Feel like a local in Europe?
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Nov 30, 2012 9:29 PM Last Post By: nicole
Nov 11, 2012 9:45 PM
Feel like a local in Europe?Thank you in advance for reading, replying, and being kind (as we do not frequent LP nearly enough):
My husband and I are trying to plan a European vacation for this spring (2013) lasting 3-4 weeks. I have been to England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece. My husband has been with me to Greece, Italy, and Paris, France. Our last vacation was 4 weeks long, we spent time in Athens, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice, and Paris. We love history and art, but appreciate getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city for a few days to relax. We would like to go somewhere new. We have considered southern Italy, the Greek isles, Turkey, and Croatia. We felt that we didn't get enough time in each city..... spending on average about 4-5 days (with exception of Venice and Cinque Terre.) We want to stay longer and feel less like a tourist and more like a local. Any suggestions on where to visit for 2-3 weeks?
Nov 12, 2012 4:20 AM
1Loads of possibilities...but if your main interests are history and art,I'd look at somewhere like Sicily.
There are busy cities but also beaches and countryside..lots of historic sites (from Greek to Phoenician to Arab etc etc)...plenty of art,great local food,markets etc.
Three weeks or so is a good amount of time to see the 'best of' the island.
Nov 12, 2012 11:54 AM
Nov 13, 2012 1:17 AM
3Hi - and welcome to Thorn Tree.
You mention as options both Croatia and Turkey.
Very different in many ways to Western Europe, but also lovely regions.
Much of Eastern Europe is awash with history and ancient ruins, it's quite a bit cheaper than W.E. too.
Have a look on the web and throw back some ideas (also post on 'Eastern Europe & The Caucasus').
It could be have makings of a truly wonderful holiday.
Back to you.
Nov 13, 2012 2:42 AM
Nov 13, 2012 2:46 AM
5ger_power and lucapal,
Would 2 weeks be too much time for Sicily? This may be an ignorant question, so I apologize, but you always hear about the "mafia" and "crime" in Sicily.... is this a problem for tourists? I'm not so afraid of things like that as much since we backpacked in SA..... but just curious.
Nov 13, 2012 2:57 AM
6Have you been to both Croatia and Turkey
Yes I have, by train and car.
I do prefer the countryside, but liked Dubrovnik, Split and the border region close to Hungary.
Zagreb is OK, but I wouldn't do another detour to see it. An OK city, that's all.
Istanbul should not be missed. A big 'Big' city and so full of everything ! !
Driving in the Turkey countryside is wonderful (a few crazy drivers, but they're in every country).
I also really like the coastline close to the Bulgaria/Turkey border. Quite unspoilt and not so touristy.
Just a few ideas
Nov 13, 2012 4:11 AM
If you go someplace new for 2-3 weeks, you'll be there as tourists, I don't see anyway around that :-)
Maybe picking a spot and renting an apartment for the whole time would be an effective way of 'escaping' from all the things tourists commonly do (restaurants, hotels, 'if this is tuesday it must be Brussels', etc.) and hopefully give a chance to interact with tradespeople, neighbors et al in ways that most tourists don't normally access.
Nov 13, 2012 4:13 AM
Nov 13, 2012 5:51 AM
9Two weeks is not too much for Sicily...its a fairly big island (Trapani to Ragusa is 230 kilometres) and there is a lot to see and do.
On the mafia aspect...no,it doesn't really affect the casual visitor.
There is some crime of course..like bag-snatching,esp.in the big cities like Palermo and Catania.You need to be careful as you should in any large city.
Nov 13, 2012 10:34 AM
10I find this question simply too broad to give just one answer to. There are countless places someone could spend 3 weeks in and still just scratch the surface. I think your title while understandable is simply not achievable.
If Sicily interests you then obviously it would be worth spending 3 weeks visiting it. The same applies to countless other places as well of course. For example, Corsica has a lot to offer most visitors and could be considered a comparable alternative to Sicily. But then so could any number of Greek islands. Really, asking others where YOU should go never makes any sense to me. It depends on YOUR interests, not what someone else liked.
The problem as I see it is there are literally hundreds of places you could visit. You need to pick one. Any guidebook on Europe will give you just as many choices as asking others here what your choices are. Really, there is no short cut to doing your own research.
I do note you seem to emphasis cities. If you happen to be people who prefer cities when you travel then at least that will give you a starting point for picking a destination. Spending 3 weeks in Venice gives quite a different impression than spending 3 days there. It will give you a more 'in depth' impression and that is what you seem to be really looking for (not the unachieveable, 'feel like a local').
The problem is that no one can ever visit everywhere that might interest them and no one can spend too much time in any of them. It's a dilemna that has no solution. So that being said, it is a case of just biting the bullet and picking one of many and being satisfied with that.
I could think of hundreds of places in Europe I would like to spend 3 or 4 weeks in but no way of choosing one over the other except by randon choice, the flip of a coin or throwing a dart at a map. Maybe that's as good a way as any to choose, who's to say?
Here's one that interests ME (we actually considered living there at one time) http://www.tourisme-langres.com/langres-city-of-art-and-history_en_01.html Imagine how well you could come to know a smaller place like this rather than a big city like Paris or Rome, etc.
Here's another that interests ME. http://www.google.ca/search?q=zofingen+switzerland&hl=en&prmd=imvns&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=EZKiUOqVLuaWywGq5oHgCA&sqi=2&ved=0CDsQsAQ&biw=1280&bih=687
Both are small walled cities. I seem to like walled cities/towns for some unknown reason. At least If I used that criteria as a starting point it would cut down the number of possibilities. Think of a criteria that would cut down a list for you.
Nov 13, 2012 3:49 PM
I know that my open ended question is one that cannot completely be answered by anyone but me. I appreciate the suggestion to find some specific criteria in narrowing my options. The problem with the love of travel is that my list continues to lengthen to well beyond what a person could achieve without making travel a way of life, or a living. I agree that with 2-3 weeks one could not "become a local" in a foreign country... so yes... I would love to get a more in "depth perception" of a foreign country/region/city. I find that my safe side wants to travel back to the places I have already fallen in love with (ie. Paris, Rome, Italy in general) however the logical and adventurous side knows that one cannot fall in love with a land without visiting it first :) The great thing about LP is that by asking this question I now have Sicily to consider as an option, while before when I was referring to "southern Italy" I was thinking about the almafi coast...Napoli (which I guess isn't that far south.... but more south than I have been).... etc. I am in the preliminary travel planning, so bear with me.... and THANK YOU.... or GRAZIE!
Nov 15, 2012 2:35 PM
12I agree with #13 to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel. We have used VRBO.com
It is tough to feel like a local anywhere unless you know people there. Maybe you could look into doing a Meetup (Meetup.com) when you first get to the city. (I've never done this but I just came up with the idea and I think I would give it a try.) Get food for breakfast at the corner grocery store, Read a book in a neighborhood park, go to a neighborhood bar for a beer, etc.
Edited by: Bohemiana
Edited by: Bohemiana
Nov 17, 2012 4:26 AM
Nov 17, 2012 7:48 AM
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