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Only two weeks in Europe

I only have two weeks in Europe--I am trying to find an inexpensive hub to fly into like Frankfurt--but I want to see so much--I would love to also travel to France, Italy, and maybe one more country--riding the rails also--Does anyone have any suggestions on how to approach this and to see the best of in each country--This is my 20th anniv. trip--and I want to see everything!!! Thanks Sharon

Posted by
193 posts

I'd seriously start by getting a couple of Rick Steves books/DVDs from the library and start reading and watching,then decide what YOU want to do. After that then come back here and ask for suggestions.
Franfurt is a good place to fly into since you can go in any direction from there.

My two cents

Posted by
12040 posts

Nobody on these forums can plan your trip for you, but we can help you fill in the details or advise on the feasability of your itinerary. First of all... don't try to see everything in such a short time. You'll lose too much time in transit from one destination to the next, and you'll end up actually seeing very little. Pick 3-4 destinations and try to string them together in a logical order.

Posted by
21660 posts

Want to made some general comments. First, look at the map -- Europe is a big place -- you cannot see it all in two weeks. If a European wanted see the US in two weeks -- how would you advice them? Second, you have to decided if you want to be a tourist or a traveler -- my classification. A tourist says -- Yep !! I saw that, been there, done that. A traveler says, I will see that next trip, enjoyed the afternoon in the sidewalk cafe, had a great meal at .... etc., A tourist will see the inside of lots of trains and train stations. Some people enjoy and actually prefer seeing a lot of things very quickly and lightly and others prefer a slower, indepth approach. Both are OK depending on your interests. Over the past 15+ years we have spent about 300 days in Europe and still have not see everything.

As a rough suggestion I would encourage you to use an open jaw ticket -- into Paris, home from Rome or into Rome, home from Zurich. Pick three or four cities (areas) in between the two and spend about two to four days in each. Will not see everything but enjoy and appreciate what you will see and not what you missed.

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks Tom--I am not actually asking for anyone to plan my trip for me--thats the fun part for me along with my husband--just looking for a few suggestions of where to go or what not to miss related to my 2 week time frame--

Posted by
4125 posts

Good advice here--I'll just add that the "inexpensive hub" strategy rarely pays off, unless you have an exceptional deal or a narrow choice from FF miles.

Better to fly to where you want to be, and chances are your flight will be routed through one of those hubs. Then fly home from where you end your trip, not looping back unless you want to.

You can have an exceptional experience in two weeks but you can't possibly "see everything" and the imperative to do so could make your trip less fun.

Posted by
3 posts

i prefer to fly into amsterdam. after you land, you may catch a train to anywhere in europe at the train station located within the air terminal. use amsterdam as your base. stay in a hotel with close proximity to central station such as the citadel on niewe zids voorgburgwal or the tulip inn on gravenstraat if you prefer business class; or the van onna hotel located in the jordaan if you prefer a family run hotel. i have stayed in all of these and for my money, i always return to the van onna. reservations can be made online now. read the hotel reviews and study the street maps if you choose this city. it is easy access to central station in amsterdam to take a train anywhere in holland or europe.

Posted by
14 posts

Sharon - Fly into one city and out the other, doing what you want to as you go from one to the other. We never fly in/out of the same city in Europe. I'd pick my absolute must see's, plot them on a map and determine the best rail route to do them all (it's not necessarily in the order the dots appear on the map due to rail times) and then go from there. In order to see all that you want, you may have to sacrifice a bit and fly in/out of a city that costs a bit more, but its' for your 20th!!

While in Italy, eat Gelato every day, and try new flavors. So much better than ice cream!!!!

Posted by
11450 posts

Ok , just for fun, I'll play. Why not, fly into London, spend 3 days there, then take Eurostar to Paris, spend 5 days there, then train or cheap flight to Rome, spend 3-4 days there, then fly home from Rome.. You will have tasted three completely different cultures, but not rushed about like crazy. The Eurostar is fast and can be cheap if you book ahead.. also, its usually cheaper to book a return ticket and throw out return portion. There are flights from Paris to Rome that take 1.5 hours , and cost me only 80 euros last summer, try Vueling .

Or,, you could fly into Amsterdam, 2-3 days, train to Paris 4-5 days, then train or flight to Prague!!

Hey, you can do anthing, but I do think you should keep it simple. I personally could happily spend the whole time in one country.. Paris and Normandy or Dordogne region in France, or Rome , Venice, Florence in Italy.. anything goes.

Posted by
2000 posts

I totally agree with Pat's first recommendation above. London - Paris - Rome (with most time in Paris)

Posted by
31435 posts

I also agree with Pat's suggestions, however I'd allot four days in London (you'll lose your first day in flight times, etc. and will be jet lagged for a few days after that).

I'd drop Paris to four days. That will include the time spent on the EuroStar from London St. Pancras to Paris.

Allow one day for travel from Paris to Rome (even with budget flights, getting to the airport, security, flight times, travel to & from the airport etc. often take the better part of a day - if you can find a DIRECT night train, that might be an option too?).

Finally, spend five days touring Rome, and fly home from Fiumicino.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
20 posts

Thanks for the suggestions--I was first thinking of flying into Brussels then to the Rhine river--spending most of our time in Germany--but I really like Pat's idea of trying three different cultures--

I have been thinking about skipping London and instead flying into Brussels. Brussels, Paris, and Rome--
Brussels--Bruges
Paris--Louvre, Eiffel Tower, ???, and a day trip to Loire Valley? (any other suggestions)
Rome-- Vatican, Pantheon, Colosseum, and maybe a day trip?--(any other suggestions)
We are foodies--so any suggestions for (reasonable)resturants?
Any suggestions for hotels, B&Bs, etc.

All in about 12 days--

Thanks for the help--Sharon

Posted by
4125 posts

Golly, with just 12 days I'd skip Brussels and fly into Paris. Spend the extra day in France or Italy.

Posted by
12040 posts

The Loire Valley isn't very practical as a daytrip from Paris. It can technically be done, but you won't see very much.

Posted by
20 posts

Go to the Swiss Alps in the Jungfrau region. It is the best place in the world and you will enjoy them any time of the year. I would also recommend you go to Venice, Italy by taking a night train from the Swiss Alps.

Posted by
638 posts

I second Adams response, with the limited time I would skip Brussels. I know you limited no time but I recommend going from Paris to the Mosel River Valley which will get you to the Rhine where you can head south from Koblenz. This will give you an opportunity to see small villages in western Germany

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Sharon. I will not offer any suggestions until you decide what countries you will go to. Flying to and from one airport in Europe can be a good plan, for visiting some countries. Such airports are : Amsterdam, or Frankfurt, or Munich. Travel in a circle, in three countries. And, flying to Amsterdam, or Frankfurt, and some days Munich can be the lowest cost destinations to fly to, for some days. Northwest Airlines may be a good choice for you, if you will start from Wyoming.

Posted by
29 posts

My advice based on some of the suggestiosn ive read so far is to skip london given the limitted time frame. There is so much to see in Paris that it will be hard to (but possible) to see it very well in 3 or 4 days. Rome and Florence and must-sees in my opinion (I would leave out Venice because it is out of the way and although it is BEAUTIFUL i would only do it after having seen Rome and some of Tuscany very thoroughly as those places feel more "Italian" to me). You might want to spend a day in Sienna, San Gimingango or Pisa any of which are doable as a one day trip from Florence. If you do those things very briefly and take an overnight train out of Rome and into Interlaken you could spend the last three days of the trip enjoying the Swiss Alps, the Jungfrau in particular.

Posted by
11450 posts

Hi Sharon, When will this trip take place, that may influence some of our answers. I love love love hining in Switzerland, but wouldn't go there to hike in April( many higher trails will still be snow covered or closed),, and Rome in August is hot and sticky!

Posted by
14780 posts

Don't expect too much from train travel. I thought I would get to see Italy by train (Milan-Venice-Florence-Pisa-La Spezia-Milan). Wrong. Most of the tracks are tree-lined, which hides any scenery there may be and some of the seats were downright uncomfortable.

Posted by
20 posts

I will be travelling in Oct--
I do want to see Brussels--I do not want to skip this city.
I have 12 days-this does not include my travel time to and from Europe.
I was thinking Brussels for 2-3 days, Paris 3-4 days (from informaiton from previous posts I probably will not take any day trips), and Florence/Tuscany for 5 days--I guess I could always do a day trip from Paris to Brussels--
I was thinking about flying from Paris to Florence--it looks like it is the quickest--

Posted by
191 posts

Sharon,

What is it about Brussels that makes you not want to skip it?

I spent 6 months in Belgium and adore that country. But I would rank London, Paris and Rome higher as a must see than Brussels. But obviously, this is your trip, not mine. If you do go to Belgium, don't spend all your time in Brussels without going to Bruges.

The best advice I think you'll get though, is don't try to see 'everything'...research carefully and prioritize--you will enjoy it much more if you're not rushed.

Posted by
20 posts

I think we may end up just doing a day trip from Paris to Bruges--
Ok--so now I am thinking Paris, Florence (with side trips) but I would still love to see Rome also--yikes!

Posted by
4125 posts

Well, a day trip from Paris to Brugges is about five hours on the train, two and a half each way. Are you sure you want to do that?

A slightly better plan, maybe, might be to take a train to Brugges direct from the Brussels airport, about an hour and a half, and spend the night. That's slightly less travel time but mostly it breaks things up a little. But it would not be clear to me that it's worth the extra running around to see Brugges this trip, whichever way you choose.