Yesterday I outlined how to do this 2.5 week trip using miles and points. Today, I’m going to give you a rough outline of what my wife and I did while we were there. Before my trip, I wished there was a web site where I could type in “Tell me what I should do in Venice if I had X days.” It could then list out the attractions, tickets to the attractions (hello referral revenue,) transportation info, etc. That would have made things so much easier. Maybe one of my techie entrepreneurial readers can come up with that site. I’ll even consult for free! Without further ado, here’s the rough agenda that I wrote in 2013 (I’ll add new comments in blue.)
DAY 1 – VENICE ARRIVAL
- 12:20PM – 1:40PM – Frankfurt to Venice LH326
- 2:150PM – Land bus to Piazza d Roma
- 3:00PM – Vaporetto to Palanca bus stop (line 4.1) We decided to walk because I was too cheap to buy the ticket
- Take direct bus to Piazzale Roma and then board the water bus line 2 to Zattere. From here you can take the hotel shuttle boat, or take line 4.1 to Palanca and walk 5 minutes to the hotel.
- 4:00PM – Check into Hilton
- 5:00PM – 7:00PM – Happy hour at Hilton
- 7:00PM – Dinner in Venice Al Vaporetto (rsvp please) – I vaguely remember this dinner. Clearly it wasn’t memorable.
DAY 2 – VENICE SIGHTSEE
- Saint Mark’s Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) I believe I pre-reserved times online
- Saint Mark’s Square
- Palazzo Ducale – http://palazzoducale.visitmuve.it/en/pianifica-la-tua-visita/secretitineraries/
- Grand Canal – Heck, one of the best sightseeing trips in town is to get in the front of a #1 boat at sunset on a beautiful evening and ride up the Grand Canal. Breathtakingly beautiful.
- Rialto Bridge (Ponte di Rialto)
- Lunch at Alfredo’s I can’t recall if we actually ate here or just a random place
- Dinner: Alle Testiere; RSVP needed Once again, I have no clue. Honestly, you can’t go wrong. If there are a lot of people eating inside, then go in. If it’s empty, keep walking.
DAY 3 – VENICE EN ROUTE TO FLORENCE
I realize some people may think, “Holy crap! That’s all the time they spent in Venice?” Let me tell you that my wife and I are the traveling type that like to see as much as we can versus the type that likes to “soak”in the local culture. Do what floats your boat.
- 9:00AM – Breakfast at hotel
- 12:55PM – Train to Florence Italoo Treno Ticket Code xxxxxx – Oh I guess I did pre-order these train tickets after all.
- 3:00PM – Arrive in Florence
- 3:30PM – Check into Westin Florence – This was within walking distance of train station (15 minutes or so)
- 4:00PM – Walk around
- 7:00PM Dinner – Antica Trattoria “da Tito” dal 1913 (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1908799-Reviews-Antica_Trattoria_da_Tito_dal_1913-Florence_Tuscany.html) make rsvp – No memories WHATSOEVER
DAY 4 – FLORENCE SIGHTSEE
- 9:00AM – Accadamia Gallery – http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g187893-c145508/Tuscany:Italy:Museum.Tickets.html This is where the REAL statue of David is. Be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes outside, so go early. If possible, pre-order your tickets to skip the line.
- 10:00AM – Uffizi http://www.italylogue.com/things-to-do/super-secret-uffizi-ticket-booth-in-florence.html
- 1:00PM – Eat lunch
- 2:00PM – Train to Pisa No need to buy tickets beforehand. Just show up at train station and buy tickets from booth. OF COURSE YOU HAVE TO DO THE OBLIGATORY “LOOK AT ME, I’M HOLDING UP THE LEANING TOWER OF PISA” picture.
- 6:00PM – Train to Florence
- 8:00PM – Dinner Club Culinaria Osvaldo Toscano do (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1024863-Reviews-Club_Culinario_Toscano_da_Osvaldo-Florence_Tuscany.html) make rsvp – No recollection
DAY 5 – FLORENCE / CINQUE TERRE TOUR
I had considered spending the night in Cinque Terre since most people do that, but a) it would have broken up my Westin 5 nights deal and b) most people recommend renting a car to drive up there, but I hear driving around Florence is a nightmare due to streets that you can’t drive down and they’ll mail you a ticket months later. So we just decided to a do a 1 day trip using a tour company. I thought it was sufficient for us.
- 8:00AM – Cinque Terre Tour – http://en.mytours.it/tour/from_florence/excursions/Tour_5_terre_summer_eng.htm
- 7:00PM – Arrive back in Florence
- Dinner – Vini e Vecchi Sapori (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1110760-Reviews-Vini_e_Vecchi_Sapori-Florence_Tuscany.html) make rsvp No recollection
DAY 6 – FLORENCE
My wife and I enjoy wine, so of course we needed to do a wine tour. I’m not sure if we got a discount by booking 2 tours. I’m guessing we did. Regardless, we thought this tour was also great. Wine in the morning and some city walking in the afternoon.
- 8:45AM – San Simignano, Siena, Chianti Tour http://en.mytours.it/tour/from_florence/excursions/san_simignano_siena_chianti_tour_eng.htm
- 7:45PM – Arrive back in Florence
- 8:00PM – Dinner – Da il Latini (recommended by friend) (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1088252-Reviews-Da_il_Latini-Florence_Tuscany.html) make rsvp – ONE OF THE BEST MEALS OF THE TRIP. A friend went months later and disagreed, but here’s why we liked it. First off, it’s a 3-4 course meal and it’s a set price (ala prix fix meals.) They also keep pouring the wine, so you may stumble out of the place. While it’s not highly rated on Tripadvisor anymore, I suggest you get there 15 minutes before they open in case there’s a long line.
DAY 7 – FLORENCE
- 9:00AM – Shopping day http://www.florencewebguide.com/florence-mall.html#sthash.XiOWoYWc.dpbs I would say this was for my wife, but in all honesty, it was for me. We bought bus tickets to the shopping outlets at the bus station. I believe it was Barberino. It had all the big Italian brands – Prada, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, etc.
- Dinner (hh style) – All’Antico Vinaio (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187895-d1102253-Reviews-All_Antico_Vinaio-Florence_Tuscany.html) probabl dont need rsvp – I don’t think we ate here. We just walked around and found a random packed restaurant.
DAY 8 – FLORENCE EN ROUTE TO ROME
- 9:00AM – Check out of Westin Florence
- 10:00AM – Train from Florence to Rome pre-ordered I think
- 2:00PM – Check into Radison Blu Rome we walked from train station (10-15 minutes)
- 4:00PM – Sightsee We walked from the Radisson to the Coliseum (that was a long walk.) We actually walked all day until the cab ride back at night.
- Spanish Steps
- Trevi Fountain
- Campo Fiori
- Dinner: La Fata Ignorante (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d3598856-Reviews-La_Fata_Ignorante-Rome_Lazio.html) make rsvp No idea.
DAY 9 – ROME
- Vatican – http://www.italylogue.com/vatican-museum The earlier the better
- Dinner: Al Duello (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d1894032-Reviews-Al_Duello-Rome_Lazio.html) make rsvp No clue
DAY 9 – ROME
- 12:00PM – Chek out of Radisson Blu Rome
- 1:00PM – Check into Hilton airport
- 2:00PM _ Take shuttle into Rome
- Dinner: Osteria Barberini (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g187791-d1573090-Reviews-Osteria_Barberini-Rome_Lazio.html) make rsvp No idea
- 9:00PM – Bus to Hilton Rome
- Our complimentary shuttle leaves from the hotel every two hours from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. The return is in the odd hours from 9:00 am to 11:00 pm. Drop off and pick up are in Via del Teatro Marcello close to Piazza Venezia.
DAY 10 – ROME EN ROUTE MYKONOS
- 5:30AM – Check out of Hilton Rome
- 6:35AM – 9:35AM – Flight to Mykonos (Easyjet)
- 12:00PM – Check into AirBNB This was when the retractable handle on my brand new Samsonite luggage broke, and I had to drag it from the handle. It’ll be my last time buying a Samsonite bag.
- 2:00PM – Sightsee
DAY 11 – MYKONOS
If you’ve heard of Mykonos, then you know it’s the party city of Greece. My wife and I are EDM fans, and so we went to a club the 1st night at around midnight (we paid for a shuttle bus to get there.) It was a bad mistake because it turned out to be pretty dead. You know – one of those clubs in your city that you no longer go to, but yet the tourists go there because they don’t know any better. On the 2nd day, we went to Paradise beach at around 4PM, which was close to sunset. The music was better and the vibe was even better. It also had a 7-11 convenience type store right on the beach, so you could buy a bottle of wine at 7-11 prices and drink it on the beach. The DJ wore a hilarious banana-hammock. Oh good times indeed.
- Paradise Beach
DAY 12 – MYKONOS EN ROUTE TO SANTORINI
- 2:30PM – Ferry to Santorini (Sea Jets2) Apparently there are 2 ports in Mykonos, which I didn’t realize it until after the shuttle bus dropped us off at the wrong dock. I went to the ticket booth, showed him my prepaid ticket, and he said it was at the other dock. We ran back to the shuttle bus and hopped on, and it would have been cutting it close. Turns out the shuttle bus was going to the airport first. There was no way we could make it back in time. I definitely didn’t want to spend another night in Mykonos, especially after paying for the hotel in Santorini. Then my wife calmly said, “Just buy tickets for this boat.” So we did that. On the boat, I tried to borrow a cell phone to call our hotel (which was going to pick us up at an earlier time), but no one would let me. 🙁 Luckily when we landed, another couple was going to the Mystique, and so we hopped on the shuttle. Worst case, we would have had to pay for a 30 minute cab ride to the Mystique. I was just so relived we were in Santorini and not back in Mykonos.
- 5:50PM – Arrive in Santorini
- 6:300PM – Check in to Mystique
- 07:00PM Dinner: Nimeli (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189433-d4269329-Reviews-Nimeli-Santorini_Cyclades.html) make rsvp No clue.
DAY 13 – SANTORINI
- Sightsee http://www.airpano.com/360Degree-VirtualTour.php?3D=Santorini-Greece Let me pause here and say that there’s not much to “see” in Santorini. You are basically on a cliff, so you’re basically soaking in the incredible sea, cliffs, and blue roofed homes. So we mostly hung out at our hotel pool.
- Dinner: To Psaraki (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g1188919-d1840339-Reviews-To_Psaraki-Vlychada_Santorini_Cyclades.html) make rsvp No clue. Just walk around the “strip” near the Mystique.
DAY 14 – SANTORINI EN ROUTE TO ATHENS
- 12:00PM -Check out of Mystique
- 8:25PM – Fly to Athens. Aegean A3359
- 10:00PM – Check in to Grande Bretagne We took the subway (pretty easy.) The stop was like a block away from the hotel.
- Either by cab or by subway. The train [subway] terminal is a five minutes walk from the arrival hall, just follow the signs. Take line 3 and get off at Evangelismos. When you exit the subway terminal you’ll be in a small park. Follow the path for approx. 3 min. towards a big street. As soon as you leave the park, you see the Hilton on the other side of the street. Don’t forget, it’s Greece, so always be prepared for a strike!
- Airport Express Bus X95 is operating 24×7 and the bus stop to the airport is right outside of the hotel. No need to take a taxi to the airport at anytime.
DAY 15 – ATHENS
If you do go to Athens, I suggest you take a day trip up to Delphi. The ruins there are pretty nice, and they have a nice museum. We did NOT do the city tour because c’mon, who wants to see graffiti everywhere?
- Delphi tour 102E – http://www.keytours.gr/destinations/location/Greece/?type=12,13,14,15,19,20,36&d=0
- Athens City Tour 69E
- Dinner: Klimataria (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g189400-d951245-Reviews-Klimataria-Athens_Attica.html) make rsvp
DAY 16 – ATHENS
- Acropolis (Akropolis)
- The Acropolis Museum
- 8:00PM – Dinner at Funky Gourmet (1 Michelin star) – RSVP done NEED TO CONFIRM RESERVATION ONCE WE GET THERE; They will contact hotel at 6:00PM to confirm us as well. My wife and I are foodies. This was one of the most memorable prix fixed meals of my life. I forgot how much it was; maybe 200E per person with wine pairing. You know it’s fancy when the first course is brought out on a wood branch and they spray a woodsy scent at your table to you know, get your sense of smell to match the taste of the food.
DAY 17 – FLY HOME
If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email