I'm heading to Europe shortly (2 weeks!) and am looking into where exactly I'll head for my first month (I'm going for 5 months).
I have a friend in Brest, France, who I would like to visit after going to Paris.
My question is this: I will be heading to Brest on the 13th of August, and need to be in Barcelona on the 17th of August.
How do you suggest I get there?!
If you are going for 5 months, chances are high it will be worthwhile for you to buy the Eurail pass that allows unlimited travel over a period of 3 months. In the case you decide to do this train would be the best option.
BTW, if you are not an EU or EFTA citizen you'll need a residency permit to travel around the Schengen Area for more than 90 days.
Yeah, I wondered about that Schengen visa. I've asked my travel agent about it numerous times, but she assures me I don't need one...
How would I go about getting one??
... and I already have a Eurail pass, but it's a select as there is no way I would travel every day to make an unlimited one worthwhile.
I hope you realise that over the period of 3 months the continous one is cheaper than the select pass. Do the math of dividing the cost of your global flexi-pass through the travel days you get and compare. Read http://www.ricksteves.com/rail/rail_menu.htm on how to get the most out of your flexi-pass.
Regards Schengen visa: What are your travel plans exactly? (Please give me a list of the countries and the rough timeframe for your visits.) When will you be where? Are you an Aussie? Are you eligible for a WHV visa?
[ Edit: Edited on Jul 22, 2008, at 7:46 PM by t_maia ]
I choose the select pass as i don't plan on travelling every day, probably once a week, so having a continuous pass would be a waste, considering it is $1454 for a 3 month global consecutive pass and only $612 for the pass I bouth (10 days travel in 2 months).
The problem with the visa is I'm not sure exactly where I'll be going when. I do want to focus most of my time in the Eastern European countries (Czech, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, etc), and I will be heading to Ireland for a week and about 3 weeks in Edinburgh (non-Schengen). If I had to, I could probably avoid Schengen countries for 2 months of my trip.
What happens if i don't have a visa and I'm in the Schengen area for, say 95 days? Are the penalties severe?
If I had to, I could probably avoid Schengen countries for 2 months of my trip.
That would be the best option. Turkey and Morocco are very very nice countries and the same can be said for Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine. You shouldn't have too much trouble to occupy yourself there.
Are the penalties severe?
Depends who catches you. You could be banned from entering Schengen, made to pay a steep fine or the customs officer just looks at the passport and waves you through. I wouldn't risk it.
BTW, if you flit in and out of Schengen it is a very very good idea to keep a travel diary. Buy a book with empty pages where you can write in about your trip during long train and bus rides. Date your entries and when you pay for things (like that chocolate bar at the train station in Paris) stick the receipts into the book. Reason behind is that 1) it makes for the best souvenier ever 2) if ever need to proove to an immigration officer where you have spent the last 5 months this will be your lifesaver. Sometimes you just do not get stamped out of Schengen (say when you enter Switzerland from Germany by train) and your travel diary can really save your bum later.
Oh, ok I understand. I'm so pissed that my travel agent advised me incorrectly months ago! I've asked them about it more than twice, and each time they assured me I didn't need a Visa.
Really, how are Customs supposed to know where you go and for how long?
I would consider doing it very differently.... Do your thing in Paris, which should be quite hot and maybe not the best time... I would at some point rent a straight stick small car, and drive, so that I could easily stop at Giverny for the Monel Gardens, Chartres for the cathedral, Rouen for the Cathedral and great art museum, then head over first to the Normandy coas, spend an afternoon in Honfleur just to relax, part of a day to view the Bayeau tapestries, and maybe drive down south to La Rochelle and Bordeaux....drop the car the train or bus to Perpignan or one of the coastal med towns near the spanish border......... for the time in Brest, maybe leave the car while you visit your friend and then re-rent or take trains and buses, and get off wherever you like for a day or part of a day.
OR,I would rent again so that I could visit the Loire Valley, lots of Gardens and Chateaux, then south... For me, I would try to spend some time in the SW.. particularly the Mediteranean coast down near the Spanish border.. and finally, just take the train down to Barcelona, not too many miles south.
It partly depends on your budget.. for us, we drive, stop in small villages at noon to find the place where the cars fill the parking lot,. and that's where you will get a great meal... and then we use the catalog book for Logis de France for reasonably priced and just decent rooms and great dining rooms.....
. It partly depends if you like to settle in one place for weeks at a time, and then travel around by car or bus... or whether you want to keep traveling. And your age, health and how much luggage yo carry.. When I went alone in 2004, I had a deal to stay in a chateau about 40 miles south of Tours, had the use of a jalopy to drive the 3 km into town.. stayed for 6 weeks, then traveled by auto rental, thru Auto Europe for 11 days....
Thanks for the insight.
I need to be in Paris on on the 12th, and I have to be in Barcelona on the 17th, as I have plans and are meeting people, so I really can't deviate from this schedule.
A couch surfer I hosted here in Australia has offered me their holiday home in Brest while I'm there, which is the only reason I was really planning on going there...
Perhaps, what can I see in between Paris and Barcelona? I've got 4 nights...