3 month Europe

Mar 8th, 2018, 12:24 PM
  #1  
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3 month Europe

Hi, I am planning a trip to go to European for 3 months next summer. May-July 2019. I have been struggling on how I want to do it, so I have a few questions.
First here are the places I want to visit. I probably should shorten it but I don't know which ones to take off.
- Spain (Barcelona)
- France (Monte Carlo, Paris, Normandy, Reim, amd Belgrade)
- Switzerland
- Italy (Milan, Rome, Florence, and Venice)
- Greece
- Austria (Vienna)
- Germany (Frankfurt, Cologne, and Berlin)
- Denmark
- Netherlands (Amsterdam)
- Belgium (Brussels)
- UK (London, Manchester)
- Ireland (Dublin)
- Iceland (maybe)
- Norway (maybe)
- Poland (maybe)
1st Question:
Are some of these places only a day visit? Some more than a day, if so how long?
2nd Question:
What's the best transport to use?
3rd Question:
Should I split this into more than one visit?
4th Question:
Is this trip possible to do in 3 months?
**ANY FEEDBACK WOULD HELP!
ambriasue is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 12:32 PM
  #2  
 
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You need a map of Europe and some guidebooks (which will tell you that Belgrade is the capital of Serbia). You might start with Lonely Planet's Europe on a Shoestring, assuming you are on a budget. How much money do you have for this trip? Also Rough Guide's First Time Europe.

1. How can a country be a "day visit"?
2. Probably train, or train plus cheap flights. See: https://www.seat61.com/index.html and https://www.skyscanner.net/
3. Probably. You should lay this out on a calendar, figuring out how long YOU want to spend in each place (that's what the guidebooks are for) and allowing for travel time.
4. This is the same as question 3.
thursdaysd is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 12:34 PM
  #3  
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1. Didn't know if some places needed more than a day to visit.
**Thank you!
ambriasue is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 12:35 PM
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Trains by far the best as you are mainly going to large cities where cars are a hassle and more and more being banned or limited - trains in Europe are so so modern and frequent and super fast on main lines -going often nearly 200mph- they are also cheaper than cars if you drive and have to pay to park your car for X days in large cities where theyn are useless.

Cars are also isolating -on trains you meet the proverbial locals.

With that many trains check out some kind of railpass that lets you still in most countries hop on any train anytime - Spain, France and Italy however require seat reservations before boarding on most faster trains and these IME are usually easy to get as you go - no need to book yourself into a specific train weeks or months in advance as with discounted tickets.

Anyway some great sources IMO on Europea trains -www.seat61.com -by far the best single site now IMO; other informative ones: www.ricksteves.com and BETS-European Rail Experts.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 12:37 PM
  #5  
 
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Answer to Q#1: A country or a region can't be visited in one day, but you must know that. As to how long to spend anywhere, that's something only you can figure out based on your interests and priorities, how you intend to get around, etc.

Answer to Q#2: Impossible to answer until you have an actual itinerary, but generally rental cars are useless in cities, trains are an efficient way to travel from city center to city center, and planes cover longer distances in less time but airports are usually outside cities and necessitate additional travel time and costs to reach city centers.

Answer to Q#3: Yes, if you want to get more than a drive-by experience.

Answer to Q#4: I doubt it.

Comment: I'm not sure what city you meant, but Belgrade is not in France.
Jean is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 01:30 PM
  #6  
 
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Here's how I would begin to look at it. First get a good map of all of Europe to work from and tack it on the wall.

Then realize you have approx. 90 days total (and most people like to allow 2-3 days minimum for each stop).

Work it like a math problem:

You want to see:
19 cities: Barcelona, Monte Carlo, Paris, Normandy, Reim, Belgrade, Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, Vienna, Frankfurt, Cologne, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels, London, Manchester, Dublin
12: countries for sure - Spain, France, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Austria, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland
3: countries maybe - Iceland, Norway, Poland

Do you have a total budget for the trip?
suze is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 01:36 PM
  #7  
 
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2nd Question: What's the best transport to use?
There's no one answer. Plane flights, train, bus, ferry, car rental, could all be used for the places you list in various combinations.

3rd Question: Should I split this into more than one visit?
Yes. That would be my best advice.

4th Question: Is this trip possible to do in 3 months?
I do think it is possible if you unlimited $$$ and are willing to go "Amazing Race" style, dashing in and out of each place in only a day or two.
suze is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 02:04 PM
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Are you going on your own?
When you visualize going to Europe, are there one or two things that jump to your mind that are must-see?
Do you love scenery most, nature, art, history, castles, other old buildings, street scenes and festivals?
Go on Youtube and watch a few shows of Rick Steves for the countries you are most interested in.
5alive is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 03:59 PM
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>>1. Didn't know if some places needed more than a day to visit.<<

Even one day requires 2 nights. Cities like Paris and Amsterdam and Berlin and Rome and London require from 3 or 4 to 6 or more days (meaning 4 - 7+ nights) to scratch the surface.

You need to account for a LOT of travel time. So 15 countries and several cities in many of them means you would have about 30 days JUST in transit - so 1/3 of your time on trains or planes or buses. That leaves 60 days which means you'd have almost no time in many of those destinations. You list of France as an example is about 2 weeks right there, Italy the same . . . etc, it just doesn't calculate.

I would NOT waste the time and money to try to race all over heck and gone covering 15 countries in 3 months. After about 2.5 weeks of that you won't know where you are nor remember very much. Why not take a reasonable length trip -- say 3 to 5 weeks and see 2 or 3 countries in a teensy bit of depth??? Instead of running insanely around ticking boxes.
janisj is online now  
Mar 8th, 2018, 04:48 PM
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Have you ever traveled in Europe and abroad before?

If no I would either cut the trip six weeks and have a flexible ticket with an affordable change to return early or later on it. First time I went I had planned on 12 weeks but after 6 weeks felt kind of homesick and went back much sooner than planned. (Though I still wonder what if I had not already changed my ticket when I met that cute nice Dutch gal who wanted to travel with me would have been like if I had stayed on?) Point is be flexible and get a ticket with liberal return change policies - that is if you have never been abroad or in a foreign country before - like traveling alone before - and especially if traveling alone. Though on my first trip I got homesick and aborted my overall length - soon as I got home I missed traveleing and planned right then to go again the next summer!

In any case as janis aptly points out, you should not even with 3 months simply not plan to visit 15 separate countries. Play it more by ear and that is a part value of a railpass that it lets you change plans without encountering often very steep walk-up fares and you can stay in hostels and book them easily as you go along - there being so so many hostels and youth hotels these days.

I met folks as I went along and changed plans to travel with them - this may happen with folks you meet in hostels too - you may decide to stay in say some place for days or weeks -especially again if single and staying in hostels - hotels can be very isolating on the other hand.

Anyway lots of factors.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 8th, 2018, 10:10 PM
  #11  
mjs
 
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A few questions. First have you ever traveled independently abroad? Secondly are you planning on traveling alone or with a partner? Third, how old are you? Fourthly what is your budget excluding airfare to/from Europe? I too think you need to read some guidebooks and would add Lets go Europe along with the Rough Guide and the Lonely Planet. Your list seems somewhat arbitrary and you do not seem to know much about your possible destinations when you have no idea as to how much time you need to visit them. Comparing Iceland to Monte Carlo for instance for time allotted makes no sense. Please understand that moving from location to location takes both time and money. It usually takes at least a half day for each move so if you want to spend a whole day someplace it requires two nights plus two half days of travel so your cost of time and money is high to visit a destination for a short time. Travel can be a combination of plane, train and bus. The easy way would be to get a 3 month second class Eurail Global pass for about $1500 and you could just start somewhere and just move on from place to place when you wanted to. It is easy to meet fellow travelers on the trains in Europe and change your plans on the fly with new information or perhaps new travel partners. I did three two month tours of Europe in my youth with a Eurail pass and had a grand time. Using a combination of trains, planes and possibly buses might be less expensive but this probably requires a layout of your entire trip to minimize travel costs. I do think it would be better to do several trips than one long three month trip due to the amount of work required to visit all of these places although you would have to than pay for multiple plane flights to Europe. Impossible to say if you could do your list in three months as you have included several countries that each might require a week or two to visit.
mjs is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 04:01 AM
  #12  
 
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Great advice from mjs! Ditto to all of that.

Note that 3-month Eurailpass can not be used in U.K. But other that for your wide-ranging itinerary could be a great deal.
PalenQ is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 04:53 AM
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Too many cities, not enough villages. If all you see of Italy is Romeflorencevenice, then you haven't seen Italy.
You're going to want to set aside a few 3-4 day breaks from this vacation. Trips like this are exhausting and you will need a break from museums and ruins. A mountain retreat or a beach with nothing to do will work nicely to recharge your batteries.
Time visits to various towns to coincide with festivals, concerts, or sporting events of interest to you.
It's not feasible to plan each day of a 90-day itinerary - who wants to live a script for 3 months?. Have a strong idea of where you want to go, but once you are there let your nose guide you. In other words, don't be afraid to wing it.
It's perfectly fine to spend an entire day in [dream city] doing nothing but laundry and reading.
Edward2005 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 08:18 AM
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Not only will you want a few breaks from the pace and repetitiveness of city after city, you'll also need to spend time doing laundry. A long and fast-paced trip requires packing very light which means you have to wash clothes more frequently.

If you stick to your plan, know that there will be glitches along the way that play havoc with your timing or you may be tempted to make minor detours as you hear about things to see/do that you didn't know about. As delays start accumulating, you may find you need to skip a destination (or two) to catch up to your original itinerary.
Jean is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 09:03 AM
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I have no problem with a cities-only tour. Especially traveling solo "villages" just don't interest me. Plus public transportation options usually work a lot easier in major cities.

Problem with this original idea is there are simply WAY TOO MANY places to make a realistic intinerary.
suze is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 09:44 AM
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I don't have a problem with a cities-only itinerary, either, although to me it's not ideal on a 3-month trip where one might want some downtime in a quiet environment. But here I think the problem is that there are simply at least three times the destinations that are truly feasible or enjoyable and that the OP is probably not even aware of what exists beyond cities.
StCirq is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 10:46 AM
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Yes for sure I would schedule in "rest stops"... but those would also be in cities. My own personal style & itinerary for a 3 month trip would have me stopping some places for 4-5 days, and other places for 7-14 days, renting apartments where feasible.

So I would pick between 8-10 locations only for a 3 month trip. I realize this is not everyone's style and that some people LIKE to have 1 day stops and run from place to place (not me!).
suze is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 10:57 AM
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Plus, it often seems to be young and inexperienced travelers on "a budget" who want to do these kinds of trips, which are IMO the most expensive kinds of trips imaginable, paying to keep moving every day or so and not having the opportunity to land somewhere and scout out where to get a nice fresh sandwich and a cheap beer. Lots of incongruities between what they imagine to be the trip of a lifetime to Europe and the reality on the ground. But that's how folks learn how best to travel, no?
StCirq is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 12:04 PM
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Sure, I guess everyone learns from their own experiences. But I would not have had the money when I was younger to float a 3 month trip going to 34 different cities/countries even if I wanted to!
suze is offline  
Mar 9th, 2018, 12:50 PM
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In some countries, including Italy, many trains require a reservation, which is not covered by the Eurail pass. There are some other trains in Europe that require a supplement, again with a reservation. This can add considerably to the cost of the travel, and eliminates the possibility of carefree changing of plans en route. Before getting a rail pass, I would check the prices of your longer trips on the various national rail sites, If you see that the cost of the longest trips will add up to something less than $500, then you can be sure the $1500 pass is not going to save you any money.

Most rail lines have large discounts for advance purchase of tickets, and there are also big discounts on cross-border trains.

I agree that you should pare down this trip considerably, and plan another trip in a few years.

I'm a little puzzled by some of your choices. What do you want to do in Frankfurt? in Brussels? Both cities can be rewarding, but mostly for people with specific interests.
bvlenci is online now  

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