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Help with my summer 2012 itinerary please!
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Hi everyone! I am looking for some help with my itinerary for backpacking Europe this summer from the end of May through the beginning of July. My boyfriend and I are going for exactly six weeks and I am a little concerned that we are trying to fit too much into a too short amount of time. We are flying into London on May 29 and flying out of Milan on July 10, so those are set in stone.

I would love any advice you have on if this is feasible or too much, where we should spend more or less time or where to perhaps cut entirely, best transportation options, good hostels, your favorite places, or really anything you think would be helpful! Thanks so much for your help! It’s very appreciated!!

So far, our tentative itinerary is:

Tues, May 29-Fri, June 1: London, maybe day trip to Cambridge. We are planning on staying in the Astor Hyde Park Hostel.

Sat, June 2: Morning train from London to Edinburgh. I am wondering if the train is the best way to get to Edinburgh and if it is an enjoyable or scenic ride.

Sun, June 3-Mon, June 4: Edinburgh. We are planning on staying in the Art Roch Hostel.

Tues, June 5: Midday flight from Edinburgh to Paris

Wed, June 6-Fri June 8: Paris

Sat, June 9: Morning train Paris to Lucerne or Bern. Is one easier to get to than the other from Paris? Is the train the best option?

Sun, June 10- Tues, 12: Lucerne or Bern, with a day trip to the other or another place nearby (suggestions?)

Wed, June 13: We are planning on going on the Black Forest Railway to get from Switzerland to Germany by going Lucerne/Bern—> Singen—> Offenburg—>Ulm or Nordlingen (spend the night there). Has anyone been on the Black Forest Railway? How is it?

Thur, June 14: day in either Ulm or Nordlingen, afternoon train to Munich. I am having trouble deciding between Ulm and Nordlingen.

Fri, Jun 15-Sat, 16: Munich. I am wondering if we should allot more time to Munich.

Sun, Jun 17: Morning bus to Cesky Krumlov. Is the bus the easiest way to get there?

Mon, Jun 18-Tue, 19: Cesky Krumlov

Wed, Jun 20: Bus from Cesky Krumlov to Salzburg

Thur, Jun 21: Salzburg, late afternoon train to Ljubjana

Fri, Jun 22: Ljubjana, late afternoon bus to Bled

Sat, Jun 23: Bled, late afternoon bus back to Ljubjana

Sun, Jun 24: bus or train from Ljubjana to Divaca, tour Skocjan caves in Divaca, take train or bus to Koper

Mon, Jun 25: Koper or Piran

Tue, Jun 26: Koper or Piran, afternoon ferry to Venice. Has anyone taken the ferry from Slovenia to Venice?

Wed, Jun 27-Thur, 28: Venice

Fri, Jun 29: Train or flight from Venice to Rome. Which is best?

Sat, Jun 30-Mon, July 2: Rome and Vatican

Tue, Jul 3: Mid-morning train to Florence

Wed, Jul 4-Thur, 5: Florence

Fri, Jul 6: Mid-morning train to Riommagiore (via La Spezia)

Sat, Jul 7-Sun, Jul 8: Cinque Terre

Mon, Jul 9: Train from Monterrosso to Milan, overnight in Milan

Tue, Jul 10: Milan to Boston

I would love any advice into our time in Slovenia. I am not sure we even want to go to Ljubljana (is there a lot to see there?), but I am having a hard time finding transportation within Slovenia that doesn’t use Ljubljana as a hub or point of transfer. I would love any insight into the Skocjan caves (if they are worth going to/how they are) and the Lake Bled area. I wouldn’t mind cutting out Ljubjiana and going straight from Salzburg to Lake Bled and then to Divaca and Koper or Piran.

I am also specifically wondering about Salzburg. I hear it is expensive and there is not a ton to do, though I am still interested. Currently, I haven’t allotted a lot of time to do and am mainly using it as a stop between Cesky Krumlov and Slovenia, but am open to cutting it entirely if there is a better way from the Czech Republic to Slovenia.

If this seems like too much to do, I am hoping for some suggestions on what to cut and where to add my time/where I have not allotted enough time.

Thanks so much for your help!

I am leaving from Boston, MA, USA with $6000 for 43 days
London, Edinburgh, Paris, Lucerne, Munich, Nördlingen, Regensburg, Český Krumlov, Munich, Salzburg, Bled, Ljubljana, Divača, Piran, Venice, Siena, Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Milan
Requesting help with Transport, Hostels, Budget, Itinerary, Nightlife, Food, Sights
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Venice to Rome. Train is city center (actually in Venice, not on the mainland) to city center, so can be significantly faster and more convenient than flying. You’ve got a minimum of 45 minutes on each end of the trip just getting between town and the airport, plus recommended 2 hour advance check-in with a flight. Train is 3 1/4 to 4 1/2 hours depending on which train you choose.

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Lots of busses operate from Ljubljana — I had to take one to get to Bled. I really like Ljubljana — its not the most exciting capital in the world, but it is f’ing charming. Cool people, pretty and clean city. Great place to rent a bike and lounge.

I am leaving from New York, NY and traveling for 64 days
Reykjavik, London, Lille, Berlin, Kraków, Lviv, Istanbul, Selçuk, Pamukkale, Kızkalesi, Göreme, Kars, Bat'umi, Akhalts'ikhe, Tbilisi, Telavi, Istanbul

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Looks like a great itinerary to me! I’ll try to comment on as many questions as I can:

  • (London) I stayed at Astor Hyde hostel in London. It’s a great starting hostel for a trip. It’s social, but a “party” hostel, which is sometimes hard to jump into after a long flight and at the start of your trip.
  • (Lucerne/Bern) It’s hard to go wrong with anything in Switzerland, in my opinion. I spent about 2 weeks in Switzerland and loved every second of it. One really fun thing to do is to rent a raft in Thun (a bit south of Bern) and raft yourself into Bern (where they pick up the raft). Don’t worry, if you can canoe semi-competently, it’s very easy and very rewarding. I stayed in Interlaken, so I can’t comment on which of Lucerne/Bern is better to stay in — I visited both and found both beautiful.
  • (Black Forest) I’ve done part of the Black Forest scenic train ride. It’s nice. Worth doing? Yes, but not worth planning part of one’s itinerary around. It obviously depends a lot on what you enjoy though. This may be something you want to cut out if you’re looking for a couple extra days somewhere, however.
  • (Munich) Well, there’s certainly enough in Munich to take up more than 2 days, but I think 2 days sounds pretty good for what you guys are doing. Hopefully you’ll get better weather than I did Smile
  • (June 20th – 26th) If there’s part of your trip that’s “rushed”, this is it. It’s totally feasible.. just be expecting it. I haven’t been to either Salzburg or Ljubljana yet (this summer!), so I can’t say how disappointed you’ll be with only parts of days in each.
  • (Venice-Rome) I haven’t flown, but I’d recommend the train, especially if you have a railpass or don’t mind paying for the fast trains. The rail stations are very conveniently located in both Venice and Rome, and I can’t imagine you’re saving that much time by flying (given that you need to get to the airport, check in early, etc.).
  • (Florence) I’m not sure what your plans/interests are, but I might consider taking one of the days in Florence and doing a day trip to Pisa (that, or doing Pisa on your way to La Spezia). Speaking for me personally, I’m not much of an Art guy… so Florence was definitely cool to wander around, but it didn’t need a lot of time. I thought Pisa was pretty awesome though, and it’s not on your itinerary Smile
  • (Riomaggiore) Great choice spending 2 full days in Cinque Terre. It’s heaven there. Riomaggiore is also a terrific place to stay. Do you have a place to stay there yet? If not, let me find the contact of the woman whose place we stayed at. It was in Riomaggiore and had a roof-top balcony — not a balcony, but the roof itself! And it wasn’t shared with anyone else.
  • (Boston) Go Pats! Please don’t get Tebow’d tomorrow…