Going to Europe for the first time! Need suggestions..

  • italguynj

    Posts: 250

    Jun 03, 2014 11:33 PM GMT
    I am going to a conference in Cannes, France in October, and would like to take the opportunity to extend my trip. I never been outside of North America, so this is a BIG deal for me. Any suggestions on where to go? I am of Italian descendant, so I was thinking Rome, but not sure if there are other, better options. I appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. icon_smile.gif
  • Bunjamon

    Posts: 3161

    Jun 04, 2014 2:30 AM GMT
    If you're in Cannes you're not far from the Italian Riviera, which is beautiful. You could travel entirely by train and go to Nice, Sanremo, Cinqueterre... it all depends on how much time you have and how much you want to move around. I'd vote for finding a nice small town and just chilling out there, but people tend to get a little over-zealous on their first trips to Europe and want to check off as many destinations as possible.

    That being said, easyJet has flights to almost any European destination you could want out of Nice, so you could go pretty much anywhere on a budget!

    http://www.easyjet.com/en/routemap
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jun 04, 2014 3:15 AM GMT
    Florence and Interlaken Switzerland (take the cog wheel train up and through the Eiger)
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    Jun 04, 2014 4:53 AM GMT
    Bunjamon saidIf you're in Cannes you're not far from the Italian Riviera, which is beautiful. You could travel entirely by train and go to Nice, Sanremo, Cinqueterre... it all depends on how much time you have and how much you want to move around. I'd vote for finding a nice small town and just chilling out there, but people tend to get a little over-zealous on their first trips to Europe (Insert name of continent here) and want to check off as many destinations as possible.

    That being said, easyJet has flights to almost any European destination you could want out of Nice, so you could go pretty much anywhere on a budget!

    http://www.easyjet.com/en/routemap


    I recall living in Hawai'i (not even it's own continent) and seeing tourists try to do four islands in seven days. They spent more time traveling than actually seeing much of anything of any one island (let alone really connecting with the culture of one island).

    For me, I've found that "less is more" when exploring new places, as in "do less broadly, experience more deeply". For me, I really like to connect with the culture "like a local"...and that takes time, "homework", and an effort to get out of your comfort zone and make friends with the locals.

    BTW, Rosetta Stone is a great way to pick up a language quickly (if you don't already speak French or Italian).
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    Jun 04, 2014 4:59 AM GMT
    I have never been to southern France yet but my relatives and friends say Nice is really nice to visit. French riviera I heard is also worth a visit.

    Don't want to spoil your fun, but be mindful of pickpockets. I heard so many stories. I was told they are everywhere in Barcelona and Rome. Never had that happen to me when I was there, thankfully.
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    Jun 04, 2014 5:01 AM GMT
    I've heard that Iceland is good.
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    Jun 04, 2014 6:59 AM GMT
    italguynj saidI never been outside of North America, icon_smile.gif

    I guess you and George Bush have something in common. (not having left the continent.)

    You don't say how long your excursion is going to be.

    But If you want to stay in one place (instead of "This is Tuesday, so we must be in Belgium") I would suggest either Rome or Paris. If you need gay nightlife, choose Paris - you won't much in Italy.

    Rome is great - everyone should go there at least once. October is a good time weather-wise, and one could spend several weeks there without getting bored.
    You could even do a short excursion to Venice if you were in Rome - also the right time of year to avoid the mobs of tourists in Venice - Fly or take the night train. Cabins in Italian trains are comfortable and cheap.

    Fly or take the TGV to Paris. You could spend weeks in Paris itself. If you want to stay in France, (and you like wine) you might try Burgundy. It will be beautiful that time of year. If you do, you would have to rent a car there, as you woould need one for seeing the countryside/wineries.

    Also in Italy - Tuscany. Fly to Florence - spend a couple days there, then rent a car and drive to the hill towns of Tuscany. I could recommend a gay bed and breakfast in rural Tuscany which could serve as a base for traveling around. Casa Portagioia. Luxurious and run by two amazing guys - English and Italian. (Winner of TripAdvisor's Travelers Choice award 4 of the last 5 years)
    http://www.tuscanbreaks.com/

    After you decide where else you want to go besides Cannes, PM me, and I can give more specific advice. Seriously.

    Beware, if you take any of the cheapo airlines in Europe, the amount of luggage you can take without large extra charges is very limited. Carefully check before purchasing a ticket.
  • GQjock

    Posts: 11649

    Jun 06, 2014 7:28 PM GMT
    If this is your first time I would suggest you take in the premiere cities of Rome and Paris first. Yes Florence and Cinqueterre are beautiful but they don't have the many attractions And the history to equal the two powerhouses of Rome and Paris.