3.5 months in Europe 2013! Advice/Help please :)
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Sep 18, 2012 2:53 AM Last Post By: bjd
Sep 16, 2012 6:04 AM
3.5 months in Europe 2013! Advice/Help please :)*Hi all, firstly a big thankyou in advance for any advice given! (it is much appreciated when someone takes the time to help someone else out based on their experience/knowledge!!!)*
Going on our first trip to Europe in March 2013 for 3.5 months with my wife. We are a young married couple (25) and are wondering if experienced travelers can provide some guidance on our rough itinerary/plans.
We understand that this is not 'peak' travelling time, therefore we aim to not plan too much; rather, just 'wing it'/'go with the flow' a little bit..
Then from there we are have no solid plans.. so looking at the map, we'd like to see the following, and probably in this order:
*Scotland, London (as the first time is more a stop-over), Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Prague, Austria, Switzerland, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and finally Greece/Greek Islands (*Our return home flights are from Athens*)*
Is this doable in 3.5 months?, yes I know 'Europe will still be there next time :) , but wondering what should we cut out or reconsider?
Is it a no-brainer to get a eurail pass?
What festivals/must-do activities are on during these months and in what places?
Which places would you recommend booking accommodation well-in-advance? (we will have family accomodation in Ireland and London)
Weather in these places: We are assuming its going to be cold-mild in most places, and probably/hopefully a bit warmer towards the end of our trip- true?
Many thanks :)
Sep 16, 2012 6:26 AM
Sep 16, 2012 6:55 AM
Welcome to TT!
Is this doable in 3.5 months?
If you really want to visit the countries you quoted, no, it isn't. If all what you want to visit is a city (or two) in each of the countries you quoted, it could be doable (it'll depend someway in the choosed cities and the mode of transport) but then you shouldn't talk about a visit to countries but a visit to cities which isn't the same.
Is it a no-brainer to get a eurail pass?
Take a look here before deciding if an Eurail pass is good for you.
Sep 16, 2012 7:23 AM
3A list of 18 countries and 2 cities is not an itinerary.
You need a list of specific places connected along a route.
Setting aside the whole issue of what you want to see/do at any particular location, you need to think about everything involved in a long trip, all those time-consuming activities such as getting from A to B, eating, sleeping, resting, possibly recovering from a slight illness underway, some unco-opeative weather .. all those things that shoot massive holes in tight, overpacked itineraries.
Just as a thought experiment, think in detail about everything you'd be doing during any 5-6 day period.
The simplest solution is to not worry about planning a day-by-day itinerary which you then follow slavishly. You not only don't have the experience to make and evaluate such a plan, a detailed plan works against the spirit of travel. It's fine to have a rough route sketched out, to give you some direction. Start at the start point, and get to the end point before your flight leaves for home. Improvise the rest, planning as you go.
Sep 16, 2012 7:36 AM
4Okay - So I didn't mean itinerary, more just rough 'path'.
"Cities"/"countries" - for a first time in Europe, I think we will be mainly sticking to the 'cities', and occasionally out of the way to POI's.
Great info above, thanks for the prompt responses. I need this rough criticism in order to start narrowing things down ;)
I'll have another plan drawn up and pop back in a day or so :)
Oh and can anyone provide a link to a thread/page where someone else has may have done a similar route/timeframe/time of year?
Sep 16, 2012 8:28 AM
Sep 16, 2012 8:47 AM
Sep 16, 2012 8:48 AM
7As #3 wrote to your remark
hopefully a bit warmer towards the end of our trip- true?
Starting up north and ending in Greece 3 months later, it'll be more than a bit warmer.
It would make sense to change the direction of your trip: start in the south and end in the north. Can't you change your return flight to a more northern place?
Sep 16, 2012 11:47 AM
8Generally crappy in Switzerland much of that time frame. Come back when you really want to see it.
Sep 16, 2012 2:01 PM
9I am a non European. I visited Europe 8 times so far and am on my 9th visit which is for 3 months.
My itinerary or the rough list of cities I am planning to visit is far shorter than yours (meaning I don't go to Paris, Rome, Venice, Milan, Frankfurt, Prague, Madrid, Barcelona and more this time).
I went to Paris 5 times and the days I spent there in total would exceed 2 weeks. My last trip to Norway was for 1 week which was really short to visit Oslo, Alesund & Geiranger, Bergen, Flam and Myrdal.
You may be able to go to a city and leave in two or three days but I would recommend to you stay in one city/town for at least 2 or 3 days.
I am a flexible traveller too. That means you (and I) end up spending more money on low price flight, early booking train & hotel.
I lived in London for one year. March in London is not the best time of the year so is the Nothern Europe. You will have six or seven hours of 'day'time.
If you can't change the flight back to your country from Athens cover one itinerary on a low price flight and start from South to North and back to Athens.
Sep 17, 2012 10:27 PM
10Great. Thanks for the feedback.
I am struggling a bit with exactly how to plan this out.
Basically we have to start in Ireland, as mentioned we have a wedding to attend at the start.
Our flights are scheduled at the end of the trip to depart from Athens, however, if this is highly advisable to change it, then we could look into it. Athens was also chosen because its my wife's birthday towards the end of the trip, so was hoping to be relaxing on an island for that!
Revised places we would like to see (not in order)
• Southern Ireland (7 days)
• Edinburgh and/or Glasgow (5 days)
• London (6 days)
• Amsterdam (4 days)
• Prague (5 days)
• Zurich (4 days) and Bern (4 days)
• Paris (7 days), South France (7 days)
• San Sebastian (5 days), Madrid (4 days), Barcelona (4 days)
• Lisbon and/or Lagos (7 days)
• Rome (3 days), Venice (4 days), Florence (4 days), Cinque Terra (5 days)
• Dubrovnik (3 days), Hvar (2 days), Split (1 day)
• Greek Islands (5 days)
Totals 95 days.
We have approx 101 days total, so a couple up the sleeve, so might stay longer in one or 2 places.
If we were to do go somewhere else as an alternative, probably would like to swap something for Germany or Poland.
Thoughts on order in which to do? And where to hire a car or take the train? Thinkin eurail pass is mainly the go, but would love to hire a car in some places.
I am learning ;) so REALLY appreciate the help!!!
Excuse my ignorance too :)
Sep 18, 2012 1:01 AM
What people in your position therefore do is to ask the 'experts' who presumably have the experience/knowledge required for the decisions. I wouldn't call this a mistake, but there are limitations. Practical tips are one thing. But travel is to a great extent a personal matter -- there are no right or wrong answers to questions about where to go and for how long.
Yes, there are people out there whio think that travel is built around musts, but that's a different issue.
OK, from my slightly cynical viewpoint I look at your itinerary and two 'beginner' characteristics stand out as glaringly obvious.
First, you travel large distances to visit one location, usually a main city. This might be OK if your plan is to use that location as a base. I don't see anything disadvantageous about big city tours, but it does give a hint of what you do and do not know about where you're going. My suggestion under these circumstances is to therefore not worry about juggling and replacing one unknown destination with a different unknown destination. At the end of the trip there will be a blur of impressions, but you'll come away with the experience -- which you can then evaluate and perhaps use when planning your next trip ("this worked .. I didn't like that .. we should have spent more time doing this ..").
Second, while the time distribution looks reasonable up to about Lisbon (I won't discuss the routing issues) I sense that the plan are starting to crumble by the time you get to Italy. Time is running out and you're trying to squeeze in more and more. Things seriously fall apart by the time you leave Italy.
It will all be easier for you if you just accept it's your first time. Go out and try it. There's no big disaster waiting for you. You can end in Athens if you wish, just make sure you're there in time for the flight home.
Sep 18, 2012 1:15 AM
12It is more realistic,but.....no need to overplan it.Start in Ireland and finish in Greece if you want.Don't fix everything in between!
On the mode of transport I'd hire a car for southern Ireland and south of France......rural areas that don't have very good public transport and where the best things to see are in the countryside.
The other places are easy to get to/around by public transport...usually train.You could take some budget flights too if you really want to get to outlying parts of Europe like Lisbon.
Sep 18, 2012 1:32 AM
13Great - Good feedback. Exactly what I need.
As mentioned it's only a rough mudmap and will need this kind of criticizing.
Yes- we don't want to plan everything but having a guide is a good idea of how long we want to stay in places, what we want to see, how long it will take to get to other places, etc.
It is our first time in Europe, and we will probably be doing the walking guided tours in a few places..
Still 5-6 months away so its helping a lot with the planning. Cheers!
Ill check back in a few days.. with my next attempt to be more narrowed down and in order of travel!
Sep 18, 2012 2:53 AM
14It is our first time in Europe, and we will probably be doing the walking guided tours in a few places..
You can also use a map, available in a guide book or from the local tourist office and just walk around yourselves, without being in a group.
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