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Need tips on a trip to Europe for my honeymoon
Old 01-05-2016, 10:48 AM   #1
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Need tips on a trip to Europe for my honeymoon

So my wife to be and I are planning a trip to Europe for our Honeymoon this July. Neither of us have ever traveled abroad besides military deployments but we have an idea of what countries we want to see in Europe. We have around 2 weeks to spend traveling and site seeing.

We want to see Ireland, Italy, France, Croatia and possibly Switzerland. Is this a stretch for two weeks? We plan to travel by train, ferry or possibly a rental car to drive around.. any suggestions?

Any suggestions on the route, like start here and end here..See this or see that? We're trying to decide whether to book our lodging in advance or just fly by the seat of the pants and figure it out as we go.

I want it to be an awesome trip, one that we're not rushed through and can enjoy and make lifetime memories. Any thoughts? Thanks!
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:02 AM   #2
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If it were me, I'd narrow the trip a bit. On our honeymoon we went to London for 10 days and it was plenty. We had a nice home base to come back to each day and got to really see the city, various museums, etc. And it's a honeymoon, so who wants to spend all day sight seeing and be exhausted...

With two weeks, maybe pick two spots for a change of venue half way through.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:05 AM   #3
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We want to see Ireland, Italy, France, Croatia and possibly Switzerland. Is this a stretch for two weeks?
Why not throw in sub-Saharan Africa and India while you're at it?

Seriously......why not pick one country, (you still won't see 'everything'), and then you won't spend the bulk of your time in, or waiting for, airplanes?
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:09 AM   #4
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My opinion is that if you try to see 5 countries in 14 days (not to mention covering over 1,000 miles), it will be extremely rushed and you won't really see the countries, just some touristy highlights 1 or 2 cities in each. Nothing wrong with that, but it doesn't sound like that's what you are looking for.

If I were doing two weeks for a honeymoon, I would pick one country and try to see as much as I could, while still relaxing. Since I know Italy best of the ones you mentioned, I'll use that as an example:

Fly to Rome. Spend 2-3 days exploring the well known places as well as the more local areas of the city proper. Rent a car, drive to Positano on the Amalfi coast for a few days of R&R. Drive back to Rome, take the train (or drive) north to Florence. Spend 1-2 days in Florence, rent a car and explore Tuscany for 3-4 days (Siena, Montepulciano, San Gimigniano, Pisa). If you like hiking, drive over to Cinque Terre for a few days. Take the train back to Rome, spend another night or two (don't forget to throw a coin in the Fountain of Trevi) and it's already time to fly home.

Two weeks, a ton of memories and experiences, and you've only scratched the surface of one country!
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:16 AM   #5
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I agree with the above. Two weeks in. Any of those countries would be a great trip. Two weeks in all of those countries will mean spending most of your time in airports, train stations and car rental offices. You wouldn't have much time for enjoying the places you're in, and you'd be too exhausted for any other honeymoon activities. ;-)

On the other hand, a week in Paris and a week in Normandy would be fantastic: you'd have time for lovely walks, excellent meals, stopping for a carafe of wine in a sidewalk cafe in the afternoon.

Two weeks would take you from Rome to Florence and Venice, and you could see the sights, have some great Italians dinners.

Two weeks in Croatia: Zagreb, Split, a coastal island like Hvar, a cruise down the coast to finish off with a few days in Dubrovnik: exceptional.

Two weeks in Ireland will take to to Dublin for a few days, and time to visit the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle peninsula. And a pint or two in some country pubs.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:17 AM   #6
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Agree - more is less when trying to cover too much territory in too little time. Pick one country and thoroughly relax and enjoy it. Next vacation go somewhere else.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:18 AM   #7
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Having lived in Europe for a couple of years and in my current job, frequenting Austria, I'd say that's too many places for only 2 weeks. Just try seeing 5 states in the US during a vacation during 2 weeks!




I'd skip Ireland given how far it is from everywhere else you're interested in, but that leaves you Croatia, Italy and possibly Switzerland. We were just in Croatia this summer and I recommend Split (on the coast) and Krka National Park. We did that over a long weekend, so very doable. Now, you're already reasonably close to Italy so a drive to Venice for a few days wouldn't be out of the question - plus that allows you to see some of Slovenia along the way. From Venice, you can get to Bologna for a day or so then onto Florence, which I definitely recommend. That's probably plenty, though you could attempt to try and squeeze in Rome or if you're into ruins an even farther drive would be down to Pompeii.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:19 AM   #8
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Pick the countries you are least likely to return to, maybe. We were in Switzerland a few years ago in June and it was amazing.

We went to Europe for a month a long long time ago and had to make reservations via snail mail using travel books for references--gah. We stuck with the major touristy places in Germany, France, and Italy. I can't imagine doing more than those in just two weeks (not that those are what you should choose).

You're young and it's an adventure--you could just book the transatlantic flights and play the rest mostly by ear. Whatever you do will be memorable.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:23 AM   #9
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We want to see Ireland, Italy, France, Croatia and possibly Switzerland.
Far too ambitious. European countries, while small, are far more diverse than US States. You can't possibly "see France" or any country in a couple of days. I suggest you and your fiancée select one or two of those countries and get back to us. It helps if you speak the language.

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I want it to be an awesome trip, one that we're not rushed through and can enjoy and make lifetime memories. Any thoughts? Thanks!
It's a honeymoon, not a military deployment. What you propose will certainly be rushed and possibly very frustrating. One missed flight or train can throw the whole schedule off, and as tourists, you will have no military support to fall back on.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:25 AM   #10
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We want to see Ireland, Italy, France, Croatia and possibly Switzerland. Is this a stretch for two weeks? We plan to travel by train, ferry or possibly a rental car to drive around.. any suggestions?

Absolutely, it is a stretch in my opinion. Unless you like packing, unpacking and rushing about in airports and train stations more than actually experience Europe.

Far better to take have some extra time, be able to explore unexpected places and events, and enjoy the cafè culture of Europe.

I would pick Italy France and Switzerland are close enough that you can do a descent introduction job in two weeks, but in reality, either Italy or France is best with two weeks just for the one country. Switzerland is a week, IMHO. Rome alone is worth a week. Paris at least 5 days. Why rush about like chickens with their heads cut off. Leave some time for "il dolce far niente" - The Sweetness of Doing Nothing.

Croatia is fun but again, not worth the extra travel time, IMHO. I would do Slovenia, Croatia and parts of Northern Italy on another trip.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:43 AM   #11
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I would pick two locations, at most 3. Not countries - but actual lodgings.

We had 9 weeks in Europe this past summer - 11 cities, 7 countries. And we were two rushed... and that was with 7 of the weeks being 1 week stays.

An example of a previous trip of what can happen with a one week stay:
- Rented a small cottage amidst vineyards outside Greve in Chianti. 2 day trips into Florence. A day trip to Pisa and Lucca. A day trip to Sienna. And the remainder exploring the local towns. We had plenty to see/do but didn't have that "rushed" feeling.

Plus - it's your honeymoon - you'll want time to sleep in, have long dinners, enjoy more than the airport or train station.
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Old 01-05-2016, 11:50 AM   #12
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I lived in England for three years while in the Air Force and we took one of those five countries in two week trips. Never again. Pick one or two countries and enjoy your time together.


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Old 01-05-2016, 11:50 AM   #13
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I would pick two locations, at most 3. Not countries - but actual lodgings.


An example of a previous trip of what can happen with a one week stay:
- Rented a small cottage amidst vineyards outside Greve in Chianti. 2 day trips into Florence. A day trip to Pisa and Lucca. A day trip to Sienna. And the remainder exploring the local towns. We had plenty to see/do but didn't have that "rushed" feeling.
+1

Had you more time, a day trip to the Cinque Terre would have been fun.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:37 PM   #14
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My son and I did 6 countries in 3 weeks by rail, but they were a bit closer (Czech Rep, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, France, Lux). We knew we weren't really experiencing any one country, but rather had some specific things to see and getting a glimpse of a number of different countries was fun.

I'd make a list of things you'd really like to do and see, and then figure out the logistics of getting from place to place and see how it looks schedule-wise. I think we found the German rail site gave the best info on schedules, or maybe it was Austria. For our trips, the trains were incredibly reliable. Not sure how Italy and Croatia would be. But you really need to look at schedules and see whether it's really possible to spend most of the day in a certain city and still catch a train to the next city that evening or the next morning and also have plenty of time for that city.

If you're thinking more to experience those countries rather than jump around, I think you'll be better off to pick a couple areas and spend more time there rather than try to cover all that ground. I think you'd need to be more specific on what you are looking for: cities, wineries, history, views, etc., before you get any real advice. It just depends on how you want to travel. We did it by moderate sized backpacks, and other than the first 3 days in Prague, never spent more than 2 days in one place. That's not for everyone.

Ireland is your real outlier. If you really want to do that, consider starting or finishing there, and flying to/from the continent. Or save it for another trip. Unless you want a hit and run stop in Dublin, you'll want a lot of time here. Otherwise, you can see the countries you want, just realize that you'll be moving around a lot rather than relaxing and soaking in more of the culture.

We initially thought we'd just get a Eurail pass and have a rough itinerary and wing it, but as it got closer we reconsidered. It made more sense to plan it out and take a logical path with shorter trips than to zig-zag around and spend too much time on trains. Also, we booked in advance so we didn't have to get off the train and go looking for a place to stay and probably not have time to really consult reviews before deciding. Or what if we happened on a place with some convention or festival going on that we didn't care about but took up all the lodging? For some places I made sure we could cancel with little or no penalty if our plans changed, especially outdoor stuff due to weather.

You might find a guide book that seems to resonate with you and use it. For us it was Rick Steves. He's a bit goofy on his TV shoes but he goes for the lower cost but safe lodging with no frills, and a more authentic local experience rather than a chain. Lonely Planet is another one you might consider. The more classic guidebooks like Fodor's or Frommer's just didn't seem to be for me. I also use TripAdvisor as a guide. Far from perfect but usually works for me.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:42 PM   #15
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I would pick two locations, at most 3. Not countries - but actual lodgings.
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.
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Old 01-05-2016, 12:58 PM   #16
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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.
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:33 PM   #17
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Croatia is amazing; we loved Dubrovnik, which has that rare combination of scenic beauty and fascinating history. You can do day trips to Mostar in Bosnia and to Albania by hydrofoil although we didn't do either. It's also close enough to Italy that you could do both. I highly recommend "Balkan Ghosts" as background reading if you go to Eastern Europe.
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Old 01-05-2016, 02:47 PM   #18
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Another thing.....July will be busy wherever you go; accommodations may be in short supply.......so how about a cruise? You have a 'permanent' home in your cabin for the duration, and you're somewhere new almost every day.

Here's one itinerary aboard the P&O Oceana*, (*a vessel I've never traveled on):

Wed Jul 27 Genoa, Italy 8:00pm
Thu Jul 28 Florence / Pisa (Livorno), Italy 7:00am 7:00pm
Fri Jul 29 At Sea
Sat Jul 30 Naples / Capri (Sorrento), Italy 7:00am 6:00pm
Sun Jul 31 Strait of Messina (Cruising)
Mon Aug 1 Dubrovnik, Croatia 8:00am 5:00pm
Tue Aug 2 Venice, Italy 1:00pm
Wed Aug 3 Venice, Italy 8:00pm
Thu Aug 4 At Sea
Fri Aug 5 Kotor, Montenegro 8:00am 5:00pm
Sat Aug 6 Corfu, Greece 9:00am 6:00pm
Sun Aug 7 Strait of Messina (Cruising)
Mon Aug 8 Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy 7:00am 7:00pm
Tue Aug 9 Ajaccio, Corsica, France 8:00am 6:00pm
Wed Aug 10 Genoa, Italy
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Old 01-05-2016, 03:59 PM   #19
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Huge stretch. Why the rush? It is your honeymoon after all. You can always go back to Europe.
For my money I'd do Ireland alone or Ireland/England. Or I'd do Italy alone or Italy/France. There's so much to see in all these countries alone, but no more than 2 or you will run yourself ragged.
Give yourself a break. It is your honeymoon! Enjoy time spent on long breakfasts, exploring small towns and/or great museums, romantic dinners--and lolling around in bed! Too much travel is frustrating, exhausting, and makes people crabby.
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Old 01-05-2016, 06:16 PM   #20
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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!
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