I want to go to Europe with my girlfriend and maybe one or two other couples sometime in the next year. We're all about 25y/o. I haven't been out of the country in the last 20 years (not counting the Caribbean) so I have basically no experience traveling anywhere in Europe. I was hoping I could tell you what kind of stuff we are looking to get out of the trip and then someone could give some advice on where they think we might want to go. We've only decided that we want to go somewhere in Europe. We'd prefer to go some "off-peak" time so that we can get big discounts. We can get off work any time.
Anyway, here is some info:
How much can we spend: $1,500 each NOT counting hotel or RT flight to Europe. Flights within Europe, if any, count toward that 1.5k max.
How many days: 6-8
Preferences/likes and dislikes:
a. Active stuff: Attending Oktoberfest, Snorkeling, Seeing the Running of the Bulls, watching the Olympics live, riding a camel, hiking through a rainforest, hanging with dolphins, skiing (on a beginner course), playing poker, attending a comedy show, listening to live music, etc., etc. (doesn't need to be any of those things in particular, but you get the idea)
b. I love good authentic food.
c. Having a day or two to really relax would be great. Laying on a nice beach, going to a high-end natural spa, chilling at a ridiculously nice pool, maybe going for a day cruise or something. Warm weather and awesome natural sights are cool (my girlfriend really hates the cold).
d. Being in scenic areas would be cool. Seeing the Coliseum, Big Ben or the Eiffel Tower (etc.) would all be awesome. That said, I don’t know that I’d love to take a 4 hour trip to the top of a building where I stand in a slow line the whole way (did that for the Empire State Building) too many times on the same trip.
e. We drink a little but don’t party like we did in college by any means.
f. To some extent I feel like if I go to Europe I really need to see some kind of plays, listen to a symphony, go on tours, go to the opera, walk through museums, etc. I think some of that would be all right, but I don’t get overly excited about it. So some of that in moderation.
g. We basically want to see as much of the world as we can.
I'd also like some advice on how many cities I should reasonably expect to see. I don't want to spend my whole trip in the airport, but I also want to see as much as possible.
My plan is to take advantage of points programs and credit card offers to get a ridiculously discounted flight/hotel. See: thepointsguy.com. (Would prefer this to not siderail the discussion).
Anyway, if anyone can give advice on which cities we should go to that would be awesome. Any general advice would be great as well. Thanks a bunch.