One month to see it all--Europe
Replies: 72 - Last Post: Nov 13, 2012 8:19 PM Last Post By: Bee_424
Jul 27, 2012 9:47 PM
One month to see it all--EuropeMy boyfriend and I hope to embark on a month-long tour of Europe, arriving in London and departing from an undecided city (whichever is cheapest/easiest to get to Moscow) to continue our vacation through Russia, China, Japan, and Thailand next mid-May-July. We will have 4-5 weeks to spend in Europe, so we will likely buy the Global Eurail one month pass.
We definitely want to visit as many of 23 countries as possible, hitting as many of the capital cities, but we feel like we would be remiss to not indulge in the countryside as well. That said, can anyone recommend any countryside cities worth visiting that would be accessible by train/short drive from train stations?
These are the countries we will be able to travel through:
Thanks a lot!
Jul 27, 2012 10:14 PM
any countryside cities
As it now stands, the itinerary is just boring.
Jul 27, 2012 11:31 PM
Jul 27, 2012 11:38 PM
Jul 27, 2012 11:47 PM
Jul 28, 2012 12:38 AM
5Ouch. I should've typed "town" instead of "city"...criticizing me for that is rather ridiculous. I wasn't meaning to sound haughty or imply that I was taking a trip to for conversational use...
I've never been to Europe, and after graduation I will be occupied by more school/career. I understand I won't be able to visit all--it's fine if we don't get through half. Just wanted an idea of what to make sure to see. Kind of a once in a lifetime thing.
Jul 28, 2012 12:42 AM
6Now you have listed the countries by alphabetical order.
Make a new list starting from London in the order you are going to use your Eurail Global pass showing the time spent from trainstation to trainstastion from a capital city to a capital city.
If you do this homework you'll see you are trying to do an impossible task.
As a sidenote, there are trains every day from Helsinki via St.Petersburg to Moskow. http://www.vr.fi/en/index.html
Jul 28, 2012 1:04 AM
7career? The only career available these days anywhere, is unemployment.
You need more than a zip-through blitz tour of Europe.
You've been to American public school system. Now go start getting an education.
Have you heard laugh tracks on sit coms, that were actually over something thats actually funny?
Its the dumb-down generation.
OPs first you need the figure out what you intend to gain from your McDonalds tour. Otherwise you're just pissing away money.
Jul 28, 2012 1:14 AM
8OK, so not a troll. My apologies.
What you need to do first is forget about this being a "once in a lifetime" thing and use it as an excuse to exhaust yourself racing from one country to the next. Even if you don't "get to see half" of those 23 countries, I don't see how visiting 10+ countries (well, only their capitals, which aren't necessarily the most interesting towns) is a meaningful way to see Europe. In fact, you'd do yourself a favour if you forgot about "Europe" too and stop thinking in countries.
Think places - cities, towns, national parks, beaches, whatever. Buy a guidebook that covers all of Europe for a condensed overview of the most popular places. Write down any place you like the sound of. When you're finished, look at a map, check www.bahn.co.uk for train schedules and see what you can feasibly pack into one month. With "feasibly" I mean allowing enough time in each place to see/do what you want; don't underestimate transit times: it's not just the 4 hour train ride, but also the extra time to pack your stuff, get to the station in time, find your way around the next city etc.
Jul 28, 2012 1:34 AM
9Any travel day takes All day. Give yourself time to be lost. Those "off the beaten track" places can be just one street away from the main route of the map.
There are very few grid system street layouts in ancient cities. And cars are useless in big cities.
Pride is top of the list of the 7 deadly sins.
Jul 28, 2012 2:08 AM
I stay on average four nights in a hotel/hostel. You can always do a day trip or visit a place along the way when you move from A to B.
We don't know what interests you (culture, night life, nature, hiking, food, art, shopping....?) but cities like Paris, Italy and Berlin can easily 'entertain' someone for 5 days or so.
Jul 28, 2012 2:26 AM
Jul 28, 2012 2:30 AM
12Alright you lot, calm down, me thinks some of you have forgotten what it was like planning your first ever trip...
1) Your enthusiasm is great, keep it up :)
Practicality (as you may have realised from the previous posters).... this needs a bit of work, but if you don't have the knowledge or know which websites to hit, I'd probably post a ridiculous itinerary for the US, and I'm 34 and I think well fairly well travelled.
So, to give you some starting points.
1) Get a map of Europe, and figure out how you're gonna get from London to Moscow (ie what route you wanna take en route).
2) Get a copy of a Europe guidebook. LonelyPlanet's Europe on a shoestring would be just the ticket, and it only came out in October 2011, so is still current.
3) Once you've figured out your intended routing, figure out how you're gonna travel. There are 2 major rail sites to pick from; http://www.seat61.com, which gives you general rail info - what do the trains look like, scenery along the way etc, and http://www.bahn.co.uk, which gives you a Europe wide train timetable. The latter website is going to be important, because it'll rapidly give you a feel for how long it'll take to get from some cities to others. For example, from Barcelona round to Nice is as near as makes no difference 10 hrs, involving 2 train changes.
3) Figure out how much money you will have. Basic subsistence in W Europe is 50 euros per person per day. However, eating out, consuming alcohol, doing much more than 1 site paid entry per day will all bump up that budget. Travelling can do serious damage on a budget, even if on a rail pass, due to the inter city transport costs, which a rail pass usually doesn't cover (with a handful of exceptions).
4) Given the serious amount of travel (and you're gonna have to reduce it by the time you've looked up timetables), you'll have to fly internally to jump distances at times; see http://www.skyscanner.net and cross reference it with http://www.expedia.co.uk - budget carriers are not necessarily always the cheapest, and sometimes they fly to the damnedest of places (e.g. Oslo Torp is 75 min drive from Olso).
5) The general consensus to see a place properly is an average of 3.5 days per city. Some require more such as London, Paris or Rome, some require less such as Brussels, Pisa or Cologne. This also allows for downtime for things like sleeping, eating, brushing teeth, emailing home, laundry, getting to/from train stations or airports, packing, unpacking, checking in/out, reorientation in a new city, etc.
The question you need to answer is where you want to find a balance between actual hrs spent sightseeing vs actual hrs spent on trains, cos that'll get old fast, especially if you have the trans siberian express further down the trip.
Examples of stuff to consider:-
Austria - Vienna, Salzburg, Berchtesgaden, Neuschwanstein castle (in Germany, but right on the border)
Belgium - Mannequin Pis in Brussels, Bruge, a tour of breweries.
Bulgaria - I'll pass and concede the floor on that one to someone else in the know
Croatia - ditto
Czech Republic - Brno, Prague, Český Krumlov
Denmark - This could be skipped, given you have so little time, but consider Copenhagen, Aarhus or Læsø
Finland - It's enormous, out of the way (tucked in a northern corner), so will take time to get to and get around, but it is handy for Russia. St Petersburg's round the corner en route to Moscow, so maybe worth a thought. Consider Helsinki. There's lots of national parks too, but you won't have time.
France - Paris, obviously. That time of the year is lavendar in Provence, so consider popping down there. There's lots of chateau (castles) in the Loire valley, also in Dordogne and Burgundy. Monaco could be done in a day trip from Nice if you end up there, but it's eye wateringly expensive. Still, good for people watching and walking around the F1 track.
Germany - Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, Munich between them could take 3 weeks. Toss in the Ahr valley, Dresden, the Black Forest, Lake Constance, Heidelberg and Nuremberg, and you have another 3 weeks.
Greece - Athens if you want, but the islands are nicer; Like Australia and various African countries, Greece is one of those countries where the countryside is better than the cities.
Hungary - Budapest can occupy you for a few days, it's beautiful. Consider also Eger in the north (nice castle, good local red wine) or Lake Balaton - huge lake, great for swimming in or kite surfing.
Ireland The Blarney stone is over rated. However, consider Dublin, Mitzin Point for dramatic coastal scenery, the Ring of Kerry or the Rock of Cashel. To do those 4 would take circa 10 days.
Italy - Milan in my opinion is overrated. Consider instead Venice, Florence, Sienna, Rome, a day trip to Pisa if you must check out the wonky tower (the centre's also nice but few bother), Cinque Terre (very touristy) and of course the Vatican city.
Luxembourg - You don't have time, there's better parts of Europe, you could skip this.
Netherlands - Amsterdam, obviously. Delft or Leiden for history, Maastricht (fortified medieval city) or Rotterdam (modern city, good art scene and nightlife).
Norway - very very expensive, distances are also very large, be warned... Oslo - check out the royal palace, Holmenkollen (ski jump on top of a big hill, views are fantastic from up there), national gallery (has several Edward Munch paintings - he painted the scream) and the curious Vigeland Sculpture park. You don't have time for anywhere else, but if you insist you could go north up to the arctic circle and go midnight sunbathing...
Portugal - Lisbon (, Aveiro (bit like Venice), Coimbra (has a very very old university, old town centre, check out the cathedral), Peneda-Gerês (some great hiking trials around there
Romania - Bucharest still has some ridiculous buildings which were constructed during Ceauşescu's reign. Further afield, in southern Bucovina are UNESCO listed painted monasteries. They're a mission to get to without a hire car. Consider also Brașov in SE Transylvania, got a nice medieval city centre, and it's handy for a side trip to Rasnov.
Slovakia - Pass
Slovenia - Pass
Spain - if down near Malaga, consider the El Camino del Rey if you have a head for heights.
Sweden - Gothenburg (nice, home to Volvo). Stockholm has a very nice old centre, and the natural archipelago is gorgeous. A great city to chill out in.
Switzerland - Like Greece, bin the cities and hit the countryside, either Bernese Oberland or next door Valais. Don't stay in Interlaken (bit soulless, bit ugly, useful only as a transport hub). Consider staying instead in one of the mountain villages - Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Grindewald or Gimmelwald. Consider travelling on the jungfraujoch or glacier express trains, but I doubt your rail pass gives you any discount at all on either, check online.
Jul 28, 2012 2:58 AM
Not me. And I'm already calm .. relatively indifferent in fact (Olympic broadcasts behind me).
But the OP hasn't posted a plan yet, and hasn't asked anything beyond towns accesible from train stations. Hunh??
If you want to post a long reply in your own role of understanding middleman, go ahead. Forums thrive on variation.
Jul 28, 2012 3:37 AM
14This looks like a job for...."Itinerary or Budget Question? Please Read This First Before Posting"!
It was the post directly above yours after you clicked "post message." Did you not notice it?
Abiding by the "simple tips about looking for information" in the "Western Europe FAQ thread" might also earn you a bit of belated respect. Directly above "Itinerary or Budget Question" on the first page of this branch.
See you in a few weeks. It will take you that long to do enough research to turn your laundry list into an actual plan. Probably longer.
The Lord helps those who help themselves. And so do we.
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