Trains are expensive and not as fast as flying. Just fly everywhere.
We will be heading out to Europe this summer (July 25th) for a three week honeymoon, and after some deliberation, we settled on France, Italy and Croatia. We would like to visit all 3 in that specific order.
We would like to spend 3 nights in Paris, take a train to Italy to visit Venice, Florence, and then wrap it up in Croatia for a few nights. The big problem I am having with this route, is trying to plan the Air plane tickets, hotels, trains etc and stay within an 10 000$ budget. Actually, I wouldn't know where to begin planning this trip. I really want to avoid an agent.
Some advice would be greatly appreciated!
Trains are expensive and not as fast as flying. Just fly everywhere.
Last edited by Adam12; 12-08-2014 at 07:27 PM.
Yeah, trains are fine for quick trips (under 5 hours) but you're talking about a long overnight trip from Paris to Venice that's going to cost a lot of money. For 100 Euros per person you could fly on one of the discount airlines out of Paris to Italy and be there in about 1.5 hours.
You have 3 weeks and said you want to spend 3 nights in Paris and "a few nights" in Croatia. That is going to give you 2 weeks in Italy? If so, I'd suggest that you skip Venice altogether, fly from Paris to Rome, spend at least a week there and then take a train to Florence. Rome is superior to Venice in pretty much every way and I really wouldn't want to smell Venice in late July. I wouldn't spend more than 5 days in Florence. Florence is awesome but it's small and you can comfortably see everything there is to see in 5 days without feeling rushed at all.
Paris advice for saving cash: Can either of you speak French? Get away from the tourist areas (Champs Elysee, around the Eiffel Tower, Lourve, etc) and head into the neighborhoods around them when you're looking for a restaurant. The menus will typically only be in French but you'll spend way less and get a far better meal. Learn the metro system (it's really easy) and use it to get around if you don't feel like walking. Don't use taxis unless you really have to (getting TO the airport is fine since you'll probably be pressed for time, but from the airport you should take the train).
Also keep in mind that it'll be pretty hot at this time and a lot of places are going to be shut down in the major cities of France and Italy (no idea about Croatia).
Last edited by Adam12; 12-08-2014 at 06:44 PM.
Cinque Terre: Cinque Terre - Lonely Planet
Cogne: Cogne - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (my personal favorite, seriously I'd live there)
Also for major Euro stuff that I wouldn't skip, especially if you are already in Europe for 3 weeks. Just stay at Air BnB's, they are cheap and often quite nice.
Barcelona, perhaps I'm biased but it's one of my favorite European cities.
Somewhere in Germany, come on you've got a bunch of awesome places to pick from.
If you are doing France don't just sit in Paris, goto Normady(if you like history), Nice if you want some time on the sea(that whole southern coastline is amazing in my opinion, from France all the way down through Italy), and if you really do want to sit on a damn train to travel(I agree that flying is better unless it's a super short hop), by god stop in Zurich or Geneva...
Lake Como area is always nice if you are dead set on Italy too(it's north of Milan).
You and your wife know your tastes obviously, but I travel there often and I try to balance a few days in the tourist spots(I love history) so I can see all the landmarks, then I try to find the little hidden gem towns that are just so much more fun if you are interested in learning about the real culture and history of an area. Don't be shy about the language barrier, if you are polite and put some effort in I've never seen any major problems. Eat new foods and explore out of your box a little.
I'm not one of those "europe is way better" douchebags, but it does have one major thing the US doesn't and that's a much much longer history. The fact that some of these small towns/buildings, have been there since 1400's or earlier, obviously some buildings say early Roman days, gives the entire atmosphere an interesting little flare if you are into that thing. But fuck if you just wanna go to McDonalds stick to the major cities, they've got that too.
I won't get into a huge argument as to why Rome is obviously superior to Venice since it's just a matter of taste, but ESPECIALLY in late July and into August Rome would be a better place to be. Venice reeks in the summer, and I wouldn't want to spend my honeymoon in a place that smells like a cat's anal glans secretion.
Going to Europe and not going to Barcelona is a mistake but since you've already decided...
If you limit your time in Paris that will be the easiest way to significantly save on your budget.
Oh for a specific place to stay in Florence:
Hotel Maxim,Florence:2 Star Hotel Florence Historical Centre near Duomo
It's about 30 steps from the Duomo (right where you want to be), 10 minutes walking from the train station and is relatively inexpensive. The rooms are HUGE by Italian standards and the staff is extremely friendly. I spent a week here and it was by far the best hotel I stayed at in Europe.
Thank you all for the info. To be honest, we prefer the beaten paths and calmer side of things when it comes to visiting other countries. I like to see the authenticity over the glamour of big cities. The idea was to arrive in the big cities, take a quick look around and go off to the country side. The only reason we are stopping in Paris is because the wife has never seen it before. If it was up to me, I would avoid it completely. I am fluent in French and really wanted to visit the south of France (sucker for medieval castles)
Tuscany sounds like a great idea. I just finished looking it up and it is right down our alley, thank you for that. People have been telling us to avoid Rome like the plague...nobody seemed to have enjoyed it. Is the smell in Venice as bad as you make it out to be? We mostly wanted to go there for the architecture.
That Hotel Maxim is really well located. We might look into it. Thank you
I was in Venice last August and other than the occasional bad whiff, I didn't have any problems with the smell. I also come from the city that is regularly voted cleanest in the world, so if that adds any more endorsement take that for what it's worth :P.
Other than that, I can't imagine spending more than a day or two in Venice. We spent a day trip there popping into museums/historical buildings and walking around the city for the most part. All three of us had our fill by the time the day was over.
Crazy. I've never met anyone who didn't love Rome. I went with some friends from Paris and even they had to admit that Rome was amazing and no one wanted to leave. I even wrote a comparative essay on Rome and Paris for an English course I took and it ended up getting published in the University paper (they have a travel section). Maybe it's because I'm really into Roman history and I was looking forward to the trip for years, but I just couldn't get enough. I thought I might have been setting myself up for disappointment but it exceeded my expectations in every way.
Maybe I'm just over sensitive to the particular smell in Venice but it got to me. I've never had issues in any other city like that before. I've spent a good amount of time in Rome, Florence, and Venice. Venice was by far my least favorite city of the 3.
If you love castles then I highly recommend taking a train from Paris to Toulouse (it's like 6 hours long or something, it'd be a good way to get a long train trip checked off of your list) and then renting a car to see Carcassonne. It really is mind blowing. From there you could drive to Perpignan which is only about 90 minutes from Barcelona. That was my favorite planned on the fly trips in Europe.
Last edited by Adam12; 12-08-2014 at 10:10 PM.
Also in Venice if you are facing the Rialto bridge the first alley on your left side facing it has a restaurant called Trattoria Alla Madonna. Its one of the best places imo to eat in the world. You also want to try to hit a local butcher shop and if you like meat order some Salami Nostrano.
Just use Kayak and Google Maps for everything. Public transportation with Google Maps is as easy as possible, and it will come in handy.
I went to Croatia over the summer, Pag Island, which was fun, but my traveling was for partying, not site seeing tourist stuff, and Pag is a party island. Split was really cool, but really small. I hear Hvar Island is a lot of fun and something more what you'd be interested in.
Don't fly EasyJet, RyanAir is hit or miss, but mostly miss. In fact, just avoid all of the budget airlines unless you're only carrying one bag. A lot of people seem to think trains in Europe are some luxury that they have or an amazing adventure and they're cheap. Truth is that they suck and they're more expensive than flying and come with a lot less amenities. I would only use trains or buses if traveling between local towns/cities, not across long distances.
Trains from Paris to Rome can be booked directly through SNCF (the French railway company): SNCF - Trains, Services, Businesses | SNCF
Had a quick look and prices for the train are all over the place, from €150 to €400 (one might be a night train which could save you a hotel night, the other just gets you two seats and leaves at 6am). Trip takes 11 to 20 hours depending on stops. Flight is like 2 hours btw.
Personally, I'd rent a car after the first few days in Paris. You'll see so much more and be much more flexible. There's easily three weeks of sights to see between Paris and Rome alone. Drive from Paris to Geneva, then to the Cote d'Azur, then to Turin, Milan, etc. All those are 5-6 hour drives at most. Especially if you speak French, you will love southern France away from the tourist hotspots.
No need to go to Rome to see ancient Roman buildings unless you want to see particular ones like the Colosseum. Roman empire spanned half of Europe and there are ruins everywhere. The famous ones are crawling with tourists in the summer, might as well be Disneyland.
Thank you all again for all the info. Here is a small update on our trip:
We decided to plan all of our stay with airbnb.ca. The idea of bnb never crossed our mind, but some of these places are breath taking and we love being able to pin point exactly what area we want to stay in. Paris has so many good abnb options. The money we will be saving skipping hotels will open up a lot more options. We found a luxurious one in the heart of Paris for 120$ a night CAD/breakfast included with a view of the Eiffel Tower. (356 positive reviews)
We will be staying in Paris for 3 days then renting a car to head down to Toulouse. We will stay in and around Toulouse for 2 days then drive down to visit Carcassone and the region surrounding it for another 2-3 days. From there we will probably take a flight into Italy. We are currently planning our trajectory in Italy, but the soon to be wife now insists that we find time to visit the Island of Santorini in Greece and we skip Croatia all together.
I used to be a project manager but man am I having trouble planning this trip!
That's awesome that you'll get out to Carcassonne. Make sure you have lunch at the restaurant in the main courtyard of the castle. Best cassoulet you'll ever have.
Barcelona is a really fun city and it was less dirty this summer when I went than it was the last time or so it seemed. If you get time in n Barcelona jump on the train to girona for an afternoon, awesome medieval city with fun shopping and like fortified cathedrals. Only like 40 minutes by train from Barcelona. Plus they sell wine from the barrel so you can just show up with empty bottles and pay to get them filled, was awesome.
I am not a big fan of Italy personally, I think both France and Spain are far nicer summer destinations.
Trains are better than planes because for the most part if you are staying in the major cities, using public transport it is a billion times easier getting to the airports. CDG is way outside of paris for example but the major train stations that run to southern France are right downtown with no arriving hours early, checking bags or other airport bs. Price both of course but keep in mind airports are often +20-30 per person for transport to the city after you arrive and then that again on the way back.
Last edited by Creslin; 12-24-2014 at 07:00 PM.
Maybe trains are better if you're staying within the country, but they're expensive as fuck and slower than planes. Even with added security and the extra hour to get to an airport via public transit, the 90 minute flight far outweighs the seven hour train.
You'd most likely fly out of Orly, not CDG, if you were flying from Paris to a regional destination. For anything less than 4 or 5 hours then a train is probably ok, but flying is the faster and cheaper alternative for most travel between countries.
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)