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Future Backpacking Itinerary help

Old Jun 6th, 2020, 01:14 PM
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Future Backpacking Itinerary help

In the near future once I am done with school, I plan on backpacking around Europe. I'm planning that this would be somewhere in April-May. I came up with an outline/itinerary that I like but I fear that it is too long, however I did cut off some places that I can see another time. However, I am going back and forth with Bologna. I really want to do a day trip to Bologna from Florence, but I am afraid that it would be too much, even though I'd love to see it. If I had to drop a few, I could probably lose Stuttgart, Bern and possibly the Scandinavian locations. I plan on doing Airbnbs for most of the stays, and buying a rail pass, as well as look into city discount cards. A few things I would like to ask is :

-Would you recommend if I took off (or completely skip)/added more time to these places?

-Are the citycards worth using?

Here's the itinerary:

London (7 days, 6 nights including day trips) (windsor, stonehenge and oxford day trips) (Great western railway, southwestern railway, great western railway)

(fly to Dublin via Aer Lingus)

Dublin (2 days,1 night)

(fly to Lisbon via Aer Lingus)

Lisbon (3 days, 2 nights including day trip) (Sintra day trip) (Sintra express)

(fly to Madrid via Easyjet)

Madrid (Toledo day trip) (3 days, 2 nights including day trip) (renfe AVN 8072)

(train to Barcelona vie Renfe AVE)

Barcelona ( 2 days, 1 night)

(fly to Paris via Easyjet)

Paris (Versailles and Giverny) ( 6 days, 5 nights including day trips) (SNCF N, SNCF TER)

(train to Lille via TGV inOui)

Lille (1 ½ days, 1 night)

(train to Brussels via TGV inOui)

Brussels (2 ½ days, 2 nights) (Antwerp day trip) (belgian railways IC)

(train to Amsterdam via Eurostar)

Amsterdam (Delft day trip) (3 days, 2 nights) (Dutch Railways Intercity)

(train to Cologne via ICE)

Cologne (2 days, 1 night)

(Train to Stuttgart via ICE)

Stuttgart (Heidelberg day trip) (2 1/2 days, 2 nights including day trip) (Deutsche Bahn IC)

(Train to Strasbourg via IC and TGV inOui)

Strasbourg (Colmar day trip, Nancy if time permits) (3 days, 2 nights including day trips) (SNCF TER)

(train to Zurich via SNCF and Swiss Railways)

Zurich (2 days, 1 night)

(Train to Bern via Swiss Railways)

Bern (Interlaken day trip) ( 2 days, 1 night) (SBB train)

(train to Milan via Swiss railways and Trenitalia)

Milan (2 days, 1 night)

(train to Modena via Italotreno)

Modena ( I want to visit the Ferrari museum ) (1 ½ days, 1 night)

(Bus to Florence via Flixbus)

Florence (Pisa day trip) (3 days, 3 nights including day trip) (trenitalia RE)

(train to Rome via Trenitalia night train)

Rome ( 4 days, 3 nights)

(train to Venice via Le Frecce)

Venice (2 days, 1 night)

(Fly to Vienna via Austrian air)

Vienna (2 days, 1 night)

(train to Salzburg via OBB)

Salzburg (1 ½ days, 1 night)

(train to Munich via OBB)

Munich (Ingolstadt day trip for Audi Museum) (2 ½ days, 2 nights) (ICE 728)

(train to Berlin via DB ICE)

Berlin (4 days, 3 nights including Wolfsburg day trip) (ICE 944)

(Fly to Copenhagen via EasyJet)

Copenhagen (2 days,1 night)

(Fly to Stockholm via Norwegian air)

Stockholm (2 days, 1 night)



Thanks so much for your help~

Last edited by laneyyocum2965; Jun 6th, 2020 at 01:17 PM.
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Old Jun 6th, 2020, 01:45 PM
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Welcome to Fodors forums. I can tell you've done a good deal of research and my comments are general.

For things like city pass or rail pass you need to do the math. Nail down as best as you can your plans and figure out what's the better value, there is not a yes or no answer to that. Often city passes have more or different things included than you might want to (or have time to do, you're moving pretty fast!). Sometimes point-to-point 2nd class train tickets are cheaper than using a pass.

As far as AirBnB, rentals like that often are by the week, have cleaning fees or a bit extra work to get keys and access. When you are only in a city for 1-2 nights you might be better at a centrally located hostel, B&B, modest local hotel.
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Old Jun 6th, 2020, 03:52 PM
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The way you've described the days/nights and travel between points, you may be over-stating how much time you have in some places. It would more helpful, I think, if you acknowledged the travel times in your itinerary. As written, it appears you are counting the day you travel to the next destination as also a full day you are sightseeing in that destination. This could be somewhat correct if you plan to depart extremely early in the morning or in the early evening, but you'll have to see what the flight and train departure times are when you finalize your dates. Even if a flight is only 2 hours in duration, the overall travel time will be closer to 4 hours when you include transit to/from airports, check-in and security requirements.

As to the itinerary in general, I would choose to stay in Luzern over Zurich and in one of the smaller towns (like Grindelwald) over Bern. I like both Zurich and Bern, but for such a short stay in Switzerland these would not be my main destinations.

Re Modena for Ferrari, I assume you know there are two museums about Ferrari in the area . One is located in Modena not far from the train station, based in Enzo Ferrari's original garage and home plus a beautifully-designed building next door for exhibitions which are not always about Ferrari. The other museum is about 30 minutes away in Marinello. This is all-Ferrari and often very crowded with bus tours. In the past, there has been shuttle bus service between the two museums. The Flixbus between Modena and Florence currently doesn't operate daily, and the fare is only about 12 euros less than the lowest train fare (and trains run every day).

But I would re-order things a little in Italy. I would travel Milan-Rome, Rome-Florence, Florence-Modena, Modena-Venice. Otherwise, you're doing some backtracking.

You haven't much time in Florence. If your days there fall on Sunday/Monday, you will likely not be able to see everything on your sightseeing list as most of the major sights are not open every Sunday and/or Monday. If you want to climb the Leaning Tower, you need to make timed reservations in advance.
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Old Jun 6th, 2020, 06:40 PM
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You've got things back to front - 2 nights gives you one full day in any place, not the other way around. I wouldn't travel all the way to a place only to spend one night there, especially if that journey involved a flight. You are also visiting only cities, which is fine if that's your preference but in my opinion, the small villages and more rural areas are even better.

A comment about flying. Every time you take a flight you need to travel to/from the airport, arrive at the airport some good time before your flight as well as the actual flight time. More importantly though, in my view, is the negative environmental impact of taking a lot of flights.

The other factor to consider is cost. Your transport costs are going to be disproportionately high for an itinerary like this and you will spend a disproportionate amount of time travelling from A to B instead enjoying each place.

Don't make the mistake of thinking that covering more ground means you'll see more - it's usually the other way around. I recommend you narrow the geographical area of your visit, slow down a little bit and add more variety in terms of cities, villages, mountains, beaches, etc. It's not my holiday and I'm not sure what appeals to you the most but I'd drop the outliers such as Ireland, Portugal, Spain, the Scandinavian countries and probably Vienna too. You don't have time for them. You are cheating yourself if you go to Switzerland and not visit the mountains so either devote some time or skip past. A train journey from, say, Amsterdam to Rome would be more than enough in the time you have available but would be more relaxed and enjoyable than your current itinerary, at least I think so.

Have a fabulous time! If the travel bug bites, it won't be your last trip.

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Old Jun 6th, 2020, 06:52 PM
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I counted 65 days on the ground in Europe, is that correct? So about 2 months total?? And 35 destinations (counting cities and including day trips).

Those two numbers in comparison will give you an overall picture of the proposed pace of your trip.
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Old Jun 6th, 2020, 08:21 PM
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It's actually 47 nights in total (46 days)
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Old Jun 6th, 2020, 10:39 PM
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You don't really say what your interests are. Without that it's impossible to give a sensible answer to too long,too short or just right.

I don't even really like Madrid but could spend four days just wandering between the museums. Two days in Barcelona is nothing .

While I really enjoyed Cologne I'm not sure why you picked it.

You also have some weird travel choices. Why take the night train of all things between Florence and Rome? It's 90 minutes by high speed train. Italo starts that route at I think €10 and can have sales for less.

AirBnb for those short stays likely won't be cheaper than a budget hotel. Especially since April and May means Easter and May day holiday at the very least.


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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 04:11 AM
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Thank you all for your help! I am now looking into using hostels instead, and will try to research what I can about traveling. I am considering cutting Bern out and swapping it with Adelboden. I also cut Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Stockholm, and the day trips to Antwerp and Ingelstad.

Sorry for not stating my interests above! I am mainly into art/cultural museums and landmarks.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 06:26 AM
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Hello and welcome to Fodors. We removed a couple of the country tags because they skewed the page view. Nothing you did wrong at all but some country tags do not wrap so the list stretches too far and the "Views" column on the right drops off the main page. [For the record, we deleted Belgium and Sweden which is not a knock on either country ]
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 06:48 AM
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Have you been to Munich and Berlin? It’s odd to leave either off list if you like museums. Munich would be my choice but both are great. Same with Dresden.

With Germany, do some digging in terms of what survived World War 2. If you like old buildings, that matters.

Hostels are also great because they are often near the train station. But I recommend fitting in a hotel every once in a while—a private room and bathroom will save your sanity sometimes. Plus, lots of amazing old hotels.

London has many amazing and FREE museums. You may want to reconsider those day trips.

Last edited by marvelousmouse; Jun 7th, 2020 at 06:51 AM.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 06:59 AM
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Munich and Berlin were included in the original itinerary; however, the OP has made some deletions at post #8.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 07:26 AM
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OK - some serious miscalculations so I'd re consider the whole list. What you'd actually have (using you original post) is:

London 6 nights - 5.5 days including jet lag and day trips to windsor, stonehenge and oxford so about 2 usable days in London
Dublin 1 night- half a day
Lisbon 2 nights - 1 day including day trip (Sintra day trip) . . . so essentially no days IN Lisbon
Madrid 2 nights - 1 day including day trip to Toledo . . . so essentially no days IN Madrid
Barcelona 1 night- half a day
Paris 5 nights - 4 days including day trips to Versailles and Giverny. equalling two days IN Paris
Lille 1 night - half a day
Brussels 2 nights - 1 day with Antwerp day trip . . . so essentially no days IN Brussels
Amsterdam 2 nights - 1 day with Delft day trip . . . so essentially no days IN Amsterdam
Cologne 1 night - half a day
Stuttgart 2 nights - 1 day with Heidelberg day trip so essentially no days IN Stuttgart
Strasbourg 2 nights - 1 day with day trips to Colmar and Nancy if time permits. Absolutely no time in Strasbourg
Zurich 1 night - half a day
Bern 1 night - half a day
Milan 1 night - half a day
Modena 1 night - half a day - the Ferrari museum
Florence 3 nights - 2 days including Pisa day trip. Equals 1 day in Florence
Rome 3 nights - about 2.5 days)
Venice 1 night - Half a day (Why on earth bother?? )
Vienna 1 night - half a day
Salzburg 1 night - half a day
Munich 2 nights - 1 day Ingolstadt day trip for Audi Museum so just a couple of evenings IN Munich
Berlin 3 nights - 2 days including Wolfsburg day trip. = 1 day for Berlin
Copenhagen 1 night - half a day
Stockholm 1 night - half a day.

Sooooo to repeat my editorial on the Venice leg . . . Why on Earth bother? You are spending more time and money moving around than you are actually IN many of those cities. Not being rude here -- but you really do need to figure out if you want a check list or to actually see and do things. I'd cut my destinations in about half . . .

Last edited by janisj; Jun 7th, 2020 at 07:28 AM.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 07:33 AM
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It's actually 47 nights in total (46 days)
Thanks for the recount. That's not long enough for 35 places You don't seem to consider the time it takes moving from one place to the next. Your list reads like you would magically move from one place to the next in no time.

mainly into art/cultural museums and landmarks.
I believe you need to cut the list by about 1/2 to actually have time in the cities you choose to see these things. And even that's a fast paced trip.


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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
OK - some serious miscalculations so I'd re consider the whole list. What you'd actually have (using you original post) is:

London 6 nights - 5.5 days including jet lag and day trips to windsor, stonehenge and oxford so about 2 usable days in London
Dublin 1 night- half a day
Lisbon 2 nights - 1 day including day trip (Sintra day trip) . . . so essentially no days IN Lisbon
Madrid 2 nights - 1 day including day trip to Toledo . . . so essentially no days IN Madrid
Barcelona 1 night- half a day
Paris 5 nights - 4 days including day trips to Versailles and Giverny. equalling two days IN Paris
Lille 1 night - half a day
Brussels 2 nights - 1 day with Antwerp day trip . . . so essentially no days IN Brussels
Amsterdam 2 nights - 1 day with Delft day trip . . . so essentially no days IN Amsterdam
Cologne 1 night - half a day
Stuttgart 2 nights - 1 day with Heidelberg day trip so essentially no days IN Stuttgart
Strasbourg 2 nights - 1 day with day trips to Colmar and Nancy if time permits. Absolutely no time in Strasbourg
Zurich 1 night - half a day
Bern 1 night - half a day
Milan 1 night - half a day
Modena 1 night - half a day - the Ferrari museum
Florence 3 nights - 2 days including Pisa day trip. Equals 1 day in Florence
Rome 3 nights - about 2.5 days)
Venice 1 night - Half a day (Why on earth bother?? )
Vienna 1 night - half a day
Salzburg 1 night - half a day
Munich 2 nights - 1 day Ingolstadt day trip for Audi Museum so just a couple of evenings IN Munich
Berlin 3 nights - 2 days including Wolfsburg day trip. = 1 day for Berlin
Copenhagen 1 night - half a day
Stockholm 1 night - half a day.

Sooooo to repeat my editorial on the Venice leg . . . Why on Earth bother? You are spending more time and money moving around than you are actually IN many of those cities. Not being rude here -- but you really do need to figure out if you want a check list or to actually see and do things. I'd cut my destinations in about half . . .



Here is an edited version of the itinerary. I chopped off some of the unnecessary day trips and tacked on more time to the bigger areas.

London (7 days, 6 nights)

(fly to Dublin via Aer Lingus)

Dublin (3 days, 2 nights)

(fly to Lisbon via Aer Lingus)

Lisbon (4 days, 3 nights including day trip)
(Sintra day trip) (Sintra express)

(fly via Easyjet)

Madrid (Toledo day trip) ( 4 days, 4 nights including day trip) (renfe AVN 8072)

(train to Barcelona vie Renfe AVE)

Barcelona ( 3 days, 2 nights)

(fly to Paris via Easyjet)

Paris (Versailles and Giverny) ( 7 days, 6 nights including day trips) (SNCF N, SNCF TER)

(train to Lille via TGV inOui)

Lille (2 days, 1 night)

(train to Brussels via TGV inOui)

Brussels (3 days, 2 nights)

(train to Amsterdam via Eurostar)

Amsterdam (Delft day trip) (5 days, 4 nights) (Dutch Railways Intercity)

(train to Cologne via ICE)

Cologne (2 days, 2 nights)

(Train to Strasbourg via ICE and TGV)

Strasbourg (Colmar day trip, Nancy if time permits) (4 days, 3 nights including day trips) (SNCF TER)

(train to Zurich via SNCF and Swiss Railways)

Zurich (2 days, 2 nights)

(Trains and bus to Adelboden via BLS AG and Swiss Railways)

Adelboden (2 days, 2 nights)

(train to Milan via BLS AG,Swiss Railways and trenord)

Milan (3 days, 2 nights)

(train to Rome via Italotreno)

Rome ( 5 days, 5 nights)

(Train to Florence via Italotren)

Florence (Pisa day trip) (4 days, 4 nights including day trip) (trenitalia RE)

(train to Modena via Italotreno and Trenitalia)

Modena (1 ½ days, 1 night)

(train to Venice via Trenitalia)

Venice (3 days, 3 nights)

(Fly to Vienna via Austrian air)

Vienna (3 days, 3 nights)

(train to Salzburg via OBB)

Salzburg (2 days, 2 nights)

(train to Munich via OBB)

Munich ( 3 days, 2 nights)

(train to Berlin via DB ICE)

Berlin (5 days, 5nights including Wolfsburg day trip) (ICE 944)






Last edited by laneyyocum2965; Jun 7th, 2020 at 08:35 AM.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 10:04 AM
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You still don't have it right

A few examples: 'Munich ( 3 days, 2 nights)' is not how it works. Nor does 'Modena (1 ½ days, 1 night)'. When factoring in checking out/in, travel times and 'logistics' 2 nights will give you ONE full day in a city not three days. And one night will net you half a day or sometimes even less.

Lille 1 night = half a day not two days
Milan 2 nights = one day not 3 days

etc etc etc -- for every one of your stops . . .

Even if you were counting nights/day correctly, you are not accounting for travel, locating your accommodations, waiting to check in, unpacking or anything else like laundry, queues to get inside attractions etc. A good rule of thumb is avoid all one night stops UNLESS it is strictly a stop over and just a place to sleep en route somewhere else because of train or flight schedules. And a two night stay is pretty much useless unless the destination is a very small place with only a very few things to see and do and with only an hour or two travel time to get there.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 10:38 AM
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janis is right.


I’m not sure where you’re from. I’m going to assume US as you say “school”. But look at it this way. Munich (like many other places on your list) is a large city. It would be like spending one full day in NYC or Chicago, but with hundreds—in some cases—thousands—of years of culture and architecture to take in. Just one major museum can’t be seen in a full day. Never mind the city itself. I’ve been to London for the equivalent of two plus weeks and still haven’t seen every city pass site. And that’s not leaving time for everything that janis is talking about plus the many, many small sites of interest.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 11:11 AM
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Really, you need to get a sense of the reality of traveling. Maybe close your eyes and picture an actual day of this trip. From daylight to sunset. You are planning as if you have a magic carpet, when the reality is a day of traveling involves getting up, smashing your belongings into a suitcase, checking out of wherever you've stayed, grabbing (or lingering over) a big or small breakfast (could be just a coffee, could be a leisurely plate of eggs and fruit and such), walking or taking public transport to a train station where you arrive clueless and spend 10 minutes just figuring out where the hell you are, finally finding your train and track number on the overhead board, waiting around and maybe having a coffee, hearing (if you can actually understand it) your train being called to a particular track, going to that track, being stopped and asked for your ticket info, pulling that out and getting the OK to board, climbing onto the correct car and finding the correct seat, checking the rolling information scroll at the end of the car so you have an idea of when your stop comes in the sequence of stops, having your papers ready when the controlleurs come by, getting off at the right stop, heading outside the station and not having a clue where you are - where are your lodgings from here and how to find them? By now you're hungry, so you need to scope out someplace to get a bite, and then need to find your lodgings, and check in, and then go out and look around and see where you are, and then eat and drink again, and find your way around and explore, without getting lost.....and repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat for days and days on end.

Traveling isn't a list of things on paper or on screen. It's moment after moment of having to think on your feet and make instant decisions. You'd be better off, frankly, not trying to be so meticulous in your planning and not buying a rail pass and not thinking of this as a school project. Just leave home and go and see what happens.
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 12:07 PM
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StCirq's description applies to the many train days you plan. For your flying days it can be much worse - the airport is well outside of town so you have to take a train or a bus to the airport, get there maybe 90 minutes ahead of your flight, pass through security and wait around (hoping that the flight is not delayed), fly to the next stop, find you way into the city centre, look for your accommodations - repeat.

We are not at all trying to talk you out of the trip -- it will be a wonderful experience. But you do need to be realistic - after about your first 4 or 5 stops at this whirlwind pace and you won't know where you are and probably won't care. Slow down a bit and not try to see all of Europe in one massive trek. Maybe pick 3 or 4 countries and hit the main sites there -- OR pick say 6 or 7 cities and use them as bases.

You have laid out 47 nights -- so about 6.5 weeks. When deducting say a full 7 days just in travel time between places you end up with between 5 and 5.5 weeks of "enjoy/explore/experience" on-the-ground-time.

( . . . and the more stops the more time it takes so if you try to hit 20 destinations you will use up 10 to 12 days just in transit)
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 01:01 PM
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Hello. Thank you once again for all of your advice, it is really helpful to me and I appreciate it.

I will admit myself that my itinerary is very crazy and I want to fix it as much as I can. As I have never traveled on my own before, I am having a hard time grasping the travel/transit time between places. At this point I'm thinking of scraping the whole planned days and doing as you said, to just let what happens to happen. But then I'd still need to know how many days to plan to stay in a hostel.

It is a very stressful process to say the least but I am very grateful for all of your insights and tips, thank you
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Old Jun 7th, 2020, 01:33 PM
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why not get a few guide books - yes, real paper and ink guide books

Either about Europe in general or individual books about various countries and devour them. Figure out your 10 or 15 or 20 absolute must see sites - The Tower of London, or the Louvre, or the Swiss Alps, or canals in Amsterdam or a specific museum in Berlin, or Stonehenge, or St Peter's, or Venice, whatever they may be and start working on an itinerary of cities/countries that make sense -- not a laundry list.
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