Travel Life Summer holiday in Europe - any comments or tips?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Doonks, Jan 7, 2017.

  1. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    We're going to Turkey, Italy, Coatia, Hungary and Greece and looking for some tips or comments. Previously we have travelled in Euro Summer (albeit 2003) without accommodation bookings through Germany and just went to the Tourist Information Centre at each destination and organised accommodation on the spot. We also did this throughout Canada throughout the length of the Trans-Canadian Highway from Banff to Vancouver.

    In Feb 2015 we did Val d'Isere, Courmayuer, Barcalona and San Sebastian staying at Airbnb the whole time and therefore all pre-booked.

    Our loose itinerary, which could easily change or slide left or right if need be, is:

    22/05/17
    Melbourne - Istanbul (8 days)
    Car Hire at some stage, drive to Gallipoli & ANZAC Cove. Return to Istanbul.

    31/05/2017
    Fly Istanbul - Naples (2 days)
    • Visit Pompeii

    2/06/2017
    Fly Naples - Rome (6 days)
    • St Peter's Basilica
    • Sistine Chapel
    • Colosseum
    • All the other things

    7/06/2017
    Drive to Florence (3 days)
    • David
    • Other stuff

    9/06/2017
    Drive to Modena (3 days)
    • Balsamic Vinegar
    • Ferrari Museum
    • Osteria Francescana

    12/06/2017
    Drive to Venice (3 days)
    Drop car off here
    • Gondola, Grand Canal
    • Master of Art
    • Food/Wine Tour

    15/06/2017
    Bus/Train/Fly to Lezzeno, Lake Como (8 days)
    • 50th birthday celebrations
    23/06/2017
    Fly Milan to Budapest (3 days)
    • Things Hungarian

    26/06/2017
    Fly to Budapest to Dubrovnik (4 days)
    • Things Croatian

    30/06/2017
    Fly Dubrovnik to Athens (6 days)
    • Moussaka, Spanakopita, Souvlaki
    • All the Greeky things
    • Santorini

    6/07/2017
    Fly Athens to Melbourne

    [QUESTION] - What's the level of confidence that for the time in Turkey and Italy (not including Lake Como) and Greece, we can just wing it for accommodation? (Budapest, Dubrovnik we will be with my daughter and her partner and she will have a conniption if we don't book everything for that time NOW!)

    [QUESTION] - What is car hire (and driving) like in Turkey and Italy?

    [QUESTION] - I have done some Googling on flights etc, but what's your opinion on using a Travel Agent for the Flights, Train (if required), Car Hire, and even Accommodations? Any Melbourne based Travel Agents you recommend?

    I am acutely aware that it's coming from Spring into Summer, will probably be fairly hot, but more so, will be getting deeper into the High tourist season more and more through our time away.

    Appreciate your input.
     
  2. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    Turkey?
     
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  3. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Yes, I know. But seriously, gotta be in the exact wrong spot at the wrong time. And shit can happen anywhere. You've got more chance of being shot in a drive-by in LA than copping it in Istanbul. All I've heard is that Istanbul is unbelievably stunning and one of the worlds greatest city destinations. And that's from a good number of people.

    I refuse to miss out and be scared because of shitheads
     
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  4. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    I would think twice about Turkey.

    I think I would stay in Bologna and visit Modena by train (it's 18 minutes away) far more to do and see and eat in Bologna which is regarded as the foodie capital of Italy.
    Personally I'd use the rail system between, Naples, Rome, Bologna, Florence and Venice, parking is a pita.
    I would pinch a day from Rome and add it to Venice.
     
  5. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    We already have. Unless it really gets worse from here we will again, but it's over 5 months from now. Smart Traveller currently says:


    [​IMG]
    Warnings by area
    Advice levels
    Turkey overall, exercise a high degree of caution
    • Pay close attention to your personal security at all times and monitor the media about possible new safety or security risks.

    Ankara and Istanbul, reconsider your need to travel

    • Think seriously about whether you need to travel here due to the high level of risk. If you do travel, do your research and take a range of extra safety precautions, including having contingency plans. Check that your travel insurer will cover you.

    We're cool with it at the moment
     
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  6. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    Yeah fair enough, your call

    Airports, tourist spots and bars =/= the streets of Compton
     
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  7. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    So, to my questions?
     
  8. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    Greek islands accom? Just buy one
     
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  9. cold wombat

    cold wombat Twitter Contributer
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    Go in winter.

    :out:
     
  10. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    :rolleyes:

    not going in Winter
     
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  11. benchives

    benchives Part of the Furniture
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    I feel the sequence is all out of whack

    Should be turkey to Budapest then Italy then Croatia then Greece

    That's more linear, just my opinion but the drive fro. Italy to Greece via Croatia would be spectacular

    Your current plan is a bit east then south then north then south then east again

    I also think you should limit Italy to train or car but not car and fly, you'll lose lots of time in shitty airports, yes it's a lot of driving but boyo it would be fun on their highways, otherwise just drink and catch the very comfy and accessible trains
     
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  12. benchives

    benchives Part of the Furniture
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    You could limit internal flights this way to one from turkey to Budapest and from there to Naples.
     
  13. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    Naples to Rome is just over an hour on the train.
    It is quite easy to book your own flights, research them through skyscanner and buy them online, but I would use the rail system in Italy, you will spend a lot of time in airports to travel a short distance.
     
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  14. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    we can't, as I said in the OP, we're meeting my daughter in Budapest then going to Dubrovnik. We need to co-ordinate our dates with her dates.
     
  15. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Italian internal air travel (in my plan) is only Naples to Rome.
     
  16. benchives

    benchives Part of the Furniture
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    Google yields some tantalising info on the drive from Italy you to Greece. It's 22 hours through Serbia and Bulgaria from Venice to Athens. But that's inland - the coastal route via Dubrovnik would be sensational and allow for you too see other off the beaten track kind of stuff

    Just thinking aloud
     
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  17. benchives

    benchives Part of the Furniture
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    Aaah I missed that

    Yeh that's a spanner in the proverbial
     
  18. tr+h

    tr+h Dedicated Member

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    And I think the consensus is use the train instead of flying or car. You are doing all big urban centres in Italy, separated by short train journeys.

    Think about a day trip to sorento or Amalfi while you are in Naples. Again, sorento is a short train away.
     
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  19. Zimboo

    Zimboo Addicted Member

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    Throw a coin in the Trevi and tell her it was Zimboo returning........she's been waiting bloody years!
     
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  20. absentskier

    absentskier Part of the Furniture
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    @Doonks driving in Turkey is rather insane. Or at least it was when I was there! Very dangerous.
     
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  21. Harper11

    Harper11 Part of the Furniture
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    Is this the Doonks version of "Rick Stein Venice to Istanbul" ?
     
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  22. cruisin along

    cruisin along Addicted Member
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    Lake Como.......you MUST go to Bellagio .......bloody fantastic ferry ride there and bus trip back .....walk the hills and surounds and Then head back into town via the stunning gardens
    Pompeii.......go first thing in morning as it gets bloody hot.
    Sistine Chapel.......organise if you can a Friday night tour ....less people and greater ambiance ...we had a group of 20 only and chamber music it was amazing....
    Book as many things as possible here before leaving it makes life so much easier......especially the viewing for David.......no words for what he looks like as you arrive in his area.
    Tuscany........visit Siena it is lovely when not filled with crowds....and definitely do a lunch / wine appreciation thing
    Venice.........forget the gondola ride ...find a concert happening in a church .....amazing plus ...or eat lunch at the Excelsior Hotel .......all 5 courses ....finish with their Tirrumisu .....then swin on the Lido beach. And take an afternoon stroll to Peggy Guggenheim gallery.

    I found driving in Italy easy once you left the main towns .....forking narrow streets in some areas though which was very scary.
    Trains.....They were the easy part of the trip as was finding accomodation before leaving here ......you dont need a travel agent you need research and google earth and trip advisor and google search and advice from others who have done this beforehand.

    Like I would like what to do in 48 hours in London advice for my daughter who is travelling there in July prior to her European adventure.
     
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  23. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    My parents are looking at this itinerary at the moment - afaik there are no direct flights from Budapest to Dubrovnik. You can transfer through other cities eg London but it's going to take time or 10 hrs on train
     
  24. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    I have rented a car in turkey and driving there is easy. Likewise Italy save for crazy driving.

    You may wish to allocate some of your turkey time to other cities on the west coast - there are some amazing early sites along the coast.

    From Naples you could easily go to Amalfi coast or Capri.

    Maybe decrease Rome time and fit in cinque Terre or some time tripping Tuscany which is amazingly beautiful.

    4 days in Dubrovnik may be a bit long, it's amazingly beautiful but not a great deal to see/do.

    No comments on Greece.
     
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  25. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    The quickest rout on Skyscanner is 2.45 via Vienna $411 one way
     
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  26. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    Cool - I think my parents didn't want to shell out for the two of them and they were already going to Vienna, but good to know it's possible
     
  27. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Would be AWESOME! I intend to seek out a bit of fun in Italy!
     
  28. cwpski

    cwpski Active Member

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    I would pick bologna over modena.
    Bologna is a great buzzing city for italians compared to a great Italian city for tourists (ie it still feels undiscovered by the hordes that visit rome and florence). The food here is great with plenty of sights and shopping to keep things interesting.
    You can always do an easy day trip to modena (which we found a little dull relative to bologna).
     
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  29. currawong

    currawong Old And Crusty
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    Serious problem - i can't see where you pick up the motorbike/s
     
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  30. currawong

    currawong Old And Crusty
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    Check your travel insurance and what threat level they bail out at
     
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  31. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Haven't booked anything yet. Will seek the right products when we confirm destinations
     
  32. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    The 3 things i posted in the OP for Modena are important to me. There's no guarantee we'll be able to get into Osteria Francescana but I bloody hope so. It's the the Michelin 2016 #1 restaurant in the world. Bookings for our time there open on 01/03/17. We may have to hold off locking in travel dates based on whether we get a booking or not.

    It's a once in a lifetime opportunity as far as I'm concerned.
     
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  33. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Does anyone have any Melbourne based Travel Agent recommendations?
     
  34. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    Why would you want to wing it? The only advantage to winging is not being tied to an itinerary- being able to spend longer in places you really like. Since you've got an itinerary to work to, I'd suggest pre-booking and removing the need to think about accom choices, would be a good strategy. Depends on how easygoing you are about accom standard, location etc. We tend to put a bit of research into where we stay. For example, we always make sure we're within walking distance of a decent restaurant district so that we can leave the car at home at night, have a few drinks and walk off the meals. June is a popular time to visit the hot countries, so I wouldn't be leaving it to the last minute. You'll be picking from the dregs.

    Haven't been to Istanbul but in Antalya ( the only part I've driven in) it was fine. Slightly chaotic but fine.

    Driving in Italy is ok for the most part but in some of the major cities its beyond nuts. Scooters in blind spots all day every day. Despite being advised not to, I've driven in Palermo (Sicily) a few times and enjoyed the challenge but each time I was definitely glad to see the back of the city and to be able to relax. They don't believe in lanes. There are as many lanes, as there are cars that can travel side by side. If you want the challenge then drive a bit in Rome & Napoli.

    You should definitely try to see the Amalfi coast for a day or two from Naples. The Circumvesuviana train from Napoli to Sorrento is only about 90 mins. Maybe even less. Many of the car commericals are filmed on the spectacular roads between Sorrento and Amalfi (incouding Positano). Stunning but car sickness inducing if you're in a bus. The entire journey is a series of hairpins. Every single minute of it, you're either in a left or a right hairpin. I would strongly advise against trying to drive those roads. There is nowhere to park, although Italians often just pull over and park anyway. Hazardous. And the scooters make it even more chaotic. Take the bus from Sorrento if you don't get motion sickness, or take a boat from Sorrento. I'm almost certain it stopped at Positano, Amalfi and Ravello.
     
    #34 XTREMO, Jan 12, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
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  35. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    The proposed itinerary is a bit criss-crossy but they're relatively short flights so it doesn't matter too much and you clearly have to work around your daughters' dates.

    Doonks - you're a foodie. It won't work for this trip, but at some stage you should try to get to Sicily. Italian food is obviously spectacular, but Sicilian food is next level amazing and actually makes the food in other parts of Italy seem ordinary. Ideally you'd plan a couple of weeks in Sicily. There's a lot to see and do.
     
  36. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Thanks @XTREMO. All good advice and well received. As I said, that itinerary can change if we want it to, that was just a thrown together idea. We also enjoying winging it, it's part of the adventure.

    We've pretty much decided the train north through Italy is a good option so will research that next. Naples was a kind of "well why not, let's see Pompeii". I've since been told it's a bit shit. We will relook and maybe the Amalfi can work

    :emoji_airplane: :emoji_bus: :emoji_light_rail: :emoji_helicopter: :emoji_bike: :emoji_metro: :emoji_blue_car:
     
  37. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    yeah I forgot to say that. Pompei is probably fascinating if you're into achaeological stuff but we "did" it in about 45 mins. Was too hot to stick around. A quick stroll around the ruins and listening in to a few tour groups was enough for us.

    Napoli is also probably skippable. I mean its a thriving Italian metropolis but its crime centrale and given the other places you're going to, you're gonna see enough beautiful architecture. Amazing pizza though. Good experience going into their lunchtime diners and ordering without a menu.
     
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  38. XTREMO

    XTREMO Old And Crusty
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    and be aware that Italian transport "timetables" are really just there for novelty value. Leave large buffers if timing is important.
     
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  39. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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  40. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    We found that the Frecchiaargente/rossa/bianca worked well, but the regional trains were less reliable.
     
  41. Budgiesmuggler

    Budgiesmuggler Addicted Member
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    This.
     
  42. tr+h

    tr+h Dedicated Member

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    Naples archeology museum is a must see because it has the best Pompeii stuff anyway.
     
  43. tr+h

    tr+h Dedicated Member

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    Naples archeology museum is a must see because it has the best Pompeii stuff anyway.
     
  44. cruisin along

    cruisin along Addicted Member
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    Stinking hot and bloody information headphones broken but Pompeii is worth the trip. We were there for over 4 hours and the troughs in the middle of the road had water in them to dunk ones head in when too hot. So don't miss it!!!!!
    Amalfi coast......get yourselves to Positano ...come in on the bus from Naples and WALK down the hill. Then catch the ferry back ......takes a day to do both areas. Sunlight until 11pm so wing it on this part of your trip.
    Bus was interesting to say the least but loads of fun.
     
  45. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    Update.

    We've booked our air travel and some accommodations. Itinerary has changed a little:

    51 days inclusive

    Saturday 20/05/2017
    In Flight

    Sunday 21/05/2017
    Istanbul
    3 nights
    Burckin Hotel

    Wednesday 24/05/2017
    Tour to Gallipoli
    2 nights

    Friday 26/05/2017
    Istanbul
    3 nights
    Burckin Hotel

    Monday 29/05/2017
    Fly to Cappadocia
    2 nights
    No accommodation yet. Will stay in Cave Hotel
    Hot air Ballooning:
    [​IMG]

    Wednesday 31/05/2017
    Fly to Rome
    7 nights
    No accomodation yet

    Wednesday 7/06/2017
    Train to Florence
    4 nights
    No accommodation yet

    Sunday 11/06/2017
    Train to Modena
    3 nights
    No accommodation yet
    Have booking at Osteria Francescana
    [​IMG]


    Wednesday 14/06/2017
    Train to Venice
    4 nights
    Hotel al Graspo de Ua

    Sunday 18/06/2017
    Train/Ferry to Como & Lezzeno
    5 nights
    Hotel Villa Aurora

    Friday 23/06/2017
    Fly Bergamo to Budapest
    4 nights
    Zenit Budapest Palace
    Have A Reserve tickets to Foo Fighters on last night
    [​IMG]

    Tuesday 27/06/2017
    Fly Budpest to Dubrovnik
    4 nights
    Villa Erna

    Saturday 1/07/2017
    Fly Dubrovnik to Athens
    3 nights
    Arethusa Hotel

    Tuesday 4/07/2017
    Ferry Athens to Santorini
    4 nights
    No accommodation yet. Will stay on Fira Cliff face.
    Have set a high budget for this.
    [​IMG]

    Saturday 8/07/2017
    Fly Santorini to Athens
    Fly Athens to Abu Dhabi
    Fly Abu Dhabi to Melbourne
     
  46. piolet

    piolet Old And Crusty
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    Oh ya forgot about it
    Enjoy!!
     
  47. CarveMan

    CarveMan aussieskier.com
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    It's gonna suck, you should stay at home! :p
     
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  48. Apresski

    Apresski Pool Room
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    That's a lotta flyin'
    Doing a hell of a lot, the rest on Santorini is a good way to end the holiday.
    7 nights in Rome would be a bit much for me. Make sure to book your tour around St Peter's and the Sistine Chapel in advance, and make sure they are tickets that enable you to skip all queues.
    We stayed near the Spanish Steps, but found ourselves near the Pantheon most nights, so would have preferred to be staying in the 5th or 6th Rioni, near the Bridge Sant'Angelo.

    Have a great trip
     
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  49. benchives

    benchives Part of the Furniture
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    Yeh Rome is four days imo

    You will need a holiday after this trip
     
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  50. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    No, it's 7 days, see:

    Wednesday 31/05/2017

    Fly to Rome
    7 nights

    Lake Como is about R&R and Santorini is the recovery part of this trip. There are a number of free days incorporated into the schedule.