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2 Months in Europe - Itinerary Tips/Advice please! :)

Hey Everyone :)

I'm currently planning my first trip around Europe for August/September time and would really appreciate your tips on advice on my proposed itinerary. I am wanting to fit in as much as possible during the 2 months that I am in Europe, however I am also aware that it is not ideal to rush through the countries in order to do so.

With this in mind I have decided on some 'must see' countries and some 'nice to see' countries. After weighing up the options between a Busabout Trip and a Eurorail Global Flexi Pass I have decided to opt for the Eurorail. As I will be travelling through a number of countries during this time it seems I will benefit from having this type of pass.

My very 'rough' itinerary is as follows:

Flight: London > Athens, Greece (Busabout Greek Island Hopper trip) - 10 Days
Athens > Croatia (just trying to decide the best way to travel from Greece to Croatia and where to start) - 9 Days
Croatia > Italy: Venice (2 nights), Milan (2 nights), Florence (2 nights), Day trip to Pisa, Cinque Terre (1 night), Rome (3 nights), Naples (undecided)
Rome, Italy > Munich, Germany (via night train) - I am wanting to be in Munich for the Opening Ceremony of Oktoberfest - 5 nights
Munich, Germany > Switzerland (Alps) (2 Nights)
Switzerland > Austria (Vienna) (3 Nights)
Vienna, Austria > Hungary (Budapest) (3 Nights)
Budapest, Hungary > Krakow, Poland (2 Nights)
Krakow, Poland > Prague, Czech Republic (2 Nights)
Prague, Czech Republic > Dresden, Germany (2 Nights)
Dresden, Germany > Berlin, Germany (1 Night)
Berlin, Germany > Frankfurt, Germany (4 Nights)
Frankfurt Germany > Amsterdam, Netherlands (2 Nights)
Amsterdam, Netherlands > Belgium, Bruges (3 nights)
Belgium, Bruges > Paris, France (2 Nights)
Paris, France > Bordeaux, France (2 Nights)
Bordeaux, France > Madrid, Spain (1 Night)
Madrid, Spain > Barcelona (2 Nights)
Barcelona, Spain > Nice, France (3 Nights)
Flight: Nice, France > London (2 Nights)

This itinerary will be just over 2 months, ideally i'd like to cut it down slightly.

Here are the 'must see' countries:
- Greece
- Croatia
- Italy
- Germany
- Netherlands
- Spain
- France
- Czech Republic
- Hungary

Here are the 'nice to see' countries:
- Switzerland
- Austria
- Poland
- Belgium

I'd love to hear any advice/tips or feedback from anyone who has done this trip before. I'm finding it all quite overwhelming planning where to go as there is so much to take into consideration such as travel time and budget. I'd also be keen to find out from anyone who has any recommendations on budget - I am looking to do the trip fairly cheaply (hostels, cheap eats etc) with a few extra treats along the way every now and again!

Thanks so much :)

Posted by
7175 posts

I think you have too many one and two night stays, making for a very fast paced trip over a two month period.
A more manageable and enjoyable pace may be approx 20 destinations with an average stay of 3 nights.

Prague >> Dresden >> Berlin >> Amsterdam >> Brussels >> Paris >> Provence >> Barcelona >> Madrid
< fly to >
Venice >> Florence >> Rome
< fly to >
Dubrovnik >> Split >> Zagreb >> Budapest >> Vienna >> Munich (Octoberfest)
< fly to >
Athens >> Greek Islands

Posted by
15477 posts

David's itineraries are generally too fast-paced for most, so if he says to slow down, I'd pay attention. Here's why:

2 nights in a place equals one day of sightseeing. Moving takes time. For instance, Bruges to Paris is 2.5-3 hours on the train. Maybe you need 45 minutes to get from the hostel to the train station and find your train. When you get to Paris, you have to go from the train station to the hostel to drop your bag, another 45 minutes or more. Some hostels are closed for several hours in the middle of the day, so you have to plan ahead - either change your arrival time or find a place to store your bag. Many train stations have storage facilities (usually around €5 per piece or per locker), but then you have to go back to the station later. So you see how you've easily used about 1/2 day just moving.

1 night in a place - well, you won't see much of anything. Bordeaux-Madrid . . . I just looked at and it looks like you spend an entire day on trains, and then the next day you've maybe got the morning to see (what?) in Madrid, then back to the hostel for your bag and off to the train to Barcelona.

Check carefully about the limitations on rail passes. In some countries there may be additional fees, especially for reservations which are required on most fast trains.

Posted by
7175 posts

Truth is Chani, some say I'm too fast, some say I'm too slow. But Goldilocks thinks I'm "just right".

Posted by
7212 posts

You have a lot of great advice already.

I will add a few points. Switzerland is amazing. I would put it in the must category. It is expensive.

For the Greek islands and ports of Croatia consider looking for a cruise out of Venice that stops in Athens, Santorini, Mykonos, Crete, Ephesus, Dubrovnik and Split.

I love Poland, but you might drop that city, Also, I would skip Barcelona. Madrid and surrounding area has far more to see with Toledo and Segovia. Also, only two nights in Madrid is just silly. Sevilla is a far more interesting place, but that is moving farther away from the rest of the trip.

Posted by
3 posts

Thank you for all the advice, helps A LOT! I have noted that I need to cut my proposed Itinerary down slightly to all more time in other destinations.

London - FLY to Greece (Athens) Bus about Greek Island Hopper Trip: 10 Nights
FERRY from Greece to Italy Rome: 3 Nights, Florence 3 Nights incl 1 day trip to Pisa, Cinque Terre?, Milan 2 Nights
Milan to Switzerland 3 Nights
Switzerland to Munich (Octoberfest) 5 Nights
Munich to Austria (Vienna): 3 Nights
Vienna to Croatia: 10 Nights (incl Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Hva)
Croatia to Hugary (Budapest): 3 Nights
Hungary to Czech (Prague) 2-3 Nights
Czech to Berlin, Frankfurt, Cologne: 8 Nights
Cologne to Netherlands (Amsterdam): 3 Nights
Netherlands to Belgium: 2 Nights
Belgium to France (Paris): 2 Nights (as i have been before)
Paris to Bordeaux (maybe or straight to Madrid)
Madrid to Barcelona: 3 Nights
Barcelona to Nice: 2 Nights

I have a few more questions after doing some additional research.
- I am looking to book a 2 Month Eurail Global pass (continuos) would this be the cheapest/most suitable option for the above intended trip?
- Is the ferry from Greece to Italy FREE with a Eurail Rail Pass - I read online that this is the case if you opt to travel with the fast ferries company?
- Is it worth staying overnight in Cinque Terre in Italy or will a day trip suffice?

I think thats all for now :) Thanks again! Slowly going insane with the trip planning, so much to cover, so little time! EEEK!

Posted by
14210 posts


I would trade some of the "must sees" and "nice to see" Put Poland and Austria in the "must sees" and put Spain and Netherlands in "nice to see" category. About doing the trip on a cheap basis in August/Sept. There are plenty of ways to do that..-just determine what you can put up with...rock bottom., and drop Switzerland...way too pricey

Posted by
16893 posts

Looking at your amended plan:

  • It still seems to be hopping around too much.
  • I don't think of Croatia as a must-see country for most people's first (or almost first?) trip. Vienna to Budapest is a quick, easy train ride and Croatia is a significant slow-train and bus detour from that route. Going to or from Dubrovnik (not served by train), it makes more sense to fly at least one way.
  • This is all big cities with hardly any smaller towns planned for balance of experience, costs, walkability, historic preservation, etc. In this office, we'd cut Frankfurt and Bordeaux without a second thought. If Belgium means Brussels, then I'd cut that too, although Bruges could be one of your small towns. If you've already seen Paris, then maybe you can give those two nights to some place new. Stay overnight in or near Cinque Terre instead of Milan.
  • Other budget flights, such as Athens-Rome, Paris-Madrid or Amsterdam-Madrid, and Barcelona-Nice can make sense if you're not committed to the rail pass. See

Regarding a Eurail Global Pass:

  • It doesn't do you any good in London or Greece, until/unless you take the overnight Superfast brand ferry from Patras to Bari or Ancona. The base ticket price is covered but there is a port fee and high season surcharge. Flying is cheap these days.
  • Instead of a 2-month consecutive, the 15-days-in 2-months flexi version is cheaper, e.g. $670 vs $970 USD for a 2nd-class youth version, and adequate to connect your big cities. Any further value comparison gets easier the more your itinerary becomes firm. If you're a single traveler age 26 or older, then you pay quite a bit more for a 1st class pass.
  • If you intend to use the pass for the French trips mentioned (instead of flying), then it's recommended to book those a few weeks ahead, or at the same time that you buy the pass, since the number of seat reservations for pass holders is limited. Faster Italian and Spanish trains also need reservations for about €10 each, but normally with less advance notice.
Posted by
7175 posts

If your planned travel is August + September, and with Munich scheduled at about Day 25, then you do not coincide with Oktoberfest.
With 24 destinations still on your list, there's benefit to be had by some further refinement.

Posted by
3 posts

That's a great help thank you! I am considering flying into Greece (Athens) for 10 nights Island hopping a crossing over to Italy (Rome) by the superfast ferry (included in the Eurail pass) and working my up the Munich for Oktoberfest then heading to Austria and east to Budapest, up to Berlin, then Paris, Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Croatia - possibly ending in Greece depending on time.

I'm still undecided on which Eurail option is best for me, obviously the 15 days in 2 month pass is quite a bit cheaper than the 2 month continuous pass, but it's whether or not it will work for the amount of countries that I wish to see.

Thanks again for all the advice :)

Posted by
7175 posts

This ten week schedule (assuming you start out beginning of August) would time well for Oktoberfest in Munich.
The travel from Rome to Barcelona would also fit nicely with a 15 day Eurail Flexi Pass as described above.

London: 4 Nights
FLY to Athens
Athens: 1 Night
Busabout Greek Island Flexi-Hopper Trip: 8 Nights
Athens: 2 Nights
FLY to Croatia
Croatia: 10 Nights (incl Split, Dubrovnik, Zadar, Hvar)
FLY to Rome
Rome: 3 Nights
Florence: 3 Nights (incl 1 day trip to Pisa)
Cinque Terre: 3 Nights
Venice: 3 Nights
Vienna: 3 Nights
Budapest: 3 Nights
Prague: 3 Nights
Munich (Octoberfest) 5 Nights
Berlin: 4 Nights
Amsterdam: 3 Nights
Belgium: 3 Nights
Paris: 2 Nights
Nice: 3 Nights
Barcelona: 4 Nights

Posted by
7212 posts

Going to Oktoberfest in Munich requires finding a hotel, which is hard to find even now. We lived in Augsburg, 80KM from Munich and hotels in Augsburg filled up quickly for the big fest. If you don't have a hotel you probably won't find one.

The fest is great, but after you have seen the parade and spent one evening in some of the huge tents, you may no want to do that scene anymore, at least your liver probably won't.

Munich is very, very crowded during the fest and doing anything else will be a pain.

If you try going to the fest and find a hotel, I don't suggest staying five days in Munich.

Posted by
437 posts

To decide how much time you need in any place you need to know why you are going there and what you plan to see and do. For example, one night in Madrid will give you a few hours on your arrival day and a bit of time before catching your next train, what do you want see of Madrid, will you have time? Will the sites be open?

Travel time will really add up with so many stops, try to see options, time and travel costs. Two months is a fantastic amount of time and you will be able to see a lot of places, but not everyhing. Also think about a break in the middle to rest and recharge for the second half, CT is a good spot for that but you may be better off to stay 5 nights in one place to allow a full day to sleep in, see nothing and not packup to move.

Enjoy the planning and the trip! (the planning is always more time than the trip itself so it really does help if you don't totally stress out in this phase)

Posted by
11073 posts

To expand on Beth's, sometimes in a long trip you just need time. Time that is unscheduled; Time to do laundry; Time to regroup and do planning/research for your ongoing and fluid itinerary. In each town you need time to orient yourself, find places to eat that fit your budget and desires. Two-night stays are the antithesis of getting time to do the "work" of traveling for a long period.

When I was 19 I did a trip much like yours through 10 countries. Now I ask myself "What were we thinking?" I remember my friend and I spent an entire day sleeping in Frankfurt (we were there for two nights) because we were just worn out from moving around and the work of travel.

My husband and I are just wrapping up an 18 night trip through southern France and Switzerland, all 3 and 4 night stays in 5 locations. In a couple of places, we might have moved faster and found 2 nights sufficient, but it is mentally and physically exhausting to move all the time. I like to have a half day of unplanned time and catch up on laundry, writing, reading, research every now-and-again.

Four 2-night stays in a row will leave you wondering where you've been. Drop a few stops and enjoy the ones you DO make.

Posted by
11294 posts

"I remember my friend and I spent an entire day sleeping in Frankfurt (we were there for two nights) because we were just worn out from moving around and the work of travel."

Please heed this. Travel, while wonderful and fun, is also WORK. You will need a rest from all the work you're doing.