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Advice to First Time Travellers

Travel Forums Europe Advice to First Time Travellers

1. Posted by hmwhere2go (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Help! Trying to backpack Europe for the first time but there's too much to see for a 3 week trip. How many cities do you suggest I can squeeze in? Would it be too difficult to go to a new city each day? Should I reserve 2 days for larger cities like Barcelona and Milan? I def plan on getting a Eurail Pass and staying in hostels, but if you have any advice then please fill me in!

2. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 6y

General rule - plan what you wanna see and cut that down in half.

3 weeks is not alot of time. Pick a region like Italy and France, or Spain and Portugal. Or Germany and Poland. Dont stretch yourself out.

Is there a specific city/country you must see?

You can always go back and see what you missed the first time.

Always book ahead when you can with Hostels. Especially in Western Europe and weekends..

If you travel in Eastern Europe - do not get a eurail pass.

when you know where you wanna go - come back and reply.

3. Posted by flyingbob (Inactive 842 posts) 6y

I wonder where you're travelling from.
So many people visualise Europe as being this little dot on the planet and it's easy to do it all in a week or two.
It is in fact the world's third largest continent - after Asia and Africa and is huge.
Europe from one side to the other is many hours by jet.
There are many distinctions, or groups if you like - that divide Europe into different holiday categories....
..Islands - there are 100's of them
..Western and Eastern Europe - two different dimensions, in so many ways. A night in Geneva, London, or Monaco - can cost more than a fortnight in Bulgaria.
..Cities
..Mountains
..Beaches
..Trains
..Buses
..Car hire
..Walking
..Camping
A Eurail/Interail pass can save you money in Western Europe, but will be a total waste of money in Eastern Europe.
As a suggestion - I would suggest a few capitals that are reasonably close together, such as Madrid - Paris - Brussels - Amsterdam.
If you want mountains, then do one of the various ranges in Britain and explore London (the biggest city of them all) while you're over.

4. Posted by hmwhere2go (Budding Member 2 posts) 6y

Coldwarspy: your first rule of thumb sounds logical. I was planning on hugging the Mediterranean coast, flying into Madrid and flying out of Venice. Since I'll be there next summer I was planning on visiting the coastal cities. So far I've reserved 2 days for flying in and out of Europe, but then I planned one travelling to a different city everyday--is that too much? So far I've found that the train rides are each a few hours long, ranging from 2 to 5. Would I be wasting my time?

Thanks for your reply, btw!

Flyingbob: I hope my first post didn't sound naive: I definitely don't believe I can cover the spanse of Europe in 20 days. My motive is to stay near the beach in cities that feature medieval Muslim architecture and museums, as well as Renaissance And Baroque Catholic art and architecture if it's not too ambitious to visit Spain and Italy in a single trip. I planned on staying in hostels and my trip is for academic purposes--no camping, hiking, mountains of any sort. I'll be flying in from British Columbia so I plan on reserving a good day or two for travelling to and from the continent. I planned on staying a day in each city that I visit, but planning my itinerary I feel that it might be a little difficult to see everything AND leave time to get to get to the next city.

(to the both of you) here is my course thus far: Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona, Marseilles, Nice, Genova, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice. Some days I'd stay 2 nights (ie rome, barcelona), and I might squeeze a couple beach days in smaller coastal cities if possible (and maybe even a ferry ride out to Ibiza). I really don't want to cut half of all trip/history lesson out but do you think I should?

Thanks to you both!!

5. Posted by coldwarspy (Travel Guru 1108 posts) 6y

Yes hmwhere2go, this is way too much for 3 weeks. I spent 4 weeks in just Spain and Portugal one summer and never saw half of these countries.

I cant imagine only spending one day in Seville or Madrid. The Prado Musuem is worth a day alone in Madrid. Grenada you need a day for the Alhambra as well, and just days to chill out and meet some locals. Train travel is often not as convenient and sometimes delayed due to strike actions and general break downs as well. You really need to cut out Italy here I think. I cant image doing all this in 3 weeks. you will be exhausted. Skip Ibiza as well. No time for that anyway. Overrated.

And in Barcelona there's alot to see. Plenty of culture and good food and bars and beaches. And you will no doubt need a day to spend with the police as everyone seems to get robbed there ;) = be careful!

And too bad you are missing Portugal, I think its much nicer than Spain.

I hope this helps!

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

Madrid, Seville, Cordoba, Granada, Valencia, Barcelona, Marseilles, Nice, Genova, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Rome, Naples, Venice.

A trip like that needs be approx. 45 days long (1 1/2 months) and even then you would be rushing from place to place, having no more than 6-8 hours for each place.

A more manageable schedule might be Madrid-Seville-Granada-Barcelona-(budget flight)-Rome-Palermo-Naples-Florence-Venice. This would give you a real chance to actually see things. It would still be a trip that needs approx. 6 weeks, but you could spend more than just a few hours in each city.

P.S. For this trip as I wrote it down Eurail would be overrated, you would most likely be better off with point-to-point.

[ Edit: Edited on 20-Aug-2010, at 18:45 by t_maia ]