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2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

Omaha, Nebraska...
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2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

Hello!

I will be spending September through mid November 2014 backpacking around Europe. I plan to fly into and start my adventure in Amsterdam. I will be using eurail and easyjet flights from particular stops on my list depending on price and availability. I will also be staying in hostels as I will be 24 during the time of my trip. I love to be active so I would love to experience all I can while traveling include city bike rides or anything along those lines. Also, I am from the US and have never been to Europe before since I was 1 years old and born in Germany.

Here is my route: Amsterdam-Brussels-Luxembourg-Munich-Salzburg-Prague-Berlin-Krakow-Budapest-Venice-Florence-Rome-Naples-Siciliy-Monanco-Nice-Marseille-Barcelona-Granada-Seville-Madrid-Lisbon-Bordeaux-Pairs-London-Amsterdam.

My question for all of you: which of those cities should I skip? Are there any I need to replace with better options in surrounding areas? What are some of the need to see/do things in those cities?

Thank you!

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

Mary Beth,

In a younger day I had the good fortune to backpack in Europe for five months. Unlike you I had already made two journeys to the continent each lasting about a a month and had some familiarity with what I might encounter. For the shorter trips I had a pretty well defined plan of travel, but, for the longer jaunt I departed on the journey with no such plan and made it up as I went.

You have listed 25 places you want to visit, which means spending an average of three days in each place. That's a lot of moving around. It's impossible for me (or probably anyone else) to give good advice about where you should definitely visit and which cities to avoid if you don't tell us what you like to do (or think that you like to do) when you travel. Does great art excite you? Do you want to party with the locals? Are you looking for religious experiences? Do you want to eat your way across the continent?

I also advise you keep flexible once you embark on your journey. Assume that you will return some day, maybe soon, so that you can savor the magic of the moment rather than be seduced into pursuing a plan that puts you in Karkow in October. You will meet lots of other people your age in Hostels, and you may find that you want to travel with some of them from time to time. I often did. You may hear about some place that intrigues you that you had never heard about before.

You seem to have done your budget work, which is good. 2.5 months is a long time and you probably don't want to run out of cash. Consider riding the long distance buses. I didn't need to way back when because Eurail passes were cheaper and gave a whole lot more for the money then than now.

Good luck, and have fun.

2. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

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Rotterdam, The...
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3. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

Sounds like a great trip, but I agree with BackpackerNoMore62 that 3 days per city may feel a bit rushed. For places like Monaco, Luxembourg, Bordeaux and Salzburg you may not even need three days (assuming you don't want to visit places outside these cities), but for London, Paris, Berlin etc. I think three days is too short. Especially since travel time to/from these places is included.

Also, I would advise you to travel from north to south as much as possible (which you already plan to do, according to the above schedule), because by November Northern Europe will probably be damp, cloudy and cold.

Good luck planning! I'm kinda jealous :)

Amsterdam, The...
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4. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

What a nice adventure you're embarking on.

I agree with what the others said. With 2.5 months, you'll probably also want a week in the middle of that period to just relax, and *no sightseeing* whatsoever. It's tiring to learn about the lay-out of a new city and how to get around, discover the sights, find good places to eat... pack, travel, and do that all over again, and again, and again. And especially with all the language and culture issues it will be even more tiring in Europe.

After about 10 such places you'll definitely want to just laze about, walk, read a book, sleep in. After a rest you'll have fresh energy for new museums, sights etc.

For me personally about 2 big 'moves' per week (with all my luggage) is still fun, sometimes 3 if necessary... but not more than that.

As for language issues, bring a Point It booklet! One of the best $7 investments you'll ever make. :-) http://bit.ly/1az3CgF

Read up on culture shock, in order to know what's happening to you when you get it. :-) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_shock > but who knows you may get stuck in the lovely Honeymoon Phase :-)

Remember that:

- Travelling faster is also a lot more expensive. Per week you will need more transport tickets and you may spend more on overpriced food at railway stations or on trains (or in airports).

- The more places you cram into a certain amount of time, the less actual 'free time' you will have in a week. Less is more. You have more free hours during a week to sightsee / relax / eat at nice places if you don't need to pack and travel every other day but if you were to stay in one place for 3 or 4 nights.

- From all the cities you mention, lovely daytrips can also be made. So even if you were to choose only 10 out of all those cities, you can still see A LOT and have a blast. But you can at least stay in the same hostel for a while longer and you won't need to do multiple hour (costly) trips so frequently.

- Visiting only cities will give a skewed idea of what Europe is like. Make sure to visit small towns, lesser-known cities and some countryside too!

I would leave out Brussels as it's just an ugly grey smelly city (with a few nice parts here and there) and doesn't really offer anything that can't be found in other cities. Luxemburg, I'm not sure about either, it may be too much of a detour on your way to Berlin (which I love).

For Berlin take at least 3 *full* days (so 5 days with travelling to/from).

Personally I'm a fan of Spain and Portugal but I'm sure many of the other places you mention are also great.

I agree with BackpackerNoMore62 that you will want to keep it flexible; Europe is full of young backpackers and you're bound to meet people you like. It's nice to have the flexibility to join them to a place that wasn't in your list but that may turn out to be wonderful, and to share that with your new friends.

I also agree that starting north and ending south is best (can you get an open jaw ticket and fly out of Lisbon or Barcelona perhaps?). Climate is better in the south in November, and it's also cheaper there with regards to hostels and food.

As for Amsterdam, September is still pretty busy so you may want to start looking for a hostel bed already. StayOkay Vondelpark always seems like a great place to me (but I live here so I've never stayed in hostels/hotels here). StayOkay Stadsdoelen seems a nice second option. But there are loads of other hostels too.

You may be interested in some of the threads in the Top Questions of the Amsterdam forum (see the top right), for example this one about free things to do: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g188590-i60-k64046…

and this one about cheap eating: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g188590-i60-k16775…

Active things like bike tours can be done in a lot of cities. Google will help you find them.

Eurolines buses can be a cheap option to get around Europe, they take more hours but they have some amazing deals sometimes (sometimes 8 euros Amsterdam - Paris). Night buses can save you time, and a night's hostel cost (but you will be kind of wrecked for that day, unless you can find night buses with almost-bedlike seats).

www.seat61.com will tell you a lot about train travel. And cheap flights can be found through www.skyscanner.com or other such sites.

You may also want to consider Couchsurfing.org. A great way to meet locals, sleep for free and see a country from a whole different perspective, as most hosts also enjoy spending time showing their visitor around and taking them to the hidden gems. Create a profile with a few photos and tell people something about yourself, try to get some reviews (about yourself) by people you already know, or by hosting other couchsurfers in your own place now, and write couch requests to hosts you think you'll like in a personal manner (not copy-paste messages).

Watch out for pickpockets all over Europe. Hide valuables well, don't carry your wallet or passport in an easy outer pocket, especially in crowded places and on public transport. On sleeper trains and buses make sure your stuff is safe while you sleep, sleep with your most valuable items in your bed and use tiny padlocks on your backpack and maybe a lightweight (travel size) cable lock to lock your backpack to a rack. wowshopper.com/travel-accessories/pics-inven…

Have fun!

Cecilia

Amsterdam

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/amsterdam_tips.htm

Liverpool, United...
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5. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

3 days per city sounds like a good thing - except for the travel. The time it takes to get ready to depart one place for the other, airport, train whatever.. and you're wasting so much precious time over and over. You're your own person and nobody should tell you what to do, but you need to factor that into your travels. Staying within a country and travelling a few hours by train to a different destination is fine, but wasting a full day travelling to / departing from another country is something else. Maybe keep the different countries, but trim the cities down in each? Then you can relax more and chill for a good few days.. perhaps travelling to very near destinations on public transport if you want.

6. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

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7. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

Just a few random comments. Definitely fly open jaw. Returning to Amsterdam to return home isn't necessary. I have been to most of your cities and think your list is great, but could be overwhelming. I noticed you are going to Salzburg, but not Vienna. Vienna.would be worth your while. Salzburg is small, but nice whereas Vienna has magnificent buildings not to mention the desserts. I personally don't get the attraction of Venice. I know you must go there at least once in your life, but I have been there twice and both times I was very tired of the blown glass and mask shops. I suppose if you love to shop it is nirvana, but for me not so much. Canals nice, Museums okay, but nothing compared to the museums you will experience in Florence and Rome in my opinion. I know tons of folks just love Venice, not me.

I was blown away by Krakow this spring. You can live like a queen there for a few days. Most things are very inexpensive. We had wonderful meals there costing the equivalent of under $30 for both of us. Very youthful city also as is Berlin, another one of my favorite places, but Number 1 for me is Amsterdam.

S

8. Re: 2.5 months backpacking around Europe.

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