Please sign in to post.

Trip planning- when/where/how

Hi everyone,

I'm starting to think about my next trip to Europe and am narrowing down places to go and when. I'd like to go on a longer trip (suggestions welcome for length) and do France, Spain and Switzerland but I'm thinking that might be too much in one trip. Possible dates to go would be between April and October of 2010 or 2011 (again, suggestions welcome). I'm interested in architecture, scenery (general outdoors- hiking, expoloring, etc.), but not so much into art. I'm in the very preliminary planning stages so any advice or suggestions would be helpful. Thanks!

Posted by
204 posts


I agree with Steve trips 1 & 2 were both for a month - next one May 2010 is for 3 weeks. All 3 times have been in May and touch wood have not had a rainy day yet. Cool in north part of Italy & Venice first part of May but just light jacket weather.

Did just Italy lst time drove top to Amalfi coast.

Austria, Southern France, Spain 2nd trip - rail thru Austria and France to Madrid then drove.

You did not say where you went on your previous trip to Europe??

Posted by
33 posts

Thank you both for the replies. I like the idea of an alps based trip because the hiking/scenery aspect and also the ability to see Paris and Salzburg/Vienna.

My previous trip was in July/August for 2 weeks. We did the southern part of Germany (Munich, Rothenburg, Nurnberg) and western side of Italy (Rome, Florence, CT). That trip was pretty fast paced but still very enjoyable. On the next trip I'd like to be more leisurely. Would you recommend a car for an Alps trip?

Thanks for the tips.

Posted by
32239 posts


Some clarification on a previous comment.....

"Depending on money you can stay as long as you want!"

Due to the limits of the Schengen Visa, non E.U. residents can stay in the Schengen zone a maximum of three months. Of course, your travel budget will also have a bearing on how long you can stay.

The three counties you mentioned are all good, and you could perhaps stay one month in each country. One possibility would be to start in Spain in April (would be slightly warmer in the south at that time of year), move to France and then finish in Switzerland in June. Which cities or sights in each country are you interested in?

Good luck!

Posted by
9110 posts

If you're thinking of France and Spain, why not skip Switzerland? The hiking brings a couple of ideas to mind (and hiking at altitude in the Alps really, really hurts if you're not used to it). The Cenneves National Park (north of Montpellier) and the Pyrennes National Park (south of Pau) have excellent hiking areas. For walking/hiking through towns and villages, trails and paths along the Lot and Dordogne rivers and also the towpath along the Canal du Midi (maybe near Carcasonne) are terrific. For the last three choices you might want to pick a place to stay for a week from and make day outings from there.

In any case, from any of these areas, you're within easy striking distance from Spain (figure two driving days to the south coast of Spain from anywhere on the Frace/Spain border).

Posted by
111 posts

If you are in Europe in late Sep - 1st week of Oct, consider Munich for Octoberfest.

Posted by
33 posts

Thanks again for the suggestions. I would love to do some hiking throughout each of these countries. I would also prefer to train most of the way as we did that on our previous trip and it was wonderful. I felt much less stressed at the ability to sit back and relax (plus I'm somewhat directionally challenged!). I'm waiting to see how much time we'll have for this trip before committing to anything, I just wanted to get suggestions as this forum has been very helpful in planning. Thanks again everyone!

Posted by
1525 posts

Your parameters are too wide to allow us to be helpful. Are you travelling alone? for a couple weeks? months? Where in Europe have you already been, and what did you like best about it?

We need clarification....

Posted by
2212 posts

We were lucky enough to do a six-week trip a couple of years ago and found that six weeks was definitely not too long to be traveling (loved it!) but that coming home to the piles of mail and so forth was daunting!

Posted by
9429 posts

I think Ken's advice was exactly right. We spent 3 months in Europe on one trip and it was great. Even with that much time, we still didn't get to go everywhere we would have liked and still felt like we could stay longer when it was time to come home. Another trip was 3 wks and that, for me, is too short after spending all that money to get there. Many trips since those two have been for 6 wks which is optimal, if you can do it. Gives you time to relax and really feel like you're there.

Paris is my favorite place, but I highly recommend the Berner Oberland in Switzerland, staying in Murren. I had no problem at all hiking in the Swiss Alps and I'm not in great shape.