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First Solo Euro Trip -- August 2014

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Feb 27th, 2014, 09:40 AM
  #1
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First Solo Euro Trip -- August 2014

Hi All!

I'm planning my first solo Euro trip (scheduled for August 2014). I'm a 22 year old who's hoping to get some travel in between graduating college and starting work full-time. I've been to Europe twice before and have experience travelling in central Mexico and Ghana. I've never explored Germany or Eastern Europe before, and have outlined the following preliminary itinerary:

Munich (and Bavaria, Neuschwanstein) - 4 days
Salzburg - 2 days
Hallstatt - 2 days
Vienna (and river trip from Krems to Melk) - 4 days
Budapest (and day trip to Szentendre) - 3 days
Krakow (and day trip to Auschwitz) - 4 days
Prague (and day trip to Cesky Krumlar) - 4 days
(fly to) London -4 days (plus 2 day trip to Bath)

The only city I've visited before on this itinerary is London (but I've never been to Bath), and I am unfamiliar with the other places I'm hoping to visit.

I have a couple of questions because I'm starting to look at my budget/other logistical arrangements for the trip:

1) Do any seasoned travelers see any potential problems with this itinerary? Am I trying to see too many places? Am I spending too little time in each place?

2) Are there any other cities in Eastern Europe I should try to squeeze in? Are there any place you think I should cut out?

3) Would train travel between all of these cities be best? Any tips about rail passes?

4) Do you see any issues with a solo female traveler visiting any of the cities above?

My trip is in the early planning stages, so I'm OPEN to any suggestions or other tips you may have!

Thanks in advance for your help!
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Feb 27th, 2014, 10:21 AM
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Question- are those the actual days in each city, or the nights? I ask because two nights really nets about 1.5 days and often less. For instance, you say 3 days in Budapest to include a day trip to Szentendre. So are you staying 4 nights? If it is only 3 nights you'll have about 1.5 days free in Budapest.

But the overall plan looks very.
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Feb 27th, 2014, 10:23 AM
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3) Would train travel between all of these cities be best? Any tips about rail passes?>

Yes between cities trains are about the only practical way - fastest and there is one railpass that will make a great deal for you as you are traveling on several trains in various Eastern European countries - the European East Pass, valid on trains in Austria, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary - just about all of your trips except Munich to Salzburg and for that you can get discounted fares at www.bahn.de/en - the German Railways site or use the Bavarian Pass for about 30 euros for an unlimited day of travel in Bavaria on regional trains which do take about an hour longer but this would be much cheaper than full fare.

If going the discounted ticket route on bahn.de/en note that those are train-specific and cannot be changed nor refunded and as they are sold in limited supplies on each train must be booked in stone weeks in advance to get - but you can then use the much faster and more comfy ICE faster trains.

The European East Pass lets you hop on any train just about anytime in the countries covered - complete flexibility to hop on any train anytime and full fare tickets that allow that can cost a lot.

For excellent IMO sites about Eastern European trains check out www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.seat61.com; www.ricksteves.com. The pass must be bought in your home country before leaving as I believe they are not sold in Europe - the Bavaria Pass you buy at the station in Munich and covers travel in full to Salzburg, even though that is a few miles inside Austria. Check if that Eastern European Pass has a Youthpass version as many passes do for those under 26 - but really for that many trains the pass would seem to be a great bargain.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 12:40 AM
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Agree with janisj, you need to check travel timings between places, and plan accordingly.
You could see the oebb website for Austria train schedules and timings. I booked many train tickets a little in advance(2-3 weeks) and they came out really really cheap(with oebb).
www.oebb.at/en/ (for Austria and and a little of germany).
You could also look at buse services like studentagency, they do have cheap bus tickets between places,buses aren't very comfortable, but passable for a few hours. Have a look at westbahn too, they have a few train services in Austria.

I did a fairly similar trip(with krakow and budapest), you could go through it here: www.oebb.at/en/
Plan looks good enough, I would like to recommend this place close to Halstat,Gosausee, do visit it from Halstatt.
http://ashwinbahulkar.wordpress.com/...blic/gosausee/
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Feb 28th, 2014, 05:25 AM
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The only problem I see could be Krakow. I am finally going there next summer but am flying in/out. I've tried to include it in other trips but the length of the train from anywhere else (Budapest, Prague) was too long for my liking (I really hate train rides over 5 hours). Just check the times and see if it's worth it to you. Krakow sounds amazing and I am really looking forward to it. But with the limited time you have for all those other places you might decide to scratch it for this trip and then you could add those days to other places. Budapest does seem to be shortchanged. Although it makes a difference as Janis says if you are talking days or nights total.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 10:22 AM
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there are overnight trains between Prague and Budapest and Krakow. Krakow is to me amazing - not only it but the Wieliczka Salt Mines a UNESCO World Heritage Site just south of town and of course Auschwitz/Birkenau about an hour by bus or train from Krakow.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 11:40 AM
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A European East Railpass costs about 30 euros a day for a day of unlimited travel and unlike the discounted tickets that I believe have restrictions on them with a pass you can just hop on most any train in all those countries (except Germany) - so if the six train trips in your OP are realized the pass would certainly seem to be a great deal.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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BTW there is no Youthpass as I thought a possibility in an above post with this pass. Just 2nd and 1st class passes - solo passes.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 01:59 PM
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By all means, don't miss Krakow. Book the overnight train from Prague, and as a solo female, get a private berth. I booked it from a travel agency in Prague and got a good rate, better than online.

I have been to all those cities, except Munich, as a solo female and always felt very safe.

I'm not sure of the best way to get to Hallstadt, b/c I had a car, but that's the only place where a train might not be convenient, but you can probably take a bus there. Once you're there, you can take a local bus to the salt mines. It's a wonderful little town.
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Feb 28th, 2014, 03:52 PM
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I'm not sure of the best way to get to Hallstadt, b/c I had a car, but that's the only place where a train might not be convenient>

Trains are very convenient for Hallstatt - change off the main Salzburg-Linz line at Attnang-Puchheim for a tremendously scenic train ride to Hallstatt - the station is across the lake from that lovely town - boats scoot arriving passengers across the lake - a great way to arrive in town - buses are also available around the lake.
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Mar 6th, 2014, 01:06 PM
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i see that you plan to visit Neuschwanstein from munich
just to make your visit easily i recommend towatch the videos how to get to neuschwanstein from munich:

How To Get To Neuschwanstein ( From Munich Main Station ) Ep 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKY4Ymdfuog

How To Get To Neuschwanstein ( Füssen Station ) Ep 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0_WFiXy4U4

How To Get To Neuschwanstein ( Hohenschwangau Bus Stop ) Ep 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKY4Ymdfuog
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Mar 8th, 2014, 09:34 AM
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In 2011 I traveled as a 66 year old lady in Germany and Switzerland and felt very safe. I know I would feel safe in Salzburg and Hallstatt as well. I don't know much about eastern Europe as I have only been to Prague and Cesky Krumlov and that was as a couple before my husband passed away. Just be aware of your surroundings and you will be fine.

I, personally don't think you are trying to do too much. I don't like to stay too long in any one place and like to move on and see new places.
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Mar 8th, 2014, 01:49 PM
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Yes how long your should stay in any one place is a subjective question that will yield wildly varying answers - many saying you need say a week in Paris or Rome or it ain't worth it - others like me and nanaof4 like to be on the move more - travel can be exciting to me as seeing another boring museum or church in a town like Paris - what is between the big tourist meccas is more what attracts me to Europe though I love the cities as well.
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Mar 11th, 2014, 12:48 PM
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King mudwig 900 - thanks for those excellent videos - now I can check my info from my last trip to Neuschwanstein several years ago.

Danke!
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Mar 12th, 2014, 10:51 PM
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PalenQ and I think alike. Loved traveling the countryside and moving on. Our last trip to Rome we were ready to leave the crowds after 2 days.
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Mar 12th, 2014, 11:18 PM
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Until / unless chellem22 checks back in and answers janisj's very basic question -- "are those the actual days in each city, or the nights?" -- I don't see how we can answer most of these questions.

The one we can answer: Yes, solo female travelers can visit all of these places and many of us have done so. But of course, you need to take normal safety precautions!
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Mar 12th, 2014, 11:37 PM
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Yep - kja . . . the OP seems to have left the building or lost interest.
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Mar 14th, 2014, 02:39 PM
  #18
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Hi again!

Thank you all so much for your advice! I apologize for being so MIA -- I've been hitting the books for my last round of college finals.

In response to janisj and kja, the number outlined on those will be full days in each location.

Thanks, PalenQ and ashwinb , for the helpful tips abut rail travel -- I'll definitely look into the links you provided.

Thanks also to panecott for recommending an overnight trip to Krakow -- that sounds like a great solution.

konig_ludwig_900, the videos about how to get to Neuschwanstein were incredibly helpful! Thanks!

Are there any Austria experts out there? In doing some research I have a few more questions:
1) Has anyone been to Innsbruck? If so, would you recommend it instead of/in addition to Hallstatt?
2) Do you think I can fit in both Melk and Krems in the same day? If not, do you prefer one over the other?

Thanks again for all of your help!!
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Mar 14th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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Welcome back

So to finally clarify -- you are staying 5 nights in Munich, 3 nights in Salzburg, 3 nights in Hallstatt, 5 nights in Vienna, 4 nights in Budapest and so on? That is how you get the number of 'full' days you list.
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Mar 14th, 2014, 04:33 PM
  #20
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Thanks, janisj! Yes, the plan is 5 nights in Munich, 5 nights in Vienna, and so on.
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