Travelling Europe in Winter
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Jun 9, 2012 2:33 AM Last Post By: lucapal
Jun 6, 2012 6:00 PM
Travelling Europe in WinterHi my partner and I are going to face the European winter for 8 weeks over mid January to mid March. (It's the only time I can take off uni.)
I have planned my trip to start in
London, England -->
Paris, France -->
Brussels, Belgium -->
Berlin, Germany -->
Prague, Czech Slovakia -->
Vienna, Austria -->
Munich, Germany -->
Stuttgart, Germany -->
Lucerne, Switzerland -->
Innsbruck, Austria -->
Venice, Italy -->
Rome, Italy --> (Contiki Starts)
Florence, Italy -->
Pisa, Italy -->
Cinque Terre, Italy-->
Barcelona, Spain -->
Madrid, Spain --> (Contiki Finishes)
Lisbon, Portugal -->
I have set my budget for 100 AUS a day (80EURO) on top of my accommodation.
So this will be for transport, food and activities.
Our accommodation is mainly hotels and bed and breakfasts, we will be taking suitcases for luggage.
Basically my travel style is walking around discovering new restaurants, shops and awing at the sights. I'm not huge on museums but I do enjoy film and art.
My questions are what clothes should i be thinking about bringing?
Will my budget be enough for my travelling style (most of my hotels cover breakfast)?
Any tips of things I should do/ see apart from the obvious, I'm talking about hidden gems here!
Any advice would be fantastic!
Jun 6, 2012 7:13 PM
11) You're doing too much for the duration - you'll be shattered by the end. Suggest you wade through a dozen or so pages of this branch of the tree to see what others have suggested and the responses they've had.
2) You're doing too much for your budget cos the transport costs for this sorta trip will blow your budget clean outta the water (being blunt, sorry).
3) With that budget you can definitely forget hotels and instead think dorm beds in hostels + self catering + minimal sightseeing entrance fees + minimal alcohol consuption and/or dinner out (and by dinner out I'm talking McDonalds style).
4) If that daily budget is for both of you (€80/day), you need to half the duration. If it's for each of you, it's still possible provided you still seriously curtail the distance travelled but even still point 3 would seriously apply.
5) Prague is a city in the Czech Republic, Slovakia is an entirely diff country, please split this out in detail.
6) The Netherlands might look a bit titchy from Australia, but it packs a serious punch due the amount of people squeezed in such a confined area - where do you wanna go and how much time do you wanna spend on this country?
7) What clothes you need - warm ones. Some areas you cite at that time of the year could hit -20C, you'll need the full whack.
8) This branch tends to be anti Contiki because a) they're expensive b) they move you through vast distances at high speed c) You get little time at each place d) Given the highly advanced transportation options there's no reason not to do it yourself and save a lot of time, bother and money + gain a lot of flexibility.
I always try to be nice, but other regular posters won't be so uhm, graceful, given the particularly high level of (unrealistic) optimism - don't take offense when they see this (I already know what they'll say).
Suggest you do some research cos the above ain't gonna work on multiple levels.
1) Read a few hundred posts in this branch - others over the past few weeks have asked similar concepts, almost all overdoing the distance vs time.
2) Look up travel durations. http://www.expedia.co.uk will give you flight times, http://www.bahn.co.uk will give you Europe wide train times, http://www.seat61.com will give you all the information you ever needed about trains. Forget buses - the trains are too fast, most of the trip you're on there are no intercity buses.
3) Continue reading to find out costs. Refer to http://www.hostelworld.com or http://www.hostels.com to find out accomodation costs. SE Asia prices don't apply in Europe.
4) The generally commonly head view that minimum subsistence (selfcatering, the cheapest of hostels + minimal travelling, sightseeing entry fees, alcohol) is 50 EUR per person per day. To be honest, I think that needs to be bumped to 60. Travel costs will rapidly murder that estimate - the more you move the more you pay and the less time overall you have to stay put and see stuff. Refer also to http://www.eurail.com for train pass options (but heavily cross reference with the advice given on http://www.seat61.com).
5) This looks like it's your first time up here. Don't worry about the hidden gems, you'll be too busy doing the obvious stuff such as Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elyesee, Sacre Coeur, Mannequin Pis, Grand Place, Windmills, Anne Frank house, Red LIght District, Canal Tours, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie Museum, Berlin Parliament, King Charles Bridge, Prague's Palace, The Metronome, The Touristy quarter in Prague, the opera house in Vienna, the river there, Deutsche Techniks museum in Munich, a day trip to Neuschwanstein castle, a day trip to Dachau, the Porsche museum in Stuttgart, looking at expensive stuff and pretty lakes in Lucerne, more mountains in Interlaken (though it sucks, stay in a nearby village, see other posts for details),
Innsbruck - uhm, why, go to Salzburg instead, even better (if so so Mozart birthplace) - Canals, St Marks Square, Pigeons, assorted galleries in Venice - Collosseum, Vatican + 3 days worth of assorted other stuff in Rome that I'm too lazy to describe - Florence - beautiful, great photo ops and some of the worlds best galleries - Pisa - nice city centre, do it after you get bored of the leaning tower Cinque Terre - pass - Monaco - will blow your 80 EUR a day budget to smitherines, Friend went recently and an espresso + croissant was 12 EUR - Barcelona - the Olympic stadium sucks, but nice views over the town. Check out the cable car ride, the Maritime museum in the port or Las Ramblas for nightlife
Madrid + Lisbon pass.
Jun 6, 2012 10:48 PM
Jun 6, 2012 10:53 PM
3Op...on your questions...you are going to be in some cold places.You need warm clothes...light,but warm..a quality fleece,a good down jacket,a hat and gloves etc.
The budget...is it 80 euros each or for both of you? I understand that accommodation is separate......
Like Fwoggie says..don't worry about 'hidden gems'...you need to chop the schedule down rather than adding more!
Jun 6, 2012 10:56 PM
4On yes....and unless you just want a permanent drinking session with a load of Aussie pissheads....I'd ditch the Contiki tour.
Italy,France and Spain are very easy to travel in....you can do and see what you want,when you want...and it will cost you a hell of a lot less than a tour.
Jun 7, 2012 12:54 AM
5Short version: too many destinations in too little time, you're covering far too much ground.
Any tips of things I should do/ see apart from the obvious, I'm talking about hidden gems here!
What are your interests and how much time do you plan to spend in each place? I know a few great breweries here in the Netherlands, but there's not much point in recommending them if you don't like beer and/or if you're only here for 2 days in Amsterdam.
we will be taking suitcases for luggage
I'd rather take a backpack - easier to carry around in coble-stoned town centers, easier to stow away in the luggage racks of trains.
what clothes should i be thinking about bringing?
Main rule: dress in layers. The problem with your trip is that you start in a part of Europe with a notoriously unpredictable climate - in the past years we've had a few mild, rainy winters as well as a few periods of heavy snowfall and below-zero temperatures. Worst is a combination of temperatures below 5°C and wind - it's not pleasant to walk around town under those conditions.
Snow can affect your trip; flight cancellations, disruptions on the railroad and endless traffic jams during snow storms are not unheard of. Keep this in mind if you need to catch a connection somewhere and be prepared to spend an extra night in a place because of the weather. Oh, and pavements can become quite slippery, especially when the snow has been walked on for a couple of days.
Then again, it may be a mild winter - which usually means 5-10°C and rain, temporarily interrupted by fog, rainshowers or drizzle. Plus it gets dark around 17:00h in northwestern Europe and stays that way until past 8:30 a.m. in January.
Either way, this has some effect on your budget too: there's a good chance it will be too cold to make rest stops in parks or other outdoor places, so you'll have to retreat to a bar instead. You will be expected to pay for a drink, and it's usually not really appreciated if you order one drink and linger for another hour after you finished it.
and unless you just want a permanent drinking session with a load of Aussie pissheads....I'd ditch the Contiki tour
I agree. Plus all Contiki tour schedules I've seen so far are ridiculous - they fool you into thinking you're "seeing as much as you can" while in reality you spend half your time in transit. I don't see the point of coming over from the other side of the globe to get drunk with countrymates while looking at boring highway scenery.
Jun 7, 2012 9:16 AM
6I think you have more research and planning to do until we can get more specific. As mentioned, you are trying to squeeze too much in.
Regarding weather, one challenge is that you will have potential freezing cold temperatures in places like Berlin, while you will get some more temperate weather in places like Barcelona. When you are down around the Mediterranean, it's best to have many light layers that can be removed as temperatures improve. But in the more northern climates, you will need heavy jackets, hats, gloves and waterproof, warm boots.
Jun 7, 2012 12:14 PM
7have you read this?
another vote to ditch Contiki.
Jun 8, 2012 3:04 AM
Thanks for your help and opinions, sorry I should have been more specific that is 80 euro each per day, we are spending the time in the netherlands with my family, how long should i be considering to be spending in each place? at least 3 days?
I like the idea of contiki because it seems like a great way to meet people and everything is planned out for you. But I will take a look at the forum.
We are buying a separate rail pass to get around, do you think this will be okay?
Thanks for all your help, greatly appreciate it!
Jun 8, 2012 4:34 AM
9How long depends on what you want to do there.......
Personally for the smaller /less interesting places (eg Brussels,CT,Monaco) 3 days will be fine...maybe even too long for many people!
While in cities like Paris,London,Berlin etc you could easily do a week or more without running out of interesting stuff to see.......
Jun 8, 2012 6:03 PM
10Okay so I have done a lot of research on contiki's and have decided i will not be taking the tour, it saves me so much time and money if I do not do it. I have also decided to cut our a few places from my itinerary so this is my new plan,
Stop over in Dubai from Australia (3 nights)
London 4 nights
Paris 4 nights
Amsterdam (staying with family) 4 nights
Berlin 3 nights
Prague 2 nights
Vienna 2 nights
Munich 3 nights
Stuttgart 2 nights
Lucerne 2 nights (undecided about going here due to costs, is it worth it?)
Innsbruck 3 nights
Venice 3 nights
Rome 3 nights
Florence 3 nights
Small stop in Pisa on the way to French rivera
Avignon 2 nights
Barcelona 3 nights
Madrid 3 nights
Lisbon 3 nights
Jun 8, 2012 10:16 PM
11now, did you actually read this:http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/thread.jspa?threadID=2153476
it doesn't really look like it.Lots of moving around, too much time (and money) spent on travel, only cities.
2 nights means one full day. I don;t think 1 day each in Prague, Stuttgart, and Vienna makes a lot of sense.
Jun 8, 2012 10:31 PM
12Still too many stops,and still too little time in a lot of them (you have gone from 20 down to 19 stops;-)...but good idea to dump the tour.
You can do this trip,but after the first 2 weeks everything is going to blur into one,and you will be too tired to see any more......you will have seen so many monuments and museums (and train stations)...and sat on so many crowded buses and trains...and spent so much money...that you might start to question why you did it!
Jun 9, 2012 12:42 AM
13Agree, too many stops, and some of these hops are long. Examples:-
Amsterdam to Berlin = 6hr 15 to 6hr 45 by day, or 10hr 15 by night train (but that dumps you in Berlin at 4:30am.
Berlin to Prague and Prague to Vienna = 4hr 40 min (in fact most of your legs are between 4 and 5 hrs)
Avignon to Barcelona = 7hr 11 min (and there's no night train, so you lose a day)
Madrid to Lisbon by train = only possible at night and takes 10:50 (seriously) or the bus, which takes 7.5 hrs. It may make sense to fly it. You should be able to get a flight for under 70 euros.
Jun 9, 2012 12:46 AM
14There is also the question of when you're gonna have down time to do stuff like emailing home or laundry.
I'd consider binning Stuttgart. It's outta the way.
Another idea is to bin Avignon and the French Riveria and fly direct from Pisa to Spain. You can't go to Barcelona (not cheaply), but you can go very cheaply with Ryanair (at certain times of the week if you book in advance) to Barcelona Girona from where you can get a bus for the 75 min odd ride into town.
From US$91.66 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$170.04 per night
(0 star Hotel)
From US$9.78 per night