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Intinerary for a Central/East Europe Trip

Intinerary for a Central/East Europe Trip

Jun 11th, 2012, 08:52 PM
  #1  
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Intinerary for a Central/East Europe Trip

Hello!

I am planning my first trip to Europe this summer, and would appreciate any help or advice you may have. I will be in Ireland for a couple weeks with family, and would begin this part of the trip on August 18th. I put September 27th as my return date, but that is actually flexible - I could stay a week longer, if budget permitted (initially assumed $6000-7000, after airline tickets).

I'm mostly interested in architecture and history. I definitely want a chance to get outside of the big cities (especially around London and Paris).

What I have so far:

2 days in Scotland
7 days in London (and surrounding areas - York, Salisbury, Canterbury, ?)
6 days in Paris (and surrounding areas)
2 days in Belgium (Bruges and Ghent)
3 days in Amsterdam (day trip to Haarlem)
3 days in Berlin
2 days in Prague
3 days in Munich
2 days in Switzerland (really want to see the Alps, I've read Kandersteg or Jungfraujoch are good places - of course, open to suggestions!)
2 days in Milan
2 days in Florence
5 days in Rome

I'm worried the 2nd half is a little too busy, but please let me know if it seems okay. From what I've seen, because of the way I've mapped things out, rail/short flights shouldn't take up too much time (travel as late in the evening as possible?). That being said, I could drop Prague and/or one of the German cities to ease things up.

... Or, as I mentioned, extend things out. The return date is flexible, and could go another week. If that meant adding a bit more to the budget, so be it.

Thanks in advance for any advice. Please let me know if there are any details I am missing that would help you help me!
kk85 is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 09:02 PM
  #2  
 
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You are a new poster, this is your first post.

I'd worry about all of the itinerary being too busy.

Get yourself a Michelin map of all of Europe. Put it on your wall and visually see what you're trying to do. I've done that.

Personally speaking, you are shortchanging most of your destinations by spending too little time in each one.

As my mother says about her tours "we saw everything, sort of".
Rastaguytoday is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 09:28 PM
  #3  
 
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I think you'd better calculate your travel/train costs before you know whether that budget will be enough. You're contemplating $150-$175 per day to cover transportation, hotel, meals and miscellaneous sightseeing costs.

You should compare the total of all the point-to-point train tickets with a train pass. On the routes you would fly, you need to check fares and availability and understand the baggage fees. Keep in mind that budget airlines often use secondary airports with spotty public transportation service into the city centers, so there could be additional expenses.

If you haven't already checked the travel times, you should do that. Some routes may not have those late-night departures you were hoping for, so you could lose the better part of one of the days to travel that you thought you were going to spend in a place. Many overnight trains involve multiple (sometimes long) connections in the middle of the night, so you 'save' time for sightseeing but you get little sleep.

Yes, the second half is too much. You need to make sure the things you want to see in a place will be open on the day/s you'll be in that city. And, I'm not your mother, but I'll say it anyway... You need to think about when you'll do laundry.

You can check most train routes and fares here:

http://www.bahn.com/i/view/DEU/en/index.shtml
Jean is online now  
Jun 12th, 2012, 04:34 AM
  #4  
 
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Remove Italy from the list (save it for another time) and add more time to the other cities. Your itinerary is really rushed.

Figure out what you want to see in each place and then determine how much time you'll need. Your itinerary will then fall into place.
adrienne is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 04:45 AM
  #5  
 
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I agree that your trip, especially the last half of it is much too rushed. You will spend a lot of time travelling from place to place as the cities are pretty distant from each other.

Consider dropping either Berlin, Prague and Munich and adding 3 days in Venice and a few days to some of your shorter stops or (2) dropping Italy and adding the days elsewhere.

As you indicated an interest in getting outside the big cities, consider spending more time in Florence and visiting the Tuscan countryside and more time in Switzerland.

Have a great trip!
mamcalice is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 04:54 AM
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Sounds like an incredible trip! I agree that you might want to cut out one city or extend your trip to make it a bit more relaxed. The main issue is that the time it will take you to travel between places will take up a lot of those "2 days" time. But I think you can do it! So very exciting for you!!

In Switzerland, I visited Interlaken- it has an incredible view of the Alps and beautiful blue lakes. It's a tiny town but so beautiful! Plus, the train ride to get there is just amazing.
Allisel is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 06:23 AM
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"really want to see the Alps"

Kinda dumb question, why?

The reason I ask is that you don't need to go to Switzerland to see the Alps. Still I never understand why people from outside of Europe want to go to this country. I've been too many times for business and family and can say that compared to the countries around it it is a bit dissapointing.

Still if you want to see a mountain.... I'd go to Norway.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 09:17 AM
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Many (also on this board) would disagree on Switzerland, bilboburger. The countries around Switzerland disappoint.
Ingo is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 09:35 AM
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IMO your entire plan is way too rushed (except for Paris - 6 days there is fine).

But everywhere else --much too much in too little time.

2 days in Scotland? That would mean Edinburgh, not "Scotland". It is a large/wonderful country and 2 days isn't long enough to even see that much in Edinburgh.

7 days in London and 'surrounding area'. York is not near London. You could visit it enroute Edinburgh to London, but that would mean a full day/night taken from your time in London. Salisbury and Canterbury are in opposite directions - taking 2 more full days from London.

Plus what the others say about the last half of your plan.

The title of your thread confused me a bit - this is not a central/eastern Europe trip. It is almost exclusively in western Europe. (Prague being 'central')
janisj is online now  
Jun 12th, 2012, 10:26 AM
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All right - I'm really confused. You said a central/est european trip then youname countries in western europe (except Czech which is central). Estern europe is Russia and the Ukraine.

Sorry, you are trying to cover way too much territory in the time you have. the cener of the trip is a bunch of 2 night/1 day stops that will take a lot of time, cost a lot of money - and leave you very little time to see or do anythng. You really need to consolidate. I woulddrop at lest 2 of those stops and atualy see something inthe time yuo have left.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 01:45 PM
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Sorry - as for the Alps they are incredible - and IMHO i wold take a week in the Alps over a week in Tuscany or Provence any day.

Horses for courses.
nytraveler is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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You say that you want to get outside of big cities, but then you post an itinerary that is all cities - and if your main interests are architecture and history, big cities are where you should be.

You title your thread "Central/Eastern Europe", and then you post an itinerary that is almost all western Europe.

Unlike others, I think your budget is doable, with care, but your money will certainly go further if you actually go to eastern and central Europe. The UK and Switzerland are among the most expensive places in Europe.

I suggest spending some (more) time with a map and guide books...

Also, you will be starting from Ireland. I am no fan of Ryanair, but its hub is Dublin. Take a look at the route map - http://www.ryanair.com/ie/cheap-flight-destinations. You could start in the Baltics and work south, or fly into Krakow and go via Zakopane up into the Tatras in Slovakia and down to Budapest. Then you could get your Alpine fix in Austria, or go through Slovenia. Either way you could go on to the Dolomites in northern Italy and then to Venice, which I think is a better pick than Milan.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 06:08 PM
  #13  
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Thank you all for the quick responses and input! I admit, the title is definitely not accurate, this is most definitely a Western Europe trip. And the post does have some contradictions. My apologies, I wish I could edit that.

I also agree that I need to scale this back (as hard as that is).

Jean - great point about the travel. I would just be adding many costs in order to make it somewhere for a couple days, if that. Probably burning myself out, too. And thank you for the link!

Allisel - I had heard Interlaken was a great place as well. I'll definitely consider that as an alternative.

bilboburgler - Not a dumb question at all! I was looking to have a section with a change of scenery, and some of the photos I've seen in Switzerland/the Alps are amazing (not that the other areas around Switzerland aren't beautiful).

janisj - I agree on Scotland. In terms of what I want to see, Scotland is definitely high on the list, and I really wasn't giving it a fair shot.

thursdaysd - Very good point, that is quite contradictory. I do prefer the history and architecture, but do want a chance to see outside of the cities (even if it's brief). I wasn't very specific (at all), but when I say Paris for example, that would include a day trip or two outside of the actual city. I just haven't gotten as far as to where exactly.

I've edited the list a bit, please let me know what you think. A couple of notes:
- This list doesn't assume perfect travel like the first list. I've dedicated entire days to getting from one point to another. If it only takes two hours, great, more time to sight-see.
- Germany and the Czech Republic are cut. I'll save those for a true "Central/East Europe" trip
- I've extended out the whole trip. The budget can go up as well. Neither of these are huge pressures, more just me being cheap. But, I'd much rather spend a little extra time and money and do it right.
- There's a good chance of having some very good priced lodging in Paris and London, so that should help the budget
- I sort of feel like Amsterdam and Belgium are out of the way, but I have an uncle in Amsterdam that I'd really like to visit while he still lives there. Otherwise I would definitely consider cutting them out, based solely on convenience

5 days in Scotland
1 travel day
9 days London (and surrounding areas - maybe use that travel day to get to York, spend a day there, and work my way to London over 2 more days?)
1 travel day
6 days in Paris (and surrounding areas)
1 travel day
3 days in Amsterdam
1 travel day
3 days in Belgium
1 travel day
3 days in Switzerland
1 travel day
2 days in Milan
1 travel day
2 days in Venice
1 travel day
2 days in Florence
1 travel day
5 days in Rome

Thank you again for all of the advice! Please let me know if I'm still being too ambitious!
kk85 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Much better - since some of those city transfers will only take 1/2 a day (including checking out/in) so you'll have a little extra time in some. Just one quick comment:

"5 days in Scotland
1 travel day
9 days London (and surrounding areas - maybe use that travel day to get to York, spend a day there, and work my way to London over 2 more days?)
"

That has gone from VERY rushed to quite leisurely

York would very easily fit into the travel day between Scotland and London and there is no reason to add extra days between York and London. So you could do something like:

Scotland 5 or 6 days
York 1 or 2 days
London 8 or 9 days (it takes a little over 2 hours from Edinburgh to York and the same York to London)

Or you could do this:
Scotland 5 or 6 days
York 1 day
Cambridge 1 day
London 8 or 9 days
janisj is online now  
Jun 12th, 2012, 07:12 PM
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I'd definitely consider York between Edinburgh and London, going by train. You could do Cambridge between York and London, but it's close enough for a day trip.

Again, I'd drop Milan, except as a stop-off. Consider the lakes instead.

But that feels much less rushed.
thursdaysd is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 07:23 PM
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Much better, and noting the travel days gives a better picture of your time everywhere. But I still get the feeling you're rolling faster and faster after, say, Belgium. If you had wanted to see any of Italy outside of the big cities, you have little (if any) time to spare anywhere.

Research what you're going to do in Milan, Venice and Florence. You may decide you don't need two full days in Milan and may want more time in either Venice or Florence. Be warned that lodging in Milan and Venice is expensive.
Jean is online now  
Jun 12th, 2012, 08:21 PM
  #17  
kja
 
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I agree that your revised plan is much better, and I commend you for taking the feedback you received and using it to improve your itinerary.

As others say, you might want to do a bit more research on the time you plan for Italy and tweak your plans accordingly.

I could also see cutting your time in/around London to add to time in/around Florence, but I'm a great fan of the art and architecture of Florence. And I agree that shortening your time in, or skipping, Milan is worth considering.

Seems to me that you are going to have a wonderful experience. Enjoy!
kja is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 11:43 PM
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I love your ambition, but I think you are going to miss a lot. I agree on the cutting out of Italy completely and saving it for next time.
SloJan2 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2012, 05:44 PM
  #19  
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Thank you all very much for the additional input. I've made a couple of minor changes. I especially like the idea of putting York on that travel day between Edinburgh and London.

I somewhat agree SloJan2. Rome was very high on my list of things to see, though. And since I was set on going there, I thought I'd hit up the other Italian cities as well (as disrepsectful as that sounds to them, I do actualy want to see them, not just see them "because").

I've cut a day from London and a day from Milan, and added a day to Florence and one to Rome. I'd love to take a day trip out to Pompeii, if anyone thinks that's reasonable, or doable even. Just a day trip, as I'm not sure I'd want to stay in Naples. I haven't read very good things.

5 days in Scotland
1 travel day (stop in York for the day)
8 days in London (day trips to Cambridge, Salisbury/Stonehenge, which still leaves time for actual London)
1 travel day (day trip out to Canterbury, rail through the Channel Tunnel to Paris)
6 days in Paris (and surrounding area(s), haven't decided where yet)
1 travel day
3 days in Amsterdam
1 travel day
3 days in Belgium
1 travel day
3 days in Switzerland
1 travel day
1 day in Milan
1 travel day
2 days in Venice
1 travel day
3 days in Florence
1 travel day
6 days in Rome
Travel day back home

The one thing I would consider cutting completely at this point (aside from Milan, I'd like to at least stop there/take a day) is Belgium. Like I mentioned, Amsterdam is just about a must, and since Belgium is so close it'd make sense. Cutting it would free up four whole days, though. I could always save Belgium for a Belgium-Germany-Czech Republic-etc. trip for next time. What do you think?
kk85 is offline  
Jun 13th, 2012, 06:14 PM
  #20  
kja
 
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Again, I commend your responsiveness to the comments we have given.

My take is that your current plan is - depending on what you want to see and do - within a manageable range. Kudos!

Cutting your time Belgium is an interesting option. You night consider cutting your time there to (say) just 1 or 2 nights in Brugges. That would free up 1 or 2 nights, which you could add to one or more of your planned destinations,

Keep us posted!
kja is offline  

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