I want to be leaving, on a jet plane
July 10, 2012 2:09 AM   Subscribe

Travelfilter: solo, female, 22, Europe, August, anything from a few days to 3 weeks. Recommendations for destinations to invigorate, refresh and reinspire me after a tough year.

After an emotionally exhausting year and in the midst of a quarter-life crisis, I'm really feeling the need to get away from here (UK) for a bit, and rediscover the richness that life can offer me. I'm not massively well travelled but have done solo trips before, and am always hungry for new and unusual experiences.

Timeframe: 3 free weeks at the start of August, though I definitely don't have to go for all of it. I thought about doing something more structured like going to a language school, volunteering, interrailing etc, but I've probably left it a bit late to organise this. (In fact I might be late to organise much at all...)

Budget: I have about ~£2500 in savings, but feel I should save the bulk for a more substantial adventure later this year (as of yet unplanned), so maybe about £500 max depending on length. Would be willing to pay more for flights to an exciting place, but otherwise happily be on a budget (hostels, living on bread and cheese etc).

Destination: somewhere with lots of history/culture (not beaches or outdoor sports), and fun for a solo female traveller (can meet people etc). I've already been/am not interested in UK, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Belgium, Berlin, Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Florence. I was considering perhaps Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Amsterdam - or perhaps venture more east, to Krakow, Istanbul, Bratislava, Athens, etc (but would these places be better suited for a future interrail trip?). Non-Europe is fine too but may be difficult with the time/money.

I speak functional German and greetings-level Spanish & French. I look about 18, being East Asian, so not somewhere massively dodgy (but minor excitement is fine!).

Any recs? Thanks for your help!
posted by pikeandshield to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgot to add - I'm not sure how much the London Olympics is going to interfere with this (non)plan, so if anyone has any insights to that too that'll be awesome.
posted by pikeandshield at 2:12 AM on July 10, 2012

Rich with culture and history, fun and safe for female solo traveller, functional German - the Celtic Museum in Hochdorf has recently made some discoveries and there are still digs going on (as far as I know some are taking volunteers to help, too), along with a long exhibition about the Celts. Probably nothing to fill 3 weeks though and Hochdorf isn't exactly a metropolis, but Stuttgart and Ludwigsburg are nearby. Ludwigsburg in particular has a lot history and culture to explore, and Stuttgart would provide the option for nightlife, meeting people and so on.
posted by MinusCelsius at 3:31 AM on July 10, 2012

I had a fabulous time with Pueblo Ingles as a volunteer. Exhausting, fun, really really rewarding. Lots of laughs and lots of new friends of all ages. You could combine the week as a volunteer (all expenses paid, they feed you really well too and the wine flows freely) with some time in Madrid before or afterwards. They are always looking for quality volunteers so you are probably not too late.
posted by rubbish bin night at 4:39 AM on July 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

It's an expensive place, but I just got back from Copenhagen; almost everybody in Denmark speaks English, and it's a pretty safe city.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:58 AM on July 10, 2012

Go for as long as you can. Three weeks is probably not enough to do anything "organized" as in a language school or volunteer stint. Maybe casual WWOOFing, though? Though if you account for travel time and a few days to play tourist, that still only gives you 10 days or so actually helping on a farm.

It being August, you're probably going to want to head as far north and east as possible to avoid insane crowds, outrageous heat, and everything being closed.

From your shortlist of places, I'd pick Krakow, or maybe Amsterdam. Look into whether August is high season for Amsterdam and what that will mean for your peace of mind and your budget.

Barcelona, Madrid, Rome, Istanbul, and Athens are going to be brutally hot and potentially subject to the "everything closes in August" phenomenon.

Isn't Bratislava just an hour or so on the train from Vienna? Seems like a waste of a trip if you're absolutely sure you're not interested in going back to Vienna.

I loved Slovenia, and Croatia is supposed to be amazing, but both might be too far south and too full of Italians on holiday to be fun.
posted by Sara C. at 8:33 AM on July 10, 2012

It's 90 quid return to take the Eurostar to the NL from London and hostels range from £15-35 a night.

Getting that far east on the cheap is going to be problematic at best.
posted by Talez at 12:16 PM on July 10, 2012

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