Travel - EUROPE: Travel Tips & Tricks | BigFooty

Travel EUROPE: Travel Tips & Tricks

Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by wce4premiership, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. wce4premiership

    wce4premiership Brownlow Medallist

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    Howdy all. Much like the USA travel tips and tricks thread, I thought it would be handy to have a European based thread (apart from the 'getting naughty' thread), for anyone planning to travel there (me for example) to pick the brains of those who have.

    So my plan is to travel Europe for a period of 3-4 months next year, starting around the June/July period ending around september/October.

    Any recommendations or things to avoid?
    I'm basically looking at seeing the majority of Europe, main places being: England, Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Sweden and Switzerland.

    Also if one of these type of threads exists already feel free to post the link.
     

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  2. demonfan9

    demonfan9 Premiership Player

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    Are you planning on going by yourself or with friends/family/partner?

    Tours? Hostels? Hotels?
     
  3. crazyman27

    crazyman27 Club Legend

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    I was over there in December and January so my experience isn't much help with the different seasons. If you're youngish I would recommend the Paddywagon tours in Ireland. Ten times better than Contiki or Top Deck as the guides actually know their stuff and go out of their way to make the tour enjoyable. It helps that Ireland is amazingly beautiful and has some of the most friendly people on the planet.

    My other tip would be the Croatian coast (Dubrovnik, Zadar, Split etc.). Absolutely stunning in the middle of winter so I can only imagine what it would be like in summer (swimming in the Mediterranean would be amazing). I would expect the crowds to be hectic at that time of year though and accommodation a little hard to come by so probably book well in advance.
     
  4. wce4premiership

    wce4premiership Brownlow Medallist

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    At the moment the general plan is to do maybe one month of contiki and 2 months of our own thing. I would be interested in hearing about anything, regardless of seasons if it gives a good idea on what a place is like. I honestly want to see everything, but am realistic and realise to do that I'd only be in each sport for 2/3 days (which is basically contiki)

    Wont be staying in hostels, will be a hotel trip. Not big on the hostels really. Cheers crazyman, have taken it all into account, would love to do both Ireland and croatia, the Mediterranean is one of the highlights for me, being a summer/beach person. A lot of the trip will be based next to a water body if applicable :p

    Any ideas on general costs for European trips in relation to America for example, more, less?
     
  5. TheStinger

    TheStinger Brownlow Medallist

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    If you are staying in a major city for any length of time (3 days to a week) the best bet is to get a multi trip metro ticket. They are usually really well priced and the metro system in most cities is awesome and can take you wherever you want to go. They can be crowded, but if you miss one, there is always another one in five or so minutes. Make sure you get a metro map as some of the lines can be very confusing and it pays to know what line you need to be on to get to where you want to go and what stops to get off to accomplish this way before hand.

    If you want to know anything about Barcelona, Paris, Berlin or any places like that, I will try and help.
     
  6. Jordie_tackles

    Jordie_tackles Norm Smith Medallist

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    Have heard nothing but good things about Croatia, Cheap, nice coasts and weather, people appreciate you visiting them instead of Italy and France and Spain ect and make you feel welcome. Apparently you can just stay in peoples houses also, pay them 30 bucks a night or something and they cook you breakfast, heaps of people renting rooms like this? any truth to this just what i heard?
     
  7. MaddAdam

    MaddAdam Cancelled

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    This does indeed happen.
     
  8. wce4premiership

    wce4premiership Brownlow Medallist

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    I'm looking at learning a Language, any idea of any particular language that is recognised among multiple countries?
    I know the majority of people in Europe are bi-lingual with many countries having more than one native toungue, just curious as to any particular language coming in handy?

    I was thinking Spanish (due also to making any further trips to South America easier)
    Also, what do people think is the simplest way around, I've heard the public transport system is very good, particularly the railways, any experience with this?
     
  9. Magpira

    Magpira Club Legend

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    I've spent about 8 months in total travelling around Europe and it's the best experience I've ever had.

    Western European countries you have mentioned are all great in their own way, but Switzerland, England and France are mega expensive, so beware! There is so much to do and see in Europe that you'll never have time to conquer it all, so just work out exactly what it is you want to do/see the most in each and plan around that. Just watch out for gypsies, they get in your face and hassle the crap out of you!

    Italy is my fave country in euro and has loads of things to do and see and eat! It's so quick and easy to get around by train & you can get from Venice to Florence in under 3 hours and even less from there to Rome and then onto Naples. Sicily is fantastic too but i'd recommend flying there as it's pretty far. You should try & go on a tour through Tuscany if you can, unbelieveable! And also Capri, where you can book a tour to sail around the island and go through all the grottos, which are breathtaking to say the least! Also if going to Rome and want to see The Vatican, I'd book ahead and organize a tour otherwise you'll be in line for hours.

    Other major euro countries not on your list that are great, (provided you have the time) are Belgium (esp if you love beer, if you do then make the time to go to Brugges is the most amazing place and Ghent), Greece is awesome and has the best food ever, try and make it to the islands, as you will be blown away. Austria is another awesome place to visit too, Vienna is fabulous but very expensive, I'd recommend checking out Salzburg, beautiful place. But absolutely NO Euro trip can possibly be complete without visiting Amsterdam, tripped out place and one I couldn't get enough of and just kept going back to ;)

    If you're looking for cheaper options and have the time in your schedule, I'd really recommend going to some eastern euro cities and the best one (which I highly recommend and have been to twice) is Prague, although they don't speak english, it's spectacular and cheap as hell, we got pints of good Czech beer for about $2 Australian! They also have an amazing bone church called Sedlec Ossuary which is in Kutna Hora (which is only about 45 mins from Prague) and I also have to mention another Czech city called Cesky Krumlov, it's one of the oldest cities in Czech and absolutely gorgeous (but it's pretty far, about 4 hours from Prague).

    Krakow and Split are also very cheap and worth checking out too, along with Budapest (but that's a little more expensive).

    God... I could ramble for hours about Euro and have obviously rambled enough already... Feel free to msg me if you want any info about certain places on your list that i may be able to help with.
     
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  10. The Dice Man

    The Dice Man Brownlow Medallist

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    +1 for Belgium. Best food, beer and all the women are tall.. Well maybe not all but it was noticeable. Brugge awesome too, food is great in Brussels. Apart from the old stuff I found Rome to be disappointing. Good food difficult to find, beggars everywhere and it's just a dirty city. The river is pure filth. Vatican city is awesome for wow factor but if your going with a girl make sure she has her shoulders covered.

    Porto in Portugal is another awesome city, so pretty and the home if port. Ramos pinto is an excellent tour. And a ride on the vernicular(sp?) is a treat.

    If you go to Dublin, fit in Howth.. 15 minutes by train from the centre but it's ******* cold in Dublin even in summer. We arrived in June to a 9 degree day and shivered all day long. Skip the Guinness brewery if you find anything interesting to do. Great view from the top but a rather underwhelming 'tour'.

    Sth France is beautiful, the beaches aren't like Australia but the water is an amazing azure. I have no idea how the Mediterranean appears so clean. Check out Grasse too. Nice is cool, Cannes is a bit like the gold coast only bigger and more stylish, and much, much bigger boats. Antibes is awesome for boat watching and has a very cool absinth bar.

    If you travel to Monaco make sure you pack a tie and jacket.
     
    wce4premiership likes this.
  11. Magpira

    Magpira Club Legend

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    My biggest regret in France was missing the Riveria and am still bummed that I never got to Bordeaux as well..

    Agree entirely with your take on Dublin, my tour wasn't super impressive either but I spent most of my 4 days there plastered at Bruxelles bar and eating beef & guiness stew and pies which were magnificent!!!

    Never got to Portugal but have heard great things, I decided to stay in Spain and visit more cities there other than go across to Portugal, but if I ever get there again, will def do...

    If you think women are tall in Belgium, check out Sweden, Wowee... All of the women are 6" and blonde, and made us shorter brunettes pale into insignificance :(
     
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  12. The Dice Man

    The Dice Man Brownlow Medallist

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    I loved Porto. Had great food there too.. Although many restaurants have very similar menus.. Lots of salted codfish. Tge restaurant Pimms in Porto served me one of the very greatest steaks I've ever had. You could have cut it with your tongue!!

    I lived an hour from Spain for three months but never got there.. So far. I too have t been to Bordeaux and hope to while I'm here. My visa expired so I have to be careful exiting now as Switzerland is so close but as I say.. Careful. We plan to get married so that should open euro up to me again.

    I don't get all tge talk that Europe is expensive... If you like food beer and wine and cigarettes, all these things are ridicously cheap compared to aus.

    You can have a 5 course meal with a bottle of good wine and pay under 60 euros and the food is fantastic!

    The same in oz would cost me 200!!! Or more!!!!
     
  13. Magpira

    Magpira Club Legend

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    Yes cigs and booze are very cheap and food can be as it all depends on where you are. I must admit that I totally splurged in Paris and ate in at least two Michelin star restaurants, I just HAD to have the experience of the finest of French dining... Also I went to dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge and wow that was very expensive! I found Switzerland very expensive in general and in comparison to other countries, their average meals were overpriced.

    I found Germany, Czech and Greece to be the cheapest with everything, especially food.

    Spain is awesome... Only been to Barcelona, San Sebastian, Madrid and Valencia... Missed out on heaps, but would love to explore it further and hopefully will again one day!

    I didn't think you needed a visa for mainland Europe? I know in the UK you do, but I was under the impression that you can spend up to 3 months in a particular country and then move onto the next... I never had a visa and travelled throughout Europe for 8 months, just moving on from country to country! But if you want to play it safe, then yes hurry up and get married! I would love to live there though, not forever but for a least a year or two, would be awesome :thumbsu:
     
  14. The Dice Man

    The Dice Man Brownlow Medallist

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    Nah the schengan visa is for three months allowing you to travel in around 30 different countries. But it's three months total. Doesn't reset when you cross a border, unless u are exiting the zone. And aPart from 4 days in London, I've never left it.
     
  15. TheStinger

    TheStinger Brownlow Medallist

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    If you have the ability to get a European passport (through your parents or in some countries, Grandparents) and you intend on being in Europe for any length of time, it is well worth doing it. You don't need to worry about visa time frames and getting in and out of passport control is such a breeze. Most places barely look at you. Whereas in the international line you get asked 20 questions about your trip and if you are winging it a little bit (no set itinerary) then that can become problematical. On a European passport you have so much more freedom to come and go as you please.
     
  16. standingroomonly

    standingroomonly Club Legend

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    +1 for sourcing a Euro passport if you can, i would have been lost without mine! The ability to pick and go whenever you want, work etc. was vital for enjoying my time over there.

    As far as learning a language French and German i found to be the most widespread (outside of english). Spanish while nice to know, especially if you're planning a SA trip isn't as useful if you're planning any time in Eastern Europe.

    My advice would be to hit the big tourist spots and tick them off the list, Colosseum, Pisa, Eifell Tower etc. via a contiki (or other tour comp) and use that time to get an idea of what areas you like and don't like so you can spend your own time better afterwards. I love travelling alone but a Contiki tour hitting all the major tourist traps can be very useful. That really removes the places to avoid as you can hit them with a contiki to avoid getting ripped off too badly.

    As far as places to go i'd reccomend allocating a fair bit of time to Barcelona and if you can get to Capri and Positano in Italy....i seriously would immediately move to any of those places if i had the chance. I spend a little while working at a hotel on Capri a few years ago, it was up on the cliffs and i found myself getting distracted by how beautiful the place was, let alone how amazing all the rich guests were! Positano is a really special place for me...not actioned packed or anything just a great place to sit back, eat, drink and relax.

    Positano

    [​IMG]

    View from the hotel's horizon pool Capri

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Ed_Gein

    Ed_Gein You are nex !

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    If you love nature you can't beat the west coast of Norway. Drop dead gorgeous scenery, i plan on living there one day. The Priekestolen hike, near Stavanger is highly recommended and i hear the Kjerag one is worth it too. I wouldn't mind going back to travel up further north towards Molde, Bodo, Trondheim and Hammerfest etc. I like traveling on a whim, and booking something on the day or the day before, but for Scandinavia i'd probably suggest planning a trip and booking everything in advance, it works out even cheaper than the rail passes. Booking a train within a week of leaving costs 5 or 6 times as much IIRC.

    Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania shouldn't be overlooked either, even though i only went to the capital cities of each, they're small-ish and quaint cities that aren't over crowded like your Rome, Paris etc.... especially Tallinn. The old town is amazing. Hidden gems of Europe for sure.
     
  18. Scotland

    Scotland Hall of Famer

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    +1 for Tallinn.
    +1 for Norway. It's not exactly a day trip to get right up to Nordkapp but the countryside is amazing.

    I also nominate:
    Riga, capital city of Latvia.
    Ljubljana, capital city of Slovenia.
    Bled, small town in Slovenia (two hours from Ljubljana by bus)

    If you go to Switzerland, visit Interlaken and take the Jungraubahn to the 'top of Europe'. Epic.

    If you go to Ireland, hire a car and get out of Dublin. The rest of the country has much more to offer, and Galway is the best of the cities.

    If you go to Scotland, visit Edinburgh then head North. The Highlands are spectacular and the locals get harder to understand and more fun the further North you go.

    If you go to Belgium, Brugges is not a shithole.:)

    If you want to experience an authentic German festival, avoid Oktoberfest. It's great fun but you'll spend your time ordering drinks in English and hanging around with Aussies, Kiwis and Poms. Do some research and see when other festivals are on.
     
  19. Scotland

    Scotland Hall of Famer

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    If you want to avoid Telco costs, you can buy a Vodafone sim card in the UK or Ireland (or elsewhere but it's easier when everything is in English) and set up Vodafone Passport. Call rates vary, but you are able to text in whatever country you are in for the cost of texting in the country of purchase.
     
  20. wce4premiership

    wce4premiership Brownlow Medallist

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    Haven't read through every post yet, is very much appreciated though guys keep them coming, those pictures look amazing!
    Will commence planning in about a week or so, the mate I'm planning with is a FIFO worker so it makes it hard. Belgium is definitely on the list.

    As for Greece, I've heard Athens is a dump and to stick to the islands, any truth to this?
    Not that it matters much, the islands are where my interests are.

    I definitely plan on hitting all the major spots, am planning on roughly one month contiki (smashing everything out) and 2 months of separate travel. I'm undecided on which way to order things (contiki straight up then 2 months travel, contiki smack bang in the middle, contiki at the end) still tossing up different pro's and con's on that.

    Also, not entirely sure Russia is entirely European, but does anyone have any experiences from Russia? I'd honestly like to do everything, time is the problem though, as well as money!

    ps: European passport not too sure about, mother was born in England, came to Australia at age 6, Father born in Australia.
     
  21. The Dice Man

    The Dice Man Brownlow Medallist

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    Pretty sure you can get a Brit passport with those credentials. Do it! Will save you heaps of trouble and you won't get stuck in one country like me now.
     
  22. Ed_Gein

    Ed_Gein You are nex !

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    I'd almost be willing to guarantee if you do the seperate travel first you won't want to bother with the contiki tour lol. And yup, if you're eligible for a British passport, get one.

    re Athens: Never been to Greece but apparently the toilet don't flush? They're just like port-a-loos? The stench must be feral, and i'd hate to have a job as a cleaner.
     
  23. Magpira

    Magpira Club Legend

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    Totally... I loved Amalfi Coast and went through Positano too... The eighth wonder of the world! In Capri went sailing round the island and swam through the grottos... No words can begin to describe how spectacular that place is..

    Italy is my fave and the best European country hands down for things to do and see... I fell in love San Gimignano in Tuscany too... But nothing will ever top being in Sicily and going through Savoca on the Godfather tour and sitting at the original Bar Vitelli surrounding by some of the most picturesque landscapes you're ever likely to see!
     
  24. demonfan9

    demonfan9 Premiership Player

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    Was Bar Vitelli the one that Michael's Sicilian wifes father runs?

    Tell me more about this tour. I love those films.
     
  25. Magpira

    Magpira Club Legend

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    Yep that is exactly the one!

    Savoca is where part of the Sicilian scenes where Pacino was in hiding were shot. its a tiny community that is located about 1 hours drive from Taormina, on the east coast of Sicily.

    The surroundings have obviously changed as the film was shot in 1972, so 39 years on, there are a few more houses around it, that have been built since then. The bar has obviously undergone renovations to some degree in that time too but the door entry and sign are the originals and they have the table they were sitting at when michael asked for her hand in marriage on display in the foyer, and also some awesome black and white photos on the wall from during the filming. Then we walked about 15 minutes up a winding path to the top of the hill where the church he married Apollonia in still remains... On that hill top, the view you get of the town, coast line and sea from there is spectacular, just a dream place, I swear if I ever get married, I'm gonna do it there..

    Unfortunately I didn't get to see the house with the fountain in the yard, where Apollonia died in the car explosion because some prick brought it and built this humongous fence around it and charges some ridiculous fee to go in and see it lol.. That whole sequence of the film was shot in three separate little towns outside of Taormina.

    The Godfather movies have always been one of my faves and was (apart from mt Etna) one of my main reasons for visiting and let me tell you, I got loads more than I hoped for as the place is magnificent, just amazing! We also sampled the cannolis that Don Corleone was fond off too :D
     
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