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Europe trip

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are slated to goto Europe in the fall of 2019. We’re doing Barcelona, Venice and Florence. What I want to know is:
A) suggestions on places to stay in these cites.
B) when is too late to visit Venice(I.e., when the rains and floods come)?
C) we are working to either fly out of Milan or Rome and will likely want to spend a day there. Thoughts on both cities?

Posted by
4622 posts

How many nights will you have on your trip (not counting travel days to/from Europe)?

Keep in mind that each time you change destinations, you will lose at least half of that travel day.

Happy planning!

Posted by
46 posts

So we are looking at roughly 15 or 16 days on the ground but because we built in a day on the front and back end, for our flights, i guess it rounds out to 18days.

Also, regarding the loss of hours when traveling city-city, is the primary reason I am keeping it to 3 cities and then the 4th being our fly-out city.

Posted by
124 posts

c) I have only been to Rome, so for me i would pick Milan to see The Last Supper. If you haven't been to Rome, i would do that. We just did Venice, Florence, Rome in 12 days (14 total including travel) and could have spent more time in all locations.

I suggest:
1 Day- Flight to Barcelona
4 Days- Barcelona
4 Days- Venice
5 Days- Florence (2 of those days are day trips to Pisa/Lucia/other small towns that interest you)
3 Days- Rome (Could spend way more time here, but a travel day then two full days would be a good ending to the trip. We stayed in an Air BNB that was west of the Spanish Steps on Via della Croce and would recommend that area)
1 Day- Fly Home

Posted by
4723 posts

A day isn't enough for Milan, and certainly not for Rome. If you're going to Florence and Venice, why are you flying out of Milan or Rome? Both Venice and Florence have airports, and you'll get to spend more time in those great cities, less time traveling between cities.

What's your budget for hotels?

Posted by
46 posts

milan was for the last supper primarily. I had some colleagues tell me that Milan or Rome were the better airports to fly out of...so i was simply operating out of that.

~$1500 for hotels so that would look like...
3 days Barcelona
5 days Venice
5 days Florence
Fly out of Milan, possibly to just see the last supper.

Posted by
12538 posts

I agree with your friends. Florence and Venice do have airports, but often they are not the best choice.

The Florence airport is small, and there are fewer carriers serving it, which means less price competition, and often less flexibility in schedules. When my son lived in Florence for a year, he never used that airport; he went to Pisa instead for infra-Europe flights, and flew home from Milan.

I enjoy flying out of the Venice airport for the views, but only for an intra-Europe flight, never a flight home. Most of the airlines have you connect somewhere in Europe for a flight to the USA, and that mens a very early departure from Venice. I have lost track of how many posts we have seen on how to get tomthe Venice airport early in the morning. For some flights the only answer is an expensive water taxi, because the bus and vaporetto are not yet running.

The exception would be if there is a direct flight from Venice to the US, but there are only a few cities served by such flights, and often they are seasonal (summer only).

Milan is a good choice; it is a short and cheap train ride from either Venice or Florence. In addition to the Last Supper, one can see the magnificent Duomo. I have always wanted to go up on the roof, but never seem to make time for that. Someday . . .

Posted by
46 posts

Appreciate your thoughtful reply Lola! Milan might be the place then

Also...our barcelona to milan flight is very cheap.

Posted by
124 posts

Why would you want to fly from Barcelona to Milan? I thought your trip would be:

Fly to Barcelona from US.
Fly to Venice from Barcelona.
Train from Venice to Florence.
Train from Florence to Milan.
Fly to US from Milan.

Posted by
6570 posts

While you're in Italy, why don't you substitute Rome for Barcelona? It's simply too important of a city not to visit properly. And Rome's worthy of 4 days minimum visit. Florence is worthy of a 3 day visit, and many tourists stay in agriturismos south of Florence in the hilltowns. Venice is about 150 miles by train from Florence, and it would be a 2-3 day city.
They've had some floods in Venice recently with storms coming in at the same time as high tides. You probably won't have to deal with high water if you go more like Sept./October, 2019.
Last time we were in Venice, we flew to London on British Airways and took a connecting flight to the U.S. B/A was meeting the budget fares of EasyJet at just over $100. That may be preferable to going all the way to Milan--not close

Posted by
46 posts

Thanks David and EboneCapone! I will look into making those adjustments accordingly

Posted by
2505 posts

Barcelona is the odd man out. It’s a great city with much to see. But, it means a flight to Italy with the usual airport hassles which will consume a day. Why not Venice, Florence, Milan, Rome? You can train between each city. Save Barcelona for your Spain trip.

Posted by
11275 posts

In terms of flights, what are your home airports?

Rome and Milan can be better to fly out of to the US, because they have year-round flights nonstop to some US cities. Venice has some "seasonal" flights nonstop to a few US airports; depending on when you go in the fall, these flights may or may not be available.

If you can't get a nonstop back to the US, you have to change in Europe. These flights often leave Italy at very early hours, in order to make the connection back to the US the same day. However, this is very dependent on the exact route you are looking at. For instance, a coworker (who refuses to take early flights under any circumstances) was able to fly Naples to Dublin to Newark on Aer Lingus with a departure from Naples around noon! This is rare, however; a 6:30 AM departure is more common.

In addition to Florence's own airport, the city is close enough to use Pisa or Bologna (neither one has nonstops to the US, but they're both larger than Florence's airport, so they have more connection options).

Summary: "Best city to leave Italy from" is dependent on multiple factors, and you have to investigate all the particulars for your situation. If you tell us what US airport(s) you're using, we can give more specifics.

Posted by
930 posts

Our home airport is Chicago as well and I would recommend skipping Barcelona this trip and flying into either Milan or Rome and out of the other with Florence and Venice in between accordingly.

Posted by
408 posts

Few comments Someone mentioned if they went next Oct they would miss flooding in Venice. I do not think that is accurate information. I believe they normally do have high water at that time of year this year was higher than normal. We were in Venice in Oct a while back & they did have high water.

As for when is it too late to go I think each season has pluses and minuses. Also coming from Chicago most direct flights to Rome are only in the high season. We are going next month & have to connect. I agree I would do only Italy this trip to get the most bang for your buck.

Enjoy!

Posted by
14449 posts

Venice flooding, acqua alta, is a winter phenomenon, but only for a couple of days a month and not every month. This year there was unusually severe flooding. "High water" happens when there's a convergence of factors - high tide, heavy rain, wind and rarely lasts more than a few hours. Most of the time, it is just an inconvenience and can be quite an interesting experience. October is a very good month in general for pleasant weather.

According to this page (scroll down to the destinations table), American and United fly non-stop to Rome, American has "seasonal" non-stop flights to Venice.

I enjoyed Milan during my 2 days there 10 years ago, no desire to return. When I fly into Milan, I just get on a train and head for somewhere else. I never tire of Venice and the more time I spend in Rome, the more I find to like there. There are dozens of great towns in the regions between them. It's all good, you can't make bad choices.

Posted by
6570 posts

Your cheapest way to get to Italy would be to fly from O'Hare to London-Gatwick on Norwegian Air Shuttle and transfer to a cheap EasyJet.com flight down to Pisa Airport.

We're flying Nashville-Boston Madrid and home from Paris May/June, 2019 for about $700. Same route with the big legacy air carriers is $1700 for the high season.

Posted by
12538 posts

We spent an entire month in Venice in October 2013, and there was no acqua alta during that time. We thought it was a good time to be there. But every year could be different.

Posted by
6837 posts

Save Barcelona for a trip that focuses on Spain. Changing countries always takes some adjusting and time.. Include Rome and Milan but for more than one night! Get tickets to “The Last Supper” way in advance.

Posted by
98 posts

Your trip sounds great ! Have fun !!

I am curious why you post in the Trip Report forum rather than in General Europe?

From the Trip Report description: "Share what happened on your trip with our travel community! Discuss your most memorable experiences from your recent European vacation.:

Whereas Destination Q&A has this to say:

"General Europe
Questions and answers regarding travel across multiple countries"

You might get more replies in the other forum area.