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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:02 PM   #1
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Default Backpacking Europe for 8-10 weeks

Hello all. I'm new to the boards and I am very much looking forward to all of your expert advice.

Here is my first draft of my trip. I am flying from JFK into Gatwick. Haven't booked the return yet but was planning on flying Paris to Montreal. Those complications aside, take a look at my preliminary travel schedule. I appreciate it!

June 13, London, 7 days (day trip to Stonehenge in there as well)
June 21, Paris: 7 days (seems like a lot but I'm staying with family)
June 28, South of France: 12 days (family again)
July 10-25, Spain/Portugal: have not figure this part out yet.
(I want to see Barcelona, Avila/Salamanca, Seville, Malaga/Andalucia, Granada, Madrid/Toledo/Segovia, Valencia. Lisbon, Porto ---don't have time for everything!)
July 25, Fly Madrid to Athens
July 26-Aug 2, easycruise: 7 day Greek Islands / Turkey
(inlcudes Syros, Kalymnos, Bodrum-Turkey, Kos, Vathi, Samos, Mykonos, Parikia, Paros)
Aug 2, to Patras
Aug 3, Ferry Patras to Brindisi, 2 days (+1 day travel)
Aug 5, Foggia, 2 days **? or some other place on the way to rome
Aug 7, Rome, 3 days
Aug 10, Venice, 3 days
Aug 13, Prague, 3 days
Aug 16, Berlin, 3 days
Aug 19, overnight train to Amsterdam, 3 days
Aug 22, Brussels/Brugge, 4 days
Aug 26, to Paris - Fly home


This is a lot. I can easily shorten it. Cut things out. I am open to a lot of changes because this is my first, fantasy version. Tell me what you think.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:21 PM   #2
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I've never planned a trip of this magnitude before, but there's plenty of people here who can help you out. For what it's worth, it looks like you are devoting a reasonable amount of time in each city. It looks like you've already planned in some time for travel between the cities. Are you planning on booking a lot of accommodations ahead of time or are you flexible if you end up really liking one of the cities? Good luck!
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:03 PM   #3
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Thanks "offhegoes"! :D

Those first three cities are lenghty stays because I have free accommodations with a friend and family. I figure while I am in France I may do some small nearby towns. It doesn't matter though. It is a great way to start a long trip in my eyes. Getting used to the new surroundings with people in my comfort zone.

The rest is fairly flexible. Apart from my flight to Greece and the 7 day cruise, I can change basically anything I want. And I am sure I will. I still have no idea what to do with Spain. And Italy needs some help too.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:05 AM   #4
 
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Here is my opinion. You do not need 3 days in Venice. Especially since you're not considering, at least on your list, Florence. Florence is by far a better town than Venice. I can't explain why I didn't like Venice so much, perhaps it was the mass influx of tourists. Florence seemed to be a lot more chill, with less tourists, and more to do. I would say spend 2 days in Florence and 1 in Venice. That is just me though, I know plenty of people on here have had great times in Venice and would suggest you staying more than 1 day.

For the flight home. For the most part, flying from Frankfurt Germany is usually tons cheaper than from anywhere else in Europe. Since you're flying into JFK, that could be different however. JFK to anywhere in Europe is pretty reasonably priced. I don't know if it would be worth going back from Brussels to Frankfurt, but its a thought anyway.

I love your itinerary though. Especially the cruise through the Greek Islands/Turkey, that should be quite picturesque.
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Old 04-14-2008, 07:10 PM   #5
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Heres my thoughts on some of the itenerary...
I love that you have a comfortable place to start the trip and start it slow. It will set a nice pace for the rest of the trip. Perfect!!!
I've been to the Greek Isles, and saw the boats come in daily, and just how little time the people had to actually see and feel the island. Its very fast! But I've also read a lot of good things about the easycruise. But you could also consider picking out a couple of islands in route, and just take a ferry and chill out on the beachs sipping Mythos beers..... The islands have a wonderful vibe. We even spent 7 days on just one. Felt like we knew it when we left.
I agree about Venice. 2 days max, add a day in Prague on the way up you'll have a better time there and see more.
Of course I'm gonna tell you to stay in Amsterdam a bit longer. Thats me. Theres some very nice daytrips out of the Dam too, so you could see a bit more of Holland.
As much as I Brugge. That place is just fucking poet and charming.... It could be done in a long day trip. I'm very happy we stayed there 3 nights. Anymore would of been too long. You could also hit up the North Sea out of Brugge in just 45 min by train.
Haven't hit Brussells, but hear a lot of different things.
Feel free to PM me about any of these places I mentioned. I got heeps of info.
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Old 04-15-2008, 07:16 AM   #6
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Quote:
July 10-25, Spain/Portugal: have not figure this part out yet.
I want to see Barcelona, Avila/Salamanca, Seville, Malaga/Andalucia, Granada, Madrid/Toledo/Segovia, Valencia. Lisbon, Porto ---don't have time for everything!
You may actually.

Let's say you arrive in Barcelona and spend 4 days. Then you fly to Lisbon on Vueling. I propose you swap out Malaga for Lagos, Faro or a Portguese Algarve beach town (that´s the reason to head to Malaga right?), you snag Sevilla in 3 days, bus to Madrid for 4 days (Segovia and Toledo are done in that span) then head west to Avila for the day (I love Avila, good choice!) then take the last train to Salamanca (I also love Salamanca--I am currently typing this from there) for 2 days then head to Porto.

So in total you'll spend 5 extra days in Iberia and leisurely see everything. While in Salamanca check out Valor near the university (everyone knows it) for the best damn Chocolate con Churros in town.

Just a heads up, Spain, unlike most of Europe, requires reservations for the trains. So a Eurail pass, may not help with the cost that much because you'll pay 10 euros every ticket. Of course if you have a global pass, go for it. AVE trains from Barca to Madrid and Sevilla are the exception. They are fast (AVE = Alta Velocidad) but pricey as hell. In Andalucia, you'll find buses are a great alternative.

--Joey
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:42 AM   #7
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Wow! Thanks on those tips!

Marc - As far as easycruise goes, I had planned on doing this because a friend of mine is meeting me and my travel buddy in Greece and came up with this idea. Seems pretty good at only 150 per person for me and travel buddy to split a small cabin. And that is for seven nights! We'll probably kill each other by the end because it is so small. But I figure it saves a heck of a lot of money as it includes ferries and lodgings. Then if we just eat sand the whole time we're all set! Or maybe I'll meet the Greek of my dreams who will buy me goodies. sigh.

Joe - I'm really glad to hear from you as I've been researching Spain with your posts in mind. In fact, your plan to fit all of what I want to see looks nice. Thanks! For the rail pass: I've not decided yet what to buy. I could do a two month global. Or I could bum around France and Spain point to point and buy a one month global for the last bit (as those are the most expensive). Especially with what you say about the reservation fees and possible cheap busing, this may be better.
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