Hi all, I am very confused and would like some help, it would be much appreciated.
Me and two friends are hoping to travel europe at the end of July, hopefully for around a month. We all live in England and we are planning to start in Amsterdam and finish there also after travelling through France, Italy, Germany and Austria. We have not made clear plans on which countries we would like to go through, and i'm just wondering what any of you people may suggest? I would like to do this as cheap as possible, if anyone could help me figure out the cheapest way to travel to each country. I would like to figure out an efficient way to go from Amsterdam, sample much of Europe and maybe Scandinavia? I am not sure, very confused and just hoping for some suggestions and help from you kind people. Thanks in advance!
month sounds a lot, but your plans still seem me bigger.
here couple of tips for you, they may help:
the cheapest way inside Europe r buses, trains are usually costy but also more comfortable.
If you r going to cover long distance (lets say 10-12 hrs of way) - its reasonably to take sleeping place and b in the way at night. yes, its nt cheap, but u have 2 in 1 = it serves you as hotel.
There are various Euro-passes (train) are avaliable, you pay xxx for advance and then travel unlimited. http://www.eurail.com/ - isnt single option, check up to get idea about.
If i'd b u - I'll not b doing round trip because it's vaste of time, bt taking the 1 direction flight (there r lotsa cheap flights from UK to land Europe), better to the farest destination (Italy?) , and from there begin to "return" in direction of Amsterdam/or Belgium - to return home from there. In the case if you spent your time/money earlier then planned - you always could cut from anywere in direction of home.
August is extremelly busy period in Europe, may be some difficulty with accomodation or/and with transport. Also prices r growing up. No need to cancel bcause of scare, but you & your frieds should have a good plan + ability to be flexible in the way. Sometimes it's good to book a hotel/hostel for advance.
all depends wht ru lookin 4. All countries u mentioned r very impressive.
ITALY - absolutelly adorable (my favorite!), stunning beauty, rich historical background, endless art and music resurce, great ppl, food, wines, nuthing lack! Different between North & South, may be VERY hot in Aug. Italians have 3 weeks of mandatory vacaton in Aug - risk of being in crowd and costy. English is not everywhere, bt Italians r communicative. once ur nice and smiling - thre r no lang barriers.
It's vey hard to me to point the best paces in Italy - cuz i just luv it all. so, i'll speak regions, no towns. The heart of Italy - it's Tuscany & Umbria, Rome = is Rome, North is adorable everywhere, Venice - must. South - colorful, very hot at summer.
Drink coffee, eat ice-cream (a lot!)
FRANCE - delicious, especially in food and wines. Don't run in France, choose your best places and take it slow and with pleasure. They r not always good in Eng,but they r trying to b helpful. I have good expirience from France too.
GERMANY - beautiful country. Berlin is estremelly interesting! Munich - if you want German expirience. Oh.. there r so much more! Beer.
AUSTRIA - delicios, almost like France. Stunning beauty - especially Tirol Region. Vienna - stylish, musical, arts, cafe houses and strudels. I luv Austria. Extremelly clean! Austrian soul/ food/ music/ culture is softer then German,more sofisticated. From my European expirience - Austria, and especaly Vienna - is the most European in whole Europe. (sorry for othrs that i luv too )
SCANDINAVIA - i think it can come only instead of somthing (istead of Italy & France?) - u may do Germany (+ Austria) - thn Scandinavia. Planning too much destinations you risk dont see any of them, just run thrue.
A month isn't nearly enough to cover 'much of Europe' - though you will be able to get a whistlestop taster of quite a few places. Many years ago I went interrailing for a month with a friend and we covered 10 countries. Several stops were flying visits and obviously we didn't get to do much in those places, but it served as a guide to places we wanted to go back to, to explore in a bit more depth.
An interrail pass is still probably the most convenient way of covering all the places you want to go to, but at £365 for a month's continuous travel may not be the cheapest. Having said that it would work out cheaper than buying individual country passes for the places you mention. Other than that, it would be a case of researching buses and trains in each country for individual journey fares.
One way of maximising your time with an interrail pass is to travel overnight, where possible, and book a couchette. This should be available as a supplement to the basic pass. You'll need to work out if the supplement saves you money against the cost of accomodation - I doubt it will be cheaper, especially with 3 of you travellling - but it will help you pack in as much as possible. And there's something quite exciting about going to sleep in one country and waking up in another.
For accomodation you could check out couch surfing: http://www.couchsurfing.org/
Not sure if any of this will prove useful, but however you do decide to do it - have a great trip!
Thank you both for your quick replies! My friend found a coach that is an open return from England to Amsterdam for £70, which i think is very cheap. That is the reason for us considering to do a loop around Europe, finishing back in Amsterdam to go home. However, i think you are right that we could possibly get a plane to the furthest place, possibly Italy and then travel towards Amsterdam. It is very exciting. I have always wanted to see Italy. Do either of you kind ladies have any suggestions on a route from Italy to Amsterdam that will be beautiful, a mixture of citys as well as country villages? I am thinking that coaches will be the cheapest option to travel to different countries. Uncomfortable, i am sure, but very cheap. I believe my friends are willing to spend £500 - £600 maximum...do you think this is enough for an adventure?
I afraid if you follow my advices - u'll b stuck in Italy for whole vacation. It scare even begin to shot names of Italian stops,cuz there r too much, too much ...
Let's say, if you r levng Italy and move North - you have 2 (even 3!) options in your way to Nederlands.
1. From Venice > via Dolomites (mountains in Italy) > South Trol in Italy then in Austria (Innsbruck, Salzburg, villages and breathtaking views)> Munich & Nuremberg (Bavaria!) in Germany >>> etc.
2. From Milano > Lago Maggore > Switzeland (optonally, i know it wasnt planned) > France (just a "corner" OR with "jump" to Paris - up to you) > Luxemburg (!) > Nederlands
3. From Italian Rivera (Genova) OR from Milano via lakes and "valley of castels" in the North Italy >> to France,
then going North into Paris, and Norther, crossing countries + Belgium (chocolad, beer and Brugge!) > Nederlands
Be ready to "crop" part of the path, cuz month is really not as long as it seems.
Gosh... i should stop fantasies about this trip like it was mine (before I cry from jelaousy)!
On my trip we went from Venice to Freiburg (Black Forest, Germany) and then after a couple of days continued to Paris. The route we followed seems to be very close to Vanessa's option 2, as we changed trains at Milan. The scenery, especially going through Switzerland and past the lakes was breathtaking. I know you're planning on taking coaches, but if you can get a similar route I'm sure the views won't disappoint.
From Paris you can then travel up through Belgium to Amsterdam. Again some of the scenery on the way through the north of France into Belgium is beautiful (or it was when I did this - by coach - but this is even more years ago than my interrail trip!).
One thing to keep in mind when travelling through Europe in August, is that in some places - Paris is an example that comes to mind - many attractions (such as museums or parts of them), restaurants and shops will be closed. This is because it's the holiday month and many locals take all or most of August off. There'll still be plenty open to keep you occupied, but if there's anything specific you want to go to it's worth checking when they'll be closed first.
I would also suggest having a look at your budget. Most of the countries you mention are not going to be much cheaper than the UK for most things and some, especially in Scandinavia are likely to be more expensive for some. On a total trip budget of £600, this would work out at roughly £20 a day. If this is to cover travel, accomodation, food and sightseeing, you may find yourself struggling. I'm not saying it's impossible - not having done the trip recently I don't know. However, we took about £500 each for a month, after having paid for our interrail pass etc, and our trip included several stops in Eastern Europe, which at the time was very, very cheap compared to western Europe. At the time, with care, this budget was right - I'd allow much more if doing it now.
I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post the name in this forum, but a very well known publisher of travel guides has a Shoestring Guide to Europe. While travel guides don't always get every last detail correct and some things may have changed since publication, you may find it useful for planning your trip and budget.
Can save accomodation and dead travel days through overnight trains. I have a schedule (from last year) on my blog.
Eastern Europe is cheap, scandinavia is expensive, in France and Spain watch out because most trains don't accept Eurail (or only give like a 50% discount instead of free with the pass). Remember the closest route is often more expensive than going farther overnight. Also - for 3 ppl cheap hotel will prob be cheaper than hostel.