Where can we go from London for a few days in Europe?
July 20, 2006 2:24 PM   Subscribe

[EuroTripFilter]What European city can we go to CHEAPLY for a few days from London?

I lived in London for a year, but now I'm back in the States. I'm going back to London for 10 days [September 8-18]. I'm bringing my never-left-the-US twin sister with me. I know that this may very well be the last time that she ever travels at all. As such, I'd like us to leave London for a few days to see something on the continent. Paris or Brussels via Eurostar is the obvious destination, but I was there just last month, so I'm not all that interested. I'd love to go to Rome, Florence, or Prague. She does want to see Paris though. (And I'm willing to do 24 hours there.) So, Hive Mind, how can we get from London to Paris and then onto Rome (or Florence or Prague) cheaply? Would taking the Eurostar to Paris and then flying or taking the train to the next city work? Should we just skip Paris altogether and wait for cheap flights to other European cities? Which would be cheapest? Advise for cheap travels preferred!
posted by k8t to Travel & Transportation around London, England (14 answers total)
Cheapest sway to Prage from that area is easyjet, but it would be leaving from London, most likely. I was stying in Prague for a while and i had a hell of a time finding a cheap way to Paris. I had to drop the idea. However, from London to Prague, I got a one way flight with them for about 25 pounds. Easyjet also goes to Rome from London, I believe.
posted by piratebowling at 2:30 PM on July 20, 2006

I flew BMI from London to Paris and it was cheaper than than the Eurostar and almost as convenient. So look into flights from Heathrow as a posible money saver. You don't always have to trek out to frigging Luton to get a cheap flight.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:09 PM on July 20, 2006

Check bcd-travel-direct. It's a business travel website, but you still get a good overview, regarding prices + possibilities of flights. They also check the low fare airlines, like Ryanair, EasyJet & co. For "Paris", it checks all of Paris' Airports, too.
As Mayor Curley says, it might be worth to compare Eurostar vs flight prices London->Paris aswell.

If you find something, you might want to go to the airline's website and book it there, or else.
posted by ende-neu at 3:35 PM on July 20, 2006

Response by poster: I flew to Paris last month.

The trek out to Heathrow, rather than the quicky bus ride to the Eurostar did me in. :) Even though the plane ticket was cheaper, the time and stress and travel cost of going to Heathrow. But it all depends where you're coming from.
posted by k8t at 3:37 PM on July 20, 2006

Don't forget the Eurolines buses -- but maybe not for the longer trips! If you are really short of cash, and really hardy, you can do London-Paris and back overnight, saving you two nights in hotels.

If your sister has not travelled overseas before, is 3 countries in 10 days sensible? I would agree that she ought to experience a non-English-speaking environment. If my mind was going to be furnished with only one European (non-UK) place, I am not sure I would pick Prague, wonderful though it is. Does your sister have a dream? Somewhere she never thought she would actually see? It may be worth finding a little extra cash for her to visit Salzburg or Grenada or Norway or whatever seems "fairytale come true" to her (even if you know the end of the rainbow isn't there).

It may be Paris is her dream, in which case maybe you should just go for it. If she hasn't travelled before, she may feel safer somewhere where you know your way around. There are so many museums, markets, shopping centres, out of town trips etc there that you should easily be able to pick ones you haven't visited yet. The potential hassles of cheap flights make me doubt if they are worth it compared with the centre-to-centre convenience of rail or bus, which include a good look at the countryside (if not overnighting). With Eurostar, always look out for deals, there are often good ones with hotel nights included.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:18 PM on July 20, 2006

If you want somewhere inexpensive and different, consider Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I went there in December and found it extremely interesting.

Some photos from my trip are here.

Overall, Tallinn reminds me a bit of how Prague was before it got completely saturated by tourists and British stag parties.
posted by sindark at 4:41 PM on July 20, 2006

Barcelona was my favourite. A beautiful city on the med with nice people lots to do and see and it's a comfortable overnight trainride from Paris.
posted by pierrepressure at 4:47 PM on July 20, 2006

Idocoytco is quite right. Take her where she wants to go. And twenty four hours seems almost an insult to one of the greatest cities in the world.
posted by Neiltupper at 5:43 PM on July 20, 2006

What's wrong with Amsterdam? Very pretty, friendly place with heaps to do. Nice human scale, as well.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:49 PM on July 20, 2006

I'd second Amsterdam; I've spent a lot of time there, the people are friendly, language isn't a problem as most everyone speaks English, the city is stunningly beautiful, walkable as UbuRolvas pointed out, and there is a very wide range of things to do.

Holland is a relatively small country as well, so you can take a train out to a second Dutch city; Amsterdam is pretty unique and it would be an interesting contrast to spend time in Rotterdam.

You can certainly get a cheap flight, and it is only about 35 minutes from England.

For Paris here's an idea: you can do a day trip from London, getting the 5:30AM Eurostar out of Waterloo, and the last train from Paris back. Makes for a long day, but you won't have to pay for a hotel. And you 'sis can tell everyone she went to Paris "for lunch". I've done that a few times when I had guests from back on the farm, and it really blows their minds.
posted by Mutant at 11:07 PM on July 20, 2006

Prauge is old and busted, Kraków is the new hotness, a lot cheaper than Prauge, less tourists (althought not a lot less), much less touristy, an excellent meal at a very upscale restuarant costs 25GBP for two and there are literally dozens of cheap flights from the UK every day.
posted by jedrek at 11:53 PM on July 20, 2006

Amsterdam is a quick hop from London and is an incredible city.
posted by JJ86 at 6:03 AM on July 21, 2006

Best answer: Have a look here for a great website on european rail travel. It's given me a longing to ride the Palatino. Have a look at this page for London->Paris->Rome.
posted by primer_dimer at 9:22 AM on July 21, 2006

Ryanair is the king of ludicrously cheap fares, but like the other budget euro-carriers (easyjet, bmi, etc.), it has strict baggage-weight regulations (was 22kg last I looked, but please check for yourself to see the current info). There are serious fees for baggage overage which can make a miracle fare quickly balloon upwards. So go check out the route maps for the budget airlines, and if you choose them, watch your baggage weights!!
posted by lorimer at 1:51 AM on July 24, 2006

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