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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 06-10-2006, 05:37 PM   #1
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Hey punks, it's going to be my 1st Europe trip and I'm stoked! My 3 week trip will begin and adjourn in London from July 14 to Aug 8. I'll be going with two friends and some of the places on our initial itinerary in this order are:

London - 3 days
Paris - 3 days
Barcelona - 2 days
Madrid - 2 days
Florence - 2 days
Rome - 3 days
Venice - 2 days
Either Prague or Rhine Valley ~2 or 3 days
Amsterdam - 4 days
Back to London - 1 day

I know that's a lot of places in a short time. For those of you that have been there, what's the ideal amount of cities I could explore without being too rushed within the 3 week timeframe? Should I drop any particular places that are out of the way and group countries that are closer together or is this fine? Any suggested changes on the destinations on my itinerary as well the order which we're visiting to cut the travel time/cost. I'm 24 and open checking out neat places where I can meet new people, have an incredible time, and party!!

Also, should I reserve hostels now for the availability and the best rates or should I just find one as I go so I can be flexible with time and unexpected places I want to visit.
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Old 06-11-2006, 03:05 AM   #2
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How will you be travelling between cities? Train? Bus? Airplane? Some of those journeys are very long, for example Prague to Amsterdam by train would take 18 hours and Madrid to Florence will not be particularly easy, you'd certainly have to change trains a couple of times.

Generally it's recommended you spend at least 3 nights in a big city, although you could get away with 2 for smaller ones if you're in a rush.

As for reserving hostels, I would be inclined to at least book them online a few days ahead, that way you won't have to waste time trying to find somewhere to sleep when you arrive, but you're also not completely tied down.
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Old 06-11-2006, 01:42 PM   #3
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i'm pretty sure madrid is way out of the way of the direction ya'll are taking. you might want to consider going London to Amsterdam, to Brussels, to Florence, to Rome, to Nice/Marseilles, to Barcelona, to Paris, to London. I added Brussels just as it's semi on the way, and it fits the general theme of cities you seem to want to see. but paris to barcelona is a long ass train ride, as is madrid to florence, venice to prague. you're sure to have a good time no matter where you go-i'd just advise to try to shorten the train time.
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Old 06-11-2006, 04:07 PM   #4
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Thanks for the advice. I'm planning to get a 21 day Eurail pass to cover most of our traveling; Eurastar for London - Paris and RyanAir for flight from Amst back to London.

I agree that I definitely need to shorten the train ride so I might have to cut back on the distant cities that are out of the way or look for a flight perhaps from Madrid to Florence? But that's gonna be an added cost so I don't know. Like what most folks are suggesting, I'll probably go with the flow and just grab the eurail pass and tickets getting in and out of london.

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Old 06-11-2006, 10:29 PM   #5
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To cut down travel time (you'll lose at least a couple of days to train journeys, as noted above), I'd opt for the Rhine Valley vs. Prague - unless you fly there, you'll spend longer getting back and forth. Also, where you can, you might want to book overnight trains, so at least you have some day time in the cities you want to visit.

If you only have four days for Spain, you might want to drop that country altogether (for this trip - go back some other time!) and spread those days out a little more between your other countries (or for travel). It's always tough to fit Europe into a short visit, but it's usually more fun if you can relax a bit, and not spend your whole time tearing around, just for the sake of checking a square on a list.

At the very least, try to arrange your cities into some sort of roughly circular route - at the moment you're doing a lot of zigzagging, which takes up time. If you stick with your original itinerary, this might make more time sense:

London - Paris - Madrid - Barcelona - Florence - Rome - Venice (Italy's a bad shape for circular travel) - Rhine Valley (that's a LONG train ride) - Amsterdam - London.

2 days in Amsterdam is probably sufficient for sightseeing, you can use the other two days elsewhere (Paris, Rome or transit leap to mind).

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