if you have been there.... On the Rick Steves Venice tour they take you on a nighttime gondola cruise, complete with singinging boatmen, you wind through smaller canals then end up on the large grand canal, almost totally alone, at night. Amazing!
If I ever get married, I am going to Florence for sure. I went when I was 16 - I don't know why I find that city so romantic. It might be the magnificent art, or watching "A Room with a View" too many times, but I really think it is superb and worth adding to your itinerary.
I don't know whether rail or car is better, but I did watch a Rick Steves video where you stated that Germany's Romantic Road is best done by car (if that is included in where you are going). Apparently you can get Rail Pass / Car Rental combos.
About Paris - be sure to do a boat ride at night (echoing the gondola ride at night). It is spectacular. If you can't do it at night, do it during the day anyway. The bridges have a lot of history and you can see a lot of the city.
Also, I'd add a picnic at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. There was a thread recently of someone asking where to propose. It'd be worth reading for ideas of romantic spots.
Congrats!!! Bon Voyage!
I mean, Rick stated the Romantic Road is best done by car. :)
If you leave some time for Frankfurt, I would suggest that you rent a car and get out of the city. I worked near there for several years and the locals told me Frankfurt is famous for its USA skyline of the tall buildings. Enough said.
so I suggest that you head to the Rhine Valley just in time to see them harvest the grapes. The rowdy Rudesheim is great for beers but the most romantic spot is just a few miles up in Assmannhausen. Stay at the Hotel Krone and dine in the hotel restaurant. It is so incredibly romantic with seranading pianist and violinist. Across the river, Rheinstein is all lit up. Take a tour of the castle during the daytime.
Also take the skylift up from Assmannhausen to the hunter's lodge and feed the deer.
Take a romantic walk to Germania and view the whole valley below.
Don't forget to explore the other castles upstream.
I would easily recommend 2 days there. If you have the time, also visit Heidelberg, a very English speaking town w/ a great castle and bridge
Frankfurt is not famous just for its US-like skyline. It's famous for its charme, food, apple wine, its multitude of museums incl. the world famous Städl, the birth house of Goethe, the more than 1,000 years old cathedral in which the emperors of the holy roman empire of german nations were crowned, its riviera like river front etc etc. There are also plenty of sights nearby like Hessenpark, the castles of Höchst and Bad Homburg, where you can visit the private rooms of the wife of the last German emperor (William II) that look like she'd just left for the powder room...
Agree with other posters who have directed you to the Rhine villages. You should arrange to be in Germany when the wine festivals and fireworks (not your ordinary fireworks!!) presentations are in full swing. Weekends are best. Scroll down on the following page for dates and towns. Since it's the honeymoon you might want to take one of the evening river cruises that follows the fireworks from town to town. But you can enjoy the show from the dock of whatever town you're in as well.
Oh - forgot to recommend a honeymoon splurge-stay - sleep in a castle:
If you are in the Nice/Cannes area, I would highly recommend staying a night in St. Paul de Vence. It is a tiny artists village with little cobblestone streets and no cars and has such a wonderful Provence air about it. So romantic!
When I was in college, I stayed with my parents at the Hotel Le St. Paul and vowed I would go back on my honeymoon someday. Your new wife will love it! Here is the TripAdvisor link: http://tinyurl.com/yo7fgb
Wow! 4.5 weeks! Sigh... I'm jealous. Well, you didn't say your ages or what your favorite interests are but there have been some great suggestions for you so far. If you decide to spend time in the Cote d'Azure, as suggested previously, think about splurging on a little hedonistic pleasure at the Hotel de MonteCarlo in Monaco at their spa http://en.montecarloresort.com/ (click on wellness). Not as $$$ as you might think. You can book treatments on their website and once you're there you can enjoy the facility for the rest of the day, have lunch, luxuriate! If this is a little more that your budget allows, at least enjoy one of the spas in Germany or Austria. They are very rejuvenating when you are on a long trip like yours, and are quite reasonably priced.
Also, from someone who is celebrating 25 happy years of marriage and have traveled often throughout them, make sure you plan some "apart time" every few days. It will refresh you and make you appreciate each other even more.