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Is this a good idea for Europe grand tour in December?

Is this a good idea for Europe grand tour in December?

Old Sep 25th, 2022, 09:55 PM
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Is this a good idea for Europe grand tour in December?

Hello everyone this is my first post in a travel forum, please help me out )
Me and my girlfriend want to travel to Europe in Winter (December) for 25 days to celebrate Christmas and my birthday also visit a lot of cities ))
I am planning most of it so please tell me if it's a good idea: We will travel to Paris and start from there. Here's the itinerary: Paris 4 days, Nice 2 days, Monaco 1 day, Barcelona 4 days, than Amsterdam - 3 days, Italy 5 days (Rome, Venice, Vatikan) and then Portugal (Lisbon, Lagos)
So is this a good idea? we would like to have some rest time, but active vacation as well, are southern cities warm in December?
I also did budgeting a little bit: here's what i have, Food = 800 Euro for 25 days, around 900 euro for activities, 700 euro for hotels, plane tickets from 350 euro, and 250 euro for transportation. the costs are for one person, so double it. our budget is 7000 Euros for 2 of us.

This is my second trip to Europe and i would like to see a lot of places, IDK if i should replace some countries and go on a cruise from Lisbon (Canary islands with Norvegian cruise lines)
So please give me some advice if it's a good idea, there are not many travelers in my country so i don't really know whom to ask. thank you!
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 10:34 PM
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Firstly, winter days will be short, dark at 5pm, and weather will be cold and rainy.

Secondly, your budget excludes restaurants (mostly cafés, and sandwiches) and hotels (you will be rather limited to hostiles). You are moving a great deal, which is costly and time-consuming. A quick estimate on airfares will be double what you have allowed, and that excludes your arriving and departing from your home to Paris.

In winter, it is a good idea to stick to cities where limited amounts of daylight will not affect your activities as much. Overall, it sounds as though you have simply arbitrarily assigned budget amounts to spend categories with actually confirming these costs. I might suggest you fine tune your expected costs a little more.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 11:11 PM
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Thank you for your help )
Yeah i know about the weather (( but it's the only time we can travel for now... Yeah we plan to economy on food, and we are fine with hostels, but we will live 5 days for free in Paris (home, food, transport) we will take a lot Trains and buses, only 2 flights to Italy and back, and to Portugal and back, i looked and it's like 60-100 $ two ways if i'm right, the only expansive flight is from home to Paris and back. Yes we will mostly stick to cities, and i looked all the activities we want to do (and it's prices) but most of them are free, i just don't know what fun activities we can do... can u suggest something?
P.S. if we see that the cost is too high, we might exclude Italy or Portugal (((((
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 11:20 PM
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https://www.which.co.uk/news/article...t-axXKO7i9bAX8

If you really want to save transport cost, you may instead have a grand tour of Spain. Until 31 Dec, you may be able to benefit from the free train travel.

A potential problem is a lot of attractions are closed over Christmas and new year. You'd have to stick to outdoors.

It's still rather sunny along the Mediterranean coast. Not necessarily the case in Portugal, which is facing the Atlantic.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 11:35 PM
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Thank you! i didn't know about it, we plan to travel only to Barcelona since we can't really visit mountains and other places because there are mostly castes and Churches there and we will visit a lot of them in other countries, can u please send some links about what to do in places that i mentioned that are not "top things to do there" because we will do most of them. thank you
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 11:39 PM
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Great question. I'd work with the geography and train lines rather than pop around randomly by plane.

Paris, Nice, Narbonne, Barcelona, Granada, Malaga, Farň, Lisbon might be better but dig out a map and use rome2rio to plan some options. Then check the details.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 12:17 AM
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Thank you! i will consider this option! i didn't know about rome to rio, i will use that as well !
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jeffreycwuk View Post
https://www.which.co.uk/news/article...t-axXKO7i9bAX8

If you really want to save transport cost, you may instead have a grand tour of Spain. Until 31 Dec, you may be able to benefit from the free train travel.

A potential problem is a lot of attractions are closed over Christmas and new year. You'd have to stick to outdoors.

It's still rather sunny along the Mediterranean coast. Not necessarily the case in Portugal, which is facing the Atlantic.
Free train travel in Spain is not designed for tourists. Neither is the discount fares that are on offer. Read the details here. https://www.renfe.com/es/es/grupo-re...s/abonos-renfe
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 12:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Hrant View Post
Hello everyone this is my first post in a travel forum, please help me out )
Me and my girlfriend want to travel to Europe in Winter (December) for 25 days to celebrate Christmas and my birthday also visit a lot of cities ))
I am planning most of it so please tell me if it's a good idea: We will travel to Paris and start from there. Here's the itinerary: Paris 4 days, Nice 2 days, Monaco 1 day, Barcelona 4 days, than Amsterdam - 3 days, Italy 5 days (Rome, Venice, Vatikan) and then Portugal (Lisbon, Lagos)
So is this a good idea? we would like to have some rest time, but active vacation as well, are southern cities warm in December?
I also did budgeting a little bit: here's what i have, Food = 800 Euro for 25 days, around 900 euro for activities, 700 euro for hotels, plane tickets from 350 euro, and 250 euro for transportation. the costs are for one person, so double it. our budget is 7000 Euros for 2 of us.

This is my second trip to Europe and i would like to see a lot of places, IDK if i should replace some countries and go on a cruise from Lisbon (Canary islands with Norvegian cruise lines)
So please give me some advice if it's a good idea, there are not many travelers in my country so i don't really know whom to ask. thank you!
The more you change location the less you will see.
For times of sun sets look at this website. https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/@115...h=12&year=2022 just add the search for the chosen location.
Weather is impossible to predict. You can read weather history sites. That may help. But I doubt it.
We also do not know what sort of Covid restrictions may be imposed on Europe in this winter.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 12:45 AM
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Which December? This year or next year? Are you wanting to go to Christmas markets? Where are you coming from?
IMHO, your itinerary is a really bad plan.
You are spending far too much time zigzagging around. Any travel during the day takes away sight seeing time. You already know days will be short.
Unless it is a day trip from one base or connected in a linear path, going anyplace for one day in winter is not a great plan.
Looks as if you have decided to cut Italy. That is a good thing because five days was not enough time for your two places.

Budget.
A super low budget and doing only free things would be fine if you were going in Summer with the option of warm, sandy beaches and eating outside or if you were going to wonderful snowy places where you would hike, sit by a fire and drink hot cider. You are going in winter, to cities, where at least some, if not many, activities will be inside. Counting on doing only free things is cheating yourselves of seeing some of the great museums and even churches. For example, to go to Barcelona and not see some of Gaudi’s architecture is practically criminal, IM(not so)HO. What do you plan on doing there? Sure, walking is lovely in Paris, but five days without one of the great museums is a lost opportunity. Would you really go to Amsterdam and skip the Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh museum? Better to cut the trip by a few days, go to fewer places and actually see more.

Cut your trip to four places. Do some day trips. Keep travel linear (multi-city tickets) into one city, out of another, or at least a RT logical circle.

Consider:
Keeping Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona
Amsterdam, 4-5 nights with 1-2 day trips.
Train to Bruges, 2 nights
Train to Paris, 6 nights
Train to Barcelona, 4-5 nights
Home, or if you can afford it, add one more place. Seville is lovely and romantic

The suggestion to spend the entire time in Spain is great!

Have you taken a cruise before? Some people love winter cruises and go for the cold, winter landscapes. However, if you do not know, or do not know if your GF would enjoy it, save that for warm weather in Europe, Spring through Fall, or go to a place that is warm in winter like the Caribbean.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 12:45 AM
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If you are sticking to your original plan then start in Amsterdam then go to Paris. Going from Barcelona to Amsterdam to Rome is insane.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 03:32 AM
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If you are truly frugal, your budget is doable, but it's true that you need to plot your destinations in a logical order to save money. Europe is not as small as some people seem to think it is.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 06:56 AM
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In the winter, I would skip Nice and Monaco. Portugal is very out of the way, so unless you have a very special reason to go there, I would save that for another trip.

You could take the following itinerary:
Amsterdam
Paris
Milan (included to break the trip)
Venice
Rome

You could reach all the intermediate cities by train. If you want to include Barcelona, you could take a cheap flight there from Paris, and another cheap flight from there to somewhere in Italy; if you want to go to Venice, Bologna is convenient, instead of Milan. However, Milan is delightful in the Christmas season.

Your hotel budget is low, even if you stay in hostels, and for only 20 days. It would be €35 per room ( or €17.50 per person) per night, which is very little. For two people, it's sometimes cheaper to find a double room in a cheap hotel than two beds in a hostel.

I use www.booking.com for lodgings. They include some hostels in their listings. However, a website like hostelworld.com might be better; I can't personally vouch for them. Be sure to check the guest ratings and read the reviews. (I'm suspicious of places that have only a few reviews, though.) Also check the distance from what you want to see. If the lodging is far from the center, you'll waste a lot of time traveling by bus or metro.

You can save money on food by buying something in a supermarket for breakfast or evening meal, to eat at the hostel. Some hostels have shared kitchens, so you can sometimes even cook. (At least this was so when I was a young backpacker, long ago.)

You can find lists on the internet of free or cheap things to see in various cities. Unfortunately, many of them are outdoors. The weather in December is often not great for outdoor activities. Paris is often especially cold; we found nice weather there in December 2019, but certainly not warm enough for a picnic in a park.

I live in Italy, so I could help you with advice for Italy. For example, in Rome all churches are free to enter, even St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican. Some churches have amazing art works.

Last edited by bvlenci; Sep 26th, 2022 at 06:59 AM.
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Sassafrass View Post
Which December? This year or next year? Are you wanting to go to Christmas markets? Where are you coming from?
IMHO, your itinerary is a really bad plan.
You are spending far too much time zigzagging around. Any travel during the day takes away sight seeing time. You already know days will be short.
Unless it is a day trip from one base or connected in a linear path, going anyplace for one day in winter is not a great plan.
Looks as if you have decided to cut Italy. That is a good thing because five days was not enough time for your two places.

Budget.
A super low budget and doing only free things would be fine if you were going in Summer with the option of warm, sandy beaches and eating outside or if you were going to wonderful snowy places where you would hike, sit by a fire and drink hot cider. You are going in winter, to cities, where at least some, if not many, activities will be inside. Counting on doing only free things is cheating yourselves of seeing some of the great museums and even churches. For example, to go to Barcelona and not see some of Gaudi’s architecture is practically criminal, IM(not so)HO. What do you plan on doing there? Sure, walking is lovely in Paris, but five days without one of the great museums is a lost opportunity. Would you really go to Amsterdam and skip the Anne Frank House or the Van Gogh museum? Better to cut the trip by a few days, go to fewer places and actually see more.

Cut your trip to four places. Do some day trips. Keep travel linear (multi-city tickets) into one city, out of another, or at least a RT logical circle.

Consider:
Keeping Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona
Amsterdam, 4-5 nights with 1-2 day trips.
Train to Bruges, 2 nights
Train to Paris, 6 nights
Train to Barcelona, 4-5 nights
Home, or if you can afford it, add one more place. Seville is lovely and romantic

The suggestion to spend the entire time in Spain is great!

Have you taken a cruise before? Some people love winter cruises and go for the cold, winter landscapes. However, if you do not know, or do not know if your GF would enjoy it, save that for warm weather in Europe, Spring through Fall, or go to a place that is warm in winter like the Caribbean.
I will visit Europe this December from 1-27, i wil go to one or 2 Christmas markets, I am coming from Armenia (3rd world country), i just wanted to visit my and my GF's favorite countries, and they are not close to each other (( so i will change my plan a bit
I will think about Italy coz it's 100 euro round trip from Paris.
I would like to hike and go to snowy places i just don't know where to find them... i looked everywhere on the internet, can you recommend something? ))
About Barcelona and Amsterdam, i will visit museums and churches, all top attractions are taken into consideration.
Yes i think i will cut my trip to 4 places.
I would like to take a cruise but i can find only one NCL's Canary islands cruise.
Thank you for your help! ))
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 11:16 PM
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Armenia looks beautiful. You get a lot of snow there, do you not? I don’t think most people think of it as third world at all.

https://christmasmarkets.io/netherla...istmas-market/

You can look at lots of websites that list Christmas markets. The one above describes those in Amsterdam. It might be fun to ice skate there.
Paris is known for beautiful lights and windows at Christmas. One poster who lives in Paris has posted a lot of pictures. Maybe he will post and give a link to you.

vacationstogo.com is one of the easiest sites I have found to see all the cruises available world wide. You don’t have to book with them. You can find what you like and book with the cruise line. There are so many places to look, but here are a couple of others I like. Cruisecritic is great for finding reviews of ships, cabins, itineraries, etc. Cruise.com is good for breaking down costs.
cruisecritic.com
cruise.com

When do you want to take a cruise? Where do you want to go on a cruise?
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Old Sep 26th, 2022, 11:55 PM
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Thank you for your kind words about my country! Yes we get snow in winter but it's european prices to go and ski there ))
Yes i would love to see Paris and Amsterdam in Christmas lights!
about the cruises, i have only found one or to via Norvegian cruise line, sailing from Lisbon or Malaga Spain to Canary islands
I would like to go on a cruise from europe because there a a few places i can choose, with my countries passport you can't visit USA until 2024... flying to Singapore for cruises is kinda the only option, but roundtrip tickets are 1000 $...
And i can't go to Israel (Haifa port) on my own... they just won't let us if you are not traveling with a big group... so i don't have many options ((

Last edited by Hrant; Sep 26th, 2022 at 11:59 PM.
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Old Sep 27th, 2022, 12:06 AM
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Thanks!
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Old Sep 27th, 2022, 05:39 AM
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Don't forget as an Armenian citizen you need a Schengen visa.
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Old Sep 27th, 2022, 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by hetismij2 View Post
Don't forget as an Armenian citizen you need a Schengen visa.
Thanks i am getting it now😊
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Old Sep 27th, 2022, 01:54 PM
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Did you go to vacationstogo.com and plug in any dates and ports you could depart from. There are literally hundreds of cruises in Europe.
I do not know where you are allowed to travel, what ports you are allowed to depart, when you want to go or your budget for a cruise. If you do not mind sharing that, I would look up a few for you or give you links to a few.
Again, there are so many. Just between Nov 2022 and Feb 2023, there are a thousand. In Summer, there are even more, to Turkey for example. You have to narrow things down to what is possible for you and what you want. There are the Greek Islands, the Med from Italy to France to Spain, etc. There are the Scandinavian Countries. Join vacationstogo.com. Study the vacationstogo website and figure out how to plug in and search for things.
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