We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Italy ~ France ~ Spain

2 posts
Save Topic
Italy ~ France ~ Spain

Hello fellow globe trekkers...I am going to Europe next month and starting to think about renting a car but really would rather not do that. Something scares me about driving on the left side of the road. Will it be feasible to do all of this by train/air in 2 weeks? (see schedule below)

My friend recommends Trenitalia, but not sure if difference of that and Eurorail. Can anyone fill me in? Eurorail just seems more user-friendly and TI is a mess to try and use if one is not familiar with the cities or Italian language. Also I guess ER has a wider trange of travel. Thanks for any tips! Ciao!

7/19-21 Arrive Milan>>Parma

7/21-23 ENBRUM/Alps

7/24 South of France

7/25-26 1 Day Retreat Bergerac @ Plum Village

7/27-28 San Sebastian

7/28-8/1 Barcelona/Malaga/ leave Madrid

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Train Travel
Level Contributor
84,629 posts
13 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

Trenitalia is the company that runs the trains in Italy. Eurorail is an agency that adds its own fees to the cost of tickets and often does not list all the trains.

For the best prices on train travel, book direct with the operator as far ahead as possible. Tickets go on sale 3 or 4 months before travel, and the cheapest tickets often sell out quickly. The discounted prices keep going up as the travel date gets closer.

You can get Italian train times and costs from www.trenitalia.com clicking on the UK flag to change to English and using the Italian names of cities. There is also a new competitor: www.italotreno.it/EN

You can get French train times and costs, and make bookings, in English at en.voyages-sncf.com/en but use Antarctic as the "Ticket collection country" in the first screen to avoid being transferred to RailEurope, which usually has higher prices and does not list all the trains. For notes on online booking, see www.nickbooth.id.au/Tips/FrenchTrain.htm

For Spanish trains, see http://www.renfe.com/EN/viajeros/index.html and for hints on buying online see tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187514-c80518/Madrid…

Level Contributor
5,434 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

< Something scares me about driving on the left side of the road >

Traffic in Italy, France and Spain travels on the right-hand side of the road !

Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
36,378 posts
11 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

You have a schedule bordering on psychotic for just two weeks -- your list of destinations is long, scattered from one end of the EU to the other, and none of those destinations is particularly well-served by transport. You can get there, but you'll spend more of your two weeks traveling than you will actually seeing anything.

You lose your arrival day to airport maneuvers, jet lag, and fatigue.

You lose the biggest part of a day traveling between any two points.

Your last day is dedicated to getting to the airport.

Paris, France
Level Contributor
16,753 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

I would not even think of driving these crazy long distances. Gas is twice as expensive in Europe as it is in California, and you'd pay a hefty drop off fee for renting a car in one country and dropping it in another. Plus you would spend a majority of your vacation looking at the backs of big trucks.

Did you even think about transportation and distances before coming up with this crazy itinerary?

There is no way you can do all of this in 2 weeks. I would plan on 3 or 4 destinations max. You need to get moving since you don't have much time. And you've already missed the opportunity for the best fares for planes or trains.

2 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

Thanks for everyone's feedback, Im usually an overachiever so thought it could be done. A few poeple agreed with my plans but now Im thinking to leave France out since Spain/Italy is my priority. Im learning more as I plan this trip about what is feasible during this time. And I think I will just take planes mostly maybe a few train rides to close cities.

Level Contributor
3,767 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

"Trenitalia is a mess to try and use if one is not familiar with the cities or Italian language. "

Yes, the site is less user-friendly but that does actually have an advantage: you'll need to be familiar with the Italian names for the cities when you're there, so it's worth getting used to them now.

Hong Kong, China
Destination Expert
for Hong Kong, Osaka
Level Contributor
51,185 posts
146 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

Your plan is really not realistic. It's not about over-achieve. It's about spending more time on transport constantly from A to B rather than settling down and seeing something. With around two weeks, I suggest you pick two countries, then just stick to one area of each. For example, there is enough around Barcelona to last a week if you do day trips or even overnight trips.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
24,118 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

in addition to everything else, August is the big vacation month in Europe so that roads will be clogged with European travelers at that time. I am not even sure what one day for the 'south of France' means.

Transport is a real issue when you are not focused on major cities like Barcelona with good air and train connections. Our rule of thumb for travel is that we do no fewer than 5 nights in a major stop like Barcelona (or Florence, Rome or Paris) and no fewer than 2 nights and preferably 3 for any smaller destination. one night gives you no days in a place; two nights gives you one full day; five nights only gives you 4 full days. For example this May we spent two weeks in Paris then a week in Seville (we would make that 5 days if we had to plan again and either add Segovia for two nights or add the time to Ronda and Granada where we had two nights each and then 6 nights in Madrid. The result of this kind of pace is that you get to settle in and not waste time on logistics -- and with a base you can then visit other nearby places without uprooting. e.g. when we spent 5 nights in Barcelona a few years ago we also went to Montserrat one day and rented a car for a trip to Figuaroa and out to the coast another day. From Seville, we visited Cordoba and Cadiz.

You obviously want to cover ground more quickly than we do but even so by limiting your stops to about 4 in the time you have you will greatly increase your being there time and reduce your getting there time.

9. Re: Italy ~ France ~ Spain

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 July 2014, 05:16