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Help deciding where to go next.

Thanks to studying this forum and from Ricks books my wife and I had an amazing honeymoon last summer in London. We were also able to visit Brighton, Bath and a few other spots. One of our vows was to travel, something that we had never did before. We are basically overwhelmed on where to go next and would love some suggestions.

Since my wife teaches we are only able to go in the summer, so I know that leaves Spain out. We were thinking of going back to Europe, we love culture, history and food!

We don't have a shoe string budget, but don't have an unlimited amount to spend either. It would be about a 2 week trip. Thank you for any suggestions.

JB

Posted by
8341 posts

I say try and devrisfy so you can get a broader experience. Looking for discount airline connections makes this cheap and easy. With two weeks I would pick two major cities with different cultures and then do a few day trips or even an overnight trip out of each.

so, Paris and Budapest for instance
Paris and Rome
Rome and Budva
Prague and Krakow
Budapest and Odessa
Istanbul and Paris

Lot of choices. Pick one city, Paris for instance, go to Google flights and enter that city name, one way, nonstop, max price $150, with the destination "europe". You get a list and a map of all the possible second cities easy to reach with a discount airline.

I do this from time to time and I have discovered amazing places I would have never thought to go to.

Posted by
2 posts

If I had two weeks to travel with my husband in the summer, I would do Northern Italy again. It's SO beautiful it's as if you're walking through a storybook. When I did it on my own, I flew into Geneva and took the train to Milan. Worth doing just for the train ride getting there! It goes around the northern side of Lac Léman before cutting through the Alps, right past the Château de Chillon, a lakeside castle outside Montreux on the Swiss side. When you come through the crevice in the mountains out onto the Italian side, it's as if you've entered a new world. The lake country in northern Italy is beyond words. No wonder George Clooney bought a place there, it is amazing. I would spend at least a week up there, just exploring all of the little towns and hamlets, then a weekend in Milan or Florence, and then a few days exploring Tuscany if there was time. <3

Posted by
332 posts

Hello, I wouldn't write off Spain so fast, the summer is the perfect time to visit Northern Spain, which is often referred to as "Green Spain".

It's quite the contrast compared to the south of the country, and looks more like Ireland mixed in with the Alps. From medieval villages, to the picturesque wine regions, the emerald waters of Bay of Biscay, the culinary delights of the Basque country, the Celtic culture of Galicia, and finally the towering jagged peaks of the Picos de Europa; Northern Spain has something for everyone and is less touristy than the rest of the country.

With two weeks, one can do a nice road trip across the north of Spain, hitting the Basque Country, Cantabria, Asturias and Galicia.

For further reading here is a nice little article from Lonely Planet, detailing Cantabria, one of the lesser known northern regions of Spain: Cantabria: discovering Spain’s little-visited north coast

Posted by
27 posts

My vote is for Central Europe, in particular Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Summer is such a beautiful time there and the weather is perfect for enjoying anything outdoors. After all, it wouldn't be summer in Central Europe without some opportunities for hiking - a great way to meet local tourists! The region is full of fascinating history and delicious food and, particularly in Germany and Austria, the public transportation infrastructure makes it easy to go out into smaller towns and villages and experience local culture. It's also surprisingly affordable (outside of Vienna and Prague) compared to other parts of Europe - I'm always delighted by how far my money stretches when travelling there compared to Northern or Southern Europe.

My ideal itineraries would be:

Prague->Bohemian Spa Town (Karlovy Vary, Mariánské Lázně)->Dresden/Saxon Switzerland->Berlin
Prague can be hellish in summer, hot and crowded with tourists, but if that's the only time you can visit then you may as well brave the crowds. It's always worth visiting, regardless of the season.

Munich->Berchtesgaden->Salzkammergut->Salzburg

I also think a great summer trip could be spent between the Black Forest (Baden-Baden and Freiburg) and Bodensee (aka Lake Constance) but that would be very outdoors-focused, rather than on culture. There is certainly lots of history, though (especially around Bodensee - check out the museum in Unteruhldingen, which looks back to the way people lived there in the Neolithic era).

Have fun with your planning!

Posted by
11132 posts

It's hard to go wrong.

I don't want you to toss Spain aside in its entirety, though. When you're ready to take a trip focused on smaller cities, look at the stretch of northern Spain between Santiago de Compostela Galicia) and San Sebastian (Basque Country). The weather there is typically cool and a bit overcast, not all that different from Great Britain. The same can be said for Normandy and Brittany in France.

Posted by
1501 posts

Another voice for not eliminating Spain. Northern Spain is nice during the summer, or almost any time of year for that matter. Southern Spain can get very hot during the summer, but I wouldn’t let the heat stop me if that’s where I wanted to go. The Netherlands, Belgium, and France are also very nice.

Posted by
1543 posts

If you are not traveling in late July and/or August weather should not drive your decision. We travel with our daughter who teaches so we have the same constraint. We have been to France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece in the summer. Sometimes hot? Yes. But we live near Sacramento and have 100 degree plus days many times in the summer so we deal with it. Look at the Rick Steves tours for ideas then get one of his guidebooks. Our most recent trip was Portugal. We loved it.

Posted by
284 posts

Fly into Amsterdam and out of Paris.
Amsterdam (4 nights)
Brugges (2 nights)
Brussels (2 nights)
Paris (4 nights)

Amsterdam is a great place to begin a trip to Europe. The locals are friendly and pretty much everyone you run across will speak very good English. There are short train rides between the cities, and you will experience three different countries.

Posted by
11561 posts

Your dollars will stretch farther when you go east. Poland, Czechia, Austria, Hungary. Tons of history, well-preserved or well-restored medieval buildings, great food in Hungary, culture up the wazoo. Prague/Vienna/Budapest is a classic itinerary. if you have 2 full weeks or a bit more on the ground you could add either Berlin or Krakow.

Posted by
179 posts

Exactly what @Rita said! That was our 2nd trip to Europe and it was seamless. Amsterdam, Brussels/Bruges, and Paris. Connected by fast Thalys trains and so much to see and do in a small geographical area.

Posted by
10188 posts

I would second Paris and Budapest as a two city trip, along with Paris and Berlin, or Paris and Warsaw, depending on your sense of adventure and depth of interest.

In 2001 we did Paris to Warsaw,... ten hours on the train to Berlin, stayed overnight, then the next morning six more hours to Warsaw...my first time there in that east central European heat and fascinating city.

Keep in mind the further east you go in Europe in the summer the hotter it gets. Our trip to Warsaw was in July.