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squirrelywrath07 Mar 16th, 2011 06:40 PM

looking for ideas that aren't on everyone's top 25
Hey you guys,

I will be a 22 year old female studying in Florence, Italy for 6 weeks from the end of June till the beginning of August and then staying for an additional 10 days after my schooling to travel northern parts of Europe. I will be flying out of London on the 16th of August and I have a few ideas of places I want to see and things I want to do but in all reality I am the only person in my immediate family to not only be graduating college but be coming anywhere near having the opportunity I have coming up and I want to make the absolute best of it. I have been to great cities in the united states and avoided "touristy" places and had an amazing time and I want to do the same this summer.

I want to reach out to people to help me get an idea of things to do so please let me know. I love street entertainment and music and art. I enjoy food and learning new and unique people. I wont have much money to spend because school will be costing a lot!

Please let me know your guys' thoughts and ideas!!

Aduchamp1 Mar 16th, 2011 07:44 PM

See if you can get to the Palio in Siena.

I understand they are re-oprning the science museum. The old one had some eerie exhibits.

Try to see cave drawings in Spain or France.

I understand the desire not to see "touristy" places but some are worthwhile. Many are not worth the trip but some are like the Alhambra in Sapin or Ephesus in Turkey are, so do not be dismissive and do your homework.

Barry2108 Mar 16th, 2011 08:24 PM

Avignon has great outdoor entertainment and is an interesting town in Provence; agree with above reply regarding Siena;, Rome and Venice are terrific for art (plan ahead and see if you need to get tickets in advance); Paris is the greatest city in the world and the art is incomparable (especially Musee D'Orsay and the Louvre); Cannes and the other cities on the Riviera are fun.

ribeirasacra Mar 17th, 2011 12:57 AM

I can see this is tagged with Spain in mind and bearing in mind you have stated the following
<i>after my schooling to travel northern parts of Europe</i>
<i>looking for ideas that aren't on everyone's top 25>/i>
Spain is not in the North of Europe so drop that and add Luxembourg or Belgium.
If you go to Belgium don't head for Brussels or Brugge and you will certainly be off the top 25 places to hit.

travelzomg Mar 17th, 2011 04:35 AM

couchsurfing in Zürich...? :)

squirrelywrath07 Mar 17th, 2011 11:15 AM

I appreciate the feed back and will definitely look into some of these recommendations. Ribeirasacra, I know I mentioned Northern Europe but in reality I bought my flight home from London and that is the only thing planned for sure for those 10 days. I would have tagged a lot more but I was limited to 5. I heard Luxembourg City is one of the most beautiful places to visit so I do hope to stop there. I just understand how there are a lot of underground places to visit and things to do and it will be late summer when I would think interesting things would be happening so that is really what I want to find out. Don't care exactly where...

suze Mar 17th, 2011 11:50 AM

Lac Leman area of Switzerland (Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux)

scot1 Mar 17th, 2011 01:02 PM

take the train to Pisa, then along coast to Livorno & take a ferry to Corsica, or go to Piombino & get ferry to Elba. Both are wonderful if islands are your thing, they are a wee bit off beaten track

gwan Mar 18th, 2011 03:35 AM

It's definitely not untouristy (although I think a festival has a bit of a different 'vibe' than just a regular tourist destination), but the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is on in August and it's great fun for street entertainment (as well as theatre, comedy, etc. etc.) I had a lot of fun when I went several years ago, the streets are really full of life both from the festival-goers and the entertainers and you can definitely do it on a budget by watching free street entertainment, going to smaller shows and staying in a hostel. The city itself is charming as well.

qwovadis Mar 18th, 2011 04:12 AM

best kept secret in Tuscany

Arles in france great vibe many cute character towns off the beaten

path Ronda in spain Meknes in Maroc amazing place Riads

are cheap and awesome there for the adventurous.

Happy Hunting,

qwovadis Mar 18th, 2011 04:16 AM

make your way back to LON via

Portugal to Oporto and Vigo Santiago and Santander

ferry back to the UK have done this cheap and awesome/ has flights if you run out of time. good budget info sites

Have fun,

Dukey1 Mar 18th, 2011 04:50 AM

"Interestng and happening?" I can think f a lot of places but you might consider Berlin

caroline_edinburgh Mar 18th, 2011 05:19 AM

Why not just concentrate on Italy since you will already be there ? You can't see that much of just one country in only 10 days. Now if you had 10 weeks, that would be different.

FrenchMystiqueTours Mar 18th, 2011 06:37 AM

If you only have 10 days to explore and one of the places you plan on visiting is London then you really don't have the time to see many places. I would suggest you pick one other city along with London. Spend whatever time you need exploring these cities and use them as bases to make day trips with your remaining time not spent in the cities. If you are on a budget this will be your most cost effective option as well since it will cut down your travel expenses. Back in the early 90's I was just a bit older than you when I backpacked all over Europe and one of my favorite cities was Prague. I wouldn't try to see too many cities since you lose sightseeing time every time you change locations.

NinaSearching Mar 18th, 2011 07:34 AM

Personally, I love London and think you could spend your entire 10 days there doing non-touristy things! (Of course, London can also be expensive, so you'd need to find cheap lodging. I don't know much about hostels in the city.)

Some ideas (fairly cheap & off the beaten path) for the time you're in London:

- "Field Day" in Victoria Park (6 August) - Big, outdoors alt music festival:

- Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exposition (7 June - 15 August) - Huge contemporary art expo, one of the largest (if not the largest) "open submission" expos in the world - student tickets 8.5 pounds:

- The Camden Fringe Festival (1 August - 28 August). It's artsy, fun and cheap:

- The World Badminton Championships (8 August - 14 August). Guaranteed to be something most of your friends & family have never heard of.

- BBC Proms (15 July - 10 September), if you like classical: (schedule to be announced 14 April and tickets go on sale in May)

- Try a show (or 2 or 3) off-West End ... there are a lot of inventive, talented, quirky shows in basements and backs of bars, with tickets sometimes as low as 5 pounds:

- Opera in Holland Park (during the time you'll be there, Rigoletto is playing) -

JoeCal Mar 18th, 2011 09:09 AM

I have to agree with some of the other posters. With only 10 days, you don't have time to do the "if its Tuesday it must be Belgium" tour. I know well the urge to see as much as one possibly can but I have found that taking the time to actually visit an area is much more rewarding and just makes you want more so you know you will go back and do it again someday.
Having said that, with 10 days, I recommend you hit (the) two major cities on your way - Paris and London. (Of course it could be Amsterdam and London or whatever, but Paris is the main attraction IMO in Western Europe - since you're already in Italy).
As was said, London could easily take all 10 days - and so could Paris. Remember that you have travel days but I would recommend you divide your time between these two cities. Most importnatly, remember that you will go back. Don't try to see it all in a week. Staying in one place long enough ensures that you will have somethig to remember besides open road and scenic farmland vistas.

tedgale Mar 18th, 2011 10:34 AM

With limited money to spend, London wd NOT be at the top of my list.

In the hottest weeks of the summer, neither wd Paris.

(I have stayed 10 days in August and loved it -- but we were lent our friends' 3000 sq ft apt in the 7th Arrondissement! That's a tad different from solo travel on a shoestring)

After the Florence July sweat-lodge experience, I think I'd be ready for the mountains: Italian Dolomites, Swiss Alps or French Alps. Lots of budget options, including youth hostels.

kleeblatt Mar 18th, 2011 11:49 AM

Find out about a festival and head there.

jhager Mar 18th, 2011 01:15 PM

A train ride up the Italian Riviera and across the Alps into Germany. Northwest along the Rhine and back south through Brussels and the Chunnel to London. My son and I did a similiar trip a couple years ago with rolling back packs and had a great time. We stayed at inexpensive lodging, not quite as cheap as hostels, but saw alot of nice hostels along the way in Switzerland, Germany and Netherlands. We like to wander and see a lot of different places along the way, not everyone likes that style of travel. I'd be happy to give you more details if you like. Our all time favorite adventure was the overnight ferry to Sicily and then on to the Aeolian Islands off of Messina. The most amazing place to meet the Italian people.

weber6560 Mar 21st, 2011 05:08 PM

I'dgo with the Palio. One which is truly spectacular, trumps everything else. Many years ago I was a fan of the low profile or non-event. It is a matter of what yhour objective is. As a "run of the mill" guy I wanted to understand a bit of what it was to be a "run of the mill" guy in the countries I visited. That takes more than a day or two in a locale. [I am a plopper, one who lights for a week or so in one place.]

But the Palio is not your state fair. I have not attended but it does seem to me to be one of the most unique events in the world.

You have a choice: I wandered about in the south of
France or "I went to the Palio!"

caroline_edinburgh Mar 22nd, 2011 02:39 AM

Assuming we are talking about the Siena Palio - it is interesting but with only 10 days, I wouldn't make it the focus of a whole day. With little money the OP would be doing it the same way I did it 22 years ago - get to square at lunchtime to secure a spot with a good view from the standing area in the middle, stand waiting for ?5 hours, watch as the horses go past the spot where you are standing ?2-3 times during race lasting less than 5 minutes. Not really a good use of 1 of only 10 days with aspirations to see several countries, IMO. I go to Italy at least once or twice every year and I would like to go back & see the Palio again one day - *if* I could afford / arrange to watch it from a stand or a balcony - but it's not a top priority.

In any case, the August date this year appears to be the day the OP flies out from London.

GranadaInsider Mar 22nd, 2011 03:08 AM

wow what a vareity of responses.

I will throw my own opinion into the mixer. Taking into account that 10 days is a very short period of time. Most of western europe is quite expensive for both accomodation and travel. For best value and for best use of time.
Take a flight (presumably ryanair) from Italy to Eastern Europe, I think Poland is fascintating or baltic states, try to see 2 or 3 different cities towns, then take a flight from eastern europe (or Berlin is also very worthwhile to visit) to London and finish up last day or 2 in London.
From Experience places like Berlin or Krakcow can be really enjoyed as a skint backpacker.
To enjoy Paris or London a lot more money is required.

caroline_edinburgh Mar 22nd, 2011 04:20 AM

P.S. to OP : it now occurs to me that you will be able to do the July date of the Siena Palio as a day trip from Florence, if your studies permit.

Travelaficionado Mar 28th, 2011 04:06 AM

10 days to do Europe...hmmmm!!!
Like almost everyone else has suggested, I'd focus on one country. Since you're already in Spain, how about somewhere not too touristy like Bilbao. There's many things that you could do while you're there such as the Strongman contest which happens in August, then of course there's the Guggenheim and the Museo de Bellas Artes and the Church of San Anton.
There's also accommodation that'll suit your student budget.
Take a look at to find something in your price range.

squirrelywrath07 Mar 30th, 2011 08:07 PM

WOW!!! Thanks to everyone for the feed back!!! I will be busy looking into everything you all recommended. I will actually be in Italy for 6 weeks from the 25th of June till the 6th of August for school then free roaming till the 16th and there is only class Tues-Thursday so I maybe able to check some of these places out on an extended weekend trip. I know there are two weekend trips already planned with the school to see Vienna and Rome so I plan on definitely taking the opportunity to see Italy but as much of other countries as I can!!

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