Best plan of attack when you have only 3 days in Europe
October 28, 2008 9:06 AM   Subscribe

Each year in the fall, my DH and I go to Ireland for his business meetings. These meetings last 3-4 days and then he takes 3 days of vacation and we go somewhere else in Europe. We have gone to Paris, the west coast of Ireland, Scotland and here is my question: When you have only 3 days, what would be the best plan of attack?

You have to figure in travel time to the next country so it has felt very rushed. Paris in 3 days was a frantic feeling for me. Trying to see so much in such a short amount of time. My DH doesn't seem to mind but I feel like it almost makes it not very fun!

I have been to most every country in Europe so I have a different perspective than he does because I traveled there during my summers in college in a leisurely way as college students can do! He is just seeing these countries for the first time. We are talking about Venice or Switzerland next year.

Should I try to push for another day or 2? The other factor is that he is in a very high level job and feels stressed when he takes too much time away--- but I may be able to talk him into more time if his schedule permits. Also, what source should I use to find our hotels? It seems like an overwhelming maze of info out there.

Our hotel in Scotland was $150 per night (great price!), had a great location but the room was borderline---smoke smell in bathroom. Very little charm whatsoever. I have wondered if going to smaller towns in the different country would make the experience of 3 days more enjoyable? Thanks for your insight!
posted by seekingsimplicity to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Trying to be helpful here - you might get more answers if you explained your `DH`. Designated hitter? Domestic Hairdresser? Also, some more specifics regarding what it is you look for in a travel destination (scenery? Museums? Shopping? walking?) would bring more responses. And you don't indicate your departure country.
posted by fish tick at 10:22 AM on October 28, 2008

Since you've traveled before, you know that the best experiences tend to occur in those places where you have some chance to linger for a bit. And your travel experience makes you less likely to fall victim to the 'see everything' syndrome that affects so many travelers. So, I'd recommend choosing a desirable spot not too far from the business meetings and stay there for your three days. Get to know that place really well, *relax*, and enjoy it.
posted by onesix18 at 10:29 AM on October 28, 2008

I'm assuming DH = Dear Husband? (maybe)

Anyway, if you feel rushed but he doesn't, why don't you go 3 days earlier? I'm assuming you're not needed for the business meeting (again that might depend on what DH means)
posted by missmagenta at 10:51 AM on October 28, 2008

I would start here Dublin Airport destinations and Airlines.
posted by adamvasco at 11:56 AM on October 28, 2008

I assumed DH off the bat... Cities that I like for long weekends are Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, Edinburgh. With flights from Dublin you could easily go for southern France (Avignon?), Spain (Grenada, Barcelona?), or Portugal. But you know this.

I think the real issue is "trying to see so much in such a short amount of time." "Paris in 3 days" is an absurd goal, not a meaningful experience. Especially if as you say you've already traveled in most countries in a leisurely way. So spend three days sleeping late, lingering in cafes or bookstores or one building or a park. Watch people and buy groceries that you won't find back home. Take a good map and then don't look at it until you've walked half the day. Then come home feeling like you were Parisian or Dutch or Spanish for the weekend, instead of a tourist trying to cram it all in.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:42 PM on October 28, 2008

Any decent sized major city in Western Europe will have tons of things to see and do for a long weekend. It will be impossible for you to see everything but that is true of any place really. You just need to make sure you are in the mindset that your day will be divided up into seeing things/relaxing/eating/transportation/sleeping. As long as both of your expectations are set up you should be good. In my mind you always have to watch out for transportation time when you are going to smaller places...that can take out a big chunk of your schedule (unless of course part of that time would be spent on a train seeing the Swiss Alps...that might be worth the investment right there).
posted by mmascolino at 1:32 PM on October 28, 2008

Response by poster: Yes I mean husband when I use DH. I thought that was an acceptable abbreviation.

and we like to walk, shop, eat at inexpensive but fun places, see the sights, go to museums.
posted by seekingsimplicity at 1:42 PM on October 28, 2008

If I were you two I'd start concentrating on experiences rather than locations. If you have a sense that you're ticking off locations and places to see, that, in an of itself, brings stress.

Go stay for 2 nights at this place, near Dublin (about 90 minutes drive) and enter a completely different world. A small taste of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, live like a Lord, organic home grown cuisine, etc., I've travelled all over Ireland and I still dream of returning to Mornington....sigh.

Or hop on a plane to Granada, as another poster suggested and stay in the Gypsy Caves looking up at the amazing Alhambra. Take the hair-raising local bus to the Cathedral, or walk into the old town.

Or pop down to Cork and stay on Fota Island, discover the small town the Titanic left from...Enjoy one of the most beautiful hotels in Ireland, famous for golf too.
posted by Wilder at 3:11 PM on October 28, 2008

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