3 week Europe itinerary

For those that are having difficulty planning their own Europe itinerary, I’ve posted here more details on the plan we did, the research on the cost and the logistics on where to stay and how to get there.

Hope fellow travellers find it helpful!


My Italy 10 day itinerary

by ozchinita

Italy was the longest leg of my Europe trip, and for those that plan to go and want to get some ideas.. here’s the summary of the itinerary we planned out.

2 Days in Venice (from Lucerne)
Around Venice
Watching the Opera
St. Mark’s Square
Walking in Venice

2 Days in Florence
Day 1
Day 2

Daytrip to Cinque Terre from Florence

1 Day in Siena

2 Days in Rome
Day 1
Day 2

Daytrip to Amalfi Coast

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Italy Series: Daytrip to Amalfi Coast

by ozchinita
(Sept 19, 2013)

This is the last day in Italy and I wanted to squeeze in one last destination that we can do as a daytrip from Rome.  My first choice was actually Pompeii (based on the fact that that was the only place I knew), but my well traveled colleagues directed me to check out Amalfi Coast instead.
IMG_5624.jpgAmalfi coast is a stretch of coastline located along Southern Italy, and also another popular tourist destination.  It consists of several well known villages such as Sorrento, Positano and Ravello. IMG_5346.jpg
IMG_5335.jpgBecause of the long distance that needs to be covered, you can’t tour this place on just public transportation (especially as a daytrip).  Either you rent a car and drive, or if like us you can’t drive, book a daytrip tour. I highly recommend this private tour we got from Viator which is the most affordable option we could find for a private driver.   We just had to take the train to get to Naples, and we were picked up and dropped off from there at the end of the daytrip. The nice thing as well is that we didn’t have to stress out figuring how to get from one spot to another, and we could control how long or how short we would stay in each spot. Some of the highlights of our daytrip.. First stop.. town of Sorrento IMG_5378.jpgIMG_5355.jpgIMG_5362.jpgMore beautiful coastal views on the way to Positano Continue reading

Italy series: Rome (Day 2)

by ozchinita
(Sept 18, 2013)

2nd day in Rome and we woke up bright and early to head to the Colosseum/Roman Forum/Palatine Hill which are all grouped together in one area.

Again, pre booking a ticket is recommended to skip waiting in the long queues.  The ruins itself is an amazing sight to see (despite of all the tourists) as it gives you a glimpse to Imperial Rome..
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Italy series: Rome (Day 1)

by oz chinita
(Sept 17, 2013)

From Siena we then headed to Rome, our last destination in this Europe trip.
IMG_5075.jpgExploring the main tourist spots of Rome can be done in 2 days (even doable in 1 day if you have the energy for it). First day in Rome we took the train and headed to Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel.. And although I wasn’t really keen on going into another museum, I can’t go to Rome without visiting this must see tourist spot. The Vatican Museum hosts various art works collected by the Roman Catholic church over the years.. IMG_4929.jpgFrom paintings and sculptures to historical artefacts.While the Sistine Chapel is known for the mural made by Michelangelo in the ceiling of the chapel. Didn’t feel like taking a photo here because of the huge crowds of people cramped in the tiny space.. Just looked up to see the mural, then looked immediately for the exit.

Again, like any other famous tourist spot in Europe, there’s a LOOOT of people and expect long queues.  Do yourself a favor, and book ahead of time.  You will still need to queue up, but the lines move quicker as compared to just going there on the day.

I didn’t really enjoy this part of the trip.. as far as museums go still prefer the Louvre.  We were done in around 2-3 hrs

Next one is the St. Peters Basilica, which is just a short walk from the Vatican Museum.
IMG_4954.jpgFor the Catholic and Christian faith, this is the site where the apostle Peter died and was buried. Continue reading

Italy series: Siena

by oz chinita
(Sept 15, 2013)

From Florence we headed off to our next destination, the historic city of Siena.  We stayed here overnight as an inbetween place to our next destination (Rome).
IMG_4874.jpgSiena is a UNESCO heritage site, and is known as one of the best preserved medieval cities in Tuscany. IMG_4909.jpg
IMG_4776.jpgIMG_4643.jpgWhat’s interesting about this city is there would be some areas decorated with different types of flags like this.  Apparently these flags symbolize a specific district here in Siena. IMG_4835.jpgSights to see in Siena Continue reading

Italy series: Cinque Terre

by oz chinita
(Sept 13, 2013)

Spending 2 days in Florence pretty much covers the highlights of this place already. So when planning the itinerary I wanted to squeeze in one more place we can go to in Italy that would be doable as a day trip from Florence. (I wanted to minimize the moving around we had to do).

My initial plan was to do a side trip to Pisa.. which is famous for the leaning tower.  But luckily my well traveled officemates then suggested a place called Cinque Terre.
IMG_4320.jpgI’ve never heard of this place before, and didn’t know anything about it.  But after doing some research, this became one of the places I was looking forward to in my Europe trip.  Eventhough it would take more effort to get here than Pisa, it looked more interesting than just going to see a lopsided tower to do a pose to pretend to be pushing it. Cinque Terre means “Five Lands” and is comprised of five fishing villages located in the coast of Italy. IMG_4353.jpgTo get here and get around is a bit challenging.. By train only the La Spezia station had a train to take you into this area.  You can get in by car, but only at certain villages and you would still need to either walk or take the train to go between the 5 villages.

(warning: LOTS of images to follow.. I’m trying to filter and select a few only but can’t help it this place is just so photogenic!)

To get here from Florence, we took around a 2 hr 15 min train ride (one way) from Florence, to Pisa, and then to La Spezia for around 12.50 EUR each way.  Once in La Spezia you then need to get another ticket to be able to ride the trains to any of the 5 villages.  Our plan was to start with the furthest village from La Spezia and work our way down.

First stop.. the village of Monterrosso!  Beautiful beach atmosphere with lots of vibrant colors everywhere.

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Italy series: Art & Architecture in Florence

by ozchinita
(Sept 14, 2013)

Florence is a city famous for its architectural and artistic heritage.  So our 2nd day in Florence was all about exploring the places showcasing the culture of this city.

First up, visiting the Uffizzi Gallery and Accademia museums.  The Uffizzi is one of the oldest and most famous art museums in Europe.  While Accademia houses various sculptures, the most popular one being Michelangelo’s David.

If like me you don’t care much for art, just skip the Uffizzi gallery and go straight to Accademia to see the David statue.  Although you have probably seen heaps of images of this sculpture, it cannot compare to seeing the real thing.  What amazed me with this is the actual scale of the sculpture.. It was HUGE!! And to think this was made by hand.. amazing!

No picture taking allowed inside, but a lot of the sculptures here have smaller scale replicas which you can find in Piazza Signoria.(I wonder.. is there a specific reason why a lot of the sculptures they did before was all nudes?)
IMG_4565.jpgWhat I soon discover in my trip around Italy, all cities have their own famous piazzas. IMG_4586.jpgIMG_4580.jpgIMG_4552.jpgIn Florence the well known ones is Piazza Signoria (shown above) and Piazza Duomo which is where the Gothic church Santa Maria del Fiori is. Continue reading

Italy Series: Firenze

by ozchinita
(Sept 12, 2013)

After Venice, our next stop in the Italy trip was the city of Florence.  Known as the birthplace of Renaissance, the city has preserved its beautiful architecture and monuments, giving you a glimpse into what medieval Europe would have been like.IMG_4261.jpgWe arrived here from Venice in the afternoon, so we didn’t really have an agenda planned out for the first day.  After some googling, my friend suggested going to Pitti Palace/Boboli gardens. IMG_4200.jpg
You’re not allowed to take pics inside the museum.  So if you’re like me and more interested in scenic views rather than historical artifacts, I suggest skipping the museum and going straight for Boboli garden.
IMG_4244.jpgThis spot has good vantage points.. both of the city architecture as well as the Tuscan countryside.. IMG_4249.jpg

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Italy series: St. Mark’s Square in Venice

by ozchinita
(Sept 11, 2013)

2nd day in Venice and our main destination today is Piazza San Marco (St. Mark’s Square).  This is the most well known plaza in Venice, filled with tourists, shops, cafes… and pigeons.
IMG_3954.jpgThis is also where you’ll find the main tourist attractions of Venice, St. Mark’s Basilica church, Campanile, and Doge’s Palace. IMG_3921.jpgIMG_3904.jpgIMG_3915.jpg Continue reading