Rough trip plan thus far ! :)
Thinking of adding a stop in Switzerland between Germany and France! As well as probably visiting more small towns in England/Ireland :)
BUT, so far, we plan on going to:
- Shannon, Ireland (that’s where we would fly into)
- Galway, Ireland
- Limerick, Ireland
- Dublin, Ireland
- Liverpool, England
- Leeds (West Yorkshire), England
- Manchester, England
- Bristol, England
- London, England
- Brighton, England
- Calais France
- Paris, France
- Nancy, France
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Munich, Germany
- Venice, Italy
- Florence, Italy
- Rome, Italy
- Turin, Italy
- Barcelona, Spain
- Madrid, Spain
- Bordeaux, France
If anyone has any ideas of where to go in between those, substitutions or a better way to organize going to those cities in a different order. let me know !
Share where you went, how long you went, which places you went to first or opinions on any of those cities :)
After about 15 trips to Europe over the past 30 years, I would say your plans are very ambitious indeed, but in general outline possible, albeit in at least 6 weeks, or better 2 months. As a general rule, you will want a minimum of 3-4 nights in major cities, 2 nights in smaller places to give yourself time to get off the train or car, settle in your hotel, and explore a little. Cities like Paris or London could easily occupy a week. Once you get a couple of “grand tours” like this out of your system, you’ll find you can easily spend a month in a much smaller region.
In terms of itinerary, you have focused a lot on capitals and major tourist sights. Some of that is fine, but much of the charm of Europe is in the smaller places. An excellent source of information are guide books from publishers such as Lonely Planet, Moon, and Blue Guides. Choose a few smaller places to see another side of Europe. Or just spend more time exploring the region surrounding the major locations on your lists.
Of the cities you’ve listed, I can’t say much for Ireland and England, having never been there, but Paris is indeed outstanding and a great choice. Try to stay in the center of Paris, forget about driving and use the truly excellent subway - it is also connected directly to the train stations, so you can conveniently make daystrips out into the countryside by train.
In Germany, I’m not sure I would recommend Frankfurt - a big industrial and financial capital without much charm. You might consider instead spending some time in some of the beautiful medium sized cities and towns of southern Germany; Bamberg and Regensberg are both outstandingly charming smaller cities, but their are many others, for example, Schwabisch Hall is charming and worth a stop.
I think completely passing over the Alps is a mistake, and would recommend a stop in Austria, perhaps in Tyrol for a couple days of hiking. You might consider Stubaital Valley near Innsbruck; there is a direct train up their from Innsbruck.
Definitely all the cities you’ve listed in Italy are special, but there will be hordes of tourists…Make sure a get hotel reservations in advance when there, and maybe consider something a little smaller and off the beaten track. You are spoiled for choices in Italy; a few that come to mind are Trente, Siena, and Bologna.
The leg of your trip between Turin and Spain could be broken up with some of the wonderful sights of southern France. Avignon has a beautiful center, and Aix-en-Provence is charming. Hope this helps. Have fun!
Central Spain has some truly outstanding sights near Madrid; I would at least try to make a side trip to Toledo or Segovia.
Wassily Kandinsky, Farewell, 1903