Where to go in Europe in July?

Old May 6th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Where to go in Europe in July?

Hi All,

I am planning on traveling to Europe in July with my boyfriend. While I have heard that July is not the best month to go necessarily because of cost (and maybe weather as well) - it is the only time we can travel. We are planning on only going for a week - i.e. Saturday to Sunday (at most).

I am wondering if you all might have suggestions for us of where to travel - we would like to spend less than $2,000 on flights and hotels - and would want to do no more than two cities/countries. Unfortunately, despite our budget - we are not willing to stay in hostiles - and would still want to be in hotels, inns, etc. We will be flying out of the Washington, DC area.

A little bit about us - we are 28 and 30 respectively - both love beaches, pools - water generally - but aren't big nature people. We would obviously want to take in the sights of any country - but nothing like hiking - more general sightseeing and some nightlife. We aren't huge foodies either. Neither of us have ever been to Europe. We had thought we wanted to to London and Dublin - but price wise we aren't sure that's the best choice.

Any advice you can give on where to go on a limited budget with limited time would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!
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Old May 6th, 2013, 09:42 AM
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If you want to keep the costs down and don't want to use hostels then you need to look at apartments/gites. Wanting water and nightlife suggests you might like to look at Amsterdam or one of the smaller towns nearby. Say Harlaam which is very easy to get to from the airport and Amsterdam centre.

Just to give you an idea http://www.homeaway.co.uk/p868627?uni_id=1212633

For first timers it is often best to look at the two of Paris and London, in London you could look at some of the chains like premiertravelinn at http://www.premierinn.com/ which are more commercial traveller hotels but keep the prices down.

Hostels might worry you but have a look at http://www.yha.org.uk/places-to-stay/london note that some of these are pretty classy

Paris can be a little cheaper than London, stay around the Latin quarter and you can find some reasonable places just not very big.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Have you looked at the cost of flights in July?

I think that will eat up your entire budget. You need to start to figure out where you can afford to fly to - and then work from there - but $2000 - I assume for both of you - leaves very little for anything else.

Just took a very quick run at Kayak. there may be something else available but for random non-weekend (so cheaper) dates in July I did;t see anything less than $1100 per person for air. So you would need at least $3K just for air and very modest lodgings.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 10:35 AM
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I have indeed looked at flights - a number of times which is why I was grasping for help - and they are depressingly expensive. But as I said before, it is the absolute only time we can go.

We are looking to spend $2,000 each - not total. So we do have a bit more to work with. However, we are open to using packaged deals that often reduce costs - but are still interested in what the best location(s) would be.

Thanks agian.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 10:36 AM
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Again* Apologies for my spelling!
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Old May 6th, 2013, 10:57 AM
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I agree about the apartment. It will really help with costs especially meals if you have a kitchen and don't need to eat every meal in a restaurant. My advice would be to pick one city as your base and to explore and then take a couple of day trips for different experiences. Your time on the ground is short and may have jet lag the first couple of days making them shorter.

Once you have your city picked you should jump on flights and apartments if it is for this summer.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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If you really have such a limited budget and don't want to wait until next year to save a little more to expand that budget can I suggest Toronto, Montreal or a combination of the two. They are both great cities with charm and sophistication. Canada is a foreign country. And the airfare while still not cheap is a fraction of what a ticket to anywhere is Europe would be this summer.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 02:10 PM
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Stay in small towns accessible to the cities you want to visit. It will keep the costs down. For example, in Belgium you might stay in Leuven or Mechelen instead of Brussels, which is hellishly expensive during the week. Or sometimes you can get good prices on the weekends in Brussels, which is when all the Eurocrats and business people have gone home for the weekend. Try a hotel booking site and just have a play with the dates to see what I mean.

Countyside is always cheaper than city, and some towns less touristy than others - keep that in mind.

Lavandula
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Old May 6th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Flights to Warsaw are cheap out of Washington and cheaper still out of New York. Go somewhere exotic and see some things nobody else has seen.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 03:13 PM
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Warsaw was an exceptionally interesting city..Visited it due to this wild deviation for bus. class ff seat availability on the way to MAD. Weird way to get to Spain but figured "another notch in my travel belt so why not". Wonderful experience, stayed 3 days and wished for more..Lovely parks, beautiful square that didn't look at all as if if had been completely rebuilt after WWII. Excellent job of restoration.. good food, cheap taxis (before 7pm on weekends), and an interesting example of comparisons of old, communist, and current modern arch!! Give it a thought.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 04:55 PM
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Montreal or Toronto as an alternative to Europe?

"Foreign", yes - comparable to Europe, ummmmmm
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Old May 6th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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I honestly don't think you want to visit any place that isn't your idea of a great first time visit to Europe.

Let's say you have 4k

2500 for air leaves you 1500 for a weeks accommodations. Doable. In Paris, I've rented this apartment

http://www.rentparis.com/en/apt-47-r...beaubourg.html

which goes for 110 euro per night for over 6 nights. 770 euro for a week is about 1000 USD.

That leaves you 500 USD.

From Paris, you can day trip to any number of interesting places.

Of course, there's no water involved.

How about Barcelona?

Nice?

Both with water and lots to do. Barcelona I think would have better nightlife.

Either would give you opportunities to see many places by daytrip.

Stretching your budget a little, still using apartments, you could fly into one European city and out of another, but the stretch would come getting between the two.

Last fall we went to London and Rome, within your budget, but weren't central in London, and had a pretty cheap apartment in Rome.

If your 4K doesn't have to cover all food and ground transportation, I don't see any problem in spending a week in Europe.

It might be hot.

Oh, what about Dublin and using Ryan Air (sp?) to go to one of the many cities they service from there?

Two countries in one week tends to be much more expensive and time consuming.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 06:49 PM
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Monk,

forget about Kayak, Expedia, Travelocity, etc. and play around with www.europeandestinations.com

I was on there and looked at several scenarios out of and back to Washington Dulles. There are several places that pair nicely like Madrid and Barcelona or Dublin and London. The first one came out to around $1619 per person and this includes international flight, hotels, and transport to Barcelona. keep in mind this doesn't account for food, public transportation, souvenirs, beer etc.
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Old May 6th, 2013, 07:07 PM
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A couple of notes:

How do you feel about the weather: Spain and Italy are typically hellishly hot in the summer - often 100 and humid.

If you want someplace cooler for touring you might consider Ireland or Germany - but you won;t get beach weather.

Agree that staying in one place will not only save money but give you a chance to learn a little about the place - and have a relaxed - rather than rushed - vacation.
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Old May 7th, 2013, 02:37 PM
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If the OP is really serious about going to Europe, KLM or someone has just kicked of a humdinger of a mid-summer sale. For one week trips out of Washington Sat or Sun to the following Sat or Sun, I'm pulling up fares below $1,000 on Kayak out of Washington to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and London. And if the OP can move her dates a little, she can go to Istanbul for a week on Delta for $863. Run down walk, this won't last!
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Old May 7th, 2013, 03:17 PM
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Lisbon is super cheap. Don't know what air fares are like, but once you get there, it is very cheap for both lodging and food. You have both a great city atmosphere, night life, and very short hops to beaches. Wonderful nightlife, sweet people, great European, romantic atmosphere lots of evening strolls. It really doesn't matter if it is hot in the day because people chill in the afternoon and then come out when it is cool in the evening.
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Old May 7th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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How about Scotland?
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Old May 13th, 2013, 08:10 AM
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Thanks so much for all of these posts.

We have done more research and (I think) narrowed our choices down to visiting Ireland or Spain (taking advice of others and doing only one country). (Both come in at around $2,000 each) - we are deciding between either driving around the country on a europeandestinations.com package in Ireland or doing 3 days in both Madrid and Barcelona. I realize these are VERY different places. So I'm struggling on how we chose.

My significant other has an Irish background and would love to visit - but thought of having to be at a different hotel every night or two (and lots of time spent in the car) isn't that enticing (but of course the Irish countryside itself, is enticing).

Given that we live in DC we are used to fairly warm, humid summers - so I'm not sure how much the weather would affect us in Spain. I sort of like the idea of having more time to relax and explore - and the idea of being able to walk most places would be ideal.

Has anyone been to both - and do you have a preference? (Side note: the nightlife isn't a huge draw for us - so it doesn't particularly matter what that would be like, as we would probably be tuckered out by the end of the day) - more interested in good sites to see/things to do.

Thanks so much for all the input!
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Old May 13th, 2013, 09:01 AM
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Some of the places listed above are much more expensive than others - eg Scotland, Ireland, London are more than Lisbon, Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands. So if you don't care where you go as long as it's "classic Europe" I'd look at airfares into some of the less expensive destinations. France and Italy have some expensive areas, others not so.

Someone above mentioned Haarlem - it's 15 min from center of Amsterdam and way cheaper. And there's plenty to do for a week between Amsterdam and the smaller cities all easily accessible by train. And AMS is often a relatively cheap airport to fly into. You could even split the week with Belgium and fly in or out of Brussels.

If you did want a 'biggie' such as Paris, you can get decent hotels for less than many apartments. The one listed above is 110 euro. Hotel Marignan is a very centrally located hotel with prices in July of 84 euro if you don't mind sharing bathroom or 95 for ensuite. And the shared bathroom are right across the hall and you only share with one other room, not sketchy at all. And includes breakfast. There are even cheaper hotels in Paris, a search here will bring up some of the favorites.

London is usually cheap to fly into but hotels are more expensive. Although there is the newish chain of EasyHotels (run by EasyJet) which are incredibly small rooms (and orange decor) but quite cheap and well located. Some times the Travelodge chain is reasonably priced. Plus lots of people here love Priceline for London. Also, once you are there lots of stuff is free - museums, parks, etc. and you can get fabulous sandwiches to eat as picnics for not much money. Way better than pre-made sandwiches you'd get in the US. They are available at Marks and Spencer, Tesco, etc. (salads as well). The exchange rate does make things more costly in general than in the euro zone countries.

Really you can't go wrong with Lisbon - hotels and food were among the cheapest of anywhere I've been in Europe and it's a great city. Although with a week I'd want to try to get out to see some other areas. We rented a car so I'm not sure what the public trans. is like outside of Lisbon.j

And of course Italy is many people's first choice. Check airports other than Rome (Milan - MXP) to see if the airfare is less. And then stick to smaller cities than Rome or Venice as hotel prices there could be a deal breaker for your budget. Although July is actually something of a shoulder season for both those cities with lower hotel prices than June/Sept. so if you've always wanted to go there don't rule it out without checking.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 10:15 AM
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Yes, I have been to both - and Spain in the summer is NOT like DC. Depending on exactly where you go high temps can range from 100 to 120. We were in Madrid at the end of April and it was 99 - and absolutely unbearable outside. Barcelona is likely to be a little cooler. But expect mobs everywhere. Also do realize that not all places have AC - unlike the US where everyplace/thing has AC - modest hotels, shops and restaurants may well not have any.

But - I admit I don;t like hot weather.

I would do Ireland in a heartbeat - flying into Shannon and out of Dublin - or vice versa. Spend 3 days in Dublin (visit Newgrange as a day trip) and then spend the rest touring one part of the country. Take a relaxed tour of a limited area - staying in only 2 places - NOT moving every night, which just wastes time.
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