Thursday, June 24, 2004

Los Angeles to Europe (Rome, Venice, Athens, Greek Islands)?

Hi. I would like to plan a European vacation and would like some help. I would like to visit Rome, Venice, Athens and the Greek Islands (Santorini and Rhodes). My plan is to take a one way flight from L.A. into Europe (London, Paris, Vienna, wherever) possibly stay in that city for a day or two and then take transportation to Italy (doesn't matter which city I visit first) and then go to Athens from Rome/Venice. Once in Athens I plan to take a ferry to Santorini for one day and night and then to Rhodes for one day and night. Then I would like to fly back to Los Angeles, either non-stop or landing first in a major European city and spending a day or two and flying nonstop from their to L.A.

So it looks like...
1. L.A.
2. London/Paris/etc.
3. Rome/Venice
4. Rome/Venice
5. Athens
6. Islands
7. Athens

and either

8. London/Paris/etc.
9. L.A.

or

8. L.A.

My question is what modes of transportation would be the best to use when traveling from city to city. My main concern is to minimize travel time as much as possible with cost effectiveness coming in as a close second.

Thanks a bunch for your help in advance, and if you can only provide suggestions for one portion of the trip PLEASE do so. THANK YOU :)

Answer on Los Angeles to Europe (Rome, Venice, Athens, Greek Islands)?

Good for you! It sounds like a great trip! I've traveled to Europe about 8 times. The first time i flew to Greece and backpacked through 17 countries in six weeks. It was an amazing experience...so...i could be a bit long-winded, but i'll try to keep this short and sweet.

First Trains and low-cost air carriers are your way to go. An open-jaw flight (three cities instead of just a round-trip) can become expensive. Consider flying into a central point and using a Europe carrier for a quick low cost flight to get you to the second part of your trip.

However, look at Rail Europe and maybe pick up a two week eurorail pass. The trains are clean, fast, frequent and a great way to get around. One way to save travel time as you mentioned u wanted to do is to take overnight trains. For example you could sightsee all day in Paris and then hop on an 11pm train to Venice arriving at 10am. The travel times are examples, but you can get quite a ways overnight in Europe.

The low-cost air carriers in Europe have some $50 one way flights. So you could possibly go from Paris to Venice to Rome, ferry across ( i did from Brindisi, Italy to Corfu, Greece) to Greece and on to Santorini/Rhodes, etc. Once you're done in Greece, take a cheap flight back to Paris and then use the second portion of your RT flight, thus keeping you from spending more on a L.A. to Paris/Athens to L.A. flight.

Now the bad news...8 days isn't enough time to see all you have mentioned. If i were you, I would pick two countries out of the three and focus there. For example, fly direct into Athens and visit only Italy and Greece/no London/Paris/Vienna, etc. For example, see below...

1. Leave L.A.
2. Arrive Athens early AM..sightseeing in Athens...overnight ferry to Santorini...arrive about 5am..
3. Arrive 5am in Santorini...sightseeing, overnight Sant...
4. Leave Sant-ferry back to Athens...flight from Athens in evening to Rome/Milan/Venice...
5. Venice sightseeing...overnight...
6 morning in Venice afternoon high-speed train to Florence sighseeing early evening..overnight FLO
7. Florence train to Rome...overnight Rome
8 Rome sightseeing...overnight Rome...
9 FLY HOME from Rome or fly back to Athens and return from Athens to L.A.

Paris is a 2 or 3 day city at minimum...so is London...Athens is one day...greek islands are amazing...don't try to see too many...just focus on Santorini...you will love it...my favorite island. Research the rail europe flight for deals and the discount air carriers in Europe...they are your best best...