Trying to plan trip to Europe

  1. I plan to stay for 2 weeks and would like to see at least 3 countries.

    Which countries would you recommend? I will be traveling with my husband and our 8 year old daughter.

    I speak English, Spanish and a little Arabic. No French, German, Italian at all. :sad: I have heard that France is especially difficult if you don't have at least a basic grasp of the language. Is that true?

    I have been to Amsterdam and would like to try a different destination this time.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. You must go to France- it is incredible. Especially Paris. I would recommend Paris and the Riviera- Cannes, Nice, Monaco.
    Italy- Rome and Florence.
    Norway or Spain. The north islands of Norway are supposed to be AMAZING. All day sunlight in the summer. Stores never close, bars open all the time.
    The Greek Isles- Santorini and Mykonos!
    Barcelona is supposed to be great as well. Madrid is nice, but would go to Scandinavia or London over.
    Skiing in the Alps.
  3. i would recommend venice. this city is simply gorgeous and unique. you'd love it there. also, paris is a beautiful city. but, yes, i think they don't really speak other languages than french. what about london?
  4. Hi, I'm not the best person to make a recommendation as I have travelled very little. However that still won't stop me from making a recommendation :biggrin:

    UK - Edinburgh (just spent a day there in 1989, and 1995) and LOVED it.

    Same goes for London (spent maybe a total of 10-12 days there, also in 89 and 95)

    Switzerland - went to Lucerne in 89 (only two nights). Great!

    My sis went to Scandinavia last year and enjoyed her trip. Not sure which of the countries she prefers, though :biggrin:
  5. This is just a thought: 5 counties in 2 weeks is a lot. Be sure you're up for it!

    France is *NOT* at all difficult if you don't have a grasp of the language, nor is any other European country. They are so well educated there, I guarantee the guy who pumps your gas will speak 3 languages fluently. You will not have a problem communicating anywhere in Europe.

    I would recommend Southern France this time of year. Paris is besieged by tourists in the summer, I would skip it if you've already been. You must see the Musee Annonciade in Saint-Tropez (right next to the Hermes store!) and the Musee des Beaux Arts in Nice.

    Rome: definitely see the ruins!

    Bilbao (just to see Frank Gehry's Guggenheim is well worth it), Berlin (culture paradise) and Cologne (if you're a gothic architecture buff), and St. Petersburg if its not too out of the way for you.
  6. Paris - You don't have to be able to speak French, but if you make an effort trying to at least great in french like "bonjour" the french will appreciate it. I'll be visiting Paris the first time in July, it's the city that's most interesting in Europe to me at the moment

    Rome - very nice, but it can get hot as hell... (but ok, that feeling also depends on where you usually live). Also check out the Petersdome (or whatever it's called in English...) in Vatican City and don't forget the Spanish steps, the main shopping area lies just to your feet :roflmfao:

    London - quite impressing, but we just had one day to spend there

    In general these are my suggestions right now if you've never been to any other European countries. However, it really depends on what you want to see, there's a lot more to explore... (the Scandinavian countries for example are surely also very interesting)
  7. Difficult choice....
    But I 'd say France : PARIS and the south (Provence)
    Spain : Barcelona is an amazing vibrant artistic city on the sea coast, think the work of the architect Antonio Gaudi, Picasso, Miro....people enjoy going out all the time
    Norway : for the nature.....the Fjords on the west coast are amazing
    but it is a very expensive country
    Italy : Roma- Vatican for the work of Michel Angelo and Raphael, and the amazing antic architecture;
    that 's already 4....
    Let us know what you decide !
  8. If I had to pick just three countres/cities I would reccomend Seville (I also love Madrid, Granada and Barcelona) Stockholm and London. I love Paris also but agree it can be crowded at this time of year. Have a great trip!
  9. I would definitely recommend France, as long as you bring a book with some basic phrases, you'll do fine. People are way nicer to tourists that at least make an effort with French. I have a little French and I found that it was fine throughout the country. I really, really enjoyed Nice and the surrounding cities (Monaco, Cannes, Antibes) - it's definitely worth the trek to southern France.

    I loooved Italy as well, Rome was amazing ! Be sure to set at least a day aside for the Vatican city/museum, it's absolutely amazing. Even though I don't have any Italian either, basic phrases totally pulled me through. Florence was surprisingly expensive, but the David is just not to be missed !

    I found that in Germany, people were incredibly nice - like go out of their way to be nice ! I was really surprised, I believe there was some survey that ranked Germans as pretty high on the rude list, and I would have to say that is completely untrue. I only went to some of the smaller cities, but I'm still really amazed by the country and it's definitely on my list of places to revisit.

    France, Germany, Italy, how's that ? ;)
  10. One question, you didn't mention what time of year you'd be traveling, that could be important. Might not want to focus on beachy towns if you're going to be there in November. Also, even though you probably know this, but over schedule yourself, especially while traveling with a child.

    I'd also entertain the idea of spending two weeks exploring one country, which can be done so easily! Next spring I'm taking my grandma to Italy for two weeks, we definitely won't be bored! And this summer we almost went to just Sicily for two weeks.
    Don't be afraid of the French. 95% of them area awesome with tourists, as long as you're not disrespectful. Just learn a few key phrases and piece of vocabulary. But I'd recommend that for any country you visit if you're not familiar with the language.
    One vacation I did which lasted appx two weeks was Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Flew in and out and took trains in between. Lots of fun! Just for other ideas... This summer my Aunt & Uncle are doing two weeks between Ireland, England and Scottland. My best friend this summer is doing one week in Spain, like 4 days in Madrid, 3 in Barcelona and then leaving for a week-long Medeteranian cruise from Barcelona. And another aunt & uncle took their daughter, who is like 10, to Venice, Florence and Rome which is lasting two weeks.

    One idea may be to look at what organized tour groups plan, not to go through them, but to see what itineraries they have that interest you. And then check out sights like fodors, frommers and trip advisor for tips when you're booking everything.

    Anyway, I'm sure wherever you go will turn into a great vacation! Lots of luck with your planning!
  11. Paris and big towns in the south of france are must sees -- even w/o speaking frech you can use your spanish and a phrase book to get by. These are MUST SEES.

    Venice and Florence are also fabulous (tho I've not been to rome so can't compare) and you don't need Italian. Again, your spanish will help you understand a lot, plus there are many english speakers there.

    I LOVE London and the surrounding areas -- Bath, Cambridge, Salisbury, Stratford, etc. It's also a nice "language break."

    Definitely see a castle or two while you are there -- either in the loire valley of france or in England.

    I haven't been to Greece yet, but would also love to go.

    Amsterdam and Brussels are really cool...but frankly, I'd prioritize the other places first:smile:
  12. There are already some great ideas posted above, but I will add my suggestions as well:

    * France: Paris & the Provence
    *Italy: Venice, Rome
    * Finally, to see some rural scenery and get away from the big cities: I'd go to Austria and visit the alpine area. Vienna is a nice city, too, or if you would want to speak english, Scotland is great and quite different. Some hiking in the highlands is an unforgettable experience. You can stay in peoples homes, bed&breakfast is a great way to meet real people and would be an interesting change from the hotels.
  13. A little more info would be good! Do you want to fly, drive, train? Budget? A nice trip, is London, has the Zoo, museums, Hyde park, London eye. You can then take the train into the heart of Paris and see lovely countryside along the way. Paris has museums, Disneyland, Jardin d acclimatation (for kids), they are very kid friendly! It is easy to take the train up to Switzerland and a few other places. We travel all over the place with our six year old. PM me if you want more detailed info. Have fun!
  14. wow, that's awesome. I miss Europe..
    Our last trip to Europe, we used complete guide from Rick him!!! We went to the places he recommended through out Italy, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Amsterdam..
    We didn't do backpacking or the tour he has but the guides and tips are useful. Reservation in advances for some events and restaurants are the key.

    It's the site if you want to check it out:
  15. Norway! My country is so beautiful (although expensive) and personally I'd recomend staying some days in Oslo (if you're there in the summer when it's at it most beautiful) and then take the train to Bergen (a hub for fjord excursions) as it also is a lovely city and the trainride there is so beautiful and diverse. However, if you do decide to go and to take the train, order ticket a looong time ahead, or else it gets really expensive.
    St. Petersburg: My favorite city ever! I feel so at home there, and I just love the atmosphere and the buildings and the people - everything. It is definatly a place that everybody should visit at least once.
    Helsinki - Gorgeous city with gorgeous men ;)