The Plan – how hard can it be?

I get carried away when I’m planning a trip – I forget that travel takes time and that I personally prefer to travel slow and get a real feel for a place, rather than stop for a day and see just the high street.

So when my boyfriend and I booked a couple of weeks off work in December, the thought of having 16 days to play with blew my mind! So many opportunities!! We know we want to go to Germany, because we love a good German Christmas market. But do we want to spend 16 days exploring Germany, or do we want to branch out a bit and explore new countries?

When I was planning our trip to Palma, I noticed on the easyjet website that they had flights to Copenhagen in December dirt cheap. As in cheaper than if I wanted to take the 30-minute train from my old house into London for the day. So it seemed like an obvious choice to check out Copenhagen first, then nip down into Germany and see what’s going on in Hamburg. Ever since I read about the Christmas markets and Miniature Wonderland over at That Emily blog, I have wanted to check out Hamburg.

View from the train as we travelled from Berlin to Cologne

One of my favourite views from the train as we travelled from Berlin to Cologne last December.

And if we’re already in Hamburg, we could continue south and tick off Nuremburg, Munich, and back north to Frankfurt. I toyed with the idea of heading to Brussels via Luxembourg, but it seemed to be pushing it time wise when I wanted to visit Ghent and Antwerp too. Seems like a lot to do in 16 days, but is it possible? Especially when I think about adding a trip to Prague in when we pass by Nuremburg. I mean, it’s only down the road when you’ve already gone that far!

So the potential plan at the moment goes something like:

London – Copenhagen – Hamburg – Nuremburg – Prague – Munich –

Fussen – Frankfurt – Ghent – Antwerp – Brussels – London

I won’t be exploring London on the trip, because it’s something I can do on a weekend. And I won’t be spending much time in Brussels other than to visit the cathedral, and if I have time to check to Atomium. So really, it’s looking like 9 cities in 16 days. Is it doable? It is the right route to take, or should I stop being tempted by cheap flights to Copenhagen and go further afield?

So many questions, so many options, but at the end of the day – so much fun!!

Can you recommend anything to do in these cities, or do you have somewhere you think I should add in or swap out? I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments below…

 

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15 Comments

  1. July 28, 2015 / 12:19 pm

    This sounds like an incredible trip!!! What a perfect time of year to go to Germany. I’ve heard great things about the Christmas markets as well!

    With that, I agree with you that ten new cities in sixteen days is a lot – especially when you have to factor in travel time between each. I recently wrote a blog entry about the art of missing out, which is my theory in favor of stopping to take in the new places you explore. With that in mind, my recommendation looking at your itinerary is to cut out Ghent, Antwerp, and Brussels for now and try to fly back to London through Frankfurt. That would give you an excuse to spend a long weekend holiday in Belgium next year when it’s warm enough to take a canal boat tour! 🙂

    But whatever you decide, I’m sure you will have a blast! Looking forward to following your travels!

  2. July 28, 2015 / 8:52 pm

    And I thought only Americans tried to cram way too much into their European trips! This seems very whirlwind and as if you’re going to be left at the end with everything having blended in together (just from my personal travel experience). With you living relatively close to all these cities (compared to living say on the West Coast of the US), I might say to cut out a few. You can always get their postcards on a future trip. If you stick to your plan, be sure to bring plenty of money for coffee…you’re going to need it! :))

    • Haha! I do think I’ve got too much planned, especially taking into account travel time between them. But it’s too hard trying to decide which to drop, which is where I’m getting stuck. I did the same kind of thing last year, but 4 cities in 9 days, which wasn’t too bad as they were relatively close, but will revise the plan before booking things 🙂 thanks for your comment!

  3. July 29, 2015 / 7:37 am

    It’s doable. We did 10 cities in about 15 days in The Netherlands, Belgium, and France last spring. However, is it recommended? Perhaps not. =) Some cities you can spend only a day in and get a good feel for, but others need a little more time.

    I strongly recommend taking the time to enjoy the Atomium if you head to Brussels. It was the highlight of that city for us. You can possibly do Brussels in one day, but it’ll be a long one.

    We visited Prague last year and loved it too–the food was great, the nightlife was great, the sights were lovely. I’d say at least two days there. I’ve got our itinerary and experiences posted on my blog, so check that out if you are planning on keeping it on your list.

    • Thank you, will definitely check those out! We did Brussels last year, and the only things we didn’t have time for were Atomium and the cathedral, so I think we’d only need a day in Brussels. Think I’m going to have to drop a city, just picking which one is difficult!

  4. August 8, 2015 / 8:04 am

    Hi there – I agree with Eliz and fellow bloggers that 10 cities is just too many to fit in during a 2 week trip – you’ll be exhausted and would probably miss out on some of the brilliant ‘off the beaten track’ sights that each city has to offer. After various 2 week holidays over the past few years, my partner and I stumbled upon a golden formula that works for us so I thought I’d pass it on in case it works for you. Like you, I do like to see loads of new things while on holiday (I’m not content to just sit quietly on a beach for 10 days). So we plan our holiday as though it were a series of long weekends back to back, spending about 3-4 days in each city depending on the size/ sights. This way you don’t spend every other day travelling (despite the joy of a train ride in a foreign country, I always want to make sure I have time to also sit relaxing in a cute cafe on a beautiful square somewhere!), or looking for accommodation, or unpacking and re-packing and at least have one or two days in the city where you aren’t travelling at one end of it.

    I wasn’t so fussed on Brussels, but loved Prague and Copenhagen. Good luck with the planning!

    • Thank you! I’ve re-looked at the trip and realised it’s going to be manic! I’m now looking to do the same thing you’ve said and pick a few places and spend 3 or so days in each. Gives me an excuse to go back again later to see the places I’m skipping for this trip.

  5. August 23, 2015 / 2:42 pm

    Have you been to Antwerp before? Personally, I didn’t find much to do there. Our favorite thing ended up being the zoo and we only did that because there wasn’t much else to do in the city. You could probably skip it, if you need to drop a city or only spend one day there. I also wasn’t impressed with Brussels, I wouldn’t spend more than a half day or day trip there. Bruges was by far my favorite city in Belgium, if you haven’t been you should definitely look into it. Ghent was my second favorite. We really loved touring the castle in Ghent because we felt it was really unique to the city and also gave some great views of Ghent. It does sound like you’re trying to see a lot in a shorter amount of time, but hey, sometimes that’s just what you have to do to know which cities are worth a return trip! Sounds like an exciting adventure and I’m looking forward to reading more about it! 🙂

    • I’ve not been to Antwerp before, but I’ll definitely look at what’s going on there. I wasn’t much of a fan of Brussels either, but am really looking forward to checking out Ghent! Thank you!

  6. October 2, 2015 / 3:39 pm

    9 cities in 16 days is way too much. My guess is that it includes the days of flight, so it comes down to just 1.5 day per city, including travel time in between. Not worth the effort.

    I would limit it to 4 destinations at most. Since you are already going to Copenhagen and Hamburg, I’d say add Prague and Munich or Frankfurt, but leave Belgium for another trip. You can always go on a day trip from Prague or Munich to another city or to the country side.

  7. October 20, 2015 / 10:52 am

    Sounds great! I find the thing about smaller European cities is that they generally really don’t take that long to do…so I don’t think you’re being too optimistic 🙂 If I could give you a bit of advice though, to maybe make it a little easier, I would probably skip Frankfurt. There’s not much to see there at all, sadly! It’s mainly just the financial centre of the country. But perhaps try to squeeze Heidelburg in instead? You only need a day in Heidelburg, and it’s so beautiful, especially at Christmas with the market!
    I haven’t been to many of the others on your list, so can’t really comment on those, although Prague is beautiful! And needs at least 2 days.
    Hope the trip goes well! It sounds wonderful 🙂

    • Oh wow, I just had a look at Heidelburg and it looks stunning! We’ve got a couple of days at the end of the trip to play with, so hopefully we can go there! Thank you for the tips 🙂

      • October 20, 2015 / 11:00 am

        No worries, I’d definitely recommend it more than Frankfurt, and even Brussels and Antwerp (there’s not too much in either of those!!) 🙂

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