Travelling 1st time in Europe

Old Jan 11th, 2021, 02:37 PM
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Travelling 1st time in Europe

Hi. We're a couple of Canadians (active seniors) traveling in Europe for 1st time in late Aug or Sept. 2022.
Planning to do a bike boat barge along Danube. Either starting from Prague or Passau to Budapest for 8 days. Then plan to spent another day or two in Budapest. We'd like to spend another week of seeing more of Germany as well. Any Recommendations for bus or train to see sights around? Would we have enough time to see some of Belgium as well?
Don't want to rent a car. Any helpful tips would be greatly appreciated. Thx!

Last edited by caroleWest; Jan 11th, 2021 at 02:56 PM.
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Old Jan 11th, 2021, 03:59 PM
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Is your plan to join a small group for the bike/barge bit or hire a barge just for yourselves?

If visiting Germany, then it makes sense to do that first if you plan to end up in Budapest. Germany has a wealth of places to visit so you just need to research what appeals the most. For transport between places, good reference websites are rome2rio, seat61 and bahn.de. All that is super easy to do independently.

I would not include Belgium as you don't have time. People often jump from major city to major city in Europe and miss the great bits inbetween. It's worth covering less distance but seeing more of where you do visit.

One thing I like to do in unfamiliar places is do a walking tour, often organised by the local tourism office but sometimes privately run. I find them a good way to get to know a particular town in a relaxed manner - and sometimes have a chat with a stranger.

I'm willing to bet it won't be your last visit to Europe!
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Old Jan 11th, 2021, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by dreamon View Post
Is your plan to join a small group for the bike/barge bit or hire a barge just for yourselves?

If visiting Germany, then it makes sense to do that first if you plan to end up in Budapest. Germany has a wealth of places to visit so you just need to research what appeals the most. For transport between places, good reference websites are rome2rio, seat61 and bahn.de. All that is super easy to do independently.

I would not include Belgium as you don't have time. People often jump from major city to major city in Europe and miss the great bits inbetween. It's worth covering less distance but seeing more of where you do visit.

One thing I like to do in unfamiliar places is do a walking tour, often organised by the local tourism office but sometimes privately run. I find them a good way to get to know a particular town in a relaxed manner - and sometimes have a chat with a stranger.

I'm willing to bet it won't be your last visit to Europe!
Thanks Dreamon for your assistance! We're thinking of doing BackRoads bike and boat tour with another couple.
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Old Jan 11th, 2021, 04:21 PM
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Here's a well-established tactic for North Americans crossing the Atlantic. As newbies, this may be unfamiliar. Substantial travel expense can be saved by arranging a multi-destination route, flying into one major city and home from another. All the flights are on one itinerary. The itinerary is arranged through a multi-destination search function, available through many airlines including Air Canada and on-line agencies. Both the time and the expense of returning to your original destination are saved. To emphasize: These are not a set of one-way tickets. They must be booked together.
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Old Jan 12th, 2021, 08:43 AM
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I'd ask your agent what happens if the Danube is too low or too high. I've cycled on it when it was too high and a lot of pleasure boats were removed. Certainly open Jaw it. Belgium is way away. I'd look at Austria or even Germany towards Berlin from there. Budapest is one of my favorite cities but also look at other local day spas along the river. Nothing like hot water on aching muscles.
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Old Jan 12th, 2021, 08:55 AM
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Ok thanks bilboburgler
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Old Jan 19th, 2021, 07:15 PM
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8 days?
I could EASILY spend two days MINIMUM in Prague,
an entire day in Cesky Krumlov (entrancing castle village 75km south of Prague),
an entire afternoon at Passau (50 km south of Cesky Krumlov),
a day in Melk and Krems on the Danube,
maybe two days in Vienna (less if you don't like art or museums),
swiftly past Bratislava,
two days MINIMUM in Budapest (a more lively town than Vienna); that's not beginning to count travel time.

For me, the further north you go in Germany, the more it's like Toronto, or the US, or England, albeit different languages.
And, the less time in large cities, the more "real" or "authentic" the experience. That's the trouble with tours for us; they tend to stay near larger towns at night, because that's where there's accomodation sufficient for a busload (40+) of tourists. Hence they never stay in a village, as you could finding accommodations for two couples and a car. The driving is easy; and the roads are better than Michigan's.
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Old Jan 20th, 2021, 05:50 AM
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It certainy is feasible to travel north to Berlin from this area. Prague is a good stop, a nice old centre with 4 or 5 days pottering to do as well as visit good museums, drink good beer, eat a lot of meat and that is about that. Heading northing into Saxony you pass through a rust belt in Czech (but by far not the worst), with fine river views and the odd private/visitable castle before you enter Germany (what was East Germany). A bit more like a left-behind-land there are lovely little towns with strange East German hang-overs and some critical cities. Dresden and Leipzig are the two obvious rebuilt-medievel visits worth a minimum of 2 nights each. There are also places like Magdeburg which show what cities could have been like in EG if th country hadn't gone bust. Berlin has more than enough to do for 5 days and then to the north there are more unspoiled towns and beaches.
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 07:07 AM
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We’re rethinking our trip, changing it to 3-4 weeks now as there’s so many beautiful places to visit. 😊
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Old Jan 21st, 2021, 02:13 PM
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Don't rule out a car prematurely; what keeps you from considering that? Fear of the unknown? Unfamiliarity? Other?
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