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Old 08-16-2006, 04:17 PM   #1
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Hi all!
In April the bf and I are going to Europe for about 2 months. The plan is to do the Don Quijote Spanish School in Salamanca, Spain for 4 weeks, and travel for another 4-5 weeks.
What I want to know is, if you had 4 weeks in Europe, where would YOU go???
From Spain, we plan on seeing Portugal and possibly Morroco. Other than that,
My must-sees are:
Greece, Prague, Germany
His must-sees:
Italy, Austria (we have a friend there)
Any advice? At first this is what we were thinking, but I think its too little time and too many places:
Spain
S. France
Paris
Amsterdam
Germany
Czech Republic
Hungary
Austria
Switzerland
Slovenia (if we have time)
Italy
Greece

Thank you!
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Old 08-16-2006, 04:42 PM   #2
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Your best bet is to say 4 days or nights per place, pick a direction to head in (usually a circle) and pick your stops. You will definately have to trim your schedule based on this.

I would say a minimum of 3 nights in a place if you want to cram. Anything less will lead you to spending all your time in transit and not seeing as much as you want.

Hope this helps.

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Old 08-16-2006, 11:15 PM   #3
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Can you do any travel within Spain during your course? Maybe take weekend trips to Madrid, Toledo or whatnot. I don't have train info handy, so don't know what the connections are like, but if you could knock off some of your traveling within Spain during that first month, it would buy you extra time for the other places on your list.

11 countries (excluding Spain) in 4 weeks is a pretty tight squeeze - less than 3 days per COUNTRY, and that's including travel time - some distances are pretty long.

Two great planning tools are the Deutsche Bahn website (www.diebahn.de) and the Thomas Cook European Timetable. The former gives route information all over Europe, so you can figure out travel times and distances as well as the frequency of trains on any given route. The latter does the same, in glorious paperback detail. Personally, I prefer the book, because you don't have to be online to get the info, but then, we have dial-up. You can order the book on-line or see if you can track one down through a Thomas Cook affiliated travel agent where you live.

With those resources, I would take a look at your itinerary as is, and see what the travel times are - subtract those from your time, and see how much time you'll actually be spending in places like, say Paris or Rome. You'll probably want to start paring down pretty quick.

You could actually do a good circuit of just your must-sees: Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria and Prague. That would give you almost a week in each country, and a fairly efficient travel route. Even though you would be cutting a lot off your dream itinerary, when you start calculating the time in country, you'll realize that you wouldn't actually see a heck of a lot, and would be so tired and burnt out that you might not appreciate what you did see. You could take an overnight train between Italy and Germany, which would give you extra time in both countries, save you a night in a hostel and book the longest single journey during the night, saving sightseeing time.

Since you don't have time to do everything, you're better off focusing on what you want to see, and saving the rest for future trips. You'll enjoy your time more and have a chance to get a feel for places, rather than being in a constant rush between hostels and trains.


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Old 08-17-2006, 06:45 AM   #4
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((( Oh MY by Mellowdrone ))) :greenguy:
To be honest I tend to use Google earth (nowdays) it gives me the distance and then I do the math it also has the routes and such so it's no biggie + I get the chance to see the land to be covered. Although the schedules and stuff you have to do totally apart. It's just an extra tool, to decide routes and stuff like that.
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Old 08-17-2006, 09:11 AM   #5
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First, Thank you for the advice! You make a good point tumblezweedz about just doing a loop of our must-sees. Maybe to that list we will add amsterdam and try to stretch our money to stay a few more days. My boyfriend has informed me that its also on his must-see list.

Yes, we are most definitely planning on traveling within Spain during our four weeks there. I hope to see a lot of the country! We will also take a looong weekend in Portugal. I have heard its pretty cheap to get to Morrocco from Spain as well, but I haven't looked into it yet, so we'll see. The Don Quijote school is a pretty sweet deal. We are staying with a host family, take spanish lessons Mon-Thurs and its about 1700 US. I think/am hoping it will give us the chance to really immerse ourselves in the culture.

I am going to check out the Deutsche Bahn website (www.diebahn.de) and possibly order the Thomas Cook European Timetable. Thanks again and any more advice anyone has would be much appreciated.

What are your cannot miss things for Greece, Italy, Germany, Austria, Amsterdam and Prague??? Obviously we will hit up all the main touristy things but I love hiking, biking, and seeing things off the beaten path. I am just starting my research so any direction you can provide would be amazing!!
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:15 AM   #6
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I will be backpacking 3 months starting mid-late April if yall are interested in meetin up! Feel free to message me! And good luck on your itenirary and travels!
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Old 08-17-2006, 10:57 PM   #7
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On my list:

Greece: Palamidi Fortress, Nafplio (Peloponnese)
The Acropolis on Sunday - packed, but free. (Many Athenian museums are free Sunday.)

Italy: Chapel of San Severino, Naples - two of the most amazing sculptures I've ever seen, plus the building is weird.
Vesuvius and Pompeii
Vatican Museums (it costs a lot, but the tour saves time, and you can wander by yourself after the tour is over).

Germany: depends on how much time/where you want to go. Castles on the Rhine? Wine along the Mosel? History and culture in Berlin?...not Frankfurt, though.

Amsterdam: didn't like it. Anne Frank House.

Austria: Hunderwasser Haus for a glimpse of an extraordinary vision, then Kunst Haus Wien for a deeper look. Amazing paintings. (Vienna)
Get out into the countryside, stay in a little alpine village and bask in their alpine glories.
The view over Salzburg from the path to the Convent.

Prague: Peek out the bathroom window of the Museum of Applied Arts for a different look at the Jewish Cemetary. Particularly atmospheric on a rainy day.
Church of Our Lady of Victory. Home of the "Infant of Prague", with museum displaying alternate robes for the statue. The artistry from all over the world is phenomenal...spend time marveling.
Prague Castle - Touristy, but worth it.
walk over Karlov Most once, but use other bridges, too - the view is spectacular, and the crowds are non-existent.

In all of these places, take time to wander, get lost, find your own "must-sees" - that's how we found many memorable places to eat, shops and surprises. Old residential areas can be fascinating, and the restaurants there tend to be more geared to locals.

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Old 09-29-2006, 11:10 AM   #8
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Matt - Where are you going? We will be in Spain the first month, are you heading there? It would be fun to meet up!
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