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4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

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7 posts
4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

My gf and I (23 & 25yrs old) are planning a 4 week trip to Europe in September. It is our first time and we know our itinerary is ambitious but we also know it will be more of a sample trip than anything else. We have it figured out for the most part but need advice for the Provence/Tuscany portion Sept 9-13. Nothing is set in stone, so I really appreciate any advice we receive regarding any leg of the trip, thank you guys very much. Our itinerary so far is as follows:

Aug 30 or 31 →Travel Canada to Amsterdam

Sept 1&2 : Amsterdam

Sept 3 → Travel to Paris (train)

Sept 4,5,6&7: Paris

Sept 8 → Travel to Avignon (train)

Sept: 9,10,11,12,13: ???

- This time was gonna be spent between Provence & Tuscany.We are completely flexible with this portion and were thinking of driving from Avingon to Florence .

- Places we were interested in are (Provence ⇒Nice, Arles, Aix-en-provence & Eze) (Tuscany → Pisa,Cinque terre, San Gimignano & Siena)

Sept 14 → Travel to Florence

Sept 15,16: Florence

Sept 17→ Travel to Rome (trains)

Sept 18,19,20: Rome

Sept 21→ Travel to Athens (flight)

Sept 22,23: Athens

Sept24→ Travel to Santorini

Sept 25,26&27: Santorini

Sept 28 →Fly to Amsterdam via Athens

Sep29/30→ Return to Canada

Level Contributor
639 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

Chrispy, Read this thread and act or you will be paying way more than you need to for train tickets in August and September which are very popular travel months. If you need more help come back and ask here or on the train forum. Posting on the train forum will also tell you where you need to make adjustments and they will even tell you where you need to fly instead and which airline would be the best price for that leg. You are really starting late for the best priced tickets and hotel rooms.


Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
10,146 posts
57 reviews
2. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

I'm exhausted just looking at this even though you are going to there for a month. The Provence and Tuscany part is nuts. Nowhere near enough time. Do one or another.

I wiil come back to you again with more comments...late here. :-)

Level Contributor
639 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

Nice is on the French Riviera not in Provence. You cannot drive a car from France to Italy without a huge international drop off fee. Gas is very expensive as are parking fees in Europe so you may wish to keep car rentals to a minimum and use mostly their wonderful public transportation system so you and your gf can both enjoy the view out the train window and not worry about which road and restrictions on where you are permitted to drive and big fines. From Nice you would take the local train across the border to Ventimiglia and either rent a car there or buy train tickets from Ventimiglia up to 4 months in advance for the lowest prices for train travel in Italy. Train tickets are like car rentals, they usually go up in price as you get closer to the travel date.

Edited: 1:53 am, June 28, 2013
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
10,146 posts
57 reviews
4. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)


As mentioned....not realistic to drive from France to Italy. You'll pay a huge one way drop fee.

You have full days set aside for "travel days", but it's only 2.75 hours from Paris to Avignon and less than 2 hours from Florence to Rome.

'd personally drop Greece from your trip and focus on France and Italy.

Some parts of Greece are wonderful, the places that you have picked out are not. Athens is a disappointment for most who visit and Santorini is overun with tourists.

I'd add in Brussels, Venice and Lake Como.

And spend much more time in Provence and Tuscany.

My 2 cents.....

Edited: 2:23 pm, June 28, 2013
New York City, New...
Level Contributor
3,811 posts
267 reviews
5. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

Santorini is literally one of the most, and to many, the most beautiful places on this planet. ((To me it, and Positano are tied). Santorini will not be overrun with tourists in September. That is actually a great time to go.

Also santorini will be very different from the other places you are seeing and the weather will be great.

Athens is like many large cities It has the not great areas but also lovely spots a bit further out. Check out Vouliagmeni, Voula, Glifada. Part of the metro area but beach resorts.

I think you should pick Tuscany or Provence. They are both lovely and I can't really say which is best. Both have hills, vineyards, great food, olive trees, walled midieval towns. I think splitting 5 days between the two vast regions wont give you an appreciation for either.

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
27,508 posts
16 reviews
6. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

Train Amsterdam to Paris www.thalys.com

Train Paris to Avignon www.voyages-sncf.com

Car rental Avignon drop off Nice airport www.auto-europe.com Route planner www.viamichelin.com

Flights Nice to Rome www.easyjet.com

Car rental Rome airport tour Tuscany www.auto-europe.com www.autoeurope.it

Non EU citizens require an International driving permit for Italy

Italian Traffic and ZTL info roninrome.com/transportation/driving-italy

Flights Rome to Greece www.aegeanair.com

Ferries www.ferries.gr


www.france.com www.parisinfo.com www.timeout.com/paris

www.rome.info www.timeout.com/rome www.discovertuscany.com


Accommodation www.venere.com

Edited: 9:10 pm, June 28, 2013
Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
27,508 posts
16 reviews
7. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)


Edited: 9:11 pm, June 28, 2013
7 posts
8. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

Thank you guys so much for your help.

We have decided to remove provence(and surrounding area) from the itinerary and instead spend the days allocated to provence and Tuscany in Venice and Tuscany as well as visiting cinque terre. This might still mean renting a car for a few days in Italy but eliminates all the headache of swapping and switching in france and then training from Nice to Pisa etc.

other than removing any other sections of the trip is there any suggestions you guys have ?? BTW thank you all again for taking time out of your day to write.

Genoa, Italy
1 post
9. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

Cinque Terre is a great idea. Genoa is one my favorite cities-- no tourists and very European. And the pesto! You can take a train from Genoa to the first of the "five towns", hike to the fifth, and then take a train back to Genoa. I did this a few years ago. Had lunch in the middle town on a cliff overlooking the ocean, (eating pesto with white wine, or course) and it was a great, great day. I took a photo of each of the five towns, which if I were closer to my photo album I could tell you the names of.

Taupo, New Zealand
Level Contributor
8 posts
38 reviews
10. Re: 4 weeks and first time in Europe (Provence & Tuscany Help!)

I agree. Athens is dirty and Santorini nice but over rated. Tuscany is terrific with easy access to the many villages and towns around. Go Como then train to Venice.