Trip Itinerary / Suggestions
May 28, 2014 2:56 PM   Subscribe

I will be traveling around Europe this summer and wanted to get some suggestions in terms of logistics. I have already booked some travel arrangements, so I will describe them here.

I will be flying into Paris and have two weeks to explore until I have to be in Marseilles to catch a flight to Croatia. From Croatia, I had some countries I wanted to see (maybe some advice as to whether it is too many countries, if it is even possible, or alternate countries I would enjoy that I seemed to have missed, the ones in parentheses I am unsure of, I enjoy the outdoors, some partying, must see places, off the beaten path but amazing places, but also want to have enough time 2-7 days each place to enjoy/relax): Greece, Italy, Czech Republic, Germany, Netherlands, (not sure where these would fit in: UK/Sweden/NorwayDenmark), Spain (fly out?)

I want to be flexible in regards to travel, but in an economical way. I have been considering getting a rail pass (still on the fence if it will be worth it economically, but looking at 10/15 day global flex pass, I am under 25, so I qualify for the youth discount) in conjunction with booking point to point tickets via budget airlines/buses/trains. I have also considered not purchasing the rail pass and just buying point to point. My total time of travel will be 2-3 months. Do you have any suggestions as to a rough logical travel itinerary covering the countries? Rail pass/travel suggestions?
posted by nathanm to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In the first instance, I'd check out the budget airlines, which in some cases can be truly and ridiculously budget, especially if you don't mind travelling at random times/days and to offbeat places. I once booked a $5 flight from the UK to Germany. If you can find similar deals, you could structure your trip around the cheapest airfares (which may mean doubling back geographically, but could be much cheaper). Remember to factor in cost of airport transfers, though, which are sometimes more than the airfares.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:03 PM on May 28, 2014

Trieste and Ljubljana are two excellent, underrated cities. If you'd like to chill out at a great spa, go to Thermana in Laško. If rafting appeals to you, head to the Soča River Valley.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:56 PM on May 28, 2014

As for Italy, check out Lake Garda, especially Malcesine or .
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:01 PM on May 28, 2014

Hunh, not sure why that last part didn't post. I meant to say, "Malcesine or Salò."
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:56 PM on May 28, 2014

I think if you have 2-7 days per country you are going to struggle to do off the beaten path, relax and main event-type tourism. That kind of duration would probably be more appropriate for a city than an entire country. For example, Germany: if you want to see highlights and some off-the-beaten path stuff in Berlin as well as relaxing I would recommend 5 days. Then you could do a couple of days elsewhere, but that doesn't leave you long for travelling.

I'm not sure if you've done this before but if not, and if you want to get maximum bang for your buck, I would see either Germany or the Netherlands, and for my money I'd definitely go Germany, and add on Spain. The Netherlands is lovely but the culture is not as strikingly different to Germany as say, Spain.

Italy is another country where 2-7 days is a very short space of time for such a hoped-for range of experiences.

I would suggest that you do some research and decide on whether you want to see the 'must-sees' of somewhere like Italy, or whether you want to do quirky and/or relaxing.

For my money I'd relax in Croatia, do must-sees in Italy and quirky in Germany, sticking in Berlin for 5 days and the using the surplus from, perhaps, Germany and Croatia to add in a few days in Barcelona or Madrid.

My main advice, I suppose, is to start planning which cities or landmarks you want to see rather than thinking of a whole country as a place you can see in less than a week.

I am unclear on the overall amount of time you have, too. If you clarify that I'd be happy to give my 10c on an intinerary more specifically.
posted by jojobobo at 10:05 PM on May 28, 2014

Also, re economical: generally speaking the Scandinavian countries are expensive, as are the UK and Italy. The caveat with London is that there are a number of free activities. The others you mention are quite reasonable.

If budget is an issue you may want to consider the costs of internal flights as a way of making decisions, too. For example, I found extremely cheap flights to Italy and the Czech Republic with easy jet when I lived there and went to those countries rather than others. You'll prob have a great time wherever you go, within reason!
posted by jojobobo at 10:21 PM on May 28, 2014

@jojobobo I was originally planning to do 2-3 months, but I booked an one way ticket to Europe so it's open ended, I can be flexible if needed. I am debating whether or not to purchase the rail pass (10 days travel in 2 months, then fill in the rest of the blanks with point to point tickets, do you think this is a good idea, or just buy point to point all together?, I plan to make reservations 0-2 weeks in advance of departure) Any travel booking resources you find handy would be great :) I'd love to hear your idea of a good itinerary as well!
posted by nathanm at 12:57 PM on May 29, 2014

Haven't done the rail pass thing as my trip was a working holiday. I have heard that they are cheaper bought at home than in Europe, though that is from Australia. Keep in mind that air travel can be very, very cheap, though often you need to schlep about a bit to get to the airport, so factor that in to costs. For example, flying to Paris from London is often cheaper than the Eurostar. I have gotten fares that cost nothing and only had to pay taxes with Ryanair, for example. Scyscanner can be a useful comparison tool, though take the prices with a grain of salt as they can change. It will open you up to smaller regional airlines that you may not have heard of, too.

I would definitely see Italy and Spain, Germany and Czech Republic for architecture, atmosphere and history. Everywhere you go in Europe will have a major city that lends itself to some kind of partying. This you do not need to worry about. However, being able to afford the party might be of concern, and for that reason I would skip Scandanavia.

You might want to hop onto the Lonely Planet website for an overview of these countries, and for suggestions re: spending money required. That will give you a broad overview of the 'flavour' of each place. I'm sure you could find info re: rail travel by searching their Thorn Tree forums, too.
posted by jojobobo at 10:55 PM on May 29, 2014

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