I recently bought a plane ticket to backpack through Europe from May 8-June 17, and I made up an itinerary. I just wanted to throw it out there and see if experienced travelers think it would be an okay itinerary:
May 8: Overnight flight from Newark, NJ to Madrid
May 9-13: Madrid. One day will include a trip to Segovia, and one day will include a trip to Toledo
May 14-15: Santiago de Compostela (visiting a friend)
May 16-17: Seville
May 18: Granada
May 19: Valencia
May 20-23: Barcelona (a good, CHEAP day trip idea from Barcelona would be appreciated, just for me to think about....)
May 24-25: Nice
May 26-27: Lucerne (easyjet flight to Geneva, then on to Lucerne via direct train)
May 28: Zurich
May 29-May 31: Munich
June 1: Pisa (ryanair flight Munich-Pisa)
June 2: Milan
June 3-7: Udine (with family) Including one day spent in Venice
June 8-10: Florence
June 11-12: Naples (Pompeii. Possibly one day for Pompeii/Naples City, one day for Capri--thoughts?)
June 13-15: Rome
June 16: Flight back to Madrid
June 17: Return home
-I know the Italy portion is very scattered, but the only Ryanair flight I could get from Munich to Italy was to Pisa, and it was easier and cheaper to fly via Ryanair than to worry about getting a train from Munich. That, combined with the fact that I need to visit my family in Udine the first weekend in June, is why I'm making sort of a loop around Italy instead of a straight line.
-I've been to London and Paris before so I'm not looking to go anywhere in that region and am not looking for suggestions in that region of Europe.
-I'll be getting early morning trains from Zurich to Munich, and from Pisa to Milan (some as early as 5:45 AM, ideally). I don't necessarily want to pay for a hostel (even though they're cheap) if I have to worry about checking out very early in the morning--I just don't think it's worth it for me to pay for a bed if I'll only be there really for a few hours. Therefore, I was wondering if anyone has any ideas as to what I can do all night until the trains run. Are these cities safe at night? Are there places open 24 hours where I could hang out and maybe read a book or something until my train, and then sleep on the train? If need be, I'll book a hostel, but it would save me for these two cities about 60 bucks to wait for the train instead of pay for a hostel...which is a lot when planning a backpacking trip.
Thanks in advance for all the advice and suggestions...this is my first time embarking on an adventure like this and I'm really excited, but I want to make sure that it's well planned and thought out before I go, and I'm looking for opinions from anyone willing to offer their opinion. So thank you!
Sounds like a nice trip - all round.
My variation suggestions on it....
Five days in Madrid? No. 3-4 will be ample. Once you're on your second day trip out of the city, carry on - and don't go back on yourself.
Zurich? It's not very touristy at all. There are some better parts of Switzerland you could visit instead. It's a very small country - and easy to get from one point to another very easily in under a couple of hours or so.
As an alternative option, budget airline German Wings do indirect flights to Italy from Germany for under €50.
I'm with flyingbob, "sounds like a nice trip - all round"! Personally I'd leave the 2 or 3 days in Barca untouched. It's a city with plenty to see, and one or two days to unwind can be nice when there's a lot of packing up and travellling around all around the stop.
There's a lot of people sleeping at airports, and I'm sure the same holds true for railway stations in bigger locations. This is also not the coldest time of year, so that helps. What I'd do is either try and book a night train (often slower), or make sure that the hostel I am staying at the night before has a 24 hour reception with a place to store bags. That way you ask them when checking out if they'll hold your backpack. You can then hang out around town and pick up your bag when you want to. I think that should work, even if that pick up time ends up being 3AM... Worst case scenario is that they won't let you do that and you end up having it with you all night.
thanks! now that i had a few people look at it i feel much better about it.
@flyingbob: really it's three full days in madrid...two full days if you don't count the day that i arrive (Even though I'll be out of the airport by noon). that, plus i have friends who are spending the semester abroad in madrid, and that week is their last week there, so i will be able to meet with them all throughout that week and am choosing to just stay through their last week. but otherwise, based on my research i would agree that it's not somewhere that needs that many days. also, i've heard the same things about zurich not being very tourist-y...the only reason that i will be there is because it's where I can get a direct connecting train to munich, and rather than spend another night in lucerne and leave from there early in the morning to go back to zurich, i figured i'd spend a day exploring zurich instead.
@Sam I Am: thanks for the advice about Barcelona. I just figured it would be something to think about, but it does seem like I'll have plenty to see. Also, I haven't had luck finding night trains for the routes that I mentioned, which is why I'm wondering about where to go for the night if I don't want to book a hostel. I will not be able to leave luggage anywhere, as it will be my only day in the city and I won't have had a hostel there in the first place. But like you said, I assumed that there would at least be a few people there overnight and that I would not be alone!
I will not be able to leave luggage anywhere, as it will be my only day in the city and I won't have had a hostel there in the first place.
Most train stations will have lockers that you can store your bag in if you are only going to be there for one day and don't want to lug around your gear. It will cost a few bucks but the convenience is worth it.
@pvsoccer20 right--what i intended to say was that i will not be able to leave my luggage at a HOSTEL (since i will not have booked one in the first place!).
i myself used the luggage lockers at the Gare du Nord when I visited Paris, and it was a huge convenience to just leave them there before my train to London in the evening instead of carrying my bags with me all day. Thanks for clearing it up though
A good day trip from Barcelona is Montserrat. We booked a tour with Viator that was reasonably priced. Would recommend going on a Sunday when everything in Barcelona is closed. The tour takes about half a day.