My husband and I are looking to spend 6 weeks traveling all of Europe from late August thru early October. Trying to make it to Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. Any advice on where to start, trip route, or means of travel? Considering Eurail Saver FlexiPass... any advice is much appreciated!
I did 6 weeks in 2009, same time, late August to early Oct...landed in London, then went to Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Czech Republic. Suggestions: 1. Unless you're both super high strung energetic people, I recommend scheduling a "day off" every couple of weeks to unwind and slow down.... ie a day at the beach somewhere, or a day just relaxing in a park reading a book, something like that 2. The list of countries you'd like to see suggests that you'll be doing a lot of travelling, hopping from hotel to hotel, which eats into quality tourism time, and may be unrealistic... 3. Try planning your vacation around "hubs". A home base in one town/city etc for several days, with day trips to areas within a couple hours travel by train. For example, we stayed in Verona Italy, and did day trips to Florence/Pisa and Venice....stayed in Lucerne, Switzerland and did a day trip to the Berner Oberland( catch the first train in the morning ) 4. Trains worked perfectly( I had a Eurail Global pass to allow unlimited travel), and you may want to consider a car rental here and there for a day. 5. We booked our accommodations in advance and close to train stations( within walking distance). Your in "Shoulder Season" but in the bigger cities there's still lots of tourists.
6. Most important...PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT, PACK LIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Ricks comments on packing light in the Travel Tips section, and use the packing lists for men and women he provides as a guide( you can tweak them to your specific needs). Take his advice and guidance to heart!!!!!!!!!!! For my 6 weeks, I used Rick's Convertible Carry On ( had his Civita Day Pack stowed inside for day trips), weighed 20 lbs fully packed ( with a little more experience I'm now down to 16 lbs) and never needed anything.
Emily: You've just received some good advice. You can travel to all these places, but it's just too easy for such a trip to be a big blur. Remember that you'll lose a day every time you move to a different city. It might be best to divide your trip into thirds, 2 weeks at a time. Go to places that are easily reached by train. If from point A to point B is not easy to get to, take a budget air carrier. I suggest visiting Munich, Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague and Budapest. (This is the one for fun loving Bohemians.) Then, drop down to Italy and do Venice, Florence and Rome. Another circuit could be London, Paris, Belgium and Amsterdam. Another trip would be Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsinki, Oslo and Bergen. Spain and Portugal is another trip, as Spain's a large, diverse country with many cities to visit. Another option is to start in a core area, and then just wing it; with no reservations or plans. Your body will tell you what you can stand at that point. September or October is a great time to go. The weather's not so hot, and you're not being overrun by vacationers in the most popular destinations. Have a great trip!
Ten countries in 42 days means you are spending 4 days per country. Subtract the travel days and you have about 2.5 days in each place. Not good. You are spending a lot to get there and you will spend a whole lot more if you travel aroudn that much. Slow down, pare off the distant edges, meaning Greece, Protugal, and Sweden at least. If you do that, you could fly into Spain (Madrid), then work your way across France, Germany, Czech Rep., Austria, Switzerland, and end in Italy, flying home from Rome. That is still too much in my view but might be doable if you are energetic.
Emily What they said! Bobbie
Have you checked into the option of purchasing a car and then selling it back? I think Renault does this and maybe one or two other car companies. That would sure save a lot of wear and tear of carting luggage around. You could stay in the vicinity of large cities for ease of parking and cheaper lodging and take public transportation in. I've heard of people doing this. Maybe somebody on this board can help.
I would start in the north and work my way south. The countries along the Mediterranean can still be very hot in August. Unless you have to see Greece I think it's out of the way from looking at your itinerary.
To put a positive spin on this: Six weeks (wow! hurray!) gives you the opportunity to do some things that you just can't do in two weeks. Like take your time, some of the time. So don't treat this like three back-to-back two-week vacations. Okay, go crazy for a week or two hopping form city to city. But then take a whole week with a car in some delightful region (like Provence or Tuscany) and get to know the place a bit. Recharge, stop and smell the cappuccino. Then go crazy again if you like. Memories are made more vivid by contrast. So see cities and countryside, north and south, Germanic and Romantic, and also vary the pace. Fast, slow, in-between. You'll have a much more memorable trip. How many six-week trips like this will you get to take in your life? I think if you cram in too much you will miss out.