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Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Hawaii
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Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Aloha everyone! First and formost, thank you for reading this. I am in the process of planning a trip to Europe. I'm a 28 year old male and have traveled solo many times before, although only in the US. I'm a huge museum and history buff, so when I travel, I tend to gravitate towards those types of things. I've done a fare amount of research and with airfare, hotels, and a train tickets, I'm looking at roughly about $4000 USD in expenses, not including food and shopping money. I have the dates for my trip pretty much nailed down, and was wondering if I could get some thoughts on my planned itinerary. It is as follows:

April 4th – 5th: Travel to Paris from Hawaii.

April 6th: Louve

April 7th: Eiffel Tower/Arc de Triomphe

April 8th: Les Catacombes/Notre Dame (these four on the 7th and 8th are all interchangeable with each other. I thought the whole religious aspect of Notre Dame would be an interesting contrast with the death in the catacombes.)

April 9th: Versailles Palace

April 10th: Travel to Venice (a short flight)

April 11th: Gallerie dell’ Accademia

April 12th: Travel to Florence/Gallerie dell’ Accademia/Travel to Rome (Debating either a straight trip to Rome from Venice or maybe a stop in Florence to check out their Gallerie dell' Accademia to see the infamous David statue. It's really the only thing I'd wanna see in Florence. According to research I've done, the train ride from Venice to Florence is about two hours and from Florence to Rome is about an hour and a half. So I was thinking of leaving Venice around 9, getting to Florence around 11, checking out the museum, leaving Florence around 4 and getting to Rome around 5:30. Not sure if the stop in Florence is worth it yet.)

April 13th: Colosseum/Pantheon

April 14th: Vatican Museums

April 15th: Travel to Greece (airplane)

April 16th: Acropolis/Parthenon

April 17th: Theatre of Dionysos/Agora

April 18th:

April 19th:

April 20th:

April 21st: Travel to Hawaii

As you can see, I have a three day window with nothing in it. Now my one of my questions is what should I do with those three days? Stay an extra day in one of the cities? Maybe fly into London prior to France and catch a train over? Or go to Amsterdam or Berlin? Although I don't really know what I'd want to see there. I was thinking of even Istanbal or Barcelona at the end. Or perhaps a place I haven't mentioned that one of you readers could recommend. Now all these items are able to be moved. The only thing set is me leaving Hawaii on the 4th, getting into Europe on the 5th, and flying out of Europe on the 21st. Getting to Hawaii on the 21st or 22nd does not matter. I'm open to all suggestions and input and look forward to reading what people have to say. Again, thanks for reading!

Minneapolis...
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1. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

I would add your extra days to a few of the cities you are already visiting. For me, part of the experience of being in Europe is having a day here and there that is just exploring a city and not necessarily focused on hitting as many big sites as possible. For me, I like to visit markets and grocery stores. For you, it might be a different experience-- a café in Paris, taking a leisurely tour of Venice on the vaporetto, etc.

Italy
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2. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

If you're a history fan then your schedule short changes Venice,Florence and Rome.

San Diego
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3. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Definitely add your days to the cities you are rushing through in Italy!!

1 day and 1 museum is not enough to get the flavor of any of them!!!

Amsterdam, The...
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4. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Much as I am all for slow traveling and spending more time in the cities you're already planning on visiting... I also wanted to react to your remark: "Or go to Amsterdam or Berlin? Although I don't really know what I'd want to see there."

Whoa, where to start! :-)))

* Amsterdam: what about the UNESCO heritage 400 year old canal belt and all the 17th century canal houses? The world-reknowned Rijksmuseum and all its Rembrandt, Hals, Vermeer and other Dutch classic paintings? Anne Frank House? With some luck, tulips in bloom creating stunning tapestries of color in the countryside not far from Amsterdam (good chance from third week of April onwards)? A beautiful row of windmills at Zaanse Schans 30-40 minutes outside Amsterdam?

* Berlin: ahh, too much to mention! It is paradise for history buffs! Especially those with an interest in the two world wars, the cold war, Stasi intelligence, The Wall, the history of Jews in Europe... And apart from that it is also possibly the coolest city in the world when it comes to bar & nightlife, art and street art, flea markets, design shops, vintage, try-outs and start-ups, all-you-can-eat brunch cafes, beer gardens and city beaches and abandoned airfield hipster places...

One small tip for Paris: if you want views from up high of the city WITH the Eiffel tower in it... go up the Tour Montparnasse. As neighborhoods to just wander around in I really like Le Marais, and Montmartre.

The day you arrive is Easter Monday but I don't think that will affect your travel plans. But if you want to be sure you can ask about that in the Paris forum.

http://cile.home.xs4all.nl/

Edited: 23 November 2015, 23:49
Ottawa, Canada
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5. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

My memory of the train time from Venice to Florence was more like 3 hours and Florence to Rome was over 2 hours. Still not a full day, but not as short as you suggest (or trains have gotten faster). I love training in Italy, there is so much to see. Florence has a lot of famous Davids and allows for a half day trip to Pisa (for the Leaning tower, but more importantly, the Basilica across the green. The treat is to have the guard sing while you are in the upper levels. The acoustics are magnificent).

What about Verona, Padua, Bologna? The food in the Bologna region is world renowned as well as its history. That region has solid Roman architecture and ruins as well as some exquisite Byzantine Church mosaics unparalleled outside of Istanbul.

Recently one of our Solo posters did a trip to Paris and she discussed being at Notre Dame for their special sunset from the roof tour. Keep that in mind; sounded awesome. Also look to see which of your dates has evening hours at the Louvre...it is often much quieter than day visits. I was in the Mona Lisa room with less than a dozen other folks instead of being 6 people deep.

I have traveled in Italy at a similar time. Venice didn't really do it for me, but then we sort of hit that travel wall those days and trying to find a laundromat took up waaay too much time and energy. It can be very wet and though our lodging had rubber boots, we were having to use the temporary raised walking platforms or wading along the pathways. Not so comfortable in chilly April. Keep that in mind as to whether it is worth a short trip. That being said, a well planned one day is suffice.

I don't see Pompeii or Herculaneum on the list either, so consider doing on day trips from Naples.

Italy
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6. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Depends on the train but using one of the high speed trains Rome to Venice is less then four hours. 1.5 hours Rome to Florence feels about right.

England, United...
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7. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Your plan looks well thought out to me, I wouldn't rush that much but this is your trip.

<<infamous David statue>> you will see loads of them in Florence. They are everywhere but I think that there is much you will miss - of course you may not be interested.

The Baptistery, the Uffizi Gallery with the David & Goliath statue, the Ponte Vecchio to think of a few.

I liked Venice if it's possible, unique. You'll have to dodge the pricey places and touts but you can still eat cheaply down the side streets. We visited it for a day and got a real flavour of the place.

Or drop down to Sorrento for Pompeii and Hurculanium museum. There are a lot of posts on the Italy forum where people want to do Rome, Florence and Pompeii together, that would tell you how to do it.

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8. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

This shows that everyone's reactions to European cities is different.

The first time I arrived in Venice and saw the boats on the canals I actually cried!

So far I have spent 10 days there on 2 separate trips and still feel its magic!

Edited: 24 November 2015, 05:42
Hawaii
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9. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

Hey everyone! Thanks for the replies.

After reading everyone's comments, I've decided I will not be adding on another destination. I will be extending my trip by one day to add an extra day to Greece while still keeping the three day leeway.

Here is what my new itinerary looks like:

April 4th – 5th: Travel to Paris

April 6th: Paris

April 7th: Paris

April 8th: Paris

April 9th: Paris/Travel to Venice overnight

April 10th: Arrive in Venice in the morning/Venice

April 11th: Venice

April 12th: Venice

April 13th: Travel to Rome

April 14th: Rome

April 15th: Rome

April 16th: Rome

April 17th: Rome

April 18th: Travel to Greece (airplane)

April 19th: Greece

April 20th: Greece

April 21st: Greece

April 22nd: Travel to Hawaii

I've decided to take advantage of the overnight train from Paris to Venice to save on airfare and get an extra day and save on travel time. I might use one of my extra Rome days for a day trip out to Florence as well. I am also open to switching out Athens for London, either flying into London first and moving everything down, or flying from Rome to London.

Again, thanks for the input and opinons! Thoughts on the new itinerary?

Hawaii
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10. Re: Sample Itinerary for a first time European traveler.

The more I think about it, the better London first sounds.. I can then catch a train to Paris, a train to Venice, and a train to Rome.. I'd save money on airfare that way. Then I can save Greece for a Greece, Crete, and Istanbal trip.