7 days in Europe - March

Old Nov 21st, 2022, 08:50 AM
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7 days in Europe - March

My wife and I are planning on our first ever trip to Europe this March to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Due to work and family, we can only take a one week trip. My original plan was to do seven days split between London and Amsterdam but I've come the conclusion that London (despite it's history) is too American for our first trip and would prefer a more European experience. With that noted, what would you do with 7 days? I've kicked around a Munich, Salzburg trip or spending an entire week in Italy or Spain. FYI... Our ideal trip would be focused on history with beautiful views combined with great dining and drinks with a romantic flair. Warm weather is not necessary. Thanks for your feedback.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 09:16 AM
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Hi Shane, welcome to Fodors

As Brit I am slightly hurt that you think London American but your choice. What it is is multi-cultural amongst which America has to struggle amongst another 200 countries to find a place.

You know that March is still winter here and especially on the east of the Atlantic we can get wet nasty weather.

However thinking about where I would go in March (as European) I'd have to say southern Europe. So, Seville, Cordoba and Granada are a nice trio of very approchable cities with lovely sights, food etc. Barcelona is a possibility but, much as I like it, I prefer other places in Spain. In Italy have a look at Palermo in Sicily, always a bit better weather than northern Italy there are some fantastic buildings that have left behind for 1000 years and still in daily use while in other parts of Sicily you will find a Cathedral that was a Roman temple. No one can do romance like a good Sicilian restauranter.

If you want colder weather I might look at Oslo or Helsinki especially as Oslo has places where you can see the ships that might have discovered America (well before the Italian/Spanish ever did). Here the sauna is king and the diving into freezing water etc can re-enliven anyone.

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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 10:32 AM
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Congratulations on your anniversary and your first trip to Europe!

I can see your point about London, I love it and of course, it is very different culturally and historically, but with almost the same language, it does not have the feel of something more exotic and transformative.

With your short time frame and with you being open to so much, I would almost look first at nonstop flights or ones with the fewest/shortest connections to help decide your destinations.You really don't want to waste time traveling.

You state that the location doesn't have to be warm and at that time of year, nothing will be. Some of your suggestions will literally be freezing, and snow and raw, wet weather are likely. I think Spain and Italy would be more friendly weather wise. In, particular I like Florence as one of your locations, with side trips or a stay in Tuscany, for your other location.

If you want to experience 2 countries, and you are going to have to connect through a different major city, (for instance, we have nonstops to Paris) that city could be your easy, other location. You need to decide if you want this to be more relaxing and romantic or if you want it to be more exciting with a small taste of different experiences. It will be wonderful!
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 10:48 AM
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History, food, romance - you can’t beat Seville, Cordoba and Granada or Madrid and Seville with perhaps a day trip to Cordoba. Spain would be my first choice for March.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 11:09 AM
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Let me add my congratulations for your 20th anniversary.

You might as well say that America is too British! I’m an American who has lived in England for the best part of 50 years, and it took some adjustment when I first arrived. George Bernard Shaw said: "England and America are two countries separated by a common language", and that’s very true. Even my computer gives me a choice between American English and British English (mine is set for British English). But think of all the advantages: shows in London’s West End in a language you understand, no difficulty reading road signs or getting directions, and many more.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 12:12 PM
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Welcome to Fodors and Congrats on the anniversary.

IMO/IME (and being American) I would recommend EITHER the full week in Paris (no more romantic city other than maybe Venice) . . . or the full week in London (more to see/do that 5 other capitals put together). I travel to London at least twice a year (leaving next week for a quick 5 day trip to celebrate my birthday) and hardly ever do anything 'American' while there You can alway do a day trip out of either city -- say Versailles or Chartres from Paris, or Oxford or Windsor or Hampton Court from London.

I would not try to cram in two destinations because of all the lost time in transit on such a short trip.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 01:13 PM
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Amsterdam is a reasonable compromise between English-speaking London and a more 'exotic' European destination. It has a different language and culture but virtually everyone speaks English, and there is oodles of history. Plus it is a very pretty city, and you could do day trips with the extra time you have on your hands if you do 7 days there (Haarlem, Rotterdam, the Hague, Delft, Zaanse Schans, Utrecht, Edam ...).

I actually don't think London is a bad place for a first Europe trip, because you have a 'soft' landing into a different culture. There are lots of differences but they only become apparent when you are there. Plus you can also enjoy a whole range of cultural events which are more or less closed to you in other countries because you otherwise would not have the local language (musicals, for instance).

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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 01:26 PM
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ROME. History literally everywhere you turn, beautiful views from many points, several very romantic spots, great dining.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 01:57 PM
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Thank you for the quick replies and information that you've all shared. Before I get too far, let me apologize for saying "London" is too American. I certainly should have worded that better and obviously didn't. Realistically, we still may end up there because of their history, pubs and the idea of seeing an EPL match and a show in the West End all sound fantastic. In the meantime, it appears that I'll need to do some homework on a potential trip to Spain (Seville, Cordoba and Granada). Enjoy the idea of going to Italy that adds another 5+ hours of flight time each way.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 02:26 PM
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I'd do a week in one place--max two, and I'd look at your best air options for direct and less than 9 hours. Spain is a good option for that reason and it seems like it would fit the bill.
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 04:54 PM
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I'd do one week in one place and make a day trip or two, weather permitting. Speaking of weather, I think London is hard to beat in iffy weather. Soooo many great indoor things to see/do.

Rather than spending a half day (minimum) and money to fly/travel to another destination, I'd splurge a little on the hotel or other things. If London, a West End show would be fun. Maybe a guided tour of historic pubs...
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 05:05 PM
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I also think it would be a good idea to focus on one place. Since this is your first trip and it will be short, I'd pick a place where you can get in, around, and out with minimum fuss and bother. Most of the big cities are like that. So -- London for shared culture (and language), Paris for Romance, Rome for history, and any of them for architecture and ambiance. Munich is great but you'd want to get out into the surrounding areas more, meaning more travel time.Same for Amsterdam. And I think Spain would be best done when you can tour and see a few cities. Just my opinion. And you may want to consider air fares, weather, and food. Does your "seven days in Europe" mean that your travel days are outside of this?
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 07:46 PM
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Do these 7 days include your travel time to and from Europe?
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Old Nov 21st, 2022, 08:28 PM
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I am reminded of Mrs.Gibb's line in Thornton Wilder's Our Town when she says why she wants to go to Paris: " ...it seems to me that once in your life before you die, you ought to see a country where they don't talk in English and don't even want to."

My top recommendation is to go to a city and then rent a car for three days to see the countryside. Best of both worlds. You could have a very exciting week like that in so many places. In fact, it's easier for me to tell you where NOT to go..... and Munich would be a prime example!

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