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4 weeks in Europe

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1. Posted by wyemarn (Budding Member 29 posts) 6y

I will be travelling along to Europe from 23rd Feb to 22nd March. I'm interested to visit a few countries and here are my plans.

23rd Feb - Reach Frankfurt Main Airport, Germany.
24th Feb - Take a flight to Istanbul, Turkey
24th Feb to 28th - Spent time in Istanbul
28th Feb - Take night train from Istanbul to Athens, Greece
1st March - Reach Athens
1st to 7th March - Travel around Athens and Peloponnese.
8th March - Take a flight to Rome
8th to 11th - Travel around Rome
12th - To Venice
12th to 14 - Travel in Venice
15th - Take a flight from Venice to Paris
15th - 18th - Travel around Paris
19th - Take flight to Berlin
19th to 22th - Travel around Berlin
22th - Take a flight to Frankfurt.

I think my schedules are quite tight but I have found some budget airlines with reasonable price. Any suggestions on my plans? I would like to visit as much place as possible because I don't think I will have change to Europe after this. Thank you.

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 6y

Hi there,

Actually, your itinerary is not tight at all. It gives plenty of time in the cities you mentioned, and in some cases a trip around the city is also possible. It does require booked plane tickets though, to prevent paying higher prices or not able to go on a plane at all.
Of course, you could also choose to spend 4 weeks in a smaller area in Europe, for example leaving Turkey and Greece out. That way you could spend time in France, Italy and Germany and maybe Switzerland, travelling around by train and the occasional bus. It also leaves time open for when you really like a city or other place and you can stick around longer.
Just my two cents.
Have fun!

Michael.

3. Posted by wyemarn (Budding Member 29 posts) 6y

Thanks for the quick reply!

Of all the places I plan to visit, Italy and Greece is the places I want to go the most because of the rich history and monuments. I did think of leaving out Istanbul but since is a day trip to Athens, I might as well go there because it is a nice place to travel in. Is there any other nice places that I have left out? Should I reduce the durations for Istanbul and Greece and spend more time in other places?

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5596 posts) 6y

Quoting wyemarn

Thanks for the quick reply!

Of all the places I plan to visit, Italy and Greece is the places I want to go the most because of the rich history and monuments. I did think of leaving out Istanbul but since is a day trip to Athens, I might as well go there because it is a nice place to travel in. Is there any other nice places that I have left out? Should I reduce the durations for Istanbul and Greece and spend more time in other places?

Ok, I would definately not skip Istanbul. It's one of my favorite cities and although very big and sometimes crowded, it's a great place to wander around on foot, as distances are not that huge.

It's always difficult to decide for another person, but personally I would skip Berlin and spend the extra days in Italy: Siena, Florence might be of interest to you, culturally a little nicer than Venice. But again: that's a personal thing.
What you can also do, is save that days to travel overland from Rome to Paris and on to Frankfurt, enjoying some scenery on your way and maybe a quick stop in another city or place you like.

Have fun!
Mike

5. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

Of all the places I plan to visit, Italy and Greece is the places I want to go the most because of the rich history and monuments.

If you love art and architecture I strongly suggest you include Ephesus and Florence.

Ephesus is one of the highlights in Western Turkey. It is relatively easy to combine a tour around the Greek islands with a visit to Ephesus. I suggest you go south from Istanbul and then catch a ferry to one of the Greek islands and go from there to Athens. (I assume you are flying from Athens to Rome?)

http://turkeytravelplanner.com/go/Aegean/Ephesus/index.html

http://turkeytravelplanner.com/trans/Ship/GreekIslandFerries.html
http://turkeytravelplanner.com/trans/Ship/domestic_gk_fys.html

Florence has all the art that is normally associated with Italy. If you skip it it will be similar to a tourist who goes to Japan, visits Tokio but skips Kyoto.

Florence is half-way between Rome and Venice, it would be easy to put in between.

8th to 11th - Travel around Rome

3 days is not nearly enough for Rome, especially not when you have only 2 full days. Ditto for Berlin and Paris. Got for 5 days or go not at all.

12th - To Venice

If you skip Florence I strongly suggest you take the night train from Rome to Venice. I've taken the train from Rome to Venice, there isn't any scenery to see, it is just one tunnel after another. Better travel in your sleep, not during the day.

23rd Feb - Reach Frankfurt Main Airport, Germany.
24th Feb - Take a flight to Istanbul, Turkey
19th to 22th March - Travel around Berlin
22th - Take a flight to Frankfurt.

Note that if you fly from Frankfurt that there are two airports. FRA, the big international hub directly next to the city and HHN, a small airport 3 hours away. The budget airlines (Ryanair) fly from HHN. Transfer from FRA to HHN takes 5 hours and more.

If I was you I would look for flights to Munich . Should cost the same as to Frankfurt and will save you travel time. The reason this is better because there is also a night train from Berlin to Munich. Plus it will be easier finding cheap flights from Munich to Istanbul than from Frankfurt to Istanbul. You should also look at flights from Berlin to Istanbul, they can be cheap too.

A good travel agent can even book you a flight where you fly into Istanbul and out of Rome or Paris, look into that option.

Some more tips about Germany: If you have a full day in Frankfurt don't spend it there - go to Heidelberg instead. It is just one hour south of Frankfurt by train and a lot nicer. You can cover the main sights of Frankfurt in about 6 hours.

If you fly in and out of Munich consider a visit to Salzburg. And note that it is possible to take a night train from Florence to Munich.

6. Posted by wyemarn (Budding Member 29 posts) 6y

Thank you Utrecht and t_maia. I'm surprised to missed out Sienna and Florence. The only place I'm interested in Germany is Neuschwanstein Castle so maybe I should skip Berlin and head to Munich instead. After landing in Frankfurt, maybe I can travel to Munich and spend a few days there, travel to Neuschwanstein Castle and then fly to Izmir Airport to visit Ephesus. Can anyone recommend me a website to search for train schedule between cities? I have tried searching for train from Franfurt to Munich but it costs more than $100.

7. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

To search for and purchase train ticket in Germany, I suggest using DB Bahn website. Ticket starts from €49 and there are even direct trains from the airport to Munich. Search for Frankfurt Flughafen Fernbahnhof (for train station at the airport) or Frankfurt Hbf (for main train station of the city) and Munich/München.

[ Edit: Edited on 10-Jan-2010, at 19:30 by lil_lil ]

8. Posted by wyemarn (Budding Member 29 posts) 6y

Thank you lil_lil for the suggestion. I checked the website and it does offer some good train deals. I have made some adjustments to my plans. Please feel free to offer your comments and advice.

23rd Feb - Arrive in Frankfurt. Take ICE from Frankfurt to Munich.
24th-26th - Travel arround Munich and Fussen.
26th - Flight Munich to Izmir, Turkey.
27th - Travel to Ephesus.
28th - Travel from Izmir to Istanbul.
1st-4th March - Travel in Istanbul
4th - Night train from Istanbul to Athens.
5th-6th - Around Athens
7th-8th - Peloponese
9th - Peloponese to Athens and then flight from Athens to Rome.
10th-11th - Around Rome
12th-13th - Rome to Florence and around Florence
14th-16th - Florence to Venice and around Venice
17th - Flight from Venice to London
18th-19th - Around London
19th - London to Paris with TGV
20-22th - Around Paris
22th - Paris to Frankfurt with train.

I feel it is a waste to spend 2-3 days in London so maybe I should remove that city and extend my stay in other cities such as Rome and Paris. Is there any nice locations that I have missed out? Thank you.

9. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 6y

The only place I'm interested in Germany is Neuschwanstein Castle

Urgh! Germany's biggest tourist trap, have you no other interests?

I have some better ideas:

First, if you are determined to fly to Frankfurt visit either Heidelberg or Rothenburg ob der Tauber before you go to Neuschwanstein.

Second I strongly recommend that you go to Salzburg instead to Neuschwanstein. Salzburg is in Austria, there is a lot more to see and do there. It is also easy to get to Italy from there.

You could reverse your initiary: Fly into Frankfurt, then go down to Munich and Italy by train and then travel to Greece and Turkey from there. There is a ferry from Italy to Greece, no need to rely on a cheap flight.

Regarding cheap train tickets in Germany:

If you buy far enough in advance on the internet you can get Frankfurt to Munich for 29 EUR.

If you cannot buy in advance there is a little trick. Go to the information desk at the train station in Frankfurt and ask them to print a schedule to Munich that is "regional trains only". You can do this yourself on http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en too, select "means of transport: only local transport". Search for
From: FRA To: München Hbf

At the train station at Frankfurt Airport then go to the vending machine and buy two tickets from the vending machine. First a regular ticket to Kahl am Main and second a Bayern-Ticket Single. This will be around 30 EUR total.

Watch out for departure times, if you travel on a weekday (Mo-Fr) the earliest train that you are allowed to use with that connection leaves Frankfurt (Main) Hbf 08:34. This is because you cannot use Bayern ticket before 9 am. The people at the Deutsche Bahn information desk at the airport will help you.

10. Posted by lil_lil (Travel Guru 462 posts) 6y

I wouldn't add London to the itinerary at all. You're already on tight schedule, but the first one was actually much more reasonable than the second one. Putting London in and cutting down time on Rome and Paris is really not the way to go.

There's direct night train from Venice to Paris, so that's something to consider.