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European Vacation Opinions

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1. Posted by CasualWonder (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hey World,

We’re planning a trip to Europe for 2017. A LENGTHY trip. between 2 and 3 months. Our planned schedule is pretty reasonable. We are planning on visiting the Italy first for around 2 weeks, then boating to Greece for 2-3 weeks (we will be intermittently going to Turkey, all for family genealogy stuff). Then we're going to the UK and Ireland for around 2-3 weeks each.

We will be using the Britrail pass while we are tin the UK, and then getting the 2 (possibly 3 month) EuroRail global pass for all of our other stops. I figure that i’ll only make this trip once, and I want to make it worth it. It’s going to be jam-packed full of stuff to do. I know I want to be in Ireland over my birthday, but We’re not sure if we should we go from May 24 – August 20, or choose different weeks. What do you guys think? What is the weather like during those months? This is my first vacation out of the country.

Just in case, what are the regulations about working with a tourist visa? Which type of visa would be required if, say, we wanted to get little part-time jobs while there?


2. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 821 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!


In the UK and Ireland that time maximises your chances of comfortably warm and sunny weather, though our maritime climate means what you get is a bit random at any time of year. For Greece, Turkey and Italy i think May will be a lot more comfortable than August - for me they would be too hot In full summer; I've been to Athens in July and couldn't cope with the 100°+ temperatures. If heat is a concern, you could google average conditions month and destination - i know the bbc weather site has these for world cities.

I'd basically forget working on a tourist visa - it's illegal and although the chance of them getting raided is slim you risk being put in a detention centre for months before the courts get round to deporting you.

For your time in the UK, get out of the south of England! Many people just use London as a base with a couple of day trips out. All the good landscapes are in the North, Wales and Scotland, and South West England. If you get to Orkney, Glencoe and Staffa you can say you've seen Scotland. :-)

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 840 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Andy has some excellent suggestions. I'd also recommend that you forget about working.

If you're a U.S. citizen, you won't need a tourist visa for the European countries you plan to visit, except for Turkey, where you can apply for one online.

I looked at your Travellerspoint map. You might want to consider an "open jaw" ticket from Detroit to Rome; and returning from the UK or Ireland. Rather than buying rail passes, you should consider taking some flights, saving time and money.

For example, you could fly to Italy, tour that country; then take the ferry from Brindisi to Corfu. Then fly to Athens and continue to the Greek islands, winding up in Rhodes to take the ferry to Marmaris. Visit the excellent Greek ruins at Ephesus (Selcuk), then continue to Bursa and Istanbul. From there, fly to London. Fares are cheap.

Use and to help plan your flights. Use trains and buses in Italy, although flights are cheap, too. For example, you can fly from Rome to Sicily for almost a song. Check it out.

So look at a map; and have fun planning. There's a lot of useful information on the Web. In my opinion, traveling in May, June and July would be best. For what you plan to see, two weeks in Italy aren't likely to be enough.

One more thing. It's too early for you to book your flights. But have a look; and get some ideas. You'll find that you have lots of options.

4. Posted by CasualWonder (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Hi Guys!

Thanks for responding! We are figuring 2-ish weeks in each location, give or take some time. We have allowed ourselves 11 weeks, in case we decide to spend longer in a particular area. As for the current travel map I have on my profile, I went according to the train schedule, and the areas we have to travel through in order to get to others. We are most definitely planning on only spending a couple days in London (at MAX), and travelling around Northern Ireland, Rep. of Ireland, Scotland, Wales. We have an idea as follows:

St Andrews
The Highlands
- Loch Ness
- Isle of Skye

Down to Belfast
Giant's Causeway
Cliffs of Moher
and Dublin.

I did assume that 2 weeks would not be enough in Italy. Based on our map, we figured closer to 21 days - However, not everything on our Italy itinerary is a necessity.

Our aim is to fly out of Dublin at the end of our trip. I want to spend my birthday weekend (July 26) in Ireland, staying at a castle. --I know, I know. It sounds extravagant -- But I've been saving for a while, and am going to stay as long as I can, and make it the trip of a lifetime.

Thank you so much for the advice on when/where to take flights and boats. I love the idea of taking a flight to London from Istanbul.

Thanks Guys!


5. Posted by Andyf (Moderator 821 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!


That uk and Ireland plan looks pretty good. Assume you're doing this part by hire car?

If you want a stopoff between London and Edinburgh i suggest York (plenty of history and a taste of England ) or if you're into the outdoors a couple of nights in Keswick to see the Lake District.

Unless you have a reason (eg golf) i think St Andrews doesn't have much to see. And the Giant's Causeway is famously not worth the detour.

If you're heading to Loch Ness you'll most likely go via a night in Inverness - the riverside is lovely. If you like whisky there are some great distillery tours near here, including the excellent and free Glenfiddich tour at Dufftown. Skye is great, or for a more intimate taste of the islands there is a ferry from Mallaig which roves round the Small Isles, each of which is a great day trip. On the way back down the drive through Glencoe and across Rannoch Moor is great.

Ireland can be a lot more expensive than the uk, if that influences the split of time between the two.

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7. Posted by CasualWonder (Budding Member 7 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!


IS there a train that goes around Ireland? I'm not too excited about renting a car and driving around Ireland myself. More stuff to look into. I'm so glad I started this planning so far ahead. Ireland is definitely going to be around 2 weeks on its own, and The England/Wales/Scotland trip is going to be about 2-3 weeks on its own.

Thanks so much everyone!


8. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 840 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

Check this link:

9. Posted by mariha2912 (Full Member 115 posts) 2y Star this if you like it!

I find that although distances seem small on a map, terrain on Ireland is more diverse than people think and driving on a narrow road can be as low as 40 km/hour, so even with a car hire criss-crossing the country is not as simple as it seems.

I travel only on public transport and I have visited Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland many times. Actually once upon a time I spent about 5 months living on Belfast and 5 months living on Cork while I have take 4 weeks' long trips on Ireland, exploring different spots on public transport . This is one of those countries that it worths sticking around on a location longer than usual and been flexible. You may discover some pubs with amazing ambiance in a village in the middle of nowhere or fall in love with the scenery or hiking in a place you had originaly allow only an overnight and may not want to leave. There is no need to rush, Ireland requires a relaxing attitude.

On my experience trains are fine to connect among major cities, otherwise buses are the way to go. I believe rather than trying to cover the whole island it is wiser to pick 3-4 spots with decent connections in a a two weeks time frame and enjoy. For example Derry to Galway is a 6 hours bus ride and you skip most of the amazing north-west countryside. From Galway you have amazing Connemara on your door step and easy access to Aran Islands. No need to go all the way to Doolin/Cliffs of Moher area when you have so great scenic areas on close distance. I guess you would have to go from Galway all the way to Ennis or even Limerick on train or bus, then get an other bus to reach Doolin near the Cliffs or go to Spiddal, get a ferry to Aran islands, then an other one to Doolin. Then Doolin to Cork means again going to Ennis or Limerick to make connections work. Blarney is half an hour bus trip from Cork by the way...
I would spend some time looking closely on the travel logistics. Here are the websites for bus and train travel in the Republic and all public transport on Northern Ireland:

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