My partner and I are planning our very first trip together, and we have settled on Italy and Greece- but that is about as far as we got..
We are thinking about making this a 3 week trip, but we really aren't sure what we are getting ourselves into. We are mostly interested in sight-seeing, ruins and museums and things of that nature. We aren't really into the shopping scene or the night life, and we are on a VERY tight budget! My questions (there are many) are as follows:
-Recommended cities to visit? (We are interested in the more well-known cities that house popular ruins and archeological sites)
-How many days would be enough in each city to see everything?
-What particular sights/activities are a must?
-Budget friendly, but safe and clean hostels?
-Tips on how/where/what to eat on a budget?
-And perhaps any other advice you could offer. I have never planned a trip before, and am somewhat at a loss for where to start. I just don't want to miss anything!
Hope you can help,
I'm planning pretty much the same trip but going alone for a month in June/July. I've been to Italy before but not Greece. Checked into the best way to get from Italy to Greece (plane vs ferry) and it seems like taking a flight from Rome to Athens on Aegean Airlines would be by far the cheapest and quickest way to go. Hopefully someone here can confirm this. This is my plan so far:
USA to Milan
Rimini (beach/party spot)
Florence (daytrip to San Gimignano)
Cinque Terre with a stop at Pisa
Mykonos (to party)
Athens to USA
I'm planning a month trip so most of the time I'll spend 3-4 days each city. Frankly, since I've been to Italy before, my trip is bent more towards having fun and meeting people than doing the museum/sightseeing things again. Venice and Rome seem to be the most expensive for hostels. Florence has alot to see so it's worth extra days and its central location makes it good as a base for day trips.
I found some neat little books that tell the highlights of a city plus maps and they are small enough to easily carry around. They are almost exactly the length and width of my hand! Eyewitness Travel Florence Pocket Map & Guide (they have them for several major cities).
Try not to have too many travel days to see as many cities as possible. It's much better to stay in one place for a few days and do day trips out of that city than spend so much of your trip on tranes trying to get from one place to another, unpacking and repacking.
Hope this gives you some ideas to start!
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 12, 2007, at 8:53 PM by laurim ]
I spent about 5 weeks in Italy and Greece this summer before I continued onwards to Croatia. This was my Itinerary, if you have any questions please feel free to ask me.
Rome (4 days) (Dont go for any less there is too much to see and do.)
Train to Florence (2 days)
Milan (1 night (I would't go again!)
Bergamo 2 nights
Lake Como 3 nights
Verona 2 nights
Venice 2 nights
Bologna 1 Night
Train to Brindisi (5 hours)
Brindisi 1 Night
Over night ferry to Patras, then a train to Athens.
2 Nights Athens
(I then did Volos, Skiathos and Skopelos as a holiday)
3 nights Mykonos (my fav Greek Island, so, so magical)
2 Nights Ios (The best Party island ever!)
5 Nights Santorini at Perissa Beach.
(the ferries are really cheap and easy to organise locally)
This was pretty full on schedule but i had an amazing time and made lots of new friends. I would advise booking hostels or hotels well in advance for Italy, but in Greece at the ferry ports there are always loads of people with availibility to haggle with and get better rooms. If you want to party in Ios though stay at Francescos it was the business!
Good luck with the planning!!
I did northern Italy. There is too much to see in Italy to cover both north and south so my wife and I decided to focus on Northern Italy.
What we went to see is the following: 2 weeks.
Rome: 4 Days (Definately 4 days!)
I can't stress how much to see there. Enjoying the city and walking around is the highlight! You can walk, subway, bus your way to different "tourist" sites but definately the explorying is enjoyable!
Florence: 4 Days
Take the time to explore Florence and rent a car to go venture for day trips using Florence as your base. Pisa is literally a day trip, San Gimignano is a day trip, Lucca and other smaller towns as day trips. So essentially, 1.5 to 2 days exploring Florence and 1.5 to 2 days exploring the other cities. They are about 45 minutes to 1 hour apart. If you have time, include Sienna as well due to it's close proximity.
Venice: 3 days
At least 3 days. Venice is a walkaround, get lost city! Yes, get lost in that city. That is the most fun part about venice. You'll discover wonders on every turn. Read any book, watch and show, venice is mystical and they will recommend the same thing.
Cinque Terre (3 days)
Beautiful, untouch coastal towns. You can walk/hike along the cliffs, ferry, train to reach all the 5 towns that is considered Cinque Terre. Simply, it's is definately not something you want to MISS! Out of the 5 towns, try to stay in Vernazza!
Regarding Milan, Verona, Bologna, they are all beautiful towns but are probably better left for day trips. Not necessarily making a night out of it there.
They all have their charms but in my opinion, the towns we visited were definately on key.
Greece was supposed to be on our list to do next but decided on Spain. So I can't comment much about Greece. I will ask in the next few months when we complete our Spain trip!