2 Months Solo in Western Europe
Replies: 21 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2012 12:24 AM Last Post By: lucapal
Jun 6, 2012 7:52 PM
15So took longer than I thought but I think I made some progress and took some of your opinions into account:
Fly into Dublin (3 nights)
Train to Cork and West Coast, stay in Doolin (3 nights)
-not sure if the one day in Cork is worth it
-is much cheaper to fly into Dublin rather than Shannon so I'm sticking with that
Fly out of Shannon, into London (5 nights)
-no changes, I think I've decided on a single day in Cambridge during this time
Eurostar to Paris (5 nights)
- Haven't decided on a day trip yet, Fountainbleu/Versailles look like they might be my top picks, thanks for the recommendation
Train#1 to Brussels (3 nights)
- Heard there's not a hell of a lot to do, but I'm very into the beer scene so I'm sure i'll be content
Train#2 through Brugges to Amsterdam
- Stopping for the half day or so in Brugges, not too far out of the way and I think it'll be worth the trip (again for the breweries) also is basically free if its the same train day pass as getting to Amsterdam
Train#3 to Berlin, Overnight Train (4 nights)
- Can't book the ticket until 92 days in advance but will get on that shortly, thanks for the advice that it fills up quickly
Train#4 to Prague (4 nights)
Train#5 to Munich (3 nights)
- Oktoberfest. I'm reading its a huge tourist trap and there are better options. I think I'm opting to stick with it despite that, but I've cut my time there in half. Though big into the beer scene, it seems expensive and I left the drinking until I throw up days in college for the most part. I think my time is better spent in the other cities in this list.
Train#6 to Lauterbrunnen/Swiss Alps (5 nights)
- I ditched Interlaken, thanks for the advice. I think I like heading towards Lauterbrunnen as a way point, then spending a few nights in Gimmelwald and Murren in the mountains. Still 5 nights, I feel like I'll love the hiking and scenery. Also take a break from the big cities.
Train#7 to Venice (1 night)
- I don't know if it's even worth it. Venice doesn't just seem to be capturing to me vs. Florence and I kind of have to divide my time between those two. The other option was catching some of the smaller towns on the route between Venice and Florence, I have to spend more time thinking about that.
Train#8 to Florence (4 nights)
- Again I'm thinking Florence looks like a preference.
Train#9 to Cinque Terre (3 nights)
Train#10 to Rome (5 nights)
Fly back to Boston
I labeled the trains 1-10 because I will be getting the 10 day global pass. Works out perfectly.
I also consider everything here flexible in between flying in and out, except for reserving the night train to Berlin and the tents at Oktoberfest. Other than that I don't like being locked in this far in advance. I like the freedom of being able to stay somewhere an extra day if I want to do so.
Anyways planning on buying tickets this week, any more insights would be really appreciated guys, if I missed any thanks to the contributors above I apologize.
Jun 6, 2012 8:01 PM
Jun 6, 2012 9:56 PM
Nov 15, 2012 12:23 PM
Just wanted to give some feedback on how my trip went as I said I would. In short, it was awesome and I owe a lot of that to your input.
I stuck largely to my itinerary, but some things I would mention (and these are all just my opinons):
In general, I punted on most of my day trips (Cambridge, etc.). I was usually either too tired or was content staying in the city I was in. I was never bored.
West Coast of Ireland is way better than Dublin area...2 days in Dublin was plenty (for me). I did not find it to be a particularly beautiful city, compared to Western Ireland and the countryside.
I left Paris 2 days early, was not much of a fan. I hated Versailles, it was grossly overcrowded to the point where I couldn't enjoy the exhibits. I thought the garden was meh.
I stayed longer in Belgium because the beer was as good as I expected.
Amsterdam was extremely fun, and I am not a smoker (though I hear that may be changing for tourists soon). I missed my night train to Berlin due to some day drinking...and as a result had to take a 19 hour train ride with 5 connections through Frankfurt...look at a map...Frankfurt is NOT on the way to Berlin...whoops. That sucked.
Oktoberfest - exactly what I expected after reading up on other people's thoughts. Two days was enough (and about all I could handle anyways). Very expensive, gimmicky, but I think the experience is worth doing once.
Prague was not as impressive as it's been made out to me, but was a nice relief from the more expensive Western cities.
Switzerland/Interlaken - Fwoggie's suggestion to not stay in Interlaken was right on. I went right past it and stayed up in the mountains (Lauterbrunnen then Murren) - and it was the highlight of my trip. The hiking there was infinite and beautiful and it was great to get out of the city. Switzerland was expensive as hell but I found cheap hostels and ate cheap...and other than that hiking is free (minus pricey lift tickets if you use them).
Two days in Venice was enough, for me. It's smallish and there wasn't a whole lot there that interested me, I was content just walking around the back alleys and riding the vaporettos (vaporetti?).
I completely skipped Florence. Call it a mistake if you want, at that point I was done with art/Museums and sightseeing in general and just wanted to relax. So I went straight to Cinque Terre, which was disappointingly touristy but I guess it's on the map now, and I didn't contribute by being there so I wasn't complaining. The hiking there was pretty nice.
Rome may have been my favorite city. Way too much to do, I was there for five full days and didn't scratch the surface. I will be back.
Finally I shot down to Sorrento/Amalfi coast for my last 4 days and that was great. Riding a moped along the Amalfi coast seems like a must to me. Spent half a day on Capri (had to leave that day to get to the airport) and that was also great.
All in all, incredible trip. Everything went well, and if I had to have one complaint, it would be that everything was a little too mainstream and easy. Sometimes I would look around and be surrounded by other Americans and feel like I was back home. I kind of expected this as I wasn't too far off the beaten path, (and this was mentioned by a few of you) but I think it was a good way to do it the first time. Next time I'll be more confident and more willing to get away from the busier areas.
Again, thanks for the help, and I'm looking forward to being able to contribute to this forum in the future now that I have some experience "out there"
Edited by: Jacen17
Edited by: Jacen17
Nov 15, 2012 1:40 PM
Nov 16, 2012 12:20 AM
20Your report is probably worth ten posts by regulars telling new posters with busy itineraries to slow down, cut out some day trips and decide what they are actually interested in. So thanks for letting us know how it went.
Glad to know you had a good time. Next time you can go directly from Rome to the Balkans -- a little less "beaten track".
Nov 16, 2012 12:24 AM
(3 star Hotel)
From US$86.35 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$212.78 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$170.04 per night