8-9 week Europe Itinerary

Dec 29th, 2017, 01:08 PM
  #1  
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8-9 week Europe Itinerary

Hey everyone,

My friend and I are both graduating from high school this May and are planning to go on an 8-9 week backpacking trip through Europe shortly after graduation. We have a list of the destinations to which we would like to go, but even if we spend only a couple days in each destination, it adds up to at least 11 or 12 weeks. Here's our list of destinations as of now:

Athens
At least one Greek island
Meteora
Dubrovnik
Vienna
Prague
Moscow
St. Petersburg
Berlin
Munich
Brussels
Bruges
Amsterdam
Lucerne
Interlaken area
Paris (the only place where we plan to spend as many as 6-7 days, counting day trips in the area)
Nice
Bordeaux/Tours (hopefully one or the other, but not sure which)
Barcelona
Madrid
Seville
Granada
Lisbon
Rome
Florence
Venice
Milan
Naples
Cinque Terre
Verona

We're planning on passing up the UK for now, as I've already been there and I think it would be too much of a time sink. I've also been to a few places in Italy and to Barcelona, but Italy is quite possibly the highest destination on my list and I have an old friend in Barcelona that we're planning on visiting. Any advice about which of these to cut would be highly appreciate, as it's extremely difficult at this point for me to decide where to pass up. Additionally, if you have any destinations that you believe would be very strong additions to our itinerary, I welcome any suggestions.

Thanks!
bccohen is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 01:19 PM
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That is not an itinerary -- as you say it is a list. Can I say it is crazy w/o offending you????

Sit down and decide which are your musts - the list needs to be pared down considerably - like by half.

Just the Italy bits would require at least 3 weeks.

That and Greece and you've used up about half your allotted time. You also need to allow for a LOT of travel time -- for your list of Thirty destinations it would eat up about 16 or 17 days just in transit leaving about 1.5 days per place . . .
janisj is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 01:24 PM
  #3  
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Very fair janisj, a list is definitely a more correct term than an itinerary. I had figured the absolute maximum number of destinations would be roughly 20, on an average of 2 days and 1 travel day per location, but I also agree that that's too much travel and not enough time to actually enjoy the destinations.

I guess my post is really asking for if there are any locations on here that people would explicitly not recommend, so that I can make a few easy cuts before getting rid of things that I'm really looking forward to.
bccohen is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 01:30 PM
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I don't get the Bordeaux/Tours thing. They are entirely different places in entirely different parts of France.

But yes, the list is just that - and crazy. You won't remember a thing.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 01:36 PM
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The destinations I would cut:

Athens, Naples, Berlin, Brussels, Lucerne, Interlaken, Nice, Bordeau, Tours, Lisbon, Milan.

I would add: Instead of Interlaken go to the Bernese Oberland area in Switzerland (Wengen or Mürren).

I have not been to Russia, so I cannot comment on Moscow or St Petersburg.

But your list is so long, it is difficult to come up with an itinerary for you.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 01:51 PM
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StCirq, my thought was that aside from Paris and the Riviera, I wanted to visit at least one more part of France so that I could get a feel for another, different part of the country. However, I haven't been able to determine which of those two cities or areas would be more interesting for me, so I left it open.

I agree that the list is far too long. If you had to name an appropriate number of destinations for 8 weeks, on the high side, what would you say?

ToujoursVoyager, thanks for the suggestions! Naples is mostly compelling to me so that I could visit Pompeii and the Amalfi coast as well, but I'll definitely give a lot of consideration to cutting all those.
bccohen is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 02:01 PM
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Bordeaux and Tours could hardly be more different. You need to do some research to find out which would be more appealing to you. And apparently you haven't even considered Alsace, which is radically different from anywhere else in France.

Your list is not only WAY too long, it is mainly big cities. Don't you want to enjoy some of the countryside delights of Europe instead of major cities? I could never just hop from city to city in Europe, and I live here.

In 8 weeks I'd probably choose 6-8 cities and many small towns and villages between them, buy open-jaw tickets, and plan a south-to-north itinerary to take advantage of weather.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 02:05 PM
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I think your itinerary is only slightly crazy (and lots of Fodorgarchs forget they did fast-paced 'crazy' trips when they were young too but now think in slower terms).

Obviously taking trains and a few cheap flights - with that many places strongly look at Eurail Global Youthpass, for those under 28 -in most countries can still hop on any train anytime. For lots about planning a European rail trip check www.bahn.de/en - German Rail's great site for quick reference ofschedules - look for overnight trains that save you daytime travel time and cost of accommodation - www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

30 stops in say 80 days - you need about 3 nights in each major place maybe more in a few and yes a day in between.I'd cut about 10 places - come up with a workable itinerary - the one you have is in fairly logical order.

And yes some places could be just overnight stops - you will be spending lots of time on trains but you'll see the Europe in between.

You're young and energetic so a quick-pace is more suitable for you - but still need to cut about 10 stops IMO.

Get a copy of Let's Go Europe - invaluable help for your accommodations - listing zillions for each city.

Yes Tours/Bordeaux would be my first cut.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 02:13 PM
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Cities are not all created equal -- Paris - you'd barely scratch the surface in a week (for a first trip 5 nights absolute minimum IMO); whereas somewhere like Bruges you could see in about 1.5 days.

So I would not ask 'how many destinations'. Decide which are the most important and work out your itinerary. Italy if you want to see Naples/the AC/Pompeii, Rome, Florence, Venice, the CT, Verona, Milan etc -- that could easily fill a month.

Moscow/St Petersburg is another week plus the travel time there and back. So just for argument's sake if Paris/a bit of France, Italy, and Russia are your personal 'musts'. There is your 8 weeks.
janisj is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 02:16 PM
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PQ: If you think this 'itineray' is only slightly crazy you've been toking more than usual.

( I though 'fodorgarchs' had been banned )
janisj is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 02:32 PM
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<>

Again, they are radically different places, and personally I would gladly snip Tours and leave Bordeaux on the list IF it made sense within the entire context, which it may not.

Pal, I've been tooling around Europe since Hector was a pup, and though I may have made faster-paced trips than I can afford to take, or want to take, these days, I never planned or took a nervous-breakdown voyage like this one.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 02:49 PM
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Save something for when you graduate from college, for a honeymoon, for the rest of your life.

As you go through the list, ask yourself why you included a particular city. If you have no clue, you can cut it. Think about what interests you personally. Cities? Nightlife? Art? History? Hiking and nature?

Include some places that connect others geographically and are also interesting in their own right. In years to come you will have the opportunity to visit some of the biggies, like London and Paris, so take advantage of your time to visit some less easily visited places. Look for places you may not have thought of. Get a big map and look at logistics.

Think of the trip as two or three smaller trips. Tie groups of places together. Examples:
Start in Barcelona, by train to Southern France (Marseille is a really interesting mix of cultures), up to Paris, train to Amsterdam.

Start in Dubrovnik, other places in Croatia, including islands, up through Slovenia and the Plitvice Lakes, recently included in a list of one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world, over to Venice, down to Rome and Naples.

Or
Start in Dubrovnik, but after Venice, train to Vienna or Salzburg, then to Bratislava, and on to Prague, then Berlin.
Any could be reversed. Start in Amsterdam, etc.

If you are interested in music or sports, etc. look for some events you could attend. Things you do will be most memorable.

You are young. Do not plans things too tightly. Perhaps, plan your first week or two with the rest kind of loose. If you like where you are, stay longer. If not, move on.
Sassafrass is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 03:01 PM
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You are young. Do not plans things too tightly. Perhaps, plan your first week or two with the rest kind of loose. If you like where you are, stay longer. If not, move on>

This is why a railpass would be great too - vs discounted tickets that must be booked weeks in advance to guarantee and then are non-changeable non-refundable usually. My first trip to Europe at your age - a such a 'crazy' pace too saw me changing course several times as I met others in hostels or wanted to linger in some place.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 04:24 PM
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Bccohen,

Personally I would cut Naples but I would never cut the Amalfi Coast. I love active holidays and stunning scenery. That part of the world fits the bill for me. If you end up including the Amalfi coast, my favorites are Capri, Positano and Ravello.

I hope that you write back a workable itinerary. Break it down two weeks at a time if necessary. Even fast paced, we would love to help.
ToujoursVoyager is offline  
Dec 29th, 2017, 05:03 PM
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( I though 'fodorgarchs' had been banned )>

No - mixed up as usual - it's 'Chunnel' that's been banned.

Bocohen - why neglect at least taking the Chunnel high-speed train to London or v.v. -nice to fly into an English-speaking (in theory!) city - then blast over to Brussels or Paris via the Chunnel. Just 3-4 days - easy peasy.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 30th, 2017, 07:45 AM
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You can theoretically start your trip at any place you listed above.

So look first at RT flights (timetables and fares!) to all these places and compare with multi destination flights.

You may then have got about 4 or 5 good options.

Then do as Sassafrass recommends: plan per area!

Form groups resp itineraries like:
Berlin - Prague - Vienna - Munich or Venice,
Amsterdam - Brussels - Brugge - Paris,
Naples - Rome - Florence - 5Terre - Nice,
Barcelona - Madrid - Cordoba - Sevilla - Lisboa - Bordeaux....
neckervd is offline  
Dec 30th, 2017, 08:55 AM
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Pal, I've been tooling around Europe since Hector was a pup, and though I may have made faster-paced trips than I can afford to take, or want to take, these days, I never planned or took a nervous-breakdown voyage like this one.>

Yes but it is common for Americans not familiar with Europe to assume they do it all with just a day here and day there...hopefully they will cut down a bit.

I think the best advice above was to wing it - start with a lose plan and see how it goes - smart phones can book hostels or hotels as they go.
PalenQ is offline  
Dec 30th, 2017, 09:04 AM
  #18  
 
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“You are young. Do not plans things too tightly. Perhaps, plan your first week or two with the rest kind of loose. If you like where you are, stay longer. If not, move on.”

Great advice for almost anyone without specific needs or reserved dates e.g. a concert.
xcountry is offline  
Dec 30th, 2017, 01:55 PM
  #19  
 
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neckervd has grouped those nicely. Now discard at least one group.
PalenQ is offline  
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