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Europe 2014

Vancouver, Canada
3 posts
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Europe 2014

Hi All

We are a family of 4- kids aged 14 and 9 planning to visit Europe July 2014. Would like to stay in 3 or 4 star hotels and enjoy some culture - museums, churches and also have some family fun. We don't want to exhaust ourselves by travelling too much as well. We need to visit a place close to Berlin for 2 days otherwise our plans are open.

So far what we are planning are

3 days Paris

4days Berlin

2 days- near Berlin

7 days - we were looking at an organized tour through Italy.

We are bit ambivalent about organized tour , and am not sure how to find a family friendly one.

Would love to add Amsterdam as well , not sure about that.

My questions - best way to do Paris, Italy and Berlin

Best way to travel

Any suggestions on tours


Victoria, Canada
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22,100 posts
91 reviews
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1. Re: Europe 2014

I am trying to clarify.

You want/need 6 days in or near Berlin?

You would like to visit Paris for 3 days.

You then have 7 days to visit Italy.

First.. you don't need a tour. If you are even remotely capable you can simply buy a train ticket or flight to Rome or Venice and visit on your own. IF however you really think trying a tour would be fun.. then the Rick Steves Tours are suitable for kids your age.. they are not however going to put you in 4 star hotels.. they will stick you in perfectly wonderful little 2 stars.. and you will carry your own bags.. but you will be with a small group and the tours allow lots of free time .. I took my 11 dd on the 14 day Europe for Family tour about 6 years ago and even though I have travelled independently for decades we both loved the tour.

Is there a reason you want to give Berlin more time then Paris??( 3 days Paris and 4 days Berlin).. it will be a very whirlwind visit to Paris as there is so much to see and do there.

Also when you plan your itinerary remember travel days use up time you could be sightseeing.., and that when you say " three nights in Paris " you are only really allowing two full days in Paris etc..

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1,495 posts
15 reviews
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2. Re: Europe 2014

I agree with Joan that you could easily do your own Italy trip. Rome to Florence to Venice by train, or the opposite direction. That could very easily be done in 7 days and not exhaust everyone. I love Berlin, but I think less time in Paris and more in Berlin is unusual unless you have a reason to spend more time in and near Berlin.

Vancouver, Canada
3 posts
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3. Re: Europe 2014


Thank you for the responses. We need to keep an appointment near Berlin for 2 days and this is during our first week . Unfortunately those two days are inflexible, while the rest of the days are .

I made up the itenary planning around our appointment . We can extend our stay in Paris and reduce time in Berlin.

One of the reasons we were looking at the tour option was that it would help us see more places on a fixed budget. If it is easy to get around and we can do it ourselves we would be happy to do that.Any advice on ideal hotels, locations as well as transport would be also greatly appreciated.

As this is our first trip through Europe any advise would be great. We have travelled through quite a bit of North America , Asia and Africa , so are fairly seasoned travellers.

Thank you for the prompt replies.

Paris, France
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16,988 posts
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4. Re: Europe 2014

I'd pick up a couple of Rick Steve's guidebooks. I think he's a good resource for 1st-time travelers. I think you can easily do Italy on your own.

Michigan, USA
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607 posts
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5. Re: Europe 2014

The best advice I would offer having traveled to several locations in Europe is you first need to decide what is important to you as far as what to see. I have "done" Paris and Rome both in three and half days each and covered quite a bit of ground and saw all the major sites... but it took a lot of planning and going "hard" to do it. IF this is not your style then it is even more important for you to decide what you really need/want to see.

Personally, I think Rome has a lot to see and do, as well as Paris. I have not been to Venice, but have researched it extensively as it has been on my to do list for some time. I believe a couple days in Venice would cover the highlights.

I strongly suggest you start by getting some good tour books for the places you are thinking of visiting and doing some serious online research before finalizing your plans. I really like the Top Ten DK Eyewitness guides, and they can be purchased cheap at www.half.com. Planning your hotel is farther down the line, and recommendations can be offered (plus you can research them yourself) on tripadvisor once you decide where you are actually going and when.

I would say... get the guide books and decide what you want to do and in what order.

Then look at best way to get from point A to point B... trains are very easy to use in Europe and can make getting around efficient and easy. You can do Venice from Rome easily with one overnight stay by taking the train... and you can get to Pompeii from Rome as well in a day trip... just some examples of how easy it is.

Once you have that figured out, then book your flights and your train tickets.... then worry about where to stay. Hotels are abundant in all these places and that is usually the easiest thing to sort out.

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17,062 posts
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6. Re: Europe 2014

Well, you're on the Paris forum, so most people would say that you should spend more time in Paris than Berlin. However, I spent about 10 days in Berlin in Sept 2012 (?) and didn't get to everything. Of course, I spent 9 days in Paris in 2009 and then went back for 10 (ish) days last spring. I think the balance depends on your interests. We also spent 10 days in Rome (with 2 day trips) and were able to see almost everything on our list (without rushing). However, 2 of those trips were with my mother who walks slowly, so you could likely fit things in in a little less time. Personally, I'd lean towards splitting the time equally between Rome, Paris, and Berlin, but as I said, it depends on what you want to see.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Europe 2014

And first of all do not buy return flight tickets. Use multi- city option and fly to Berlin first and out home from either Paris or Rome. That will save you money and time if you won't have to backtrack.

Between cities in Europe you can use train or budget airlines.

Vancouver, Canada
3 posts
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8. Re: Europe 2014

Thank you all. We just booked our tickets -with the multicity option .

Will compile a wish list and plan accordingly. I must say guide books never replace personal experiences , and I am grateful for all the advice.

Any further advice is most welcome. I am now looking into booking accommodation and intercity travel.

Has any body used the apartments listed in Paris. We are debating between a hotel vs apartment.

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Europe 2014

If you like the idea of staying in Montmartre then consider www.perfectlyparis.com who are great to deal with, very honest, speak English, do a meet and greet and show you how everything works and where supermarkets etc are located.

We love Montmartre because it has that very 'French Village" feel and look, the eating is excellent and it is serviced by both metro and bus.

In Rome we have had good apartments through www.sleepinitaly.com

Edited: 11 March 2014, 01:14
Houston, Texas
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10. Re: Europe 2014

Berlin is said to be 9x the size of Paris, meaning it's attractions are more spread out. With that said it depends on what you want to see in either city to decide if 3 days is enough for Paris or 6 for Berlin. If you have the 4 days for Berlin and 2 extra days you could add those to see Paris to make it 5 days for Paris.