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10 Days in Europe

My girlfriend and I are going to be spending 9 days in Europe this December, I'm just looking for some advice from some of the pro travelers out there as well as any tips or suggestions to make the trip a little better! I have been to Europe before several times but never during December so that part will be slightly new for me, my girlfriend has never been at all. So here's a current rough idea of an itinerary I have, let me know what you think. I know the trip is really fast paced, but we're young and can handle the fast schedule. :) We have to see my sister who lives in Angers (Outside Paris), and my girlfriend really wants to see Paris & Amsterdam, the rest of the trip is up in the air so here's what I was thinking. Dec 5/6 - Paris Dec 7/8 - Amsterdam Dec 9 - Lucerne/Bern/Grindelwald (Trying to find a swiss city) Dec 10 - Geneva (Only because the airport is there) Dec 11 - Angers
Dec 12 - Fly Home I was planning on taking an Easyjet flight from Amsterdam to Basel, training to Lucerne/Bern/Grindelwald/whereever, staying there and training to Geneva, then Flying to Nantes which is right by Angers in France. I've been to Paris and Amsterdam so I know those spots will be great, but as far as the swiss cities I'm a little unsure because I know the weather will be cold, off season for tourists, we're not really skiers, just looking for a place with great views, walks, hikes, food, etc. I was also thinking about visiting my sister in Angers possibly just for one of the evenings for dinner in the beginning of the trip giving me another night in Switzerland, but unsure if I wanted to cut off Paris time. Any suggestions or advice?? Thanks fellow travelers.

Posted by
5 posts

Thanks for feedback! Mostly because it was somewhat close and accessible via a cheap quick flight from Amsterdam. I am now wondering if going somewhere else would be more enjoyable for those extra days that's closer perhaps or more accessible? I've been to London before, and wasn't really planning on going there, but I guess I could if it made more sense. South France would also be super nice, Barcelona is amazing and I wouldn't be opposed to that, it's just getting down there it's a ways. Hmmm, Just looking for what to do with an extra few days that would be the most enjoyable in December.

Posted by
8318 posts

I count 7 days. You can't count travel days from the U.S. and back, so you actually have a week in which you want to spend it in 3 countries. That time of year I would focus on cities with indoor activities, just in case the weather is bad. You don't ski, it may be too cold for hiking and if its cloudy you won't have views, so in the short time you have in Europe you might want to skip Switzerland. Every two nights you spend in a place only gives you one full day. With your proposed itinerary you seem to be spending as much time traveling as you are sightseeing. This is your girlfriend's first trip to Europe, so if you slow down just a bit she might see more than the inside trains and planes. If you are flying round trip from LAX to Paris you might consider something like this (assuming you leave 12/4)- The dates I give are for staying the nights on those dates December 5/6/7 Paris (this gives you 2 full days which is not very long) December 7/8 Bruges (one full day) December 9/10 Amsterdam (one full day)
December 11 Angers December 12 Fly home Personally in such a short time, that time of year, I would divide the time between Paris and Amsterdam, allowing time to see your sister. In that case I would fly into Amsterdam and home from Paris. It is an easy train ride between the two locations. Don't underestimate how cold it might be and the short daylight hours. I spent 2 weeks in Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris a few years ago in late December/early January and the warmest it ever got was 33 degrees. It was a shock to my thin California blood, and I'm more used to cold temps than you are in LA.

Posted by
5 posts

I think you're right Andrea, I was getting a little too crazy, I really do need to slow it down. Anyone have any insight on Antwerp? I've been to Brussels before so maybe at least 1 new city for me could be neat in Between Paris & Amsterdam? Thanks for your feedback btw, much appreciated!

Posted by
5 posts

Wow you guys are great, thanks for all the feedback. I'm going to take all things into account, slow it down and seek out some cool stuff in the cities I've been to that I have not done yet.

Posted by
12040 posts

Andrea has it correct for Switzerland at that time of year. Unless you budget several days of your time there, you may not even see the mountains. The weather is generally grey and overcast. More often than not, the Alps hide behind fog and clouds in the winter. Hiking options will be few to none. As for Antwerp... although I like it well enough, with the short trip you have planned, I wouldn't recommend it for your girlfriend's first trip to Europe. There's plenty of interesting things to see and do there, but it isn't a "museum city" by a long shot. More of a gritty, work-a-day port town.

Posted by
4125 posts

Tend days, first trip (for her), winter, dark, must include Amsterdam, Paris & Angers. Mike, you are overthinking this. Go Amsterdam, Paris, Angers (or A'dam > Angers > Paris). Plenty for 10 days. There is nothing you could add that would be better. (Okay, day trips if you like and the weather cooperates.) You might be thinking, Okay for my girlfriend, but I've seen all that. Fair enough. But there have got to be some great things in Amsterdam and Paris that you, Mike, have not yet seen and done. Give yourself permission to seek them out, and a great trip for all.

Posted by
14415 posts

3 days in Paris is just skimming the surface. From Amsterdam, you can day trip to The Hague and/or Delft. There are others but those are my faves. You could also visit Bruges or Ghent for a day en route from Paris to A'dam. Check your bags in the Brussels station and then take a local train.

Posted by
8001 posts

I so agree with Andrea and Adam. Just do Amsterdam, Paris and Angers. With only 7 days you don't even have enough time to do those justice. Slow down and enjoy. Don't add more.

Posted by
1888 posts

Good thinking Mike to slow it down. Yes you will be seeing some things you have seen before, say in Paris like the Arch, the Tower, etc. but it such fun to take someone to a place you have been and they have not and see their eyes light up so you can get new prospective. I have done this numerous times and it is as if I am seeing these sights for the first time myself.

Posted by
808 posts

Between Paris and Amsterdam I'd go to Ghent (between Brussles and Bruges. My sister and I liked it much more than Bruges - more bars and more happening.