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What would you cut from this itinerary?


Nov 12th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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What would you cut from this itinerary?

So, I would like to go to Europe for 6 weeks beginning in May (2013). It will be my first time to Europe, though I have taken long train trips here in the U.S. so I know a little about how to budget time. For a 6 week trip I figured 6-8 cities would do. The problem is, which cities? So far I have a tentative itinerary below...

Reykjavik, Iceland 4 --would like to see landscape. Cheap to fly into.

U.K. 10 days -- will fly to Glasgow and leisurely travel to London. (at least 4 days in London)

Paris 5 -- Want to and figured it is a must.

Amsterdam 4 -- do some site seeing/exploring, then checkout the red light district last full day.

Berlin 3 - Don't really know why. Figured I needed to stop in Germany on my first trip.

Prague 4 - Looks beautiful, at least to me/ interested for other reasons.

Budapest 4 - Same reasons as Prague.

Vienna 3 - Flying out, moderately interested.

This adds up to 37 days. So I still have an extra 5 days. Where should I add? Where should I take away? I don't want to add another city. The list is already maxed out at 8 cities. Though, taking away one and adding another would be fine. The two that are easiest for me to give up are Berlin and Vienna. The ones that would be the hardest to scratch are the U.K., Paris, Iceland, then Budapest or Prague. Amsterdam isn't that important but it seems fun so I would like to visit. At the same time I would drop it for any of the previous 5.

So tell me why this is the worst idea ever and how I can make it better. I prefer long stays in places but getting back to Europe might take awhile so I want enough variety to quench the wanderlust.
MisterBeh is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 05:36 PM
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You haven't factored in travel time. How long will it take you to get from Reykjavik to Glasgow - are there non stop flights?

London to Paris is a good half day; about 5 hours hotel to hotel.

If you keep going with the travel time you will have used most of your extra 5 days.

Other than the UK portion you're only visiting cities. Are you at all interested in smaller towns or cities near the ones you've chosen? For instance, Potsdam is about an hour from Berlin and could be a good day trip if you had more time in Berlin. You could also visit Dresden on the way to Prague.

If you're not all that interested in Vienna you should drop it from the itinerary and fly home from Budapest.

Iceland should be a trip by itself and you might want to consider seeing more of the country on a longer trip.

You should write down all the sights you want to see in each city and have that determine the number of days you stay there. Warning - the more more you read about each place the longer you'll want to stay!

Your itinerary looks good overall. 4 days each in Prague and Budapest will give a good feel to those cities. 5 days in Paris is good although 5 years would not be enough for me.

<< I want enough variety to quench the wanderlust >>

I don't believe it's possible to quench wanderlust!!
adrienne is offline  
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Nov 12th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Hey MisterBeh;

Welcome to Fodors.

It seems clear to me that you have factored in travel time; quite familiar with long train trips and budgeting your time. Factoring in time is not a big issue on a 6 week 7/8 stop itinerary anyway.

I like the pan-European mix you have planned. Some day I will do the Iceland stopover on one of my trips for some real variety. Of the cities you mention, I have spent time in them all (except Reykjavik) and Amsterdam is my least favourite. it is not as raunchy or exciting as you may think. Unless you intend to partake of the red light district, you can walk around it and do your window shopping in a couple of hours any night. Now I am going to tell you to ignore my preferences entirely.

You are about to get advice coming from every direction; telling you to drop this city, add one you haven't mention as even having an interest in, spend more time here, etc.. There is a tendency for people to want you to do what they have done, and to go to their favourite places, but that won't make them your favourite places.

From the way you describe your reasons for visiting some of the cities mentioned; "figured its a must", "don't really know why", I think might want to spend a little more time researching your choices and see if they really fit your interests. You don't want to go somewhere because you think you should, or because someone says it is a must.

Do some more sniffing around and decide where you want to be and where you think you will find some connection to your reasons for traveling. That will also help you decide whether you want to spend 3 or 5, or 7 days in any particular place.
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Nov 12th, 2012, 06:09 PM
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I figured some travel time in but not exactly. The idea was to see where people would add or take away from then adjust from there. For example Reykjavik to Glasgow is a 2hr. non stop flight. Which seems like a non-issue to me... Amsterdam to Berlin is the longest with about 6 hours on the train, which will end up eating an entire day.

I'm not that interested in the smaller cities. At least not on my first trip. I enjoy metropolises in general and figured that experiencing those first would be more enjoyable. But I will check out Dresden since you mentioned it being on the way to Prague.

I will probably drop Vienna from the itinerary. Flying from Budapest is about the same price.

As far as Iceland goes, I just really want to spend some time there. My flight would have a layover there. Plus it is cheaper to go from St. Louis, to Reykjavik, stop, then go to Glasgow- about $500. Don't know why but it is. So Reykjavik is pretty much a must. The question is how much time do I devote to Iceland.

Also I should probably explain that I don't plan on staying at hotels. I'll stay in hostels or couch surf. And site seeing isn't a huge priority, but I would like to see the more memorable stuff. When I've traveled the city itself is what is interesting to me not necessarily the monuments or museums.
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Nov 12th, 2012, 06:27 PM
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Thank you Aramis.

I do need to do more research. I've only skimmed the surface of some of these cities. And some places make the trip for me- Iceland, U.K., Paris, Eastern Europe. But that seems like too little for a 6 week trip.

But Maybe Icleand, U.K., Paris/Amsterdam, Prague/Budapest... Extend the stay in Iceland to five days, Do ten days between Paris and Amsterdam (more in Paris), split ten days equally between Budapest and Prague, and add a few days on to the U.K. stay, maybe include Ireland.

Just a thought...
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Nov 12th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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I don't see any mention of a budget - or of what time of year you are looking at.

That info would help people give you specific advice.

Some cities- Prague and Budapest are less expensive, while London is probably the most expensive (especially for lodging). But without knowing what specifically you want to see it's hard to make recos - but IMHO you could add a day to any of your cities and still have plenty to do.
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Nov 12th, 2012, 06:47 PM
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For me personally, I would cut Iceland.
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Nov 12th, 2012, 07:27 PM
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You could go from London to Paris and then Amsterdam, or go to Amsterdam first and then Paris -- either way, it's a long way from Amsterdam or Paris to Prague. I would either plan to fly to Prague or break up the train ride by staying a night or two someplace such as Wurzburg or Nuremberg.
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Nov 12th, 2012, 07:36 PM
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nytraveler, the goal is to travel as cheap as possible. So I will couch surf, and stay in hostels- which I enjoy. My departure will occur in May.

Thanks for the suggestions Tom18. Originally I had planed to stop in Berlin. But I really don't have a reason besides for the fact it would break up the time between Amsterdam and Prague. I'll check out Nuremberg and Wurzburg.
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Nov 12th, 2012, 11:48 PM
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Don't forget to factor in travel time to and from the airports/train stations, waiting time, getting to your hotel etc...each time you move it will take about half a day, even I'd it's just a 2 hour flight.

Instead of a 6 hour train ride check out budget airlines like easyjet.com or Ryanair.com - just beware of extra fees and charges. Www.whichbudget.com is a good site to see cheap flights. Also beware of the airport these airlines fly into, some are really far away from the city they say they fly to.

You may want to go to the thorntree forum - there are more couch surfers etc.
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Nov 18th, 2012, 04:19 AM
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Interesting question and thread. Your plan seems pretty good and excellent to make use of the stopover in Reykjavik. Iceland is on my list of places to see and so whether you add more days there depends on your more detailed research about how you get to see the landscape. As a city too it will be interesting - its small and expensive but to me sounds fascinating.

I'm a huge fan of Glasgow so it is good that you intend a leisurely journey to London. Don't spend too little time in London though - as you are intersted in metropolises London deserves more than 4 days I think.

You are right that Paris is a must and it will be a good contrast to London.

I guess the choice then is whether you try to fit in a southern european city and take out one of your existing choices. I've been to all of the cities on your list and enjoyed them all. They are all northern european - albeit a mix of west and east. I think that if you are interested in cities as metropolises then fitting in a southern european one would be good.

For me itwould be Barcelona - have been there a few times now and have always enjoyed it immensely. Its location on the coast adds a very different feel to it and its relationship to Madrid makes for an interesting contrast from the other cities on your list which are the biggest cities in each country.

That said I loved Amsterdam, which has a unique feel to it and will contrast nicely with other places.

For me Berlin is a must given its history and the contrast between eas and west Berlin and how that is breaking down as time passes. Given your interests I think it probably merits more of your time. It is a far less walkable city than Amsterdam or Paris and has far greater differences between its neighbourhoods I think.

Prague is indeed beautiful and very atmospheric. For me Budapest was pretty much like Prague but not as commercially developed - this was a few years ago though now. I loved Vienna though and it has a fascinating history as a city. I think though that if you are happy to fly out of Budapest I would cut down the days there a little and try hard to fit Barcelona in. I do recognise though that doesn't easily fit in to your otherwise logical route.

Sounds like it will be a great experience - hope you will do a trip report.
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Nov 18th, 2012, 04:53 AM
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May is peak time in Amsterdam, so if you are planning on hostels there you will need to book soon.
The red light district is a very small area, and will take maybe an hour if you spend a long time there. It is sordid and nasty, though the area is historic. I don't see the attraction of it personally - looking at trafficked women living in poor conditions doing a terrible job. I amd quite sure most people would not visit the RLD in their own town or city as a tourist destination.
That said there is plenty of other things to do in Amsterdam. Whether coffeeshops will still be on the tourist list is at the moment uncertain, until the new government makes up it's mind about this.
Do try and see more of the Netherlands than Amsterdam alone if you can. The country is so much more than, and so very different to, Amsterdam.
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Nov 18th, 2012, 05:13 AM
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Personally, I would take out Berlin in favor of Munich. So you do Prague, Munich, Vienna, Budapest. If you do find you have an extra day you could easily squeeze in Salzburg. Although after 6 weeks you are going to be tired!

If you really really want to drop Vienna, maybe keep Berlin then take out Vienna and put in Munich. Not that I'm pushing Munich.
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Nov 18th, 2012, 05:24 AM
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Opps. I hate that you can't edit...

My plan included flying easyjet for about E45 from Amsterdam to Prague.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 03:11 PM
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I'm with Lucy, you missed Bavaria. I am a huge Bavaria-file and I love to go to Munich and the Alpine (Ludwig castle) area South of Munich. Salzburg is in that area too and is one of the highlights on my list. I would keep Vienna in the list. It is an amazing city and IMHO a notch above Berlin or Budapest. Sounds like a super trip. I'll join you on that one anytime.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 03:13 PM
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I know it is not good to try to conquor the continent in a single visit but (just to confuse things) you do realize that you won't be all that far from Venice, Florence and Rome?
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Nov 19th, 2012, 03:43 PM
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Eliminate Berlin. Go to Bavaria!

Vienna has great buildings. That is about it.

Forget the Red Light area of Amsterdam unless you are a customer. Pretty boring just to walk around. Not worth putting on your itinerary.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 03:46 PM
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I would remove (or greatly reduce) Prague which is totally overrated. Budapest is nice, however. I am completely allergic to Vienna.
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Nov 19th, 2012, 03:49 PM
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We did not find the RLD sordid or nasty, and the women are not trafficed, please inform yourself before you say such things. They get medical , dental and have set hours , they are not forced, it is legal, and they are not naked . It is a very small area, and if the streets are crowded you can literally walk by and not notice the windows , they are darkly lit, often with pink or red lights, so if walking in middle of street and people are all around you , they don't really stand out. I had to point the first few out to my bf as he didn't even notice them ( busy trying not to get hit by bikes in Amsterdam, they are scary) The whole walk through would take less then an hour, I think we did it in maybe 20 minutes( cause it was raining , as it always seems to be when I go to Amsterdam, lol ) . Personally Amsterdam is a 3 day visit for me, but I am not into visiting gardens etc which in May will likely be quite spectacular if you enjoy that sort of thing.

Personally I would eliminate Berlin , for no reason other then you have no real reason to go..
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Nov 19th, 2012, 04:13 PM
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Traveldawg, didn't you find the cake shops in Vienna? It's worth a trip just for the desserts, not to mention the palaces and the Lippizzaner horses. Now that is astonishing, and I'm not even an animal lover. I liked Vienna a lot.
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