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Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

North Wales, United...
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Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

I want to plan a surprise trip to Florence in late April for my husband's 65th birthday. He's not into parties, so as Florence is on his bucket list, I thought I'd organise a visit. I have never visited Italy personally; Spain is my passion and regular destination, so I'm at a loss where to start. Where should we fly into? Our nearest UK airport is Manchester but we can travel. Where should we stay? 4* hotel price range. We are both active and like walking. Should we stay for a week or look to spend some time in Florence and time somewhere else? If anyone can help me with this I'd be extremely grateful. He deserves a great birthday. We can spend up to 10 days away and I have a budget of £2k for travel and B&B accommodation.

Chicago, Il
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1. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

Can't help you on flights from the UK but I have seen threads about flying into Pisa from the UK. You can fly into Florence from the US and I am sure there is something from the UK.

For week without renting a car-

You could fly into Pisa and go to Lucca for day or two and it’s a flat town with a lot of charm without a lot of tourists. You can walk around and even bike ride around the rampart. From there it’s 1 1/2 hr train ride to Florence. Siena is a must also and can be done as a day trip from Florence but it’s better for an overnight.

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2. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

I could tell you, but then it wouldn't be a surprise. :)

Check on Easyjet. I am pretty sure that you can fly from Liverpool to Pisa and then get the train or bus to Florence (about 1hr).

Everyone has their favourite hotel and ours is Hotel Berchielli, which is right in the centre with views over the R.Arno and the Ponte Vecchio. Look it up on the hotels page and send me a personal message if you need any further information.

From Florence you can take trips to Siena and Lucca, both of which are easy to get to by train or bus.

This thread is worth looking through


Close to Florence is Fiesole, also worth a visit

BUT there is plenty to do and see in Florence for a week. Just to start you off, here is a '12 things I love to do in Florence' :


First, get a guidebook and then book your hotel and flight very soon. April is popular and good places sell out quickly.

New Jersey
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3. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

If you're flying into Pisa, perhaps you can spend a few days in Cinque Terre. As for where to stay, you'll have to figure out what your lodging budget is remaining after accounting for your airfare.

With 10 days, you don't have to stay in Florence the entire time, and there are plenty of options to choose from.

Norwich, Norfolk, Uk
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4. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

Cinque Terre in April is a bit of a risk. Good chance of rain in April, therefore better to be in cities where there are indoor things to do, in my experience. If you have 10 days, I would spend 2 nights in Lucca, 5 nights in Florence, 2 nights in Siena and then your last one in Pisa before flying back out of Pisa airport. No need for a car if you do that and plenty to do even if you get bad weather.

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5. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

Flights from Manchester to Pisa with Jet2 www.jet2.com then bus or train from Pisa Airport to Florence centre, then for hotel, try the Davanzati or Santa Maria Novella or Bernini Palace for the hotel.

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6. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

Also, get all his friends and family involved - let them know what you are planning and insist on absolute silence - you never know, one of them could be planning a surprise event of their own.

Also, if you can arrange it, have someone supposedly waiting at the departure airport who you have to go and collect from a returning flight, so he will not know what's going on until you actually get to the checkin desk or departure gate if it's online checkin

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7. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

What a wonderful birthday surprise!

If you're staying for ten days, then I think peggypatch's suggestion sounds good. If a week, I'd be tempted to stay put in Florence and take day trips - to Siena and Lucca for example.

You say that Florence is on your husband's bucket list, do you know what attracts him to the city? I know it's difficult to find out without raising suspicions, but if he would want to visit the Uffizi or the Accademia, it would be advisable to book ahead to avoid the queues.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

And pick up a really good, nice guidebook that you can give him when you present him with the surprise. I assume he will know once you board the plane so he could be looking it over before you arrive.

Nice present!

9. Re: Planning surprise trip and no idea where to start.

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