We're looking at taking our teenage daughter on a European trip of her top must-see destinations. We'd like to take about 3 weeks, maybe a little more, in late June or early July 2010 and are hoping to go to the following places in the following order: Barcelona, Paris, Venice, Florence, and Rome. We are plannning on traveling by train once we get there, taking night trains between Barcelona and Paris and between Paris and Venice.
So, we know where we want to go...but what's a reasonable timeframe and a good amount of time to spend in each location? I've never been to any of these places and so I don't know how much there is to see or what kind of time schedule is reasonable. I'd appreciate any advice I can get -- we want to make this trip really memorable for our daughter. Thanks!
Three weeks is a good timeframe for going Barcelona-Paris-Venice-Florence-Rome. You'll be able to see the highlights without feeling too rushed.
Approx. timeframes for the individual cities:
Venice 2-3 days
Florence 4-6 days
Rome 5-7 days
Paris 5-7 days
Aside from these places you should also add in some day trips. Many people go down to Naples from Rome to see Pompeii. And 1-2 days in Tuscany (San Gimignano, Siena) is pretty much a must too.
Another popular destination is also Cinque Terre.
Around Barcelona I would definitely visit the Costa Brava and spent a day or two at the beach. Believe it or not, city to city travelling on your own is physically and mentally exhausting - best end your trip in Barcelona and then crash for the last 2-3 days at the beach on the Costa Brava.
Some more tips: Go as early as possible. Flights (especially transatlantic) are significantly cheaper if you can fly out before June 15th. Plus Rome and Italy in general can get very hot during July, so best start with Rome and work your way north and west.
Feel free to ask more questions.
Thanks for the suggestion to reverse our trip to avoid the hottest weather. We ended up doing that!
We've booked our trip airfare, and we're flying into Rome, where we are spending 5 nights. We hope to take the Rome-Pompei shuttle while we're there; it sounds like a long day trip, but one we don't want to miss. We're then going to Florence for 4 nights (three full days, by the time you count in train travel). Then Venice for 4 nights. From there, we will take the hotel train to Paris, where we will stay for 5 days, but 4 nights (narrowly missing Basille Day...we don't like crowds, so I don't know if that's good or bad). My husband is hoping to take a (long) day trip out to Normnandy to see the D-day sights. We don't know yet if that's practical. Finally, we will take the hotel train to Barcelona, for 3 full days, 3 nights, in Barcelona.
So it's a little rushed, probably...but hopefully doable! I don't think we'll be able to get out out of the cities other than the trips I mentioned. It sounds as if we'll have plenty to do if we stay in the cities.
Yes, you will have plenty to do in the cities that you've planned to visit.
On a side note. Seems like you have quite a few days planned for Venice, and it may not be very pleasant in the summer (from what I heard, I don't know first hand as each time I was there it was always in spring). In case if that happen, you can easily take train out for day trip to Padova (1/2 hour), Verona (1 hour), or Lake Garda (1.5 hours).
Thanks for the ideas of things to do from Venice! We didn't want to rush Venice overmuch because it's probably the place that my daughter is most interested in visiting...but it's great to have alternatives in case we end up being "Veniced out."