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abhypras Jan 12th, 2016 02:12 AM

Guidance on countries to visit in Europe
Hi all,

Me and my wife want to visit Europe in June 2016. However we are still not sure of which countries do we visit.

I am of the opinion that we should visit Austria, Czech, Slovakia or Switzerland, Austria, Czech.
My wife is of the opinion that we should visit, Netherlands, Belgium and some other country.
If I am to go with my wife's advice then what 3rd country should we include.

Can someone pls guide me as to which countries do we visit considering the fact that we would want to cover places with a mixture of history and scenic places.

Also would be grateful if someone can guide us on the itinery and places that need to be covered in our trip.

Thank you.

PatrickLondon Jan 12th, 2016 02:34 AM

All countries have different sorts of history and scenic places. This is a case of reading a lot of guidebooks to work out what interests and attracts you both.

bilboburgler Jan 12th, 2016 04:15 AM

A quick overview

Austria, Czech, Slovakia or Switzerland, of these the cities with the most to do area Vienna and Prague, the country side is very pleasant and Switzerland is very expensive, a good trip can be had with no problems, if anything I'd add Hungary and take out Slovakia as Hungary is just so much more interesting.

Netherlands, Belgium and some other country. Well first of all there are already more interesting cities in the first 2 than in the higher list and fewer mountains. Good public transport everywhere so that a car would probably not be required.

An extra country, well the two obvious are France and Germany. France offers goo opportunities locally such as Paris, Strasbourg, Rheims etc while Germany offers the Mosel valley, the Rhine area and all the way up to Hamburg again you win a lot with the density of public transport.

History and scenery. Both have both, I think the second list offers easier access to more things, but if you want mountains then Austria has to win over the Belgium and the Netherlands whose area is famously flattish. On the other hand flattish means canals and wide open waterways, which to my mind are lovely.

hetismij2 Jan 12th, 2016 04:16 AM

How long do you plan on being in Europe?

Germany, or France, or would the logical third country for your wife's preference. But we can't give advice on what to see, or anything like an itinerary without knowing at the every least the time available.

StCirq Jan 12th, 2016 04:35 AM

Nothing NEEDS to be covered - it is up to you to decide where you want to visit Every country in Europe, and the world, has a mixture of history and scenic places, so that does nothing to narrow down the selection.

You need to get hold of and delve into guidebooks, maps, and videos of the countries that interest you and make your own decision.

June is coming fast. Reservations need to be made for accommodations, train and airfare travel, etc. You need to start working on this asap. No one here can help you until you have done your own homework.

nytraveler Jan 12th, 2016 05:42 AM

Agree that we need to know:

How man weeks you have for this trip

What you major interests are (all of europe is stuffed with history and most cities are reasonably near areas with scenic beauty) - architecture, castles, cathedrals, museums, fine dining, hiking, biking, adventure sports?

Can you give us a few specific things you rally want to do see? Can you not beat to miss the Anne Frank house or Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam?

Do you have to ascend the highest Alps in Switz?

Sorry - but there are dozens of answers to your question - you need to give us some clues if we are to help.

Budget: The Switz (vrey expensive) and Czech/Hungary trip (fairly low costs for europe) is a mixed bag. (Agree Hungary is a much better choice than Slovakia unless you have a very specific reason to go to the latter.) A trip of Benelux and France or Germany is more all moderate. Is this a big issue for you. (Do NOT head to Switz unless you are prepared to spend big $ - it's a very expensive country.)

So you really need to get busy with some guidebooks - or some thinking - and provide info for us to help you.

Renaud Jan 12th, 2016 07:09 AM

Consider splitting the difference between the two; fly into Amsterdam, select 2-3 places to visit in the Netherlands and Belgium, and then take a train to Zurich to see a few picturesque/historical locations in Switzerland and Austria. As mentioned, Switzerland is expensive, so you may end up with less time in the mountains than "up north." There is no right or wrong trip, just wonderful experiences waiting for the two of you.

Whathello Jan 12th, 2016 09:11 AM

All wrong answers.

The question is not how many days you have, but how many years you want to stay married.

'My wife is of the opinion that we should visit, Netherlands, Belgium and some other country'

So you go to Netherlands and Belgium + ?

Then relevant info above about France and Germany.
London is also a good possibility and would put you for some days in a country where English is spoken, if you don't speak fluently Flemish/Netherlands and French.

Which would suprise me, since about everybody I know speaks these languages. :-)

nytraveler Jan 12th, 2016 09:59 AM

Sorry - but English, at least basic english, is VERY widely spoken in all of the countries under consideration. There is no reason you have to speak any other language than english (except the basic polite phrases) in any of these countries - nor has there been for the past 40 years at least.

I'm not saying that speaking some of the local language won't make things more interesting - but it is NOT necessary.

(I have been to europe more than 100 times in those years and never had a serious issue with not finding someone who can speak/understand english.)

suze Jan 12th, 2016 10:04 AM

Without knowing why you each picked the specific countries you mentioned, it's impossible to know what to recommend. What is it about those that interest you most?

abhypras Jan 13th, 2016 10:12 AM

Thank you for all for your comments.

@bilboburgler you have really hit the bulls eye by commenting exactly what we wanted.
Have discussed this with my wife and as everyone suggested i had to go with what wife says. So we are visiting belgium, Netherlands and Germany.

However coz of cheap airfare we fly in to Brussels and fly out of Amsterdam which means we will have to visit Belgium, Germany and Netherlands in order as mentioned.

Now can you pls help me out with the places that we need to visit in these countries.

I guess choosing places in Germany will be tricky coz of the size of the country. Belgium and Netherlands will be relatively easy though.

Thanks in advance.

StCirq Jan 13th, 2016 11:43 AM

Good, you've got the framework of a plan now.

But again, you don't NEED to visit anywhere in particular. What you need to do is delve into some guidebooks, surf the web, and make your own choices. We have zero idea whether you are looking for mountainscapes, museums, high-end food, seashores, markets, big cities, small villages, or whatever....You don't want to take one of OUR trips, you want to take your own, and for that you have to do your own homework. Once you have places selected, by all means run them by people here.

hetismij2 Jan 13th, 2016 11:59 AM

Again you don't tell us how long you have for your trip.

Whathello Jan 13th, 2016 12:02 PM

You need to see Waterloo.
All the rest is optional.

Ny, was in Czechoslovakia in 1989, didn't find anybody speaking anything but some German.

But of course in civilzed countries such as Belgium, English is widely spoken since the times of Julius Cesar.

PalenQ Jan 13th, 2016 01:49 PM

that we should visit, Netherlands, Belgium and some other country.>

going by car or train - helps with recommending an itinerary - if by car return it in the country you pick it up in to avoid a very possible predatorily steep drop-off fee for returning it in a country other than in which you picked it up. These countries make a wondrous driving tour - like in Germany the Rhine and Mosel rivers are both very scenic and great - if going by train you can also get just about anywhere you want to go but it would be faster in between stops - if visiting mainly cities take the train - if looking for cool countryside like the Mosel Valley or Harz Mountains and few cities go for the car. For lots of info on trains check; and - check the latter's free online European Rail & Planning Guide for lots of suggested itineraries (which can also be done by car( - if traveling on several trains check out the Benelux-Germany railpass which lets you hop on any train anytime with few exceptions in Belgium, Luxembourg or Germany.

Going Amsterdam to Belgium =- Bruges is a real gem - you could then go by train or car via Luxembourg - a gorgeous city as it is bisected by a deep gorge and lovely pastoral countryside in the Grand Duchy - then head via Trier - Gerany's oldest city and one with some stellar Roman relics - down the Mosel Valley to the Rhine Valley and over to Heidelberg to Rothenburg and end up in Munich. If going by train fly into Amsterdam and out of Munich.

nytraveler Jan 13th, 2016 06:45 PM

Whathello -

Was in Prague 2 years later and had no trouble finding people who could understand/speak English - although German was more widely spoken, esp by older people. Naturally most could - but would not - speak some Russian. And there were signs everywhere of people offering english lessons to locals for next to nothing.

Agree that it's not like Netherlands or Scandinavia where most everyone speaks good english - but even then it was not a problem - and that was 25 years ago. And when I returned 10 years later the city was transformed and I heard english everywhere.

abhypras Jan 17th, 2016 05:55 AM

Hi All again,

Well here is an update.
Our trip will be for around 2.5 weeks. We are planning to fly from Mumbai on 1st June and fly back from Amsterdam on 18th June.

Also have managed to do some preliminary research on Germany.

We would like to visit Neushwanstein Castle for sure. Again I am still researching on different websites of what all places to go around in Germany.

Also contemplating if a Eurail pass would be convenient as compared to car rental. If i compare the prices then Car rental is cheaper.

bilboburgler Jan 17th, 2016 09:56 AM

German castles, the one you have chosen is just one of a thousand or so, it is just the model for Disney and is a fake castle. I'd listen to what Pal is saying, there are some nice castles on the Mosel that are the real-deal and easy to access rather than that monstrosity.

Waterloo...... Much as this battle field is an important one (shaped Europe) there is very little there.

You have some very high density visiting opportunities all along the German/French/Belgian/Dutch borders. So Strasbourg, Rheims, Mosel (Trier and Luxembourg), Brugges, Amsterdam and finally Paris each is pretty and worth time in. Even Stuttgart to the south where the cars come from (you can tour the factories and visit the car museums)

I'd plan around them and start looking for other things to do when you 2.5 weeks still has time in it. I'd keep planning bu nights and where you sleep it helps make sense.

Some people from India like to try and see everything and some like to move more slowly. I recommend the first but it is up to you.

Do you drink alcohol? Loads of places to taste and view production

abhypras Jan 17th, 2016 11:50 PM

Thank bilboburgler. That was indeed helpful.

The duration of the trip has now reduced to 2 weeks. We have booked the tickets yesterday.
We are arriving on 4th June afternoon and departing on 28th June morning. This leaves with almost 13.5 days to explore 3 countries.

Yes i do drink alcohol. Beer is my favorite. What would be a good place to explore beer in germany.

bilboburgler Jan 18th, 2016 12:04 AM

Well Belgium is by far the most interesting beer nation but Germany is more famous for it.

There are those who like the beer around Munich.....

For me you need some where that offer lager beer, wheat beer and smoked beer rauchbier (best from Bamberg) and you should be able to get all of these in a wide belt from Hamburg to the Mosel. In truth you should be able to get all these beers all over the country as local breweries fill in any gaps very well.

Then there is the wine...

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