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Europe Trip - 1 month interrail

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Feb 20th, 2012, 10:58 AM
  #1
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Europe Trip - 1 month interrail

Hey there,

New here to posting, but have read quite a bit around. My cousin and I are planning a Europe trip this summer (end of May to end of June 2012).

We are planning on getting Eurail / Interrail passes (I'm European, he is not) for one month and try to hit up what we can. We want to have a good adventure with a mix of on-the-go fun, but some laid back time as well. We might possibly try couch surfing but otherwise plan to take night trains or sleep in hostels.

Our current itinerary is looking something like this:

Denmark
-Copenhagen (where we must leave from)

Germany
-Hamburg (friends here) 2 nights
-Berlin 3 nights

Czech
-Prague (friends here) 4 nights

Austria
-Vienna 2 nights

Hungary
-Budapest 3 nights

Serbia
-Novi Sad 1 night
-Belgrad 1 night
-Nis 1 night

Bulgaria
-Sofia 1 night

Turkey
-Istanbul 5 nights

Greece
-Thessalonica 2 nights
-Athens 5 nights
From Greece we'll get a budget airline back up to Copenhagen / around that area where we can find a suitable airport.

With approximately 10 / 12 point to point trips with some being in Northish/Central Europe, is the Euro/Interrail pass still not a good value? The Interrail for example would cost me 422 Euros, which is about 35 euros (+ 0 to 15 euros reservation cost, generally on the low end in EE) per leg of the journey? And it would cover ferry's in Greece. Maybe I'm naive to the hidden costs associated with the passes, but I've tried to read around and it still seems a good value for our trip?

And yes, our destinations are a bit odd sounding, but they are places we want to see / make up the things that we would value on this trip. We might look into airfare between Budapest and Istanbul and skip Serbia/Bulgaria, but if we're paying for the trains we figured we keep it land based.

We don't necessarily want to have our trip be only in the capital cities, but we also realize that there are great things to see/experience in capitals such as Budapest, Athens, Vienna, Prague, Berlin etc... Do you have any recommendations for how it could be changed to mix up small cities/countryside with capitals to get a more varied experience and adventure?

Are we trying to cover to much? Are rail passes the right way to go for us in this set up? Any overall tips for us? Thank you so much for your help / advice / expertise.
paramorphus is offline  
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Feb 20th, 2012, 12:04 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,649
I have one overall tip for you. Fifteen places in one month means that you have an average of 1 full day in each place - time to see essentially nothing. And when you subtract the time yuo want to spend with friends it's less than that.

And now you're asking the spend time seeing countryside as well.

When I was 19 my boyfriend and I spent 5 week in europe and we stayed in 9 differnt places - and came away feeling we had not seen many of the sights we had wanted.

If you really want to do this - then go for it - but don't expect to really see a lot.
nytraveler is offline  
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Feb 20th, 2012, 12:23 PM
  #3
 
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Posts: 66,687
I would look at a Eurail Select Pass for 5 countries for you - that would be a 5-day pass out of 2 months - flexipass at a lot cheaper rate than a 1-month Eurailpass and then once in Hungary the rest of your train travels are cheap and in Greece there are hardly any rails to use - from Turkey you can hop ferries to Greek islands and use boats to get to Athens.

For loads of great info on European trains and passes check out these fab IMO sources - http://www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com and www.ricksteves.com. For schedules I always use the Wunderbar www.bahn.de or German Railways web site that has schedules for all European trains and fares for any train involving Germany.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 08:56 AM
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Okay, so looking more into point to point tickets, we are thinking you are right and we shall probably not get passes... Unfortunately they do not seem to be so valuable any more...

So we are changing to something more like this:

Copenhagen to Hamburg
Hamburg to Berlin
Berlin to Prague (spend a bit more time in Prague and go to some outlying areas, possibly Krakow in Poland for one night to see Auschwitz)
Prague to Bratislava
Bratislava to Vienna
Vienna to Budapest
Budapest to Istanbul
Istanbul to Greece

Any new suggestions with out current layout? We will most likely get a budget ticket from Budapest to Istanbul or Greece depending on costs, then work our way around that area by taking buses and trains depending what is most cost effective. We are going to look into costs and what we can book train and bus wise.

Would you recommend anything different for our itinerary (must sees we might be missing somewhere along our route that would be worth changing it up)? Is it more feasible now? We will be spending the majority of the time between Czech, Turkey, and Greece now. With just two nights in the other places or so.

Thanks for the help again!
paramorphus is offline  
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Feb 21st, 2012, 11:21 AM
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copenhagen to Budapest I would still strongly look at a pass and at least know exactly what point to point tickets can cost. Copenhagen to Hamburg I would dare say at full fare may well be over $100 along - now if you want to lock yourself far in advance into a specific train that cannot be changed than maybe that would cost less - but those discounted tickets are not nearly always available - check www.bahn.de for the German portion as those are your most expensive ticket - but I would not rule out a pass until I knew exactly what point to point tickets may cost - will cost - full fare tickets can be dauntingly expensive in Germany so make sure you book the 29 or 39 euro tickets well in advance - they will not be available at the station and you may pay more.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 12:34 PM
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Wherever you come from before Greece it will be by bus, there are no international trains any more.
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Mar 2nd, 2012, 12:46 PM
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Wherever you come from before Greece it will be by bus, there are no international trains any more.

No not always - OP says they are going from Istanbul to Greece - well overland they would have to bus across the border but they could take a bus to Bodrum and also see the fantastic Ephesis archaeological site near there and then do like I did hop a boat from the Turkish coast to Santorum or some Greek island and work towards Athens by ferries. A nice way to go - taking a train or bus from Istanbul to Athens is a long dreay ride with not much en route to stop off at besides Thessaloniki for the average tourist.
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Mar 3rd, 2012, 02:28 AM
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There is no direct ferry connection between Bordrum and Santorini (assuming that's whjat you mean). Nearest Greek island to Bordrum is Kos, I guess you might then connect to Rhodes (sometimes ferries Bordrum to Rhodes are availiable too), then check if overnight ferries from Rhodes to Santorini operate at your dates. Very time consuming! You may want to google metro buses Istanbul to Kavala or Thessaloniki, private bus, not public one,alternative on public transport is a comlicated combination of taxis, walking, buses, trains on both sides of the border... Thessalonika is interesting and there are side trips to the all important Pella, Vergina etc ancient sites to name just a few options. The problem is the OP really has not lots of time availiable to take all in!
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Mar 3rd, 2012, 06:48 AM
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Time consuming yes but it depends on what Greece of Greece OP wants to visit - many are drawn to the fabled Greek islands - and yes it was Kos that I took a boat to from Turkey and then went to Rhodes and Santorini and Mykonos and on to Athens (Piraeeus) - but yes if not wanting to island it investigate first flying to Athens or taking the buses mariha describes to Thessaloniki and on to perhaps Meteora, Delphi to Athens.
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Mar 4th, 2012, 03:19 AM
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That's right PalenQ, I just noticed that OP mentioned Athens and Thessaloniki,no islands, that's all.
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Mar 5th, 2012, 11:44 AM
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Yes indeedy - would recommend OP consider stopping at Delphi en route to Athens for an overnight - great in the day but oh so romantic at early dusk - so eeries the ruins sans bus loads of tourists - can almost hear the oracle...
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Mar 6th, 2012, 01:03 PM
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Would you recommend anything different for our itinerary (must sees we might be missing somewhere along our route that would be worth changing it up)>

Well Bratislava is just one hour by train from Vienna - so I would do Bratislava as a day trip from Vienna - one less base to relocate from and IME Bratislava is at most a several hour thing - compact old town center but not IMO all that much to see or do besides the fort on the hill overlooking town and the palace area behind the main train station.
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Mar 7th, 2012, 08:32 AM
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There are also hyrdofoils on the Danube linking Vienna and Bratislava with the dock right smack in the town center.
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