Hi Everyone, Ive been doing quite a bit of research into my first big overseas trip at the end of the year!
My Boyfriend and I plan to cover Europe from October 13 to December 13.
This is the itinerary as we see it now
Milan (Italy for 3 weeks)
Back to London
We plan to go Clock wise, but alot of the contiki and intrepid tours would do it anticlockwise!!
Would there be any difference I.E. weather, will things be open in Paris that late in the year?, will it be colder in Berlin in October or December
I would greatly appreciate some feedback. Thank you!
I would definitely start with Spain and put Germany last.
Spain in October is absolutely great, it is warm but not hot. October is the best time to see places like the Alhambra. In December it is just going to be wet, rainy and cold.
And if you go to Europe in December, the top destinations in this month are Austria and Germany because of the Christmas markets. You must visit the Christmas market in Salzburg. Salzburg is between Munich and Vienna - it would be worth it to rearrange the whole travel schedule just to go to Salzburg somewhere in between Dec 1st and your departure.
And if you put the Alps last (Salzburg, Zurich, Vienna) there is a decent chance of snow in the higher regions. You could go snowshoe hiking or do a toboggan run.
The only reason to put Germany, Czech Republic and Austria first would be if you wanted to go hiking in the mountains (but not the Alps!). October is great for this, since the weather can be very nice and stable for this.
BTW, since you got only 3 months you should focus on a max. of 5 countries. As a rule you need 3 weeks to see a country properly so that it all just doesn't blur together. Big cities like Paris, London, Berlin, Vienna, Rome etc need at least 5 days, a week would be better. I would scratch a few destinations off your list, sometimes less can be more.
Thanks for the feedback!
This trip would really just be a dabble in each country. There areas (which are a must) are:
Brussels and Amsterdam
Berlin - Want to experience the history
Czech republic - Have done lots of research and looks really good
Italy - I am Italian!
and Paris - because its Paris
Would I be silly to skip Austria and Swizterland?
Also, is Munich worth it?
I would go
One way to prevent the big cities from blurring into each other is to take time-out in smaller cities and villages, setting aside some time for nature like the Alps or the North Sea coast. I therefore strongly recommend that you do exactly that.
So if you land in London and go on to Amsterdam don't rush to Brussels and Paris straight away. Go up to the Frisian islands and if the weather is nice and the tide right, hike from the mainland to one of the islands and take the ferry back.
By adding this one-day outing into the country-side you'll see a decent piece of the Netherlands and be able to understand some things you saw in Amsterdam much better. Your brain will also have it easier to distinguish between Amsterdam and Brussels, simply because it took a break between the cities.
Places to do this in Italy would be Tuscany and the Amalfi coast.
I don't think you would be that silly to skip Switzerland, simply bc it is freaking expensive there.
But what could be silly to skip would be the Alps and Salzburg. As Aussies you are tropical birds, right? So why pass up a possible chance to frolick around in the snow? I would definitely set aside some time for something like that. Even if there is no snow the mountains are gorgeous. But a lot depends on how you travel north from Italy to Germany and Czech Republic. You could fly or take the train.
If you take the train you can go north from Milan to Munich or northeast from Venice to Vienna. From both destinations you could easily reach Prague. If you are going there (Munich or Vienna) anyway you might as well stop over. Munich is not at its best in winter, but there are sights worth seeing there. Personally I like Salzburg better though - best Christmas market ever, and as a German I really have seen a lot! Amazing castle too.
If however you fly north from Italy, you could substitute Salzburg with Dresden. It is halfway between Prague and Berlin, just 2 hours away from each of the cities. Close to Dresden is the Koenigsstein Fortress. The Christmas market in Dresden is also pretty famous.
And a small historic town that could be your "relaxing point" in Germany:
If you are interested in cold-war history you could take the historic steam train up to the Brocken summit and see the western most place the Soviets used to spy on NATO members.
Also, is Munich worth it?
Went there in February and loved it! A lot to do.
Why would you go from Berlin to Vienna then back up to Munich?
I'd start in Spain and that because you'll get decent weather there in Ocotober.
Thank you so much for your help! I should have been more detailed in the fact I will be staying in regional areas in some countries. For example, we may be going to Liege in Belgium, Cesky Krumlov in Czech Republic and Linz in Austria.
I have done some more research as to going to Spain and France first, but I have found that the activities I want to do in Czech Republic finish at the End of October! So it needs to be one of the first places I am going to. I have also found a great site http://http://www.whatsonwhen.com/ Which give a list of all the events happening in a country.
I found the Cannabis cup in Amsterdam, where you get to judge different types of Cannabis!
And lots of festivals in October in Spain which sound exciting too!