55 days in Western Europe
Replies: 40 - Last Post: Dec 19, 2012 5:23 AM Last Post By: jnrglover
Dec 14, 2012 6:26 AM
15I described 6 possible day trips wich can easily be done by car from the Martigny - Sierre area (Swiss Canton of Valais), another for which Aosta would be a better base and a last one in the Engadin Valley area (Swiss Canton of Grischun). There are of course tons of other places.
have a look at http://www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html and at a Swiss map http://map.geo.admin.ch/?lang=en choose an itinerary and decide what you will visit. What do you call "budget accommodation"?
Dec 14, 2012 7:23 AM
16Thats right Clementis.
My girlfriend and I are looking to mainly spend this time exploring the countryside and smaller towns of central and south eastern France, Tuscany and Pyranees. We would love to do the coast of Portugal, but understand that time will be an issue. We thought the car would allow us to do things at our own pace, while having the ability to attend some events that we are interested in (Il Palio and Running of the Bulls). I know it was a fairly broad topic, but the information that has been put up by the likes of neckervd and mredman was exactly what I was looking for.
We have 55 days with the car, but will be spending longer in Europe after that, where we would be able to explore some major cities by plane and train
Obviously we will keep looking into different guidebooks, websites and blogs, but who better to speak to than the good people of this forum :)
Dec 14, 2012 7:48 AM
Dec 15, 2012 2:57 AM
18Here is my France/Spain/Portugal/Italy part of the trip I did this year
Abbaye de Fontenay
Basilique de Vezelay
Monastere de Brou, near Bourg en Bresse
Cite Medievale de Perouges
Gorge de Ardeche
Fort de Salses
Then we whizzed past Barcelona and inland to
the high road to Cuenca
Alcala del Jucar
Priego de Cordoba
Had to pop into Malaga
Setenil de las Bodegas
Jerez de la Frontera
Arcos de la Frontera
Almonaster la Real
Jerez de los Caballeros
Castelo de Vide
Idanha a Velha
The high Douro Valley around Freixa da Espada a Cinta
Miranda do Douro
Back into Spain
Castillo de la Mota
Castillo de Coca
La Granja de San Ildefonso
Ruins of Gormaz
Berlanga de Duero
Monasterio de Veruela
Crossing into France by Valle d'Aran then drove pretty much straight to Italy
Picked up friends in Bergamo
Certosa di Pavia
Made a toast in Piazza Michelangelo in Florence and started driving home
This part of trip was total about 45 days.
Enough off the beaten track for you? :D
Dec 15, 2012 5:28 AM
Dec 15, 2012 5:40 AM
Dec 15, 2012 5:42 AM
Dec 15, 2012 6:26 AM
22mredman mentioned a lot of small places very close to each other. An example: the visit of the church of Brou takes hardly longer than 1 hr; the next place, Pérouges is less than 30 kms away. Nobody needs half a day for the visit of Perouges, some 25 kms east o Lyon. Vienne is even closer to Lyon.
So, it would make sense to visit Beaune in the morning, to move to Brou (some 100 kms, all motorway) in the early afternoon, visit the church, go to have a look at Perouges and sleep in Lyon. Such a trip wouldn't be hectic at all.
Or would you find it completely crazy to visit Trapani, Erice, Marsala, Selinunte and Segesta (5 destinations!) in "only" 2 days?
Dec 15, 2012 6:34 AM
23Depends what you mean by 'visit' necker ;-)
To take those you mention above....
I've been to Trapani as a tourist maybe 5 or 6 times.Plus many times for work,but that's different.Erice maybe 6 or 7 times.The others quite a few times as well.
Total time spent in all 5 places doing things like walking around,sightseeing,eating,drinking in bars or cafes,visiting churches and monuments,seeing exhibitions etc.would be considerably more than 2 days.
Dec 15, 2012 6:38 AM
24As for the itinerary above....I can't speak of France, Spain etc as i don't know the places well enough (or at least not all).
On the Italian part I'd say a decent timeframe for me would be 2 days in Bergamo,2 in Pavia/Certosa,3 in Genoa,3 plus in the CT (if you want to walk...as you know I would not personally choose to go there ;-)2 in San Gim.,2 in Siena and minimum 5 in Florence.
That's nearly 3 weeks just for the Italy part.And that is to touch the surface...
Of course,everyone is free to travel how they like....some want a small taste of many different places and others want something different...
Dec 15, 2012 7:13 AM
Slines Royales d'Arc et Senans
Pont du Gard
Le Grau du Roi
Grotte des Demoiselles
for Burgundy, Rhone-Alpes, Provence and Languedoc ...........
Yes to all of these! I was just saying what my last trip was. I've been on a 3 month eurotrip before this one, and I've been on others, and I had visited most of these places.
Every eurotrip, choices have to be made about where not to visit even more than where to go, and the above list was my pick this time.
Exactly, small countryside towns and churches only have about an hour worth of stuff to do there. What are you going to do in Monsaraz, Portugal for longer than an hour, maybe an hour and a half? But I think its one of the most beautiful places in Portugal.
The castle of Alarcon, in Castille is an impressive sight, but thing's a hotel. There's nothing to do inside, there isn't even a view from it. So you stop nearby, take in the view to it, a few pictures and move on.
Of course, if you're on public transport... you can't even visit a quarter of all of these in that time frame.
What do you do for 2 days in Pavia? Its a small small town. I visited Certosa di Pavia in the early morning, drove to Pavia, walked back and fourth through the town 3 times, did shopping in the market (bought everything from prosciutto to a lady's handbag), then drove to Genoa and still had enough time to walk several hours around there, climb the Dodge's tower, and watch festivities.
I spent 2 days in Cinque Terre. Could have easily done a third day, but chose not to.
2 days in Siena doing what, eating pizza? That's a valid excuse.
I admit I didn't last 5 hours in Florence. Ridiculously touristy, got pissed off at it all and just drove somewhere far more interesting.
Dec 15, 2012 9:28 AM
26Luca, thanks for the reply. You are right, it depends what one means by "visit".
When I was young, I visited a lot of churches and museums, castles, palaces, caves etc. everywhere.
But I rapidly found out that my personal benefit of all that wasn't that big. In some cases, (for example after having seen the 250th roman sepulchral stele or the 30th 19th Century weaving loom) I rather got a sentiment of "too much of the same".
Nowadays, I rather concentrate on things that are really outstanding or new to me or on exhibitions which present well known things under a new, often very original aspect.
A lot of very different things can fall into this categories, like
the exhibition La Merica about Italian emigration to the USA in the Museo del Mare at Genova 2 years ago
the very simple (and well hidden) memorial for the Swiss minister Lutz who saved thousands of Jews under the Nazi/Pfeilkreuzler (NYKP) Regime at Budapest during WW2
the Check Point Charly Museum in Berlin
the fascist horror of Monumento Nacional de Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caídos in Castilla
the site of Palmyra
the (now closed) Stuttgart exhibition about resistance against Nazi terror in Baden-Wuerttemberg
the trails and beaches in the Riserva dello Zingaro
the pyramids of Tikal
the isolated "Genoan" churches in Corsica and Sardinia
the Museo Histórico - Palacio de la Inquisición at Cartagena de India
That doesn't mean that I don't visit the main buildings, museums, excavations, etc. if I go to a place for the first time. But I don't want to see EVERYTHING (and forget 80 per cent of it very soon).
Therefore I can perfectly visit the ruins of Segesta or Selinunte in a few hours each (I did so, BTW). But I agree that people who are interested in the History of these places in detail can spend many days there.
Therefore I can understand mredman. But that's just MY approach and MY opinion. Everybody is free to do and to think what he/she likes. We are in Europe and not in ........(sorry, the list would get too long).
Dec 15, 2012 10:18 AM
As i said,depends what you are interested in....
I've probably spent a month as a tourist in Florence (over 30 years or so) and never got bored.
I could go back tomorrow and spend a few great days,no problem.Touristy or not.....if you are interested in art and history there is a huge amount to see.
Obviously if you have no interest in the Renaissance,art,Italian culture or history,churches etc etc you will not find more than enough to fill a couple of hours....
Dec 15, 2012 10:21 AM
28BTW...for someone who states that they wanted to see untouristed places,and seems to disdain them in general...you picked probably 4 of the top 7 or 8 tourist destinations in the country ;-)
Apart from Florence,you had the CT,San Gimignano and Siena.
Add Rome,Venice,Pisa and maybe Pompeii and you have the typical tourist whistle-stop tour of Italy.....
Dec 16, 2012 1:12 AM
29Like I said, we picked up friends in the airport in Bergamo and the last few days of the trip were with them, so we just went to the more popular sights. This eurotrip concentrated on Spain and Portugal.
I'm interested in art, churches and whatnot, but on a 50+ day trip you have to be careful not to do a "church overload". There are only so many churches and museums you can visit on one trip. I would say packing in too many "must see" churches and museums is a classical eurotrip mistake.
I don't like Florence. I have been there 3 times. There simply is no atmosphere. It appeared to me as a place where tourists go to get milked. Kinda like a package holiday destination. Of course, everyone's mileage may vary, when I went on my first independent trip it was a package holiday, and I loved it. Now I have been to 50+ countries and twice around the world, some destinations simply no longer excite me. If I had to go to Prague I would rather stay home and watch paint dry.
That said, touristy places can be non-touristy, if you are careful. Some, of course, are beyond hope. All we did was hike in Cinque Terre, trail 1, then 7a to Corniglia, then 6d and 6 to Maranola. Very very few tourists. 6d is especially incredible, easily one of the top days on the trip.
We spent the night in San Gimignano. Just walked around town at midnight. Beautifully lit, not a single soul in sight, as basically all tourists are day trippers from Florence and Siena. Next morning when the crowds came - holy baloney, what a circus. Got out ASAP.
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