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Where in Europe on 21 days?

My boyfriend and I will be arriving in London on the 20th of September and we need to be in a Cork, Ireland on the 4th of October...the question is...what do we do in between? What is reasonable as far as how many countries we can visit in this amount of time?

Posted by
410 posts

As this period is just two weeks, you could easily spend it all in England if you wanted - there is certainly enough in London and the country to fill that time. How are you getting from England to Ireland as that could influence other places you may choose to go. The obvious choices would be Wales and /or Scotland. I would not attempt to see England, Scotland and Wales in such a short time but you may feel differently.

What are your interests? Do you like cities or country? I know UK looks like a pretty small place compared to US - and is - but there is a lot to see and do and travelling between places will still take time out of any schedule.

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you for your advice! I really have no idea. I like big cities, but I love getting into the smaller, less touristy towns...the kind where I WON'T find a McDonald's. ;)

What if from London we catch a flight to Austria or Switzerland and work our way back (via train or bus) through Germany and France? Is that a crazy idea?

Posted by
410 posts

Is that a crazy idea - yes totally - at least in my opinion. Why you would consider travelling to one country (England) and then trying to see 4 more in a space of 2 weeks, before returning to the UK, is utterly beyond me. But I guess it is possible. If you have no interest in England perhaps fly to a continental european destination and then to Ireland. But I suggest restricting yourself to one or 2 counties rather than 3.

Posted by
10 posts

OK, I am sorry, I didn't mean to sound outrageous. I just really have no idea. Also, I should have mentioned that this is not my first trip to Europe. I have seen most of England, France and Germany, and studied for 6 months in Malaga, Spain a few years ago. So, it is not that I don't have any interest in England, it is just that I would like to try something different. London is just our arrival port. I would really like to see a little of Austrian or Switzerland or the Italian Coast (Cirque Terre?) and thought we could make our way back from there...

Posted by
11 posts

You have 2 weeks to travel before returning to Cork.. I am flying to Europe from the US for a 10 day vacation.. so there's really no reason you shouldn't be able to visit some of the other places you want to. I understand inter-Europe flights are very affordable these days. If you want to do Italy, why not fly to Venice, spend some time there, and then fly to Germany or wherever, back to Ireland?
By the way, Ireland is beautiful - maybe spend some time there?

Posted by
203 posts

Again, what are you interested in? There are many cheap airfares from the UK to all over. If you've already spent lots of time in Western Europe, why not go East? When we were in Krakow, Poland, we met several groups of British tourists. East is also much easier on the budget than the West. As far as the number of countries, that's totally up to you. I'd pick one outside of the UK and Ireland.

Posted by
219 posts

Mollie, I admire your energy. I would keep it to about 4 areas in those 2 weeks and it doesn't necessarily mean all in 1 country. I would stay in London for 1 or 2 nights to find an agent for very last minute traveling who can book rooms, transportation, and even offer a few suggestions. (Am I correct in assuming the English are great travelers?) I like the idea of some R&R in the Alps or Italian coast, w/a few visits to small towns in those areas before carrying out your obligations in Cork. Good luck and let us all know how you managed.

Posted by
8538 posts

I don't think your idea is crazy at all. We go to Europe every year and many times have done what you proposed. We spent 2 wks in England one year and really enjoyed it, but we much prefer Europe and the different cultures, languages and food. It's very fun to start in 1 country and move along through several. I do like to have time to enjoy and savor each place, not going so fast it's all a blur at the end. You could do 4 countries in 2 wks easily. You can spend 2-3 days in 1-2 places per country. Everybody has different ways they like to travel, we also enjoy going to one country and spending weeks there, taking our time, and staying a while in each place. We've done it different ways many times, and always enjoy ourselves. Like RS says, always assume you will be back! I hope you have a wonderful time!

Posted by
10 posts

Thank you all sooo much!! I really appreciate all the ideas...I feel much better about what is possible. :) I went to Lonely planet website and Melissa, you were right! I found some GREAT airline fares within Europe...:) Jeannine, that is a really good idea about talking to a travel agent in London before we go on...they would probably have some great suggestions! Do you think I should book flights from here though? Susan, we would love to see Poland, that is a great thought! Also, I love what you said...and what RS says... Always assume you will be back! I love it!! THANK YOU all sooo much for your help, I really appreciate it and will share any the wonderful thing that I find with you when I get back! :)

Posted by
3551 posts

It would be helpful in your planning if you had a budget in mind. Realize how expensive everything is espec in UK and Ireland. This may determine where and what you do and how. ie. bus is so much less than train, however budget airlines etc as Ryan airlines can be super cheap when booked way in advance. Last Nov I did it on $85/day ea for 2 persons traveling in UK and Wales.

Posted by
479 posts

Mollie,
The great thing for you is that you're flying into London and needing to be in Cork. The many of the major players in the cheap airfare in Europe business are located in Ireland (Ryanair, for one) and London (Virgin, for one). Check out the Flying Within Europe page on Rick's Graffiti Wall. You can fly just about anywhere in Europe for shockingly cheap!! In 14-20 days, Europe is your oyster!

Posted by
10 posts

Jarrod, thank you for that info!!! I am going to go check it out right now...How did you know exactly what I was wondering?? :) Thanks also for the encouragement, I am sooo excited!

Posted by
1717 posts

Mollie, you said you really want to go to Switzerland or Austria or the Mediteranean coast of Italy (Cinque Terre). I think going to the Cinque Terre and Switzerland is a good plan for you. 13 days away from England is enough time for that. Fly from an airport of England to Milan Italy (Malpensa airport) and ride in trains from there to the Cinque Terre. An express train goes from Milan train station to Monterosso. When you leave Cinque Terre, ride in trains north to Lugano in Switzerland (via Milan), sleep at Lugano one night, and the next day ride in train (including William Tell Express) to Lucerne. Travel across Switzerland,in trains, toward the West, visting places recommened in the book "Rick Steves' Switzerland. Fly from Geneva to Ireland. Switzerland and Italy should be good the last week of September, because there will not be huge crowds of people there, compared with August.

Posted by
11450 posts

Hello,, I agree that doing too much in two weeks is a bit overwhelming, but, I do not think you are crazy,, LOL. I would limit myself to two or three countries max. as I think spending a total of 2 days in a country is just sad! LOL
I would look into booking airfare before you leave, I booked my hubby some dirt cheap fares for inter Europeon travel this past June. I kept thinking " this must be a mistake!" but no, they have some amazing deals. Watch the luggage allowance though, the cheapo airlines make money on extra charges for luggage, and I am not kidding about that.
Have fun planning, and btw, I would definately slip Switzerland in there, I loved it, but remember it is shockingly expensvie,, as it UK to me, since the Pound is so much stronger then our puny dollar, LOL, if you think the euro is bad.. just wait. LOL

Posted by
4805 posts

Hi Mollie,

I often do the type of thing that you mention. It is very easy to get to London from where I live and I used to live there so I always enjoy a couple of days there. One great thing about London is that you can often get very good prices on one way flights to other parts of Europe because there is so much airline competition. For example, in May I flew from Rome to London for about $100 on British Airways. So potentially, you could do something like
1) Spend a few days in London
2) Fly from London to Milan (or nearby). From there visit the Italian coast.
3) Travel through Italy to somewhere else. For example, make your way up through to Lugano and into Switzerland. Or spend more time in Italy.
4) Fly from your ending point to Dublin and make your way down to Cork.

A good way to check the flight options is to try using www.sidestep.com and check the nearby airports options. For example, if you try London to Milan, it will also show London to Pisa, etc.

Posted by
4805 posts

a continuation ... I see that Ron from Missouri had already suggested the same thing that I did. Sorry didn't mean to repeat ...

One more thing is that I would work out your flights before you go and book those soon.

Posted by
10 posts

Ron, Pat and Laura, thank you for the great suggestions!! Ron and Laura, I LOVE your suggestion of Italy and Switzerland...! Pat, I just realized what you meant about the exchange rate with our "puny dollar"...I just plugged in some numbers to convert our dollar to Euro and Pounds and ~ Ai yi yi!! :) Oh well, I think I am going to thorougly enjoy every penny I spend...Thank you all for your great advice!!