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Raileurope.com: See Europe by train
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Old 02-09-2009, 09:11 PM   #1
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Default Europe summer '09

Alrighty, so I'm planning on going to Europe with 4 friends after we finish high school this June... the planning has basically fallen to me and I've been working through this idea trying to find a time frame and countries that work for everyone given financial/family/etc concerns. This seems to be the most agreeable proposal so far -- all of it is still relatively rough (train times are all according to Rick Steves map, dates are flexible), so I'd appreciate everyones input on whether this seems feasible, and any recommendations, suggestions, etc.

We'll be staying in hostels and probably getting some type of rail pass...


Depart Sun 6/14 --> Fly into Paris (from the bay area, either SFO or San Jose). We're looking into a charter-type flight through STA to save money, is that the best way to keep flight costs down?

Mon - Thursday day --> Paris (train to Nice (?) ~6 hrs Thursday afternoon)

Thursday night - Saturday day --> French Riviera. I'm thinking Nice at the moment, but could use suggestions for this leg of the trip... (train to Venice ~8 hrs Sat afternoon)

Saturday night - Tuesday day --> Venice (train to Florence ~3 hrs Tuesday afternoon)

Tuesday night - Saturday morning --> Florence (train to Rome ~2 hrs Friday morning). This is our longest stay in any city, so we'll likely do some day trips, maybe check out Siena...

Saturday day - Monday night --> Rome. At the end of this leg, half the group will probably head home, while the rest of us will take an overnight train (~9 hrs) to Switzerland

Tuesday day - Thursday night --> Swiss alps hiking - not exactly sure what we'd do here, but I saw another thread that recommended staying at "The Mountain Hostel" and hiking the Schilthorn, which sounded like what we're looking for...

Thursday night overnight train to Amsterdam (~10 hrs)

Friday day - Monday morning --> Amsterdam

Monday morning --> fly home
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Old 02-10-2009, 04:48 AM   #2
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We're looking into a charter-type flight through STA to save money, is that the best way to keep flight costs down?
I would run some checks through Kayak.com and compare that to what STA is advertising the prices as. Just go with the cheapest one (but also look out for connections, layovers, total travel time, etc).

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Saturday night - Tuesday day --> Venice (train to Florence ~3 hrs Tuesday afternoon)
That is plenty of time to see Venice. You won't need two full days (Sun & Mon plus Tues morning) to see the city so you might be able to cut a day off here to use somewhere else.

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Tuesday day - Thursday night --> Swiss alps hiking - not exactly sure what we'd do here, but I saw another thread that recommended staying at "The Mountain Hostel" and hiking the Schilthorn, which sounded like what we're looking for...
Google (or better yet - search this site) for "Interlaken" - you'll find plenty to do and some of the world's best scenery.

Overall it sounds like a fun trip. Be warned that you are hitting up some of the most expensive portions of Europe and during the busiest time of year. Just wondering what drove you to France/Italy mainly?
There are great (and cheaper) options for young guys looking to party if you head more towards Central and Eastern Europe.
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Old 02-10-2009, 03:50 PM   #3
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Um, ok, here goes:

Cool trip. For my trip I started in Rome and ended in Paris, hitting Florence and Venice.

Venice is pretty cool, but there isnt actually much to do except wander around and take in the scenery. Take some day trips out to the islands, Murano and Burano, theyre pretty cool to wander around. If your wanting to be a totaly tourist (like me) and take a gondola ride, then all go together to split costs because its pretty pricey. Venice is pretty well known for crappy accomodation. I stayed in The Venice Fish and do recommend it. Its in an amazing location, reasonably prices because the owner and his girlfriend make breakfast, and dinner (which is really good!) And everyone sits around a main table so its a great way to start a conversation with others. The only downside is it only has 2 bathrooms. I had a pretty good time here though.

And, definitly take note if you do stay there, the directions dont mention that the hostel has its own bridge entrance.

I only stayed 1 night in Florence (plans to go back but ended up staying longer in Venice) and I stayed at the Academy Hostel which was good, very clean, awesome bathrooms. I wasnt a fan of Florence, but that might have to do with the fact that I spent the entire night just wandering around the streets with a brazillian guy stopping only to drink sangria.......But the hostel location is awesome.

The Yellow Hostel in Rome has had some great recommendations. Ive never stayed there though (avoid the Roma Inn, its TINY and incredibly hard to find) There is SO much to do in Rome. Definitly hit the Gelato store is Santa Maria Maggiore Gelateria down Via Cavour. I tihnk its just past the basilica. its the best. I adored Rome, the Colloseum, Trevi fountain (at night its great) Vatican, Piazza Navona etc...Get a map from your hostel, everything is basically in walking distance.I stayed 4 days and only just felt I had seen everything.

In Paris I stayed at the Oops hostel. Its kinda a designer type hostel, and its pretty large. Its in an ok location, but besides the people in my room I found it hard to meet others even in the dining area. I did stumble upon some awesome markets while walking around. Ive always been afraid of taking local transport because I always end up somewhere I dont want to be, but the transport in Paris fantastic! Buses and train are incredibly easy to use.

So those are my hostel recommendations. Ive never been to Switzerland, so cant give advice about that. I flew from Paris - Rome, and took trains in Italy. Any other advice you need just ask. Goodluck with the trip planningm you are going to have an amazing time!
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Old 02-17-2009, 11:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by mbo108 View Post
Overall it sounds like a fun trip. Be warned that you are hitting up some of the most expensive portions of Europe and during the busiest time of year. Just wondering what drove you to France/Italy mainly?
There are great (and cheaper) options for young guys looking to party if you head more towards Central and Eastern Europe.
No particular reason, other than we've all loved Italy when we visited in the past...I think everyone is willing to spend a little more for Italy, but France isn't as much of a priority. I was looking into skipping france and doing the italy leg and then going vienna --> prague (and maybe berlin) instead -- how much money do you think we'd save doing vienna/prague instead of paris/nice? and is there enough in those cities for 6 days?
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