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Itinerary advice - 4 weeks in Europe

Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 01:17 AM
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Itinerary advice - 4 weeks in Europe

Hello All,

Please see below current rough itinerary for a trip with my partner this year, 6 Sep - 3 Oct. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

This will be our first big trip. We are both in our early twenties and feel we can go go go, hence the current itinerary. Ofcourse with so many cities, we wont see everything however we are not overly interested in art or museums. Ofcourse I am looking into pre-purchasing/booking as much as possible to skip ques etc.

Budget with everything inclusive is 20000 AUS = roughly 15500 EUR.

If anyone can please advise on flights vs rail, time allocated to each city, heathy budget or not, etc.

06/09/13 London - Arrive @ Heathrow at 5:30PM
07/09/13 London
08/09/13 London
09/09/13 London - Day trip to Bath and Stonehenge
10/09/13 London/Paris - Rail
11/09/13 Paris
12/09/13 Paris
13/09/13 Paris - Trip to Versailles
14/09/13 Paris/Rome - Flight
15/09/13 Rome
16/09/13 Rome
17/09/13 Rome
18/09/13 Rome/Venice - Flight
19/09/13 Venice
20/09/13 Venice
21/09/13 Venice
22/09/13 Venice/Berlin - Flight
23/09/13 Berlin
24/09/13 Berlin
25/09/13 Berlin - Sachsenhausen concentration camp
26/09/13 Berlin/Brussels - Flight
27/09/13 Brussels (unsure whether to stay in Brussells or Bruges yet)
28/09/13 Brussels - Day trip to Bruges and Ghent
29/09/13 Brussels - Half day trip to Antwerp
30/09/13 Brussels/Amsterdam - Train
01/10/13 Amsterdam
02/10/13 Amsterdam
03/10/13 Amsterdam / Leave for home at 7:15pm

Thank you in advance.
Ashleigh.
aamclean is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 04:09 AM
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RAIL VS. FLIGHT
Rome to Venice is only 3:40 by train - its is definitely not worth a flight.
Berlin to Brussels is about 6:48 - you could go either way here unless going to Brugge (see below) - then train it.

BRUSSELS VS BRUGGE
Definitely Brugge. Research Brussels in the forums - it does not have a plethora of fans.

GENERAL
Brugge may not be worth 4 nights so you could add 2 of those back to one of your other destinations or maybe pick another small location somewhere else in your trip to break up the big city travel. Somewhere in Tuscany, perhaps between Rome and Venice.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 05:53 AM
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This trip is actually slow compared to a lot of posts we see here - 3 or 4 countries in 7 days (which are really not doable).

You have reasonable timing for the major stops.

A couple of notes:

You say that budget is total - how much do you need to subtract for airfare to/fro europe? And what type of standard do you expect to travel in? If you are traveling on a budget you should be fine. If you want to travel on a more comfortable level you'll have to be careful.

A couple of notes:

In europe liquor/drinks are VERY expensive due to taxes (although local beer and wine are usually very expensive)

Soft drinks are also very small and very expensive - bottled water of your own is much better deal

I would stay in Bruges and do day trips from there - Brussels is really not that interesting - primarily the center of EU government - while Bruges is a charming ancient town
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Old Feb 2nd, 2013, 06:39 AM
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You will have a terrific time in Europe, Ashleigh! Hope your total budget does not include your long haul airfares to London...as nytraveler said, your budget also depends on the type of accommodation you pick for your various destinations. Have you investigated edreams website? We are going to Europe ourselves and it is a great site for cheap airfare comparisons. Good luck!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 02:15 AM
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Thanks for the advice already!

Yes that does include flights. We have already booked and purchased flights with travel insurance for $4100.00 AU.

The class of hotel we stay in isn't as important as the location. I have already booked our four nights in London at the 'Strand Palace' which I chose purely for the location.

I was already leaning towards staying in Bruges over Brussels, so thanks for making that a definite!

If I were to take a night off Bruges, where do you think it would be more suited to slot in an extra day?
Is it feasible to add on a day to Rome and do a day trip to Florence or Naples?

Someone else has suggested I need more time in Berlin.
So many choices!!

Again, thank you all for your help! Much appreciated.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 02:33 AM
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Yes, you can day trip to Naples or Florence from Rome. They are really very different places, with very different sights, and very different levels of crowds of tourists. If you think you would like more Renaissance history than you will be getting in Rome, go to Florence for the day (and expect huge crowds). If you think you can put up with more of the hectic feel of Rome, and would like more ancient history, go to Naples (which gets far fewer tourists).

Your budget is fine. Presumably you aren't coming to Europe to drink soft drinks. (The soft-drink obession seems fairly confined to American tourists.) Also, for the majority of your destinations, there isn't a war between comfort and budget. You can find truly comfortable central accommodations if you do a minimum of research and read reviews. Don't be scared by the negative attitude some affluent travelers have about less than expensive hotels. They've never stayed in these places and just imagine they must not be as comfortable as the expensive hotels. It's really not true.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 02:40 AM
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Also, I agree with advice to take a train to Venice from Rome rather than fly.

As for hard liquor: If you don't sit down in the most touristy spot or if you don't drink at your hotel bar, a cocktail is not VERY expensive in Europe. (How do people arrive at these absolutist conclusions?) I honestly don't know what a cocktail costs in Australia, but the last time I was in NYC, people were asking 15USD or more for drinks -- and you can easily beat that price in Europe if you don't drink imported liquor. Try the local gins of northern Europe, which are fabulous. Italians don't favor hard liquor cocktails before dinner, but a grappa after dinner in hardly going to break the bank (many Italian restaurants pour them for free at the end of the evening).
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Old Feb 3rd, 2013, 02:41 AM
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aamclean -

yes i agree that compared to some itineraries that people start off with, it's not that rushed.

but there is a contradiction in what you say about your interests and what you are planning -

>

europe is NOT all cities - it is mostly countryside, yet with this itinerary, you won't see any of it except from train windows. Given that you aren't that interested in art and museums, this seems to me to be a bit of a waste.

also, by the time you get to your fourth city, it'll all be a blur, and you'll struggle to remember what you saw where. as you are young and energetic, I would suggest that you factor at least one place where you can do some walking and exploring, so as to break it up.

the obvious choice would be the Berner Oberland in Switzerland. if you rejigged the itinerary you could do Paris - Switzerland - Venice - Rome - Berlin.

I would also agree that you could lose the time in Brussels and substitute a couple of nights in Bruges.

sorry to have added another choice into your mix!
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 04:12 AM
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I'm MASSIVELY biased but I'd consider train/bus to Salisbury and Stonehenge, rather than Bath and Stonehenge. Salisbury's closer and there's a lot to see - the Cathedral, the Magna Carta, the Doom Painting, Old Sarum, Salisbury Museum's Stonehenge stuff and the city itself.

visit Wiltshire recently did 10 reasons to visit Salisbury:
http://www.visitwiltshire.co.uk/expl...isit-salisbury

...to which, I've taken the liberty of adding 10 more!
http://salisburyandstonehenge.net/sa...isit-salisbury

Enjoy your trip in any case!
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 05:06 AM
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with that much train travel some kind of railpass should be viable - like a Eurail Select Saverpass valid in Italy, Austria, Germany and Benelux - Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg - except in Italy you can just hop on any train anytime and if over 25 the pass is automatically first class and there are significant benefits to first class on trains IME of decades of train travel there - so if a bunch of discounted non-changeble non-refundable 2nd class tickets even approaches the cost of a first-class pass go for the pass and the flexibility to decide once there which trains to take.

For lots of great info on European trains and passes and alternatives check out these IMO fine sites - www.ricksteves.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.seat61.com.
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Old Feb 5th, 2013, 10:28 AM
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Oops - notice you are flying many segments so will not be using the train enough or really not much at all so forget a pass - unless you want to substitute some flights with overnight trains which save time - even flying during the daytime takes a half day at least and night trains also save money on a hotel. But as you schedule has it forget any pass - I was remiss to recommend that.
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