My daughter (20) and I are going to backpack in Europe in June. We are meeting in paris and want to visit berlin, venice, pisa, and rome. We have never traveled to Europe but are interested in staying in hostels in keep costs down. I know nothing about what to see, where to stay, train v. plane, etc. Anybody with some experience that could help me, I would appreciate your help. We only have 2 weeks and would like to see alot but not get too stressed. Should we make all plans before we go or trip to "wing" it? Thanks!
If you have only two weeks you can reasonably see two or three big cities.
We are meeting in paris and want to visit berlin, venice, pisa, and rome.
That would require that you have about 3 weeks or more. I think you need to choose or you will be biting off more than you can chew.
As a rule you should spend 5-7 days in big cities such as Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, etc. Many people rush it and try to do these cities in 3 days, this is only possible if you are very selective about what to see and know exactly where you are going every day.
I thus suggest you either do
- Paris and Berlin plus some daytrips or
- Paris, Rome, Florence and Venice.
If you decide to go to Italy: Unless you intend to fly to Pisa from Paris I suggest you skip it, there is little to see aside from the leaning tower. 2-3 hours is enough time there. Florence is a much better destination because of all the art there.
Feel free to ask more questions.
Thanks - we have decided to skip Berlin - won't have enough time. We are going to go from paris, amsterdam, venice, pisa (if have time) and rome.
Do you know of any hostels in these areas that are clean, safe and good price? Or any cheap hotels that are good?
Sorry, I think you'll have to forgo Amsterdam too. There is just so much to see and do in Rome and Paris you would not be able to do these two cities justice if you squeezed Amsterdam in between.
Realistically you'll loose 2 days out of your 14 to flying in and out of Europe and to jetlag. So you have 12 days for seeing Paris, Rome, Venice. Spent 4-5 days in Rome, 4-5 days in Paris and the remaining 2-3 days in Venice and you will have a real chance to experience and explore the cities in question. Move at a faster pace and you'll suffer from the "today is Tuesday so this must be Paris" - syndrome.
My suggestion would be to fly from Paris to Italy with a budget airline, either to Venice, Pisa or Rome. Within Italy you would then use the train.
BTW, you really should take a second look at Florence. It is half-way between Rome, Pisa and Venice. It would be a real shame to miss because it is the Italy everybody talks about.
[ Edit: Edited because I can. :-) ]
Spend some days in Paris. Buy a map. Use the metro (you can buy multiple tickets rather than keep queueing). Try to get accommodation near a metro station (tickets are flat fare in Paris). Consider a museum pass. There are hop on, hop off buses which do the tourist route. Then:
Shuttle to Tille airport, Beauvais where you can pick up a Ryanair flight to Rome or Venice.
Two weeks you really only have time for two places. I would say Paris and Rome with maybe side trips like Versailles, Pompeii, etc.
You will need to book accommodation and travel very soon. Hostelworld has cheapish accommodation but both Paris and Rome are expensive places. If from the UK, you could fly back from Rome. Filled baguettes are cheap in Paris. Quite a few mini-marts about. More accommodation:
Aww, you're like the gilmore girls