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4 replies
Should I go backwards and start from London?
Nanababes
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I’m a newbie female solo traveler and I am wondering if it would be better to start from London and do Paris first off? I feel like these major metro areas might be better for introducing myself to European culture, or that they may be anti-climactic after being in places like Italy and Czech.. silly I know.

As well, is this itinerary too packed for such a short time? I want to cover a bit of ground but am planning on doing a longer trip next summer.

I’ve left a lot of free days because I understand it can be better not too overplan a trip like this, and I have no idea about travel times, etc. I’ve heard that its better not to get a railpass due to reservation fees. I’m open to both train and plane travel.

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

I am leaving from Vancouver, BC with $5000 for 32 days
Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Florence, Rome, Nice, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Vancouver,BC with $5000 for 26 days
Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Prague, Kraków, Florence, Rome, Munich
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary, Food, Sights
oldlady
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Start from wherever you find the best deal on a flight. Paris first, London first, Rome first, Prague first— it doesn’t matter. Look for an “open jaw” flight. For example, flying into London (often cheapest from Canada) and then back out of Rome (if you want to do a sort of one-way trip) or out of Paris or Amsterdam (if you want to do a sort of loop). Use the “multi-city” option on flight searches and check lots of combos to figure out the cheapest — reversing your trip if it works out better. See our “cheap flights” forum for links, tips and help.

Your itinerary seems about right for pace. You could pack in one or two more cities if you picked places close to the cities in your itinerary. If you decide to add someplace further away, you’ll want to limit to one addition — or even cut a place from your current list to account for travel time. Or you could do day trips from the cities in your list to allow you to see an experience some non-urban areas and some sights that aren’t featured in every single tour brochure.

Cities do tend to become “just another city” if you spend several weeks slogging through them at a rushed pace, but your slightly slower pace should avoid this if you take some day trips. I’ve been to all of the cities on your list, some of them multiple times. I’d go back to any of them in a heartbeat, so I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in any of them regardless of the order — unless you’re just plain tired of traveling by the time you get to the last one. For me, a slightly shorter trip would be better for a trip that’s both 1st time and solo, but you’ll have to judge how you think you’ll get along. Think about 3 weeks this time and another trip (3 weeks or longer or shorter based on preference and demands on your time) in a year or 2.

I find Eastern Europe more interesting, usually friendlier and cheaper than Western Europe. I’m always torn with whether to recommend skipping some of the well know tourist haunts in Western Europe to spend time farther east. It’s hard to tell people to skip the cities they’ve been hearing about their whole lives in favor of increased travel time to see Bratislava, Riga, Budapest, Split, Ljubljana, Vilnius, St. Petersburg, Kiev, Istanbul, Rhodes even though I like them “better” in some ways.

MattyCA
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I just went on a trip that started out very similar to yours, flying into Amsterdam and making the loop to Munich through Berlin and Prague. Except from Munich I went to Barcelona-Ibizia-Paris and flew home from Reykjavik, Iceland. 3 days I believe is adequate for Amsterdam then again I’m not very big into museums. Berlin was the city I was least impressed with although it is packed with history. 2 days, assuming they are FULL days, should be fine. Prague I fell in love with. It was my favourite stop on the whole trip! We stayed for 3 days and we felt that we saw all of the sites we wanted to, however, we could have easily stayed a few more days just to hang out and enjoy the culture. I highly recommend Sir Toby’s hostel. I also recommend taking the bus from Prague to Munich. It was less than 30 Euros (booked in advance) for two of us and it was a very plush Mercedes coach that was actually faster than the train. Everyone that we met in Prague was raving about Budapest so much so that we nearly nixed Munich and went there instead. In the end we stuck to our ‘plan’ but we plan to include Budapest in our next trip! I really enjoyed Munich. I strongly suggest Wombats Hostel (right across from the main train station). It has a really good bar that makes meeting people very easy, they have great drink specials and the rooms are really nice. We stayed for 3 days and I could have used another day to spend in Munich itself. Munich makes for an excellent home base. We spent one day on a guided tour of the concentration camp in Dachau and another day touring the famous castles in Hohenschwangau. Our third day we rented bikes and rode all over the city which I highly recommend. Stop in at the Chinese Tower beer garden in the Englisher Garten for a litre of Hofbrau! (6 euros!) Enjoy your trip.. sounds lovely!!

Nanababes
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Thank you both for your comments, and thank you for the recommendations MattyCA, I’ll definitely put them to use!

As of yesterday, my plan has totally changed. I was able to snag a great deal flying in and out of Munich October 3-28th and with research I have done, I want to focus my time in central Europe. I’ll have to update my itinerary on here.

My burning question at this point, and I will post as a new forum topic here if necessary, is that I land in Munich during Oktoberfest (not by design), which I am excited to experience, but am worried about a quiet (and inexpensive) place to stay for when I land, to recover from any jet lag/culture shock. I can only imagine the hostels during this time, and to be honest, I’m 32, a bit over the college frat scene that I imagine it to be. I checked out airbnb last night, and most cheaper places are booked out or have raised there prices astronomically.

Any advice on where to stay for 2-3 days? I arrive at 9:30 in the morning and it is possible to travel out of town a bit for some peace and quiet, but I imagine that I may want to get set up right away after the long flights, being that I am a newbie traveller

Thanks again for any input, I keep pinching myself now that the flight is booked!

I am leaving from Vancouver, BC with $5000 for 32 days
Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munich, Florence, Rome, Nice, Paris, London
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Food, Sights
I am leaving from Vancouver,BC with $5000 for 26 days
Munich, Berlin, Cologne, Prague, Kraków, Florence, Rome, Munich
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Itinerary, Food, Sights
oldlady
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Read some of the posts from prior years on the “oktober fest” forum. There are some tips on places to stay buried in the longer posts.

You might try Innsbruk or Salzburg as an alternative to staying in Munich, or look for a place in a Munich suburb with easy access to U-bahn (regional commuter light rail, although mostly underground like a subway) or S-bahn (traditional subway in Munich and nearer suburbs).