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May/June Europe Trip Itinerary - advice requested

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Jan 28th, 2016, 07:40 PM
  #1
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May/June Europe Trip Itinerary - advice requested

Hello all,

My husband and I are planning our first backpacking trip to Europe this May and June (Yay!) and would appreciate any information you think would be helpful in our planning process. We are newlyweds and young-ish, and want the "backpacking" experience but are in a position to not "rough" it and are happy to stay in nicer places regularly and/or as needed. We love being active outdoors, music, art, exploring beautiful cities, and being spontaneous. I have been reading through the forum and think we have a pretty good itinerary so far, but would love some help with the finer details although if you notice any big issues with our current itinerary please let us know.

Itinerary:

Fly into Brussels – take train to stay 3 nights in Ghent (Arrive morning of May 9th, take train to Ghent, leave afternoon of May 12th) We plan on taking day trip Bruges and heading back to Brussels to take a train to Paris. Any other suggestions?

Stay in Brussels two nights (May 12th to May 14th)

Train to Paris (1 hr 36 minutes) – 5 nights (Arrive evening of May 14th, leave early morning of May 19th) High speed train through Lille the best option from Brussels?

Train to Basel – 1 night (Arrive May 19th, Leave May 20th) Should we skip this stop and take trains straight through to the following areas?

Train to Bernese Oberland (Arrive May 20th, Leave May 28th…..Spiez, Interlaken, lauterbrunnen valley, Grindewalde, Murren, etc.) – 7 nights. Not sure where to stay. My husband and I love to hike and to be outside, but also want to have the option of visiting nice towns, sightseeing ornate churches, etc., during bad weather. Can all of these areas be seen well with only one base, or should we spend a few nights at different destinations?

Train to Lucerne (Arrive May 28th, Leave May 31st) - 3 nights
Train to Fussen – 2 nights We want to see some castles around this area.
Train to Munich (Arrive May 31st, leave June 3rd) - 3 nights
Train to Salzburg (Arrive June 3rd, Leave June 7th) - 3 nights
Train to Cesky Krumlov (Arrive June 7th, Leave June 9th) – 2 nights
Train to Prague (Arrive June 9th, Leave June 13th) – 4 nights

I would love to go to Barcelona and Italy (mainly Cinque Terre and Florence), but I don't think it makes sense with the main cities/ areas we want to see. Those being Paris, Switzerland, Austria, and Prague. I would give up Munich and Fussen in Germany, if there was a way to get down to Italy, but haven't thought of a time-effective way. Any ideas?

We have been trying to decide if a Eurail pass is worth it. We would love the flexibility and convenience, but aren't sure it's worth the money. I know that some of the trains require reservations as well. Would it just be better to buy tickets for each trip individually? Thoughts?

We plan to fly in May 9 and fly home on June 16, and have a few extra days we can fit in somewhere and general flexibility to incorporate any helpful ideas. I am so excited, but I'm also a little nervous about getting everything together. I greatly appreciate any assistance you can give.

Thank you so much,
Rachel
Lovinthemountains is offline  
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Jan 28th, 2016, 11:38 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
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If you're not going to kick it in hostels and carry your life on your back, this doesn't sound much like a traditional "backpacking" trip.

Depending on when you were planning on arriving and departing in Basel, you might want to consider skipping it and spending an extra day somewhere else.

I would skip the Eurail pass. If you can get your itinerary down soon, just book the tickets now and get reserved seats and maybe even first class if there are any specials.
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Jan 29th, 2016, 05:13 AM
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They have 7 days in the Bernese Oberland - which gives them a whole week in the mountains, even if they choose to take the train to nearby towns on days the weather is not good.

I would bag Basel (not my favorite place since I had a client there and found it very strict in terms of closing times and limits to activities). You have pent of time between the Berner Oberland and Lucerne.

You might want to add a day in Salzburg - so you have enough time to explore the city, a little of the countryside and other places nearby (Hallstat, etc).

As for Munich/southern Bavaria you could use another day there. Only 2 days in Munich doesn't realy give you time to see Nyphenburg and Dachau. And I would bag Neuschwanstein and instead visit Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee - IMHO much more interesting castles built for Ludwig.

All together the trip makes sense - I'm just afraid at the end dong several 2 night (one day) stops may be axhausting after you have been on the road for so long.

As for Italy - to really see much you would need to cut at least a week (2 or even 3 places) out of what you have already - and you can't see everything in one trip.
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Jan 29th, 2016, 05:31 AM
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>>not my favorite place since I had a client there and found it very strict in terms of closing times and limits to activities<<

This is the funniest assessment of a place that I have ever read.
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Jan 29th, 2016, 04:03 PM
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Why funny?

Have been there at least 15 times and to a New Yorker it's amazing that all the shops close at 6 pm and at 9 pm you are the last people still in a restaurant (the staff is hovering to get you out). Everything always seems to be closed or about to close.

Granted it is a cute town but there are dozens in Switz just as cute - but more flexible in terms of hours and way more welcoming.

(A couple of the people I worked with at that client actually lived in Germany and commuted every day - just so they could have much better prices for things and a lot more flexibility in terms of getting things done and activities because the sidewalks didn't roll up at 6 pm.)
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