2-week Eurotrip. July 2019. Help decide.

Feb 21st, 2019, 06:29 AM
  #1  
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2-week Eurotrip. July 2019. Help decide.

We are 4 travelers (two couples) and we have started planning our 2-week summer vacation in Europe. We had a road trip last summer, so we already seen Warsaw, Vroclav, Prague, Zakopane, and Krakow. This year we want to dedicate two weeks for it and explore something completely different from Central Europe vibes.
We are torn between doing a road trip in Ukraine, the country's nature is super diverse and traveling there would also be quite cheap, so it's more like a safe option. But then there is Italy... A place which I have been dreaming about for a while, but if we go there, will 2 weeks be enough to see it all (well major cities and coasts)? Which places are a must to include? Has anyone traveled there for two weeks straight and could recommend a route and possibly a budget to allocate?

Or maybe we should consider tripping in Balkans as a golden middle between super cheap Ukraine and picturesque Italy? Has anyone done that?
deniseoliver86 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 06:57 AM
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Two weeks is enough time to see a very tiny part of Italy. I have spent up to 8 weeks traveling in just one or two adjacent regions on a few occasions, and still missed lots.

A lot of people with two weeks focus on Rome, Florence, and Venice. You could get a taste of each of those in two weeks.

But it all comes down to what interests you. There are no places at all that are a must to include. Italy is like 50 different countries in one - you need to read and research and see what appeals to you.
StCirq is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 07:29 AM
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I agree with St. Cirq, and just want to add that Italy has 12,000 miles of coast. If you choose just one seaside destination, you should either skip one of the major cities she mentions, or add about 3 or 4 more days to your trip.
bvlenci is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 07:38 AM
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Denise, I would agree with StCirq that it's impossible to see it all, so I suggest to choose a region.. explore North of Italy: fly to Milan, spend few days there (visit beautiful Domo) rent a car and explore the lake region. I recommend stopping at either lake Garda (close to Verona) or lake Como (close to Milan), the views of Alps and lakes are simply breathtaking. Once you spend some time there, make your way to romantic Verona (home town of Romeo and Juliet), and after few days make your way to Venice where you can explore the canals and ride a gondola.

If that doesn't sound like a trip for you maybe someone could recommend you the perfect way to explore southern or northern Italy.
frvrtrvlng is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 09:30 AM
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Of course you can't see all of Italy in two weeks. Pick a region, or do the standard Venice-Florence-Rome triad - but by train, not car.

Not sure about the car in Ukraine, either. It has been a while since I was there, but the roads were really bad. I would not go anywhere just because it was cheap, and really Italy and Ukraine are completely different trips.

Loads more to see in the Balkans than you can cover in two weeks, too. Suggest you borrow some glossy guidebooks to the three areas and then pick whichever interests you most.

For my last trip to the Balkans see: The "B" Trip, Part Three, Western Balkans

For Ukraine see: European Spring 2006 -- Wilhelm's Words
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 21st, 2019, 09:50 AM
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Yes, Italy by train if the big three cities where private vehicles are banned. Trains are great - check www.trenitalia.com or www.italotreno.com for fares and schedules - general info www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
PalenQ is online now  
Feb 21st, 2019, 01:42 PM
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We have been through a lot of the Balkans, primarily because we have many former employees (now great friends) who live there. We haven’t been to Ukraine.

But we go to Italy every fall and sometimes we bounce around, north to south to make the best of the fall weather. If you see the link to our name, you will see fairly recent trip reports for the Northern Lakes, Italian Riviera, Puglia and Sardinia, all wonderful spots.

We also have done the Rome, Florence, Venice thing numerous times in different itineraries; two weeks in Tuscany, multiple trips to Sicily and a lot more. StCirq is correct that it is like 50 countries in one. But don’t let that deter you.

If I dreamed of Italy and had two weeks to get a sample, I might get a sample of various regions and not feel confined to one area. But that is just us. Maybe 3 days Lake Como, 2 days in Venice, 3 days in Tuscany, 3 days in Rome and 3 days on the Amalfi coast. Few would agree with me because we travel hard, with light baggage, long days, and walk a lot. We like to see and do a lot and have never regretted it. That’s not everyone, and we respect that. It simply depends on YOU and your travel style.
whitehall is online now  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 07:24 AM
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In addition to basic research, the 4 of you need to sit down and discuss what it is you want to see out of this trip. Having not been to Ukraine but what I know about it, it is vastly different from Italy.

What are ALL of your interests? Coastal towns/cities? Certain foods? Art? History, and what era? The answers to these questions will help guide you in your decision where to go. Then the fun planning begins.

While I agree hitting the Italian "big three" is perfectly doable for a 2 week trip with maybe a day trip or 2; however, I don't know if that's what all 4 of you want or if you would even be interested in say, Florence - a city ripe with Renaissance art and architecture.
Travel_Nerd is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2019, 09:10 AM
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Romania or Bulgaria fit the bill for a two week trip. You might want to check out my trip reports, one starting in Hungary and traveling through Romania, and the other starting in Bulgaria and including a Danube river cruise; click on my name to find them.
Michael is offline  
Feb 26th, 2019, 12:47 AM
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Thank you, fellow travelers! You gave us a lot to think about. So our next steps are, just like you suggested, to read some trip reports and maybe pick up a glossy guidebook, then discuss all our ideas together and then come back here to ask for your final thoughts.
deniseoliver86 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2019, 12:49 AM
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BUT.. other replies and route suggestions in Italy, Balkans or Ukraine are very welcome in the meantime!
deniseoliver86 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2019, 12:58 AM
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I've visited most of the Balkans, (not Albania) but generally my thoughts would be Slovenia is great and worth 5 or so days especially Bled. The Istrian Penisula (including Pula) is fine and the coastal regions going all the way down to Montenegro are pleasant enough, but going inland is difficult and slow. However, Split, Trogir and the islands are especially pleasant. I might consider catching a ferry over to say Bari or Brindisi and driving north on Italy's eastern coast.

You cannot see more than a tiny part of Italy in 2 weeks.
bilboburgler is offline  
Feb 26th, 2019, 01:11 AM
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Traveling through the Balkans would be a better idea to keep the prices lower.

You could start from the top with Slovenia (Lake Bled etc.), then move to Croatia (Zagreb, Istria, Plitvice, Krka, Dubrovnik, the islands... is it too obvious I'm Croatian? ), Montenegro (Kotor), Macedonia (Ohrid), and so on. The nature is really beautiful in these parts and the coastline is, according to some, much more picturesque compared to most of the Italy.

Should you decide to take such a route, I'm sure you could find even more extensive info and guides as to which places to visit!
euro_swallow is offline  
Feb 26th, 2019, 04:50 PM
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kja
 
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Originally Posted by deniseoliver86 View Post
So our next steps are, just like you suggested, to read some trip reports and maybe pick up a glossy guidebook, then discuss all our ideas together and then come back here to ask for your final thoughts.
Please take the time to consult some guidebooks, and not just the glossy ones! The glossies are a great starting point to focus your interest, but with 2 weeks, you will eventually need more information than those guidebooks typically cover.

Originally Posted by euro_swallow View Post
You could start from the top with Slovenia (Lake Bled etc.), then move to Croatia (Zagreb, Istria, Plitvice, Krka, Dubrovnik, the islands... Montenegro (Kotor), Macedonia (Ohrid), and so on. T
All worth seeing -- but in 2 weeks? I wouldn't be able to do that!
kja is offline  
Feb 26th, 2019, 05:02 PM
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I was recommending the glossies as the starting point. Absolutely, once the OP decides where to go, they need different books.
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 12:45 AM
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So after some discussion with my fellow travelers, we decided that 2019 will be the year to explore Balkans. It was a golden middle for us, as we couldn't agree on the route in Italy, so decided to postpone it for next year and dedicate more time to it.
We are now looking into logistics of the route suggested by euro_swallow, so thank you very much for this suggestion! Will be back soon!

Originally Posted by euro_swallow View Post
You could start from the top with Slovenia (Lake Bled etc.), then move to Croatia (Zagreb, Istria, Plitvice, Krka, Dubrovnik, the islands... is it too obvious I'm Croatian? ), Montenegro (Kotor), Macedonia (Ohrid), and so on. The nature is really beautiful in these parts and the coastline is, according to some, much more picturesque compared to most of the Italy.
deniseoliver86 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 04:41 AM
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Congratulations on reaching an agreement. Plenty still to go, lol.

Don't miss Plitvice. If you decide to go to Mostar, go to Sarajevo as well. Limit time in Dubrovnik and check cruise ship arrivals before picking the date - here: http://195.29.106.30/
thursdaysd is offline  
Feb 28th, 2019, 05:31 PM
  #18  
kja
 
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Originally Posted by deniseoliver86 View Post
We are now looking into logistics of the route suggested by euro_swallow
Croatia and nearby parts of what was once Yugoslavia are glorious! But as I already said, I would have found euro_swallow's itinerary overly ambitious for 2 weeks. Of course, it depends on exactly what you want to see and experience, but I would encourage you to be mindful, from the start, that you can't see or do everything you might want, even in that one area, in the time you have.

I would strongly encourage you to get the Rough Guide for Croatia -- by far, the best of the guidebooks for that country.

Hope that helps!
kja is offline  
Mar 5th, 2019, 07:53 AM
  #19  
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Great insights, guys! Talking about it makes me super excited for the upcoming trip. We are still yet to finalize the exact route.
deniseoliver86 is offline  
Mar 6th, 2019, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by deniseoliver86 View Post
Thank you, fellow travelers! You gave us a lot to think about. So our next steps are, just like you suggested, to read some trip reports and maybe pick up a glossy guidebook, then discuss all our ideas together and then come back here to ask for your final thoughts.
Here's a detailed Trip Report I posted after a 3 week trip to Romania [Transylvania] last June...

Romania [Transylvania] - 6 to 23 June 2018

Loved it.
LancasterLad is offline  

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