I have the opportunity to take a whole month off of work and visit anywhere in the world with about $4,000 USD (give or take). I am 28 years old and I have never planned such a journey for myself. I was planning to go to Mexico during this time with my girlfriend and propose to her after being together for 7 and a half years. But she decided 3 weeks ago that she doesn't feel right about seeing me in her life right now and we are on a "break". Anyway, I have the time and money to go anywhere, and Europe is what has attracted me more than anywhere in the world. I will be leaving June 24th of this year so time is cerainly an essence in timing this trip. I want to buy my tickets soon. I have been planning everything by what I hear from people and have read in books as I have never been off of the North American continent before. I will most likely be staying at hostels along the way. I have an outline off what my trip might be so far but I just want some more input from other experienced travelers. I was thinking of flying into Munich, Germany and spending a week there. I am a beer lover so I was going to take some brewery tours and check out the museums in Munich while staying at hostels. I also wanted to visit some of the Alps and maybe take a tram to the top of a mountain either in Germany or Switzerland. Next I was going to go through Switzerland via the train, probably staying a few days in the country. My next destination was going to be Florence, Italy where I was going to meet my friend who lives there. Maybe take a week in Florence then head out to the west coast. Now I don't know where I want to stay on the coast. I am going to be looking for a good time with other people but since I don't know Italian I don't want to be in the real little towns by myself. Hostels seem like a good bet because I will be sure to meet other people that speak English and will want to hang out. I have friends that have been urging me to go to Prague, C.R., but from what I have read it doesn't sound all that intruiging. So any input from anybody that knows anything more than I do would greatly be appreciated. I really want to buy my airline tickets this week.
Your plan sounds great, and I think Munich is a good place to start. You could check out train passes in Europe and take the train from Germany to Italy and stop along the way.
Hostels are a great place to stay if you want to meet people..
visit croatia, island Pag and Island Hvar, from Italy you have ferry line Ancona - Split, or Venice-Split
Well, I have stayed in small towns in Italy and you should be ok with not knowing Italian. Cinque Terre is beautiful...it's made of five tiny coastal towns that are connected by a hiking path and a train line. I loved doing the hike from one town to the last...it takes about 6 or 7 hours. Most of it is pretty easy, there is just one tough part that involves a lot of stair climbing. Here's it's official website.
Another samll town that I enjoyed is in Spain...San Sebastian. It's great for beach-bumming and drinking (a lot of bars). I found that there were more tourists there than in Cinque Terre though. Here's their website.
Your plan sounds pretty good! You'll love Munich and Florence, beautiful cities! Switzerland is a beautiful country too, wherever you go!
If you have any more questions feel free to ask!
Thanks for the great fast replies! I couldn't sleep much last night because of all of the excitement for this trip. I am going to go to a university today and check out the books on all of these places in their library. I have heard of Cinque Terra before and it sounds like a great place. What about lodging there? Are the hostels? Will they be available in early July? How are the beaches there? Anyway, I'm sure I'll have many more questions the more I plan this trip. This is a great forum! Thanks again!
My fiancee has spent a fair amount of time in Munich and Salzburg, although when he went, he had a place to stay. I'll have to get him to get on this site to offer tips! He and his brother also did some hosteling around Italy and Germany.
I'm a fan of Scotland, which is a great place for backpackers. I can't say enough good things about their hostels (www.syha.org.uk). They are very comfortable and well kept, at least the ones I've stayed in. One is a castle north of Inverness, although I really like the one at Loch Lomond. Oban, Scotland, is a great place to stay for a few days if you're looking to play in the highlands, although there are several hostels throughout the highlands, and you can backpack from one to another.
I wouldn't worry too much about not speaking much Italian. I guy I used to be with got stuck one night on a beach at the Cinque Terre (the stairs go through a cliff and close at a certain time). He spent the night on the beach with a group of guys from Germany and Italy and had a great time. He doesn't speak either language.
Well I'm Scottish so I won't mention that as I'm biased, but I really like Innsbruck in Austria, it's quite near Munich. There isn't a lot there if you don't like ski-ing, but it's up in the mountains and I just found it one of the more beautiful places I've visited - of course you can go to Salzburg instead and you'd probably enjoy that more, I sort of prefer quieter places though and just found Innsbruck nicer. Ok I said I wouldn't mention Scotland, but a place I really love here for scenery is Cape Wrath, which is at the very North of the country. It has some beautiful scenery and also a rather large puffin population - I happen to like puffins a lot.