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Old 01-05-2016, 06:16 PM   #21
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Personally I'd do Italy and Croatia. Italy is just too good to not spend a week. I have not been to Croatia but my sister has been and says it's a must. At most I'd do three countries. Just my opinion. Have fun planning.
This, except even doing some Croatia beyond Italy is a lot.

Me, two weeks in Italy is scratching the surface. Venice worth 2-3 days, Flo/Pisa/Lucca & Rome 3-4 each. Throw in a day for Ravenna's wonderful mosaics & the Cinque Terra or Seina for 2-3 days & two weeks are gone. That still leaves out Lake Como District (2-3 days), Milano (1-2), Verona & Padua (day each), & Sorrento/the Amalfi Coast (2-4). Don't forget Sicily. Besides, when will you have time to make love? Lay back and enjoy a bit.

Can pretty much do Italy all on trains.
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:45 PM   #22
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I would not recommend P&O as it is British based line and it is slanted towards that customer base.
I would suggest an itinerary similar to the tour we took with Odysseys Unlimited, called Portrait of Italy,but do it on your own. We went from the Amalfi Coast to Rome, Assisi, Florence and ended up in Venice.
Driving the Amalfi Coast is not for the faint of heart. The road makes California Route 1 up the coast look like a freeway
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:55 PM   #23
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This website is frequented by some really experienced European travelers. We traveled by rental car year after year where we would drive far and fast for 2 weeks and 3 weekends. $9.00 per U.S. gallon gasoline opened my eyes to the benefits to traveling slower--especially in Italy where you can easily overdose on great food, architecture, history and culture.

We're big on traveling open jaw--into one city and out of another. We also like to travel in straight lines for efficiency to cities that compliment each other.

We're okay riding trains up to 4 hours, but long transfers from city to city are now done on cheap European air carriers. Budget airlines have allowed us to visit one region and then jump to some off the wall, out of the way place on our way home.

I would tell you to fly into Rome for 4 nights, ride the train to Florence for 4 days and ride the train to Venice for 3 nights. You could also have time to go out into the Tuscan countryside by rental car. We loved Volterra and San Gimignano.

Then pick one of the EasyJet.com flights from Venice to visit on your way home:
Amsterdam, Berlin-Schönefeld, Bordeaux, Bristol,Copenhagen, Edinburgh, Gran Canaria, Hamburg, London-Gatwick, London-Luton, London-Southend, Lyon, Manchester, Naples, Nice, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly, Prague, Stuttgart.

There are some great places on this list, with Copenhagen, Paris, Prague and Amsterdam some of our favorites.

We're going to be back in Rome 4/24 and flying out of Venice to London 5/10.
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:02 PM   #24
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Far too much ground to cover in two weeks. I would pick one smaller area or city and spend a week there, then another for a second week.

Going in July will limit your options, in my humble opinion. As much as I love Italy (we go for a week every year), it is really hot in July and August. The one part that is tolerable at that time of year is the lake region in the far north, bordering Switzerland. Fly to Milan, rent a car and go to Bellagio on Lake Como, then on to Lugano, Switzerland on Lake Lugano. Then spend a night or two on one of the Borromean Islands in Lake Maggiore, and go to Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta.

For the second week, you can drive west through Aosta and see Geneva and its eponymous lake in Switzerland, and around to Basel and then the Bodensee (Lake Constance) on the border of Germany and Switzerland, then south back to Milan.

All these areas are beautiful, relaxing and romantic. Perfect for a honeymoon.
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:20 PM   #25
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Driving the Amalfi Coast is not for the faint of heart. The road makes California Route 1 up the coast look like a freeway
The young wife and I hired a car and driver to take us from Sorrento to Positano, Ravello, Amalfi, and then back -- just so I could enjoy the view instead of worrying about the road.
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:21 PM   #26
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If you do decide to go to Ireland, July would be your best bet, weather wise. There are lots of cheap flights from Dublin to other European destinations on Ryanair and Aer Lingus.
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:39 PM   #27
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I suggest Florence, Venice, and Paris.

All are very romantic with lots of opportunity for walking, museums, restaurants, site seeing, and more.

You could take the train from Florence to Venice for the "land travel" part of your trip.

Have a wonderful time!
Good suggestion for first Europe trip. And plenty for 2 weeks. Great bases all of them not to mention tons to do within the cities.

Paris - tons to do in the city, plus day trips to a couple of cool sites.
Florence - tons to do in the city, plus easy day trip to Pisa if you like, and/or Sienna.
Train travel from Milan to Venice is easy - we even did a day trip to Venice from Milan once, although Venice is definitely worth a few nights. I'd love to do the day trip to see the Murano glass works.

Open jaw ticket - US to Paris, return Milan to US - should work well. Then decide how to get from Paris to Milan (major airports). It's easy to get to Florence and Venice from Milan by train.

Even though Switzerland is close to Northern Italy, I think squeezing it in would be too much of a stretch. You already have fantastic places to visit above. Return to Europe to visit Switzerland when you do Bavaria/Southern Germany and Austria.
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Old 01-05-2016, 07:44 PM   #28
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The young wife and I hired a car and driver to take us from Sorrento to Positano, Ravello, Amalfi, and then back -- just so I could enjoy the view instead of worrying about the road.
We took the local bus. As I remember, there were very few spots for any vehicle to stop, and sitting higher in a bus provided a better view over the stone wall. It was truly spectacular. We got off the bus at Amalfi to spend a couple of hours wandering the streets and shops, and also at Positano on the way back to Sorrento to hike down to have lunch at the restaurant at the beach. We were their only customers, and were happy that it was even open for lunch as the locals all but shut down to have a siesta. And this was during a slow season in Feb 2003. Ah, this brings back memory.

Back to the OP, as every poster has said, don't do a whirlwind tour of 5 countries in 2 weeks. Two countries, and two or three locations would be the most you should do for 2 weeks. Nowadays, I would spend the two weeks in just one country. Our last trip to Spain was that way.

PS. I even remember that I had grilled squid in Positano that day. Don't remember what my wife had.
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Old 01-05-2016, 08:07 PM   #29
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Agree with everyone else on picking one country. I would choose Italy if it were me.

But, if you do try for some of the others, try to fly out of anywhere but London. The fees are outrageous. We are flying into London in April and leaving from Dublin when we go for about three weeks coming up in April.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:00 PM   #30
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Agree with everyone else on picking one country. I would choose Italy if it were me.

But, if you do try for some of the others, try to fly out of anywhere but London. The fees are outrageous. We are flying into London in April and leaving from Dublin when we go for about three weeks coming up in April.
I'd lean towards Italy too. Wonderful variety of locales, amazing history and lots of romance. Rome is a wonder for sure. I also loved the Amalfi coast and if you go there, a trip to Capri is worth it. Pompeii too. The heat in July could be a drawback. Paris too would be great for a honeymoon. Trying to do all the countries you suggest would be far too much of a whirlwind trip that I'd not advise.
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Old 01-06-2016, 04:46 AM   #31
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There are some great river cruises through Austria and Germany that might work. Usually get to see quite a bit but have the cabin for the duration and you can set your own pace as far as off boat activities.
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Old 01-06-2016, 05:08 AM   #32
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Wow thanks for all of the replies and the honest feedback! You guys travel a lot, but I guess this is the ER board! We've definitely decided to cut down the trip. So now we're thinking just France and Italy with hitting some of the spots mentioned like Paris, Venice, Milan or Rome maybe a few more.

What should we expect to pay for a round trip ticket to get to Europe and where is generally the best place to fly into and out of?

Sounds like we would be able to do most our traveling by train so I like that idea. My wife to be is pretty excited about a gondola ride, any good spots for that?


With it being July, would you think it would be wise to book some of our lodging ahead of time or just find places as we go?

Thanks for all of the advice!
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Old 01-06-2016, 05:16 AM   #33
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Around $1800? Here is a July flight from DFW to the main international airports in Paris and northern Italy - just manipulate this google flights page: https://www.google.com/flights/#sear...016-07-26;tt=m

Yes, book your lodging ahead. You don't want to spend all your time scurrying about looking for lodging when you get there.

2 weeks sounds like a long time. But it's not, it's tight. Those cities are heavily traveled. You need decent hotels central to what you want to visit and to public transportation to and from airports and other cities.

Trip Advisor is a good way to choose hotels. I recommend making reservations 3 months in advance and the best options do tend to fill. You can always cancel a reservation.

Choosing and booking lodging, figuring out all the transportation, etc., is time consuming, but you want to have this worked out before you arrive.

Good spot for a gondola ride - Venice. That is one item you don't need to book ahead. Again, Trip Advisor likely has plenty of gondola ride reviews. As they have reviews about all the most popular activities in any given city. Here is some practical information about what to expect: Gondola Ride (Venice, Italy): Tickets & Tours, Attraction Reviews - TripAdvisor

3 Days in Venice: Travel Guide on TripAdvisor
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Old 01-06-2016, 06:15 AM   #34
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I totally agree with that. DH and I used to rush from place to place; now we have hotel rooms in one or two "bases" and decide every morning what we want to do. Some cities can be a good starting place for a lot of countries; it's an easy day trip from Brussels to Amsterdam, Aachen or Luxembourg, for example. Wherever you go, have a list of things you might want to do, but be flexible. If it's an ugly day, choose a museum. We can even be swayed by brochures in the hotel lobby or events/exhibits we read about in the paper. If you haven't been to Europe on your deployments, definitely check out trains as an alternative to planes within Europe. Sometimes they're slower, but they more than make up for that in comfort, scenery and the fact that you end up in the middle of the city instead of having to find your way in from the airport.
Totally agree. Our last trips to Europe have involved a 3 city in two weeks approach. Our criteria for the 3 locations has been that they be within a max 5 hour direct train link between each. So one year we did Prague/Vienna/Budapest. Another year we did Venice/Verona/Florence. If you haven't been to Italy I'd adapt that to Venice/Florence/Rome or the reverse. We are contemplating Amsterdam/Brussels/Bruges, but that could be easily adapted to drop Bruges and add Paris. London and Paris would be great as well. For our honeymoon decades ago, we did Madrid/Lisbon/The Algarve. Congratulations and have a great trip. Just a warning though, it will be hot, crowded and expensive in July. You might consider delaying the trip until September or October which are cooler and less crowded not to mention less expensive but still great times to travel through Europe. Our DS is getting married in August this year and he and our DIL will be deferring their honeymoon for several months as they will take off at least a week prior to the wedding and don't feel that they can be away from work for three weeks or more at one time. According to DS this is increasingly the approach his friends choose when they get married. They aren't skipping it-just deferring it.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:20 AM   #35
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I'm just piling on and agreeing with other observations, but FWIW:

1. Avoid transferring through Heathrow. It's a PITA. If you're coming in from North America and transferring to a flight to Europe, you'll have to change terminals and go through security again. They have only two runways so any bad weather is a disaster.

2. Agree on maybe delaying your honeymoon to outside tourists season. DH and I travel a lot in the "shoulder season"- typically September. Just make sure that the gondola rides are still available when you want to go. Lines for major attractions can be awful even in September.

3. Definitely have your hotel reservations made. You COULD land someplace and use your smartphone to find out where rooms are available, but you'll do better if you have the time to research deals and actually read reviews, not just the ratings. A careful reading of TripAdvisor reviews has never steered me wrong and I have 200 of my own reviews on the site.

And one additional point: If your wife will be changing her name, make sure that it matches on the reservation and on whatever ID she uses to get on the plane. I've seen plenty of frantic posts on FlyerTalk from couples who made the reservations in the woman's post-marriage last name and then realized that her passport, driver's license, etc. would still be in her birth name when they left the day after the wedding. I think you can bridge the gap with the paperwork from the wedding, but it's easier to be consistent.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:28 AM   #36
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If pressed for time, you might want to check out the night trains. For example, board the train in the evening in Venice, and get to Paris just as the locals go to work.

There are night trains between any two major European cities that are not too far apart, Combine this with a open-jaw flight to/from Europe, and you save on travel time. And the cost of the tickets is offset by the savings of a hotel night stay.

About the cost, the price varies from sleeping berths (couchette) to private compartments. We did this many years ago, so here's more recent info from Rick Steve's site: https://www.ricksteves.com/travel-ti...s/night-trains.

PS. Beware of pickpockets and purse snatchers, even in trains.
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Old 01-06-2016, 08:35 AM   #37
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And one additional point: If your wife will be changing her name, make sure that it matches on the reservation and on whatever ID she uses to get on the plane. I've seen plenty of frantic posts on FlyerTalk from couples who made the reservations in the woman's post-marriage last name and then realized that her passport, driver's license, etc. would still be in her birth name when they left the day after the wedding. I think you can bridge the gap with the paperwork from the wedding, but it's easier to be consistent.
I've never run into an issue with this in Europe. The reservations are usually in my name, and my husband's name is different. Occasionally I'll add his name to the reservation, but often there is not a place to add the names of additional guests on the reservation.
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Old 01-06-2016, 09:12 AM   #38
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I've never run into an issue with this in Europe. The reservations are usually in my name, and my husband's name is different.
No, that's not the issue- DH and I also have different last names and it's been no problem at all.

The problem occurs when Jane Smith is marrying John Jones and they make their honeymoon flight reservations in the name of Jane Jones (because they're leaving the day after the wedding). Jane has an armload of IDs in the name of Jane Smith and a plane reservation for Jane Jones. Better to make them in the name of Jane Smith if she won't have time to get a new driver's license or passport in her married name.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:38 AM   #39
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No, that's not the issue- DH and I also have different last names and it's been no problem at all.

The problem occurs when Jane Smith is marrying John Jones and they make their honeymoon flight reservations in the name of Jane Jones (because they're leaving the day after the wedding). Jane has an armload of IDs in the name of Jane Smith and a plane reservation for Jane Jones. Better to make them in the name of Jane Smith if she won't have time to get a new driver's license or passport in her married name.
Oh, right, the flight reservation has to be in the exact names on the passport. Sorry, you posted after my post and I was talking about hotel reservations, so I got confused.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:43 AM   #40
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Oh, right, the flight reservation has to be in the exact names on the passport.
Exactly! My wife's first name is hyphenated, and when she got her first passport, they had the second part of her first name as her middle name.
On a series of recent flights to and from Canada, it caused no end of problems because of the difference between her reservation and her passport.
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