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Van Trip 09

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1. Posted by ringo6981 (Budding Member 48 posts) 7y

Hi there,
I just thought I would see if anyone had any advice on where and what I should do for my upcoming Van tour.

Basically myself and 3 friends have hired a van to travel around europe for 90 days between the 1st of July till the End of Sept.
Firstly I will outline a fewof the things we enjoy and then let you know the basic itinery we are going to follow (it is definately flexible)

We are 4 typical Aussie guys all in our mid 20's we grew up on the gold coast so following the coastal roads is definately high on our list. We enjoy all things outdoors and sporting and love music festivals. Drinking and partying is definately a must but we wouldn't mind experiencing the cultural side of things. 3 of us have done trips through europe before so the point of the van is to experience the countries we are seeing rather then just go to the major cities/tourist spots.

Our loose itinery is to leave London and head straight to Calais France, from there we want to drive down the coast checkng out the Normandy D-day beaches and head to San Sebastion, then onto pamplona for the opening of the running of the bulls.
I think from there we will head across country to Porto and drive down the coastline to Lagos from there we will head through spain up to Valencia and drive up the coast to Barcelona and on to Italy.
In Italy we want to drive down one side as far as Rome and back up the other side of the coast.
Then through Slovenia and down the coast of croatia.

Thats where we are stumped At a guess that would probably be the half way point of our trip leaving us about 7 weeks to go

Should we:
A) continue down the coast check out greece and then head back up though eastern Europe
B)Head up through Hungary Poland and the top of Germany

We need to be in Munich Germany by the 19th of Sept for the start of Oktoberfest where we will have 3 days there and then drive through Germany into France/Paris and then back to London

Any Suggestions on things to do in any of those countries or any advice/constructive critisicm at all would be greatly appreciated
Thanks Ringo

2. Posted by joey22 (Travel Guru 561 posts) 7y

mate go with option A - head back through eastern/central europe and hit Oktoberfest. After Oktoberfest you could maybe head into Poland for a quick look at Krakow and Warsaw before making your way back to London.

Greece is cool and pretty cheap. If you like a drink then go and find a small, local bar somewhere and have a night on the Ouzo.

You guys will have a blast!

I have travelled lots in Europe so if you have any questions give me a shout.

Joey

3. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

In Italy we want to drive down one side as far as Rome and back up the other side of the coast.
Then through Slovenia and down the coast of croatia.

Consider catching a ferry from Italy to Croatia or Greece.

It is more or less pointless to drive back up on the west coast only to go down again on the other side of the Adriatic Sea.

http://www.aferry.to/ferry-to-italy-ferries.htm
http://www.greekislands.gr/sff/default.htm
http://www.italiantourism.com/ferries.html

And if you go for option A and are bound for Greece, taking a ferry is the best option to get from Italy to Greece. You probably already know that the former Yugoslavian countries and Albania do not have the best reputation and that tourist infrastructure and good roads are still in their infancy there. Turkish families who drive in their cars down from Germany and The Netherlands to Turkey every summer usually go via Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. I suppose there is a reason for it.

Note that Croatia, Serbia, Albania, FYROM aka Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia are not part of the EU. I would check carefully whether you are allowed to take the van outside the EU.

Our loose itinery is to leave London .... At a guess that would probably be the half way point of our trip leaving us about 7 weeks

With France, Spain, Portugal and Italy on the menue I strongly doubt that you'll have 7 weeks left at that point. If I was doing that tour I would plan on spending about 11 weeks in these countries alone.

BTW, if you are allowed to take the van outside of Europe, I strongly recommend that you consider a detour into Morocco.

http://looklex.com/morocco/index.htm

And another area you should not dismiss easily is the south of Italy. Especially Sicily is very nice for touring with a van. Naples, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast are also a must for tourists to Italy.

4. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 7y

i dont think you have enought time to do all that either... i had planned a trip to portugal going to faro to porto and i had scheduled 3 weeks and i wish i had more time there... you dont wanna spend every day driving a couple of hours really, and its also hard on fuel that way. if you want to experience the countries, dont just drive thru them lol

eastern europe is amazing and i loved it, it was the best holiday i had by far because it was different and cheap, and so i would suggest, once youve driven down as far as you want to in italy, head across to bari and get a night ferry back up the coast... itll save you alot of time that way.

5. Posted by ringo6981 (Budding Member 48 posts) 7y

Thanks for the replys,
I'll readjust the time fram to you think this would be better
Within regards to the france portugal spain Italy.
We plan on only having the first 5 days in france because we are heading down to the running of the bulls so we won't be spending much time in france (I'm more interested in seeing other countries then france as it is).

Then in portugal we plan on spending about 16 days.

Then 3 of the 4 of us have travelled a fair amount of spain so i anticipate we can get through it and up to the south of france in 7days.

then probably 7 days to get across france into Italy.

That is a total of 35 days and we are in Italy lets give ourselves 18 days in Italy.

Which leaves 37 days left on the journey take out the 10 days for octoberfest and to head home.

which eould leave 27 days to explore a bit of eastern europe trying to fit in definately croatia & greece.

Wouldn't it be good to do thi trip for longer then 90 days...anyone want to give me a few thousand euro????? haha

6. Posted by ringo6981 (Budding Member 48 posts) 7y

I just read my last post and there are plenty of spelling.gramatical errors I apoligise I wrote that and this message rather quickly as I am at work.

7. Posted by jaxstar84 (Respected Member 415 posts) 7y

lol10 days is too much for oktoberfest... you will have put a hole in ur liver by that time and an even bigger one in ur wallet. 2 or 3 days there is plenty..

i reckon dont bother too much about greece. go to croatia and explore the east going north... very cheap beers and good food (in my opinion!) as well as mountains, forests and lotsa fun to be had!

8. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 7y

If you are determined to spent the 10 days you planned for Octoberfest drinking your liver away, I suggest you head up to Stuttgart after a 2-3 days. The Cannstadter Volksfest is held Sep 25th to Oct 11th in 2009. It is the second biggest fair in Germany and offers the same attractions as Octoberfest, but is a lot less known to foreigners and thus less overrun. Prices are more moderate, tents less crowded and unlike in Munich it is no problem to find accomodation.

Also do not plan to park the van in Munich during Octoberfest. There are far too many people who park their mobile homes in the inner city only to find it towed away. I would park the van at the parking lot of a public swimming pool in the outskirts (so that you can wash) and take the S-Bahn or the U-Bahn to Theresienwiese.

Wouldn't it be good to do thi trip for longer then 90 days...anyone want to give me a few thousand euro????? haha

You would be surprised how far your money goes in Morocco.

Seriously, thanks to the 90 days in a 180 day period rule in the Schengen area it is difficult to travel around Europe for longer than 90 days. You'd need to leave the Schengen area for every day that you are over the 90 day limit. Say you are gone for 120 days, then you'd need to spent 30 days of these outside of Schengen.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_Agreement

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 15, 2009, at 10:26 AM by t_maia ]

9. Posted by ringo6981 (Budding Member 48 posts) 7y

haha no I'm not going to oktoberfest for ten days, what i ment was from the opening ceremony i will have 10days of my trip left. If you read the first post we are going to go to Oktoberfest for the ifrst 3 days and then use the last 7 to get the van back to London. I went to octoberfest last year and your right my money wouldnt last ten days

10. Posted by ringo6981 (Budding Member 48 posts) 7y

Thanks for all the replies,
We will only be travelling for 90 days thats all the van is hired for, I have looked into getting the ferry across to greece and I'm still in two minds I know i would be travelling up one coast (ITaly) just to travel down the other side of the sea. But surely it would still be worth it because the countries would be different?????? Like i said we would like to travel as much coast as possible.
I think Morocco is out but thanks for the advice .

Anymore advice from anyone would be great, does anyone know of some great outdoor adventure stuff we could do throuought europe? I have heard there are some great cave systems in Slovenia has anyone been there?