Travel EUROPE: Travel Tips & Tricks

Cruyff14

TheBrownDog
Aug 16, 2011
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OK Big Footy, do your thing...

I have 3 weeks (21 to 23 days) during late December to mid January.

Looking at going to Europe but a bit overwhelmed right now at where to start, where to stop, how long to stay in one place or even if I should just use 1 location as a base and then do day trips from that base.

Should I fly into Heathrow and take it from there. I don’t know but looking for some advice on what is good, bad and things to avoid.

I know we want to do England and then some other non english speaking countries.
You could do a tour?
 

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Great8

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3 weeks isn’t a great length of time. You could either do a fly through a heap of places and miss much of the good stuff or stick to maybe a couple of countries and really soak in the sights. Personally I wouldn’t try to cram too much travelling in as you will lose quite a bit of time. If you are flying into London maybe check out England for a week or so and then head somewhere like Paris, Frankfurt or even Amsterdam and spend a week in the area. Definitely get an open jaw ticket to save backtracking and wasting more time, the UK has the highest departure tax so consider flying out elsewhere. I’m a compulsive driver and love doing things at my own pace so I’ll always hire a car but I know many people who have no driving and prefer PT, each to their own.
 

Morning_Fog

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3 weeks isn’t a great length of time. You could either do a fly through a heap of places and miss much of the good stuff or stick to maybe a couple of countries and really soak in the sights. Personally I wouldn’t try to cram too much travelling in as you will lose quite a bit of time. If you are flying into London maybe check out England for a week or so and then head somewhere like Paris, Frankfurt or even Amsterdam and spend a week in the area. Definitely get an open jaw ticket to save backtracking and wasting more time, the UK has the highest departure tax so consider flying out elsewhere. I’m a compulsive driver and love doing things at my own pace so I’ll always hire a car but I know many people who have no driving and prefer PT, each to their own.
I want a week back in Australia before heading back to work, so 3 weeks is all we have. My wife is also a school principal, so extending won’t go down well. Also, I tacked on 2 extra weeks in the US last month with her staying in at home.

Right now, our intent is to pick 3 countries (cities more like it) and spend 7 days in each. Then move on. London, then 2 of Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rome, Barcelona et el.

We have discussed driving, not opposed to it as I drove everywhere in America but the autobarn gives me a cold sweat with the unlimited speed.The freeways in the USA are crazy with too many idiots who sit 30 miles over the limit, the unlimited speed scares the shit out of me without doing any reserach. I like to go fast, so that doesn’t bode well with my like for going fast. I don’t want an accident, nor the wife nagging me to slow down. We will definitely get a car in London and then decide if we pick one up in the new destination.

Fly into Heathrow and out of Charles De Gaulle or somewhere else yet to be decided.

Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated.
 

Seeds

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I want a week back in Australia before heading back to work, so 3 weeks is all we have. My wife is also a school principal, so extending won’t go down well. Also, I tacked on 2 extra weeks in the US last month with her staying in at home.

Right now, our intent is to pick 3 countries (cities more like it) and spend 7 days in each. Then move on. London, then 2 of Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rome, Barcelona et el.

We have discussed driving, not opposed to it as I drove everywhere in America but the autobarn gives me a cold sweat with the unlimited speed.The freeways in the USA are crazy with too many idiots who sit 30 miles over the limit, the unlimited speed scares the shit out of me without doing any reserach. I like to go fast, so that doesn’t bode well with my like for going fast. I don’t want an accident, nor the wife nagging me to slow down. We will definitely get a car in London and then decide if we pick one up in the new destination.

Fly into Heathrow and out of Charles De Gaulle or somewhere else yet to be decided.

Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated.
I would only have a car if you plan to spend a bit of time outside the cities. You wont want a car in the cities. Autobahns arent that bad though. I find driving on them far easier then the cities. Most people dont speed at ridiculous levels and the ones who do want to speed only tend to do it in the left hand lane. So just to stick to the right lane and its just like driving back home.

Paris is good city for winter. So much to see that weather doesnt matter. Londons ok too although I couldnt imagine spending a week in London. 3-4 days top unless you plan on additional day trips outside London or have mates to catch up with. Romes in my top 3 favourite european cities but if you go down that way makesure you spend a couple of days in florence (its on the same train line from the north and only a couple of hours from rome). I also usually recommend spending 2-3 days driving between the flroence and rome through Tuscany. But I dont know what its like in the middle of winter.
 

Great8

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I want a week back in Australia before heading back to work, so 3 weeks is all we have. My wife is also a school principal, so extending won’t go down well. Also, I tacked on 2 extra weeks in the US last month with her staying in at home.

Right now, our intent is to pick 3 countries (cities more like it) and spend 7 days in each. Then move on. London, then 2 of Paris, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Rome, Barcelona et el.

We have discussed driving, not opposed to it as I drove everywhere in America but the autobarn gives me a cold sweat with the unlimited speed.The freeways in the USA are crazy with too many idiots who sit 30 miles over the limit, the unlimited speed scares the shit out of me without doing any reserach. I like to go fast, so that doesn’t bode well with my like for going fast. I don’t want an accident, nor the wife nagging me to slow down. We will definitely get a car in London and then decide if we pick one up in the new destination.

Fly into Heathrow and out of Charles De Gaulle or somewhere else yet to be decided.

Thanks for the advice. Much appreciated.
Yep fully understand, wasn’t meaning to extend your holidays but rather not try to do a dozen countries in 3 weeks like many do. A week in London is too long IMO but I’d spend a couple of days there and then pick up a car and do a bit of driving. The UK has plenty of airports that are home to low cost airlines so for instance you could head North for a couple of days and then fly out of Newcastle, Manchester etc. (Manchester to Amsterdam on EasyJet can be as little as $30 up to $90-100)
Amsterdam to Paris is a wonderful drive of about 600km’s and you can stop at places like Antwerp, Brussels, Reims along the way for a few days. The train can do it about 3 hours but has stops along the way and the rail network is great. Paris is great in the winter and a fantastic place to end your journey and fly out of. As mentioned above Rome is fantastic and Tuscany is great anytime of the year. Don’t miss Florence and it’s under 2 hours by train from Rome. Venice is only another 2 hours by train from Florence if that interests you.
 

Morning_Fog

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Yep fully understand, wasn’t meaning to extend your holidays but rather not try to do a dozen countries in 3 weeks like many do. A week in London is too long IMO but I’d spend a couple of days there and then pick up a car and do a bit of driving. The UK has plenty of airports that are home to low cost airlines so for instance you could head North for a couple of days and then fly out of Newcastle, Manchester etc. (Manchester to Amsterdam on EasyJet can be as little as $30 up to $90-100)
Amsterdam to Paris is a wonderful drive of about 600km’s and you can stop at places like Antwerp, Brussels, Reims along the way for a few days. The train can do it about 3 hours but has stops along the way and the rail network is great. Paris is great in the winter and a fantastic place to end your journey and fly out of. As mentioned above Rome is fantastic and Tuscany is great anytime of the year. Don’t miss Florence and it’s under 2 hours by train from Rome. Venice is only another 2 hours by train from Florence if that interests you.
Really early itinerary and based on the advice on this page but thinking something like this...

London - 4 days
Manchester - 3 days (1 day for a day trip to Liverpool)

Fly to Amsterdam

Amsterdam - 3 days (1 day for a day trip to Antwerp)
Cologne - Christmas Markets 3 days* (do we even need 3 days in Cologne?)
Luxembourg - 2 days
Paris - 4 days

Fly home to Australia via Hong Kong or Singapore

But highly likely to change.
 

pepsi

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London - 4 days
Manchester - 3 days (1 day for a day trip to Liverpool) I'm really not a fan of manchester. How about you go to Edinburgh for 3 days instead? Nice city.

Fly to Amsterdam

Amsterdam - 3 days (1 day for a day trip to Antwerp) Bruge is a beautiful little city that you could spend a day instead of Antwerp
Cologne - Christmas Markets 3 days* (do we even need 3 days in Cologne?) I don't feel like it is. Got a beautiful big church in the center of town, but didn't really enjoy my time there all that much
Luxembourg - 2 days
Paris - 4 days
 

Great8

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Sounds like a pretty good start. The drive from London to Liverpool or Manchester can easily be done inside 5 hours but there is plenty of decent countryside and great towns to stop at for a day or 2 along the way. You could also head up to Edinburgh which is an excellent city. Liverpool also has an airport so check to see if they still do flights to Amsterdam from there, I know they still do from Manchester. Koln is a nice enough city but 3 days is probably a bit too much but Aachen is close and there is also heaps of other sights in the area. Your itinerary would allow to see a fair bit without scooting through too quickly.
A day or two stop over on the way home would finish it off nicely
 

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Morning_Fog

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Thanks pepsi. Really appreciate it.

Europe is all new to me. I have not really looked to much into it. 20 years of traveling and working in the USA, I could write a book on my experience but for one reason or another, Europe has escaped our travels.

Like I said, that itinerary isn’t set in stone and will most likely change.
 

Morning_Fog

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Sounds like a pretty good start. The drive from London to Liverpool or Manchester can easily be done inside 5 hours but there is plenty of decent countryside and great towns to stop at for a day or 2 along the way. You could also head up to Edinburgh which is an excellent city. Liverpool also has an airport so check to see if they still do flights to Amsterdam from there, I know they still do from Manchester. Koln is a nice enough city but 3 days is probably a bit too much but Aachen is close and there is also heaps of other sights in the area. Your itinerary would allow to see a fair bit without scooting through too quickly.
A day or two stop over on the way home would finish it off nicely
We are sports mad, so Manchester or Liverpool would fill tht void nicely. An EPL game at United, City, Anfield or even Goodson Park would fill tht bucket list.

Plus I still have nightmares about sitting through that bloody Military Tattoo as a kid, Edinburgh isn’t on my list. I say this in pure gist, don’t get mad at me
 

The Dice Man

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Isn’t that the tomato festival?
Nah that's near Valencia. Seville is a beautiful city close to the west coast of Spain and not too far from the Rock of Gibraltor. It has beautiful architecture and huge history. It's the city that everything went through to get to The New World(The Americas) including Tobacco and Christopher Columbus. Also the City of Dorne from Game of Thrones was filmed there inside The Royal Alcazar of Seville. It's a great city, and the Tapas is cheap and ******* delicious.
 

00Stinger

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OK Big Footy, do your thing...

I have 3 weeks (21 to 23 days) during late December to mid January.

Looking at going to Europe but a bit overwhelmed right now at where to start, where to stop, how long to stay in one place or even if I should just use 1 location as a base and then do day trips from that base.

Should I fly into Heathrow and take it from there. I don’t know but looking for some advice on what is good, bad and things to avoid.

I know we want to do England and then some other non english speaking countries.
Germany & Amsterdam are mists imo

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Deliverance

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Jun 19, 2011
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Really early itinerary and based on the advice on this page but thinking something like this...

London - 4 days
Manchester - 3 days (1 day for a day trip to Liverpool)

Fly to Amsterdam

Amsterdam - 3 days (1 day for a day trip to Antwerp)
Cologne - Christmas Markets 3 days* (do we even need 3 days in Cologne?)
Luxembourg - 2 days
Paris - 4 days

Fly home to Australia via Hong Kong or Singapore

But highly likely to change.
Some potential for snow. How's your winter driving? Just in case.
 

wadistance

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Some thoughts

-Cologne is pretty overrated. It’s a good hub if for travel, as you can get to Paris in 3 hrs by train, and Berlin, Hamburg and Munich in 4, but apart from that - boring.

- most major German cities have good Xmas markets. Bavarian ones (Nuremberg/Munich) are amazing. Hamburg is also nice. Berlin is a too City if you want to experience European/German culture whilst being able to speak a lot of English

- Autobahns are easy. Only about 30% are unlimited speed. Most of them are 120-130km/h, and there’s always roadworks to slow to down. You’ll sit in the right lane on 100km/h and the middle lane between 120-140. Give it 10 mins and you’ll be fine. I feel more nervous on Australian roads

- agree if you’re going to go in winter, it’s nice to skip more southern parts and embrace the cold. But it’s also a great time to go to Barcelona/Madrid/the basque region, as it’s not too cold but not at all busy. Barcelona in the summer - forget it. It’s a nightmare. I’d actually look into Barcelona for 3-4 days, and then a train trip to san Sébastien for 2-3 days.

- German football has a winter break from around dec 20-jan 15, so if you want to see any football, factor that in. Dortmund, St Pauli, Cologne, Hertha Berlin, Frankfurt and Schalke are all teams worth seeing if you want a really top atmosphere and cheap tickets

- Lapland dog sled tours are incredible

- don’t get caught up buying big heavy city parka jackets for the cold. They suck. Buy 2 good fleeces, some thermals, a waterproof shell and a lighter puffer jacket. Whilst I love north face gear, uniqlo is great for puffers and thermals, and it makes it easier to mix and Match based on the weather

I may think of more later.


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Schauermann

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- Autobahns are easy. Only about 30% are unlimited speed. Most of them are 120-130km/h, and there’s always roadworks to slow to down. You’ll sit in the right lane on 100km/h and the middle lane between 120-140. Give it 10 mins and you’ll be fine. I feel more nervous on Australian roads
That unlimited speed here has always been a very strange thing in my opinion. Even without a speed limit you hardly ever have the opportunity to drive really fast. Like you said roadwork, lots of other cars and after short distance a speed limit again.
On the other hand countries like Australia or America have a speedlimits while having lots of streets (cross country, very straight) where driving at 200km/h would probably half travel time compared top 100km/h.
 

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