I will have the month of July off from my job this year. I've pretty much decided that I want to go to Europe, but I have no idea where to go. I've never been to Europe before and cannot decide if I should try to see as many cities as possible (I thought about 8 cities, for 3 to 4 days each) or just experience 2 or 3 cities for a week each.
Any suggestions would be helpful. I want to make sure I go to friendly places where I can meet people, do some beach lounging, and some night clubbing, but that are safe--I'm a woman and will be traveling alone.
You don't say where are are from and neither does your profile, so its a bit hard to give real details about what would be best for you. But basically in July most of europe is very hot, especially southern europe where it will be in the high 30's so I would advise you to steer clear of the big cities and head to the coast! Be warned that in July everywhere will be very busy with tourists, which is not always a bad thing. I would suggest perhaps you try island hopping in Greece, that way you are always near to the sea for a swim and you will be travelling by boat so no long coach trips. Greece is a lovely place, great food, great nightlife, great people and great weather so it ticks all your boxes. Steer clear of the very touristy places though like Faliraki on Rhodes (although do go to the island of Rhodes as it is possibly the best), and Kardhamena on Kos (although again, Kos is a lovely island apart from there) as they are pretty awful places.
Or how about doing the northern coast of spain. There are some lovely places there that are not as touristy as southern spain. Santiago De Compostella will be a great place to start and move east to Santander, Bilbao and San Sebastian and then perhaps heading over to Barcelona to finish.
The idea of doing 8 cities in 3 weeks in europe in the middle of summer is really not a very good one. That will mean lots of coach or train journeys in sweltering heat which will not be nice at all. Unless you are considering northern europe then that may be better, but even in northern europe during july the temperature could easily be in the high 30,s (it was 40 degrees in July in England 2 years ago!!!!).
Anyway, this is just a couple of ideas, I am sure there are plenty of other ideas to come from people.
Have a great trip whatever you decide to do
Thanks so much for your reply! This is very helpful. I'm from New York, by the way.
I'm beginning to hear the same theme from a few people: Spain and the Greek islands. I'm starting to think that maybe I will start in Pamplona for the running of the bulls festival, then head over to Barcelona for a week and a half, then end in Mykonos for another week and a half, giving myself the option to island hop if I feel adventurous.
I'm going to start doing some research on the other cities you mentioned. Appreciate your help! Hopefully at some point in my life, I can take some time to do a grand tour of Europe, perhaps during a less touristy time of the year.
If you are planning to run with the bulls, perhaps we can travel together? I'm traveling 6/25 - 8/3 and definitely running. I've posted on here and gotten some responses so there might be a few of us, which could make for good stories!
I'll be heading over to Ireland for a couple of days first. Then heading to Edinburgh for a few days with friends. As it is now, three of us are planning to fly from Edinburgh to Madrid on Sat. 7/5, check out the city for a few days and then hop a train to Pamplona to be there for the first few days of the festival. After that, they are heading home and I'm going solo (for now) over to Barcelona for a few days to recover from the run. HA! Then from there, I'm stuill deciding among these options:
Plan A: Head north into France, maybe catch the Tour, visit Marseille/Nice/Monaco, Bordeaux, Paris, Champange regions, and then head for the Benelux countries and then fly home from there.
Plan B: Head north into France, but keep south, along the coast and make my way over to Italy and maybe Croatia. Not sure if I can make it to Rome without skipping a bunch, but that would be ideal. At least would make over to Venice.
Plan C: Head south and check out more of Spain and then cross into Morocco for a bit and maybe more of N. Africa. My neighbor is still deciding if he is going -- this was his original idea. It's probably also the cheapest (and most dangerous) option.
I'm planning to travel light and go the Hostel route as often as possible. I like to hit up the tourist traps a little but mostly like exploring and finding the off-the-beaten track stuff. It'd be good to touch bases with you and maybe work out some details together. BTW< congrats on the month off!
Everyone: I'd like feedback on these options as I'm really undecided as to which the "best" plan. Thanks in advance for the advise.
If you two are planning to run with the bulls you better bring a tent and camping gear. There is only one very small hostel in Pamplona and it is has been booked out for the running of the bulls since last year.
Note that the climate in Greece can be very humid and hot. If you got a problem with that (I definitely do) avoid Greece. Plus July is about the only time you can easily travel in Northern Europe, consider that too.