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Two-month Itinerary Advice

AndrewN

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  • Added on: May 24th, 2011
Hello,

My wife and I have decided to embark on a two-month trip, from Aug 10th through Oct 11th. We're both around 30 yrs old, and it seems like a perfect time, career-wise, etc. In the cities we visit, we tend to enjoy a mix of the young artist / music venue / tattoo shop areas as well as the ancient, respected architecture & old art (to use London as an example: Camden Town and Westminster Abbey).

In terms of accommodation, we're aiming to to keep costs in check by staying at economy / 1-star small hotels, private rooms at hostels, or bed & breakfasts / guest houses / pensions when possible.

Just wanted to get a few opinions on this itinerary, in terms of city choice and duration per city. We're intentionally avoiding the UK, Berlin, and Spain because we've spent time in those places before, and want to maximize new places.

Also, we're especially interested in potential side-trips from cities, as we'll have a few extra days on our global EuroRail flexi-pass set aside for them. Thanks!

    Itinerary

    London, United Kingdom - 2 days (booked a small, old hotel in Bloomsbury)

    then taking a Eurostar train to...

    Brussels, Belgium - 1 day
    Bruges, Belgium - 2 days (we've heard it's more interesting than Brussels)
    Amsterdam, Netherlands - 6 days (have any neighborhood suggestions?)

    possibly taking a night train to...

    Munich, Germany - 3 days
    Prague, Czech Republic - 8 days
    Vienna, Austria - 4 days
    Budapest, Hungary - 7 days
    Split, Croatia - 5 days (actually want to be in Dubrovnik or somewhere beachy in Croatia)
    Venice, Italy - 5 days (is this too much time in Venice?)
    Florence, Italy - 6 days
    Lyon, France - 4 days (not married to Lyon -- a smaller town could be great)
    Paris, France - 8 days (considering Montmarte)

    taking Eurostar train to...

    London, United Kingdom - 1 day (likely in Bloomsbury again)

Thanks! :)

LilaBear

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  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
Hi, I've never been to Europe so I can't give any recommendations sorry, but I am in the process of planning my own Europe trip and we are looking at visiting a little town about 150km north of Lyon called Beaune. Just thought I'd throw it out there as you said you'd be keen for smaller towns rather than Lyon itself.

ACBungalow

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  • Added on: May 25th, 2011
A couple suggestions...

8 days in Prague sounds like a lot. I'd say you could take some time away from that and explore elsewhere, maybe another place in Czech Republic (I've only been to Prague myself, so no specific recs, sorry. I have heard about a bone church though, but dont know details). If you prefer to see another country, I really like Poland, and its pretty close. Bratislava is nice for a couple days as well. If you wanted to loop down on your way to Croatia from Hungary, I found Belgrade to be pretty cool.

For Split, its kind of far out of the way, but a very cool city. I saved Croatia for the end of my trip so I could end at a beach place. However, I was disappointed by the beaches, they weren't what I expected. Not to say they were bad in Split, but they weren't great either. I've heard the nice beaches are on the islands, which means 5 days is going to be pushing it. If you do Croatia, especially if you're passing between Split and Dubrovnik, you really should do a little Bosnia as well. You have to pass through it anyways as Bosnia reaches the sea and separates Croatia about an hour north of Dubrovnik. You could do a day trip to Bosnia from Dubrovnik, we booked one through our hostel and it took us to these really cool waterfalls called Kravice, and also to Mostar for a little bit. I'd say either trade some time elsewhere for more in Croatia, or drop Croatia and add those days back into the pool, it would be a better use of your time.

I hope this helps, I've traveled most of Europe, let me know if you have any specific questions, or you can click on my blog links in my signature below. Trip sounds great, enjoy!
I also write about my travels and post photos in my Off The Beaten Path Travel Blog, come by and say hi!

Andromeda

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2011
I'm in Amsterdam right now (here as a precursor to moving here in September) and certainly it's a "soak up the ambience" kind of city and seems to be great for staging trips to other places in Holland (Haarlem, Delft, The Hague) as it's such a small country.

From there unless you are a huge train fan I would just grab a budget flight to Munich as it would be cheaper.

Budapest is another great one for staging daytrips- some options are Eger, Miskolc-Tapolca for the Cave Bath, and Pannonhalma. If you want to get to Split though, I'll echo the prior voice saying you should go to Bosnia as you have to go through there and Sarajevo is perhaps the prettiest city in Europe. :D So I would look into taking some time off Budapest and maybe Venice (maybe even Prague) and take the train to Sarajevo (great stopover town for a night or two is Pecs in the Hungarian southwest, lots of layers of history and the Vasarely museum is one of the best art museums in the region), then soak in Sarajevo as it's completely different from anywhere else on your itinerary. From there you can take the bus either straight to split or consider overnighting in Mostar to split up the route.

If you're interested in maximizing time in Croatia then just disregard the above and fly there from Budapest- I spent 8 nights in Croatia and that was just enough time to spend a few nights in Split, 2 nights in Hvar, then I think it was 3 nights in Dubrovnik from where I flew on. Both Split and Dubrovnik are very cool but I felt like there was more to do in Dubrovnik- and it should be noted that a bus from Mostar takes about the same time to Split and Dubrovnik anyway IRC so you could either work your way up the coast or take the night ferry to Venice.

Hope this helps!

lauracatherine

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2011
Hi AndrewN!

Double check where your EuroRail is valid. When I used it in 2007, Croatia wasn't a EuroRail country. I don't think Czech Republic was either.

You're right: Bruges is more interesting than Brussels, and 2 days should be a perfect amount of time if you're on the fast track through Europe.

I personally think that 8 days is a bit much for Prague. As ACBungalow suggested, there is an ossuary a daytrip from Prague in Kutna Hora, which is a nice town in itself. I haven't been, but towns that have been recommended to me in Czech Republic are Cesky Krumlov and Locket.

I preferred Dubrovnik over Split, and found a mediocre beach right outside the city walls to spend a day. I've heard lovely things about Hvar Island though.

Five days does seem a bit extensive for Venice, but there are lots of islands to check out around the area.

Happy travels!
"i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio

AndrewN

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  • Added on: May 26th, 2011
Thanks for the great advice - some really helpful stuff with the day trip suggestions and potentially too-long stays in certain areas.

I'm going to try to revise the itinerary over the next day or two, likely reducing Prague & Venice, and consider adding in Sarajavo (though apparently Bosnia is the only country discussed in this thread thus far that isn't included as part of the global Eurorail pass, aside from the UK).

Also, we were originally considering Copenhagen as well, but had ruled it out due to it being so far north (long train rides, etc), but if we gain time elsewhere, we could possibly add it back in. Though -- we're trying to reach a happy medium between whirlwind tour and more relaxing, non-rushed visits.

Regarding flights: we're aiming to take a train for all legs of the journey. We've never been on a night train before, but it kinda sounds romantic :)

I'm on the fence about Croatia still... but you guys are selling me on it.

Thanks!

Ankitjha

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  • Added on: May 29th, 2011
In croatia if you are certaiinly willing to stay in a beachy area then it should be none other than Brela vrulja
It is south of Split and north of the resort of Makarska. It is an attractive village set on a beautiful full six kilometers of white pebbly beach and is surrounded by fig trees, olive groves and lovely pine woods.
Brela is known for its beaches, many say they are among the most beautiful in Croatia. White round pebbles slopes gently into the clear sea.Small coves are typical of Brela which make it a very romantic place. Sunsets are breathaking.
North of Brela, a romantic cove of Vrulja is located. The cove is enclosed with high clifs, the beach is gravelled and the water is perfectly clear.

Brijuni islands
Brijun '
This a famous holiday destination!! . U can do varios things like
renting a bicycle which is a great way to explore the island of Veli Brijun, the largest of the islands in the group, or you can take a ride on a small tourist train on wheels. How about renting a electric golf car and tour the island just the two of you? Its a awesum feeling ;)
I think these two are worth beachy places you should visit,though brela vrulja can't be reached easily from the highway, also walking from Brela is not very easy due the rough terrain and it is adviced only for experienced hikers. The best bet is to rent a small motor boat in Brela and drive yourself with your loved one to this magnificant place. You will not be sorry, it's a promise

and comming to venice 5 days are good enough to take a good look at this place :)

Here you have Grand Canal
The Grand Canal or Canal Grande winds through the heart of Venice.Bordering the canal are beautiful palazzi, mostly dating from the 14th to the 18th century.You can admire them by taking a gondola ride or more cheaply by taking vaporetto no 1 from front of Santa Lucia railway station
2> Basilica di San Marco
Basilica di San Marco is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world and the most important church in Venice.
3> Rialto Bridge: The bridge is a good place to watch the activity on the Grand Canal at any hour of the day
4> The Doge's Palace:
5> Islands of the Lagoon: these are the best parts and here you can visit
Murano,Burano,lido these places are somewhat beachy areas ... :)

AndrewN

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  • Added on: May 31st, 2011
Ankitjha: Brela Vrulja does sound magical -- though your advice regarding exploration around Venice is causing me to think I should cut out Croatia's beaches for this trip (I'm going to regret that), and instead spending more time in Italy.

I've also found a way to skip Munich (City Night Line train from Amsterdam to Prague).

Itinerary

London, United Kingdom - 2 days
^-----booked a small, old hotel in Bloomsbury

Eurostar train to...

Brussels, Belgium - 1 day
Bruges, Belgium - 2 days
Amsterdam, Netherlands - 6 days

city night line train to...

Prague, Czech Republic - 5 days
^-----may still cut this by another day
Vienna, Austria - 4 days
Budapest, Hungary - 7 days
^-----especially excited about the public baths/spas
Zagreb, Croatia - 2 days
^-----don't know much about this city yet, using it to break up Budapest to Venice
Venice, Italy - 8 days
^-----day trips to Murano, Burano, Lido, Padova, or staying in these places
Florence, Italy - 6 days
Torino, Italy - 2 days
^-----don't actually know much about this place yet, could do Milan or Genoa instead
French Countryside- 7 days
^-----not sure about where yet, maybe some of the time in Beaune?
Paris, France - 8 days
^-----considering Montmarte

Eurostar train to...

London, United Kingdom - 1 day
^-----likely in Bloomsbury again


Thanks! :D

Bideshi

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  • Added on: June 1st, 2011
I have a few suggestions:

I'd cut out a few days in Budapest. It's a cool place, but 7 days seems excessive when time is somewhat of an option.

Depends on your budget, but 8 days in Venice might be a bit much. Really expensive place. And small. I would suggest visiting for 3-4 days, depending, and then just moving on to another place instead of trying to use Venice as a base of operations. Not sure what the smaller towns around there you listed would have in terms of hotels and such.

I'd skip Torino and use a few of the new days you have free from the cuts above and spend 4-5 days in Cinque Terre, Italy. Borgo Maggiore has lots of accommodation of varying comfort levels and is at one end of the trail that goes between all the villages.

6 days in Florence would make me want to hurt myself or others... but that's just me. Some people love it. See when you get there. And if you need to cut and run, you can just leave on a train in the morning and be in Cinque Terre by lunch time. :D

If you've never been there, I'd try to fit Nice, France into your "French countryside" time for at least a few days. It's not the countryside, but it's a beautiful town and well worth a visit.

Hope you have a nice trip!

Nicolas De Corte

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  • Added on: June 1st, 2011
If you'd have some spare time in Belgium, you might want to consider day trips to Ghent (Medieval city) and Antwerp (art city). These cities offer a decent alternative for touristy Bruges.
And maybe another tip, try not to stick too much to an itenary. Just follow your instincts and the advises you'll receive on the road and see where it takes you.

ACBungalow

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  • Added on: June 1st, 2011
AndrewN wrote:Regarding flights: we're aiming to take a train for all legs of the journey. We've never been on a night train before, but it kinda sounds romantic :)

Haha, I suppose its possible, but more often than not you'll probably find it more in the line of a hot, noisy little train car crammed full of 6 smelly backpackers with their shoes off and all their shit spread out everywhere. Just saying... :D
I also write about my travels and post photos in my Off The Beaten Path Travel Blog, come by and say hi!

lauracatherine

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  • Added on: June 1st, 2011
If you think you're going to regret cutting out Croatia, why would you do it?? Besides, Venice is way more expensive than Croatia. And of all places to stop in Croatia, you're conisidering Zagreb? Don't do it. If you cannot bear to spend another night on a train, by all means, spend the night there, but two days is probably overkill. If you must cut out Croatian beaches, why not stop 2 days in Ljubljana Slovenia instead? I've heard it's beautiful and the train rides will probably be shorter.
"i'm on my way, don't know where i'm goin..."~Paul Simon, Me and Julio



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