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Old 06-29-2008, 07:15 AM   #1
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Default Too ambitious?

Hello!
I'm currently planning for my first backpacking holiday. My girlfriend and i are spending 3 weeks travelling and camping around Western Europe in August, we plan to fly to amsterdam and then get around with a european rail card.
I'm concerned that we're being a bit too ambitious with the number of countries we plan to visit though, so far we've decided on Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, then down through the south of France to Barcelona and then to Paris to catch the Eurostar home.
Is that too much to do in 3 weeks? If anyone has any advice it'd be very helpful and lovely of you
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Old 06-29-2008, 07:56 AM   #2
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For three weeks this MAY be too ambitious if you're going to rail it the whole time, in my opinion.

I just finished a backpacking trip that was 2 weeks and at one point I was in a new city 5 days in a row. It's exhausting and you cheat yourself from seeing what some places really have to offer.

If you're set on going to those places, You could probably rail A-dam, Berlin, Prague, then fly to Paris (lots of low-cost carriers), and rail the rest... cos I can't imagine how long it would take by train from Prague to Paris!

And if you're railing in that Germany area, a stop in Munich for 2 days or so is certainly worth it, in my opinion!
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:25 PM   #3
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Welcome to Tpunk!


I do think your itinerary is a little ambitious. It comes out to 3.5 days per city, which half of a day will be involved with packing up your stuff and heading to the train station and just general getting ready to go stuff, another half will be taken recovering from the night train. All of your train journeys are overnight trains. You cannot really sleep well on an overnight train so you eat up half the day recovering at the hostel. I would cut one or two places from the list. You guys live in the UK so hopefully you can easily hop a flight to one of these places on the weekend with a low cost carrier.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:42 PM   #4
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You've picked all the places I would want to go on my first run through Europe. I think it would be a good idea to fly for one leg too, but I would do it like this: Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague by train like you planned. Then fly Prague to Barcelona...not too expensive to fly from Prague usually. Finish your trip by heading back to Paris by train, but make stops along Southern France like you planned.

Prague to Barcelona by train is going to take quite a lot of time, especially if you are stopping all along the way.

All those places you picked would make up my top list of places to visit pretty much verbatim. Berlin is very awesome as is Barcelona. Southern France is great in the summer...if a bit on the crowded side. Make sure to hit up some of the good beaches! Amserdam, Paris, and Prague speak for themselves I think!
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Old 07-28-2008, 03:18 AM   #5
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we've narrowed it down to amsterdam-berlin-france. few long journeys, but it's bareable.
thanks for the help :D
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Old 07-28-2008, 04:22 AM   #6
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Good call. A'dam and Berlin are both very cool cities.
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:49 AM   #7
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Nice call on cutting out a couple cities. At the beginning of my trip, I was moving every 3 days and that was way too much. For some cities 3 days may be plenty of time, but there were others that I wish I had a couple extra days to explore. I can't say much about Amsterdam, but Berlin was awesome. Tons of history and cool stuff to do. Good luck!
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:09 AM   #8
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yeah, i'm glad we're not doing so much. we've planned so we can be a bit flexible with how long we spend in each place.
are there any places in berlin you reccommend visiting? i've read a bunch of travel guides n stuff but they tend to point you towards tourist attractions n i get the feeling that a lot of interesting places get missed out..
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:42 AM   #9
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Definitely try to check this place out if you're going soon. I hope they don't tear it down, but the government is trying to shut it down in the next 6 months or so.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunst_Haus_Tacheles

It's a really cool place where a bunch of artists work and display their art. There is apparently a really cool bar outside as well.

One thing I did that was pretty cool was the "Alternative Berlin Tour" where they took you to see a lot of non-touristy things. I wouldn't say it's the best tour I've taken, but it is free (you tip the guide at the end based on how much you liked it) and you get to see some cool street art. The tour meets at 10.30am each morning at Alexanderplatz tower in front of Starbucks coffee.
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Old 07-28-2008, 08:44 AM   #10
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There is an excellent free walking tour you can do to cover the basic tourist stuff, the company is here but you will see stuff about it when you get there.

Make sure you check out the East Side Gallery, it's the longest standing piece of the wall and is covered in all the cool graffiti and stuff. Don't be afraid to break into adjacent construction site to see the other side of it (assuming it's still there) Much more interesting than the 'preserved' wall you see on the tour.

If I think of any other tips I'll let you know.
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:44 PM   #11
 
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All these cities or countries are too much! you cant enjoy any of these countries with its places of interests if you havent more time for this trip...
If i had to plan such a trip trough Europe, id stay in Amsterdamfirst for 4 days, then id go to Berlin another 4 days! Next would be Prag for another 3 days, then id go on to visit Vienna in Austria, cause its only 2 or 3 hours away from Prag! Here id stay for 4 days at least and then id go to Paris for the last days of my holidays before id leave to go home...
Id cut the south of France and Barcelona! Its better to do another trip, to enjoy the Cote d'Azur, Barcelona and maybe the rest of Spain...
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:17 PM   #12
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I'm with the others- less is more. Especially for a three week time frame.

But if this trip is just a teaser for a longer trip sometime in the near future, then it's doable on a surface level. Either way, have a great time!
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Old 07-29-2008, 09:17 AM   #13
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I don't know how hard/easy it's going to be to find campsites in or around the main cities. I know Amsterdam has a campsite that you can get to by public transport (camp zeeburg) but the last tram out there was (2 year ago) at 10pm so your stuck there at night.

It might be the same thing with the other cities. They may have a night service for the inner city but getting out to campsites may be a hassle.

Have you a drivers licence? You could rent a car in France so you can get to most the good campsites which will be on the coast or in a nature reserve. Any of the new small desiel Citroens have great milage you can easily get 1200klm out of them. As there's only two of you it might be cheaper to rent a small van which might be cheaper (I don't know that they are though).
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