Am I being Realistic? Travel to Paris, Germany and Italy

Is it feasible to travel from Paris, Germany and Italy in 14-17 days? We will be in Paris for two days (landing on September 21, 2013), traveling to Germany and ending our trip in Italy. Traveling with two adults. We want to see the Eiffel Tower, Musee du Louvre and Jardin du Luxembourg. Our main destinations will be Germany and Italy. We are going to Germany for Oktoberfest (Sept 21-Oct 6). We will hit Oktoberfest before leaving to Italy since Munich is closer to Italy than our other destinations. We plan to stay 5-6 days in Germany. While in Germany we would like to take a tour of the Rhine River (2-3 hour tour), Heidelberg and Munich for Oktoberfest and a concentration camp.
Would it be best to get one hotel for our stay and travel by train to our destinations? In Italy we will travel to: Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples and Sorrento (Pompeii). My friend suggested to cut Paris from the trip. Do we have too many destinations for one trip (14-17 days)? Any suggestions to make this trip doable would be appreciated (travel thoughts and hotel suggestions (clean and reasonable). We would like to travel on a reasonable budget. Thank you, Kim.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4862 posts

Your itinerary is quite ambitious. Does your 14-17 days include your travel days to and from the U.S.? If the important destinations are Germany and Italy I would skip Paris. Fly to Frankfurt and do what you want to do on the Rhine and Heidelberg. Go to Munich for Oktoberfest. Dachau is a very short distance from Munich and can easily be done as a day trip from there. You can tour on your own or take a guided tour. I took a Radius tour (they are located at the train station in Munich) and highly recommend it. Take the train from Munich to Venice. End in Rome and fly home from there. Doing this your time is still very tight. Only you can decide what places are important. Eliminating Paris you still have only about 2 nights in each location. Two nights equals one full day, plus you lose about a half day or more each time you change location. If you fly into Munich and skip the other places in Germany, and if you skip Naples and Sorrento you would have four locations. You could then have at least 3 nights (2 full days) in those locations. If you must go to Naples/Sorrento you could skip Florence. "Reasonable budget" is relative. Please be more specific about what is reasonable to you.

Posted by James
Loveland, Ohio, USA
20 posts

Wow, that is alot to cover in the time frame you wanted. You could do Paris, Germany, and Italy all in that time frame if you do just one city in each country like Munich and Rome with maybe a day trip from each(Dachau and Pompeii). IMO better to skip Paris this trip and maybe fly into Frankfurt, travel Rhine to Heidelberg, then onto Munich. Can go to Dachau concentration camp and visit Neuschwanstein from Munich easily. Would do an overnight train to Italy-Florence, then to Venice (or vice versa), then possibly overnight to Rome. Do a daytrip to Naples/Sorrento....is a long day but having done it previously it can be done. Pretty ambitious itinerary and have done it personally. Now having said that, I prefer to go and spend 10 - 14 days in an area and try not to spend all my time rushing from point A to point B. Best to figure out your route then break each stop down on what you want to see/experience and then get recs on where to stay. James
Loveland, Ohio

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
7819 posts

In Italy you plan on 5 different places,, so, no I do not consider that realistic at all.
Cut Paris, you don't seem that interested, and go to the beerfest , do the Rhine cruise, then spend a good 7-8 days in Italy , but I would stil cut at least one of your Italian choices out too. Remember this, , when you allow for a two night stay anywhere , you are really only allowing one full day in that destination. I would book three night stays minimally, but for places like Rome and Paris then deserve 3-5 night stays to see 1/8 of what there is to see. Also reasonable budget means nothing, what exactly do you wish to spend. I consider a hotel room between 90-120 euros a night reasonable.

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Hi Andrea, Thank you for your comments and insight. We plan to fly out on Sept 20 and return early the week of Oct 6 (no later than the 9th). We dont have set days as we just started looking into this trip. I really want to see the Eiffel Tower but if Paris is going to be an issue we can cancel it out. :( This will give me an excuse to go back. I would hope we can see most of what we want in Germany as we will only be in Munich for a couple of days. I've been told one day of Oktoberfest if plenty. I must go to Sorrento as I hear Pompeii is a "must do". Skipping Florence will not be an issues. Thank you so much!

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Pat and James - After reading your responses I agree with eliminating Paris. I don't want to feel like I'm not spending enough time in each destination. I have not traveled to Europe so It's nice to hear other peoples suggestions on travel. I appreciate your feedback. 90-120 Euros is reasonable to me for hotel stay. If you can think of anything else please let me know. Thank you! Kimberly

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4862 posts

If you want to do Oktoberfest and Dachau, two days for that is plenty. I suggest planning on going to Oktoberfest during the week, early in the afternoon. Table reservations begin around 5:00 I think. We went on a Wednesday or Thursday at around 1:00 or 2:00. We found a table, but had to leave it at about 4:45 so it could be set up for the group with a reservation. Only groups can make a reservation. I would save Paris for another trip, when you can do it justice.

Posted by gerri
lexington, il
348 posts

Kimberly, I don't know how adventursome you are, but you might consider apartments in Venice, Florence and Rome. Look at cross-pollinate.com Their rates are in your price range and they are very easy to work with. I agree with the other posters, skip Paris and Naples this trip...way too much. If you need any additional info, feel free to PM me Have fun planning.
Gerri

Posted by Jon
Cincinnati, OH, USA
241 posts

Kimberly:
Have you booked your hotel in Munich? If you have already booked a place great, if not look into this sooner rather than later. Based on earlier suggestions, I assume you'll postpone Paris for now and likely stay in Heidelberg, Munich, Florence, Rome and Naples. (Or do you plan to visit Florence and Naples/Pompeii while staying in Rome?) In any case you didn't mention transportation; if traveling by train (?) endeavor to limit luggage to one carry-on for each of you. Train travel between cities can be an enjoyable part of the visit, but not if each of you is lugging 2 or more bags around.

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2442 posts

Kim, I'm assuming you'll get advance tickets for the Accademia museum (to see Michelangelo's "David" and the other sculptures on the ground floor; there are collections of paintings upstairs. A little further north on the same street (Via Ricasoli) is the seldom busy Museum/Convent of San Marco, with each room (cell) decorated with a fresco by Fra Angelico. You'll need an advance ticket for the Accademia, but you'll be able to get a ticket to San Marco onsite with no wait. There are a number of nice restaurants in the piazza. I stayed at Hotel Medici, which is close to the Duomo complex. They have a rooftop balcony with 340-degree views of Florence, close enough to the Duomo and Baptistry that you can see people in the bell tower or the drum of the dome.

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Hi Zoe, Yes we will get the tickets in advance for the Accademia museum. As we get closer to our trip we will start purchasing tickets (maybe in July or August). The Hotel Medici sounds like it has breathtaking views! I will look into this hotel for out stay. Thank you!

Posted by Zoe
Toledo, Ohio, US
2442 posts

Kimberly, fast train from Venice to Florence is just a little over 2 hours; from Florence to Rome, 1.5 hours, so no need for overnight trains in Italy (lots of overnight runs have been eliminated because of the fast trains). I suggest cutting Paris and Naples/Sorrento for this trip (and start planning to go back). While in Rome, you can do a daytrip to Ostia Antica, the ancient port city of Rome. Doesn't have the drama of Pompeii, but it's about an hour from Rome.

Posted by david
washington
837 posts

Kimberly, it sounds like your primary reason for a stay in Paris is to see the Eiffel Tower. It is very worthwhile, but not so much as to spend two nights there. It sounds as if you have already reached that conclusion. Given that Pompeii/Naples is a top priority, and given that you have stated that Florence is low priority, I would definitely skip Florence. If you are not desperate to tour Renaissance art museums, I find Florence overrated. Now you have a very manageable trip: Rhine, Munich and environs, Venice, Rome, and Naples/Pompeii. I would fly into Frankfurt and out of Rome or Naples, depending upon how the flights fit a return to LA/Orange County.

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Thank you everyone for being so helpful! I think we have figured out most of our itinerary. Week 1 Fly into Frankfurt (stay 2 nights) Take the Rhine River to Heidelberg (any suggestions on where to hop on a boat would be helpful) Maybe Mainz? Stay in Heidelberg for 2-3 nights Finish off in Munich 2-3 nights for Oktoberfest (we will book our hotel this week as I see the availability is limited) Week 2 Munich to Florence 2 nights Florence to Rome 2-3 nights
Rome to Naples 2-3 Pompeii is a must see for me Plan to fly out from Rome or Naples depending on the flight schedule.

Posted by Jon
Cincinnati, OH, USA
241 posts

Kimberly:
You may not be an architectural history scholar, but if you're going to Florence, read a bit about the Florence Duomo and the Baptisteryarchitecturally, they are more significant than St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. While in the baptistery, rest you head in the lap of your significant other and read the story on the ceiling for at least 30 minutes and listen to what other visitors are saying. Also, while in Florence you should plan on visiting the Uffizi and Academia. The queue for tickets can be quite long but if you go to http://www.florenceart.it you can pre-purchase tickets and pretty much walk in when you arrive. Also, while in Florence, reserve and hour or two to sit at Gelateria dei Neri, Via dei Neri 20-22r, Florence. The best ice cream in Florence! Close to Ponte Vecchio and palazzo Vecchio. Order anything and just sit outside and watch life go by. You'll be glad you did.

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Thank you Jon! Everything sounds so wonderful in Italy! I can't wait. I will run this by my friend. We don't have definite plans in Florence and what you suggested sounds great!

Posted by Julie
Frisco, Texas, US
54 posts

You don't know how much you will love Paris until you go there. I say fly into Paris, spend 2 nights, and one less night in Germany, and skip Florence, since you said you didn't mind skipping it. Paris is our favorite city in Europe. We also love Rome. I find Venice overrated, but I'm glad I've seen it once. And we didn't care for the Rhone. Just my opinion, don't be too quick to skip Paris!!!

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17722 posts

Kimberly, It's unfortunate that you won't get to Paris, but as you noted that will give you an excuse to return. Your revised Itinerary looks better, but you might consider a few changes.... > Rather than stay 2 nights in Frankfurt, you could travel from the airport by train to another town, perhaps Bacharach or Mainz (it's only a short trip). Go from there to Heidelberg and then Munich. That should provide you with at least one night to add to Munich (there's LOTS to see there besides Oktoberfest!). > You'll also need to allow some time for travel between locations, which will be a minimum of about 4 hours each time. From Munich to Florence, you'll need to allow the better part of a day, as the shortest trip is ~8 hours, with one change. Note that your destination will be Firenze SMN station. > The trip from Florence to Rome will only be 1-2 hours. Do you have any idea which area of Rome you might like to stay? > As Pompeii is a "must see" for you, I'd suggest staying in Sorrento rather than Naples. You'll need to travel via Circumvesuviana from Naples to Sorrento, so will have to change trains at Napoli Centrale (you'll pass Pompeii Scavi station on the way). Especially on the Circumvesuviana, be sure to wear Money Belts! I'd recommend a guided tour of Pompeii (info in the Guidebook). > Your return flight from Italy will probably be easier from Rome, as that will provide greater availability of flights. > I'd suggest using trains as much as possible. While you could rent a car, that comes with some potentially expensive "caveats". Trains will be faster and more efficient. > If you haven't travelled on trains in Italy before, there are some potentially expensive issues you need to be aware of there also. Happy travels!

Posted by Gina
Los Angeles / Orange County
28 posts

Kimberly - you are only going to be there a day or two, yes? I think renting a car might be a bit of a bother for such a short amount of time. We rented a cute Fiat 500 for 10 days and it was fantastic! However we stayed at a villa in Montepulciano and drove to Cortona, Assisi, Val d'Orcia, Pienza, Arezzo, Montalcino, San Quirico d'Orcia ... AMAZING. After that we traveled on to Lucca for a week and then to Florence. My husband and I prefer to go to one place and stay put for a while and doing day trips. Much more enjoyable for us. We did a month in Italy last year with - Rome (only two days), Montepulciano (see above), Lucca and Florence. My advice to you - With only a week in Italy, I'd do either Rome/Naples/Sorrento OR Tuscan hill towns/Florence OR Florence/Rome (a few days in Florence, then train to Rome for a few days). Trust me, it's CRAZY hopping from place to place to place. It ends up being exhausting and frustrating, and as soon as you are getting a feel and love for the place, you have to move on again. It always sounds adventurous and fun until you miss a train, start getting cranky, can't find an ATM or bathroom, and are always feeling rushed.. (meals, sightseeing, catching the next train, etc..) My husband and I are actually doing a Paris/London/Amsterdam trip with our teen girls next year, and feel rushed even having 15 days for only 3 cities! Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions about travel in Italy :)

Posted by Gina
Los Angeles / Orange County
28 posts

I recommend this place in Florence. Just gorgeous, and the hosts are amazing. Also, the prices are really great. http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g187895-d1929998-Reviews-Residenza_Il_Carmine-Florence_Tuscany.html I tried hotel Medici and thought it was awful, as do many others. Sorry, I cannot recommend it :( Check their listing on trip advisor here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g187895-d233490-Reviews-Hotel_Medici-Florence_Tuscany.html More bad reviews than good.

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Thank you Gina. Do you know if it would be easer to take a tour bus through wine country or drive ourselves?

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8731 posts

Gina, was that a modern Fiat 500, or a classic one? When I was a boy my parents had an original 500, all black, which I loved and would love dearly to have another - even to have one for a few days...

Posted by Gina
Los Angeles / Orange County
28 posts

Nigel, it was a modern one. However, a friend of ours has an old classic. Oh,and yes, the older ones are just gorgeous

Posted by Kimberly
Fountain Valley, CA, USA
8 posts

Hi Gina, This information helps a lot. We were trying to squeeze in Venice too and we are now thinking it's going to be way to much moving around. I think we will have 3 days in Florence and 4 days in Rome. I really don't want to rent a car and hope if we stay DT we can see most sites by foot. My friend has been to Italy twice but it's a new experience for me. I want to get the most out of our trip without running ourselves in the ground. I hink when she was there they had more time, so we are trying to figure out what is worth while. So far I love you suggestions and everything makes sense. Kim

Posted by Gina
Los Angeles / Orange County
28 posts

Glad I could help. You will be happy not to be running around so much. Three days in Florence and four in Rome will be lovely. Remember, you can always go back and see Venice! There is a wonderful, WONDERFUL overnight train from Paris to Venice - see link: http://www.italiarail.com/thello Perhaps on your next trip, you can fly into Paris, spend some time there, then take the cool overnight train to Venice and stay there for a few days. Then fly out of Venice. That would be a fab trip! Happy travels and keep us posted. I'd love to hear about your trip when you get back.