I'm planning a 10 day trip to Europe for my husband and I -- we're both 30, no kids, my husband has never been to Europe. (I did a whirlwind tour of about 8 countries in 14 days when I was 16 years old, but that was a long time ago and I have no modern knowledge of traveling in Europe...) We definitely want to go to London and Paris this trip, plus a third country... That's where I could use your suggestions! We are tentatively planning to fly into London, spend a couple days, take the train to Paris, then move on to our last destination. We are not tied to this plan, though, and I welcome your thoughts.
1. Is three countries too much for 10 days?
2. Where should the third stop be? I'd like to to Rome or Venice, but my guess is that it's too far and we'd spend way too much time in transit. If I'm incorrect, please tell me. Same thing with Barcelona?
Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
2. Forget about a third stop. There is plenty to see in both London and Paris to keep you busy for 10 days. Plus keep in mind jetlag and travelling time - with flying in and out from the USA and changing locations from Paris to London you can distract 2-3 days just for that. This essentially gives you 3-4 days in both London and Paris. This is not a lot of time for such big cities. But if you insist upon seeing something more than just London and Paris I would suggest a daytrip into the English countryside, seeing either Canterbury, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge or Stonehenge.
This website should give you some ideas for day trips from London:
I'd like to to Rome or Venice
If you really want to see Rome or Venice I would suggest focusing on Italy. Fly into Rome and out of Venice or vice versa and do the classic Italy-in-10-days trip: Rome 3 or 4 days, Florence 3 or 4 days and Venice 2 or 3 days.
[ Edit: Edited on 16-Oct-2009, at 14:04 by t_maia ]
Three destinations are a bit much to cover within 10days.
However in case you wish to visit a third country, you can visit (Belgium) Brussels which is near by to your places of visit compared to Rome/Venice.
3 (or even 4) countries, 10 days? Not impossible. I've done more in less time, but I wasn't coming from the other side of the ocean.
London, Paris, Amsterdam (Paris to Amsterdam Express with 'Thalys', takes around 4 hours) and a little bit of Germany. That can all be done very easily. 3 days in each would be a bit of a whistle stop for the two biggies (London and Paris), but a quick hop into Germany and Amsterdam is easy in 2 days.
Sounds like a real bucket of fun.
There's no need to have real modern knowledge of Europe. They all have a cheap and efficient public transport system. London's system is OK (just about), but it isn't cheap. You'll find many people in Germany and Holland speak at least a bit of English, but you'll be hard pushed to find English spoken much in Paris, anywhere except at the tourist bits and in a few bistros.
Thanks to you all for your input. We're still hashing out details, but are tentatively planning a quick(!) stop in Brussels or Amsterdam. Based on your suggestions, I've convinced my husband we need a couple extra days, too!
London and Paris should keep you busy for the 10 days, and a third country will be tight squeeze indeed. However, as many have pointed out, train connections from Paris to neighbouring European countries are excellent and can certainly be an option. Perhaps go someplace not too big, so you won't feel rushed or disappointed that you have to leave before you see what you set out to see?
Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg and Geneva came to mind. Using TGV/Thalys, the travelling time:
1) Paris to Amsterdam : appx 4 hours
2) Paris to Brussels : appx 2 hours
3) Paris to Luxembourg : appx 2 hours
4) Paris to Geneva : appx 3.5 hours
Italy and Spain may be a bit too far, unless you fly or take overnight trains. As for Germany, unless you go to someplace near the border to France, Berlin or Munich will take up a lot of travelling time too.
Tickets for Eurostar between London and Paris, and for Paris to somewhere, are perhaps best purchase in advance if you want to get the best price possible. The tickets are usually available for sales 3 months ahead of travelling date. However, do note that these tickets are usually non-refundable nor exchangeable.
I wouldnt advise trying to see so much in so little time. you might feel like you need another vacation once you get home from your 10 day trip. i think that you would feel rushed to get around and see things and you might not even get a chance to see all that paris and london have to offer. you also need to take into account travelling time depend if you are taking a train or flying. you will lose precious time that you could have spent exploring new things.
As a third destination I definitely recommend Barcelona, great travel destination which you could do it in 3-4 days. Also 3 days for London / 3 days for Paris I think it-s quite enough. Barcelona is easily accessible from Paris by low cost flights ( RyanAir ) and also Barcelona - London ( RyanAir ) where you fly out.
You said you convinced your husband to get some extra days... it should be enough now for this itinerary: London - Paris - Barcelona.
Also Venice is nice... 2 days here is enough to see everything, Rome, Amsterdam (2 days)... but this should be your return ticket for a second trip to Europe
Good luck and have a great time in Europe.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
A day trip to Cambridge or Oxford would be ideal, both are lovely places. I would have suggested going north to visit Edinburgh in Scotland if you were starting your trip from Paris instead of London. But yes, 10 days for 3 countries is really tight, you won't be able to see and experience much.