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Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?

Sydney, Australia
11 posts
Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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So I'm a second year uni student currently planning a solo, 4 month trip to Europe beginning late July next year until mid-November, and was wanting to ask your opinions on my itinerary, particularly regarding whether or not I'm attempting to do too much, or if there are any places on my itinerary I should skip? Also, I wanted to ask whether it would be worth getting a 3 month Global Eurail pass, and a Britrail pass for England and Scotland, or whether I'm better off buying each ticket separately? It makes it hard because the trip is still 8 months away, so I'm having trouble getting accurate prices for trains or booking flights yet. As a student, I'm trying to spend as little money as possible while still seeing much of what each country has to offer - I haven't properly budgeted or booked anything yet but am planning to save at least 20k, with some money hopefully left over when I get home! (probably wishful thinking) I'm also aware that the Schengen zone only allows me to be in Europe (excluding the UK) for 90 days, but according to my calculations I just scrape by, spending 89 days in the Schengen zone. Travel-wise, I'm interested in beautiful scenery, lurking coffee shops and museums, sunbaking on beaches, and good vegetarian food! I'll post my itinerary below:

ENGLAND - 10 days

22nd July - Depart Sydney for London

23rd July - Arrive in London early morning. Spend 5 nights, making day trips to Brighton and Bath. Have to stay this long due to booking a West End ticket on the night of the 27th of July!

28th July - Depart London to Liverpool, stopping on the way at Stratford-upon-Avon. Spend 2 nights in Liverpool.

30th July - Depart Liverpool for Heptonstall (Heptonstall holds special significance for me as I want to visit Sylvia Plath's grave there). Stay 1 night in Heptonstall

31st July - Depart Heptonstall to York. Spend 2 nights.

SCOTLAND - 8 days

2nd August - Depart York for Edinburgh. Spend 3 nights, possibly making a day trip

5th August - Depart Edinburgh for Glasgow. Spend 2 nights.

7th August - Depart from Glasgow to Mallaig. Catch ferry from Mallaig to Isle of Skye. Spend 2 nights in Skye.

9th August - Return to Glasgow. Spend 1 night.

IRELAND - 10 days

10th August - Fly from Glasgow to Dublin. Spend 3 nights, making a day trip to Glendalough.

13th August - Depart Dublin for Galway. Spend 2 nights.

15th August - Depart Galway for Killarney via Limerick. Spend 3 nights, making day trips to Dingle and Kerry

19th August - Depart Killarney for Cork via Blarney Castle. Spend 1 night (not too interested in Cork).

FRANCE - 15 days

20th August - Fly from Cork to Paris. Spend 6 nights, making day trips to Versailles and Normandy.

26th August - Depart from Paris to Lyon. Spend 3 nights.

29th August - Depart from Lyon to Avignon. Spend 2 nights.

31st August - Depart from Avignon to Marseilles. Spend 2 nights

2nd September - Depart from Marseilles to Nice. Spend 2 nights.

SPAIN - 19 days

4th September - Fly from Nice to Barcelona, where I'll briefly be meeting up with the family. Spend 3 nights in Barcelona.

7th September - Fly from Barcelona to Ibiza with family. Spend 4 nights.

11th September - Leave family and fly from Ibiza to Madrid. Spend 2 nights.

13th September - Depart from Madrid to Seville. Spend 3 nights.

17th September - Depart from Seville to Granada. Spend 2 nights.

19th September - Depart from Granada to Cartegena. Spend 2 nights

21st September - Depart from Cartegena to Valencia. Spend 2 nights.

ITALY - 18 days

23rd September - Fly from Valencia to Naples. Spend 2 nights in Naples, making a day trip to Pompeii and Herculaneum (don't want to spend too long in Naples by myself)

25th September - Depart from Naples to Sorrento. Spend 2 nights, making day trips to Capri and Amalfi Coast

27th September - Depart from Sorrento to Rome via Naples. Spend 4 nights in Rome.

1st October - Depart from Rome to Florence. Spend 3 nights.

4th October - Depart from Florence to Pisa. Spend 2 nights, making a day trip to Cinque Terre

6th October - Depart from Pisa to Bologna (via Florence). Spend 1 night. (I'm happy to possibly sacrifice Bologna for more time in Venice, what do you think?)

7th October - Depart from Bologna to Venice. Spend 3 nights, making a day trip to Padua.

10th October - Depart from Venice to Milan, stopping on the way at Verona. Spend 1 night in Milan (not to keen on Milan, it's a useful point to reach Switzerland)

SWITZERLAND - 6 days

11th October - Depart from Milan to Lucerne. Spend 3 nights, making day trips to Bern and/or Interlaken.

14th October - Depart from Lucerne to Zurich. Spend 3 nights, making day trip to Black Forest.

AUSTRIA - 8 days

17th October - Depart from Zurich to Innsbruck. Spend 1 night. (would rather spend my time in Salzberg and Vienna)

18th October - Depart from Innsbruck to Vienna. Spend 4 nights, possibly making day trip to Brno

22nd October - Depart from Vienna to Salzberg. Spend 3 nights.

GERMANY - 15 days

25th October - Depart from Salzberg to Munich. Spend 3 nights, making day trips to Dachau and Neuschwanstein Castle.

28th October - Depart from Munich to Heidelberg. Spend 2 nights, making a possible day trip to Rothenberg (is it worth it?)

30th October - Depart Heidelberg to Frankfurt (would prefer to skip, but I have a family friend in this city that I would like to visit. My transport and accommodation will likely be covered in this leg of the trip.) Spend 2 nights.

1st October - Depart from Frankfurt to Dresden. Spend 2 nights

3rd October - Depart from Dresden to Berlin. Spend 4 nights.

7th November - Depart from Hannover to Cologne, making day trip to Dusseldorf. Spend 2 nights

NETHERLANDS - 8 days

9th November - Depart from Cologne to Ultrect. Spend 1 night. (It is worth staying in Ultrect or am I better off spending more time in main cities?)

10th November - Depart from Ultrect to Rotterdam. Spend 3 nights, making day trips to Delft and Haarlem.

13th November - Depart from Rotterdam to Amsterdam. Spend 4 nights

17th November - Fly from Amsterdam to London

18th November - Depart from London to Sydney

Any thoughts on my itinerary are welcome! Tell me what you think :)

Dingle, Ireland
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1. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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You seem to have put a lot of thought into this and the UK bit seems reasonable. But do post this on the relevant forums for the other countries mentioned, Ireland, France, Spain Italy etc. You are right, neither Ireland nor the UK are in the Schengen agreement.

I will say that Edinburgh in August is manic, it is festival central, great fun if you can get accommodation.

London, United...
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2. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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Fushsia is right - this needs splitting into the individual components on the individual country forums (this includes the UK, as imagine posters will be put off by the massive itinerary to trawl through!)

Personally, it sounds like 4 months of constantly moving around without a break. The max you spend anywhere is 4 nights (Amsterdam, Vienna, Berlin). I think you could well do with a couple of weeks (or at least 4-5 days) of 'downtime' in the quieter bits of Europe, so in the countryside, or by the beach - not in the cities - recharge your batteries. In a related point to this, you have a lot of cities (and quite large ones at that often) and not much countryside or small towns.

I would also not be bothered spending so much time in both Austria and Switzerland. Both mountainous, and Switzerland is very expensive. Admittedly I've only ever been to both in ski season but they are not places I have a massive hankering to go to again. Having said that, I do want to do the German mountains in the summer one year. (and not just because the beer is better there)

A final point - every time you change hotel / country / town you will lose at least 1/2 a day to travel, minimum. Every time. I would write our your itinerary taking this into account.

United Kingdom
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for Cornwall
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3. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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Only one thing strikes me: when you spend two nights somewhere that effectively means only one day, so, for example,

"11th September - Leave family and fly from Ibiza to Madrid. Spend 2 nights.

13th September - Depart from Madrid to Seville"

You'll arrive at Madrid airport on 11/9, travel to the city and check in to your hotel. Depending on the time of your flight you may not have more than the evening and the following day in Madrid before travelling elsewhere. If you don't mind having limited time there that's fine but it's something to bear in mind when planning what you want to do in each place.

Also, give some thought to what you'll do with your luggage before you check in to your hotel/after you check out. Some hotels have no left luggage service so you may need to detour to a station to store your luggage during your arrival/departure day.

You mention your budget is 20k. In what currency please? £ or €? That will make a difference. And if it's AUS dollars that's a big difference.

London, United...
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4. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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I should also add that you should be commended for putting together what is obviously quite a complex itinerary on an unfamiliar continent! It's quite well grouped I think, it's just I think you might get burn out if you're not careful..

Rutland, United...
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5. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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I too am highly impressed by the thought that has gone into this. You clearly have a flair for travel planning. One thing which occurred to me was to say well done for leaving Southern Europe until late summer/Autumn so avoiding the blistering heat of high summer, something you are no doubt very aware of in Sydney.

More specifically:

1. London to Stratford and then Stratford to Liverpool is, I think, quite circuitous and so expensive in terms of time. You might need to investigate this.

2. Picking up Kitty's idea of fewer stops, how about sacrificing Marseilles entirely and spending all your time in Nice or, perhaps, Villefranche sur Mer?

3. Bologna is worth visiting. There again, Venice is stunning, especially out of the summer months. When travelling through Italy be aware there are two train companies: Trenitalia and Italo Treno. The website www.seat61.com should be your bible

4. Is it worth staying in Rotterdam at all? Smaller places such as Utrecht and den Haag have more charm. In Holland I have enjoyed visits to Zaanse Schans, just outside Amsterdam, and Volendam.

5. Can you fly home from Amsterdam rather than having to come back to Heathrow?

Sydney, Australia
11 posts
6. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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Thanks for all the quick replies! Sorry it's my first post, wasn't too sure of the guidelines but I'll edit the original post and post my itinerary in relevant sections. I think you're all right, I'm not factoring in how long travel will take, and the point of the holiday is to relax so I'll change my itinerary and skip a few destinations. I'm planning on saving 20k in Australian dollars, but I'm planning on saving money by staying in hostels, on top of free accommodation in Germany and Ibiza.

Edited: 5 years ago
Sydney, Australia
11 posts
7. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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Thank you for your reply Beauchamp I've literally spent the past week spending hours upon hours with my head in guidebooks trying to work out my itinerary! I might just take on your idea to skip Marseilles, spending more time in Nice appeals to me very much. I'm interested to hear that Bologna is worth visiting, I've never been to northern Italy. Is it worth skipping Pisa or southern Italy? (I've been to Southern Italy before) Hearing your suggestion I'm considering spending less time in Rotterdam - there are a handful sights I'd like to see there but perhaps my time will be best spent where you have suggested. I compared prices for a return flight from London and single airfares Sydney-London and then Amsterdam-Sydney but the single fares were more pricey, unfortunately, even factoring in the cost of flying from Amsterdam-London.

United Kingdom
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for Cornwall
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8. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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I'd skip Pisa. I thought it overrated and a bit tacky. Once I'd seen the Leaning Tower I felt I was done with the place. To be fair, my visit was part of a trip including Venice and Sienna so most places would have paled into insignificance compared to them.

Keep posting. I think we all want you to have a great time.

Liverpool, United...
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9. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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"It makes it hard because the trip is still 8 months away, so I'm having trouble getting accurate prices for trains"

Ticket prices won't increase by much so you can get a good idea by looking a few months in advance now. In general the cheaper advance fares go on sale 11-12 weeks ahead of your travel date. This is certainly the case for the UK, Germany and France. There are no advance fares available in the Netherlands (and no return fares!).

Use these following websites -

For UK: www.nationalrail.co.uk

For Germany: www.bahn.de (you can also use this website to book through tickets from Germany to the Netherlands and most other European countries).

For Netherlands: www.ns.nl

For all the other countries and for more detailed advice on travelling around Europe by train use: http://www.seat61.com/Europe-train-travel.htm#.Vk8n3l4tDU4

Edited: 5 years ago
Rutland, United...
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10. Re: Opinions on 4 month solo Europe trip & Eurail pass?
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I'd leave out Pisa as well. Apart from the Campo dei Miracoli it's not worth the detour. Substitute it with a night or two in San Gimigniano or one of the other Tuscan hillside towns. And as an even greater contrast to the cities which dominate your itinerary some time in Umbria or perhaps Molise would be very rewarding though you would need advice from Italy experts about where is most accessible by public transport.

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