I started by looking at a map and figuring out where I want to go, and I've decided to do as many cities as I can rather than pick a few and spend more time there. I want to go and be a tourist and do and see all the things that tourists do and see, cliches or not. I want to see the important stuff, whether it's a museum, a monument, a castle, a marketplace, a pub, whatever.
For years I've wanted to travel Europe by rail, so my plan (at least for now) is to fly into one city, spend a couple days there, then hop the train (or bus/plane/ferry as appropriate based on time and cost) to the next place, overnight if possible on longer trips so that I'm ready to go in the morning. I'm thinking no more than 3 days/2 nights in any city, with some places just passing through. I'd probably leave in early September because that's the earliest I can use my frequent flier miles to get there and back, though I'm not sure how bad the weather would be as the month goes on.
This is my rough itinerary, stopping at all the places on my list - though I probably have too many places now, so if you've been there and have some advice about how long to stay (or even whether to go), or someplace else I should go, please chime in. I've only been to is Europe twice, London in 1984 and Paris in 1988. If I go to every place on my list, this looks like 4-6 weeks easy. One reason for the order of these cities is that I'd rather end up in southern Europe come late September.
I have not yet looked at travel agencies or prepackaged tours to see who's got what. I do fine as an independent traveller (previous long trips have been Australia in 2002 and China/Korea in 2009) but would be happy to be part of a group at times. I'd also welcome anyone who wants to join me on various legs.
In order, the trip would take me to the following places:
- London, England. Fly here from the US
- Paris, France
- Brussels, Belgium
- route from Brussels passes through Antwerp, Belgium
- nearby: Brugges
- route from Amsterdam passes through Bremen & Hamburg, Germany
- Malmo, Sweden (across the bay from Copenhagen)
- route from Prague passes through Bratislava, Slovakia
- route from Salzburg passes through Wien, Austria
- route from Munich passes through Liechtenstein and Zurich
- route from Bern passes through Lucerne, Switzerland; & Milan, Italy
- route from Venice passes through Bologna & Florence
- route from Rome passes along the Mediterranean coast, including Genoa, Italy
- route from Monte Carlo passes through Nice, Marseilles, & Cannes, France