6 week tour..working out the details

Oct 15th, 2005, 09:27 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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6 week tour..working out the details

Hello all,

I will be traveling to Europe in July of 2006 now for 6 weeks with one of my good friends. We are both students on a budget and are pretty adventurous. I've been mainly reading threads the past while and trying to decide on hotels/hostels and itinerary. I have also been obsessing over guidebooks and other websites such as tripadvisor and expedia.
Here's the itinerary so far: ( I am open to suggestions or comments if you have any, please tell me if some of these places are worth it, or if we are missing anything)
For accomodation we want to try a variety of places ranging from hostels, to hotels to B&Bs. Our daily budget for accomodation is going to be under 150 dollars. (hopefully)

Fly there

Athens (2 days) - Hotel Attalos
Ferry to Crete, Arrive Chania- Ammos Hotel (3 days)
- go to Samarian Gorge as a day trip
Head to Heraklion- Hotel Mirabello (1 day)
- see Knossos
Ferry to Santorini. (4 days) (Stay in Firostefani at Maria Domigou's Rooms (still would like to hear comments on this place. It's looks great. Check it out:
http://www.villamariadamigou.gr)

Fly to Rome
Rome ( 3 days) - Colors Hostel? (looks bright, got some decent reviews)
Train to Tuscany- Florence as a base. ( 4 days)- Haven't found accomodation yet.
- day trips to Siena, Pisa
- bike riding tour (www.bicycletuscany.com, it looks like a lot of fun, anyone been on it?)
Train to Venice (2 days)- Haven't found accomodation yet

Train to Paris (transfer in Milan, most likely a night train)
Paris (3 days) - Hotel l'avre or Hotel Chopin?
- day trip to Versailles

Eurostar to London- Head to Bath and Stonehenge right away. - Sleep in Bath. St. Christopher's Inn (crazy? too crazy?)
Wales ( 3days)
- We want to go to Snowdownia region , but I don't know much about this area and where to stay

Ferry to Dublin. Dublin (3 days) - Barnacles Temple Bar House
Head to Cork and Blarney castle- worth it?
Stay in Cork- hotel?
Head to Doolin and Galway ( 2 days) - hotel?
Train to Belfast from Galway ( 3 days)- hotel?

Ferry to Scotland - head to Inverness ( 3 days)- Bazpacker Backpackers Hostel
Train to Edinburgh ( 3 days- we want to head to some festivals, will be there around 2nd week of august)- Brodie's Backpackers

Train to London. ( 3 days) Arosfa or Ridgemount Hotel.

Fly Home


I know this is long, and thank you for reading it if you did. I appreciate any advice.

DD





darkestdwelling is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 03:21 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
It's a bit bare to comment on, darkest, but the Crete bit and the Scotland bit look OK.

You might like to think about booking a trip to Samaria based on your last day out of Chania and having them drop you in Iraklion, to save you travelling back through the next day.
sheila is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 06:46 AM
  #3  
aggiemom
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Hi darkest - I'm not much help to you in regards to all but France and England, but I did look at Maria Domigou and it looks wonderful. Certainly, as a student I would choose this and maybe even now! Makes me want to go to Greece...

Personally, I think France and England are not getting enough attention. Only three days in Paris? And only a day in England? Maybe you just haven't worked out all the details.

Here's hoping some more experienced fodorites can help you,

mom
 
Oct 16th, 2005, 09:13 AM
  #4  
ira
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 74,118
Hi DD,

Well, you will be utterly exhausted by the time this expedition is over, but I will enjoy reading your trip report.

In Florence, I can highly recommend the B&B Peterson. www.bedinflorence.it

Have a great adventure.

ira is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 11:55 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,087
You are certainly packing a lot in to your trip!!

With regard to Wales, try

www.visitwales.com

www.walesinfo.com

www.walesdirectory.co.uk

Have a great trip, and don't forget to post a trip report when you get back.
julia_t is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 11:57 AM
  #6  
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We have been to France before so that is why we are breezing through it a bit, but we both loved Paris so much and never got to see Versailles. The England and Ireland thing is a bit weak I know, I'm just wondering what are the best places to visit in this region? Maybe I can cut out some un-necessary stuff in England and Ireland. My travel companion also has ancestory in Scotland so maybe doing more over there would be better?

Sheila, I do like the idea of booking a tour to the Samarian Gorge and heading back to Iraklion after that, it seems more organized that way.

In regards to Italy, am I trying to pack too much in? Should we just stick to Rome and the Amalfi area, or Tuscany and the Venice area?

I feel like we've planned Greece pretty well, but forgotten about some of the other regions. And yes, we will probably be tired, but we are young...lol.
darkestdwelling is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 01:24 PM
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With 6 whole weeks (lucky you!) I strongly recommend you have more nights in Rome, stay 4 or 5 nights in Rome. We travelled in Italy with young adult daughters and son and Rome was their vote for the #1 place in Italy with awesome sights, great food, fun atmosphere! We had 3 nights in Rome on our 13-night trip, and none of us wanted to leave Rome. Try to stay near the Pantheon, a great location where you can walk to lots of sites, and also it's an atmospheric location.

I recommend you read Rick Steves guidebooks if you haven't already, and highly recommend his restaurant recommendations for Rome especially! My young adult "kids" found that Rick's recommendations in Rome and Florence turned out to be their favorite, most fun places to eat, and for the best prices too. Beware, in Rome bad food often will cost you MORE than good food, you need recommendations.

Hubby and I are almost 50 now and have been travelling since our 20's. What we have learned over the years is that in our youth, there were so many beautiful places we "almost" saw in our youth, but not quite, because we passed through them too quickly. I don't regret any of my travels, but I regret not staying long enough in the best places!

Don't forget if you spend too much time travelling about, moving from place to place, hassling with transportation, checking into and out of accocmodations, that is extra time you could have spent sight-seeing.

If I had 6 weeks, I would choose 2 or 3 countries and thoroughly enjoy those countries. 2 or 3 weeks per country. Loved Belgium and Italy. Going to Ireland next summer!

Have fun.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 16th, 2005, 11:21 PM
  #8  
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Ok, after talking to my travel companion. We've both agreed that sticking to fewer countries would be more feasible. So we decided to stick to Greece, Italy, France and Ireland. We both really want to go to Greece and Italy and both really want to go to Ireland and going back to France seems like fun. I know there is a ferry that you can take from France to Ireland and is discounted if you buy a rail pass.

I'm now going to try to work out the specifics in each place.

The UK will have to be saved for another trip...
darkestdwelling is offline  
Oct 18th, 2005, 06:09 AM
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In Ireland, skip Blarney...especially since your other sites are all further north.

Stick to Dublin, Belfast, Galway and Doolin. I suggest a daytrip from Galway to see the Connemara region...it's spectacular.

Hostels in Ireland are pretty good, so check out www.hostelireland.com or use the Lonely Planet Ireland guidebook for some suggestions. Hostels in Ireland with a full Irish breakfast are usually a pretty good deal...since they usually offer a lot of food (Globetrotters Hostel in Dublin has an amazing, all-you-can eat breakfast and the rooms are very nice).

Good luck.
yesiree100 is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Four days is much too long for Santorini. Add those extra days to Crete, go to the south coast to stay a few more days or the west coast beaches. Or add Nafplion, two hours south of Athens, for two days.
SuQue is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 01:53 PM
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Cork yes, Blarney Castle no. Take the bus from Cork to Skibereen and then to Baltimore. Lovely village. Three pubs overlooking the harbor and a short boat ride out to the islands for some good hiking. Good Hostel in the village (Rolfs) with a good Rest. and wine bar. Have fun
JOHNOD is offline  
Nov 13th, 2005, 06:43 PM
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On Santorini I recommend staying in Oia at the Youth Hostel Oia. We stayed there this past September for 3 nights - 13 Euros including breakfast on the roof overlooking the village and caldera.

In Chania on Crete I recommend Neli Studios (www.nelistudios.com) as a great place to stay. It includes a bit of a kitchen so you can do some self catering.

The day after we did the Samaria Gorge we did a boat cruise out to the Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa island which was a wonderful break after the beating our feet took the day before. Take the 7.15 am bus from Chania to Kissamos and then a cab out to the port (3 Km out side the town). At the harbour you can easily find the ticket office. Departure was at 10 am and cost 20 Euro. This isn't mentioned in the Lonely Planet if you are referencing it. It was a great find for us and one of our favourite things we did on our trip.

In Florence I recommend the Hotel Orchidea. You can find it on www.eurocheapo.com. It was great when my mother and I stayed there.
Matrexx is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 05:18 PM
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DD,
Is there a special reason why you want to go to Inverness? Nothing against the town but it wouldn't be near the top of my list - its importance is mainly because it's a crossroads for nearly all the main road and rail routes in the north of Scotland.
Coming by ferry from Northern Ireland you'll arrive in the far south west of Scotland. I know we look like a tiny dot of a country but you'll be a long way from Inverness - I checked travelinescotland.com for a train leaving Stranraer (the main rail station near the ferry ports) at 10 a.m. and it would get you into Inverness at 5.07 p.m. I couldn't find a way of doing the journey by public transport in less than 6 hours - is it worth it for 3 days (or 2 plus a day travelling)?
Unless you really need to say you've been to the Highlands you'll find plenty to keep you busy in south west Scotland - wild country in Galloway, the Ayrshire Coast, Robert Burns birthplace, short ferry to the Isle of Arran, maybe even another ferry from Arran to the Kintyre peninsula.
It will sound like heresy to some, but if you really want to visit the Highlands my advice would be to do that long trip to Inverness, stay one night then head west to Gairloch, Ullapool or even Lochinver for a few nights before heading back. It's heresy because you'll have only a day or so left to spend in Edinburgh, but if the weather is half decent on the north west coast you'll still be remembering it with affection on your hundredth birthday.
In Edinburgh (for one day or three) you can get a flavour of the festivals for free. Head for the High Street (part of the Royal Mile between the Castle and Holyrood) and there will be a variety of performers strutting their stuff free and gratis. They usually pass the hat round at the end but you're under no obligation to pay unless you think they were really worth it. The programme for the Fringe (now bigger than the official Festival!) usually has loads of free performances listed, somtimes at odd times of the day, but if you're on a tight budget they are worth checking out.
One word of warning, accommodation at festival time gets booked up very early - get in there as soon as you have your dates confirmed. It's sometimes possible to get late deals on accommodation on the outskirts of the city, though this may restrict your late evening entertainment. A good tip is to check how far in miles the accommodation is from a specific point such as Waverley railway station (get their postcode, UK equivalent of zip code, then go to the route planner on theeaa.com); you sound like you can cope with walking two or three miles back to your B&B but a B&B seven or eight miles out would be pushing it.
Also be warned that there have been claims that pubs near the main venues crank up their prices at festival time (and UK bar prices are pretty high to begin with).
Enjoy your trip. You'll come back to Scotland before you're very much older.
Craigellachie is offline  
Nov 16th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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Not sure if you are females, males, or one of each, but if you are two females, another hostel to check out in Rome is Orsa Maggiore, an international women's hostel that I almost stayed at (didn't work out for various reasons). It is in the Trastevere area and sounds nice, with single/double/and dorm rooms, some w/ and some w/o bath, a cafe, yoga classes, and other fun stuff. Long web address is:
casainternazionaledelledonne.org (I think it is ".org" try ".it" if that does not work). You can read about it also in the Lonely Planet Italy guidebook.

After just being back in Rome in June, have to agree that there is so much to do there and the energy is great!

Here is a B&B in Venice that was euros 120 for a triple room, not bad price for Venice:
Ca'Turelli, booked through veniceby.com. Nice place and good location. (Definitely stay in Venice, not Mestre where I think the hostel is, as the nights and early mornings are such a great time to get the "feel" of the city.)

Your trip sounds fun and you have plenty of time still to tweak it.
annabelle2 is offline  
Nov 22nd, 2005, 09:05 AM
  #15  
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Thank you all for the suggestions and comments. I have unfortunately found out that my friend who was to travel with me has said that she will not be able to come. Since I have been planning and dreaming about this for awhile I have decided to not let that stop me and go on my own. Of course this is a terrifying concept to me but being the adventurous woman I am, I have decided to do it. Of course this will probably include having to alter my travel plans slightly. ah, the joys of planning....
darkestdwelling is offline  

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