Hey Jenna! We are thinking about taking a European trip in Aug/Sept time frame. We wanted to see if you could give us an estimate if you helped us plan it. One place we know we want to go to is Alassio Italy. We figured out to fly into Genoa and take the train to Alassio and the same back to the airport. Not sure of order yet, but would like to hit Ireland and maybe either England or Scotland. Does not matter if we do that on the way in or out. With Ireland we were unsure of the best place to fly to for a couple of days. To see different and quiet places. England vs. Scotland we are still debating on which to do for a couple of days also. Not very planned out except the Alassio part and train on the coast.
*Think about early Sept instead of August. Most of Europe is on leave in August. It is hot, crowded and high season.
*Think about flying into somewhere other than Italy (and specifically Genoa) if you want to keep costs down:
-Right now round trip tickets to Genoa Aug & Sept will run about $1500.
Thoughts on a Second or Third Location:
London is my favorite city in the world. You never run out of things to do and there are some easy side trips from London like Stonehenge, Cambridge, Bath so you can see more than just the city.
The New York times also has a great article NY Times 36 Hours in London.
Ireland and Scotland are also easy to add to London. You can do Scotland by train or discount airline. You can do Ireland by discount airline. I recommend flying into Dublin and spending a day or two there. It is also easy to rent a car to explore the countryside or drive to Belfast (which I loved). The options are so fast, cheap and easy you could do a one day trip.
Paris is also a wonderful city to explore and a great stop for 2-3 days.
Iceland is gorgeous and there are wonderful (free) stop overs. Check out a previous Life Kinetic Post on Iceland.
If cost is a consideration you may want to consider changing your transatlantic destination (still do Alassio). Even just changing your destination to Rome can save a couple of hundred dollars. Here are some other options that I think still meet your intent but could save lots of money.
To London on Norwegian Airlines 16 Sept – $299 (plus bags) and return from London 30 Sept – $280 (plus bags) = $580 round trip.
On EasyJet you can then fly from London to Rome 17 Sept – 23 Sept for 88 pounds (112 dollars) round trip
Have the option to spend a day or two in Rome.
Take the train to Alassio (under $100 one way) or rent a car so you can explore the coast on your own.
Then fly back to London and you can see London, Scotland, and/or Ireland. Edinburgh is very cute and can be seen in 1-2 days. If you want to see the Scottish country side I would rent a car out of Edinburgh or take a tour. The train is easy from London to Scotland or you can take EasyJet or British Airways. Ireland is beautiful. If you stick to just a couple of days you can visit Dublin and/or Belfast. Or you can take several days/weeks exploring the countryside. Also consider one way flights London – Edinburgh – Dublin – (Belfast) – London (or any order) to keep down costs and travel time.
I know the flights on Norwegian are later in September than you wanted. You could do the same plan earlier in the summer (16-30 Aug) on Icelandic Air for $784. This includes a free stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days. So you could do London – Rome – Alassio – UK (some version of London/Scotland/Ireland) – Iceland – Denver for $780 + Easy Jet ~$112 + $train or rental car.
You can fly to Paris in mid/late Aug for around $900. You could then spend a few days in Paris and either fly to Italy or take the train through French country side stopping in 1-2 places along the way. Then stop in Rome (or another large Italian city) to get back to Paris.
You could get to Paris (or another major city) on Icelandic Air and have a free stopover in Iceland.