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Backpacking in Europe

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Jan 26th, 2016, 08:44 PM
  #1
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Backpacking in Europe

Hello All,

3 friends and I are about to embark on a 6 and a half week trip to Europe. We will be departing in early July and will return in late August. We are looking to see as much as possible while still maintaining a fairly restricted budget. We plan to stay in youth hostels the majority of nights. We all are 20-21 years old. Below I have included a rough itinerary of our plans. We are looking for comments on the following topics:

-What cities to add and which to remove?
-Does our trip seem too spread out/ should we condense it?
-Is the rail pass the most cost effective choice for us?
-Any other glaring errors we have made (we are 1st time travelers)

ROUGH Itinerary:
Madrid 7-8 july
San sebastian 8-10 july
Paris 11-13 july
Copenhagen 13-16 july
Berlin 16-19 july
Amsterdam/rotterdam 20-23 july
Belgica 23-25 july (just for 1 day in tomorrowland)
Interlaken 25-28 july
Munich or Milan, what do you recommend? 28-31 july
Praga 31-3 july-august
Budapest 3-5 august
Slovenia 5-7 august
Hvar/split 7-11 august
Roma 11-12 august
Mykonos 12-16 august
Ios Greece 16-18 august
Barcelona 18-21 august

Thank you for your advice and please let me know if you have any questions because I plan to monitor this thread very closely!
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Jan 26th, 2016, 08:46 PM
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we are also looking for good partys if possible. Thanks a lot.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:22 PM
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Your list is too long, and when you subtract your travel time between destinations you haven't left yourselves enough time to relax and have fun. This is your first trip. Make it a good one. Slow down and "smell the roses"!
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:27 PM
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You frequently count days twice on your itinerary. That gives the impression you have more time than you actually do in some places.

For example you have 8 July listed as both Madrid and San Sebastian. But you can't have the entire day in each place. What you do have is, maybe, morning in one place and evening in the other, with most of the day as travel time.

It's the same for a number of other days. Maybe you can take a night train between some cities, but you still can't count days twice. And some cities are too close for a night train, of course.

And even if a train takes only an hour or two you still need time to pack, check out, get to the train station, get from the new train station to the new hostel, check in and unpack. With four of you travelling together it's only going to be worse.

Why have you chosen the cities on your list? Do you have something specific you want to see in each place? Did each of you come up with three or four places that person wants to visit? Or is it a list of places you've only heard people (parents, teachers, other friends not going on the trip) say you "must see"?

You aren't going to have much time for actual sightseeing in most of the cities if you follow your listed itinerary. But if all you want is a quick look and a few photos it may be ok.
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Jan 26th, 2016, 11:33 PM
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Fly from Zürich/Geneva/Basel to Prag.
Rome won't really work with only two days.
Skip Munich and Milan. Both aren't worth the detour for your long trip. Use those extra days as spare days to add on to other parts of your trip.

Find out about parties at the hostels you're staying at or the people you meet on the trains.

Travel light and have a good list of hostels.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 04:13 AM
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Your age is on your side for train transport as youth get a better break on train passes. Best place to research is www.seat61com
However, you won't be doing much partying when you spend so much time on public transport. To choose an example at the top of your list, moving from northern Spain to Paris by train will be more complicated than it looks on a map. There is a slow connection from San Sebastian across the border to catch the French inter-city train at Biarritz, but otherwise you would have to return to Madrid to go north of Paris, using up a day. Some of the other connections would work better by air. Research: www.skyscanner.com for budget airlines.
You should be aware that you will be hitting the peak vacation period for Europeans. The hostels will be hot; the beaches will be crowded. Silver lining: That can mean parties with young Europeans. If you can cut your destinations in half (goodbye Copenhagen and the former Yugoslavian republics until next time) you will have a chance to hang out with new friends.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 06:06 AM
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Skip Interlaken in favor of one of the alpine towns in the Lauterbrunnen valley to the south. In fact, the Mountain Hostel in Gimmelwald is my all time favorite hostel.

http://www.mountainhostel.com/

Other thoughts on your itinerary:

Visiting Greece and then jumping back to Spain for the finish seems dumb. Weave Barcelona into the start of your trip and then finish in Athens.

It makes no sense to be on the Balkan peninsula, jump to Rome, and then back to the peninsula for Greece. Scratch Rome as it is not worth it for only 2 days.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 10:49 AM
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Hi, thanks for your advises,
-anyegr: yes, we still have not planned if we are traveling at day or night if possible, and the time it takes to each place, we will fix that. Most of the cities in the list are from friends who already did the trip yeas ago, and others that we want to visit. Thank you.

-Southam: thanks, we will take this in consideration when choosing the transport method.

-Edward2005: We want to go to Interlaken for the bungee, canyoning and the skydiving. As for Rome, we actually won't mind not going, but we are using it as a layover to Mykonos, and maybe we will stay 1 night in Rome. And then we are flying back to Spain to get the plane to USA, because from Greece is more expensive and there is no direct flight. Thanks

Any other suggestions will help a lot. Thanks!
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Jan 27th, 2016, 11:28 AM
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Also check in with The Thorn Tree, the travel forum at Lonely Planet's website. More backpackers there than here.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 11:43 AM
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-Is the rail pass the most cost effective choice for us?>

If you do all outlined a Eurail Youthpass could be a great deal - until you get to Greece where rail travel is limited - in most counries hop any train anytime - fully flexible - for lots of great info on European trains and passes check www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com.

Mix in some cheap flights for long trips - www.skyscanner.com and www.whichbudget.com are two sites cluing you into cheap flights between any two cities.

You can hop overnight trains between many European cities and save travel time during the day and a night in a hostel cost.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 12:51 PM
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"We want to go to Interlaken for the bungee, canyoning and the skydiving."


Understood. However, Interlaken is simply where those adventure companies have their offices. The activities take place in the Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald valleys. The company Paragliding Jungfrau, for example, will meet you in Murren or Wengen for the actual paragliding.
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Jan 27th, 2016, 02:28 PM
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Backpacking in Europe
Posted by: leob17 on Jan 26, 16 at 11:44pm


Be in Paris July 14, Bastille Day. Really big deal.

Do Amsterdam after Paris. Skip Rotterdam. Do a day and evening in Haarlem.

Skip Milan. A scoop of ice cream will cost you $20.

Weather is hot, tourists are plenty, and prices are huge around the Mediterranean in August.

Learn about the trains at http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap17/rail.htm.

Get a copy of Lonely Planet's guide book "Europe on a Shoestring."
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Jan 27th, 2016, 03:09 PM
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"We want to go to Interlaken for the bungee, canyoning and the skydiving.">

Head for Balmer's Auberge, a renown hostel-hotel for folks your age and they also organize such trips:

http://www.balmers.com/

Really when I was your age I enjoyed some hostels and other folks I met there as much as seeing museums, etc. And this one hops for folks your age from all over the world.
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Jan 31st, 2016, 07:24 AM
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Were it me I would reverse the itinerary, starting with the Greek Islands in early July rather than mid-August. August is the busiest month in the Greek Islands, with prices the highest and accommodation difficult to find at short notice. August 15th is Assumption Day, the Greek national holiday, when everyone who can heads for the islands.

It will be easier to stick to your restricted budget if you limit the number of destinations and avoid the Mediterranean in August.

Edward2005 wrote: "It makes no sense to be on the Balkan peninsula, jump to Rome, and then back to the peninsula for Greece."

Actually that may be the best way to do it. Transport between Croatia and Greece is very limited, and you may be able to book a direct flight from Rome to Mykonos.
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Jan 31st, 2016, 09:39 AM
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check out the ferries that ply the Dalmatian Coast from Croatia to Greece- overnight boats save time and cost of an accommodation and for young folks can be a fun night spent in onboard bars, etc. Or buy a cheap sleeping berth - ferries also go between Croatia and Italy.
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Jan 31st, 2016, 10:45 AM
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Mykonos is pricey, so do reserve a place as soon as possible, Paradice beach has a cheap hostel tyoe hotel, and it is party central. If you have not already booked travel to mykonos, consider Corfu, my 19 yr old duaghter and her friends are doing simliar trip as you this april-june and have already booked at the Pink Palace , legendary place for partying..
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Feb 1st, 2016, 05:25 AM
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PalenQ, last I heard there are no ferries between Croatia and Greece. To go by ferry you would have to travel via Italy.
http://www.balkanology.com/overview/...to_greece.html
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Feb 1st, 2016, 09:44 PM
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Pink Palace, no no no!
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Feb 1st, 2016, 11:54 PM
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Do you have Tomorrowland tickets already? Then that fixes your dates in Belgium and you'll have to plan around that. I think the global ticket sale is this weekend.

In Rotterdam there's a youth hostel in one of the 'cube' houses, that's also close to the Markthal.
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Feb 2nd, 2016, 01:36 PM
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PalenQ, last I heard there are no ferries between Croatia and Greece. To go by ferry you would have to travel via Italy.>

thanks for update - they used to go to Igoumenitsa but I guess have been cut back.
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