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17 replies
spanish (balearic) islands
naked.ninja
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hmmm ok…

so me and my best friend are planning a euro-backpacking-trip for the summer of 09’ and ive just been checking things out, doing ALOT of research and loosely trying to decide where to start, where to end, what routes to travel etc., its still awhiles away so for the moment i just have one specific question/concern.

We’re looking at for sure seeing spain, france, and italy (for our coastal countries). Im really looking forward to going to the balearic islands aka ibiza, mallorca and menorca. supposing we start in spain i was wondering how we would make our way to these islands and from island to island? ferry? plane? i have no idea of the distances between these places.

Also looking at the map i realize id love to go see sardinia and sicily as well. so im curious as how to go about planning this. should we island hop from ibiza to mallorca to menorca to sardinia to corsica and up to the rest of italy and so on or is there a different, better recommended way of getting all these islands into our itinerary??

Also i would really be down for sailing, as ive never been before! does anyone know where a good place to sail for a few days is? and costs etc?

steppphhh

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Palma de Mallorca is one of the busiest airports in the world, with charter flights from nearly all the European airports landing and taking off every minute or so. Often these flights are cheaper than a ferry from mainland Spain.

If you have any questions about Prague or Czech and Slovak republics, ask me.
If you only want to search train or bus connection within Czech&Slovakia and/or to neighboring countries, use www.cp.sk or www.idos.cz search engines. For domestic transport, they also show prices.

naked.ninja
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really? hmm thats interesting, wouldnt have thought an island would be so busy! thanks for the heads up. and i guess moving from island to island would be done by ferry?

steppphhh

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Damnedelish,

You need to figure out an itinerary. Sardinia can be reached by ferry from mainland Italy, as well as from Corsica, which itself can be reached both from mainland France, Sardinia, and mainland Italy. Sicily: the most popular crossing is at the Straight of Messina, although there are direct ferries from Palermo and Catania to mainland Italin cities like Naples and even Rome (Civitavecchia) and Genoa. Sicily is also connected to Sardnia, as well as to Tunisia and Malta. Italy also has a dense domestic flight network.

The four Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca, Formentera) can all be reached by ferry from mainland Spain: from Barcelona, or the city of Valencia, or from Denia in Valencia region. Ibiza and Mallorca (Palma de Mallorca) also receive flights from all over Europe, including mainland Spain of course. Palma de Mallorca, as papyr noted, is one of Europe’s busiest airports. And yes, ferries connect the islands to each other.


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lowlander
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Hmm dont know if I would suggest Sardinia… I came there once and can not remember it was a very exciting island.. But maybe i missed something!

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luv_the_beach,

thanks for the information. yaa ive been looking at the map and thinking about possible itineraries and i really cant figure out a reasonable one, everything i think of just seems too scattered! my friend would like to go to london and that is probably the cheapest place to fly into so i was thinking we could start in london and go to amsterdam, from amsterdam to berlin (thats really all i wanna see in germany), berlin to switzerland, switzerland to italy and tour alot of italy (id like to spend alot of time in italy) then maybe ferry over to the ionian islands as we’ll have eurail passes and i hear ferries are free. then back to mainland italy, ferry to sardinia, then to corsica then to mainland france (probably the eastern most city on the coast), i then wanna focus on france’s coast and then spain’s coast (with a trip to ibiza and majorca) then back again to mainland spain and then maybe see more of spain before flying to paris then taking the chunnel back to london.

sry the plan is pretty rough in terms of what cities will be visited but really its so far away and i just want the roughest outline. as you can see id like to do alot of island hopping, thats where my main interest is Smile maybe even some sailing!! we were thinking of spending 2 months in europe, do you think this rough itinerary would be doable? any suggestions?

thnxx

steppphhh

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That’s a good start.

I was thinking if you spent this mant days in each place (and this is a very rough itinerary):

3-4 complete days in London
1 day in transit to Amsterdam
2-3 days in Amsterdam
1 day in transit to Berlin
2 days in Berlin
1 day in transit ro Switzerland
4 days in Switzerland
6-9 days in Italy (Tuscany, Cique Terre, Rome, hypothetically)
1 day in transit to Greece
6-8 days in the Ionian Islands
1 day in transit back to Italy
5-7 days in Sicily and Sardinia
3 days in Corsica
1 day in transit to Nice
6-7 days in Provence-Alpes-Côte s’Azur
1 day in transit to Barcelona
2-3 days in Barcelona
1 day in transit to Balearic Islands
4-5 days in Balearic Islands
1 day in transit to Denia or Valencia
2-3 days Valencia region
2-3 days in Madrid
1 day in transit to Paris
3-4 days in Paris

…this comes out to a little more than 2 months.

Trying to give you ample time both to absorb each place and ample time to get from place to palce…your rough itinerary looks very good, considering it’s a rough itinerary. If your itinerary cannot go longer than 2 months, then you will need to drop a couple places here and there…consider doing this perhaps in Italy, since you’re spending a considerable amount of time in that country, you may want to consider dropping Sicily and Corsica, as well as Sardinia. I think you can get a great seaside-Med experience on the French and Italian mainlands…since you’re going to Greece from Italy, and coming back to Italy from Greece, I strongly suggest not completely bypassing southern mainland Italy…you can incorporate the Campania region (Amalfi Coast, Capri, etc) instead of Sicily. Or even in central Italy: there’s great coastal towns in Lazio region (where Rome is), or explore Marche or Umbria regions. As for Germany: unless you really have your heart on seeing Berlin and only Berlin, I think you should consider perhaps seeing Cologne, Koblenz, and the Rhine Valley instead of Berlin…it’s sort of on your way from the Netherlands to Switzerland. You can spend about 2-5 days in the region. This way, you soak up a bit more of Germany, but in an itinerary-efficient fashion.


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wow…….

this is such great info, thanks for putting together a rough itinerary like that, really helps me visualize this trip! yes, ill prob drop sicily as i wasnt planning on visiting it and would much rather visit the almafi coast/capri. if time permits i would still love to see sardinia and corsica, if not id skip up italy and onto france. i dont want germany to be a huge part of the trip, berlin came to mind because its such a large city, great place to party and good for the electronic scene, although cologne looks interesting and i may check it out. i think i might be headed to frankfurt this aug anyway. oh do you know what places are worth seeing in switzerland? i have friends in schaffhausen, so id prob stop by there but other than that im clueless. but ya, thanks again for your help, ill prob. be needing more of it closer to the date!

steppphhh

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Damnedelish,

I don’t know Switzerland too well, but it looks like Schaffhausen is an attractive little city. If you don’t end up going there, I think you may enjoy the cantons of Wallis/Valais or Ticino, in southwestern Switzerland deep in the Alps. But, since your friend is in Schaffhausen, I’m going to assume that you’re absolutely going there, but only for a few days due to your ambitious itinerary.

As for Frankfurt, if you go there, you won’t be far from Cologne and the Rhine Valley. Berlin is a great city, so if you want to go there, that’s good too.

We’ll make this a trip focused on Southern Europe with a few stops in Northern and Central. Here’s a more streamlined [yet still busy] itinerary that I suggest for you:

  1. 2-3 complete days in London
  2. Cheap flight or Eurostar train to Paris, spend 3 full days in Paris
  3. Overnight train or highspeed Thalys to Amsterdam, spend 2 days in Amsterdam
  4. 1 day in transit to Berlin, spend 2 days in Berlin
  5. 1 day in transit to Munich to break up the long commute towards Switzerland, spend 1-2 days in Munich
  6. Off for Schaffhausen, spend 2-3 days in Schaffhausen
  7. 1 day in transit to Venice, spend 2 days in Venice
  8. overnight ferry to Corfu, base yourself for 6-7 days in Corfu, take 2 or 3 of those days for a sidetrip to another Ionian Island (Zakynthos, Cephalonia, Lefkada, Paxoi/Paxos) either by ferry or seaplane (www.airsealines.com) [if you’re up for Zakynthos, I highly suggest it]
  9. 1 day [and perhaps 2 nights] in transit from Corfu back to Italy (overnight ferry to Bari, overnight train to Rome or Naples)
  10. Either: [spend 2-4 days in Amalfi Coast and/or Capri, then short train ride to Rome, spend 2 days, then off to Florence for 2 days (and possible day trip to Siena while in Florence)] OR [spend 2 days in Rome, then ferry to Sardinia and stay 3 days, then ferry to Livorno and off to Florence for 2 days (and possible day trip to Siena while in Florence)] OR [spend 2 days in Rome, then off to Florence, spend 2-5 days in Florence with possible side trips to other towns in Tuscany (Siena, Pistoia, Lucca, San Gimignano, etc) and/or sidetrip to a Cinque Terre town for 2-3 days]
  11. 1 day in transit to a Côte d’Azur town of your choice (Nice, Menton, Eze, Roquebrune, Cannes, Antibes/Juan-les-Pins, Grasse, Fréjus), base yourself for 3-5 days and explore any of the other towns as daytrip(s).
  12. short train ride to Nîmes or Arles, spend 1-2 days
  13. 1 day in transit to Barcelona, spend 2-3 days in Barcelona
  14. 1 day in transit to Ibiza, spend 2-3 days, possible daytrip to Mallorca (Palma) or Formentera
  15. 1 day in transit to Denia or Valencia, spend 1-3 days Valencia region (city of Valencia, and/or towns of Altea, Javea, or Alicante; you can base yourself in one and make sidetrips to other[s])
  16. 1 day in transit (train) to Madrid, spend 2-3 days in Madrid, possible daytrip to Segovia or Toledo
  17. fly to London

This can all be squeezed into 60 days. If you spend the maximum amount of suggested days in each place, you should still have at least 3 spare days to ensure you make it to Madrid in time for your flight back to London. If you notice, I added some destinations thatn you did not mention (Valencia region, Munich, and Venice). These destinations are interesting places that are on your way and will help break up some of your longer commutes…they are also logical places to pass through due to travel logistics: for example, the nice overnight Venice-Corfu ferry which is very convenient for your itinerary, and avoids backtracking through Italy [the other alternative would be going all through the peninsula to Bari for the ferry to Corfu, then back through the peninsula to France). Also, on longer commutes, I estimate one day of travel; not all of these will be a full day, and you may choose to do overnight trains, but it’s good to overestimate the amount of days needed, rather than to underestimate. On Italy: I’ve streamlined your time in Italy giving you three choices in the central/southern Italy leg of your journey; each choice has a good combination of sighseeing highlights and coastline relaxation. This itinerary is heavily focused on Southern Europe, spending at least one week in Spain, France, and Italy, and about a week in Greece. And about 2-3 days in various Northern European cities.


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Papyr, I see you know a bit about Czechoslovakia/Prague. I’m planning a feww days there and would appreciate any advice you can give. You will see what I have planned under the Favourite Places section. Thanks in advance! Peter

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luv_the_beach,

sry for the late reply! but this itinerary that you’ve laid out is terrific, it helps so much to have a clear idea like this a year before our actual trip! so you think it’s better than to go from london to france rather than london to amsterdam? eitherway sounds good, my friend will prob ask why though. so im just curious as to why that would be a better idea? yeah it would be a waste to go to switzerland and not visit them, besides they could host us for a few nights which would save us some money Smile my friend also has a few connections in switzerland and so ill have to ask her about that.

ya the problem i had with the itinerary was italy and the feeling of as you said, backtracking so corfu sounds great. i hadn’t originally planned on going to corfu, but it makes sense. and i did kinda want to check out the notorious pink palace hostel there haha, we’re young so why not? yes! im very excited to go check zakynthos as well as Cephalonia, Lefkada. I think i would almost prefer spending more days on some of these three islands than corfu.

for italy, i mainly would love to be at the coast in and around almafi and capri so the first option sounds the best, but i also wouldnt mind seeing some of tuscany so we’ll have to see about that. but ya as for france and spain its just a matter of choosing which cities we’d most like to visit and so ill do some more research and decide about that.

once again, thank you SO much for this. its such a great help and really helps me visualize my trip. i can’t beleive its happening. on a whim we decided and now we’re already planning and have itineraries worked out, it’s great

steppphhh

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damndelish wrote:
luv_the_beach,

sry for the late reply! but this itinerary that you’ve laid out is terrific, it helps so much to have a clear idea like this a year before our actual trip! so you think it’s better than to go from london to france rather than london to amsterdam? eitherway sounds good, my friend will prob ask why though. so im just curious as to why that would be a better idea?

Well, you originally wanted to go to Paris after Madrid. Geographically, Paris is much closer to London than to Madrid. And Paris has more [and faster] travel options to London and Amsterdam than to distant Madrid. And [unless you fly from London to Amsterdam] Paris is sort of on your way from London to Amsterdam anyways. By train (Eurostar): from London, you can only go directly to either Brussels or Paris where you’ll have to change trains for Amsterdam; there is no direct train from London to Amsterdam (and keep in mind, flying will take up a lot of time: commute to/from airports, check in, security, baggage claim, etc…I don’t recommend flying for shorter distances when there’s an excellent rail option, or unless you find a great deal for a flight). Even if you decide to save money by taking the ferry from Britain to the European mainland: you will be taking the ferry to France’s northern coast, to which Paris is very near. And then from Paris, take the high-speed Thalys train [or conventional overnight train] directly to Amsterdam. At the end of your trip, in Madrid, fly to London to catch your flight back home. Doing it this way saves you the most time, as opposed to going to Paris at the end of your trip.

I know I said a mouthful, so let me know if this sounds confusing.

Remember, that I wanted to leave you at least 3 spare days in your itinerary, should something come up that causes you to fall behind schedule. I kept most of what you wanted to see, but streamlined the itinerary to eliminate inefficient use of time.

damndelish wrote:
ya the problem i had with the itinerary was italy and the feeling of as you said, backtracking so corfu sounds great. i hadn’t originally planned on going to corfu, but it makes sense. and i did kinda want to check out the notorious pink palace hostel there haha, we’re young so why not? yes! im very excited to go check zakynthos as well as Cephalonia, Lefkada. I think i would almost prefer spending more days on some of these three islands than corfu.

I think you meant to say you hadn’t originally planned to go to Venice. I highly suggest you do. Yes, it’ll be crowded and touristy, but the city is highly worth a look in my opinion. You don’t need to linger much: you can just spend the minimum amount of time suggested (1 day and 1 night) and then catch your ferry for Corfu, which is one of the Ionian Islands. Although the ferry ride will be long, it’ll be better (and more comfortable) than seeing the Appennine (Italian) Peninsula first (Tuscany, Rome, Amalfi Coast, etc), and then having to backtrack through all of that on your way to France.

Corfu is the closest Ionian Island to Italy, and has the best connections with Italy, so it’s very convenient for your itinerary to base yourself in Corfu, in addition to being a very beautiful destination (the countryside, the coast, and the island’s main city are all stunning). From Corfu, I recommend a side-trip (for a few days) to one of the other major Ionian Islands of your choice: Lefkada, Cephalonia, and Zakynthos are all worth it. Small Paxos/Paxoi can also be visited on a daytrip from Corfu.

Although the Pink Palace has cheesy nightlife (and the culture of the place is entirely American college frat, and in no way Greek…despite how much the owner wants you to think that getting drunk on shots of oúzo all day while wearing pink togas, smashing plates, and fire-breathing is a part of Greek culture), the Pink Palace is a great hostel, one of the best European hostels I’ve been to as far as amenities, facilities, rooms, and service. I call it a hostel resort given its stunning location (in the small town of Agios Gordis), and the great activities they offer (cliff jumping, kayaking, they even rented cars when I was there in 2001). But if you do decide to stay there, please make an effort to leave the hostel, and explore the island’s coast, countryside, and the charming Corfu Town. What I would do when I stayed at the Pink Palace, I would take the bus into Corfu Town in the late afternoon, spend the evening in town (rather than subject myself to the pink toga parties) and take a cab back to the hostel at night.

damndelish wrote:

for italy, i mainly would love to be at the coast in and around almafi and capri so the first option sounds the best, but i also wouldnt mind seeing some of tuscany so we’ll have to see about that. but ya as for france and spain its just a matter of choosing which cities we’d most like to visit and so ill do some more research and decide about that.

once again, thank you SO much for this. its such a great help and really helps me visualize my trip. i can’t beleive its happening. on a whim we decided and now we’re already planning and have itineraries worked out, it’s great

You’re way ahead of most people. A lot of newbies post questions like: “Hi, I bought a roundtrip ticket for London and I leave tomorrow. Where should I go?”


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Quote:
I know I said a mouthful, so let me know if this sounds confusing.

no, don’t worry it pretty much all makes sense, i was just looking for an explanation. i had originally imagined that it would be smarter (flow wise) to go from london to amsterdam (it just looked good on the map) but of course i know nothing about the transportation, in terms of what can and can’t be done and of course i do want the most practical route and i trust your advice, it makes sense.

Quote:
I think you meant to say you hadn’t originally planned to go to Venice.

no, i meant corfu. but i was just confused. because when i was thinking of visiting greece (the ioanian islands) i left out corfu thinking i would only visit zankynthos, kefalonia, lefkada. i assumed we would just ferry from italy to one of these three islands, but now i realize corfu should definetely be included in our trip to greece. i would of course like to visit venice, touristy or not. ya, i would like to avoid backtracking at all cost, just so we can maximize our time and your itinerary has eliminated it, so that’s terrific!

oh, and just out of curiousty…ive tried researching it a bit but i can’t seem to find anything good. do you know anything about sailing in europe? like even for a few days? maybe around the greek islands. ive always wanted to do that and i was wondering if you know of a good website or information/tours etc.

ya, i checked out the pink palace site just because i heard it frequently mentioned in blogs all over the place etc and of course it definetely looks cheesy but what attracted me to it, was as you mentioned the wide varitey of trips and excursions, like renting kayaks and cliff jumping, sailing, touring etc thats totally what im looking for. ya, i promise we’ll try to leave the toga parties and other things behind to see more of the city itself and then maybe return in the evening for that comical stuff hahah. and im all for nice accomadations.

and of course the 2 months thing was just a rough outline, its not like we have anything to specifically be home for, that i know of now so i was thinking of leaving early june (after the 3rd, just bc i should be 18) so we’d be in europe all of june, and july and then it could always run into august if need be, this way we have an extra month to play around with, no need to rush back before school starts etc. so if we need to stay somewhere longer i guess we will, so that is not the biggest problem in the world, just to let you know, 2 months and a week is good etc.

Quote:
Hi, I bought a roundtrip ticket for London and I leave tomorrow. Where should I go?

talk about spontaneity! that’s crazy how people do that, im fortunate i have a great deal of time to work with!

so, just out of curiousity…where exactly have you traveled to? seems like you know ALOT!

steppphhh

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damndelish wrote:
no, i meant corfu. but i was just confused. because when i was thinking of visiting greece (the ioanian islands) i left out corfu thinking i would only visit zankynthos, kefalonia, lefkada. i assumed we would just ferry from italy to one of these three islands, but now i realize corfu should definetely be included in our trip to greece.

Unlike Corfu, the other three islands don’t have regular ferry service to Italy. Corfu has plenty ferry servce to Italy because, aside from being geographically closest to Italy, it’s also the capital of the Ionian Islands region, and Corfu Town is one of the largest cities on Greece’s west coast (Patras being the largest). Thus, Corfu is a transport hub. From Corfu, you should be able to reach the other islands either by direct ferry or by seaplane www.airsealines.com

Corfu is in itself a major destination, and a great place to base yourself during your week in the Ionian Islands. If you’re only there for one week, just Corfu plus one other island would suffice. Don’t tire yourself out. Mediterranean Europe is best enjoyed by taking it easy. If you decide to extend your time in Greece by a few days (by etending yout total time in Europe), you can squeeze in a 3rd island or the western mainland. All of the Ionian Islands have an amazingly crazy scenic coastline. If you’re wondering which one has shipwreck beach (the navágio), that’s Zakynthos.

damndelish wrote:
oh, and just out of curiousty…ive tried researching it a bit but i can’t seem to find anything good. do you know anything about sailing in europe? like even for a few days? maybe around the greek islands. ive always wanted to do that and i was wondering if you know of a good website or information/tours etc.

If by sailing you mean taking a small cruise or yacht around the islands, I know that these are very common in the Aegean side of Greece (especially within the Cycladic Islands and to/from Crete). Although it might also be available in the Ionian side. And it might be expensive. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good websites to suggest. You should be able to find reliable information in a recent edition (2007 or 2008) of any Greece or Ionian Islands travel guide (Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Frommer’s, etc). I think that either Cil or oldlady (or both) have done this in the Aegean.

My suggestion is: instead of island-hopping the Ionian Islands during your short time there, I think you’d find it much more rewarding if you focused on visiting just two Ionian Islands (Corfu + one additional island), and explore those islands to their fullest. Hopping several islands is ideal for the Cyclades, because that chain is made up of several small compact islands which are mostly located within short distances of each other. The Ionian Islands are larger and generally further apart. However, on some of the Ionian Islands, you can do like a one-day cruise around the island (I know for sure this is available on Zakynthos, and maybe Corfu has something similar). The Zakynthos one stops at shipwreck beach so you can swim and spend some time there.

damndelish wrote:
ya, i checked out the pink palace site just because i heard it frequently mentioned in blogs all over the place etc and of course it definetely looks cheesy but what attracted me to it, was as you mentioned the wide varitey of trips and excursions, like renting kayaks and cliff jumping, sailing, touring etc thats totally what im looking for. ya, i promise we’ll try to leave the toga parties and other things behind to see more of the city itself and then maybe return in the evening for that comical stuff hahah. and im all for nice accomadations.

Sounds good.

damndelish wrote:
and of course the 2 months thing was just a rough outline, its not like we have anything to specifically be home for, that i know of now so i was thinking of leaving early june (after the 3rd, just bc i should be 18) so we’d be in europe all of june, and july and then it could always run into august if need be, this way we have an extra month to play around with, no need to rush back before school starts etc. so if we need to stay somewhere longer i guess we will, so that is not the biggest problem in the world, just to let you know, 2 months and a week is good etc.

If you can add another week, that would be perfect. Just remember the cost of being in Europe for such a long time…accomodation, transportation, eating, laundromats, going out…it all adds up, especially with today’s exchange rates. So, make sure you have money saved up. You won’t be visiting any cheap countries. Some are cheap*er* than others (Spain and Greece will be cheap*er* than Britain, for example), but none will be cheap.

damndelish wrote:
Quote:
Hi, I bought a roundtrip ticket for London and I leave tomorrow. Where should I go?

talk about spontaneity! that’s crazy how people do that, im fortunate i have a great deal of time to work with!

The issue I have with this is that, people buy plane tickets to a random European city (usually London) before figuring out where they want to go. I think it’s kind of silly. I think spontaneity is great. If you find a great deal for London, and you’ve always wanted to visit London or Britain (or you’ve been longing to go back), more power to you. But the folks who buy a one-week roundtrip to London just to get to Europe and then have no idea what countries or cities they want to visit, that’s kind of silly. It seems like fun and spontaneous a first, but if you don’t know the continent, you might end up visiting some places you won’t enjoy. Or, even worse are the folks who find a great deal to Rome or Nice in the middle of January, expecting the Mediterranean to be warm that time of the year like the Carribean.

damndelish wrote:
so, just out of curiousity…where exactly have you traveled to? seems like you know ALOT!

Coincidentally, my “area of expertise” is Southern Europe where you are most interested in going, so I’m able to answer your questions on this part of Europe with more detail. I also do research to keep up to date with recent travel/transport-related developments in Europe (new train service, new high-speed lines, new ferry routes, etc)


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ya, that makes sense that corfu would be a major hub, and therefore we should start our greek leg of the trip there, im all for extending my trip by lets say a week so that i could better accomodate greece and i really don’t wanna rush around as you mentioned id much rather relax, and move slowly Smile and really take in all the islands have to offer.

in terms of what you said, about choosing 2 islands to visit, that sounds like a good idea esp to avoid rushing around. choosing is gonna be difficult though. i definetely planned to see the shipwreck, and that beach just looks gorgeous, as does the rest of zankynthos, so that can’t be missed!! and im still very set on trying to see both kefalonia and lefkada. and i am willing to extend the trip by like a week, so do you think it would be possible? or if not, then maybe see just three of the major islands, so like corfu, zankynthos and either kefalonia or lefkada (which out of those two would you recommend?) that would be a bit easier than seeing 4. and can we ferry/fly directly from zankynthos to mainland italy? ya, its a shame that the ionian islands aren’t as close as the cycladic islands, but the ionians seem more beautiful so i think it should be worth it.

that one day cruise around zankynthos sounds good, bc shipwreck beach is only accesible by boat and id like to go exploring/ swimming there. do you know where i can find more info on a tour like that? is there a website by any chance? that would be a nice way to see the island in a short time.

Quote:
And it might be expensive

in regards to the sailing, as nice as it would be i think ill save that for when im older and richer haha, bc ya i think for the most part we’ll be traveling on a budget and that might be tooo much of a splurge. it would be a great way to come back and see the islands that way, one day down the road.

Quote:
So, make sure you have money saved up. You won’t be visiting any cheap countries.

im going to be taking the year off of school and so i will be working fulltime all year which will give me plenty opportunity to save up for this trip. so i was wondering how much APPROX. i should be looking at saving, like we will be staying in hostels (aka living cheap) and i mean we still wanna be able to eat out once and awhile but we are looking to stay on somekind of budget. what do you suggest? esp, for a trip about 9 weeks long approx. i of course have no idea.

ya, a certain amount of spontaneity is great but of course not knowing where you’re going at all is not too wise haha.

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Or, even worse are the folks who find a great deal to Rome or Nice in the middle of January, expecting the Mediterranean to be warm that time of the year like the Carribean.

sry i feel silly asking, but really? like approx what are the temperatures there, that time of year? like obviously its not carribean weather but is it really that cold?

steppphhh

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damndelish wrote:
ya, that makes sense that corfu would be a major hub, and therefore we should start our greek leg of the trip there, im all for extending my trip by lets say a week so that i could better accomodate greece and i really don’t wanna rush around as you mentioned id much rather relax, and move slowly Smile and really take in all the islands have to offer.

I think your itinerary is fine, and I think one week in Greece (focused on the Ionian Islands) is perfectly fine. You’re spending a little more than a week in the larger South Euro nations (Spain, France, Italy), so I think your overall Southern European itinerary is balanced as it is. However, if you choose to extend your time in Europe and/or allocate extra days to Greece, then you’d be able to add a 3rd Ionian Island or a bit of the mainland. I’ve noticed that you have a particular interest in the Ionian Islands, so you may have to extend your time in Greece by a couple days. But then again, you’ve expressed an interest in many places on the Med. If you only give it one week, I think that two islands (Corfu + additional large island) is good enough. You may also be able to do a daytrip from Corfu to little Paxos. As long as you’re on the ground most of the time, and not spending half your time in Greece on ferries and airplanes (or waiting at a port).

damndelish wrote:
in terms of what you said, about choosing 2 islands to visit, that sounds like a good idea esp to avoid rushing around. choosing is gonna be difficult though. i definetely planned to see the shipwreck, and that beach just looks gorgeous, as does the rest of zankynthos, so that can’t be missed!! and im still very set on trying to see both kefalonia and lefkada. and i am willing to extend the trip by like a week, so do you think it would be possible? or if not, then maybe see just three of the major islands, so like corfu, zankynthos and either kefalonia or lefkada (which out of those two would you recommend?) that would be a bit easier than seeing 4. and can we ferry/fly directly from zankynthos to mainland italy? ya, its a shame that the ionian islands aren’t as close as the cycladic islands, but the ionians seem more beautiful so i think it should be worth it.

I sometimes read online about a rare ferry from Zakynthos to Italy, but I never see this route posted on any of the major ferry companies’ websites, so don’t rely on finding a ferry from Zakynthos to Italy (however, if you find one, that would be great). You’ll either have to get back to Corfu, or to Patras and ferry to Italy from there.

The Ionian Islands leg of your backtracking trip (and which island[s] you end up visiting in addition to Corfu) will have to be designed a tad spontaneaously, based on what ferry and flight connections you are able to find during that week in the islands, provided that you give yourself a few cushion days so that you can get back to Italy somewhat on time. I did a bit of research and was disappointed to find out that there is no direct ferry nor flight from Corfu to Zakynthos. However, this might be a blessing in disguise for you: you said that you really want to visit Cephalonia, and I found that there’s frequent seaplane service from Corfu to Cephalonia (www.airsealines.com). You can fly to Cephalonia, explore the island, and then from Cephalonia you can ferry to Zakynthos by stopping [and changing0 boats] in the mainland town of Killini (www.ionianferries.gr). Then, from Zakynthos, head over to Patras (take the bus, which includes ferry to Killini) where you will catch an overnight ferry to Italy (or fly back to Corfu from Patras with seaplane, and ferry to Italy from Corfu. Or just fly with the seaplane service Patras-Corfu and then fly again Corfu-Brindisi). If you choose to do this, then you’ll need to extend your time in Greece to at least 8 or 9 days, otherwise stick with Corfu + Cephalonia or Corfu + Lefkada.

damndelish wrote:
that one day cruise around zankynthos sounds good, bc shipwreck beach is only accesible by boat and id like to go exploring/ swimming there. do you know where i can find more info on a tour like that? is there a website by any chance? that would be a nice way to see the island in a short time.

You’ll have to ask around when you get there. You shouldn’t have any difficulty finding the information you’re looking for.

damndelish wrote:
in regards to the sailing, as nice as it would be i think ill save that for when im older and richer haha, bc ya i think for the most part we’ll be traveling on a budget and that might be tooo much of a splurge. it would be a great way to come back and see the islands that way, one day down the road.

Personally, I’m a big fan of being on the coast, or close to it (like the small cruise that circles Zakynthos).

damndelish wrote:
im going to be taking the year off of school and so i will be working fulltime all year which will give me plenty opportunity to save up for this trip. so i was wondering how much APPROX. i should be looking at saving, like we will be staying in hostels (aka living cheap) and i mean we still wanna be able to eat out once and awhile but we are looking to stay on somekind of budget. what do you suggest? esp, for a trip about 9 weeks long approx. i of course have no idea.

Unfortunately, I’m bad at budgeting. You’ll have to ask around here at Eurotrip. My advice would be, estimate US$25 per night for lodging (I know that’s high), which comes to US$1500 for 60 days. Maybe save up around US$4000, not including airfare (food seriously adds up, but then again I’m a 200-lb 27-year-old male that eats at least 5 times a day. So I probably eat more than you do. ). Don’t carry all that cash with you. Have some emergency traveler’s checks. Get an ATM card if you don’t already have one (Cirrus is widely accepted in Europe, and ATM machines are everywhere), and put most of your money in that ATM account. Make sure you have 4, not 5, digits in your pin. Also make sure you have a major credit card. Make sure you have the phone numbers to call if either of these get stolen (and make sure you have the international phone numbers, because the toll-free 800 number may not work outside USA/Canada). Try to have all the resources you need should an emergency arise and you need the money; at the same time, remember not to abuse those resources; try to be thrifty as much as possible.

luv_the_beach wrote:
Or, even worse are the folks who find a great deal to Rome or Nice in the middle of January, expecting the Mediterranean to be warm that time of the year like the Carribean.
damndelish wrote:
sry i feel silly asking, but really? like approx what are the temperatures there, that time of year? like obviously its not carribean weather but is it really that cold?

SIGH!

Southern Europe has a Mediterranean climate, similar to California. So, definitely don’t expect Carribean-like weather in the winter. Depending on the region, daytime highs can reach the 60s Fahrenheit on some days (so you can have some gorgeous spring-like days), but generally, expect daytime highs in the 40s or 50s F. Lows can even reach freezing point (and dip below freezing in higher-altitude areas). It rains pretty frequently in the winter, as opposed to the summertime when you have near-constant sunshine for 5 months straight.

You’re going in the summer time, so expect warm dry weather.


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well this is late isnt it?

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But then again, you’ve expressed an interest in many places on the Med

very true! im interested in most places hence the fact that i havent explored this part of europe yet. but like anything im picky and know what i want for the most part, will it be what i expect..? well lets hopee

so sea plane it is, when going from the greek islands, thank you for figuring out the specifics, its much appreciated.

thats good advice about money and what not. well be of course living on the cheap for the most part but i have all year to save up and im gonna work on saving about 6000 lets say, some of which my parents will assist with, maybe get them to fly me on airmiles? that would be terrific! ya we definetly eat alot less haha. so if you could give us a rough range of rough day costs what would it be? so lets assume 25 for lodging then i have no clue about the rest? because sights, and admissions would have to be included as well as food etc. and yes ill be bringing debit and applying for a credit card for sure, and chances are well alternate paying for things, to save ourselves some withdrawal fees eetc and for safety. i also was wondering what to do with the whole water issue? i drink ALOT of water, we both do and of course im accustomed to every variation of filtered water and have grown a distaste for tap water but of course europes water is sometimes cleaner (in some areas) so what do you recommend us doing? bringing a nalgene and filling it up? buying bottled water? not too sure, and i absolutley hate tonic water or what they have which is common, bubbled water lol.

steppphhh

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damndelish wrote:
so sea plane it is, when going from the greek islands, thank you for figuring out the specifics, its much appreciated.

www.airsealines.com

Remember to allow yourself some flexibility in case, say, you’re in Corfu and were planning on flying to Cephalonia on, say, Tuesday, and it turns out that Tuesday is the one day of the week when AirSealines takes a day off. So, allow yourself that flexibility in Greece.

damndelish wrote:
thats good advice about money and what not. well be of course living on the cheap for the most part but i have all year to save up and im gonna work on saving about 6000 lets say, some of which my parents will assist with, maybe get them to fly me on airmiles? that would be terrific! ya we definetly eat alot less haha. so if you could give us a rough range of rough day costs what would it be? so lets assume 25 for lodging then i have no clue about the rest?

Personally, I’m bad with money, and I rarely visit Europe for sightseeing…I’m either living there, or visiting my parents or friends’/family’s weddings/baptisms, what-not, and I manage to squeeze in some holiday/vacation/sightseeing…also, until I recently bought my digital SLR camera, I used to spend a lot on ISO 800 film. So I’ll spend a little more than the average tourist needs to…so I’m the wrong person to ask on budgeting. I’d say, plan to spend around US$4000, try to budget as much as possible, and have the resources necessary (ceredit cards) should you need the extra cash (but remember not to abuse your credit for unecessary things).

You may be tempted to buy clothes/shoes, but remember that trends are different in Europe, and what you buy there may be a little odd back home (although this might not hold as true for women as it does for men)…so since you’re on a budget, don’t buy anything. If you do decide to buy some clothes, make sure it’s not just a fad…buy something you’ll make good use of at home.

damndelish wrote:
i also was wondering what to do with the whole water issue? i drink ALOT of water, we both do and of course im accustomed to every variation of filtered water and have grown a distaste for tap water but of course europes water is sometimes cleaner (in some areas) so what do you recommend us doing? bringing a nalgene and filling it up? buying bottled water? not too sure, and i absolutley hate tonic water or what they have which is common, bubbled water lol.

Bottled water is widely available in Europe, and quite cheap. And don’t worry, carbonated water is not popular in Southern Europe [FR, IT, GR, ES] where you will be most of the time.

The tap water is perfectly safe in every country you plan to visit. As for the taste of tap water…quite a few people where I live here in Chicago don’t like the taste of tap water either (even though I find nothing wrong with it, and I drink straight from tap all the time), but you may find the tap water in Southern Europe “tastier”, because in much of Mediterranean Europe, particularly Spain and Greece, where the climate is quite dry (like the American West), most tap water comes from reservoirs (stored rainwater), not lakes nor underground natural water reserves, so you may find the taste different from what you’re used to in the eastern half of the United States. On some Greek islands, the tap water is desalinated sea water, so the taste may be a bit awkward (although, I don’t think this is the case in the Ionians) , but it’s perfectly safe (and bottled water is widely available if you don’t like the taste). In Rome, you’ll find small medieval drinking fountains everywhere…I’m not sure where the water comes from, but I’m gonna guess it comes straight from the Appennine Mountain range, brought to Rome from ancient engineering that has been well-maintained throughout the centuries. Similarly, if you leave the major cities: many small towns/villages in Southern Europe will have a centrally-located fountain that brings clean spring water (from a nearby mountain) right into town…it’s a charming feature of many Med towns left over from the days before indoor plumbing, and very convenient for modern-day travelers: free spring water!! (so you can fill your Nalgene bottle)…this small-Med-village spring water is the best water I’ve ever had in my life.

Smile


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