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itinery help

Hi Travellers! I am in the process of planning a 3 week holiday with my daughter I am having problems deciding where to start in order to keep a straight forward less chaotic path. We have 21 days and plan to fly open jaw. We want to see London, Paris, The Rhine district, Grimmelwald area, Munich, Vienna Prague. Rome Florence and Venice
I know it is alot and will need to be very streamlined in order to work but I can not for the life of me decide where to START. The more I read the more confused I get!

Posted by
9110 posts

Get a map. Put dots on it. Put the time you want in each place beside the dot. Start north (or south) and work in the other direction connecting them with the shortest lines possible. Put travel times on the connecting lines. Fly into one end of the line and home from the other. When you figure out there's too much travel time or times in a place, start erasing.

Posted by
409 posts

Hi, Carol: You are probably not going to want to hear this, but the first thing you need to do is pare your list way down. You have listed 9 fantastic you really want to be packing / unpacking every other day, besides losing a lot of valuable touring time while you are in transit? I know it's hard, but you need to sit down with your daughter and prioritize your 9 places. Otherwise you are going to just be "checking the boxes" rather than truly seeing and experiencing each place. London and Paris, for example, need more than just a "pass through." I haven't been everywhere on your list, but for starters I would chop Venice. As much as I love it, it is out of the way. Maybe a good way to go would be no more than one destination in a country, and try to mix city and country destinations. Good luck!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Carol. You wish to go to ten destinations in 21 days. That is too many places. I suggest : do not go to the Rhine River (between Koblenz and Mainz) in Germany, and do not go to Italy, in this trip. You could fly to an airport of London, and travel in trains from London > Paris > Switzerland > Munich > Prague > Vienna. Fly from Vienna to Canada. If you fly from Vienna to Ontario in one day, I guess it would be necessary for you to start at a very early time in the morning at Vienna. I would fly from Vienna to London, and sleep in a hotel near the London Heathrow airport that night, and the next day fly from London to an airport in Ontario.

Posted by
12040 posts

With such an aggressive wish list, you need to eliminate outliers. Although the Berner Oberland is quite nice, it's in the opposite direction of your general flow of travel. You can easily hit the Alps in Bavaria or Austria between Munich and Vienna. Or, if you decide to cut the entire eastern portion of your itinerary, you'll still hit the Alps between Munich and Italy. I like the Berner Oberland well enough, but it isn't the end-all, do-all of Alpine experiences, and you have plenty of other options that fit the overall outline of your trip better. Plus, I think Mr. Steves VASTLY oversells Gimmelwald.

Posted by
6984 posts

Do what Ed says. After you mark the places you want to see and look at the transportation time between them you'll start to see what you need to leave out of this trip and save for another time. It really does help to see it laid out on a map. It will help you design a logical sequence of places.

Posted by
8010 posts

I too used to take whirlwind trips to Europe, most often by car. I now realize how much I missed by not seeing each city the right way--slower. You could visit the following cities reasonably well in 21 days. Seeing all the cities on your itinerary will be virtually impossible. London, Paris, Venice/Florence/Rome London, Paris, fly to Vienna and train to Prague London, Paris, Munich, Salzburg and the Austrian Alps Paris, Munich, Vienna and Prague Munich, Prague, fly to Venice and train to Florence and Rome (Vienna-Venice is difficult trip.)
Missing some of your dream cities is a good excuse to return next year.

Posted by
32152 posts

carol, A few questions..... 1.) I assume you mean Gimmelwald and not Grindelwald? 2.) When is this trip taking place? 3.) Does your 21 days allow for your two travel days? As you've indicated and the others have mentioned, your list WILL have to be streamlined to make it work. The outliers (IMO) are Vienna, Prague and the Rhine. There are lots of possibilities, and here's one suggestion: > D1 - Flight to London > D2 - Arrive London > D3-D5 - London > D6 - EuroStar to Paris > D7-D9 - Paris > D10 Train to Berner Oberland > D11-D12 - Berner Oberland > D13 - Train to Florence > D14-D16 - Florence, day trip to Siena or Lucca? > D17 - Train to Rome > D18-D20 - Rome, day trip to Orvieto? > D21 - Flight home A couple of options to consider.... a.) Skip the Berner Oberland and use a budget flight from Paris to Venice, continuing to Florence and then Rome. b.) Skip the Berner Oberland and travel from Paris to Prague (budget air) and then to Milan (budget air), continuing by train to either Venice or Florence. It may help to make a list of all the places you want to visit listed in order of priority. With that it should be easy to delete a couple off the bottom of the list and then work on a logical Itinerary for the remainder. Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
4132 posts

Where to start? By being brutally honest with yourselves about (1) your real priorities (everyone should get to see and do some of their top ones) and (2) logistical reality. Ed's exercise is a good start on (2), but you should hone it by researching travel times. It is relevant that London to Paris, and Paris to Provence, are only 3 hours by train, but Paris to Gimmelwald takes at least 6. Three weeks is time enough for a really memorable trip--the trick is to focus on the best experience rather than the most places.

Posted by
500 posts

I agree with many above. Pair your trip down to 4-5 locations. What is most important to you? Is it your first trip to Europe? If so London, Paris, Venice, Rome. Save the rest for another trip.

Posted by
195 posts

Carol, here's my 2 cents: I mostly agree with Ron above but I would cut it back even more. Arrive in London for 5 nights. On to Paris for 5 nights. Three nights in the Berner Oberland (there is now a TJV train that runs once a day to Interlaken from Paris). Three nights in Munich (you will probably fly home from Frankfort so that's another night). What you are planning requires a lot of time spent on trains (or planes) so there are a couple of travel days in this. The reason I recommend so many nights in one city is that these cities cannot be seen in 2 or 3 days, there is opportunity for some really nice day trips from them and you will not feel as rushed. For instance in Paris you could consider a day trip to Normandy or out to Champagne country (Epernay and Reims). I have even taken the Thalys train to Brussels (1 1/2 hrs.) for lunch and been back to Paris well before dinner. IMO, Italy requires a minimum of two weeks alone to see Rome, Florence, Tuscany and Venice. I had a car when I did this route. There has been some controversy in earlier posts about rail passes vs. independent rail travel as far as costs go but one of the advantages to a rail pass is the discounts on local travel you might get. Always try to make reservations before you leave Canada if you know for sure where you are traveling to. Reservations are mandatory on any TJV train and helpful on the IC trains. Also, let us know what time of year you are planning to travel. It is great you have three weeks!

Posted by
951 posts

I have never been to the Rhine or Switzerland. So my opinion will be on the places I have been. I will recommend how long you should stay in each city I have been to. The minimum time you should spend in each city is the following: London: 4 nights Paris: 4 nights Munich: 3 nights Vienna: 3 nights Prague: 3 nights Florence: 3 nights Venice: 3 nights
Rome: 4 nights When you add up the MINIMUM amount of nights, you get a total of 27 nights. Anytime less in each city makes for a rushed trip. Some of the distances between the cites are large, you will be spending a lot of time in transit. Even if you were to fly into some of the cities, you would lose a half a day. I would eliminate Vienna, Munich, and Prague, and add the time to London, Paris, Florence, Venice, Rome. And enjoy your more relaxing trip. Take in the cities at a slower pace.

Posted by
103 posts

Thank you all for the wonderful advice and when I actually started to map out the train times it became painfully obvious that I would lose 21/2 to 3 days in travel time alone. I think I will follow Toms advice of flying into London and out of Frankfurt or Munich and save italy for another year. I think this may be my best option to see culture art history and some stunning alpine vistas too! It is our first trip and of course I want to make it awesome for my daughter but I realized the more I read and researched the more I wanted to see LOL Thanks again and if anyone wants to suggest some awesome of the path sites along my new itinery or b&b or hostels that were great I would love the input!

Posted by
2081 posts

Carol, unless your daughter has "been there, done that" or is brain dead, you wont have a problem with AWESOME! You can do running till you drop tour, but ask youself this. Why are you going there in the first place? i can see if the doc says you have x days to live, then i would try to do a run till you drop. plot things out and that will give you an better idea on whats possible and you can add/subtract places as needed. You can do/see alot if you plan your time out and do other things. you have the world at your fingertips. use travel books and google to find things to do/see. then rank them somehow so you know what type of priority to give it. When you start whittling down your list, its nice to know what you wanted to see and what youre going to miss - at least till next time. happy trails.