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Old 05-11-2006, 01:20 AM   #1
 
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I'm spending June 1st to 28th in Europe; I'll be ariving at LHR at about 8am on the first and leaving from LHR at about 1pm on the twenty eighth. Between that time I have a rough idea of what I'd like to see, but im not sure how much time I'll need in each place. I'd hate to have to rush the end of my trip because I budgeted my time poorly. Here's the basic itinerary I have... I'd really appreciate any comments on how long I should stay in each area (and any sites or activities you'd recomend).
I want some flexability but I don't want to stay too long in an area without much to do and I also dont want to rush through an area without taking it in as fully as possible. Anything in parenthesis isnt set in stone, I can skip the location (and/or country) if there's not time, or if you'd suggest I go somewhere else, I'd love to hear it. Berlin is one destination I'm unsure of, since its a 7 hour train ride from amsterdam to berlin and then another 7 to munich, which may be too far to fit in reasonably.

Itinerary:
England: London
France: Paris
(Belgum: Brussels)
Netherlands: Amsterdam
Germany: (Berlin, Munich)
Italy: Venice, (Florence), Rome, Naples & Pompeii, (Milan)
Switzerland: (Zurich)

I'm flying out of LHR so I've got to make it back up to london before 1pm on the 28th so most likely the day before, which gives me some extra time there.
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:59 AM   #2
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The general recommendation is about 3 nights per city. Obviously, if there's not a lot to do/see, cut off a day and if there is, add some. You also have to factor transportation time from city to city.

If you're flying from the US/Canada, I'd add an extra day on to London to adjust to the time change.

I assume you're going to be taking the train, which will add a considerable amount of time, so I would definitely eliminate some. I have no idea what you plan on seeing/doing in each place, so I'd eliminate Belgium (though it is beautiful) and a city or two from Italy or you're going to be running crazy!
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:48 AM   #3
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Usually I can fit my fist.

Oh, in a month! Not mouth...

Umm.. yeah, I'd go with 3-4 days per metropolitan area at a minimum, so you're looking at 7 stops. As for the cities, I've only been to a few of 'em, so I can't make any recommendations.
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Old 05-11-2006, 09:19 AM   #4
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3-4 days sounds about right, depending on the city of course. Rome has so much to see you can easily take a week for that city alone and still not see everything.

Having said that I'm all about research before I travel. It makes it a lot easier to figure out how much time you'll need in a given location. I know some people are all about being spontaneous and going anywhere they want at a drop of a hat, but if you have a limited amount of time and you want to see a lot then I say do your homework before you leave. I read up a lot on the internet and in guide books, so I have a general idea of what I want to see. I write down the main points of interest that I definately want to see and keep it as my master list. Anything else that seems interesting or worthwhile goes on my second list. This way if attraction X is closed on a monday I have a few ready to go alternatives what to do instead. This way it's easier to be flexible. Plus this way you avoid the possibility of being close to attraction ______ and not seeing it by accident, since you didn't know about it.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:03 AM   #5
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Ditto that. The less time you have, the more you have to plan, I think. Especially, check the closing days of any museums you want to visit...we totally turned all our plans around on our last trip to Italy, to accommodate opening days. Had we not, we'd have seen virtually nil...

I've been to most of the places on your list, and if it were my choice to make, I'd drop Amsterdam (that's just me), Berlin (as you said, it's pretty far out of the way), Brussels (go to Brugges instead), Milan (kind of sprawling and industrial - go to Florence instead) and go somewhere else in Switzerland than Zurich (maybe Lucerne or Geneva, or somewhere in the mountains/countryside - Interlaken is always popular, but I enjoyed Lauterbrunnen). Of course, I have no idea why you've picked those particular places, so you'll have to make the final call, but in a month, you're probably going to have to drop something off the list.

If you have to travel during the day, try to schedule it on a day that the museums/attractions will be closed, usually Mondays, but not always. In Naples, the impressive Archaeological Museum is closed on Tuesdays. We discovered this in time, and went on Monday, then to Vesuvius/Pompeii on Tuesday. You can do both in one day quite easily (well, I don't know what it's like getting public transit to Vesuvius - we had friends who drove us), but Pompeii is a huge complex, so it can easily take several hours...we went in the mid-afternoon and couldn't see the whole site.

If you plan to visit the Vatican Museums, going early is good advice, but I've no idea what time you'd have to get there to be first in line...we arrived just before 10 and the queue was a good two hours long... People do come along the queue offering tours you can join - it's expensive, but we did it, and much prefered spending the two hours inside the museum rather than on the street outside! If you do take a tour, or find yourself in the Sistine Chapel before you've seen everything you wanted to, there is one door that leads back into the museum complex, while the other leads to St. Peter's and outside. One of the guides mentioned that in the afternoon the lines are a lot shorter, so if you only want to spend an hour or two, that might be a better time to go. Certainly it was a lot less crowded at 3:30 than at 11:30! And there's a cafeteria inside, so you don't have to leave to eat. We spent about 6 hours there.



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Old 05-11-2006, 12:30 PM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by tumblezweedz@May 11 2006, 01:03 PM
I've been to most of the places on your list, and if it were my choice to make, I'd drop Amsterdam (that's just me), Berlin (as you said, it's pretty far out of the way), Brussels (go to Brugges instead), Milan (kind of sprawling and industrial - go to Florence instead) and go somewhere else in Switzerland than Zurich (maybe Lucerne or Geneva, or somewhere in the mountains/countryside - Interlaken is always popular, but I enjoyed Lauterbrunnen).* Of course, I have no idea why you've picked those particular places, so you'll have to make the final call, but in a month, you're probably going to have to drop something off the list.
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Amsterdam is just one of those places I'd like to say I've gone, but we dont plan on spending more than a day or two there. Berlin is out of the way but I don't know what else is worth seeing on the way to Munich. Brussels was on the list purely because we could probably stop by for a day or less on our way to Amsterdam. I'll definatly scrap Milan, it was only chosen because it was on the way by train to switzerland. I'll also look into Lucerne and Geneva
What other Italian cities are really worth seeing on a first time trip? I plan on returning to Italy when I get my Italain dual citizenship (have the documents, waiting for my consulate to start accepting cases again after summer) so I don't have to see it all right away, but I'd like to get a feel for the different areas and citys.
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Old 05-12-2006, 09:03 AM   #7
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I know, Amsterdam was "one of those places you just have to go", for me, too. Two days was plenty for me.

From there, if you want to see more of Germany, why not try a route that takes you through Cologne and Heidelburg. It's true you won't see a totally representative slice of the country, but you don't have time for that, anyway. Either of those would give you a sample, and are more direct routes to Munich than going via Berlin.

Bypassing Belgium is fine, too - nice if you can swing it, but some things have to give. Especially if you plan on coming back to Europe in future, there's no reason to cram your time too tight.

In the amount of time you have, I really wouldn't suggest seeing more cities in Italy - you've already got Venice, Florence, Rome and Naples - that's enough for a month on it's own! And a pretty good sampling of the cities, too. The only suggestion I'd make, if time permits, is that you take some time to get out into the countryside a bit. Again, there's so much in the cities you've picked that you will still have to sacrifice something to do so, and may want to save that for a return visit...

Sounds like a fantastic trip, have a great time!

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Old 05-12-2006, 09:53 AM   #8
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As for Switzerland I agree with TW, Zurich was something I didn't mind missing. Interlaken was a lot of fun (well, minus the flood that happened while we were there) and there is a lot of stuff to do in the area. The locations is absolutely breathtaking. I also spend a day in Lausanne on the shorte of Lake Geneva and I loved it too. There is a really nice park on the waterfront next to the marina - great to relax in for a few hours.
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