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Aug 18th, 2012, 07:08 PM
  #1
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15 Day Trip to Europe Beginning Stages

Planning a 15 day trip to Europe hoping to cover three cities (4 days in each plus travel time). My girlfriend and I have narrowed down our city choices to 6: Berlin, Amsterdam, Warsaw (my family heritage), Prague, Zurich, Vienna. We are not planning on going for three years, we are just starting to plan now!

Please help us pick three cities that make sense travel wise and time efficiency wise. We would appreciate any input whatsoever!!
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Aug 18th, 2012, 08:00 PM
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Zurich is one of the lesser major cities in Europe in terms of tourism. Munich would make more sense.
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Aug 18th, 2012, 09:37 PM
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I would probably eliminate Amsterdam, Zurich and Warsaw (unless you really want to go there for family reasons). Berlin, Prague and Vienna/Munich are more directly connected. Fly open jaw into Berlin and home from Munich/Vienna. You can train between these cities as a car is not necessary in any of them.

What time of the year are you planning on going?

I would really suggest reading up on these cities. What made you pick them to start with?

If you decide you really want to see the ones I decided against there are lots of low cost airlines in Europe so travel between these cities is very doable.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 01:13 AM
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First let me congratulate you on understanding that it takes time to get from one place to another. So many people seem to forget that.

Choose the cities based on your interests rather than solely on travel time.

Berlin and Prague and in between see Potsdam and Dresden. You could add a couple of days at the end for Munich if you feel you have time.

I realize Munich isn't one of your choices but if you see Potsdam and Dresden you won't have time for Vienna.

If you have to have 3 cities from your list then my vote is for Berlin, Prague, and Vienna.

Warsaw is not as interesting as Krakow and it's mostly pretty ugly.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 06:12 AM
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Zurich is primarily a business city and doesn't deserve the time.

You didn't say what month you are going and that could make a difference in terms of weather.

In terms of the most to do and see: hands down Berlin, Prague and Vienna. You can easily do them in that order and the train trips between them are not onerous.

As for Munich- Vienna has a lot more to do/see. Munich is fine but much of what you will want to do there is on the outskirts or in the countryside, meaning renting a car - and it doesn;t sound as if you had planned on that.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 07:27 AM
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Thank you to all for the input. There is no doubt I probably want to include western Poland in our stop for family purposes. Would this broad itinerary be acceptable to start out planning now?

Approximately April 23 - May 8

Berlin (4 days)
Prague (3 days)
Krakow (3 Days)
Vienna (3 Days)
Travel (2 Days)

Should I narrow it down to just three cities? I really want Poland to be a stop for my family heritage. Thank you all!!!!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 07:35 AM
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This is how you decide the number of cities to visit.

Read guide books and trip reports. Decide what you want to see in each city and how long it will take to see the sights.

Decide if you only want an overview of each city or if you want to explore it with some depth and if you want some late nights that will cut into your sightseeing time the next day.

After some reading and thinking you will know what cities to see and how many cities you can do in 15 days.

My choice would be Berlin, Prague, Krakow.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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Thank you again, Adrienne. Have you visited any of these sites before? This is both of our first trips to Europe. I'd like to explore Berlin and Krakow (Auschwitz, etc) but Vienna and Prague are also on my list. I want to make the most of it, probably because I will not go back (well at least not until I retire in 40 years haha)

If people can list experiences in any of these places, please do not hold back. Would love to take advice from experienced visitors!!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Michelle,

First off, I picked Poland (Krakow) due to family heritage. Then, I researched maps and saw what countries and cities were within reasonable distances. So, you are saying go north to south perhaps Berlin to Prague to Krakow to Vienna?
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Aug 19th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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Krakow and western Poland do not fit. Krakow is in the SE corner of Poland. If family heritage is important, you should perhaps get in touch with the locality that holds the archives of the region where your family comes from, to see what information it provides. That's what my cousin did, and was finally able to find out which of the numerous villages by the same name his family came from.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:10 AM
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We are from a portion west of Krakow more toward Katowice. It does not fit in great, but probably a destination nevertheless. With that being said, any input for a plan around that would be great!
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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Are you planning on taking the train - I have done trains in Europe for years and years and it is a fantastic system - especially if going mainly to large cities as novice travelers understandably are want to do.

Anyways - some great sites to help plan a European rail trip - also consider some kind of railpass if taking trains enough - in all your countries with a railpass you can just hop on practically any train anytime - complete flexibility with a pass. Great sites - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Wherevhave you been in Europe, Palen? We would like to visit Southern Poland (Krakow) and most likely Vienna and Munich...is that reasonable within 15 days?
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Aug 19th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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What draws you to the other cities besides Krakow? I agree that Zurich is really not of a great interest.
I am guessing you have a real interest in the holocaust, and from that point of view, Munich would be near Dachau and it is a very interesting city.
Amsterdam is a LOT of fun, and has a lot to do with museums. I might choose that over Vienna.
Just curious why you wouldn't include Paris as a part of a sort of once in a lifetime until retirement trip? ;o)
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Aug 19th, 2012, 10:28 AM
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Gretchen,

Good points! Yes, the Holocaust and historical stuff are big on our list! Is there an easy travel route from Krakow to Munich to Amsterdam? Krakow to Munich can be an overnight train ride however is Munich to Amsterdam worth it?

For a 15 day trip, which city along with Krakow and Munich would be smart to visit financially, time wise, and ease?
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Aug 19th, 2012, 10:44 AM
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You should go to bahn.de - the best site for european rail travel. (although they can only sell you tickets for trips beginning in Germany, they have the most complete info on trains all over the continent>0

When considering where to go and order I would take into account train schedules and connections - not just where things seem to be on a map.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 10:49 AM
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We really enjoyed Prague. Lots to do. A very beautiful city. Fun to just stroll around, up and down the river and through the alleyways. Up to the castle and Petrin Park. One of my favorites so far in Europe. And we have been to a lot of cities.
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Aug 19th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Your choice of the four cities is good, although maybe they could be re-arranged, in order to have the most efficient route (an alternative could be Berlin, Krakow, Vienna, Prague). Zurich is really not worth it and Amsterdam is too far away compared to the other cities you chose.

We find that 4 days for Berlin is a little bit too much (there's not that much to do, unless you start taking day trips outside: e.g. Potsdam).

Vienna is by far the most beautiful of them all. We have also been to Munich, Berlin, Potsdam, Amsterdam - you can find photos by using the search function on our blog http://in-luxembourg.blogspot.com. As for things to do, as usual:

- stroll around the old city centers in Prague, Vienna, Krakow;
- visit museums in all of them (with a particularity in Berlin for the history of the divided city and the separating wall);
- get to experience a little bit of the night life (which is usually great in all the large cities);
- if time allows, take a day trip to something of interest nearby (read brochures offered at hotels' reception or at tourist information offices in the centers of big cities).

Have fun
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Aug 19th, 2012, 04:48 PM
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Another question...with food, flights, and hostels what is the ballpark price range?
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Aug 19th, 2012, 07:28 PM
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I've been to Prague and Krakow. I just love Krakow. Last fall I was there for 5 days (the previous year I spent 3 days in Krakow).

Airfare can very so much, depending on where you are starting from so it's very hard to say. Also you're traveling in 3 years so no one can help with that right now.

Food is inexpensive in Krakow, a bit more expensive in Prague but if you stay away from the main square you can find inexpensive meals - perhaps $10 to $15 each for dinner. Many Poles eat their main meal at mid day and then have sandwiches in the evening. The only thing I thought was expensive in Poland is wine. If you drink beer you can do that cheaply. Krakow is a university town so there will be inexpensive eateries.

Germany and the Netherlands will have higher food prices. I went directly from Krakow/Warsaw to Frankfurt and noticed the rise in meal prices. But again, do not choose places solely because of prices

You can find inexpensive pensions/hotels in both cities. The place I stayed in Prague would be slightly more money than a hostel for both of you. I've done 2 trip reports for Prague and Krakow that might help you.

To give you an idea, excluding airfare I spent about $1,500 for 2 weeks in Poland. That included hotels, meals, train tickets (1st class), sightseeing, private guide 2 days, drinks in the square at night, and what I felt was expensive wine, considering how little other things cost. I would budget for $5,000 for both of you plus airfare.

Krakow is so much more than Auschwitz (which I didn't visit).

The Let's Go guide book series is mandatory for budget travelers. They give lots of helpful information on eating and sleeping inexpensively.

Here are links to my trip reports. You can pull out the info you want on Prague and Krakow.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-report.cfm?57

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-report.cfm?95

Have fun planning and don't forget to come back afterwards and let us know what cities you chose and how you liked them.
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