I am 60 years of age and intend to do the backpacking trip I should have done 37 years ago! Here is the europe part of the RTW trip:
1. Fly into Athens for a couple of days, then:
2. Visit one or two Greek Islands for 2-3 days
3. Corfu then ferry to Brindisi
4. Italy for about a week - Rome, Florence and Cinqe Terre (or more)
5. Spain for 5 days
6. French Mediterranean for a few days en route to Swirzerland
7. Austria, Czech Rep, Germany, France.
8. Chunnel to UK
I intend to buy a Eurail pass and use trains extensively. I will also be using hostels or cheap hotels as much as I can. Travel in April to June for about 10 weeks. I would appreciate as much help or suggestions anyone can provide
Where do you plan to stop in spain?
If you plan to do it in about 10 weeks it is OK. I would recomend you one thing: not to be stressed about staying just 2 days in a place and stay the next entire day in a tranportation.
Ferries from Greece to Italy or viceversa are OK, but consider a minimum of 16 hours.
There are a lot of cheap flight options to move, like ryanair, easyjet etc etc etc, buying a month in advance it is a plus regarding to minor price.
Finally, it is difficult to recomend you something specific for the whole trip.
By all means wait to get the railpass, first get the initerary right. if you have check railsaver.com, and see what they come up with. To travel europe, I suggest using a combination between trains and cheap flights.
Athens, take 3 days, and the same for one Island (I say consider Santorini). The boat will take a long a time, but there are also flights out of Greece (and also from the Isles, esp. in peakseason: check: www.flightassistent.com to start your search).
Rome is 5 days (incl. a daytrip to Pompeii). Florence, should need about 3 days (get your museumtickets, before getting there. Hotels can help you with that, and it will save a long wait). Cinque Terra, I would say also about 3 days. (maybe seeing Pisa, a few hours), on the way there.
Spain: 5 days, is enough for one of the major cities (Barcelona or Madrid), or two smaller ones (e.g.: Sevilla and Granada). If you like to see Madrid and Barcelona, at least give both cities 4 days, then you will also have time to make the daytrips from Madrid to Toledo, and Segovia.
The French mediterranean, is not well accessed if coming from Spain. It takes a long trainride to get to Nice. (Flights are available, but mainly to Marseille, check Iberia and Clickair, and if coming from Madrid: Ryanair). You could try to fly into Nice from Athens, and do Italy in reverse, and get a flight from Rome to Barcelona or Madrid (Vueling Airlines will give you a good offer)
Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, France -> a lot to see. What places are you thinking about?
Chunnel is OK, if you can book you ride early and if you can get yourself one of the cheaper seats on the train. (45 euros, I believe). if not, there are also enough flights to London.
Congrats on finally making the journey...enjoy!
In Spain I am thinking Madrid, Barcelona and perhaps Granada
This sounds absolutely amazing!
You've abviously sat staring at your maps while planning this.
Just one minor comment - you seem to have missed out the Low Countries - Belgium, the Netherlands . . . why not go through these on the way from Germany to France?
Whereabouts in the UK were you thinking?
I probably will visit Holland/Belgium. I have a family member buried in Reichswald near Kleve (casualty of war) so will be near Holland.
Can I stay in hostels, or are they mainly for the young?
In the UK I want to visit Lincoln and Wickenby near Lincoln where my aforesaid relative was stationed with the RAF in 1943. Also Somerset, home of my mother's ancestors, and, of course, London.
Also my roots in Ireland
[ Edit: Edited on Jun 5, 2007, at 2:30 AM by cplford ]