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My European trip.. Need advice.

Travel Forums Europe My European trip.. Need advice.

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1. Posted by zdsa159 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Hello ! This is my first post so I will also present myself.. I am Alex, I live in Ottawa, On. In Canada. I am finishing up high school right now.

Me and a few friends want to travel Europe via Eurail when we finish High School... We decided to put me in charge as I love planning trips and I am rather good in Geography..

We are planning on going 1.5 - 2 months.. So I chose a variety of cities that I think we should go see.. My only question is am I missing any ? The list is below.

Rome
Vatican
Pisa
Milan
Geneva
Bern
Innsbruck
Salzburg
Vienna
Zagreb
Belgrade
Budapest
Prague
Berlin
Munich
Frankfurt
Amsterdam
Rotterdam
Brussels
Paris
Lyon
Marseilles
Barcelona
Madrid
Sevilla
Lisbon

I also have a question about Croatia, my uncle is Croatian and he says that Dubrovnik is beautiful.. But there is no train that goes to Dubrovnik.. What would be the cheapest way of getting there?

Thanks alot !

Cheers

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

The list is quite good, it is a decent collection of places backpackers go to.

I just have a few suggestions:

1) Instead of Pisa and Milan better go to Venice and Florence. There is very little to see in Pisa aside from the tower, if you must go and see I suggest doing it as a daytrip from Florence. Milan is ok, but if you love art Florence is way better. And Venice is just out of this world!

2) Skip Frankfurt unless you need to fly in or out of the city. The place is not very interesting, you'll quickly get bored there because all the main sights in the city can be covered in about 6 hours. Switch it with another place, say Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Heidelberg or Cologne. Alternatively visit the Rhine between Mainz and Koblenz or the Mosel Valley.

2) Instead of Rotterdam I would suggest another Dutch city. I heard good things about Utrecht for example.

3) Any particular reason for Lyon? I've never been there, but it is not exactly a top tourist destination.

4) In Spain add Granada and Cordoba. It will be worth it. http://looklex.com/spain/index.htm

5) Are you sure that 2 months will be enough time? With all the places you have listed this would be enough for a 4-5 month trip.

Recommended travelling/visiting times:

Italy -14 days
Switzerland-7 days
Austria-10 days
Zagreb, Belgrade, Budapest - 10 days
Prague - 4 days
Berlin -6 days
Munich -3 days + 2 day elsewhere in Germany
Netherlands 7 days
Brussels 4 days
Paris 6 days + some days elsewhere in France, 10-14 days total
Spain: Seville, Granada and Cordoba 10 days, Madrid and Barcelona together 10 days, 21 days total
Lisbon- 4 days.

Total: over 100 days.

But there is no train that goes to Dubrovnik.. What would be the cheapest way of getting there?

Well, there are buses of course!

3. Posted by zdsa159 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

We were going to go to Lyon because one of my friends has family there.. That is mostly why..

Yeah I wasn't sure about Rotterdam.. I had heard good stuff about it but it is pretty iffy.. We'll probably do Urecht instead..

We will probably skip Frankfurt and go to Cologne instead.

I hope that we will be able to get 3-4 months.. I do not know.. I need to check when the fall semester starts and hopefully build around that.. But I am sure we can go 3 months..

Also.. Is Belgrade safe ? Some people say it is some people say it isn't since the war..

By the way.. Do you have an estimate on how much it should cost me excluding airfare and the Eurail pass ? I am not sure what the price of Hotels and Food is in Europe..

Thanks alot !

4. Posted by zdsa159 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Forgot to say ! I am probably going to trade Pisa & Milan for Florence & Venice. If we really want we could do a little stop in Milan in the worst case scenario.

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

By the way.. Do you have an estimate on how much it should cost me excluding airfare and the Eurail pass ? I am not sure what the price of Hotels and Food is in Europe..

Excluding airfare but including the cost of transport within Europe (ie a Eurailpass) you should have around 70 EUR per day and person.

So for a 3 month trip you are looking at 6300 EUR plus airfare. At today's exchange rate this is 8,522.01 USD. This number might go up or down until you go, to play it safe I recommend planning with an exchange rate of somthing like 1.45 USD to 1 EUR. This would be around 9135 USD or 100 USD per day.

It is possible to do it cheaper, but this will be very difficult in high season. You do not know the prices and bargains to begin with and hunting for them when everybody else is looking too is tough.

You should plan on having per person:

  • 7-15 EUR per day for food from the supermarket and snackstalls that you find roadside
  • 15-30 EUR per day and person for a bed in a hostel or for a holiday appartment that you share with your buddies (hotels would be too expensive for you)

    So you need at least 35 EUR per day just to have a place to sleep and not go hungry.

  • around 15-25 EUR on average for transport from place to place (ie the cost of combined flight, train or bus tickets over the course of the trip, this can be in the form of a Eurail pass).
  • around 5-15 EUR for public transport in a city

  • 5-100 EUR for fun things: entry fees to sights, money for drinks and partying the night away, for wild-river rafting, bungee-jumping, the naughty stuff Amsterdam has to offer ;) etc.

As you can see from this list 70 EUR per day and person are not that much. Europe in general is an expensive place to travel in.

Eastern Europe is a little bit more budget friendly, but not that much. You still need between 55 and 65 EUR per day. But real bargains can be had in North Africa and Near East. There you can travel on 25 to 35 EUR per day.

So since you are already planning to go to Andalusia (Southern Spain) it might make sense to dip down into Morocco. The cost of 2-3 weeks of travelling around Morocco is similar to 1 week in Spain. Morocco is a great country, I think you'll love it there.

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

Alternatively travel heavily around the Balkan peninsula and then go down into Turkey.

http://turkeytravelplanner.com/

Depends on what you all want I suppose.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Mar-2010, at 15:34 by t_maia ]

6. Posted by zdsa159 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Wow thanks alot ! That really helped. And yeah we might go down to Morocco.. One of my friends is from there so he knows the language etc..

Thanks a ton !

-Alex

7. Posted by Piha (First Time Poster 1 posts) 6y

Hi,

Since you're planning on going to so many places, a good alternbative would be to rent a "budget" campervan.
It would allow you you to not only visits the cities but also get off the beaten tracks and enjoy the real Europe.
They are smll vans that esay to drive in cities and can be parked anywhere.
It is a lot of fun and rather cheap if you consider that it is your transport, accomodation and kitchen all in one.
We've done it in Australia and New zealand. We loved it !
Some friends have recently recommended us a company called Origin Campervans (www.origin-campervans.com) based in Lille (on the Eurostar line between London and Paris).
The vans look rather funky!

Enjoy your trip !

8. Posted by zdsa159 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

That could be a possibility. But I do not know if I will have my full lisence or my learners permit when I go there. I will have to look into it !

Thanks for the help !

-Alex

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

Renting a campervan during high season will be really expensive. It will most definitely be out of your budget.

If you are going this route look at the long-term car rental/leasing scheme that is available for French cars. You could throw some tents and camping gear into the back and then travel that way. This will be cheaper than a campervan. If you share costs with 3 other people this might even be cheaper than 4 x the Eurail pass or 4 x plane, bus and train tickets.

One reason that method appeals financially is because it will be easy to park somewhere roadside and then sleep in the fields. In many non-touristy areas this is tolerated as long as you are gone the next morning. In other places you will be told to drive to the next camping site. Even then you'll find that staying at camping sites is generally cheaper than staying at hostels.

http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/sleeping.htm
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/1198hostels.htm
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/0899camping.htm

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

[ Edit: Edited on 21-Mar-2010, at 08:22 by t_maia ]

10. Posted by zdsa159 (Budding Member 7 posts) 6y

Yeah thanks that is also a good idea.. But we would bassicly have to buy the camping gear in Europe .. We can't really bring it from America.. We are looking at probably staying at hostels and making our own food .

Thanks alot !

-Alex