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Rail Trip Around Europe - Advice?  
User currently offlinechachu201 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 857 posts, RR: 17
Posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2674 times:

I'm looking to Interrail around Europe this summer, with a couple of friends. Am currently trying to come up with some kind of itinerary that we can fit into 22 days, with a whistlestop tour around Europe. We're looking at 1/2 days max in a few of the major capital cities, what do people think of the following?

Paris - Amsterdam - Cologne - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Belgrade - Istanbul - Athens - Italy - Zurich

Any replacements, additions, or removals most welcome!

Thanks for any help you can give,

Gabe

28 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 2647 times:

I don't think 1 or 2 days is enough time to see anything in any of those cities - you won't have timezones to worry about for the most part on that itinerary so jetlag isn't an issue obviously, but you won't see anything. I've only been to Amsterdam and Paris out of those and I spent a day in both - I actually saw very little.

I'd personally drop 1 or 2 cities and consider flying the longer distances - there's bound to be somebody like ryanair or easyjet with cheap fares as long as you book far enough in advance.


User currently offlinechachu201 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 857 posts, RR: 17
Reply 2, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2619 times:

Youre probably right I reckon... I was going to get an Interrail ticket so we could fairly cheaply use the sleeper trains around Europe, so that we wouldn't have to spend too much useable time travelling. If we were going to concentrate on two or three countries more, do people think Eastern or Western Europe?

User currently offlineL410Turbolet From Czech Republic, joined May 2004, 5724 posts, RR: 19
Reply 3, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2604 times:

Depends on what you expect from the tour. If you just want to add those cities to your "been there" checklist then it is of course doable. If you want to see something from the city (other than the vicinity of the train station) it's too much.
I'd either do the first six or last five. All of them in three weeks seems simply too many and too little time.

Quoting chachu201 (Thread starter):
Paris - Amsterdam - Cologne - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Belgrade - Istanbul - Athens - Italy - Zurich

Not sure what city(ies) in Italy you plan to visit, however I'd recommend slightly different order: Paris-Amsterdam-Cologne-Zurich-Prague-Vienna..... This will allow you to fly from either FCO or MXP on your way back home (if that's what you plan to do afterwards).

[Edited 2010-06-04 07:27:34]

User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3014 posts, RR: 8
Reply 4, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2587 times:

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 2):
I was going to get an Interrail ticket

You can't get an Interrail ticket unless you are a European resident. The Eurail ticket is similar, but has some important differences to the pricing structure, for non-European residents.

This is an awesome site about rail travel in Europe :

http://www.seat61.com/Railpass.htm

That sub-page explains the different pass options.

If you have a fixed itinery, it may be cheaper to book all tickets in advance - and you can then include a few flights for longer legs if you want for no overall extra cost. A pass is best for maximum flexibility.

With some friends, I did an Interrail tour a few years ago - here's our itinerary.
http://www.signol.co.uk/europe04
As has been suggested, we should really have stayed longer in a few places, but with the pass we felt we needed to "make the most of it" - another reason to book in advance allowing 2 or 3 days per place rather than just 1.

Have fun whatever you decide to do!

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinechachu201 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 857 posts, RR: 17
Reply 5, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2504 times:

Thanks very much for the replies:

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 3):
All of them in three weeks seems simply too many and too little time.

That seems to be what most people are saying - I think its time to relook the plan!

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 3):
Not sure what city(ies) in Italy you plan to visit

Still havent decided yet - Rome, Venice, Florence? I'm very much an Italy virgin, so really don't know yet. Have got a stack of books ordered at the library though...

Quoting signol (Reply 4):
This is an awesome site about rail travel in Europe :

http://www.seat61.com/Railpass.htm

Yep, absolutely cracking. I've been scouring that site for ages, and its truly an inspiration. Apparently he's also written a book...?

Quoting signol (Reply 4):
You can't get an Interrail ticket unless you are a European resident. The Eurail ticket is similar, but has some important differences to the pricing structure, for non-European residents.

Unfortunately my flag lies, and I'm in fact a Kiwi stuck in the UK, so given the 6 month residency requirement I should qualify.

Quoting signol (Reply 4):
If you have a fixed itinery, it may be cheaper to book all tickets in advance - and you can then include a few flights for longer legs if you want for no overall extra cost. A pass is best for maximum flexibility.

This is also something that I'm going to have to look at - especially if we're travelling in Eastern Europe, train fares are so unbelievably cheap that it probably doesnt seem worth getting a pass when international sleeper fares are as little as £25.


User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3014 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2495 times:

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 5):
Apparently he's also written a book...?

Yes, I have a copy... It's basically the Europe section of the site in print form. Ideal if you don't have net access on your travels, a waste of weight if you do  
Quoting chachu201 (Reply 5):
Still havent decided yet - Rome, Venice, Florence?

We did Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples (for Pompeii). Pompeii was well worth the mileage.

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 5):
I'm in fact a Kiwi stuck in the UK

Fair dos   Half my family emigrated to NZ in the 50s, seems like a lot of you are coming back!

Have fun

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 2378 times:

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 3):
Not sure what city(ies) in Italy you plan to visit, however I'd recommend slightly different order: Paris-Amsterdam-Cologne-Zurich-Prague-Vienna..... This will allow you to fly from either FCO or MXP on your way back home (if that's what you plan to do afterwards).

I agree with this - you don't want to cram too much in otherwise you'll be so tired you'll end up hating your trip and it'll feel like a waste.

You are probably better off booking scheduled flights between the cities for cheap - it'll probably end up the same (or a little more expensive, but far quicker) and you'll have more time to do what you want. I don't mean to sound patronising, but Europe is a lot like the US - people who aren't familiar with the continent just don't realise the vastness. The west coast of Ireland to the easernmost point of Europe, in Russia is nearly 5000kms, and to travel by train will eat a lot of your 3 weeks up even if you only hit half the cities you want.


User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6341 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2359 times:

Quoting signol (Reply 6):
We did Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples (for Pompeii). Pompeii was well worth the mileage.

I disagree, I think Pompeii is junk. I would choose Ostia Antica outside Rome instead. I thought Pompeii was very, very disappointing. If you're going to be in Naples, I would recommend Sorrento - a really nice place in my book (and that's saying a lot since I really, really don't like Italy).

Still, I think most of Italy is overrated. Again, that's just my opinion.

Quoting chachu201 (Thread starter):
Paris - Amsterdam - Cologne - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Belgrade - Istanbul - Athens - Italy - Zurich

Note, these are just my opinions as one person who has been to all of these cities:

Paris: Meh, it's ok. You have to see it, but I think Paris, too, is overrated

Amsterdam: Lots of fun, beautiful

Cologne: Great for history, but I prefer Hamburg or Berlin....even Bremen if you're looking for a quieter break along your otherwise extremely touristy itinerary

Prague: I prefer Budapest, myself. Since you are already going there, I still prefer Berlin, Dresden or Krakow to Prague.

Vienna: Awesome city, but expensive! Just make sure you know that going in

Budapest: Definitely. I am Hungarian, so I am biased, but Budapest is amazing

Belgrade: A decent city. In that area, I also really like Ljubljana and Sarajevo.

Istanbul: YES! One of my favorite cities in the world.

Athens: No thanks

Zurich: If you're flying out of here, fine...otherwise, it's a bit boring. Bern, however, is great. Even Basel, Geneva or Lausanne, in my book, are better.


User currently offlineStuckInCA From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 1985 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2335 times:

If you are actually 16 - 20 years old (as your profile says) then here's my advice:

Buy a Eurail pass. Tentatively plan the itinerary you laid out. Be open to changing it as you go. If you like a city and/or find a good place to stay then stay a couple more days. If it's not your speed, then move on.

If you think you won't be able to make another trip to Europe in the next few years then I'd advise studying up more and choosing just a few places that you can spend more time. It's a lot different to spend 4 or 7 days (or a month) in one place than to spend 1 or 2 nights there. Trying to do too much can really dilute the quality of the trip.

In argument of moving around so much is that you see more and can see where you really like and might want to go back again sometime.


User currently offlinekevinl1011 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 2964 posts, RR: 47
Reply 10, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2321 times:

I love trains and I love travel by rail. I've done my fair share domestically here in the States (mostly east of the Mississippi) and have experienced some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. The Coast Starlight and California Zephyr are most noteworthy.

As far as Europe goes, I have only traveled by rail in Brittan, Germany and France. The most memorable and scenic trip was from Frankfurt to Munchen along the Rhine river. That was right up there with the Coast Starlight. I highly recommend that one. Best of all, you wind up in Munchen among the friendliest people and the BMW museum is fantastic!

If it were me, I'd go see the "Miniatur Wunderland" in Hamburg. There's a scale model A-380 that lands and takes off!

IMO, the Deutsche Bahn is the best rail system in the world. No disrespect to my beloved Amtrak or the French, but the Germans are genetically pre-disposed to have the best trains. So if you want to travel on a rail system that works, is clean and is on time, DB.

If this is a "Rail Trip", then you'd better put the TGV on your itinerary. No self respectin' rail fan would go all the way to Europe and not ride the TGV. Next to the Germans, the French (again IMO) have the bitchen-est trains. I mean...c'mon, Bombardier?! It's just that their infrastructure doesn't seem as consistently maintained as the Germans. I'm sure that the TGV is an exception.

[Edited 2010-06-04 20:53:33]


474218, Carl, You will be missed.
User currently offlinechachu201 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 857 posts, RR: 17
Reply 11, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2221 times:

Thanks for all the advice everyone!

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 7):
You are probably better off booking scheduled flights between the cities for cheap - it'll probably end up the same (or a little more expensive, but far quicker) and you'll have more time to do what you want.

You might be right, however I'm still very much up for rail travel as perhaps a different way to visit places, and actually see a bit of the country, especially from a different perspective. Just my opinion though!

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Still, I think most of Italy is overrated.

Does anyone think it would be worth popping in to see Venice or another city, or worth its own trip to explore Italy more?

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Prague: I prefer Budapest, myself.

Do others agree? I've heard a lot of great things about Prague... I suppose I could always visit both!

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Berlin, Dresden or Krakow

Berlin sounds very interesting, and I've never been there personally. Haven't heard anything about Dresden, and Krakow is apparently also great, but packed with tourists?

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Ljubljana and Sarajevo

Yeah, i looked at these, especially as theyre in the Belgrade area - ish. Would these be worth a visit in preference to other major European cities?

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
Deutsche Bahn is the best rail system in the world

Can't fault you there - and their rail timetable is an absolute life saver when planning this kind of trip, as well as their CityNightLine service...


User currently offlineEXTspotter From United Kingdom, joined May 2007, 992 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 2188 times:

Prague is nice, however it can be VERY touristy. I went there for a weekend but by the end I'd thought I'd seen everything that I'd wanted to, however the bits that you go there in order to see end up paling in comparason to other things because it is so rammed with tourists and tour groups, e.g. the Charles Bridge (Karlův Most) and the Astronomical Clock which are worth a visit if you are there really do not live up to the hype. Other more understated parts of the city are really nice though, e.g. Petřín Hill the funicular railway up to it and the observation tower (Petřínská rozhledna) are really cool. I would also reccomend the public transport as it is very cheap and very good and means you can "cover" the city quickly which is important if you have limited time. Some of the best things I found in Prague were more "local" experiences further out from the centre, which as well as being cheaper in terms of restaurants, etc, was that it actually felt like the real city rather than the "show" that was put up for the tourgroups...

Btw - a key is to learn some phrases in the language of where you are (which to be honest is obvious anyway) but also the names of places you specifically want to go to if any as maps and such like usually aren't in english (again obviously).



AF BE BY FR MV PD SZ U2 VZ DHC6, 8-3/4Q, 732/8, 763ER, A319, A380
User currently offlinechachu201 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 857 posts, RR: 17
Reply 13, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2181 times:

Quoting EXTspotter (Reply 12):
Prague is nice, however it can be VERY touristy.

Yeah, this is what a number of people have mentioned. Would Budapest be a good alternative do you think?


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4689 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 2161 times:

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
The most memorable and scenic trip was from Frankfurt to Munchen along the Rhine river.

Must have been quite a detour...

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
IMO, the Deutsche Bahn is the best rail system in the world.

I respectfully disagree, mainly due to this:

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
and is on time

If you really want a rail system which allows you to set your watch according to the train schedule, try Rhaetische Bahn in Switzerland.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3014 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 18 hours ago) and read 2149 times:

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
If you're going to be in Naples, I would recommend Sorrento

That's where we actually stayed  

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlinemdavies06 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2009, 386 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2116 times:

Quoting chachu201 (Thread starter):
Belgrade - Istanbul - Athens - Italy

I'd suggest flying BEG - IST and also ATH to Italy. I don't think it wise to go by train between these two city pairs. That would take 3 days off your trip for each trip. Athens to Istanbul however is certainly doable by train as you probably found out elsewhere. I flew and it wasn't very expensive.

mdavies06


User currently offlineLufthansa411 From Germany, joined Jan 2008, 692 posts, RR: 1
Reply 17, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2034 times:

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
As far as Europe goes, I have only traveled by rail in Brittan, Germany and France. The most memorable and scenic trip was from Frankfurt to Munchen along the Rhine river. That was right up there with the Coast Starlight. I highly recommend that one. Best of all, you wind up in Munchen among the friendliest people and the BMW museum is fantastic!

Probably not the Rhine then. If you were travelling on a local train from Cologne to FRA you would go along the Rhine, but otherwise it stays to the west of FRA.

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
If it were me, I'd go see the "Miniatur Wunderland" in Hamburg. There's a scale model A-380 that lands and takes off!

Highly agree. That was a lot of fun, and the "adult" additions were nice.

Quoting kevinl1011 (Reply 10):
IMO, the Deutsche Bahn is the best rail system in the world. No disrespect to my beloved Amtrak or the French, but the Germans are genetically pre-disposed to have the best trains. So if you want to travel on a rail system that works, is clean and is on time, DB.

Talk to many Germans, and they will disagree  . Mostly because they are never on time and they rip you off like crazy on many of the trains.

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 11):
Do others agree? I've heard a lot of great things about Prague... I suppose I could always visit both!

I would say Prague is one of my favourite cities in Europe, way ahead of BUD. The only thing with it is once you have seen the main sites (Charles Bridge, the Castle, Old Town Square) you really need to head to a less touristy area to get a feel for what Czech culture is really like.

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 11):
Berlin sounds very interesting, and I've never been there personally. Haven't heard anything about Dresden, and Krakow is apparently also great, but packed with tourists?

Berlin is cheap by western European standards and a good change of pace, as the history and sites are mostly from the Cold War Era. The clubs are some of the best in Europe, as long as you are prepared for "typical Berlin". Dresden was a good city to pass through and worth a day, but not to much more. When I took my parents there we spent about 8 hours. I am sure there is more, but we wanted to take the train along the Elbe and see some of the "Black Triangle".

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 11):
Yeah, i looked at these, especially as theyre in the Belgrade area - ish. Would these be worth a visit in preference to other major European cities?

I am not sure about Belgrade, but Ljubljana was one of the most beautiful areas I have ever been to. The mountains and valleys were breathtaking.



Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood.
User currently offlinescrubbsywg From Canada, joined Mar 2007, 1495 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 2022 times:

way too many cities.

i went to Europe on a tour in September for 19 days/6 cities and it was just a little short in each city. And i flew a couple legs.

1 day in the major cities is not good. figure you come in later in the morning, get to your hostel, shower, it is late afternoon already and you haven't done anything yet. Factor in finding some place to eat, or shop to eat, get ready to go out and your 1 day in Florence is now 4 hours in the evening.

my experience is you pretty much need 2.5 days or so in the big cities that have a lot to see.

one thing i would do is look at the schedules on raileurope.com that you want to do. overnight trains will get you around without costing you a day, but there is very little variance on travel time.


User currently offlinesignol From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2007, 3014 posts, RR: 8
Reply 19, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 2007 times:

I did these two trips in 2008.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 16):
ATH to Italy

Relatively easy, take a train Athens to Patras, (changing at Kiato where the track gauge changes)) then an overnight ferry. There's a really nice cafe at Patras station. Interesting to see the waves of illegal immigrants trying to climb the port fence to get on ferries, constantly being chased away by security guards.

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 16):
Athens to Istanbul

I did it in reverse - overnight train Istanbul to Thessaloniki. This took about 14 hours, including nearly 2h at the border. Thessaloniki to Athens was 5 hours, through amazing scenery, including right past Mount Olympus.

signol



Flights booked: none :(
User currently offlineidealstandard From France, joined Apr 2009, 409 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1928 times:

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Paris: Meh, it's ok. You have to see it, but I think Paris, too, is overrated

Paris can be fun if you go the right bits, particularly the latin quarter, but it can be ferociously expensive - expect to pay £10 for a beer if you are in the centre.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Cologne: Great for history, but I prefer Hamburg or Berlin....even Bremen if you're looking for a quieter break along your otherwise extremely touristy itinerary

Cologne is more interesting than you make out, loads of bars even if they insist on serving the revolting Kolsch beer - and I much prefer Cologne, Hanover etc to Berlin.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 8):
Zurich: If you're flying out of here, fine...otherwise, it's a bit boring. Bern, however, is great. Even Basel, Geneva or Lausanne, in my book, are better.

Agreed. Zurich is very boring. And expensive.

And how can you make comments about Italy when you've got Liguria?!
Alex


User currently offlineKappel From Suriname, joined Jul 2005, 3533 posts, RR: 17
Reply 21, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1923 times:

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 17):
The only thing with it is once you have seen the main sites (Charles Bridge, the Castle, Old Town Square) you really need to head to a less touristy area to get a feel for what Czech culture is really like.

Sure, but isn't that true for just about every (esp touristy) city? For example, I visited ATH for the historical sites, but know nothing of real Greek life. For that you really need to take your time in a city (perhaps even a week).

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 11):
Does anyone think it would be worth popping in to see Venice or another city, or worth its own trip to explore Italy more?

I personally really liked Rome, but Milan not so much (but that's not on your list anyway). My parents visited Tuscany twice (both times for a few weeks and driven around) and they absolutely loved it. Cities like Florence and Siena are a must see I understand. Pisa not so much though.

And hey, you still get to eat Italian food right? That's worth the visit to Italy in itself  



L1011,733,734,73G,738,743,744,752,763,772,77W,DC855,DC863,DC930,DC950,MD11,MD88,306,319,320,321,343,346,ARJ85,CR7,E195
User currently offlinemdavies06 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2009, 386 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1873 times:

Quoting signol (Reply 19):
Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 16):
ATH to Italy

Relatively easy, take a train Athens to Patras, (changing at Kiato where the track gauge changes)) then an overnight ferry. There's a really nice cafe at Patras station. Interesting to see the waves of illegal immigrants trying to climb the port fence to get on ferries, constantly being chased away by security guards.

yes go by ferry is an alternative to flying. i suppose riding on ferry can be interesting (I'd pick flying in most cases, unless travel by land involves very scenic routing).

Quoting signol (Reply 19):
Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 16):
Athens to Istanbul

I did it in reverse - overnight train Istanbul to Thessaloniki. This took about 14 hours, including nearly 2h at the border. Thessaloniki to Athens was 5 hours, through amazing scenery, including right past Mount Olympus.

I heard it is quite scenic too. I would be tempted to jump off at a few points along the way.

Quoting scrubbsywg (Reply 18):
my experience is you pretty much need 2.5 days or so in the big cities that have a lot to see.
Quoting chachu201 (Thread starter):
Paris - Amsterdam - Cologne - Prague - Vienna - Budapest - Belgrade - Istanbul - Athens - Italy - Zurich

Some of the cities here can actually be seen in 1 full day (that is arriving the evening before, leaving the next next morning) IMO. Belgrade and Zurich I think are two cities that can be done in a day if you plan very precisely what to do and prioritise.

I would swap Italy and Switzerland into the middle of the trip and do Istanbul and Athens last. The current routing seems to incur backtracking from central Europe (Cologne) back to itself (Zurich). Looking at the city choices, IMO you can consider another German city in place of Cologne, such as Munich and Berlin in line with some other comments. For the Balkans, I have been to Sarajevo, Dubrovnik and Belgrade and IMO Belgrade is worth visiting if you're just visiting one city in that area, but I'd say that there are a lot more to see in that region outside Belgrade due to the cultural diversity of that region.


User currently offlinechachu201 From New Zealand, joined Apr 2006, 857 posts, RR: 17
Reply 23, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 1829 times:

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 16):

I think its probably going to be the case that we cut these cities out of the itinerary, they *are* out of the way, or a long way out, and I'd rather see other cities more in preference to not giving those cities justice.

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 17):
I would say Prague is one of my favourite cities in Europe, way ahead of BUD.

Thanks, this seems to be pretty much what most people have been saying. Therefore I think just a visit to Prague would be great, and cut out Budapest.

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 17):
Berlin is cheap by western European standards and a good change of pace, as the history and sites are mostly from the Cold War Era. The clubs are some of the best in Europe, as long as you are prepared for "typical Berlin".

Sounds good, the recent history is something I'd be interested in, so may very well add this into the itinerary.....

Quoting idealstandard (Reply 20):
Cologne is more interesting than you make out, loads of bars even if they insist on serving the revolting Kolsch beer - and I much prefer Cologne, Hanover etc to Berlin.

Do others agree with this? Cologne or Berlin?

Quoting Lufthansa411 (Reply 17):
I am not sure about Belgrade, but Ljubljana was one of the most beautiful areas I have ever been to. The mountains and valleys were breathtaking.

Am also investigating Ljubljana now - do you think its one of the best Balkan cities to visit?

Quoting idealstandard (Reply 20):
Agreed. Zurich is very boring. And expensive.

This seems to be the consensus. I've cut it out, and am possibly considering replacing it with Berne. However, I'm doubting whether Switzerland will be viable at all (in preference to other places) given the expense.

Quoting Kappel (Reply 21):
I personally really liked Rome, but Milan not so much (but that's not on your list anyway). My parents visited Tuscany twice (both times for a few weeks and driven around) and they absolutely loved it. Cities like Florence and Siena are a must see I understand. Pisa not so much though.

It does sound like you need a lot more time than I have, to visit Italy. Perhaps I'll think of not looking at Italy on this trip, and giving it proper justice in another trip in the future. Although I do like the thought of good Italian food!

Quoting mdavies06 (Reply 22):
I would swap Italy and Switzerland into the middle of the trip and do Istanbul and Athens last. The current routing seems to incur backtracking from central Europe (Cologne) back to itself (Zurich). Looking at the city choices, IMO you can consider another German city in place of Cologne, such as Munich and Berlin in line with some other comments. For the Balkans, I have been to Sarajevo, Dubrovnik and Belgrade and IMO Belgrade is worth visiting if you're just visiting one city in that area, but I'd say that there are a lot more to see in that region outside Belgrade due to the cultural diversity of that region.

Youre right, I have changed the routing for the trip. What did you think of Sarajevo? And how about Croatia?


User currently offlineidealstandard From France, joined Apr 2009, 409 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (4 years 4 months 2 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1780 times:

Quoting chachu201 (Reply 23):
Do others agree with this? Cologne or Berlin?

You can't choose one - they are two very different places for many reasons.


25 b737200 : I'll admit I didn't read all the posts but I did it last summer so I figure I may be helpful. With 1 or 2 days in each city you are not going to see e
26 Post contains images sw733 : Ljubljana is my personal favorite. And it can be done on a short amount of time. You'll be sorrrrryyyyyyyy Smart. Bern is great. However, I think you
27 Post contains images ajd1992 : Switzerland on the whole is really expensive, at least by UK standards. I went to Geneva with a friend for a day (actually more like 9 or 10 hours) a
28 speedygonzales : Ljubljana is very nice. Be sure to also visit the Postojna caves, 1h away by train.
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