My girlfriend and I are planning to get the channel tunnel to France and then do a bit of a jolly around Europe somewhere. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions for where to go (countries, regions etc.), hotels to stay at, places to eat, anything like that. We haven't got a big budget and we're driving (or, more accurately, I'm driving as she doesn't have a license).
If you are driving, would you be up for camping? Lots of great campsites in central Europe - France, Spain, Germany, etc. My brother and I did that once and really enjoyed it. You can keep your accommodation costs way down and have more money for eating out, sightseeing, etc.
We'd definitely be up for camping, so long as it's not too cold!
There are awesome places in every country, so I don't even know where to start :D Especially since I don't know what you guys are into.
So, I'll just start with whatever comes to mind and if you have any particular interests or want to know more about anything I wrote about, let me know.
I haven't been to France a lot, but I spent a week in Nice a couple of years ago and liked it a lot.
It's not to big, and in the downtown area everything is within walking distance. You can also take a day-trip with a kind of train, called the "train des pignes" (pine-tree train). It connects Nice with lots of small villages in the mountainous back country. You'll enjoy it if you like to see picturesque villages, beautiful landscapes etc. You can step off the train at any stop you like and go for a walk, some of the villages also have old fortresses and hiking trails and stuff like that. Then you either take the next one to go on or turn back to Nice (however, there aren't that many trains per day, so definitely check out the current time table first!).
Now generally, I like Italy quite a lot. At least, as a holiday destination, living there is a different matter altogether...
I've so far been to Sanremo, Padova, Venice (love it, but I think it's one of those places that you either love or hate :D ), Pisa, Siena, Florence, (Tuscany generally is awesome! Not only the famous big cities, but the smaller towns and villages on top of the hills, too), Sardinia (the north), Sicily and Naples (loved Pompey, by the way, so interesting).
Good thing about Italy is that if you manage to find a really bad (Italian!) restaurant, you should get an award. Kidding, but I really can't remember any bad experiences when it comes to Italian food (at least, as long as you're not a pasta hater..) Aaaaanyway, moving on.
I'm Swiss, so if you're interested in that, I could give you lots of tips. But I know that it's expensive and therefore not everybody's favorite destination.
If you'd like to go to Germany, I can definitely recommend Hamburg, having been there myself. Beautiful city, lots of culture, fun things, musicals, castles and so on.
Another country I've been to more than once would be Spain. Loved Sevilla, Malaga is more for party, at least during summer.
Then there's Cadiz, nice little town, but you've seen it in 1-2 days. Its beach is seen in one of the Bond movies, the one with Halle Berry, if I remember correctly :D
Also very interesting: Croatia. Not the most perfect place when it comes to beaches, as they're mostly very rocky, not a lot of sand there, but there are lots of things to see. Dubrovnik is beautiful!
Alright, you see there are so many places. If you like, give us some ideas of what you're interested in and I'm sure you'll get some more concrete answers
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Mar-2014, at 12:55 by Yiuli ]
Thanks for replying with so much interesting insight!
I love Italy and Italian food - I've only been once to snowboard, but it was great! My only concern really is that if it's only me driving, it might take a few days to get there!
I've been to Switzerland too, to see CERN but you're right, it's very expensive and our budget isn't that big, sadly.
I think what we'd like is to get away from boring ol' English life, taste some new foods, see some pretty places and be able to chill a bit. Oh, and we both quite like music too!
Shame nobody else answered your questions, I was away from home for almost a week and didn't go online except for checking my emails. But I'm back now!
However, I'm not sure of how much assistance I can really be. I have never driven from England to, say, Italy, so I did a quick Google research. I chose London to Florence as an example, since I don't know where you'll be starting from and Florence simply because I suggested Tuscany in my first post
Alright, here are the quick facts:
Distance London - Florence -> approximately 751 miles (1209km)
If you average 55mph -> 17 hours
So that means, if you were to go to Tuscany, it would take you at least 1 day there and 1 back. Of course, you could do this far more slowly, take your time through France on both ways and leave maybe 4 days for 1-2 Italian places etc.
But, I have to say that if you're going for 2 weeks only, plan travel in Summer and haven't seen all of France and, for instance, the Netherlands yet, it would probably be great to just limit yourself to France (I've heard Normandy and Brittany are beautiful regions, but haven't been there myself) and maybe another northern country close to it, like Belgium or the Netherlands. You'd have more time for sight-seeing and relaxing and less time on the road. It depends on how thorough you want to be with the places you visit Some people prefer to move on after 1 day, some like to visit every single museum to be found in their chosen city.
If you decide to do mostly France, I cannot really give you any tips apart from Nice, cause that's the only place I've been to myself (so far ). Again, Nice is all the way down South, certainly feasible, but means more driving.
In any case, you'll find beautiful places and interesting food in all these countries, of that I can assure you!
Let me know if there's any other or new questions I can help with!