WE A AGED COUPLE FROM CALCUTTA WOULD LIKE TO VISIT SOME PLACES HAVING TOURIST INTERESTS OF EUROPE.
WE ARE TOTALLY IGNORANT AND KNOW NOTHING ABOUT EUROPE.
WE WOULD LIKE TO COVER THE ENTIRE TOUR WITHIN 16-17 DAYS EXCLUDING THE TIME PASSAGE.
WE DO NOT WANT TO SEEK HELP OF TRAVEL AGENTS WHO ARE OPERATING REGULARLY FROM CALCUTTA.
WE NEED A DETAILED INFORMATION REGARDING EVERYTHING FOR THIS TRAVEL FROM FAVORABLE TIME TO VISIT TO APPROXIMATE COST OF TRAVELING INCLUDING AIRFARE,ACCOMMODATIONS,COST OF SIGHT SEEING AND COST OF FOOD.
ABOVE ALL WE NEED A CONCRETE TRAVEL PLAN COVERING THE IMPORTANT TOURIST PLACES OF EUROPE.
PLEASE REMEMBER WE ARE ONLY TWO AND AGED.
PLEASE LET US KNOW ALSO WHERE CAN WE GET OUR VISAS AND THE DETAILED PROCESS FOR THAT.
Europe has a LOT of variety and in 16 days you're not going to be able to cover more than 10% of the big sights. So I think you need to begin with some reading to figure out what you want to see and do. I suggest a good starting point would be here: http://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Europe
In my opinion, you should probably not try to see more than 4 or 5 cities in that amount of time. Perhaps the biggest hits are London, Paris, Rome and Venice. You could do London to Paris by train, and between Rome and Venice by train; between Paris and Italy there are cheap flights (google the site Skyscanner to search flights) or you could do this by train going via another city such as Geneva.
Best time to visit is probably early Summer - May or June.
Cost - a ball park estimate is US$3500 per person but you could do it for less or much more, depending on the class of hotel you want, how you travel, etc. I'm basing that on approx £100 per day plus flight.
Visas - for most of Europe you need a Schengen Visa, apart from the UK for which you need a UK visa. You can find links to more information on that at the link I gave above, in the Get In section. Or see this old discussion from this site: http://www.travellerspoint.com/forum.cfm?thread=46953
You ask for a concrete plan. This site mostly is independent travellers helping other independent travellers so I don't think you are going to get a lot more than the general advice above, unless you have specific questions about things you're planning. When you say you don't want to use a Calcutta travel agent, do you mean you want to do it all by yourselves, or you are looking for a recommendation of a tour company in Europe?
Totally understand why a Calcutta Travel Agent is off the books, but there are endless European Travel Agents that could easily cover all the OPer's requirements.
That said, there's more to this than the Original Post...
thanks a lot for your valuable advice.
it is just the beginning of gathering information about Europe.
we are not in a hurry. we can initiate our journey in the month of may -june -2015
is it almost impossible without the help of European travel agent?
cannot we as a couple complete the tour as per our desire?
we would like to include Swizerland also along with the other countries suggested by one of my friend-is it possible?
we need your assistance and advice in this regard.
Europe is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet, so yes, with lots of research and preparation it's fairly straightforward to make all the arrangements yourself.
Since you have zero travel experience though that's why I suggested a Travel Agent or more accurately a Tour Operator. They would handle all the European travel, accommodation, tour guides, etc. All you would have to do is arrange the flight from India to whatever European city you choose and they would handle everything else.
My first suggestion would be for you to visit an established Indian Travel Agent and investigate what cities in Europe are available to you, including what Visa is required for you to travel. Once you have established which major cities are the simplest/easiest/cheapest to fly to I would then start researching local Tour Operators and what they offer in terms of packaged trips that are all inclusive for bus transfers/hotels/tours/etc.
By the way, the only travel documentation that you'll require is the Schengen Visa. It covers travel through these 26 European countries:
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
Since you live in Calcutta apply for the Schengen Visa through one of the countries that has an Embassy in your city, otherwise you'll have to travel to Delhi, Mumbai, etc.
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland all have Embassies or Consulates in Calcutta.
Start Googling the embassies that are closest to your home and research the process to obtain a Schengen Visa. I'm sure there are agents in Calcutta that offer this service as well.
...Unless you want to visit Britain, Ireland, or the non-Schengen countries in eastern Europe.
True, but with only 16 - 17 days total and with Switzerland already on the wish list then trying to get additional Visas to get into the UK or visiting less touristy countries in the east opens up a whole new set of hassles and expense...
I thought it worth mentioning as London is on a lot of people's to-do list.