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First trip to Europe- where would you go?

bigbadbuff

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Finally going to Europe this year. Ideally I would take 2+ weeks and train it across a few countries, but I am pretty sure I will be limited to 10 days-2 weeks max.

The obvious answers are Paris, Rome/Florence, Barcelona, Prague, etc. I am open to those but would like some other suggestions from our many well-traveled folks.

I am thinking about limiting to 3 cities and utilizing the trains.
 

zalb916

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Originally Posted by bigbadbuff
I am thinking about limiting to 3 cities and utilizing the trains.

This topic comes up from time to time on here. I like the idea of limiting yourself to a smaller number of cities. I think you can appreciate a place a lot more, if you can spend 4-6 days there, instead of rushing through as much as possible and only spending 1-2 days in a city.

However, I think using trains limits you. People tend to think trains are the best/cheapest way to get around Europe, but the discount airlines, like Easy Jet, Ryanair, etc., are great options. For instance, training from Paris to Barcelona to Rome wouldn't make that much sense. They are too far spread out, and you'd waste a lot of your time on the train. And it wouldn't be as cheap as you'd imagine. But you could fly on a discount airline and make that a reasonable itinerary and for, most likely, a smaller price.

Being open to air travel allows you to see much further apart cities than a train, which is a nice luxury when you have limited vacation time. The cheaper price is just a bonus.

If you are committed to train travel, I'd look into cities that are more closely located to each other. Overnights trains blow.
 

juniper

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Originally Posted by bigbadbuff
Finally going to Europe this year. Ideally I would take 2+ weeks and train it across a few countries, but I am pretty sure I will be limited to 10 days-2 weeks max.

The obvious answers are Paris, Rome/Florence, Barcelona, Prague, etc. I am open to those but would like some other suggestions from our many well-traveled folks.

I am thinking about limiting to 3 cities and utilizing the trains.


I would pick say four major places to go, and stop off as necessary. I'd go for

a) London
b) Somewhere mediterranean (South of italy, Spain, south of france), Via Paris
c) Somewhere eastern (Prague etc.)
d) Somewhere northern (Copenhagen, Oslo...)

This ought to take in some variety. There are cheap flights between most places - don't rule out a single flight to avoid having to plan it completely around the trains.

You probably know about www.seat61.com , which contains everything you need.
 

P-K-L

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Limiting yourself to 3 cities is a good idea.

I would also consider visiting Munich and Hamburg in Germany.
 

facebookdigg123

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Paris and Rome. i lived in Barcelona for 3 months. I dont think it's as fun of a city as the other two. but of course, Barcelona has the best nightlife
 

Ambulance Chaser

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For three cities on a first trip to Europe, I would go with Paris, Rome, Vienna. Substitute Munich for Vienna if you are going during the Oktoberfest.
 

J. Gatsby

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I would also recommend Paris (obviously) and Rome/Florence, but also Stockholm, if you are planning on going North to Scandinavia. I would assume that you aren't, but, just in case, I thought I'd throw it out there. Amazing city
 

MrKaizen

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Postal boats in Norway, from south to arctic circle.
 

globetrotter

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I'll take another view - depending on how likely you think it is that you will get back soon or often.



you could hit london amsterdamn, brussels, paris, stuggart, munich, vienna, Milan, Rome

do a day or two in each, take night trains between the cities.
 

Gus

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I like this suggestion if you are somewhat flexible by nature. Otherwise if you are more suited to a more relaxed approach, limit it to 3-4 cities.

BTW, London is going to be mega expensive.


Originally Posted by globetrotter
I'll take another view - depending on how likely you think it is that you will get back soon or often.

you could hit london amsterdamn, brussels, paris, stuggart, munich, vienna, Milan, Rome

do a day or two in each, take night trains between the cities.
 

celeste_pista

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i'd vote for prague, budapest, vienna - each has true old world character, each is rich in the arts and have ok food, you can see vestiges of the commy block, they are all easy to cover via train, and they are cheap!

save italy for a time when you have 2wks to explore it and can rent a car. London, Paris, and Amsterdam are great, but very cosmo, so not the best for a true european experience
 

otc

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how old are you? I am assuming you are on the younger side since it is your first time to europe. If you are young, you can pull off the whirlwind trip like globetrotter suggested. Overnight trains are rough but they also get you to your destination in the morning with some sleep. I wouldn't do back to back overnight trains...get at least a night in a hotel or hostel in each town just to keep you rested (and to let you see more) but if you are not a picky sleeper or have a cabin, you will get enough rest to make it through the next day. If you only spend a little time in one place, it will give you an opportunity to go back next time when you only want to go to one place for a week with maybe a daytrip or two (if you stay to long, you might be temped to pick other destinations since you have already been there even though you want to see more) If you want to be a little more relaxed, then I agree with sticking more toward 3 destinations (with maybe an intermediate destination or two in between). Only caveat is that the train passes don't work the way they used to. The full on ride anywhere whenever you want pass still exists but it costs a LOT...you can save money by using the limited travel days passes or the limited region passes (but then you are stuck in a single region). The comments before about discount airlines are true. Ryanair blows but you can often fly to a city and spend the night in a hostel for a good amount less than the overnight train. There is some website that helps with planning discount airlines (lists what airlines fly what route and helps find low fares) but I can't remember what it is... edit: I think it was this site http://www.euroflights.info/ that I used to figure out what airlines to check for fares (but there may be something else). Ryan air sucked ass but it was cheap so long as you only had one bag and it met the tiny tiny weight limit. Easyjet was much nicer and equally cheap...just flew different routes.
 

gdl203

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Originally Posted by celeste_pista
i'd vote for prague, budapest, vienna - each has true old world character, each is rich in the arts and have ok food, you can see vestiges of the commy block, they are all easy to cover via train, and they are cheap!

save italy for a time when you have 2wks to explore it and can rent a car. London, Paris, and Amsterdam are great, but very cosmo, so not the best for a true european experience


How about Epcot Center for a "true european experience"
 

Joffrey

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Originally Posted by globetrotter
I'll take another view - depending on how likely you think it is that you will get back soon or often.



you could hit london amsterdamn, brussels, paris, stuggart, munich, vienna, Milan, Rome

do a day or two in each, take night trains between the cities.


This sounds miserable. I agree with limiting to a 3-4 cities a few nights in each.
 

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