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Old 10-07-2013, 06:40 PM   #1
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Europe - Which Countries? How Much Time?...Vacation

Hi,

I am planning a trip for late next year. The places I have in mind are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Portugal. Those are the ones on my radar. I'd like to know how many I can fit into a 2 week trip, 16 days. That's 16 days including there and back travel time. How many days should I spend at each place? Best way to travel? Hostils good? Places to see? Best month to go later in the year?

I don't mind cramming a lot of travel in so I can see a lot. If anyone has been to some of these I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:15 PM   #2
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Out of your list of countries, I've only been to Italy. Rome, specifically. You can see Rome quickly in two days. Go see the Colosseum, or commonly spelled as Coliseum here, and tour the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Busy days, maybe need three to take it all in. I'm Catholic, so I spent 5 days there.

I went in November. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving so I had lasagna for dinner. The weather was cool (jeans and a light jacket), but nice during that time of year.

I flew non-stop from Phoenix to Heathrow airport in London, then connected to Rome. 13-15 hours, something like that, it's hell flying that long so just try to sleep through it.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your travels seeing the world. It really is amazing to see how other people live in this world, and learn what their cultures are.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:18 PM   #3
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Out of your list of countries, I've only been to Italy. Rome, specifically. You can see Rome quickly in two days. Go see the Colosseum, or commonly spelled as Coliseum here, and tour the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. Busy days, maybe need three to take it all in. I'm Catholic, so I spent 5 days there.

I went in November. They don't celebrate Thanksgiving so I had lasagna for dinner. The weather was cool (jeans and a light jacket), but nice during that time of year.

I flew non-stop from Phoenix to Heathrow airport in London, then connected to Rome. 13-15 hours, something like that, it's hell flying that long so just try to sleep through it.

Hope this helps. Enjoy your travels seeing the world. It really is amazing to see how other people live in this world, and learn what their cultures are.
Thank you for your input. I am most interested in best month to go because I need to request the days off. I was thinking Octoberish.
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Old 10-07-2013, 08:51 PM   #4
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I hear ya. But, don't get tooo worked up about scheduling the "best" time to go. Just look at YOUR calendar, and go when you have the time.

It rains in London, the sun shines in Cancun, and, it does both during the same day in Hawaii. The experience is part of the vacation.

Maybe do some quick checking of weather patterns on a weather site for your destinations, and just go from there.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:07 PM   #5
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Hi,

I am planning a trip for late next year. The places I have in mind are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Portugal. Those are the ones on my radar. I'd like to know how many I can fit into a 2 week trip, 16 days. That's 16 days including there and back travel time. How many days should I spend at each place? Best way to travel? Hostils good? Places to see? Best month to go later in the year?

I don't mind cramming a lot of travel in so I can see a lot. If anyone has been to some of these I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
Well, to start off.....i was stationed in England for 3 years. Did lots of traveling while over there. The transportation systems there are awesome. With that said, depending on your budget and how many people you are going with, you can hit maybe over half and still get alot in at each location. ive been to Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, and France. a few of those trips were for work and stayed anywhere from a few days to a few months.

i would recommend trying to look into over night travel with the train systems from one place to the next arriving early morning at the next location and having the day to explore. most cities you can hit the main sites in a day but....... you lose the time to really explore them because you show up, look, take pics and dash to the next. that and trying to figure out what time they close and open vs the other tourest packing the place and bogging it down. me personaly i liked trying to find the off beaten path and bypass the main sites because honestly you can get the same pic and info from a book or the net. and alot the the places are super controled and you can only do portions. (season dependant)

i would go on but i need to dash. if you want more info or have question about things in perticular... pm me
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pkjr View Post
I hear ya. But, don't get tooo worked up about scheduling the "best" time to go. Just look at YOUR calendar, and go when you have the time.

It rains in London, the sun shines in Cancun, and, it does both during the same day in Hawaii. The experience is part of the vacation.

Maybe do some quick checking of weather patterns on a weather site for your destinations, and just go from there.
Yea I know what you mean. Dates are pretty flexible for me though. It's looking like September probably.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:49 PM   #7
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Well, to start off.....i was stationed in England for 3 years. Did lots of traveling while over there. The transportation systems there are awesome. With that said, depending on your budget and how many people you are going with, you can hit maybe over half and still get alot in at each location. ive been to Spain, Germany, Italy, Greece, and France. a few of those trips were for work and stayed anywhere from a few days to a few months.

i would recommend trying to look into over night travel with the train systems from one place to the next arriving early morning at the next location and having the day to explore. most cities you can hit the main sites in a day but....... you lose the time to really explore them because you show up, look, take pics and dash to the next. that and trying to figure out what time they close and open vs the other tourest packing the place and bogging it down. me personaly i liked trying to find the off beaten path and bypass the main sites because honestly you can get the same pic and info from a book or the net. and alot the the places are super controled and you can only do portions. (season dependant)

i would go on but i need to dash. if you want more info or have question about things in perticular... pm me
It will be myself and one other person. I know some places I will probably fly through quick while others I will want to stay longer. I wouldn't mind bypassing some crowds though. I will definitely PM you soon. Thanks for the advice. I've been on a lot of trips but only within the US, once to Canada, and a bunch to Mexico. Excited to jump to another continent.
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Old 10-07-2013, 09:54 PM   #8
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We did 15 days (total) in london train> paris flew to germany and drove around to belgium and amsterdam. Was a lot of fun, did some laps at the nurburgring as well!
I think summer time would be nice as it got soggy in london and freezing at times in paris and germany for me. I wish I could go back!
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:13 PM   #9
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We did 15 days (total) in london train> paris flew to germany and drove around to belgium and amsterdam. Was a lot of fun, did some laps at the nurburgring as well!
I think summer time would be nice as it got soggy in london and freezing at times in paris and germany for me. I wish I could go back!
Did you ever feel rushed? I think the hard part is going to be figuring out how many places I can see and which ones.
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Old 10-07-2013, 10:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jdkeller View Post
Hi,

I am planning a trip for late next year. The places I have in mind are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Portugal. Those are the ones on my radar. I'd like to know how many I can fit into a 2 week trip, 16 days. That's 16 days including there and back travel time. How many days should I spend at each place? Best way to travel? Hostils good? Places to see? Best month to go later in the year?

I don't mind cramming a lot of travel in so I can see a lot. If anyone has been to some of these I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
Hm.. well last summer I spent 2 and a half months all over Europe. Month in Ireland, then Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, several places in Poland, Czech Republic, back into Germany to the black forest, Switerzland, back into france (eastern boarder area) then to the south of France to Nice, and then Monaco, then England hitting up London and then Cambridge.
Also hit Rome, Venice, Salzburg, and Budapest a few years ago.


Loved it ALL. Did hostels about 80% of the time, then splurged in some of the cheaper places (Berlin was surprisingly cheap, but poland and Prague were pretty good). Traveled with my girlfriend part of the time, then my parents met me for about two weeks, and then the rest I was on my own.

Traveling around: Eurail pass would likely be best. HOWEVER, do research ahead of time! know what kind of pass you want to get before you go up to the window to purchase, and know the rules of using it or you can be find a TON on the trains (like if you dont fill out the ticket before/right when you get on).

Personally, I like Eastern Russia a lot. Reason being is a lot of those countries are still trying to modernize, and are doing it pretty fast. I wanted to see something different though where there werent McDonalds and stuff like that. I like off the beaten path, and a little struggle with the language. I also figure I will most likely go back to that side of the planet some other time in my life and I can hit the main stuff. Luckily I hit main stuff and the not so main stuff in my trip

Time: I like to spend 2 days (ish) per place, including travel time. You can usually hit the main things in a city in a day and a half, just get up in the morning and try and book tours early just so you don't miss out on them. There are a lot of free tours in main cities (the catch is the tour guides expect tips) but these are pretty good and informative.

Where to go?: Depends on what kind of traveler you are! You kind of sound like you want to hit up everything you can (which is the way I am). Research a little before you go to a city so you can see what kind of things there are to do there.

I also recommend get some of the lonely planet guide books. Great advice in these, like local customs, how to tip, key language phrases and words, places to see, and things to be cautious about (pick pocketsss.....)

Random advice: protect yourself. Shit can get sketchy fast in some places, even in the daylight. Saw several pickpocket busts by police while I was there, especially on subways and metro. Beggars (and even Gypsies) are everywhere. If you don't want to be hassled, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Just keep walking and ignore.... They target the tourists.


Trying to think of anything else... but nothing is really coming to mind. If you have any specific questions about anything or places I went, dont hesitate to pm me!

hope you have on awesome trip!
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Old 10-08-2013, 05:11 PM   #11
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Did you ever feel rushed? I think the hard part is going to be figuring out how many places I can see and which ones.
Yes It felt rushed a little but my wife planned the whole trip quite well. I had relatives in both london & germany (Dusseldorf) so I wanted to go to both places and somewhere in between so decided to stop by Paris. However, didn't have enough time to visit Berlin or Munich.
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Old 10-08-2013, 06:40 PM   #12
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You could easily spend 2 weeks in any two of those countries and not see everything there was to see. I would pare it down to about 3 or 4 cities. If you try to do all ten countries you are going to spend most of your time on the road or in the air. Take some time to walk the streets and meet the people. You will enjoy the trip more. I would avoid France. It is expensive and the people are rude. Spain is a favorite of mine, as I lived there for a year. I didn't come close to seeing even half of it.
Have a great trip

Randy
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:30 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by logcabinwc View Post
Hm.. well last summer I spent 2 and a half months all over Europe. Month in Ireland, then Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, several places in Poland, Czech Republic, back into Germany to the black forest, Switerzland, back into france (eastern boarder area) then to the south of France to Nice, and then Monaco, then England hitting up London and then Cambridge.
Also hit Rome, Venice, Salzburg, and Budapest a few years ago.


Loved it ALL. Did hostels about 80% of the time, then splurged in some of the cheaper places (Berlin was surprisingly cheap, but poland and Prague were pretty good). Traveled with my girlfriend part of the time, then my parents met me for about two weeks, and then the rest I was on my own.

Traveling around: Eurail pass would likely be best. HOWEVER, do research ahead of time! know what kind of pass you want to get before you go up to the window to purchase, and know the rules of using it or you can be find a TON on the trains (like if you dont fill out the ticket before/right when you get on).

Personally, I like Eastern Russia a lot. Reason being is a lot of those countries are still trying to modernize, and are doing it pretty fast. I wanted to see something different though where there werent McDonalds and stuff like that. I like off the beaten path, and a little struggle with the language. I also figure I will most likely go back to that side of the planet some other time in my life and I can hit the main stuff. Luckily I hit main stuff and the not so main stuff in my trip

Time: I like to spend 2 days (ish) per place, including travel time. You can usually hit the main things in a city in a day and a half, just get up in the morning and try and book tours early just so you don't miss out on them. There are a lot of free tours in main cities (the catch is the tour guides expect tips) but these are pretty good and informative.

Where to go?: Depends on what kind of traveler you are! You kind of sound like you want to hit up everything you can (which is the way I am). Research a little before you go to a city so you can see what kind of things there are to do there.

I also recommend get some of the lonely planet guide books. Great advice in these, like local customs, how to tip, key language phrases and words, places to see, and things to be cautious about (pick pocketsss.....)

Random advice: protect yourself. Shit can get sketchy fast in some places, even in the daylight. Saw several pickpocket busts by police while I was there, especially on subways and metro. Beggars (and even Gypsies) are everywhere. If you don't want to be hassled, DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT. Just keep walking and ignore.... They target the tourists.


Trying to think of anything else... but nothing is really coming to mind. If you have any specific questions about anything or places I went, dont hesitate to pm me!

hope you have on awesome trip!
Great post. Thank you. I will look into all of that. I will definitely PM you soon. I just got the days off. It's set for mid September. Next step will be booking the flight. I'll have to decide where to start. Probably wherever the cheapest flight is.
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Old 10-08-2013, 08:31 PM   #14
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You could easily spend 2 weeks in any two of those countries and not see everything there was to see. I would pare it down to about 3 or 4 cities. If you try to do all ten countries you are going to spend most of your time on the road or in the air. Take some time to walk the streets and meet the people. You will enjoy the trip more. I would avoid France. It is expensive and the people are rude. Spain is a favorite of mine, as I lived there for a year. I didn't come close to seeing even half of it.
Have a great trip

Randy
Yea France is not at the top of my list. I can go without that. Depending on which countries people prefer I may just go to those. Maybe I can fit in 4 or so.
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Old 10-14-2013, 01:57 AM   #15
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Hi,

I am planning a trip for late next year. The places I have in mind are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Portugal. Those are the ones on my radar. I'd like to know how many I can fit into a 2 week trip, 16 days. That's 16 days including there and back travel time. How many days should I spend at each place? Best way to travel? Hostils good? Places to see? Best month to go later in the year?

I don't mind cramming a lot of travel in so I can see a lot. If anyone has been to some of these I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
What are you intrested in?

I've visited most of the places you've listed multiple times having traveled to Europe 40+ times and having spent more then a year visiting. I consider myself lucky having family born, raised and still living in the EU. On your list, my choices are Germany, Italy, Greece, France and Switzerland. Depending on your mode of transportation I would isolate myself to one geographic area. Except for the UK, I've always rented cars. Driving between Berlin, Rome, Paris & Zurich or all parts of those contries in 16 days is easy. Now having the time to see what your are interested in with any depth may be another story.

My first trip (and I see you're only 25) was 6 weeks and spread over most of the western area. I think if you're unfamiliar with what you might want to see that is a good plan. You can pick certain areas you would like to visit again.

The highlights for me in the countris I've listed above were: Germany: Family, WWII historical sites such as Dachau & Berchtesgaden also Neuschwanstein. Italy: Vinice, Roma ruins, Vatican City, Pisa & Pompeii. Greece: So many historical sites...Acropolis etc...and the Islands. France: Old Paris in general the Effil Tower, Louvre also Mont St. Michel and don't miss the WWII sites of Omaha Beach, Normandy and the American cemetaries. Switzerland: The moutains! I like driving certain passes (too many to list) & Lucerne.

If you're like me, the first day of arrival (assuming an overnight flight) you'll be so excited you'll not be able to sleep! So you'll be able to hit the ground running. IMO, the best time to travel is September. The weather is decent in most places (may still be hot in Italy and Greece from my list) and most of the summer crowd is gone. And you may get "shoulder season" prices on airfare and hotels. I hardly ever make advance reservations except for the rental car and find I can find B&Bs for a far better price then most main line hotels with names your would recognize. This way you're also not tied to a schedule.

If you don rent a car, my credit card provide insurance as I'm sure most do however, after 21 days the car is required to be returned and re-rented.
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Old 10-17-2013, 09:51 AM   #16
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Hungary in the fall is a beautiful place, Budapest and any of the cities with historical importance... the castles are always awesome!
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:10 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jdkeller View Post
Hi,

I am planning a trip for late next year. The places I have in mind are Germany, Belgium, Italy, Greece, France, Switzerland, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, Spain, Portugal. Those are the ones on my radar. I'd like to know how many I can fit into a 2 week trip, 16 days. That's 16 days including there and back travel time. How many days should I spend at each place? Best way to travel? Hostils good? Places to see? Best month to go later in the year?

I don't mind cramming a lot of travel in so I can see a lot. If anyone has been to some of these I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks.
I can personally vouch for Italy, Greece, and Switzerland as each being awesome for their own reasons. Switzerland is pretty much the opposite of Greece in every conceivable manner, so I'd recommend that such for a sample of European extremes.

That said, DO NOT MISS ITALY. On one trip I spent 3 weeks there by myself wandering around and never left the bounds of Michelin's Central Italy map, and still felt like I had barely scratched the surface. Rome is awesome, and I strongly recommend Perugia as a medieval hill city. Just keep a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, a stick of salami, and some fruit in your bag and wander...oh and cheese, don't forget the cheese. And a towel.

I'd also recommend not trying to do so many countires in such a short time. Pick maybe 3 that really interest you, and spend several days in each, at least one day in a major city, and one out in the county or a lesser town that gives you more local culture. And be flexible. Transport can be dodgy if a train strike pops up, and as Douglas Adams once said, the Greek ferry schedule is the greatest work of fiction he has ever read. This is true.

Hostels can be OK to meet people and have a lot of fun, but you also have to be wired tight on security. And my buddy left a pair of infested sneakers in the Lucerne hostel in 1988, so don't go there. They probably burned it down by now anyway.
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Old 10-17-2013, 10:18 AM   #18
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I went to Europe this past summer. First landing in Paris and stayed there for a week waiting for my gf to finish one of her classes. Next we headed off to Brussels for 2 days and after that we went to Dinant a small town in the south of Belgium for 2 days. I would not reccomend that place unless you have a car, the taxi cost $80 to get to the hotel from the train station and there were no stores or restaurants close by and the meals at the hotel were $60 a dish. We made our way up to Amsterdam for 2 days and I would recommend you to only stay there a couple of days bc you find yourself just sitting in the red light district after a couple of days bored. After that we headed to Berlin for 6 days and finally Prague for 6 more days and then flew home. If you know your exact travel days just buy train tickets ahead of time if you just plan on leaving whenever you want, purcahse a Eurorail pass because its super flexible on travel.
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Old 10-17-2013, 12:00 PM   #19
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I went to Europe this past summer. First landing in Paris and stayed there for a week waiting for my gf to finish one of her classes. Next we headed off to Brussels for 2 days and after that we went to Dinant a small town in the south of Belgium for 2 days. I would not reccomend that place unless you have a car, the taxi cost $80 to get to the hotel from the train station and there were no stores or restaurants close by and the meals at the hotel were $60 a dish. We made our way up to Amsterdam for 2 days and I would recommend you to only stay there a couple of days bc you find yourself just sitting in the red light district after a couple of days bored. After that we headed to Berlin for 6 days and finally Prague for 6 more days and then flew home. If you know your exact travel days just buy train tickets ahead of time if you just plan on leaving whenever you want, purcahse a Eurorail pass because its super flexible on travel.
Yeah, these are good points. Get the pass, and try to stay at places on subway lines/bus routes radiating from central city train terminals. Also, to get to smaller towns, aim for ones with local/regional train service. Public transport is great in general. Use it to save $$. Stay on top of conversion rates and avoid restaurants (and bars) in the busiest tourist areas. They will fleece you, and the food won't be as good. Look for menus that don't have English translations or pictures of food. Struggling through food orders is half the fun of the experience...try to speak a little of the language, no matter how badly you butcher it. It is polite to at least try, and will be fun.
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