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Itinerary Help - 5 weeks in Europe


Jul 5th, 2012, 06:28 PM
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Itinerary Help - 5 weeks in Europe

Hi guys!

I am currently planning a trip to Europe which will be for around 5 weeks.
This will be my first apart from a couple of weeks in Italy when I was young and I will be travelling with my girlfriend.

The main reasons for the holiday are so we can go and see some more of the world, have a bit of a relax and do a lot of photography.

We are looking at spending about 5 weeks in Europe and have decided to focus on 3 main countries; Italy, Germany and France with a couple of other stop-off's on the way.
The trip will be in late-March to late-April next year (2013).
I'm trying to get as much planned now so I know roughly how much I will need to save up.
The aim is to keep the whole holiday to sub-$10K including flights.
We will be travelling on Eurail (10 days/2 month pass) for all internal trips and travelling during the daytime.
Staying in private rooms in hostels, hotels or whichever is cheaper. Not anything too fancy.

As it will be my first time planning a holiday in Europe I need a bit of assistance with my itinerary.

Here it is with how long we'll stay in each city and a couple of the attractions we want to see.

MAP: http://goo.gl/maps/EG3J
Fly from Australia to Rome

Arrive + Stay in Rome
3 Nights Accommodation
See Colosseum, St Peter's Square, The Forum, etc

Leave for + Stay in Venice
5 Nights Accommodation
2-night Trip to Florence w/ Pisa+Sienna??
Gondola trip

Leave for + Stay in Munich
5 nights accommodation
Day trip to Dachau Concentration Camp
Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Day Tour

Leave for + Stay in Prague
3 Nights Accommodation

Leave + Stay in for Berlin
4 Nights Accommodation
Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall, TV Tower

Leave for + Stay in Amsterdam
3 Nights Accommodation
Anne Frank House, Canal Cruise, Bicycle Rides

Leave for + Stay in Brussels
3 Nights Accommodation
Overnight trip to Bruges?

Leave for + Stay in Paris
7 Nights Accommodation
Overnight to Lyon?
Overnight to Bordeaux?
Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre

Fly back to Australia (From Paris)

My main questions for people who have been before are:
- Is this itinerary too ambitious? I don't want to feel overly rushed and I don't mind coming back to Europe a couple more times are to see more.

-Any suggestions to change the itinerary?

- How should we go about Italy? Should we go Rome (3nights) -> Florence (2nights w/Pisa daytrip) -> Venice (3 nights) or Rome (3nights) -> Venice (5 nights with 2nights in Florence in between)

-Should we take suitcases or hiking packs? We have both but I'm trying to think about travelling on the trains and also getting around in general. I know when I travel on business suitcases become a problem but we can't fir as much in hiking packs. We'll take small daypacks regardless

-Are netbooks as good idea to take or or internet cafes sufficient? I do a lot of photography and will need to back up my CF cards regularly to external HDDs and DVDs as RAW files take up a lot of space!
I have heard a lot of internet cafes in Europe don't allow external media to be attached like HDD and card readers, is this true? If so I might invest in a cheap netbook.

Thanks in advance!

paul_on_holidays is offline  
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Jul 5th, 2012, 06:45 PM
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Delete Brussels and Pisa, and add time to other cities.If using trains a hiking pack will be easier. Some train stations have stairs making it difficult with a suitcase.
In place of Pisa, visit Siena. I didn't see as many internet cafes this last trip but lots of WiFi available.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
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Jul 5th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Hi Paul,
I've got just a minute so I'll tackle the netbook question.

We just returned from a six week trip through Europe and I brought my Asus EEE PC netbook. It was great. My son is also a photographer so I know the RAW files take up a lot of room and you will want to take several of the same pic with different settings and lighting so even more space is used. He backed up his pics daily onto an external flash drive.

I journaled daily on the netbook and saved my pics to the netbook and flashdrive daily also...just in case. I had info on our locations on the netbook so another bonus: less paperwork to drag around.

Literally everywhere we went had wifi (as opposed to 2009 when only about 50%-75% of the places had it).

The netbook is really light and fit in my backpack easily. I prefer using the netbook as I can use it in the evening when the internet cafes are usually closed.

I would definitely bring it again.

Happy planning. Michele
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Jul 5th, 2012, 07:52 PM
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Not sure about the itinery - I had just put in the search engine to see about planning my own trip and found your post

However some things to remember when you are planning (as a family of 4 we spent 6 weeks in the UK and Paris a couple of years ago).
Basically it takes a day to move from one place to another,(unless you are travelling at night) so when you quote '3 nights" remember that will only be 2 days. Packing and unpacking is the 'not fun' part.
I would have thought you would need more than 3 nights in Rome, Particularly if that is where you are starting having travelled from Australia. (allowing for jetlag etc)

I had to do my costing before committing - I tried to think - how do we get there - when we are there, what will we do (sightseeing), how will we get about (cost of transport etc) How much will food be a day etc.

There will always be unknown costs, but if you are systematic you should be ok. In terms of budgeting, Research the places you want to visit for all entrance costs etc. Also will you walk or use transport within a city.
We stayed in Apartments/cottages because there were 4 of us and used VRBO.com a useful website. Research all options - B&B, hostels - apartments etc - you might be surprised.
Food is obviously cheaper in a supermarket.

Good Luck, and yes, happy planning
1Aussiemum is offline  
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Jul 6th, 2012, 02:02 AM
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Just wanted to add that you should check out the cost of the rail pass before buying it as buying point to point tickets in advance can a lot of the time be cheaper. Especially in Italy.
jamikins is online now  
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Jul 6th, 2012, 03:44 AM
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5 weeks - I would travel from Rome to Paris and nothing else.

That way you have Rome, Tuscany, Liguria, Piedmont, South of France, Lyon and Paris. Loads of stuff there to keep you occupied for 5 weeks and much more worthwile than a few nights in Prague (which is nice), Brussels and Amsterdam (full of English sex tourists and can be quite "un-Dutch" at times). Much cheaper too given the lack of flights required.

This is particularly true given that you are set on coming back to Europe. As your itinerary is you are not factoring in any time in the Itlaian or French countryside - the highlights for many of each of these countries (e.g. Provence, Cinque Terre, Tuscany).

Good luch wither way.
pgriffin is offline  
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Jul 6th, 2012, 05:26 AM
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At the beginning of your trip, I suggest traveling from Rome to Florence and trying to spend three nights there, then on to Venice. Don't do a day trip from Venice to Florenc. After many trips to Italy, we like Florence best but it definitely depends on your interests.

Find a night or two in your itinerary to add to Rome - it is a wealth of treasures.

I would also eliminate your overnights from Paris - there is so much to see in Paris and on day trips from the city.

Have a wonderful trip.
mamcalice is offline  
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Jul 8th, 2012, 08:09 PM
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Thanks for all the replies!

@HappyTrvlr, I'll have a look at deleting Brussels, there wasn't too much there that interested me or my girlfriend immediately.

I would drop out Pisa too but my gf really wants to see the Leaning Tower.

Deleting the Brussels stay I can extend Amsterdam to another night and possibly do a day-trip to Brussels from Amsterdam?

Sold. Netbook it is!

Thanks for your input. Yeah losing a day of travel will be inevitable but at least we should be able to see some of the nice country-side on the train!
I will extend Rome another day, you're right about the jet-lag! I have been mainly travelling to Asia over the last year and have forgotten about how bad jet-lag gets!

Good idea.

Revised itinerary now looks like:
Fly to Rome
Arrive + Stay in Rome
4 Nights Accommodation
Colosseum, St Peter's Square, The Forum

Leave for + Stay in Florence
3 Nights Accommodation
Siena, Pisa?

Leave for + Stay in Venice
3 Nights Accommodation

Leave for + Stay in Munich
5 nights accommodation
Day trip to Dachau Concentration Camp
Royal Castles of Neuschwanstein and Linderhof Day Tour

Leave for Prague
3 Nights Accommodation

Leave for Berlin
4 Nights Accommodation
Checkpoint Charlie, The Wall
TV Tower

Leave for Amsterdam
4 Nights Accommodation
Anne Frank House, Canal Cruise
Bicycle Rides
Day trip to Antwerp/Brussels?

Leave for Paris
7 Nights Accommodation
Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre Dame

Fly To Australia(From Paris)

How does it look now?
paul_on_holidays is offline  
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Jul 8th, 2012, 08:26 PM
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Looks pretty good, I was also going to mention that you won't be visiting Florence and Pisa from Venice as a day trip, but you seem to have realized that.

Another opinion that Pisa is just not worth the detour just to see the tower.
Aramis is offline  
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Jul 8th, 2012, 09:45 PM
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When planning for the Vatican, do some homework and consider if you want tours. At the least, you want to get timed entrance tickets so you don't spend your time in line. You can even visit the tombs beneath St Peters in the Scavi tour, but you must write the Vatican and request tickets in advance.

jarand is offline  
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Jul 9th, 2012, 06:02 AM
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I probably wouldn't stay overnight in Pisa, but I did enjoy our day there. The cathedral and the baptistry are definitely worth a look. Therre is an interesting museum in the square. (One of my favorite photos is of the tower framed by an arch of the museum.) We also exsplored a few little streets away from the beaten path and had lunch in a restaurant recommended by locals and then walked back to the train station along the river.

So listen to your girlfriend.
irishface is offline  
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Jul 9th, 2012, 06:14 AM
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I think it looks pretty good, and I say keep Pisa in the plans, since your gf wants to see it. I know people will say it's not worth it, but I also wanted to see it, and am glad I have been (2x)!
eluckhardt is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2012, 04:38 PM
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I like your plan. You might want to daytrip to Salzburg from Munich.
AisleSeat is offline  
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Jul 10th, 2012, 04:57 PM
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Make your day trip to Pisa, but include a little time in Lucca on the way. It's on the train line. Lucca is one of my favorite small cities in Italy. Surrounded by wide bastions of wall, it's very pedestrian-friendly, and you can walk or ride a rental bike around the city on the walls. Very attractive, flat town.

Or take a day from Florence to add to Rome, and a day trip either to Ostia Antica, a great ruin of Rome's original port city; or Tivoli, where you visit Hadrian's Villa, a huge Roman ruin the size of a village, and Villa d'Este with gardens full of hundreds of cool fountains; or Orvieto, a small city one hour north of Rome on the train line to Florence, on top of a steep hill, with many caves under the town that you can tour, an amazing cathedral, stunning views over the countryside. Orvieto is also pedestrian friendly.
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Jul 10th, 2012, 06:13 PM
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A couple of notes:

Mid march can still be winter north of hte Alps - don;t expect great scenery or warm temps - expect chilly and rain. Right by the Sea (netherlands) is likely slightly warmer - but the further inland you go - and the higher the altitude - the colder it will be.

Separately, I think you have way too many stops for too few nights - and suspect that you haven;t accounted for the time you will be spending traveling from one place to another.

As for your budget - this isn;t our price point so it's hard for to judge - but when you take out airfare you're talking about $8000 for 45 days - which is about 135 euros per day. When my daughter went with 2 friends last summer she spend almost $10,000 in about 6 weeks. Not hostels but modest hotels. And they didn't do any shopping to speak of and nightlife was limited to student type pubs or cafes (not big $ trendy clubs).

I would check out the prices of the sights you want to see and the cost of local transit within cities to get an idea of what you need to set aside for that.

Specifically I think you are really shortchanging Rome (need at least 5 nights there) and if you need to cut Brussels is the least interesting part - although other parts of Belgium are fascinating/charming. Also - you seem to be only in large cities and not really in the countryside at all - which you should do to see the gardens in Netherlands.
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