Feel like a Local in Europe?
Replies: 6 - Last Post: Nov 21, 2012 8:19 AM Last Post By: ninaburns
Nov 13, 2012 2:49 AM
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 13, 2012 6:56 AM
1Okay well I'm going to sing the song for Turkey here as it is on your'considered list' :)
Spring is a perfect time to visit,the days are mainly warm and sunny but not too hot for walking around and it is not too crowded as the summertime package tour hordes haven't yet arrived.The countryside is spectacularly beautiful too.
Turkey has often been likened to an open air museum and this is accurate;where ever you look there are ancient ruins and remains to be seen.It has a rich varied history and culture spanning 12,000 years and many different civilisations all of whom have left their mark.Do you know Turkey has more historical sites than Greece and Italy combined?Because it is outside the Eurozone it also still gives good value for money too.
Istanbul is naturally at the top of most visitors lists and you could start off with a few days there just to take in the major must see's.You could stay longer there easily but if you prefer to get out of a large city then perhaps head down to Izmir and go to Selçuk.
This is a small traditional town close by Ephesus,yet in spite of having a world famous attraction on it's doorstep the town has remained pleasantly untouristy and comfortable.It has good rail,bus and road links to many other area's too.Therefore it would make an ideal base for you to explore a good portion of the Aegean coastal area and some of it's hinterland also.
Places you could visit include Assos,Bergama,Piene,Miletus,Didyma,Aphrodidias,Iasos plus manys others too.Places of natural beauty include Lake Bafa and Pamukkale(which also had the site of Hierapolis right by it).All 7 sites of the Churches of the Revalations are also to be found in this area.
The lovely Çeşme peninsula is a short ride away and from there you can take a ferry over to the Greek island of Lesvos and from Kuşadası a ferry to Samos.
So you can spend time just chilling around Selçuk and take days out when you feel like it.
Another area where you could do a similar thing would be Cappadocia in central Anatolia.This is a large and unique area and would be a good base for many side trips such as to Konya,Ankara,Nemrut Mountain or even a few days down to Mardin and Şanlıurfa.
If anything here has struck a chord please ask up anything you wish.My desire is to get everyone to visit Turkey at least once in their lives!
Nov 13, 2012 7:34 AM
2It appears that you really enjoy the Mediterranean, so I'll stick to that region.
Turkey is fantastic. Istanbul is perhaps the greatest city in the world. And plenty of other things to see, too, as #1 indicates.
Croatia, for sure. You could spend an excellent 2-3 weeks in Croatia without getting bored. Just explore around the Adriatic Coast and the many islands, and hopefully get inland to at least see Plitvice National Park, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. If you had a little bit more time, you could get down to the less explored regions of Montenegro and Albania.
It's further north, but how about a 3-4 week trip to, say, the Czech Republic and Poland. Or maybe Poland and Hungary. All of those countries have some wonderful, historic cities, as well as some quaint small towns to explore. You could visit the Baltic Coast in Poland, as well as some mountain towns, to help you get away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities.
Hope this helps.
Nov 14, 2012 2:49 AM
3I would say Croatia or Montenegro. Rent a place and a car for 3 weeks, then explore the area. Places are close enough that you can do lots of day trips. Staying in the same place, particularly an apartment means that you have the possibility to cook some meals which means going to local groceries and markets and getting to know a place better. Of course, this assumes that you really want to be like a local...
Nov 17, 2012 4:29 AM
5sarikanarya - Thanks for all the great advise! Istanbul is definetly on the agenda now!
Nov 21, 2012 8:19 AM
6Staying on one of the Croatian islands is a great 3-4 week holiday. You can island hop and visit the mainland on day trips, so there is a lot to see and do, both culturally and if you like hiking, biking, kayaking, wine tasting, learning local cuisine and customs, etc.. I recommend staying in a villa and either doing Day Sails to island hop, or spend 2 weeks in a villa and a week or 2 sailing. You can charter your own yacht with skipper, or join one of the many sailing tours - everything from bare bones to high luxury - whatever your style. By the end you will feel like a local - the islands are very unspoiled and life follows the seasons.
May is amazing on the islands - wildflowers, quiet before all the tourists descend and beautiful sea.
Enjoy your trip!
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