Suggestions on my Europe Itinerary

Old Aug 12th, 2014, 04:30 AM
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Suggestions on my Europe Itinerary

Hello! My 2 friends and I will be traveling Europe the month of August in 2015. I have been to Europe two times before, but this time I will be visiting some different countries than before. Here is my potential itinerary. Comments and suggestions are welcomed! Thank you!

Fly to Zurich July 31st
Zurich, Switzerland August 1 to 4
Dubrovnik, Croatia August 4 to 7
Budapest, Hungary August 7 to 10
Vienna, Austria August 10 to 14
Prague, Czech Republic 14 to 17
Germany 17 to 24
Netherlands 24 to 30 (spending time with family)
Fly home the 31st of August.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 05:21 AM
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Are you going by train or car or plane or mixture? Makes a big difference in what folks will recommend. I would assume by train with a flight from Zurich to Dubrovnik - the rest is easy by train (though Dubrovnik to Budapest is a long slog by train.

anyway if doing rail check out these IMO superb sites for planning a European rail trip: www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com and www.seat61.com.

I would not spend three days in Zurich, a city that nonpluses many - rather go to nearby Lucerne or the fabulous Jungfrau Region around Interlaken - the essence of the picture of Switzerland etched in many folks' minds - glacier-girdled peaks soaring thousands of feet above lush meadows - hiking trails for all energies - toy-like trains and thrilling aerial gondolas going off in all directions, etc.

Stay in a town like Grindelwald to be eyeball to eyeball with the majestic soaring peaks.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 05:34 AM
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Right, why go to Switzerland and only go to Zurich? Head for the mountains. I would skip Dubrovnik altogether. It is an outlier that will make your travel either much longet or more expensive, or both, and will be hot and overrun with cruise ship passengers.

Where in Germany?

You need to plot this in terms of nights, with details on the transport.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 06:52 AM
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How do you manage to count a day twice? Is that some kind of 'new math'?

For example, you count the 4th in Zurich AND in Dubrovnik. Obviously, that isn't going to happen unless you are counting an hour at the train station in Zurich in the morning as being IN Zurich and an hour in the afternoon as being in Dubrovnick.

You have done this throughout your list. As noted above, you need to count nights as well as days and NOT count travel time as being spent in either place.

I would suggest you work out just how much time you will spend actually in places and how much time you spend moving from place to place. Then look at that as a percentage of the total and consider whether you are making best use of your limited time. Time spent moving is basically 'lost' time. By my count, you have 8 travel days out of 31 which is 25% of your total time. I would move only 3 times and have a total of only 16% lost to moving including your arrival and departure days.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 07:10 AM
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<<though Dubrovnik to Budapest is a long slog by train>>

Is there even train service to and from Dubrovnik?

Look: you need to rethink this. Go to the LEAST accessible point first - that means if you're set on going to Dubrovnik, then go there straight from your overnight flight to Europe. Then start going back north.

And you need to determine budgets. Switzerland is expensive. Central Europe generally is not.

Cities are not equal. Dubrovnik is small and you may be able to see what you want in less time. Budapest and Prague each can fill your three days and leave you missing out.

And the others are right - you cannot move instantaneously (unless you know some Harry Potter trick we don't). Each move takes time - Budapest to Vienna is about 4 hours by train; Vienna to Prague about 5; Prague to Munich about 6; Munich to Amsterdam about 7.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 07:26 AM
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In reality:

Zurich Aug 1 to 3 And at least the 1st days will be jet lagged -- Zurich isn't seeing the best of Switzerland.
Dubrovnik Aug 4 to 6
Budapest 7 to 9
Vienna Aug 10 to 13
Prague Aug 14 to 16
Germany 17 to 23 (Germany is a BIG place - where were you considering?)
Netherlands 24 to 30

I looks like you have picked 5 cities and just allocated equal time to each w/o researching what's there to see/do. All cities are not created equal.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 08:58 AM
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And do you want to be seeing only large cities? No smaller towns or coutryside? No mountains or river valleys or natural beauty.

What you have is a fly by of a lot of places with a huge amount of your time on trains/getting from one place to another.

And where in Germany? there are dozens of great places. Do you want castles? beer halls? mountains? big cities? ancient towns????
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 09:09 AM
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Is there even train service to and from Dubrovnik?>

Yes I think there is (or was last time I checked) but not a direct route - would take at least a whole day and maybe more each way though there are night trains I think from Budapest to Zagreb or Belgrade.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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<< Dubrovnik to Budapest is a long slog by train >>

That will be a long slog as there is no train service south of Split - bus only.

You need to schedule your itinerary so you include travel time. For instance:

Aug 1 - 4 Zurich
Aug 5 - 7 Dubrovnik (fly from Zurick)
Aug 8 - 10 Budapest (fly from Dubrovnik)
Aug 11 - 14 Vienna (morning transit from Budapest - 3.5 days)
Aug 15 - 17 Prague (morning transit from Vienna - 2.5 days)
Aug 18 - 24 Some place in Germany
Aug 25 - 30 Some place in Netherlands

I agree that Zurich is not very interesting. What will you do with 4 days there?

Dubrovnik - very small; you'd find it difficult to even fill a day here. It's an outlier so better combine this with a visit to Croatia/Slovenia another time.

You don't have enough time in Budapest nor Prague. Take the days from Dubrovnik and add 2 days each to these cities.

No one will be able to comment on unknown locations in Germany and Netherlands.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 09:26 AM
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Thanks everyone! I know I need to make some changes and your suggestions sound great. My sister is moving to Germany and she is not sure of where yet so I'll plan where to visit when I know more information.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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Yes I agree with adrienne about Dubrovnik - though not about nothing in Dubrovnik to see or do - to me it is one of the neatest old-world type cities I have been to - but unless you can spend a week or so in the area it is a long LONG way out of your way - but taking boats up the Adriatic to Split and perhaps some islands would be great - but not just for a few days.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 11:41 AM
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Pal - I never said there was nothing to see or do in Dubrovnik.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 12:43 PM
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Dubrovnik - very small; you'd find it difficult to even fill a day here>

Pal - I never said there was nothing to see or do in Dubrovnik.>

Oops sounded like you said that!
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 01:17 PM
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Well there isn't more than a day of sightseeing in Dubrovnik.
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Old Aug 12th, 2014, 07:02 PM
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I don't find this plan particularly realistic and certainly would not find it enjoyable. I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library), identify the things you most want to see in each location, note their opening/closing times, and mark them on a calendar. Then pencil in your transportation, including times on either side (for getting to/from the train/bus or whatever, checking in/out, packing/unpacking, obtaining currency, and getting oriented). Then see how things fit together.

Unlike some others here, I did find a lot to see and enjoy in Zurich -- but agree that if you are including it so that you can see the Alps, you have better options. And there are things to do in/around Dubrovnik that make it worth more than a day IMO. BUT I'm not saying you should necessarily include either or both -- just trying to provide some balance to others' statements.

Good luck!
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Old Aug 13th, 2014, 07:42 AM
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I don't think you are seeing the real impact of travel time gkomalle, even in the suggested changes.

You flyfrom the USA on the 31st, arriving on the 1st. That means the 1st is a write off. An afternoon arrival and jet lag tells us that is the case.

So Zurich (or elsewhere) doesn't really start to count as a day in the place until the 2nd. If the 4th is the travel day to Dubrovnick, then the only full days spend in Zurich would be the 2nd and 3rd. In Dubrovnik the first full day will be the 5th etc. etc.

Gkomalle, you need to count days, nights and travel time. That is the only way to really see what you are looking at. So for example, using the dates adrienne has listed,
"Aug 1 - 4 Zurich
Aug 5 - 7 Dubrovnik (fly from Zurick)
Aug 8 - 10 Budapest (fly from Dubrovnik)
Aug 11 - 14 Vienna (morning transit from Budapest - 3.5 days)
Aug 15 - 17 Prague (morning transit from Vienna - 2.5 days)
Aug 18 - 24 Some place in Germany
Aug 25 - 30 Some place in Netherlands"

In fact means, only
2 full days in Zurich (travel on 4th)
2 in Budapest (travel on 7th)
3.5 (Maximum) in Vienna (travel on 11th)
2.5 " in Prague (travel on 15th)
6 in Germany (if only ONE location within Germany. No moves)
5 in Netherlands " " " "

That is a total of 21 days in places out of 31 and 10 days lost to arriving, departing and moving. For me that ratio of an average of 1 day lost for every 2 days spent in places is not best use of time.
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