So I am thinking about traveling to Europe after I graduate school. The problem is I'm not sure where to start. I know I want to go to Greece and Italy. I would really appreciate peoples thoughts who have been to Europe. What places are the go to places? What sites should not be missed? And cheap places to stay? Or do Europe on a budget?
One of your largest costs will be getting to Europe. Consider signing up for a credit card to get air miles in order to save cash on a flight. I did a month long trip in 2007 and will never forget it. Munich, Switzerland, Cinque Terre, Austrian Alps! For ultra cheap stays you can book hostels. They are fun and you meet people!
I hate to beat a dead horse but if you want to stay at hotels on the cheap, credit card sign up bonuses will really help! Let me know if you are interested and I can try to point you in the right direction!
Start by a couple of good guidebooks. Do you have a set time frame or dates yet? Usually time and money is a crucial factor in the planning progress.
What places are the go to places? What sites should not be missed?
This really depends on your interests, traveling style and partly what season you plan to visit. You need to do some research and decide for your self.
And cheap places to stay? Or do Europe on a budget?
I think there is no point going somewhere just because it's "cheap", if it is a place of no interest. Then "cheap" means different things to different people, you have to be more specific.
Very very generally speaking around 60euro/day is a strict minimum for dorm stays, cooking your own meals, not moving around a lot, very limited paid sight-seen/activities and no alcohol.
hi. Europe is really a big continent and there are many place to see and visit . As you wanted to visit Greece and Italy. Start up to France by taking a ferry , and from their you can get down to Greece and Italy..
I suggest you start reading and searching for pictures/blogs/websites about the different countries you might be interested in, in order to choose the ones you really want to visit. Asking in a forum is always a very good start But we all have different tastes and our answers will be very subjective depending on our preferences for the places we've been.
I think you don't need 60€/day to travel in Europe, unless you really want to spend that much. It depends of course on the kind of accommodation/food/activities/transportation you want for your trip. But if you want to do Europe on a budget, know that cheap hostels can be found in every country of Europe for 6-20€ (hostelworld is a good website to do your research on hostels). There are alternatives such as Couchsurfing if you don't want to spend money in accommodation at all, giving you at the same time the opportunity to experience local lifestyles and meeting new people.
For transportation (buses, trains), if you head to Eastern Europe (Poland, the balkans...) you will find very cheap options. But prices in the rest of Europe are not cheap. I have been to Greece and Italy several times and transportation isn't cheap in any of them. I found the ferries in Greece not expensive (to travel between islands prices range from 7€-35€ on normal ferries) but for mainland transportation one must spend 30-40€ to travel between cities (an example Athens-Thessaloniki 35€). Travelling by train in Italy is also expensive, unless you always take the slowest regional trains. You should also consider travelling by plane if you manage to book well in advance, because companies such as Ryanair, Easyjet, Wizzair, Blueair are low-costs that sometimes offer flights cheaper than trains.
Both in Greece and Italy you can find a decent meal for 5€-10€. But buying food in the supermarket and cooking for yourself are good and cheaper alternatives if you want to spend less than that.
Concerning places you should not miss in those countries, i can recommend you some of my favourites (but personally i prefer to enjoy natural beauty than big cities, so this stays very subjective).
Greece: the islands (personally i've only been to the Cyclades group but i found them magical places to be, especially Amorgos, Koufonisia, Paros.. If you want to experience a very different place head to Santorini but know that the island is completely crowded in high-season; Mykonos stays the best place to party). Athens is a chaotic and imho not so beautiful city but worth a visit if you'd like to immerse yourself in ancient ruins and museums. Mount Olympus in northern Greece is a perfect place to be in the nature and to do some hiking. So is the Peloponese region.
Italy: my favourite city in Italy is Florence because it's very artistic and beautiful while a little less expensive than Rome or Venice (which are both delightful and not-to-be-missed places too, but usually very crowded). The Toscany region and the Cinqueterre offer some of the most beautiful landscapes of the country. I don't like Milano, a very industrial city and imo only worth a visit if you're really into fashion (although its Duomo is a magnificient piece of architecture). I've never been south of Naples or to the islands. But the best beaches of Italy are found there.
If you have any questions about other countries, i'll be glad to help.
I too am going on my first trip this summer! My first destination will be Rome Italy around June 1st, we should meet up and have have an adventure =D In Italy i will be going to Rome, Florence, and Venice! Let me know what you think, and if you are going around the same time we can make it happen! I love to make new travel buddy's!