Post # 1
- Wedding: May 2014 - The Cove Lakeside Resort
Hey Bee’s! Fiance and I are going to Europe for 3 weeks in September (wedding on May 31st) and I need help picking things to do in Europe. If you have been to the following places what is something you would recommend we do?
London ( 3 days)
Belgium (4 days) with a day trip to france, and a day trip to Netherlands
Switzerland ( 3 days)
Italy – Specifically Venice and Rome (4.5 days)
Greece – Athens (5 days )
Budget around $10,000
Round trip flight booked to London (Hethrow airport), most travel between cities/countries will be via train, and flying.
We enjoy old architecture but not really that into art, we are up for day tours either by bus or walking.
Post # 2
I’ve only been to London, so I can help you out there. Theres a lot to do there, and you might struggle to fit everything you want to do in. Its a big city but luckily the tube makes it very easy to get around.
I’ll start by mentioning the museums. The natural history museum, science museum and Victoria and Albert museum are right beside each other and entry is completely free! You could probably spend a day in each, but if you’re into architecture then make sure to check out the natural history museum, the lobby alone is worth a visit!
St Paul’s cathedral is also worth seeing if you love old architecture. If you climb up to the top of the dome you get a great view out over London.
Theres a department store called Harrods which is something of a London institution – if you’re in the area, it’s worth popping in just to wander through the food halls, it’s pretty impressive.
My FI always likes to visit Hamleys – it’s the largest toy store in the world, always good for making you feel like a kid again!
Try and fit in a west end play or musical. Alternatively check out the Comedy Store – it’s very affordable and they get some really big names.
Accomodation in London tends to be expensive and small – if you want to keep costs down I suggest looking at serviced apartments – cheaper and more roomy While just as nice as a hotel. We would usually stay in a place in Bayswater – mainly because there’s a chinese restaurant down the road called Four Seasons (not the hotel) which did the most incredible roast duck – there would be queues out the door in the evening for it!
Post # 3
shopaholic85: I’m a big fan of simply walking around, but Rome can be overwhelming, and I’ve heard some decent things about the Archeobus service that goes to some areas of interest in Rome and also to the Old Appian Way.
My colleauges who study Rome–especially pre-Renaissance Rome–more intently than I do insist on the Priscillan catacombs, which contain one of the oldest known images of the Virgin Mary. They are a bit tricky to locate (they are not on the Old Appian Way, but are actually closer to the Villa Borghese) and you will be guided by some nuns, so the hours can be a bit irregular. They are also big fans of Santa Prassede, which is on the Esquilino (same area at Santa Maria Maggiore), which also has somewhat irregular hours. San Pietro is a big leap from these buildings, but it is truly something you have to see in person.
The only tour I would ever advise someone in Venice to take is the Secret Itineraries tour of the Doge’s Palace, which grants some extraordinary access and allows you to be in a smaller group. Venice is the ultimate “just walk around and look at it” city. The old church on Torcello and the cemetery island of San Michele are two of the numerous interesting places you could wander (one gets to Torcello via Burano, and Burano’s a great place to walk around as well). Places that have a reputation for being friendly and for exhibiting ingredients from the lagoon in fairly traditional form include Fiaschetteria Toscana and Antiche Carampane.
Post # 4
For your day trip to France, what city are you going to? We went to Paris for our honeymoon so I could suggest a few things.
Post # 5
For Venice, take a trip in a gondola, it’s pricey and cheesy but worth it! It’s also nice to buy a day ticket for the water buses and just travel on all the routes.
I live in London – so much to do! The Cabinet War Rooms are really interesting if you’re into history. The Tower of London, with the crown jewels is very good too. You can visit Buckingham Palace at certain times of the year – a good idea to book in advance. The London Eye is a huge big wheel that gives you good views over the city. Eating and drinking in London is pretty good value. Brussels, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Venice are all lovely cities to just walk around. Another good place for views is The Shard, London’d tallest building. There’s viewing from the top floors, and there’s bars and restaurants on the 30th floor. Book in advance if possible.
Brussels, Paris, London, Amsterdam, Venice are all lovely cities to just walk around.
Have a wonderful time!
Post # 6
shopaholic85: Rome travler here! Besides the obvious things like Trevi Fountain; you have to go to Palatine Hill and Roman Forum!! It’s truly amazing and so beautiful probably my favorite places in Rome!
Post # 7
eecuadrado: Oh yes the old Roman stuff was my favorite in Rome. The Vatican we went to on the free last Sunday of the month and it was so packed that I barely enjoyed it. Also, the metro there was super packed and pretty gross to me. Trevi Fountain wasn’t too enjoyable for me since it was so packed (I don’t really like packed touristy places).
In Venice, we just took the water taxis around the island and didn’t do a gondola. I think I enjoyed that more than I would have a gondola plus saved a lot of money.
Is there any way you can go to the coast of France? Nice is gorgeous. Our favorite parts of our trip last year were driving through the French country side and relaxing in Nice and Marseille.
We were in Geneva for a day and that was beautiful too. We mostly wandered around the old city and around the lake.
Post # 8
You should visit some greek islands while you are in Athens. There are day trips you can take as well as longer ones. I’ve been to Athens and the most of the greek islands, and I really enjoyed the islands much more! Santorini and Mykanos are my favorites!
Post # 9
shopaholic85: I have been to Belgium, the Netherlands, and Italy. (also Germany and France) I will be honest with you: I was completely bored with Belgium after one day (Don’t know if other’s experiences were better). I did not feel that way in all the other places I visited. I wouldn’t spend four days there. If I were you, I would spend a day or two there and then make the trip to Amsterdam (it’s really not that far by train, maybe 2 hours or so, so worth it, there is SO much to do there, if you want more info about Amsterdam or other Dutch cities let me know!) As far as Italy, Rome is incredible but Venice is my favorite Italian city! The food is so good you are going to love Italy!!! 🙂 When in Venice, I highly recommend you take the water taxi and visit the island of Lido. We rented bikes there and biked on the bike path along the beach. It was so cool! Really awesome experience for not much money at all.
ETA: I would travel this way, for the sake of the shortest trips: London to Amsterdam (take a bus through the tunnel under the channel!) to Belgium to France and then on from there (Switzerland and then Italy? I think I get all the countries you listed?)
Post # 10
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
shopaholic85: I would pick 4 major cities and leave it at that. Trying to fit in day trips to France and the Netherlands while in Belgium will be stressful.
We’re going for wo weeks and our stops are 3 nights in London, 5 nights in the country (.2 in Cardiff, Wales & 3 in Exeter, Devon), 4 nights in Paris, and 3 nights in Amsterdam. Try to spend at least three nights in each city so that you can really explore the city and not be packing up and traveling most of your time there.
Also, splitting between Northern and Southern Europe might be too much. A week in Rome/Venice won’t be enough; I think this is where you are most likely to be disappointed since a trip to Italy can easily take up the entire 3 weeks you have. You could easily spend 3 weeks exploring the Mediterranean from Barcelona through France, and Italy, all the way to Greece with a quick stop in Dubrovnik.
Since you’re already flying into and out of London, you can fly directly to most major cities in Europe on a low cost airline like Value Jet or Ryan Air. I think 4 days in Belgium unless you have family there is too much. I would cut that out entirely and either do Amsterdam for a 2-3 nights or Paris for 3-4 nights (but I suspect you’ve already been to Paris since it’s not on the list.) Then from there I would split the remaining 2 weeks between Italy and Greece.
Post # 11
- Wedding: November 2013 - St. Augustine Beach, FL
Also if you haven’t booked your big flight to London yet, it’s usually cheaper to fly what is called open jawed. It means into one city and out of another. We are flying into London and out of Amsterdam. It saved us a couple of hundred dollars (on the original plane tickets and in avoiding the additional plae ticket or train ticket to get back to London), plus we would have lost the extra day of travel we would have needed to get back to London.
Post # 12
shopaholic85: I agree with beachbride1216: . You will regret trying to cram too many cities into a three week trip. Currently you are trying to visit 8 places in 21 days and that isn’t taking into account travel days.
Personally I would choose 3 cities to visit, 4 at a stretch. You will be too stressed and tired to enjoy it otherwise. You will also be spending too much time inside airports (because train travel is going to cut deeply into your time).
Post # 13
shopaholic85: Ummmm I can’t really give you a whole lot of info as far as touristy places, but I do know the cheapest airlines to move around europe! Ryanair.com and Vueling.com
I think it cost 30 euros to fly from one side of Spain to the other back in September when my FI and I were on vacation over there.
Post # 14
That sounds amazing! I studied abroad in a town on the Dutch/Belgian border, so I can speak to those countries. Bruges was hands down my favorite place in Belgium. Very romantic, lovely scenery. Highly recommend doing a canal boat tour there – it really shows off the city’s beauty. If this was my trip, I would be spending 2 nights there. Brussels is pretty, but boring. I would not spend more than 1 night there, or even just a day trip. You pretty much go see the peeing boy statue, have a waffle, drink some amazing beer, aaaannndd that’s about it. Most people I know who have been there say that they regret spending so many nights there. A day trip to the Netherlands may be tough to do – the train ride from Brussels to Amsterdam as an example is almost 3 hours each way. However, I love Amsterdam and will always recommend going there if it’s possible. For the full Dutch experience, rent a bike (there are tons of bike rental places for tourists) and just explore. Even though you said you don’t like art, the Rijksmuseum has an amazing collection and is a beautiful building in general.
Post # 15
- Wedding: May 2014 - The Cove Lakeside Resort
Hey everyone! thanks for the input so far! it all sounds so great! Our itinerary is by no means set in stone, we only booked our flights so everything in between is still flexible for now! I can’t wait to go, and I am going to start looking into all the suggestions you guys have given me!