4-5 week tour

Old Jul 20th, 1999, 12:36 PM
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4-5 week tour

My friends and I are planning about a month long tour of Europe next summer after colleges let out. We will all be around 21-22 years old, and have pretty much all been to Europe before.

Our plan is to fly into London, then head to the following cities

London(3 days)
Paris (4 days)
Saint Sebastien (1 day)
Lisbon(3 days)
Madrid(2 days)
Barcelona(2 days)
Gimmelwald(3 days)
Berlin (or Amsterdam) (2 days)
Copenhagen(2 days)
Stockholm(2 days)
Helsinki(or Oslo) (2 days)
and then 4 or 5 days for train travel and kind of buffer days in case we want to go somewhere else.

I was wondering if anybody has been to any of these cities if any of these times are too long, or too short, and which other cities would be good to add or drop from the list with going in this general direction.

Also, which of the three would be a better tour -- Ending with Scandanavia, Greece, or putting that time into the beginning and hitting Scotland/Ireland. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Old Jul 20th, 1999, 12:44 PM
dan woodlief
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Hard to say without knowing why you chose the places you did, where you have been previously, and what your main interests are.

For this type of trip, I would lean toward skipping Scandinavia and add either Prague and Munich, or Italy. Just my preference though.
Old Jul 20th, 1999, 12:51 PM
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Yeah, i guess that does make a difference.

I've been to Europe 4 times, but nobody else going with me has ever been. I have been to London, Paris, Barcelona, Munich, Athens, Crete, Rome, Venice, Florence, Luzern, Tubingen, Nice, and Bath.

I liked italy, but was tired of it after a week, so i am thinking about skipping it this time.

I wanted to explore more of Spain/Portugal and have heard many good things about Lisbon. Is Tangiers worth going down to if you are in the area?

I was also curious about Scandanavia and The British Isles which is why that was one of the major points to the trip.. but didn't know which would be better.

Finally, I've heard lots of good stuff about Prague. Is it really worth visiting, and if so, how long for?

Old Jul 20th, 1999, 01:13 PM
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Hi, Mike, I was wondering what method of travel you are planning to get around Europe. (It seems to be train, but it's not clear.) Also, I was struck by a big discrepancy between your first and follow up answers: "Pretty much everyone" has been to Europe before, vs. just you. How many people are we talking about here? Who gets to decide where to go? I don't have any specific advice -- my first trip, at the same stage in life, was solo, so I had no one to consult (or please, or blame) but myself. I think it's good to hash out these questions ahead of time, as much as you can. One previous posting that I thought was useful posed the question of how two couples can plan a trip together. If you can find it, it might have some relevance for you. Good luck, and have fun!
Old Jul 20th, 1999, 01:25 PM
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You've got lots of time to gad about, but traveling is exhausting. Packing/ unpacking/getting on trains, getting off trains...if you want to do Scandinavia, skip Spain and Portugal, and vice versa. Spend more time in France, UK, Switzerland, Germany...then do Spain/Portugal the same way, or Scandinavia. Never been to Prague, but it certainly is in the neighborhood and gets rave reviews.
Skip Tangiers...Morocco is such a wonderful country that you should not judge it by Tangiers (imagine saying you've been to the U.S. because you saw Newark). If you are lopping off Scandinavia, and keeping southerly, then Morocco for 5 days or so would be something to consider.
No matter how long you are in London or Paris, it's not long enough (considering all the daytrips you can do). 3-4 days will give you the high points.
It just looks like you're spending a lot of time on your butts, riding trains.
Old Jul 20th, 1999, 07:05 PM
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Mike, I am sorry but I see this as a
hodge podge of big cities and at least
a week of your time on the trains. You
are missing Europe and seeing train stations in big cities that all look alike. You need to think in more compact geographic terms ie, how do you plan to get from Barcelona to Gimmelwald to Berlin?? That is a bear.
Get a good map and find the best of
Europe in such places Lugano, Salzburg
Toledo, Avignon, Rothenburg, Loire valley, and the Lakes of Italy. You will kill yourself on this itinerary.
Contact me directly if you want help.
Old Jul 21st, 1999, 04:43 AM
dan woodlief
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When travelling with a group, it is certainly a good idea to make sure the others get some good input into the final destinations. I don't disagree with those who are telling you to concentrate on a smaller number of destinations. It could be that you will experience the same tiredness that you had before in Italy and not enjoy it as much. I think you are right on track by including Gimmelwald for a few days. Perhaps you could include other more relaxing areas as good breaks in the trip, such as the Italian, British, or French countrysides. However, I know that the type of trip you are planning is quite common with graduating college students. I was on a train from Nuremberg to Prague once with a group of grads who discussed all the way to Prague where they should go next. They must have been visiting 20 countries over the course of the summer, but it seemed they were only staying a day or so in most places. You are being smart in giving at least 2 days to most.

Regardless of your interests, take my advice and do add Prague. Of the cities I have visited so far, it ranks close to Paris. It is truly beautiful, old (didn't get destroyed in WWII), historical , and active. Its also easy to visit. Give it at least two days, but three would be better.

What do you and your friends like to do? Are you into art, nightlife, outdoor activities, history?
Old Jul 21st, 1999, 05:02 AM
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Slow down! If you want to see something I assume you mean from the same state of motion. Most of the things you listed will be a blur as you pass by. Pick 4 major cities and take a couple of day trips out from them. You could land in London w/ a couple of side trips; hit Paris and maybe Versailles or Chartres as day trips; then on to Madrid and Portugal w/ similar day trips. If you plan a point "A" and "Z" for your trip you should not spend more than an hour per day on average to get there (ie-on trains). Pick a start point and an end point 30 hrs by train apart and take your time to visit little spots in between. These visits will lengthen your overall distance travelled by about half, ergo the initial restraint. To see everything is not to simply "see" it -- become some small part of it and let it become part of you. Oh yeah, and come back to do the rest of your trip another time. It will all be there. Best of luck.
Old Jul 21st, 1999, 05:44 AM
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Mike--- Couldn't help myself in trying to draft an alternate itinerary for the type of (one in a lifetime!) European adventure you seem to have in mind....

This itinerary requires tons of energy, but then again, this is the time in your life to do this type of thing!

Arrival in London (3 days)
4th day train to Paris
Paris (3 days)
4th day train to Barcelona
Barcelona (2 days)
3rd day train to Madrid
Madrid (3 days)
4th & 5th day in transit to Venice
Venice (2 days)
3rd day train to Innsbruck
Innsbruck (2 days)
3rd day train to Munich or a preffered spot in Bavaria
Bavaria (3 days)
4th day train to Prague
Prague (2 days)
3rd day train to Berlin
Berlin (2 days)
3rd day train to Amsterdam
Amsterdam (2 days)

Amsterdam is a good spot to either finish a trip or continue on (I would go on to Copenhagen...).
Old Jul 21st, 1999, 05:54 AM
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Ok, since everyone seems to think that is a little too much to see in that time frame, I think dropping Scandanavia would probably be the best thing to do. Most of the members of my group like outdoor things(hiking, beaches, etc), historical places, and the scenic places.

Would around 4 days per city seem like enough to actually see the city? If that were enough, I would think about the following..(with side trips if we get tired of a city). Long distances would be traveled on night trains. I know they are not the most comfortable, but they are economical and the time goes by faster. I did make the mistake of taking a night train from Stuttgart to Venice on my last trip, completely missing the ride through the alps. That won't happen again.

Scotland or Ireland

Places that Bob the Navigator mentioned(Europe in such places Lugano, Salzburg
Toledo, Avignon, Rothenburg, Loire valley, and the Lakes of Italy) really interest me. Any other places of the such or backdoors that you know of would be appreciated.

And if we did decide to go to morocco for a few days, is it difficult to travel there(Is English or French(close to the french in France, not a dialect like Spanish is in Mexico) spoken widely there?) Also, would there be any problems traveling with women there(Because of the Moroccan culture)?
Old Jul 21st, 1999, 07:46 AM
dan woodlief
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Sounds pretty good. You may want to strongly consider Rothenburg as suggested by Bob, since otherwise there is a big geographical gap between Prague and everything else. Likewise for Spain - maybe stop in Provence or along the French Riviera, or even the French Alps on the way to Switzerland. You should all love the Gimmelwald area for outdoors things to do: hiking, rock climbing, bungy jumping if you are into that, parasailing, lakes, running from angry cows (my own experience). I have only actually been to Paris, Gimmelwald, and Prague of the places in your last list, and I think four days should work well for all (Paris perhaps longer, but you can do a lot in 4; in Prague this may allow for a daytrip).

If you need another city idea on the way to Prague, Vienna is very nice.
Old Jul 21st, 1999, 09:53 AM
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Mike, Maira is real close to a good one,
but I would drop Madrid and add the French Riviera to the trip enroute to
Venice. Try to stay at Menton not far from Monaco---the train goes there.
Also, I would try to include either
Garmisch or Oberammagau after Innsbruck,
you can probably bus there since you are
so close. Go to www.raileurope.com to get a feel for the train lines and times
Old Jul 22nd, 1999, 07:11 AM
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The northern part of Morocco speaks Spanish and French; the southern part, French. It's not the uptight French that the Parisians speak, so they don't mind American accents. Almost every tourist type place (hotel, restaurant, train station, etc) has at least one person who speaks English (usually several people do). The Moroccans are very nice people (mostly Berbers, who are some of the gentlest people I've ever met).
Trains run everywhere; where they don't, there are busses and "grand taxi". Morocco is very inexpensive; 3* hotels are $10-15 per person in a double or triple room (bathroom IN room! No down the hall!). Full meals are $10-15 in good restaurants; you can get a decent lunch for about $7.
We three women travelled all over Morocco and ran into NO problems. Morocco is very liberal for an Islami country. We wore loose pants, short sleeved shirts/blouses when we were touring the cities (not only out of respect for the culture, but the SUN!).
After Desert Storm, tourism dropped off and Morocco really REALLY wants visitors! Email me directly if you'd like specific info.

Looks like you're heeding some sage advice and cutting down on the butt-numbing train rides. The joy of traveling is NOT the traveling; it's the stopping!

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