2 weeks in Europe. Where to start?
Replies: 24 - Last Post: Aug 29, 2012 4:40 AM Last Post By: Ishotamaninreno
Aug 26, 2012 10:19 AM
2 weeks in Europe. Where to start?Hello,
Me and the bf are planning a two-week trip to Europe. I've been a couple of times for a year at a time, once to Scotland and once to Southern Germany. He's never been. I would like to see some places I've never been before (as would he) and don't even know where to begin with a time frame as small as two weeks. He's keen on Germany (Berlin) - Czech Reb. (Prague) - Austria (Vienna) - N. Italy (Venice+Turin) - Switzerland (Geneva). I would like to see all of those places but am a bit concerned about fitting them all into a two-week time frame.
Any advice for trimming it down or maybe some hidden gems that might be a good alternative to any of these?
Thanks in advance!
Aug 26, 2012 10:24 AM
Aug 26, 2012 10:24 AM
2Where to start, well, talking with him would be the perfect start. There are, off the top of my head, ~50 countries in Europe to visit and you've been to just two. Of course leaving a great, vastness of places to see and start in. Classic tour starts in London, carries you through Paris, France to Spain and, as time allows, eastward. So two weeks, the guide books all recommend something on the order of 3 countries, with 2 or 3 cities at 3 (larger) days or 2 (smaller) days respectively per country. That's pretty standard fare, plan it for yourself on a day-by-day basis and you'll arrive at your answer promptly.
Aug 26, 2012 11:02 AM
Aug 26, 2012 11:46 AM
4with 2 weeks. I;d do a maximum of 2 countries, and i would not even hesitate to spend all of them in one country.
1 week in Austria and then 1 week in either Czechia or Northern Italy would be my choice.
BTW there is of course no right answer- each to their own, You may want to read this before you post any further questions:
Aug 26, 2012 1:19 PM
5Thanks for the responses.
@neckervd I was thinking Switzerland and Northern Italy might be a good trip, but I'm a bit concerned about the price of Switzerland (I hear it's quite expensive). Maybe Austria + Czech Republic might be something to think about.
@MTL Thanks for the link, some good tips in there. I guess you guys get a lot of "Where do I start, how do I narrow down my trip because I want to see everything" lol. Sorry for adding another one. Thanks for the advice.
Aug 26, 2012 1:28 PM
Aug 26, 2012 2:54 PM
Aug 26, 2012 7:22 PM
8If i was traveling around i would pick a place after looking around the area, i would choose it as a base to explore further afield.
Like Fussen in Southern Bavaria, it is a wonderful medieval town in its own right, but very close to the Neuschwanstein castle and Munich and very near to the Austrian border so you can easily access towns like Salzburg.
Or Briancon in South/East France, the old walled town is said to be the highest in Europe that is a joy to explore, but it is also close to the city of Grenoble and the French Alps, and it sits very close to the Italian border at the closest city is Turin.
Aug 27, 2012 12:48 AM
1. Don't think countries, think places visited
2. Think about the amount of time spent getting from A to B (including to-from stations, to-from hotels) as a proportion of the entire trip duration. Then ask: "how do I want to spend my time?"
Scenic road trips by car is one thing, seeing the sights in and around towns and cities is something else.
3. With those practical/logistical issues in mind, pay atttention to a map. You mention Venice+Turin as falling under N. Italy, but think East-West as well as North and you see they're at opposite sides of the country, with lots in between.
4. Cost as a tweaking factor. If you're interested in mountain scenery then the mountains in Austria are as scenic as in Switzerland, and the country is on average cheaper to visit. But Vienna as a city-destination may take you too far away from other parts of the itnerary.
Aug 27, 2012 4:29 AM
10Fuessen as a base for a day trip to Salzburg?
Briancon as a base for day trips to Grenoble and Lyon?
What a nonsense!!!!!
BTW: Briancon is at an altitude of only 1326 metres and hence by far not "the highest town of Europe"
May be the highest fortress built by Vauban, but that's a franco-french view of things.
Aug 27, 2012 5:30 AM
111. Don't think countries, think places visited
With all due respect to the other people who have kindly given you their time, this is by far and away the best piece of advice you've received. Berlin is in Germany, but it isn't Germany by itself. You aren't going to see entire countries, just places within them, so plan your trip around interesting places, not around getting to more countries (these days, you don't even get a passport stamp as a souvenir).
I'd also point out that 2 weeks isn't a long time. If you feel up for it, running around like lunatics shifting places every couple of days is going to be tiring, but certainly achievable. "Slow" travel works for some in some circumstances, and not for some in others. You could easily reach, say, 6 or 7 places in such a time frame, without enormous loss of actual "doing things" rather than "going places" time with a bit of careful planning (as in, you don't want to plan to go places that are 5 hours by day train apart). Alternatively, you could base yourself somewhere in the centre of a few places you want to go and do some day trips or short overnight trips.
As for your specific list of places. I would say Geneva is a waste of time, as are most Swiss cities (the only notable exception I'm aware of is Bern, and it's so small it's kinda not really a proper city). So is Turin. Without knowing why you were going to those places, it's hard to know whether that advice is suitable for you or not, but it appears to be advice that is generally suitable for most people.
Aug 27, 2012 9:12 AM
12"Bern is so small it's kinda not really a proper city"
You are completely right: Bern has only about 388 thousand inhabitants (with suburbs). But don't forget that there are dozens of villages and small towns with 5000 to 50.000 inhabitants at distances of less than 40 km from Bern (linked with Berne by trains every 15 min or so). If you add this outer ring, you arrive at about 1.12 million inhabitants.
Turin has about twice that number of inhabitants.
Both towns have many historic monuments (medieval city center of Berne with gothic cathedral, city gates, old fountains and bridges, etc; royal palaces of Turin) and outstanding museums (Einstein Museum, Klee Museum, Alpine Museum, etc. at Berne; Egypt Museum, Automobile Museum, etc. at Turin).
Aug 27, 2012 12:32 PM
13@PhiMeow I really like the idea of having a bit more time in each place. Picking 4 cities to visit seems like a good way to trim things down.
@ishotamaninreno I was looking a bit at Fussen before, due to the Neuschwanstien Castle. It looks beautiful, I think I might look into it more.
@BthDth Great points. Thanks for the advice. Austria is definitely something to consider especially with it being a bit less expensive still with great scenery. Maybe looking into some of the Austrian Alpen cities would be worth considering.
@Aaronmsl Bf is very keen to go to CERN, which is mainly the reason for going to Geneva. He's willing to give it up though if the itinerary doesn't allow for it or it gets too rushed. Switzerland looks beautiful, I'm curious to know why would you consider most cities there to be a waste? We are big history and architecture people, and we both like the outdoors. Is there places you would suggest visiting otherwise?
@neckervd You make both Bern and Turin sound great!
Aug 27, 2012 1:09 PM
14If you want to visit CERN, go to Geneva: cosmopolitan city (more foreign than Swiss people).
Beautiful Lake with historic steamboats (summer season) plying the lake from Geneva to Coppet (castle) - Nyon (Nyon castle and Swiss National Museum at Prangins castle, 1 km away) - Yvoire (small medieval place) - Rolle (castle) - Morges (castle) - Lausanne (medieval city center with cathedral and Historic Museum, Olympic Museum) - Lavaux wineyards (Unesco world heritage site) - Vevey (Gipsy Museum, Food Museum) - Montreux (starting point of the Golden Pass Panoramic Express through the Bernese Oberland to Gstaad - Interlaken - Lucerne where it connects with the Voralpen Express to Arth Goldau (Rigi) - Biberbrugg (Einsiedeln Monastery) - Rapperswil - St. Gallen - Romanshorn Lake Constance) - Chillon Castle.
Mont Blanc, the highest mountain of Western Europe, can be seen from about everywhre in Geneva.
Buses and trains to Chamonix/MontBlanc (2hrs trip).
Geneva has a big medieval cathedral, the usual museums (Art, Paintings, Local History, Natural History, Ethnography), the Red Cross Museum, etc.
The villages in the wineyards around Lake Geneva are in the Burgundy style, whereas most castles are in the style of Savoie.
Cheap accommodation: http://www.cityhostel.ch/english/index.html
Most cathedrals in Western Switzerland are gothic. You find big baroque churches and monasteries in Eastern Switzerland (St. Urban, Einsiedeln, St. Gallen, etc.)
Basel has a medieval center, a baroque cathedral and famous modern buildings, built by Herzog et Demeuron, Diener and Diener, etc.
Roman style architecture all over Switzerland, best example close to Lake Geneva: Romainmotier Abbey.
Canton Ticino (Lugano etc.) has medieval Italian style architecture (like in Lombardy and Piedmont), some churches with stunning frescoes and some modern buildings realized by Mario Botta.
2000 year old Roman theatres at Martigny, Avenches, Augusta Raurica (Basel).
Celtic Lake Dwelling Museums at Neuchatel and Biel/Bienne. Reconstructed Celtic houses at Unteruhldingen (close to Constance).
Watchmaking museums at la Chaux-de-Fonds and Le Locle
Chocolate Factory (open for visits every day) at Broc (1 hr by train from either Lausanne or Berne).
(4 star Hotel)
From US$130.10 per night
(5 star Hotel)
From US$517.03 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$170.50 per night