My family (wife, me and 3 teens ages 15-18) is headed to Spain to meet with my oldest son who's finishing studying aboard in Oviedo Spain in June. We'd like to make our way back through Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, (where in Germany thats on the way?), Copenhagen, Stockholm then London and back to the states. Can we do this in two weeks? Are we nuts to do anything but take a plane? Could we do it all by train? Are there any stretches worth driving (not big cities!). Thanks
good question - no it does not, this is "time on the ground"
thanks for your thoughts. I am in Oregon
thanks for all your thoughts - this is really helpful
Can't imagine we wouldn't spend a two days in Madrid (have him meet us there) then a day or so in Oviedo to see where he has spent his time. Looks like I already ate up 4 days. So we are probably now looking at a flight from Spain to Paris. 2 days in Paris min - so now we have spent about a week. I am going to have to keep London and Stockholm since my wife has friends in each. So, looks like cutting out some middle steps.
So now we are in Paris...do we head across to London first (2 days), then fly to Stockholm (2 days), then fly home from there? If I have a couple of days left where to spend it? Add to London, Stockholm or try to add in Amsterdam or Copenhagen?
FYI, there is new CityNightLine overnight train from Amsterdam-Copenhagen. More details can be found here:
In what city are you landing? Is your son meeting you in Madrid, or does he want to show you the sights of northern Spain before you head out?
Can you do it, yes,
should you do it , no.
I assume you are wanting your children to experience the wonders and cultural differences of travel in Europe , right?
So , speeding through each city, with LESS then two days in each( travel time will eat into your time budget) they will hardly experience anything, and when remembering the trip will most likely confuse places and experiences.
I say cut out Germany, Copenhagen and Stockholm,save those for a seperate trip.
I won't tell you that your plans are too ambitious, mainly because others have already done that.
Speaking of Brussels, although the city is worth a visit, if you are visiting it mainly as a halfway point between Paris and Amsterdam, there are other, better places in Belgium to stop. Bruges is a wonderfully preserved medieval city. Antwerp, although a bit rough in some areas, has some wonderful history and art. Both cities are quick rail connections from Brussels (less than 2 hours for each).
If you really want to see some of Germany, your line of travel from Amsterdam to Copenhagen passes through Bremen and, Hamburg, and possibley Kiel and Lubeck. These cities are about as far removed from the lederhosen and sauerkraut stereotype of Germany as possible, but each can provide a memorable, if not particularly glamorous stop-off.
Two days in Paris,, well I would add to my time in Paris. Paris deserves more then two days if you have extra time.
I also don't know what your budget is, but, London and Stockholm are more expensive then Paris,, so if that matters take that into consideration.
To fit all this in, you're going to need good timing and advance planning if you want to make the best of your time, and not spend an arm and a leg. Rent a car in Madrid for the trip to Oviedo and back...about 4 1/2 hours each way. Try to time it so you can drop off your car at Madrid Barajas airport in the late afternoon or evening and catch your flight to Paris(it's on the northwest fringe of the city, so easy to access from the north). Vueling (http://www.vueling.com/EN/index.php) and easyjet (http://www.easyjet.com/en/book/index.asp) fly to CDG, while easyjet and Air Europa (http://www.aireuropa.com/en/default.html) fly to Orly. After Paris, head for Stockholm; check with discount carrier Norwegian airlines (http://www.norwegian.no/sw7127.asp). The off to London for a stop, then home. To London, look at Sterling (http://www.sterling.dk/flight) or, less palatable, Ryanair (http://ryanair.com). (more)
(cont'd) If you can't get cheap open jaws into Madrid and out of London, consider flying into and out of London, then switching airports and taking Ryanair to Santander and rent a car there (2 hrs from Oviedo) or easyjet to Madrid. Yes, it's a hassle switching airports, but it might save you a fair bit of cash, at the expense of some extra time. The key here is to BOOK EARLY. These discount fares don't last forever, and most of the airlines I've mentioned should already have them available for booking. Remember to check baggage charges, and conditions, since these fares usually aren't changeable or refundable. Pack light!