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View Full Version : Travel Advice for Europe (London, Spain, Greece, Portugal, France, Germany, Italy etc


SpikeyAidanm
Feb 28th, 2012, 07:24 AM
Hey Everyone!

I know I haven't posted on WTAWorld in like 5 years but maybe some of you may still remember me ;) :wavey:

In exactly 2 months I will be travelling from Australia to Europe for the first time all alone!

My route of flight is Melbourne - London, then i plan on transporting from London to Paris (haven't booked anything yet), and my return flight is from Greece to Melbourne via 1 night in Dubai!

Total time I will be travelling is 3.5 weeks.

About me I'm a young 25 year old male, loves the night bar/club scene, gay and looking to meet lots of new people. Enjoy the odd touristy sport however more of a enjoy the scenery, lifestyle and meet new people kinda person. Love night life and going out!

So my questions.

1. What are some must see countries - I have decided definately on London for a good 5-6 days, Paris for 5 days but haven't planned the rest. I want to see as many countries as possible however I am only travelling for a total of 3.5 weeks so I realize it would be impossible to fit them all in.
2. Transport wise getting around Europe what would you recommend, I know they have Eurorail, planes and buses. What would be the most economical and easiest as a traveller? Is there any particular route you could suggest eg visit Germany after France etc.
3. What are some must-see sites in the countries (say London, Paris, plus the countries of Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Italy).
4. Accommodation wise I plan on booking somewhere to stay in London and Paris however planning to book the rest as I get there and sort of plan my own holiday. I plan on staying in hostels. What do you guys think of this?
5. Any other advice??? :)

Thanks so much in advance :wavey:

Sam L
Feb 28th, 2012, 08:57 AM
With the amount of time you have and considering what you want to do, you should consider doing tours like Top Deck or Contiki.

I've never done any of these but I've heard good things about them especially for people who love the night life and going out.

I've never stayed in a hotel/hostel in Paris but I've heard that hostels are pretty expensive so you should just go for a hotel.

When are you going?

SpikeyAidanm
Feb 28th, 2012, 09:56 AM
Cheers Sam. Was thinking about Contiki but prefer to do my own thing but I will look into it. Thing is I could meet people and maybe going on a Contiki might make it hard if I want to stay longer in a certain city I fall in love with etc lol. Going for the whole month of May. Cheers for advice about Paris.

azdaja
Feb 28th, 2012, 10:01 AM
[B][I]1. What are some must see countries - I have decided definately on London for a good 5-6 days, Paris for 5 days but haven't planned the rest. I want to see as many countries as possible however I am only travelling for a total of 3.5 weeks so I realize it would be impossible to fit them all in.
3.5 weeks is not much. concentrate on visiting individual cities and their regions.

2. Transport wise getting around Europe what would you recommend, I know they have Eurorail, planes and buses. What would be the most economical and easiest as a traveller? Is there any particular route you could suggest eg visit Germany after France etc.
if you are going to spain and portugal i would actually recommend you going there from france or holland first because there are plenty of budget airlines flying from spain and portugal to germany and you can easily get to greece from germany as well. budget airlines are a good way to get around, but you will need to book all flights before you start travelling. mid-week flights are usually cheaper. another option are overnight trains because you can sleep and travel at the same time and save a lot of time. i wouldn't recommend you any other option given the distances and time you have. you would use buses and local train only for shorter distances.

3. What are some must-see sites in the countries (say London, Paris, plus the countries of Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Italy).
in spain i would recommend you madrid region and andalusia ahead of barcelona. there are some nice places near madrid you can visit on day trips. in andalusia córdoba, granada, sevilla, cádiz, malaga are all worth a day or 2. in portugal obvious choices are lisbon and porto. if you go to lisbon the obvious advice would be to visit sintra. if you visit porto you can also do day trips to braga and guimarães. you might also want to visit prague, vienna or budapest when leaving germany. there are good overnight train connections between several german cities and vienna and you can fly to greece from vienna, bratislava or budapest. you can also travel to or from italy by overnight trains from vienna. there are many nice places to see in italy, i guess the most obvious choices are rome and florence. if you go to florence make a day trip to siena, i loved it. there are also many places to visit in germany. i guess berlin is famous for its night life so you might want to spend a couple of days there.

4. Accommodation wise I plan on booking somewhere to stay in London and Paris however planning to book the rest as I get there and sort of plan my own holiday. I plan on staying in hostels. What do you guys think of this?
you can do it in this way, but with the limited time you have i don't think you will be able to be very flexible. otherwise i'd say hostels are great for socialising. i feel you will meet more interesting people in less obvious destinations though.

SpikeyAidanm
Feb 28th, 2012, 10:58 PM
Thanks for the replies guys! keep em coming :)

donellcarey
Feb 28th, 2012, 11:13 PM
Alright early summer is the GREATEST TIME of the year for South Europe.

Especially when u r a fan of nightclubs lol

Then my advice would be:

Enter Europe by Portugal and all the way north.

Portugal is worth at least a week (for me). Lisbon & all those sightseeing spots around (like Sintra, Estoril & Cabo da Roca) will cost u at least 3 days, and then u might wanna spend a couple of days in Porto to taste the nice wine and chill a bit.

Then to Spain, man there's so many cities u should visit. But with that little time u have, I suggest a quick tour in the South of Spain which will take u more or less 5 days (of the city I can come up with right now, Sevilla, Cordoba, Granada, Cadiz, Ronda, Marbella, etc., u have to make your own cut;)). Then all the way to Madrid and its surrounding cities, which will take u about 5 days as well (some must-visit cities like Toledo & Segovia, and Aranjuez would be nice around the time u're there as well, these cities are GREAT for a one-day trip cuz they're close to Madrid), 2 days are enough for Madrid itself (but I think u really need to dip into it to experience that city, won't have enough time though). Then from Madrid to Barcelona & Valencia, that would take u a week, I personally LOVE Valencia, its food & drink (oh u really need to taste the paella and the HORCHATA there). Then from Barcelona/Valencia u can go to France.

Paris itself will take u at least 3 days, and then u can visit Nice/Cannes/Monaco (they're in the same area), and then maybe u wanna see those lavender in the province of Provence, u might go to Marseilles for a couple of days, but remember, book the tour EARLY.

For me Spain has the world's greatest discos (actually all South Europe has AMAZING nightlife), so enjoy yourself there.:)

donellcarey
Feb 28th, 2012, 11:19 PM
About the transportation, the most economic way is to go in plane, with its strong system of cheap airlines.

Of course railway can also work, but it would cost u more.

If u're moving in the same area then bus is a good idea.

It all depends.

silverwhite
Feb 28th, 2012, 11:23 PM
OMFG. You're back?! :speakles:

hellas719
Feb 29th, 2012, 02:34 AM
Later April/early May is perfect for Greece. I can't speak for the other countries because I haven't been, but the Greek islands will have great beach weather during this time and they are not crowded at all. They're also very green during this time. I'm sure it's the same thing in Spain though. If you do end up going to Greece, feel free to PM me so I can tell you where to go, etc. :)

Also if you have time, check out Romania. It's supposed to be beautiful there, and from what I've seen/read online, it seems very underrated ;)

donellcarey
Feb 29th, 2012, 02:52 AM
Later April/early May is perfect for Greece. I can't speak for the other countries because I haven't been, but the Greek islands will have great beach weather during this time and they are not crowded at all. They're also very green during this time. I'm sure it's the same thing in Spain though. If you do end up going to Greece, feel free to PM me so I can tell you where to go, etc. :)

Also if you have time, check out Romania. It's supposed to be beautiful there, and from what I've seen/read online, it seems very underrated ;)
So is Croatia.:)

Fed_Ds
Feb 29th, 2012, 03:45 AM
About the transportation, the most economic way is to go in plane, with its strong system of cheap airlines.

Of course railway can also work, but it would cost u more.

If u're moving in the same area then bus is a good idea.

It all depends.
I agree with this. Check out the prices on EasyJet before you buy any train or tgv passes.

shap_half
Feb 29th, 2012, 04:02 AM
I love Paris. It is one of my favorite cities in the world, but I have to say that unless you know someone there who can take you to some interesting places, I found the gay nightlife to be severely lacking.

My favorite European city is Berlin. It has everything you need, and it is ridiculously cheap. Berlin also has a very strong hostel scene so it shouldn't be a problem finding a bed there. You should also consider couchsurfing. It's a great way to meet people.

I second whoever mentioned Portugal. Lisbon is an incredible, inexpensive city. The food and wine are fantastic and there's no shortage of sites to see. As a city, it's just gorgeous, and it's really one of the only major western European city that still feels old.

I also have to say this: Don't overdo it. I know a lot of people who try to jam in as many places they can on their first European trip, but it's such a waste of time. The weather is going to be so gorgeous (not too hot) that I would really recommend staying longer in two or three cities and really getting the most of the experience as possible. Maybe take the time to explore smaller nearby towns. It'll really make a difference if you don't feel like you've exhausted yourself by trying to make as many destinations as you can.

If it were me, and I had roughly 25 days, I'd just follow a geographical path back to Greece from London, hitting, only two other major destination between.

azdaja
Feb 29th, 2012, 08:21 AM
i agree about not overdoing it. i don't think it's possible to see all these countries in just 3.5 weeks. i don't think you need to follow a geographical line, though, because that kind of travel makes sense if you have plenty of time (i've met australians at hostels who would travel around europe for 6 months or a year) and a budget airline will take you quickly from one part of the continent to the other. plus some places have better connections than others. if germany is on your plan the best budget airline is air berlin. imo, they really are the best in europe.

overnight trains are not always more expensive than planes. there are cheap offers, you save money for accommodation for the night and you move from city centre to city centre. quality of services vary wildly throughout the continent, though.

if you ask me which country would be the first to skip out of those you mentioned i'd say italy. plenty of things to see, but really way too expensive. portugal on the other hand is the cheapest and surprisingly underrated destination in the western part of the continent.

overall i think a power tour london-paris-andalusia-madrid-portugal-berlin-greece is doable, but you will be running around.

Sam L
Feb 29th, 2012, 08:34 AM
Cheers Sam. Was thinking about Contiki but prefer to do my own thing but I will look into it. Thing is I could meet people and maybe going on a Contiki might make it hard if I want to stay longer in a certain city I fall in love with etc lol. Going for the whole month of May. Cheers for advice about Paris.

No worries but imo something's got to give. You either take a tour and see "as many countries as possible" or you pick a few and do it on your own.

Some people have mentioned planes but don't forget that you need to get to the airports and there's the business about checking in etc..

Personally I would take the suggestion of a geographical line and take trains which places you right in the middle of the city where there should be plenty of hostels.

shap_half
Mar 1st, 2012, 01:15 PM
i agree about not overdoing it. i don't think it's possible to see all these countries in just 3.5 weeks. i don't think you need to follow a geographical line, though, because that kind of travel makes sense if you have plenty of time (i've met australians at hostels who would travel around europe for 6 months or a year) and a budget airline will take you quickly from one part of the continent to the other. plus some places have better connections than others. if germany is on your plan the best budget airline is air berlin. imo, they really are the best in europe.

overnight trains are not always more expensive than planes. there are cheap offers, you save money for accommodation for the night and you move from city centre to city centre. quality of services vary wildly throughout the continent, though.

if you ask me which country would be the first to skip out of those you mentioned i'd say italy. plenty of things to see, but really way too expensive. portugal on the other hand is the cheapest and surprisingly underrated destination in the western part of the continent.

overall i think a power tour london-paris-andalusia-madrid-portugal-berlin-greece is doable, but you will be running around.

Taking yourself from one corner of the continent to the other pretty much takes a full day of traveling. Last summer, I flew from Lisbon to Istanbul. Left for the airport at 11am, arrived at my hotel in Istanbul at 11pm.

Obviously that's an extreme case, but this is why I recommend a more linear geographic itinerary. It cuts on travel time and reduces stress. Obviously, different strokes for different folks. After a few tries, I realize that I'm better served by a travel style that isn't too strenuous. I like to give myself enough time to see what I want without breaking my back to do it. I don't particularly enjoy getting up before 11am (unless there's a delicious hotel breakfast) or missing meals in favor of seeing another building or work of art.

My usual schedule is, get up at 11am, get a coffee, shower, see one culturally relevant point of interest all before 2pm. Eat lunch until 4pm. See one more culturally relevant thing and/or shop, but must be back at the hotel by 7pm. Change for dinner and then whatever the night is.

Chris 84
Mar 1st, 2012, 01:25 PM
I've never stayed in a hotel/hostel in Paris but I've heard that hostels are pretty expensive so you should just go for a hotel.

nothing like as expensive as hotels :lol:

i've been to paris a couple of times and i'd say definitely stay in a hostel if you need to save money. can get a perfectly decent hostel for about 20-odd euros. i stayed in Square Caulaincourt (or sth) in Montmartre, and i reccommended it to someone else who wanted to spend not that much money, and she enjoyed that hostel when she went.

the obvious sights in paris, i'm sure you'll see for yourself. 2 places i enjoyed which are less obvious. the military museum at les invalides is the best museum of its kind i've ever been in. if you like that kind of thing in any way, you should check it out.
the second place you could check out is Buttes-Chaumont. paris has lots of parks, but this one is eaisly my favourite. its out of the way of the usual tourist traps, but very accessible. the scenery is really great, and it is a pretty awesome place to spend a quiet 2 hours reading or having a picnic or sth.

but yeah, you can't really go wrong with paris, you'll never be stuck for sth to do or see.

azdaja
Mar 1st, 2012, 02:05 PM
Taking yourself from one corner of the continent to the other pretty much takes a full day of traveling. Last summer, I flew from Lisbon to Istanbul. Left for the airport at 11am, arrived at my hotel in Istanbul at 11pm.

Obviously that's an extreme case, but this is why I recommend a more linear geographic itinerary. It cuts on travel time and reduces stress. Obviously, different strokes for different folks. After a few tries, I realize that I'm better served by a travel style that isn't too strenuous. I like to give myself enough time to see what I want without breaking my back to do it. I don't particularly enjoy getting up before 11am (unless there's a delicious hotel breakfast) or missing meals in favor of seeing another building or work of art.

My usual schedule is, get up at 11am, get a coffee, shower, see one culturally relevant point of interest all before 2pm. Eat lunch until 4pm. See one more culturally relevant thing and/or shop, but must be back at the hotel by 7pm. Change for dinner and then whatever the night is.
11am is very late if you are staying at hostels. breakfast is usually included but the breakfast time is usually until 10 at most.

i was going by what the op said about seeing as many places as possible. i'm myself not a lazy and slow traveller, but i know you shouldn't pack too much in one trip. my advice would generally be to stay longer in big cities and if you get bored you can always do a day trip or 2 from there. then move to the next. as to how you travel between cities you should plan that on a case by case basis. flights can take a while but at least you will get somewhere in this way. trains or buses can be very slow as well and if you take a midday connection you will waste the whole day even if the trip lasts shorter. generally i agree that a linear or round trip with several stops in between is a better way to travel, though.

SpikeyAidanm
Mar 1st, 2012, 07:24 PM
Thanks all for your wise replies!!!

shap_half
Mar 2nd, 2012, 01:56 AM
11am is very late if you are staying at hostels. breakfast is usually included but the breakfast time is usually until 10 at most.

i was going by what the op said about seeing as many places as possible. i'm myself not a lazy and slow traveller, but i know you shouldn't pack too much in one trip. my advice would generally be to stay longer in big cities and if you get bored you can always do a day trip or 2 from there. then move to the next. as to how you travel between cities you should plan that on a case by case basis. flights can take a while but at least you will get somewhere in this way. trains or buses can be very slow as well and if you take a midday connection you will waste the whole day even if the trip lasts shorter. generally i agree that a linear or round trip with several stops in between is a better way to travel, though.

Lazy is right, but I've never once stayed in a hostel where the breakfast was worth getting up earlier for.

harris.margaret9
Jun 8th, 2012, 10:34 AM
If you do end up traveling from London to Paris, I think the most obvious choice for a next destination would be Italy. My last vacation I bounced around Italy, from a hostel in Rome, to Venice apartments (http://www.holiday-velvet.com/venice), then stayed at a villa ($$) in Tuscany. One of the most memorable trips I've ever taken. The food in Italy is without question the best in the world, and who doesn't go on vacation to eat?

Fantasy Hero
Jun 8th, 2012, 11:12 AM
mostly depends on what do you want to see in Europe, as every 150-200 km you could find totally different aspects or memories of different stories as Europe is really heterogeneous in its existence ;)
anw if i were you, i wouldn't miss Rome and Venice as for italy and, even though the quality of italian trains is quite low, i would try to move with them as the landscape of central italy is probably one of the most beutiful in the world, so it would be a shame to miss it. if you need any help with italian sites or only some tips don't hesitate PM me, i live 100km away from venice :lol:
Obviously it's always a matter of taste, but then i wouldn't skip a trip to Vienna, as it has been the heart and sould of 1/2 of the modern history of Europe and you can feel it by walking down Kartnerstrasse ;)
If you are interested in more modern cities then you should have a weekend in Berlin, though i honestly didn't like the city as much as i thought i would have. Moving nordwards Copenhagen is a really lovely city and it's not as expensive as the other capitals of the scandinavian area (still really expensive), and east-wards I found Tallinn to be one of the most beautiful place i've ever stayed, with its magical medioeval atmosphere and really nice people around in the long hours of dying sun around midnight :)

Andiyan
Jun 8th, 2012, 01:40 PM
Random useless bump, thread starter already finished his trip. :happy:

Hope he had a good time tho.