I know this kind of question has been asked many times before but it is all so overwhelming! I am looking for advice on where to go and how to plan my itinerary...or if I should even have one!
I am 22 years old and am planning (note: planning) to travel to Europe for about a month during my summer break this year (june or july). I am not super strict on 1 month, but I feel like that would fit my budget of around 2500 USD (also slightly flexible).
I am extremely fascinated by the idea of cultures beyond those found in America. I would love to see things that have existed/been standing for thousand of years. I want to experience the people and the lifestyles of each place I visit. I want to marvel at the beautiful buildings in various European cities and walk the streets to take in the full affect. I am very interested in history, but I don't want to have that be the sole attraction of my trip, but a big point nonetheless. I want to visit some of the most jaw dropping museums I can and just experience everything the place I am at has to offer.
At the same time, being 22 puts night life in my area of interests. I want to experience what people my age do for fun wherever I go and be able to meet as many people as I can. I will have my 18 year old brother with me, and I know that this aspect of the trip is going to appeal to him more than visiting historical sites and walking museums. I am fairly certain that Amsterdam is a must.
I plan on staying in hostels, and from browsing this site I have found some good websites for finding them, but any additional advice in that area would be great as well. I am assuming that staying in hostels also means I will have a large backpack to store all my belongings in as a go.
I am extremely torn on where I should head. Every country I read about has so many things to offer that I am not sure where to start. So far I have been leaning towards some kind of Italy - Germany - Czech trip, but it is all still up in the air. And with those countries being so close to France, I feel like I should go there too! But I know I only have a month and don't want to stretch myself thin. I have not bought or reserved any train/plane/hostel, but I hope I am not to late.
Long story short...I am looking for a 1 month long trip to Europe in which I can experience a good blend of culture, history, site seeing, and night life/fun.
Oh Jesus, no plan at all.
Well, lets cover the basics:
- you need approx. 10 days to 3 weeks to really cover one European country.
- you need approx. 4-8 days to really cover one big European city (usually the capitals)
So one month is just enough time for 2 countries plus one big city.
Are those 2500 USD for you and your brother together or for you each? Does this include or exclude the flight ticket?
If this is for two of you it will be quite tight, even if the flight ticket is excluded. Summer is not a cheap time to travel.
You should plan on having around 80 USD per day in Western Europe, so for 2 people you are looking at around 160 USD. Some savings can be made when you cook yourself, so 150 USD is possible. Multiplying this by 30 days you are looking at 4500 plus approx. 1500-2000 USD in flight tickets. And this is still a very tight budget, not much partying on this!
Size of luggage:
Do not under any circumstances take a bag that is larger than carry-on size. 40 liters or 2500 cubic inches is ample. You need 3 bottoms (zip-off pants work best) and 4 tops (strappy top, t-shirt, longsleeved t-shirt), rainjacket and one pair of very comfy shoes. One tiny towel, a comb and you are all set. That doesn't take up much space!
I'm trying to make my plan right now
The 2500 is not including the ticket, it would be each, and not shared.
From your timeline it sounds like I would have a hard time fitting Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic in one trip, but I think I would enjoy Rome more than Prague (yes/no?) so I can take care of that.
Thank you for the workout for the budget and the information about the luggage that all helps very much!
Ok, possible initiary, starting in Amsterdam and ending in Rome.
Amsterdam - 4 days
Cologne (Köln) - 2 days
Rhine Area - 2 days
Heidelberg - 2-3 days
one or two sights along the Romantic Road - 2 days
(Munich 2-3 days)
Salzburg - 2-3 days
Venice - 3 days
(Bologna - 3 days)
Florence 4 days
Rome- 5 days
Hope this helps.
Thank you so much that is perfect!
I know most of those areas but some of them I will have to do a lot research on to see what I'm getting myself into in each destination. I already feel overwhelmed with the amount of information I need to find before this summer!
Just out of curiosity why are Berlin and Frankfurt left off the list? I don't know if either is a huge tourist attraction but still big city names nonetheless. No time and the other cities listed are more appealing?
I have read on this website that the Eurail is not always the best option for traveling in Europe, and that sometimes purchasing domestic tickets would be a better option. I will be looking into this but any additional opinions would be great! I am guessing that to enjoy the sights along the Romantic Road I will need to take a bus or car.
The Rhine Area:
Am I right in my research that this would fall under the "scenic" part of the vacation with castles and rolling hills? That sounds amazing! If I will be outside the city, will there be hostels near by or will I have to travel back and forth if I want to make it more than a 1 day excursion?
The Rhine Valley is a highlight of landscape. Image a broad, rather fast-flowing river surrounded by steep mountains, many of them covered with vineyards and topped with medieval castles, many of them ruined. At the base of the mountains, you will find neat, romantic villages nestled between riverfront and rocky slopes. There are three ways to explore the Rhine Valley: By car, by train or by boat. The beautiful section of the Rhine Valley is between Bingen (in the south) and Remagen (in the north), the most interesting castle is the Marksburg (Braubach near Koblenz), the most beautiful monastery is Kloster Eberbach (Eltville), the most dramatic landscape is the Loreley rock, and romantic villages are everywhere.
I am super excited to do research on each of these cities you listed to find out what I would like to do in each while I'm there.
Thank you so much
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2011, at 10:49 by ollie88r ]
If you can possibly fit in Paris, you should do so. No trip to Europe is complete without Paris!
Frankfurt is not worth seeing, but Berlin certainly is - my favorite city in Germany. I am not a fan of Koln at all. (I am German American, but I do not find German nationals to be particularly friendly!)
I am planning a trip to Istanbul myself, but then I've already seen W. Europe several times. I think you should include some of E. Europe in your itinerary.
By all means use the train for all your European travels, and travel second class. Which pass, or no pass, depends on your individual needs. Mid-summer is not the best time to see Europe - if you could possibly go in late spring or early fall, the crowds would be far better, and you would enjoy the trip far more.
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2011, at 12:00 by Daawgon ]
How come you do not like Koln?
I would like to fit Paris in, I will see what I can do. About how much time should I expect to spend there? I feel like I could easily spend the entire month there haha.
Unfortunately, I am pretty restricted to the summer time as I am a student and I don't think I'm willing to take an entire semester off to travel just yet. I know that brings up studying abroad, but I would prefer to just be a tourist
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2011, at 12:20 by ollie88r ]
Sad to say that I also don't know how to plan a one-month vacation in Europe. Maybe, we should seek advises from professional travel agents.
I am wondering if something like this would be a good itinerary...(used June for no reason).
I hope to take advantage of the Eurail (Select 3 Country France, Germany, Italy, 299 each) during this itinerary because I found individual train rides to be about $199 over long distances like Berlin to Heidelberg)
June 1st: Land in Amsterdam in the afternoon (from San Francisco, $685 each)
Day 2-5: Stay in Amsterdam (4.5 days)
Day 5 (night): Train to Berlin (domestic ticket at $169 each, is this a train ride worth seeing?)
Day 6-9: Stay in Berlin (4 full days)
Day 9 (night): Train to Heidelberg(Use travel day 1; is this a train ride worth seeing?)
Day 10-11: Heidelberg (2 full days)
Day 12: Leave for Rothenberg in the morning and stay the night (Use travel day 2. Is there only one train from Heidelberg to Rothenberg?)
Day 13-15: Leave for Munich early in the morning (still using travel day 2, 2.5 days). Leave in the afternoon on the 15th for Venice and stay the night (using travel day 3).
Day 16-18: Venice. Leave at night on the 18th to stay the night in Florence (use travel day 4
Day 19-21: Stay in Florence (3 full days)
Day 22-25: Leave for Rome early morning on the 22nd. (buy domestic train ticket for ~$60, 4 full days)
Day 26 - July 1st: Leave early on the 26th for Paris, arrive in the evening (4.5 days, use travel day 5).
July 1st: Depart Paris for home in the afternoon ($932 each).
I total the transportation to be around ~ $2150 dollars (Eurail - $299, Flights - $1617, Amsterdam to Berlin - $169, Florence to Rome - $60). Obviously this does not include inner city transportation. Am I way off the mark with these prices?
This is just my first attempt at my own itinerary. I did a lot of research raileurope.com and eurail.com. I hope it is not absolutely atrocious.
Comments appreciated! Thanks!
[ Edit: Edited on 06-Jan-2011, at 16:48 by ollie88r ]
I am having trouble finding a good route from Heidelberg to Rothenburg. Would this work? To my understanding this would be covered under Eurail.