A friend and I are planning on backpacking western europe (end of next may) for 7-8 weeks...neither of us have ever done this, so even the thought of how to plan this has become overwhelming! We have been browsing through guide books and searching websites to try and get a start on how to get this trip together...I have traveled very little in Europe (Paris and London)-and as we've been doing research I've realized how very little that really is.
We are two female recent college graduates-we want to see and do as much as we can in each country and are really up for anything. So we've been able to narrow it down to the countries we would like to travel (give or take a few)...but the problem is what cities to focus on in each country (they all sound fascinating), how many days to take in each city, what will our route be??!
Ireland(fly into here from US)
We want to do the whole hostel/eurorail thing...
Any pointers, thoughts, suggestions would be greatly appreciated-we've found some of our best pointers thus far have come from the people who have experienced it before!!
It depends. What kind of activities do you like? Would you prefer cityscape? Are you a museum buffs? Or are you more into outdoors activities? Any preferences for nightlife? Do you have particular cities that you must go and don't want to miss? etc etc.
Without some indications and just very general list of countries, it's difficult to say much more.
Ireland(fly into here from US)
We want to do the whole hostel/eurorail thing...
With 7-8 weeks and going the hostel/Eurail pass route you should focus on 2-4 countries max.
You should plan on 2-3 weeks per country and 5-8 days for big cities.
My suggestion: Ireland 2 week with rental car or Bus Eireann pass - budget flight to Continental Europe - 2 neighboring countries in continental Europe with 2 weeks each - ending up in one big city for 7 days before you fly home from that city.
Southern Europe is hot in May (and much hotter in July) so I would start from there. Fly Ryanair (an internet budget airline)
From one of the Irish airports after you have seen what you want of Ireland, fly to Spain (maybe Dublin to Malaga) and see what you want there and then Girona (Barcelona) to Rome and head north.
It might just be me but there is little in Switzerland or Austria (other than winter sports) so north through France, maybe Holland, Germany to Poland where you can get a Ryanair flight to England or Scotland and/or back to Ireland. How much you spend at each place depends on what you like.
Starting early July people start heading to southern Europe and then the kids are off school so accommodation starts filling up, and prices go right up. Book ahead when you can. Cheap accommodation, try hostelworld (with a destination). Book travel ahead. Ryanair you will need to print out etickets and check-in forms (40 euros fine if you don't).
Be very careful of petty theft anywhere in Europe but notably around tourist sites and in capital cities, as well as Barcelona. The problem with eurorail is that apart from waiting for trains, you can spend endless hours on them as distances are great while a flight will do the same in an hour or two. There are other cheap airlines if you check.
It might just be me but there is little in Switzerland or Austria (other than winter sports)
LOL, it is definitely you, Cyberia! I cycled along the Danube in Austria from Passau to Bratislava about 2 years ago, it was absolutely beautiful. Can highly recommend it if you are into this sort of thing.
so north through France, maybe Holland, Germany to Poland where you can get a Ryanair flight to England or Scotland and/or back to Ireland.
Agree with that plan in general, it is reasonable given your timeframe and budget. Although I would probably recommend going north through Austria and Germany from Italy.
If you intend to go to Switzerland note that this will be very expensive.
Thanks so much for your replies-they are helpful! We have planned a more specific itinerary with countries & cities-it is very tentative and will probably change as we research the individual cities more. We are really looking to do anything and everything in the countries. Any input would be great...
-Ring of Terry 1day
-Costa Brava 1day
-Loire Valley 1day
Mont St Michael 1day
-Rome 3 days
-London 3 days
-Glasgow 1 day
-Edinburgh 2 days
- Berlin 3 days
- Hamburg 1day
- Cologne 1 day
-Lorelel Cliffs 1day
Munich 1 day
Amsterdam 2 days
We would love any input if there are some other cool cities to add or exchange. We were also thinking about Bordeaux, Versilles, Manchester, Bath, Cannes, Monaco... Thanks for your help
Hi , i know its not on your country list but have you considered Slovenia ? Ljubljana ? Its really starting to get some some good rankings in polls. Ljubljana has been voted best small city Location in the world. Slovenia is 5th in the world as a destination. In a article by the national geographic Ljubljana was rated as one of the most honest city. Polls are just to get you to consider , i would recommend it to any none European as a destination. For me what you get is a something completely different to the larger "mainstream" European countries. This all most a young Europe. Not over populated , mass marketed, franchised , in personal service country. You have small family businesses , who care about customers returning.
The country itself has from city locations with great theaters coffee bars , theaters , a lovely slow moving river running through the capital , few trees, very "leafy" and relaxed vibe. If you head out of Ljubljana you have mountains, wild life that compares to many countries. Tradition as well , the Slovenes hold on to the tradition so much and its not just displayed for the tourist like in some countries ... these guys are celebrating there traditions in the low season also.
Well i cant tell you everything in one post. but perhaps i have sparked a interest. If so visit -snip-
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
yeah ! great place i am suggesting you a link for more reliable package please check it out it will definitely help you .
and your choice is really cool for vacations dear you enjoy it
Sounds a reasonable schedule but to get around easily, ideally, is to travel by car. Particularly for Killarney and Ring of Kerry. Ireland in general, is expensive, so car hire and petrol can add up very quickly. Alternative would be by bus or by train, although the bus network is far more extensive and the fare tends to be cheaper too.
Dublin-Killarney is a long journey without direct connection, the best way to do it is by train (only 1 change, half the bus travelling time) and if you look into buying ticket in advance from Irish Rail, you can very good price (as cheap as €10, for midweek travel). You should then look into taking a day bus tour to see Ring of Kerry. Going to Galway, consider a detour to Cliffs of Moher. Otherwise you can also take a bus day tour to Cliffs of Moher and Burren from Galway. If you think you may run short of time, you can reduce Dublin by 1 day and put the time for the travel of the west coast. Dublin is not a very big city afterall.
If you want to do things somewhat on the easy way and don't mind paying (the price is quite reasonable actually), check out Paddywagon tour. They do a 6-days southern tour from Dublin to Galway, Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Killarney, Ring of Kerry, Dingle, Cork and Kilkenny before coming back to Dublin. The price includes guide, transports, accommodation, all breakfasts and entry to places they bring you to. And you'll get to meet other fellow travellers. Note that tour starts on certain days of the week only. I've been on their tour once ages ago, going to Northern Ireland, and it was great fun. Ps: they also have a (crazy) 6-days all Ireland tour, to include parts of Northern Ireland for the same price.
It is a bit of a crazy schedule there. Madrid and Barcelona can do with more than just 2 days each. And I guess it's not easy to think of which to forgo from the schedule. Perhaps skip Costa Brava and split the time between the two cities? Train travel is probably the most convenient to get from one cities to another. The order of visit you have there is fine. Do Cordoba as a day trip from Granada so you won't need to lug your bag going to Cordoba and it's simpler too to have 2 nights accommodation booked in Granada.
Given where you want to go, I'd say forget about Bordeaux. It's out of the way and you won't have time to be there. What you have right now is tight enough as it is. Similarly, forget about Cannes and Monaco.
Paris in 3 days is fine (4 would be even better), and Versailles is just outside of Paris but if you want to do Paris and Versailles, I would suggest adding another day on there instead of trying to cram them all in 3 days.
As for the northern part of France, you can't really tour the Loire Valley by train (especially if you're thinking of visiting the castles etc) and know that there is not train service to Mont St Michel either. So travelling in the region could benefit from a car hire. If you want to continue travel by rail, I'd say leave Loire Valley and maybe go to Nantes instead. Closest train station to Mont St Michel is Pontorson and from there you'll need to get a bus. You should consider reducing the schedule by 1 place maybe?
Alternative to northern France (read: skip it altogether), particularly if you're still keen on Cannes and Monaco, is to spend 2 days in Lyon, then 2 days in Cannes and Monaco. A good alternative to Cannes is Antibes. To make things easier, go to Monaco as day trip, thus you'll overnight in Cannes again and need not move all your belongings as you go. Rail travel all the way for these cities.
Finally a reasonable schedule! The order of the visit is good too. If you can add an extra day to Rome, even better.
Pretty reasonable schedule there too. Please note that Eurail pass does not work in UK. And oh, there won't be any time for Manchester or Bath.
The list is so packed that I don't even know where to start. You have all 4 corners of Gemany in north, south, east and west.
Have you give it a thought on how your route is going to be? I sure hope it's not in the order you've given your travel list. May I suggest:
Ireland - UK - Spain - France - Italy - Germany - Netherlands
Dublin - tour Ireland and back to Dublin - fly to Glasgow/Edinburgh - travel south until London - fly to Granada - tour Spain until Barcelona - direct night train to Paris - tour northern France and back to Paris - direct night train to Venice - travel Florence then Rome - direct night train Rome to Munich - tour Germany until Berlin - train to Amsterdam
And don't forget to built in the travel time to your schedule. Often they look so tight, and especially when you allocate only 1 day (to so many of the cities), you must remember that a few hours will be eaten up by travel time. It is not ideal.