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daddaughter
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So my dad and I have decided to backpack Europe and here are the chosen destinations (as of right now):

London, Liverpool, Dublin, Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Frankfurt (Or possibly Berlin?), Zurich, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, then back to London

I’m well aware that we are going to very “touristy” places, but we have never been to Europe and would like to see atleast some of these places….plus I figured they should be close to neat, smaller places as well.

With that said, we are really interested in traveling randomly, meeting people, eating, and drinking lots of beer. Smile I was wondering if anyone had suggestions on neat local places (bars, restaurants, etc.) they discovered on their trips or towns that they thought were neat. Anything random that you would tell a friend who is traveling to definitely do is perfect. If anyone has advice on the best way to travel this way…and by this I mean trying to get into the real culture of the city instead of just snapping pictures of all the sights, etc…we would really appreciate that as well Smile Thanks so much!

I am leaving from Raleigh, NC with $3500 for 29 days
London, Dublin, Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Lugano, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Louviers, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
Cil
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Hmm. Is this a Nightlife question or an Off the Beaten Path question? Are you specifically looking for a really special pub, or do you just want to find an untouristy town?
To get into the real culture of the city, you might want to consider CouchSurfing. It can be hit or miss, but for us it was a hit.

I agree about putting the camera away. I would have had a lot more pictures if I just kept snapping—sometimes it feels as if you are recording your trip but not experiencing it.

Several of your cities are not to be missed, but as you say, it’s nice to relax in a smaller town. Trying somewhat to accomodate your itinerary, I’ll name a few places we’ve enjoyed which were not seething with other tourists. (You asked for random, and that probably fits the description of my list.) Wink
If I remember a nice spot there, I’ll list it.

Camogli, Ligurian coast, Italy. Colorful trompe l’oeil, when we were there this fishing village really felt off the tourist trail, but this was more than 10 years ago.

Angoulême, not far from Bordeaux, France. We were just there about a month ago. Nice sized city, beautiful old town dotted with cartoon graffiti, some of it funky, a lot of it very impressive. I’ve posted other stuff about this place in the forum, do a search if you are interested.

Nantes is a wonderful, walkable city. Other than visiting students, it really seems off the tourist grid. The woman we stayed with took us to this little island on the Loire called Trentemoult. It is a colorful artists’ colony. Again, we were just there. The only English we heard spoken was ours.

In Berlin we stayed in the bohemian Kreuzberg neighborhood. A friend who lived there recommended this restaurant on the river, and we liked it. It’s not fine dining, but very relaxing watching the swans as you sit there with a glass of wine or whatever. Freischwimmer

I have to go now, but will try to get back with more recs.

trent84
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Cil wrote:
Hmm. Is this a Nightlife question or an Off the Beaten Path question? Are you specifically looking for a really special pub, or do you just want to find an untouristy town?
To get into the real culture of the city, you might want to consider CouchSurfing. It can be hit or miss, but for us it was a hit.

I agee with the couchsurfing bit too. It helps if your on a budget, but they always know the good places to go and it was a definite hit with me.

I am leaving from London and traveling for 16 days
London, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Bruges, Paris, London
Requesting help with Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Barcelona, Spain with $8000 for 70 days
Porto, Lisbon, Lagos, Seville, Granada, Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Pamplona, La Spezia, Florence, Rome, Sorrento, Venice, Split
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Sights
daddaughter
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Those suggestions sound perfect!! Thank you so much for your help! As for what we are looking for, I think its both small towns and really special pubs. All in all, just anything people found noteworthy that isn’t a commonplace tourist attraction. As for Couchsurfing, we’re still debating but we definitely haven’t ruled it out yet. We have also made a few changes in our itinerary; instead of Frankfurt, we’re going to Berlin and I think we’re going to take the motorcycle for a week from Brussels to Amsterdam to Berlin and back if you have any suggestions on routes to take or towns to pass through on the way. Thanks again! Smile

I am leaving from Raleigh, NC with $3500 for 29 days
London, Dublin, Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Berlin, Milan, Lugano, Venice, Rome, Barcelona, Louviers, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
luv_the_beach
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daddaughter wrote:
So my dad and I have decided to backpack Europe and here are the chosen destinations (as of right now):

London, Liverpool, Dublin, Brussels, Ghent, Amsterdam, Frankfurt (Or possibly Berlin?), Zurich, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Paris, then back to London

I’m well aware that we are going to very “touristy” places, but we have never been to Europe and would like to see atleast some of these places….

Well, the only “tourists” that visit Frankfurt are business travelers, bankers, or Lufthansa passengers that have a layover at FRA.

You didn’t pick all the touristy places…you picked all the big cities and assumed that they all have major tourist appeal.

Suggested alternative to Frankfurt: Cologne and the Rhine Valley, or Munich and daytrips from Munich.

Same thing goes for Zurich. Suggested alternatives: any of the southern or central cantons of Switzerland, or Salzburg in Austria.

Milan: I think for a first-timer to Italy, Milan isn’t where you want to go. Suggested alternative: Florence/Tuscany and either Umbria or Cinque Terre. Or Bologna and Venice for a couple days each. Plus, several great suggestions from Cil.


beach-lunch-siesta-beach-shower-dinner-nightlife-repeat

radu
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I second luv_the_beach about Milan (I lived there, but I enjoyed living in Turin much more – more history, nicer buildings, etc). So if you don’t have to go south of Milan (to Florence or Rome – both definitely worth visiting), to Tuscany or Umbria or Cinque Terre , go to Turin, or, in Lombarida, go to Lago Maggiore, see Isola Bella or Isola dei Pescatori.

all best,
Radu