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Help planning European vacation

My DH is graduating from grad school and we will be moving and since this is the last time that we will both likely have this much time off again- we are going to Europe for 4 weeks!

 Our plan is to start in Germany, Vienna, Prague, and then spend about 2 weeks in Italy, and a week in Greece to end the trip. 

I would love ANY advice on these places.  We would like to stick to Eastern cities in Germany to make transportation to Vienna a little easier and then plan 2 nights in Vienna and 2 in Prague so far... is this doable?

Right now for Italy we are planning 4 nights in Rome, 5 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Cinque Terre, and 2 in Venice (not in that order necessarily).  Does this sound okay?  We are planning 5 nights in Florence in order to visit Tuscany and hopefully take a cooking class!

 We are just starting to plan, but want to book transportation and hotels soon so I would love any thoughts as I try to sift through all the travel sites.

Re: Help planning European vacation

  • I'd say you could easily cut out a couple of days in Rome, unless you're planning to go to quick sidetrips like Pompeii or something. 
  • Your Italy itinerary sounds so nice right now! Are you planning on renting a car and exploring? Or using trains/public transport?

     

    We are going to Stuttgart this May and using it as home base (it's where my H's family is). We only have a short time but it is close enough to see Freiburg and the Black forest.

    You might be a little short on time in Germany though.. You could just hit a main hub like Munich.... 

     

    ETA: I just realized I ignored that you were looking at the EAST! Sorry! Not much help then... 

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  • We weren't planning any day trips from Rome... but maybe I will have to look at Pompeii!  I might take a night off Rome then and add it to Cinque Terre or Germany.

    Germany won't be the focus of this trip, so we are just looking to see a few sights while we are there, not the whole country. 

    We are also planning to use public transportation as much as possible. It sounds like that should work okay, but if anyone has advice, I would appreciate it!  I made DH drive in Australia and the poor guy was so stressed out! :-)

  • I understand not wanting to drive! The only places I would recommend it would be around Cinque Terre/Tuscany... So many beautiful places to discover!!
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  • Good point!  That might have to be TBD, especially something to think about in Tuscany, depending on where we decide to do the cooking class and if we can just do a wine tour instead of driving around.
  • imageSnippylynn:
    I'd say you could easily cut out a couple of days in Rome, unless you're planning to go to quick sidetrips like Pompeii or something. 

    This.

    And my advice would be Berlin - Leipzig - Prague - Brno or Olomouc - Vienna - whatever you've got planned in Italy, only less of it.

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  • re: 5 nights in florence. spend 2 nights there and then 3 in a town in tuscany to avoid the back and forth. dh and i spent a week in radda in chianti and stayed at the palazzo leopoldo-fantastic town and place and a great base to explore. i took a cooking class at the hotel and it was wonderful. Michele at the hotel is great-he can book a private car and driver for you to have at your disposal-wonderful way to do wine tasting and not have to drive. radda is fantastic. there are a few great restaurants, a couple of enotecas and you can't beat the views or location-right in the heart of chianti. we visited siena, volterra, san giminano (can't ever spell that) lucca, pisa, montereggoni, castellina fromt here.
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  • Pompeii was very cool if you have the time for a day trip. Also, if you are athletic at all, you can also hike Mt. Vesuvius which I loved! Sorrento is also a cute town which had some good shopping.

    Where in Greece are you going?

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  • imagegofergal21:

    Right now for Italy we are planning 4 nights in Rome, 5 nights in Florence, 3 nights in Cinque Terre, and 2 in Venice (not in that order necessarily).  Does this sound okay?  We are planning 5 nights in Florence in order to visit Tuscany and hopefully take a cooking class!

    I think that's a good division (wrt to Italy), I'd cut CT down to 2 nights though (my logic-being, plenty of time to go to the beach in Greece (and it'll be cheaper). I'd leave Rome as is-- plenty to do, IMO. 

    I'd skip Pompeii (totally personal preference, my H would completely disagree and goes probably once every 2mo.  To me, it's impressive, but depressing and not all that well-presented.  Again, JMO).

    I agree with the suggestions to get out of Florence proper and into the countryside for part of your stay.  My favorite town is Radda followed by Montepulciano.  For cooking classes in Florence proper, I've used and would recommend Florencetown.com.  I'd opt for the cooking class over the wine tours (most good wineries don't do US-style tastings; you can find some tastings, but you're better to taste wine at a restaurant... the rich Chiantis don't really lead themselves to tasting sans food.  I mean you can, but they're def not as good w/o food, IME).

    How are you getting to Greece-- if you're flying, I'd leave from Rome-- they have direct flights to Athens, but not everyday (only like Tuesday, Thursday, and Sat, I think), so recommend you check the flight schedule before settling the order.   

    I'd give Athens 2 days and then pick an island or two for the balance of the trip.  I like Mykonos (beautiful, relaxing beaches).  If the beaches are too boring (probably not after all that travel and rushing around), you might try Crete-- it's the largest island, so has a bit more to offer than just the beach (although the beaches are nice too).

     

    image
  • We haven't planned Greece yet- but we are planning for at least 1 full day in Athens (1 night) and then heading to the islands.  I would like to go to Santorini since it is our first time in Greece and I want to see the views that I always see in pictures and then one other island if we have time.  Good point about the transportation to Athens- I have to figure out the best order to see things in Italy to figure out transportation better.

    Thank you for the advice on Florence!  Super helpful!  I will definitely look into that cooking class.

  • There's a bunch of pictures of Pompeii and Herculaneum in my blog.  I really enjoyed it!  I don't know how hard it is to get there from Rome (we left from Naples), but if you can swing it, I thought it was super cool!

    As far as your trip through Germany & Austria, what about starting in Munich, than taking a train to Salzburg then on to Vienna?  I'm planning a trip to Germany & Austria right now, and from what I've read Munich & Salzburg are pretty awesome!  

  • imagegofergal21:

    We haven't planned Greece yet- but we are planning for at least 1 full day in Athens (1 night) and then heading to the islands.  I would like to go to Santorini since it is our first time in Greece and I want to see the views that I always see in pictures and then one other island if we have time.  Good point about the transportation to Athens- I have to figure out the best order to see things in Italy to figure out transportation better.

    Thank you for the advice on Florence!  Super helpful!  I will definitely look into that cooking class.

     Definitely go to Santorini! It is beautiful! I stayed at Hotel Keti and would really recommend it. The owner was really nice and all of rooms have a balcony that overlooks the caldera. We booked a superior room which was a step up from the basic room but it was worth it!

    2011 Races
    3/12 5 mi -- 49:22 Pace: 9:52
    5/1 Half Marathon -- 2:11:22 Pace: 10:01
    5/22 10k -- 56:29 Pace: 9:00
    5/24 3.6 -- 29:03 Pace: 8:18
    7/10 15k -- 1:44:46 injured Pace: 11:14
    10/29 5k -- 28:24 Pace: 9:04
  • Are you going on your trip in the summer? That would be the best time for a trip like this.

    We live in Germany and we went to Italy for a week right before Easter. We were in Milan, Rome and Venice. We also visited two smaller towns outside of Milan. Rom was for us not so great. There are tons of things to see but the city is sooo big and busy and loud. We were in Rome for three days and the last day we spent in a park. We needed to get away from all the noise. Venice was on the other hand AMAZING. We loved it. We also had three days in Venice but we would have traded two of the days we were in Rome for two more in Venice. There are also other islands you can visit and you can go to the main land. Milan was ok but i think that had to do with the fact that it rained the one day we really spent in the city. The other two days in Legnano and on a lake were also great. We were in Legnano because we visited a friend there for Easter. We plan to make another trip to Italy in the future and would deffinently go to Venice again and see Florence.

    As for Germany. I love Potsdam and Berlin. My husband grew up in Berlin so we visit his parents often and there are soo many things to see and do in Berlin. Potsdam is my favorite city! The parks are amazing all year round, but they are most beautiful in the spring and summer. I really love love love Potsdam! The city center is a great place for shopping and eating, and the parks are endless!

    If you would like some tips on Berlin/Potsdam or Venice let me know! 

    Are you looking more for big cities, smaller cities, nature?

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