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best route around Europe

Travel Forums Europe best route around Europe

1. Posted by laura_heg (Budding Member, 2 posts) 30 Aug '12 05:22

I am thinking about travelling around Europe for 4 weeks in June 2013.

I would like to visit the following places;

Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia, Switzerland, Italy and France.

I know this is a lot to cover in the short time I have.

As this is the first trip I have ever planned, I have no clue where to start.

I'm looking for your advice and help on what route is best to take? Are there any 'must see' places you recommend? how much should I take? Am I best purchasing a global pass?

To be honest I'm not very clued up on history or culture, I'm more interested in scenery & beaches however I am open to it as I would like this experience to be an educational one.

Thanks :)

2. Posted by laura_heg (Budding Member, 2 posts) 30 Aug '12 05:25

Also, I will be travelling from London.

3. Posted by sdodi244 (Budding Member, 9 posts) 24 Sep '12 09:16

hey Laura, 4 weeks is perfect amount of time to get about 5-6 countries done depending on how relaxed you wanna be.

Your city choices are very good. I seen half of them.

I would start in Amsterdam- if you smoke weed and like to see museums- i would say 2-4 days. If not them 2-3 days because amsterdam was the most expensive city in europe that i have been too.

Them train down to belguim for a couple days
Them trian down to france
I would highly recommend a flight to Barcelona, spain - lots of culture, amazing city beach, good nightlife, fun people

Them rome for 4 days - good food, lots to see,

Then croatia - a city called Dubrovnik - i have not been but suppsed to have amazing beaches in europe

prague is beautiful - most amazing scenery i have seen

germany is a must - i have never been but i regret it

Hope this helps :)

4. Posted by AussieTigers (Budding Member, 11 posts) 22 Oct '12 02:07

Hi there,

My partner and i are looking to travel Europe next year around August. We want to start in Paris or Amsterdam and work our way through Czech Republic, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Croatia?, Italy, Slovenia and France..... aloowing 4-6weeks for all this. Too long or not enough???
We would like to travel by rail but have NO IDEA, how to plan the trip as we will be going by ourselves not with a tour group... Any suggestions on time frames in each country, tips on rail travel etc would be greatly appreciated....
Is rail travel an expensive way to see Europe?
Do you book accomodation before we go or when we are there?
Its all very confusing and daunting!
please help! :)

5. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 293 posts) 22 Oct '12 16:29

Check out eurail and interrail passes, yes using these rail travel in europe can be relatively cheap and very flexible.

I'd say book accomm as you go, that leaves you flexibility to linger in the places you enjoy, move on when you've seen enough, and not feel you're always chasing a schedule.

As to timeframes, it depends on your attention span! Most european cities, I'd spend 3 days in, and if on a 4-6 week schedule I'd mainly stick to capitals myself.

Suggestions: Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Bratislava, Bled, if you're interested in Croatia then I guess Dubrovnik unless you want islands but they're no tropical paradise, Venice, Rome.

If you wanted to venture beyond what you've listed above, the capitals of the Baltic republics are all interesting - Tallinn probably has most to see but then it's the most remote one from central Europe's sights. From there it's tempting to say Helsinki or even St Petersburg (up there on a par with Rome or Venice for me) but the Russian visas are a royal pain. The Ukraine is visa-free for many nationalities now, and Kiev gives a similar experience to a Russian city although it's not up there like StP. -- I'm digressing from what you asked about now!

The Scandinavian capitals are all lovely cities, but they'll all kill your budget too.

Have a play with the eurail and interail passes and build a route from there. That's probably about the right level of detail to preplan, then add any little side-trips as you go. (From Krakow lots of people see the salt mines or Auzschwitz, for instance.)

Don't feel daunted, you'll be fine. It's easy travelling, English well understood pretty much everywhere you're talking about going. :-)

6. Posted by AussieTigers (Budding Member, 11 posts) 22 Oct '12 19:03

Thankyou very much Andyf... I found what you wrote helpful..... But have to admit i still am pretty clueless in regards to starting the actual planning of the trip.... Iv heard that flights between european countries are very cheap and may be a better way to get around then by train?
Also does $20,000 seem reasonable for the travel and spending money for my partner and i?

Posts 7 & 8 were removed by moderators
9. Posted by Andyf (Respected Member, 293 posts) 22 Oct '12 23:43

Aussietigers,
For what you're planning I think the rail passes are a no brainer. Yes there are cheap flights but for them to be cheap you need to commit months in advance and there are no changes; also the distances involved in what you're describing doing don't justify flying (with the overhead of getting out to airports, checkin times, waiting at baggage reclaim,...).

Do take a look at those railpass websites.

The main budget airlines are Ryanair and easyjet. Maybe the odd flight will be useful but if you've already gone to the expense of a rail pass perhaps not.

For planning, my approach would be:
1) Choose a rail pass that covers the right countries and select a basic route.
2) Do a little reading city by city on what there is to see and do. This site has entries but I use wikitravel and Wikipedia as a starting point for the "get in" and "sleep" sections. I also flick between those and google maps to get an idea of the geography of a place, and I google for city metro rail maps too.
3) I'd start by allocating 3 days to each town and a day for travel between each. Then I'd refine this, bearing in mind you could use sleeper trains sometimes and save days in transit and expense of hostels - make the most of the rail pass.

10. Posted by avsent (Budding Member, 3 posts) 23 Oct '12 22:12

There is a lot of good advice here. 20,000 USD would buy you a lot- that's 2,500.00 each/week. You could live rather well on this amount of money. But, the cheapest and most scenic way is by train/rail. I once got a 14 day eurail pass and crammed in as many countries as I could get in.
Your plans should start with what you really are planning to do. Do you want to see the same tourist sights that everyone sees or do you want to create something different. Also, do you want all the luxuries and best foods or do want to get by on a budget and use the money later? First, how do you plan to get to Europe? It is a long flight and do you want to go first class where you will get to eat and drink in comfort; or does that matter. Where will you land to start your trip. I started in London saw the sights then took the Eurostar to Paris. (I'm trying to answer this for Laura and the Aussies- so pick out the info that pertains to you). As, for money, take just enough for an emergency situation- but, take your debit and credit card. You will get a better exchange rate and will not take the chance to lose a substantial amount if you were to lose any money.
Also, pack light (it will be summer anyway). Packing light will make transition to all these places a lot easier, no matter how you get there. So, rail passes or flight passes Global/ Europass are cheaper than trying to book trips separately.
After, Paris I went to Belgium, then Amsterdam, then through Germany to Denmark, then to Malmo, Sweden to Oslo, Norway. Then reverse back to Berlin, Germany. Then, to Poznan, Poland onto Austria. Innsbruck to Geneva, Switzerland. Then, reverse to Milan, Italy- Cannes and Monte Carlo- to Bordeaux, France to Madrid, Spain and lastly Lisbon, Portugal. So, yes 4 weeks is time to see a substantial bit. Unless, your excellent travel planners, I would hesitate making arrangements in advance unless you must. I once experienced the French rail strike and almost lost money on reservations made in in advance. I did lose out on my rerturn Eurostar trip and had to take alternate means. So, this is another reason to budget in case you have a problem like this.
A couple of points, you can check out Europe by Air as they have a voucher program and cheap flights throughout Europe. So, if you need to you can use the rail pass and fly when necessary to keep an agenda. It all depends on what you want to see or do.
You can go to Yahoo travel, they have nice travel guides to see what is available for the tourist. Also, Virtual Tourist and Trip Advisor has loads of travel advice and reviews of places.
I can't help but stress that once you educate yourself on the web about all the great things to see and do in Europe; you should consult a travel professional (even if you don't book through them you will gain more incite into your trip and perhaps come up with some great deals). You will know, if you do the price comparisons online.
Also, once you get to each major city, there are usually very good tours you can take with other people or not. Many of them are available through the hotel you stay at. I picked out hotels at the major booking engines for the dates I was traveling and used those hotels as I travelled along. Some, I went to the desk and just asked their rate (usually fairly reasonable).
At any rate, you can plan in advance or just ask the hotel clerk for suggestions for what is popular and close for tourist attractions. Nonetheless, you started in a good place-on the web to pick put what is relevant to you.