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AmricanShamrok
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Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:28 pm

Here's my situation - I'd be grateful for advice:

I have €125 left on my Aer Lingus gift voucher that expires in mid-December. Already this year, I've used the voucher for a return flight to Barcelona (see: ¡Hola Barcelona! Flying Irish With FR, EI, RE-pics (by AmricanShamrok Jun 21 2011 in Trip Reports)) with a friend which I thoroughly enjoyed. Now however, after months of searching, no one will accompany me to use up the remaining €125 because of cost, work commitments, teaching practice/work placements for college and general lack of interest...but mostly cost. So it looks like I'm on my own for my remaining travel (everybody now: awwwwh).

So my question is, where in Europe is good to travel for a day or two on your own? I'm ruling out London and Barcelona because I've already visited these places but the rest of the continent is wide open. The destination(s) recommended don't necessarily have to be EI destinations either as I'll likely be connecting through Heathrow/Manchester from Shannon as EI serve both.

Your thoughts and experiences are much appreciated.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:34 pm

I understand you are going to visit (continental) Europe in fall or early winter. So I would either opt for a southern destination (fall) or a place where you can experience 'real' winter. I would also venture to say that big cities are best for solo travellers.

How about Rome? Vienna?
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Kiwirob
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:40 pm

Anywhere, I can't see a problem visiting any city in Europe on your own. Throw a dart at a map.
 
MadameConcorde
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:47 pm

I would say Venice or Rome or even Florence (Firenze) whichever has an airport with the airline that you are going to use the voucher with.

All beautiful historical places with so much to see you won't have any idle time along with good food guaranteed without having to spend too much money. Should be good weather around that time of the year.


  
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aloges
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:56 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 2):
Anywhere, I can't see a problem visiting any city in Europe on your own. Throw a dart at a map.

I agree. You will not get bored spending a day or two on your own in any major European city. You won't need a car, so there's no cost of a rental car to break your one-person budget.

Some information on your preferences would be helpful. Do you want history, entertainment, nightlife, sights, adventure...?
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OA260
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:05 pm

Zurich / Madrid / Rome / Milan just to name a few....
 
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AmricanShamrok
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:57 pm

Thanks for the replies so far. I am also considering some of the more "exotic" options that you rarely hear of people visiting like Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein etc. Thoughts on these?

Quoting aloges (Reply 4):
Do you want history, entertainment, nightlife, sights, adventure...?

I'd be big on sights and typical touristy things, especially if on my own.
 
signol
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:04 pm

I've visited quite a few places on my own.

I did the (real) Orient Express, Paris-Vienna, in a couchette, on my own (sadly now a victim of the TGV). So Vienna, Bratislava, Munich, Berlin, Brno, Porto, Frankfurt, Zurich, Lindau. Most of which I'd say are fine for a solo visit. Lindau being small probably won't warrant a full visit from Ireland, but easy for a few hours from Munich or Switzerland. Ditto Brno from Prague.

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 3):
Venice

I'd probably disagree with Venice. I've visited twice, with friends, and both times I felt it was a perfect place to take a girl to, rather than visit solo or with mates.

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 3):
Rome

Rome is great, plenty to see and do.

Whereever you go, I've always found that staying in a hostel is a good way of meeting other travellers, and going out for a beer or two with them is better than solo evening entertainment.

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aloges
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:25 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 6):
I'd be big on sights and typical touristy things, especially if on my own.

How about Brussels, Bruges and/or Ghent? You can do loads of sightseeing in all of these cities and it's just a quick and rather inexpensive train ride between any of the three pairs.

All of these cities have beautiful historic centres where you can walk everywhere (and take loads and loads of photos) plus you get to eat some delicious chocolate.   I recommend taking a look at the Wikipedia article on each city, those provide good starting points. Oh, and the hostel in Bruges was dirt cheap but good value.
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luckyone
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:33 pm

Vienna or Budapest if you're looking for something slightly off the beaten path. If you're looking to drink then go to Prague.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:58 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 6):
I am also considering some of the more "exotic" options
Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 6):
I'd be big on sights and typical touristy things

The big sights and touristy things off the beaten path ... I see.  
Lisbon perhaps? It is relatively similar to Barcelona, though.

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 6):
Luxembourg

Damn, I wanted to see the city when I was in Trier last week, but I took the train not the plane and spent only 1.5 days in trier so I didn't manage to. From what I have heard it is certainly a nice pick, but remember: off the beaten path places like Luxembourg or Brescia (Italy) will never be able to compete with say, Paris or Rome for a reason.
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aloges
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:22 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 10):
The big sights and touristy things off the beaten path ... I see.

Oh, please do give him a break. The beaten path for someone from the US is different from the one we would avoid. Where we see New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC, he might see London, Paris and Rome.
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BAViscount
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:33 pm

Quoting MadameConcorde (Reply 3):
I would say Venice

I'd second Venice...it's amazing for a short visit, especially in the "off season". I've been there twice, once in November and once in December - the weather was perfect on both visits, vibrantly clear blue skies and none of the oppresive heat that I hear the city can experience in high summer (which can also cause the canals to smell less than pleasant!). There are of course less tourists in the colder months too so just strolling around taking in the sights and the atmosphere isn't marred by thousands of tourists. It's a city that's easy to get lost in, but you'll never be too far from a recognisable landmark that will help you get your bearings again.

If you should also happen to be into photography, you'll come away from Venice with plenty of shots that are worthy of being enlarged and hung on the wall...well I did anyway!!
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StuckInCA
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:38 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 6):
Thanks for the replies so far. I am also considering some of the more "exotic" options that you rarely hear of people visiting like Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, Liechtenstein etc. Thoughts on these?

I've been to Luxembourg and Liechtenstein. I'd choose Luxembourg if the city is what you're interested in. Liechtenstein if natural setting (mountains) matters.

When I was in Liechtenstein (2000) that area and the western part of Austria were a bit difficult in terms of communication. I only speak English and it seemed more difficult to get by there than most of Germany or Austria in that a much larger percentage of people didn't speak English and they seemed to have a slightly different dialect maybe. Anyway, cool place to have been.

Luxembourg is pretty cool.

I'd be happy to visit either place!
 
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:14 pm

Quoting KiwiRob (Reply 2):
Anywhere, I can't see a problem visiting any city in Europe on your own. Throw a dart at a map.

I'd second that.

Worth thinking about though:

In Scandinavian countries it is quite common to go to the pub on your own and people will talk to you, eventually. That is always something worth considering. Helsinki is nice especially in winter. You don't want to be stuck in a hotel all night on your own. The Finns like to do lots of things on their own so you won't feel out of place, ever.

Eastern Europe can be dodgy. Have you ever seen the film 'Hostel'?

Madrid is completely madcap and very high energy. I love it and in winter it will be nice and warm this side of Christmas.
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Longhornmaniac
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 13, 2011 11:25 pm

Budapest is an awesome city. Highly, highly recommend it.

The South of Portugal is stunning, as well. EI flies once daily to Faro, and from there, it's only a 45 minute bus ride to Lagos, which is an awesome town, with some AMAZING beaches nearby.

Vienna is also a great place, as is Interlaken in Switzerland. Some of my favorite scenery in the world just South of Interlaken.

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MIAspotter
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:44 am

How about Paris? full of landmarks and touristy bits, but also loads of places to get lost and explore.

Madrid? Very nice but the weather in Winter can be a bit unpredictable (either hot or snow)

Rome? Same as Paris.

Vienna is nice, if you have a couple of days, you can wander around Vienna in 1 day, and the next day take the train to Bratislava (50 minutes - 14 Euro Return) which is also rather nice and compact.

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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:53 am

Quoting StuckInCA (Reply 13):
I only speak English and it seemed more difficult to get by there than most of Germany or Austria in that a much larger percentage of people didn't speak English and they seemed to have a slightly different dialect maybe.

That's strange. We do have a very slightly ( ) different dialect to the rest of Austria, but the knowledge of English should be similar if not better   - especially in the more touristy regions (Bregenz area, and the tourist villages in the mountains). Switzerland is actually the place where I found the English knowledge to be pretty low compared to Austria...

That said, I would recommend Luxembourg over Liechtenstein any day. Visit the old town, the Kasematten, have a drink in the Grund. If you have more time, you can also visit the surrounding countryside like the old town of Echternach and the castle and old town of Vianden and have some dinner with good Mosel wine near Grevenmacher. Liechtenstein is more on the boring side: beautiful countryside but not different from Switzerland or Austria, one castle you cannot get into, and that more or less was it.
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:53 am

My favourite...and I'm surprised no one has mentioned it, Amsterdam. A fascinating city of contrasts. Extremely friendly locals and great eateries that do not break the budget.

Language difficulties are non existent.
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 14, 2011 3:27 pm

Hit up Croatia... I suggest Dubrovnik... Its warm there, a beautiful city, cheap to drink and accomodation is reasonable too. Good fun.
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aloges
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:16 pm

Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 19):
Hit up Croatia.

I'd like to second that, however be aware that most (if not all) Croatian beaches do not have sand, but pebbles.
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StuckInCA
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 14, 2011 6:04 pm

Quoting AustrianZRH (Reply 17):
That's strange. We do have a very slightly ( ) different dialect to the rest of Austria, but the knowledge of English should be similar if not better - especially in the more touristy regions (Bregenz area, and the tourist villages in the mountains). Switzerland is actually the place where I found the English knowledge to be pretty low compared to Austria...

As I said, it was 11 years ago and my communication abilities were (and are) weak outside English. I can ask about rooms and order beer. That's the most important part   I think I had a tiny level of comfort with those sorts of communications from traveling in Germany and other parts of Austria. When I hit the very western part of Austria it seemed that I couldn't understand anything and nobody could (or would) understand my horrid attempts at communicating and nobody could (or would) speak English. I still loved it. I have fond memories of a dinner of beer out of a vending machine (outside of an elementary school!) when I couldn't find anywhere else to buy food on a Sunday evening  

Also, I wasn't necessarily in the most touristy areas as I like to get off the beaten path a bit.
 
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AmricanShamrok
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Sat Sep 17, 2011 6:43 pm

Thanks for all the input. So without further ado, the city I am seriously considering now is...

Quoting signol (Reply 7):
Berlin

It dawned on me the other day that I have a friend on Erasmus (studying abroad) in Berlin so I may take a few days to visit. Watch this space for a trip report! (Well not this space, it will be in the TR forum   ).
 
NoUFO
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Sat Sep 17, 2011 7:58 pm

Can't go wrong with Berlin. Your friend will know the city well, but if you need a tip: fire away.

[Edited 2011-09-17 13:18:35]
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AmricanShamrok
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Sat Sep 17, 2011 8:17 pm

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 23):

Many thanks!
 
n272wa
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Sat Sep 17, 2011 10:54 pm

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 22):
It dawned on me the other day that I have a friend on Erasmus (studying abroad) in Berlin so I may take a few days to visit. Watch this space for a trip report! (Well not this space, it will be in the TR forum ).

I am going to Berlin on Aer Lingus on 3rd October! Will fill you in if you decide to go there!
Otherwise, check your IM as I messaged you a few options  
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NoUFO
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Sun Sep 18, 2011 10:15 pm

Quoting N272wa (Reply 25):
I am going to Berlin on Aer Lingus on 3rd October!

Remember October 3 is a national holiday, so shops will be closed. Restaurants will be open, though.

Edit: And public transport will of course operate according to the Sunday schedule.

[Edited 2011-09-18 15:16:47]
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fly777s
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:19 am

Quoting AmricanShamrok (Reply 22):

Thanks for all the input. So without further ado, the city I am seriously considering now is...

Quoting signol (Reply 7):
Berlin

It dawned on me the other day that I have a friend on Erasmus (studying abroad) in Berlin so I may take a few days to visit. Watch this space for a trip report! (Well not this space, it will be in the TR forum   ).

Great choice. I was in Berlin November of last year and loved it. It was cold and rainy, but the city has a lot to offer, it's economical, and very easy to get around on the U and S Bahn's... Would love to go back some day.
 
mal787
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Tue Sep 20, 2011 7:47 am

Prague
Amsterdam
Budapest
Frankfrurt
Munich
Berlin
Madrid
Zurich (although a bit pricey)
Helsinki
all have different attractions so to speak but all geat cities for a weekender

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MillwallSean
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Wed Sep 21, 2011 1:32 am

Id do Tallinn.
Its a great place with very friendly people. The bonus is with a 2 hour cruise you can take a day and possibly night if you wish, in Helsinki as well. Those boozecruises are an interesting phenomenon.
Two cities both a little bit off the usual track and both interesting but not to large and easy to walk around in.
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Zkpilot
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:19 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 20):


Quoting Zkpilot (Reply 19):
Hit up Croatia.

I'd like to second that, however be aware that most (if not all) Croatian beaches do not have sand, but pebbles.

True...thats why you go on a boat...plenty of cheap ones out there... or hit up some of the crazy party islands!  
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AmricanShamrok
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 9:21 pm

Thanks again everyone for the advice. Berlin is now confirmed for 31 October - 3 November. What's more I found two other friends to accompany me! The proposed flights are:

Aer Lingus Regional flight RE3654, departing Shannon (SNN) at 15:15, arriving Bristol (BRS) at 16:40 - ATR 72.
EasyJet flight U26237, departing Bristol (BRS) at 18:20, arriving Berlin (SXF) at 21:20 - Airbus A319.

Aer Lingus flight EI335, departing Berlin (SXF) at 15:55, arriving Dublin (DUB) at 17:20 - Airbus A320.
Aer Arann flight RE257, departing Dublin (DUB) at 19:00, arriving Kerry (KIR) at 19:55 - ATR 42.
 
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HELyes
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RE: Europe: Good Places To Visit On Your Own?

Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:57 pm

Quoting MillwallSean (Reply 29):
Id do Tallinn.
Its a great place with very friendly people. The bonus is with a 2 hour cruise you can take a day and possibly night if you wish, in Helsinki as well. Those boozecruises are an interesting phenomenon.

If the boozeferries are not your thing, the scheduled helicopter service is back, Tallinn City - Helsinki City takes 18 min on AgustaWestland AW-139 over the Gulf of Finland. I did it 2008, was a great experience. Now the fares look higher, but I think offers expected.

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