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9 vacation days, where to visit in Europe?

New York City, New...
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9 vacation days, where to visit in Europe?
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Hi all,

We have 9 vacation days starting from 21st Feb, 2015 and we are thinking about which places to visit that has amazing landscapes, a little shopping, historical sites, landmarks, great food,etc.... A good balance of everything. I will be flying from New York to meet up with my bf at a destination in Europe. Firstly, we're thinking of London and Paris, or London, Paris and Amsterdam, or London, Paris, Scotland? Which is more doable and able to see some really good sites, not too rush that we don't get anything out of it. Please feel free to give us some suggestions. Thank you!

Edited: 6 years ago
Rutland, United...
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1. Re: 9 vacation days, where to visit in Europe?
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Are 9 days actually 7 days given that nothing much can be achieved on arrival and departure days? If so then I would definitely restrict myself to two cities with 3.5 days in one, 3 days in the other and half a day to transfer between them. As London and Paris are two of the world's greatest cities for tourism, shopping, culture and history you really can't pick any better. Fly into one, out of the other and book your Eurostar connecting tickets now for the best price.

Torquay, United...
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2. Re: 9 vacation days, where to visit in Europe?
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>>> London, Paris and Amsterdam .... London, Paris, Scotland <<<

As you claim not to want to rush, three destinations is seven days is a no-no. You will need to prioritise.

Romsey
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Are you looking at renting a car?

Or using trains?

Or even a European flight or two?

And are you looking for iconic (which in most cases means city) sights? Big Ben, Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Acropolis, & such.

Or pleasant & lazy scenic drives rather than cities?

Wherever & however you travel in Europe, follow Beauchamp's advice & fly the Atlantic to the first place & back from the last place. By using an airline's "open jaw" or "multi-city" option the cost will be the mid-price between the return fares to each destination rather than two very expensive one-way tickets.

Given the time-scale, that London & Paris suggestion has a lot of merit, but I wonder whether Beauchamp noticed your date - February.? London & Paris will be warmer (no, make that "less cold") than NYC, but not a lot.

Further south, around the Mediterranean might be a more attractive proposition at that time of year. Mebbe a Med. cruise?

Chris

Edited: 6 years ago
New York City, New...
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Thank you so much, everyone for the input! You have all been so helpful and kind!

Beauchamp, if I do London and Paris, where will you suggest to visit castles and beautiful sceneries outside the city? Will take the timeline seriously or add two more days to accommodate the 9 days solid vacation.

Chris, most likely, we will take the Eurotrain from London to Paris . I heard driving can be complicated in these cities? We will definitely cover some iconic landmarks but would also like to see some castles and natural landscapes. We enjoyed the Big Sur coastal drive in California very much! Where in the Mediterranean are you suggesting?

Aubrey, Texas
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I suggest you consider Spain's Andalucia. It has everything you want and will be warmer than London or Paris.

Romsey
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6. Re: 9 vacation days, where to visit in Europe?
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Jasmine - if it's to be London & Paris, then no you certainly wouldn't want a car in either of those cities. And yes, the Eurostar train is the way to travel between the two.

The Tower of London is right in the city. Windsor and its Castle (still one of the Queen's residences) and Henry V111's palace at Hampton Court are quite easy to access from the centre, or if you fly in or out of London's Heathrow airport both are only about 6 miles from the airport though public transport from Heathrow to either of them is very poor and of course there's your luggage to consider . Ann Boleyn's family home, Hever Castle, is about 15 miles / 30 minutes from Gatwick, London's other major airport - but there's no sensible public transport, and again if you tie it in with a flight there's your luggage to consider. Leeds Castle, near Maidstone, is best visited on a tour bus from central London - it's often combined with the historic cathedral city of Canterbury.

The palaces of Versailles (40 minutes from central Paris) or Fontainebleu (1 hour) aren't castles but are very grand and iconic. The Chateau de Vincennes is probably the closest to Paris (just 10 - 15 minutes by metro) but there are half-a-dozen more, like the Chateau de Chantilly, within an hour.

Visits to London & Paris both really need two or three days each, and any of those places I've mentioned need an extra day to themselves.

You'll not get any amazing scenery around or between London & Paris.

Leaving London & Paris aside, or incorporating a flight from one of them, at that time of year I was thinking places like Rome, (around) Naples, Venice, Athens, even Istanbul. They're all a matter of personal choice, but Rome for its many sights such as the Vatican City & the colosseum, the Naples area not for the city itself but for the stunning scenery of Capri and the Amalfi coast plus Pompeii & Vesuvius, Venice for its history & canals, Athens for its sights like the Acropolis (but to me the city has no charm other than its ancient sights), Istanbul because its so atmospheric, so vibrant, so different. All of these places are worth at least 2 - 3 days, though you could incorporate several into a cruise.

One excellent vacation in your time-scale would be to fly to Rome, 2 or 3 days there, then rent a car & drive to Amalfi or Ravello (about 3 hours, but take a break halfway at Monte Cassino) for a few relaxing days on the Amalfi coast including a short drive to Pompeii and a ferry ride to Capri, fly home from Naples. That would give you a mix of iconic sights & stunning scenery..

There are literally dozens of Med cruises, just by way of example, Celebrity 8-day cruise from Rome to Naples, Messina, Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, ends Istanbul - and add a hotel day or two at each end. Or Norwegian Cruise Line 10 nights Rome, Olympia, Athens, Izmir, Istanbul, Naples Rome. On a cruise you'll fit in more places & without the hassle of fixing the logistics or packing/unpacking, but on a one-day visit to those ports you'll only scratch the surface.

Google those places, see what you think.

Chris

EDIT - Texhills' suggestion of Andalucía has merit. Places like Ronda & the "white villages", Jerez de la Frontere, Gibraltar, Moorish Tarifa & from there a day-trip by hydrofoil to Tangier, in Morocco. Plenty of cheap accommodation, ideally needs a rental car (cheap in Spain).

Edited: 6 years ago
New York City, New...
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Thank you, Texhills and Chris, for the amazing advice and for such great details you have put forward. I am considering the Rome, Venice, Naples option! Thank you so much!!

Bucks, UK
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I hope you're not expecting Rome to be significantly warmer than Paris - average highs are about 4c higher than Paris, at a less than tropical 11c, and temperatures below freezing are distinctly possible.

Likewise for Andalucia - it can be pleasant along the coast if you stay out of the wind, but it is often chilly in the evenings and mornings and prolonged periods of rain are distinctly possible. Up in the hills (Ronda and Granada) it will be much colder with snow a possibility.

In short, I wouldn't choose my European holiday in February based on weather - Paris could be nicer than Rome, or vice versa - there is no sure way of predicting these things.

If you want a guarantee of warm sunshine in February, you need to head much closer to the Equator, for example to the Canary Islands.

9. Re: 9 vacation days, where to visit in Europe?

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