I am taking a trip to Europe with two friends to celebrate our graduation from college. We are trying to go on somewhat of a budget, attempting to keep it under $3500 for everything. First question, is that feasible for 18 days?
We have done some preliminary planning and here is the possible itinerary we have come up with so far. I think it might be a big much so I am completely open for suggestions!! Thank you so so much in advance!
June 15 - Leave US, flying Iceland Air from Washington to Reykjavik, staying over one day, and arriving in Amsterdam on June 17 June 17-18 - Amsterdam, overnight train to Brussels/Bern June 19 - Brussels/Bern June 20 - Brussels/Bern, overnight train to Venice June 21 - Venice, June 22 - Venice, overnight train to Naples June 23 - Naples June 24 - Naples, train to Brimisi, overnight ferry to Greece (either Corfu,Patus) June 25 - June 28 - Greece, overnight train to Vienna/Budapest/somewhere in Germany June 29 - Vienna/Budapest/somewhere in Germany June 30 - Vienna/Budapest/Germany July 1 - Train to Amsterdam July 2 - Leave for U.S. in one piece (per our father's instructions)
I realize this is a little ambitious. Our thought is to use the 5 country youth eurarail pass for $307. The flights we have found through Iceland Air are about $1100, are there cheaper flights there. Also, of the cities that have a / in between them, does anyone have any suggestions which we should do? Also, is there anything major we are leaving out?
Sorry for the million questions but I will appreciate anything you all have to offer!! Thank you so much for helping out a couple of lost college graduates!
Seriously reconsider going by train from Greece to Vienna or Budapest. I am unsure on the route you intend to take, please post how you plan to go north from Greece. South Eastern Europe is not exactly the nicest part of the world, and some train routes are outright dangerous to take. Consider going to Istanbul in Turkey by train from Greece and then fly with Germanwings for 19 EUR from Istanbul to Germany. (Take a look at www.skyscanner.net for other cheap flights.)
You also cannot go by night train from Amsterdam to Brussels, as the distance is far too short.
Notice also that a lot of the better nighttrains require a special ticket which is not included in the Eurail pass. You'll need to check whether you can actually use the train with the ticket. (I think the Amsterdam to Switzerland is such a train.)
BTW, if you are flying from the Northwest of the USA, consider going straight to Amsterdam using KLM or Northwestern. www.orbitz.com is a good search engine for cheap flights. Print out their suggestions and try to use them as a guide route-wise and price-wise when looking for tickets.
A place worth going to might be Bratislava near Vienna or Prague. Of course, Berlin rocks too. Munich is just what the average US-citizen thinks of when they say "Germany", though I would strongly argue the point!
Hope I helped.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 5, 2007, at 2:14 PM by t_maia ]
Thanks for the thoughts. I think we realized that our trip was a little too ambitious. We are now focusing on Italy and Greece. We would like to see the out of the way places in Italy, particularly Lake Como and the Amalfi Coast. What city would you recommend flying into? We were then thinking of taking the ferry to Greece and island hopping (any suggestions?) before staying in Athens for a couple of days. We would then fly out of Athens. How does that sound?
Thanks for the advice about travelling through Eastern Europe, I didn't think about a train being dangerous.
Train travel is usually very nice and safe, but this gets relative when you travel through a war zone. (Yes, literally. The UN doesn't have soldiers in the Kosovo area for fun.) Eastern Europe is very poor compared to the rest of the continent. Certain trains are notorious for carrying drug curiers, thieves, beggars and their ilk and there have been reports that travellers got robbed on board in recent years.
If you are flying in from the US, I recommend that you look at flights going to London. From there connect with easyjet or ryanair to Italy and Greece. Check www.skyscanner.net for cheap flights within Europe. Note that the best deals are on sale usually about 5 months before the flight and that the price goes up steeply.
Also look at a Eurail pass for Italy. (www.eurail.com) You can take night trains and thus save on accomodation. Plan on bringing about 65 USD per day for Northern Italy, 50 to 45 for Greece. Florence, Venice and Rome can be very very expensive, Lake Como and the Amalfi coast just the same. Be prepared to buy food in supermarkets and eat nothing but sandwiches there if you are on a budget of 65 USD per day, maybe supplemented occasionally with a cheap pizza or fast food like McD's.
I estimate that your flight will come to something between 1000 and 1500 USD. The flights between London and Italy or Greece should cost between 60 and 300 USD. The Eurail pass for Italy will be another 250 USD. Ferries within Greece will come at another 300 USD. This leaves you with about 1500 USD for food and accomodation, about 80 USD per day. This is very good, you should have no problems money-wise.
As for the Eurail pass, please set yourself a rough initiary and use www.trenitalia.it to calculate the prices for tickets for the trains you intend to take. This way you will be able to compare with the price for the Eurail pass.
Hope I helped.
Your profile, doesn't reveal where you live in the states, but if you are close to Canada, you could take a look at flight from there, with Zoom. A lot of Canadians, take this company, because it is cheaper, and I know of some people from the USA, getting to Canada first. If you're living in California, Arizona, Texas or somewhere else pretty South, it's not very much of an advise, but if your living up North, it could be something to investigate.
If you could get open-jaw tickets, you could fly into Rome and flying out of Athens. At least you need to fly in and out of major hubs, as the most other airports will not have flights to the US/Canada. If London is cheaper, the options t_maia told you are very good (only remember that RyanAir has no destinations in Greece). Another way that might also end up cheaper is to fly into Germany. A lot of cheaper German airlines have destinations in Greece. (LTU, Germanwings, HLX.com, Condor, AirBerlin). Flying into Berlin/Frankfurt/Düsseldorf with a connection to Greece, would be good as well, with an open-jaw ticket, you could leave from Rome.
Take a good look at your railpasses, and if they are worth having. it could be cheaper buying p2p-tickets after all.
Taking the ferry from Brindisi in Italy to Greece, will take you about 15+ hours. A lot of them at night, but it still takes a while. There are a couple of flights available by Easyjet (Milan-Athens, and several other cities in Italy to Athens, by Allitalia, Olympic Airlines and AirOne.
Plan your days well, Rome alone is a place where you want to stay about 5 days.
As far as the Islands are concerned: I would pick Santorini. But there are a lot of beautiful other isles aswell.
Hello even though i have no idea about the cheapest way of how to come to Italy or Greece from the US i can advise on what to do in Italy or Greece. Things not to miss in Italy Rome, Florence, Venice.
The best thing Italy has to offer is the beautiful preserved cities and if you fly into Rome then going north you can stop into florence then Milan and then Venice taking the ferry to Corfu/ or you can fly easyjet from Milan to Athens and if you book now in the January sale it will be really cheap..... If you fly to Corfu do a hoppin tour in the Ioanian islands with some of the most spectacular beaches in the world in Zante and Cephallonia...
Then from Athens stay about 2days in the city and then take a ferry to the islands. Most spectacular being the cyclades. So Myconos, Santorini, Milos, Naxos, Paros etc...
Some usufel information
Low cost carriers covering Greece: easyjet, airberlin etc..
Low cost carrier withing Greece: aegean airlines
Hydroplanes in the Ioanian islands (great for island hopping): www.airsealines.com
also for island hoppin check www.easycruise.com