(Western?) Europe for 24 days

[Michael][Michael] Registered User regular
I'm heading to Europe for 24 days with my girlfriend (we're both 30), basically for the entirety of March. I think weather is going to dictate when and where we go to some extent, since we're going so early in the year.

We have no set in stone plans beyond already purchased cheeeeap round trip tickets to Dublin. We were honestly gonna wing it to some extent and only book a few days out, maybe a week max, so we could plan around weather forecasts and extend or shorten how long we stay each place depending on how we like it. With it being off peak season, is this is feasible?

Our rough plan is to hit Dublin, Edinburgh, and London, quick trip to Paris, then southern France, then spend a good chunk of time in Italy (maybe half the total trip, it looks a little warmer and less rainy). Good rough plan? Bad? Any suggestions? We're good with veering completely off course if there's a flaw there.

We'd also like to spend some time in smaller towns between the bigger cities, and get in a few hiking trails. Any suggestions there?

We've never been to Europe, so general advice would be helpful, too! I've been researching everything I can think of beforehand (travel credit cards, prepaid sim cards, best ways to travel between major hubs, what travel or booking apps are all the rage nowadays, etc), but I'm sure there's plenty I'm missing.


  • JansonJanson Registered User regular
    Sounds excellent to me!

    I always recommend going to fewer places than to many - but that sounds doable for 24 days.

    Italy is very foreigner-friendly and will be lovely in March.

    I recommend Moovit as an app to download; I found it really handy in Italy and I know my UK siblings use it regularly. It'll tell you which combination bus/train/metro to get to your destination, so you don't really have to think about it.

    You'll likely wish to travel by train, although in the UK the train does get pretty expensive. Booking in advance will net you the most savings but if you miss your train, there's no refund. It's by far the easiest and quickest way to travel if you're not flying, however.

  • firewaterwordfirewaterword Satchitananda Pais Vasco to San FranciscoRegistered User regular
    I absolutely adored northern Italy, and would recommend it to anyone. I was mainly in Bolzano and Merano, and would go back in a heartbeat. The hiking was amazing, particularly in the hills above Bolzano, and there was so much to see and do everywhere I went.

    Same goes for Austria in general - Vienna and Innsbruck are two of the most interesting cities I've ever been to.

    Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
  • FiendishrabbitFiendishrabbit Registered User regular
    If it wasn't for the fact that the UK is being pissy I would have recommended getting a Eurail pass. The interrail pass (for European citizens) covers the UK as well, but the international pass (Eurail) does not.
    Otherwise it's a great option when you have a longer vacation and want to visit many locations.

    It might still be a decent option for traveling once you get to france/italy (or in Ireland for that matter), but kinda loses some of its value when you can't use it to travel through britain.

    "The western world sips from a poisonous cocktail: Polarisation, populism, protectionism and post-truth"
    -Antje Jackelén, Archbishop of the Church of Sweden
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    edited February 2018
    Europe and especially the northern part of it can be a bit gloomy in March, that is unless you really go North and find snow. If it were a little further in the year I'd insist on you guys putting Denmark/Sweden/Norway and possibly Finland on the list - maybe even Russia(while in Finland).

    I'd recommend doing London/Cambridge/Oxford while in the UK and then go across the channel. Depending on the weather I'd then advise on visiting Holland to see of course Amsterdam, rent bikes to experience one of the worlds most bike friendly places and visit the main museums (Holland is the place of Rembrandt, Van Gogh...). And then there is of course Luxembourg, France, Germany, Switzerland(Expensive)...
    If you end up in Italy make sure to include Florence as it is an amazing place and also Sienna, but you may wanna skip on Venice as that city is just over run with tourists.

    A few general tips:
    • Whenever planning on visiting a museum or similar check out if tickets can be bought on-line, that can save precious time otherwise wasted in waiting lines although March likely won't be that bad. Also many cities have a system where you buy passes that covers public transport and tickets to museums in one - easy and cheap. You will find public transport works well in Europe.
    • WiFi. Lots of places it is free so if wanting to make a phone call use Skype instead. Do however also make sure your gear is safe with firewalls and do not do anything with passwords or credit cards that aren't on encrypted connections.
    • If you take pictures or do video then make sure to make a backup. It will be so much better if a phone dies with all the images of a Holiday.
    • Do forget to be in the moment ie. make sure not to see the world only through a camera.
    • Europe is really very safe, but there is always a small risk of pocket thiefs or worse so be mindful of that.
    • Most people will speak some English, but it doesn't hurt to know a few words in the local languages.
    • Eat local food or at least not at one of those franchise places. Do not be tempted to eat at a McD or similar, doing so is a wasted opportunity for something interesting.
    • Tipping is different in Europe. Most in the service industry get decent wages so tips aren't like mandatory, but check for each country and also tip regardless if you feel you want to reward great service.
    • As Janson mentioned. Better fewer places than rushing from one spot to the next. A holiday should not be about checking boxes on a list.

    BlindZenDriver on
    Bones heal, glory is forever.
  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Europe and especially the northern part of it can be a bit gloomy in March, that is unless you really go North and find snow.

    That's underselling it, frankly.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
  • ReznikReznik Registered User regular
    I'm 2nding BlindZenDriver's recommendation of Amsterdam. I can't speak to the weather because I was there in May, but there are so many museums and they are fantastic. I loved it and would definitely go back.

    Do... Re.... Mi... Ti... La...
    Do... Re... Mi... So... Fa.... Do... Re.... Do...
    Forget it...
  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    If you end up in Northern Italy, I very much recommend a day trip at Lake Como. Rather than doing any of the guided tours, my fiancee and I did it on our own, and it was pretty awesome. We took the train from Milan into Como, spent some time there, then took the hydrofoil ferry to Bellagio, had lunch and walked around the town, then took the hydrofoil ferry to Varenna and had apertivo and dinner there, on the seaside of course, before taking the train back to Milan. It was almost like the perfect day, with some of the most amazing views I've ever seen.

  • SmurphSmurph Registered User regular
    I feel like it would be a mistake to go to Ireland and just stay in Dublin the whole time. I thought Dublin was ok, but I really liked the smaller Irish towns we passed through and stayed in. Kilkenny is not too far from Dublin and was probably my favorite Irish town.

    I second the Amsterdam recommendation. I had a blast there.

    V1mThat Dave Fella
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    Agreed, save Dublin for your last day/night. Killarney is lovely, and I had a better time in Cork than I did in Dublin.

    That Dave Fella
  • EchoEcho Moderator mod
    Skeith wrote: »
    Europe and especially the northern part of it can be a bit gloomy in March, that is unless you really go North and find snow.

    That's underselling it, frankly.

    Hey now, I saw the sun yesterday!

    Echo wrote: »
    Let they who have not posted about their balls in the wrong thread cast the first stone.
  • BlindZenDriverBlindZenDriver Registered User regular
    Echo wrote: »
    Skeith wrote: »
    Europe and especially the northern part of it can be a bit gloomy in March, that is unless you really go North and find snow.

    That's underselling it, frankly.

    Hey now, I saw the sun yesterday!

    And there was also sunshine today. It is not like it can not be nice weather and sometimes it can even become like freaky nice for the time of year, but on average the weather in March often is more dark grey clouds and rain with temperatures not much above freezing. Ie. not bad for sitting at a fire place and so, but not great for days of sight seeing outdoors which is why I will not even recommend coming to my home country in March. Late April in much better and June is like perfect(most years).

    Bones heal, glory is forever.
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