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4 week itinerary advice

Brisbane
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4 week itinerary advice

Hi everyone,

We are hoping to be able to visit Europe in April/May next year. We are a family of 4 adults (my mum, dad, sister (22) and myself (28) travelling on our first family overseas trip. We'd like to see as many places as possible due to the fact we don't know if we will be back again (due to the costs etc). I am lucky enought to be returning after having done a Contiki tour through Europe in 2009. We are in the early planning stages so any suggestions are greatly appreciated. This is what we are thinking at the moment:

5 nights in London

4 nights in Paris

2 nights in France I am thinking wine region (thought it'd be nice to stay in at Chateau somewhere)

2 nights in Amsterdam

3 nights in Germany (Munich and maybe somewhere else?)

2 nights in Poland (my sister wants to go to Auschwitz so need to go to Krakow)

3 nights in Switzerland (Lucerne area so we can visit the alps)

4 nights in Rome

3 nights in Venice

3 nights in Florence (go into Tuscan hills etc)

I know it's a very full on itinerary we are thinking the easiest way between each place will be train travel with maybe a flight into Poland? Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

At the moment I am thinking of going in the following order:

London

Paris (Eurostar)

Amsterdam

Germany

Poland

Italy

Switzerland

Is there a better order to do it in?

We are hoping to fly into London and out of our last stop.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Australia
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1. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

Karina - all I can say is my head is spinning just thinking of 30 days and seven countries.....and I presume your parents are in their late 50s or 60s (or even older?).

I know us Australians are far away from Europe so we try to cram, cram and cram some more - but often a truly memorable time in Europe is simply just 'being' in a couple of places and then taking trips from there.

I would have a family conference and nut it out to three countries rather than seven. Try to make the trip relaxing and memorable for all of you because at the moment, your trip will be a whirlwind of hotels, train stations and taxis.

San Antonio, Texas
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2. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

What about substituting Austria for Germany, Poland, Amsterdam and Switzerland. Austria has a concentration camp - Mauthhausen and the Alps.

You could fly to Vienna, spend some time there, rent a car and then drive around Austria, return the car and take a train from Vienna to Venice. You could also include a drive into Germany from Austria.

If you substitute Austria for Germany, Poland, Amsterdam and Switzerland, that's 10 days, you could shorten that and add a day or two to France and Italy.

As far as the Italy portion of your trip - you might want to skip Florence and rent an apartment or B&B in the Tuscan countryside. You will need a rental car for this. I would try for at least 4 nights.

So that is four countries plus a day trip option to Germany. (Budapest from Vienna is also an option if you are interested in Eastern Europe.)

If you want to see a lot you and enjoy it you will have to figure out what makes sense logistically. Right now that's the problem with your itinerary.

Edited: 07 June 2013, 13:21
New York City, New...
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3. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

I agree that this itinerary is head spinning and you will spend far too much time getting from one place to another - I would sit down and calculate the actual travel times involved, including the time needed to check in and out of lodging, getting to and from train stations or airports (and waiting time at airports of 2 hours before each flight), waiting at the train stations, actual travel time.

Everyone I know who has never been before always underestimates both time and distance involved in all this moving around. What a shame to spend so much of it just on travel when you could be enjoying a few of these cities that have so much to offer for a longer period of time.

With all due respect to the above poster, concentration camps are not interchangeable - each has their own tragic history and place in history and as there may be a particular reason for your sister to go to Poland, then I would suggest you stay with her choice. (Obviously, I have no idea the reason for the visit and if it is just to visit one regardless of which one, then you could definitely consider a place more convenient for the rest of your trip).

I can't wrap my mind around this itinerary and would not presume to suggest which places to consider removing - only that I would carefully rethink and regroup, as Kathy W has suggested, to make this a more fruitful trip by eliminating a lot of wasted time on trains, planes, and automobiles. With cities that are thousands of years old, it's really not possible to "see" them in just a few days -

San Antonio, Texas
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4. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

Mauthausen and Auschwitz are very different, one was a slave labor camp and one a death camp. Visiting either would be an emotionally powerful experience which is how they are similar IMO.

San Antonio, Texas
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5. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

Quantity and quality are inversely related on your itinerary and your plan leans more towards quantity. Commuting will be a big part of your overall experience and that will not be enjoyable.

I think you should prioritize your destinations and build a plan around the key destinations. Since this is a group trip all of you should be willing to compromise for the sake of a better overall experience.

You might also want to post your itinerary on the forums of other countries. The contributors on the various forums are as different as the countries themselves so you might get some feedback you find helpful.

Istria, Croatia
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6. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

Wow. That is...um...ambitious. Why not consider somewhere close such as Croatia or Slovenia instead? They have tons of things to experience and make logistical sense.

Brisbane
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7. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

Thank you everyone for your wonderful responses. We defiently will sit down and

Nut it out further. I know a few places we each wont compromise on so we will have to find a new way of compromising.

I really appreciate all your comments.

New York
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8. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

My head was spinning just trying to read your itinerary. I would have to agree with the others to not run around so much losing all the valuable time that could be spent enjoying places.

This is the first I've ever heard of interchangeable concentration camps! When I went to Poland to see where my family was killed somehow I can't imagine going to a different camp than the one they were killed in. Sort of like going to World Trade Center Memorial to pay respects for the people at the Boston Marathon bombing!!

San Antonio, Texas
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9. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

No one said that a family members grave site is interchangeable with that of a stranger, even to suggest that is what is implied is reprehensible.

San Antonio, Texas
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10. Re: 4 week itinerary advice

There are hundreds of Halocaust sites, memorials and museums throughout the world. There is nothing wrong with deciding among many which to visit. It's important that people remember and even visiting the most simple memorial is powerful.

In the Frost Bank building I was working in a few years ago a few people were installing a temporary exhibit of scrip used in the concentration camps. I spoke to an older gentlemen putting up the items. He said he was a young teenager in the camp and lost all his family. He showed me the tatooed number on his arm, told me how he had been beaten and shot.

I think there are many places where you can come to grips with this crime which is what I think the OP is interested in.