I'm planning my one-month first trip to Europe in August this year.
The places I would like to visit are: Madrid, Barcelona, London, Paris, Florence, Berlin, Vienna, Graz and Ljubljana.
I thought about getting an Eurailpass, but for some routes/lines I've read I need to pay an extra fee, so I'll be travelling mainly through budget flights, to save time and money.
Having said this, in what order would you list the places I mentioned? How many days at least do you think I need in every city?
What area in each city is ideal to stay? I don't care if it's noisy, I just want to get easily to the main attractions in each city.
I would be happy to read any recommendations!
Reconsider your plan to fly everywhere; it's environmentally irresponsible travel, see my thread in the general forum. Moreover, I don't really believe it will in the end be cheaper than Eurail; you'll just spread your money over multiple companies, but in the end you'll most likely pay more.
Another option you have is Eurolines - bus travel. (www.eurolines.com) Often cheaper than the train if you buy individual tickets.
You can also book ahead your train tickets over the internet, this way they'll be cheaper. Look out for special offers.
This site will help you calculate costs of train tickets:
BTW, all these cities are very spread out. I would concentrate on only a few of them, like London-Paris-Barcelona-Madrid or Berlin-Prague-Bratislava-Vienna-Graz-Ljubljana.
Also (no offence here) these cities are a bit similar, you might want to further broaden your horizon by going to Scandinavia, Poland and the Baltics too. Turkey and Greece also make for a nice change.
Be aware that you need to book the cheap flights ahead a long time before you go. Since everybody in Europe travels in August, I expect all the cheap flights to be gone by now.
do not use budget airlines!!!!!
use trains and buses. They will not be cheap and you have to consider gettin to some of these airports is costly and takes some time too.
Trains are half the fun of travel! u meet so many peeps on trains.
Good one, Jeff :-)
and Maia is right, too; big cities tend to have a somewhat similar feel to them, esp. the ones in 'civilised europe'. Dropping into the baltics may be interesting; also consider going to St. Petersburg (if your visa allows you to) or Moscow, THAT is really interesting as well.
Most of the cheap airlines company flies quite far from the city centre (eg ryannair). Then it costs you a fortune to go to the city center where most of the tourist attractions are.
The best deal will be trough eurolines who does special ticket of 15 days or a month. This type of ticket allow you to cover most of the european countries. Try to book your trip from city to city during the night so you can save on hotel rooms.
Concerning how to organise your trip that will depend on where you are arriving and departing.
Have a good time in Europe.
I know it is enviromentally irresponsible to fly everywhere, however you can get some really good flights. You really have to book on these airlines when the cheap seats are available. If you would like to skip a few countries, you can subsitute Croatia for Spain perhaps. It is absolutely beautiful and inexpensive for sure. I frequently travel to Slovenia and Croatia and know quite a bit about how to get around. I have lived here for a total of 2 years in and out over three years. I can give anyone a nice travel itinerary. I will post it a little later if I see interest here. Put Croatia on your list for sure!
I know of several hotels that I recommend,they are cheap and nice. Don't worry about speaking English. People in the Balkan regions are very good with English and you will have no problems.
Just to have an idea, lenght of the journey by train between the cities you've mentioned:
from paris to florence expect to spend from 10 to 15 hours travelling.
london -berlin about 11 hours
paris- berlin 9 hours
berlin to wien from 9 hours and half to 11.
wien to graz 2 hours and half
graz -lubiana 4hours and half /5
london -paris by train is about 3 hours, so it could be ok, but check the prices: english railways are really expensive, and definitely don't work so good.
paris -madrid from 13 to 15 hours and 45 min
madrid- barcellona from 7 hours 20 to 8hours 30 min
my personal opinion is: check the bus price and the train prices for the closest routes (london -paris, wien -graz -liubiana..) and reserve a low cost flight for the longer distances. you've to reserve now, because it's difficult to find a good offer in august.
I suggest to organize your travel:
london- paris: train/bus
in paris you could choose:
1)paris to berlin:by train or better by plane
berlin to wien :train (or flight)
wien- graz by train /bus
graz -lubiana by train /bus
lubiana -florence by train /bus (you don't have low cost flight for this route)
from florence go to pisa, where there's a ryanair low cost fligh to barcelona
barcelona -madrid by train ,bus or low cost fligh (vueling.com)
other option is
2)from paris to madrid by plane
madrid barcelona by train ,bus or low cost fligh (vueling.com)
barcelona pisa by flight
pisa florence by train (1 hor)
florence lubiana by train/bus
lubiana graz wien by train/bus
wien-berlin train or flight
here is a list of low cost companies serving all europe. is in italian, you should understand quite well in any case.
if you click on the name of the companies you can enter their web page and check all their connections.
the train route from florence to lubiana goes through venice, so if you're interested you can visit this city as well.
If you want to change a city with another, i suggest you to choose cities that you can across going from a point to another.
I've never visited Baltics area, for example,(maybe next year) but reaching them could complicate your journey (distances, connections..)
similar problem if you want to reach greece, f. e.
Consider also that in august it willl be crowded everywhere. Reserving public transport and accommodation is advisable. (maybe not in madrid..in august is too hot, everything is close down and I don't think there would be many tourists.. my spanish friend says a quien se para todo el verano en madrid le dejan las llaves de la ciudad (who succeed to spend all the summer in madrid can win the keys of the city)
que te la pases bien!Laura
http://www.trenitalia.com/en/index.html (Italian railways)
http://www.sullarete.it/pagine/trenieu.htm (list and link to the major european railways companies) the web site is in italian, but is easy to understand.
(german railways, very useful also for international reasearchs.)