5 Week Europe Trip - Itinerary help and getting around

Travel Forums Europe 5 Week Europe Trip - Itinerary help and getting around

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1. Posted by Blewis26 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Hey all,

Im in need of some advice, me and a friend are planning a 5 week trip around Europe. We are flying into wherever is cheap (looking like the Netherlands at this moment), there are so many countries I want to visit and so many things I want to do so far I have;

Netherlands - Germany - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Croatia - Rome - switzerland- Barcelona - Venice - Paris - Belgium - Netherlands (to fly out)

I know this itienary is too much for 5 weeks, im trying to find things I can cut out or even just spend a shorter time at.

We are looking for adventure, scenery, were both 22 so nightlife, some history (so Auschwitz is a must but were thinking a day trip from Prague might be a good idea).

4 Questions;

  • Should I cut out/down something and what ?
  • I have heard night sleeper trains are good, but im struggling to find how much this is and where they leave and arrive ( I know not every city has them) ? What is a good form of transport that is cheap and wont waste to much time awake in transit?
  • Any suggestions of things to do would be so helpful :)
  • We are budgeting how much should we save for hostels and spending money (not big shoppers)?
2. Posted by Kathrin_E (Travel Guru 422 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

It's far too much. You have to do a reality check concerning the distances, then decide which places/countries are most important to you, and cut your list in half.

For example, Prague to Auschwitz is almost 500 kms one way. This is certainly no day trip.

We will happily help with details, but no one here can tell you where you want to go...

3. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1394 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I don't think it's impossible but it'll take some planning - we've just come back from UK, Amsterdam, Brussels, Luxembourg, Paris, Nice, Geneva, Zurich, Innsbruck, Venice, San Marino, Florence, Rome, Athens & Istanbul in six weeks - three short flights, nine train journeys and one overnight boat trip.

"Germany" and "Netherlands" are two vague - Germany alone would take five weeks and you'd only scratch the surface - pick one or two most important places you want to visit and leave it at that for now - the rest can wait for subsequent visits if you like the country.

I think Barcelona might be a problem because it is further away from the rest.

Firstly sort out a roughly circular route that covers where you want to go and then look at train journeys between cities using SNBC, Thalys, OBB and other train websites (use The Man In Seat 61 too) - if you can't connect by train, look for flights using budget airlines - Ryanair, Easyjet etc.

You'll probably need at least two nights in each city - three in Rome, five in Paris, three in Amsterdam but no more than two in Brussels (but that's only my opinion) and you might want to leave some sights for a later visit.

When are you planning to arrive in the Netherlands? - I hope you have at least six months to do your planning. Enjoy! :)

4. Posted by zzlangerhans (Respected Member 68 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

You're making the same mistake millions have made before you - thinking you need to see every city you like in Europe on your first trip. You should sit in front of Google Maps with a train timetable and come up with an itinerary that won't have you spending most of your vacation in transit. I found Bavaria/northern Austria/Budapest/Krakow/Czechia very manageable in a month, although some would consider my pace excessive. Trying to shoehorn Spain and Italy into the same five week trip that you're determined to visit Auschwitz on is just silly. If you are obligated to fly into Netherlands, then the natural itinerary would include Belgium, northern France, Switzerland, and western Germany. Believe me, if you limit yourself to the largest and most touristy cities in Europe you will be missing out on the true heart and soul of the continent.

If you aren't committed to trains I would strongly recommend renting a car. This will relieve you of the obligation to do a lot of your sightseeing with a pack and will provide much greater flexibility visiting small towns and outdoor attractions.

[ Edit: Edited on 24-Jan-2018, at 10:16 by zzlangerhans ]

5. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1394 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Quoting Borisborough

"Germany" and "Netherlands" are two vague -


6. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 811 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Your route isn't impossible but you will have to fly some of the legs to fit it into your timetable. There will be plenty of history to see and plenty of WWII history so you don't need to go to Auschwitz and a day trip from Prague would be unrealistic. Another thing to consider, do you need to return to Amsterdam? A one way route could give you more time and be less complicated than your circuitous route. You could try:

Netherlands - Belgium - Paris - Barcelona - Switzerland - Rome - Venice - Croatia - Budapest - Vienna - Prague - Fly out somewhere in Germany.

7. Posted by Beausoleil (Travel Guru 1265 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Leave out Barcelona and Switzerland and you have a big circle that might be okay. I don't like moving around that much and would suggest choosing three or four places at most and spending a little time looking around them. You are young and will undoubtedly return many times so why zip through everything so fast you don't remember any of it? Try something like Amsterdam, Prague, Vienna, Venice and Paris and take a couple day trips out into the countryside. That gives you a week in each country/place. You can settle centrally and take day trips by train or bus. Fly into Amsterdam and out of Paris to save some more time.

There are a couple web sites that are a big help planning. You haven't listed your citizenship so I don't know where your flights originate, but you can start planning on Google Maps. Google Maps Web Site

Then for trains you can get all kinds of information at The Man in Seat 61. It tells you where to get information on most countries, where to buy tickets, things you need to know to travel,
just everything. The Man in Seat 61 Web Site

To get an idea of prices on the trains, I use Trainline which used to be Capitain Train. They list all the trains and don't charge any fees so it's very useful. Trainline Web Site

For accommodations you can check all kinds of places including booking.com here on TravellersPoint. They have hostels, rentals and budget accommodations in addition to regular hotels and apartments. You can access it via the TP Main Page or just click here: Booking.com on TravellersPoint

That should get you started but I hope you'll seriously consider saving a few places for future trips.

Have fun.

8. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1198 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

Austrian Federal Railways offers budget fares that I've used, most recently in 2017 from Milan to Vienna; and from Vienna to Warsaw. It offers a train to Krakow (for Auschwitz). See this link:


I purchase Sparschiene tickets online with a credit card.

9. Posted by Andrew Mack (Travel Guru 1037 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

I'd say that you are trying to do too much. If you're planning on partying as well you'll be a physical wreck before you get half way through your journey.
seat61.com can be useful as a guide to rail travel, but double check through other searches as well.

10. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 1049 posts) 1y Star this if you like it!

You know the answer already, as you have said so yourself - this is too much for five weeks (unless you are interested only in ticking off a destination to say you have been there, rather than seeing it)

I would slim it down as follows:

Netherlands - Germany - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Paris - Belgium - Netherlands (to fly out)

In Germany, choose a couple of places and focus just on those. Given the rest of the itinerary, Cologne and Berlin might make sense, and would give you two very different cities to explore.

If you are determined to see Auschwitz then you need to add Krakow to the list, as that is the base for day trips there, not Prague. In that case you might do:

Netherlands - Germany - Krakow - Prague - Budapest - Vienna - Paris - Belgium - Netherlands (to fly out)

That's still a huge amount for five weeks, so perhaps skip Belgium?

As others have suggested, seat61.com is an excellent resource if you plan to travel by train, but a few flights thrown into the mix would give you a little more time in some cities. You might also consider substituting Bratislava for Budapest and travelling between there and Vienna by boat.