A group of about five friends and I are planning to do a trip to Europe this summer for a month (Jun/Jul). At first, I had planned on visiting a bunch of different cities and staying for 2 or 3 days in each city. However, I realized that would be very tiring, would be too little time for us to see the sights and enjoy the city, and would take away from the entire experience overall.
So, I took out a few cities like Brussels, Munich, Florence, and Naples (May do a day trip to Naples from Rome). This is what I ended up with...
Paris, France - 5 nights
Amsterdam, The Netherlands - 2
Berlin, Germany - 4
Prague, Czech Rep - 3
Fussen, Germany - 1
Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland - 3
Venice, Italy - 3
Riomaggiore, Italy - 2
Pisa - 0
Rome, Italy - 5
The group consists of very active, very fit males of 22-24 years and we're mainly interested in the big touristy sights (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, etc), beautiful scenery (I'm into photography), the bar/club scene, and simply walking around town enjoying the culture.
I'd appreciate any thoughts on the itinerary I have right now and what I could do to improve upon it (stay in one place longer/shorter, remove/add a city entirely, etc).
We will be flying into Ramstein, Germany and leaving from either Ramstein or Aviano, Italy, based on what flights are available, which we won't know until 72 hours prior (military hop).
Thank you so much in advance and I really appreciate your time and consideration. Please let me know if you have any questions or want any info that will help you help me.
I have done a couple big trips with girlfriends, and we never did more than 3 nights in a place, usually only two. We had the mindset that we wanted to see and do as much as possible during the time, and although it was exhausting, you really have lots of time on the trains to rejuvenate. It always amazed us how much we could accomplish in one day.
For Paris, I think that is definitely too long, even if it includes Versailles. Maybe not too long if you also wanted to see Normandy or go to the Champagne region.
Berlin is great for partying and sightseeing, so 4 days might be ok but you could definitely do 3.
I would never go to Fussen and skip Munich. Munich is an incredible city in the summer, the parks, beer gardens, clubs - not to be missed in my opinion. If you shave a day off Paris, Prague, and Berlin, you can do that and hit Neuschwanstein in Fussen (assuming that's why you are going).
Also interested in your choice in Lauterbrunnen. May I suggest Interlaken nearby? It is a HUGE backpacker city with everyone doing adventure sports during the day and partying together at night. It's not a cheap stop (no one in Switzerland is), but it has everything you said you guys are looking for.
For partying, I would also suggest Florence over Venice. Venice can actually even be done as a day trip from Florence on the trains. I would split your time between the two, both can be seen pretty quickly.
Riomaggiore and all of Cinque Terre is a great stop.
I'd definitely go to the coast from Rome. I haven't heard great things about Naples but if you can get to Positano or something, that'd be fantastic.
Hope this helps! I know it seems like you'll be moving fast, but I think it's totally worth it. For young, fit guys, it should be no problem at all. Let me know if you need anymore help.
First of all, I just want to thank you for your detailed response. It helps a lot! I had the mindset of seeing and doing as much as possible when I first started planning the trip, but I also knew this wouldn't be my last time in Europe so I figured I could slow things down just a bit. I went to Japan last summer and it was pretty tiring moving from city to city every day or every other day.. part of it probably had to do with lugging around giant suitcases, which won't be happening on this trip.
I think 5 nights in Paris would be best because we are planning on going to Normandy and possibly Versailles as well.
I originally had Berlin down for 3 nights, so I think I could shave off a day from Berlin and Prague to make time for Munich based on your recommendation.
Interlaken was the obvious choice at first but I chose Lauterbrunnen because I heard it was a lower traffic area for tourists. I'm all about partying but I think while I'm enjoying the outdoors in Switzerland, I'd rather get away from all of that. However, I will definitely keep my options open.
I could take a day off of Venice and make some room for 2 nights in Florence and 2 nights in Venice.
The coast from Rome sounds like a great idea! Instead of Naples, I will do that.
Thanks again for your help and I'll let you know if I have any more questions!
I agree that 5 days in Paris may be too long, but it looks like you know what you want to do there. But keeping 4 days in Berlin would be a good idea. There is so much to see and do there; however, it might not hit you until the first day has passed. Berlin is world famous for partying and the bar/club scene. Don't skip Munich.
I think you are good with the two nights in Amsterdam and three nights in Switzerland. I would consider the suggestions above though.
As far as Italy goes, definitely cut down on days in Venice. For a group of active males, it really won't be interesting and the tourists will mostly likely wear you down first. I would suggest a day trip there and then maybe head to the Cinque Terre. Definitely don't cut out Florence; it is also beautiful and has a good party scene there for tourists. Also, it's very close to Pisa. As far as Rome goes, there is much to do there so you won't be bored. If you choose to head over to Naples, there's Pompeii and Capri not far from there.
Hope this helped out a bit more with your decision!