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Old 06-30-2012, 05:29 PM
 
210 posts, read 646,836 times
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I'm getting down to the wire on having to decide on my destination for a summer Euro trip. I've got it down to two scenarios:

1. Fly into Basel, Switzerland, then travel by train through Germany's Black Forest, to Munich, then Prague (with side trips within Czech Republic), then Berlin, and finally fly to Paris where I've planned to meet some relatives.

or

2. Fly to London (tickets are less than $900) right now, spend a couple days there, then fly to Budapest, travel by train around Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic, and finally fly to Paris to meet my relatives.

I'll have about 21-24 days, 2-3 involving the France portion of my trip at the end. Both routes are comparable in price.

My question is really about crowding. Am I going to be overwhelmed by tourists and crowds with the first scenario any more than I would be under scenario two (I know London is going to be a cluster, but I don't intend to stay there long and would really just like to see bits and pieces)? There are appealing aspects to both trips, but I want to deal with as few overcrowding issues (e.g. sold out hostels, train reservations, overcrowded restuarants, etc) as possible.

I assume scenario two might be the way to go, but if Munich and Berlin aren't going to be terribly congested that would be the easier of the two routes to go.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
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Old 06-30-2012, 07:09 PM
 
Location: American Expat
2,204 posts, read 5,107,921 times
Reputation: 1905
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
I'm getting down to the wire on having to decide on my destination for a summer Euro trip. I've got it down to two scenarios:

1. Fly into Basel, Switzerland, then travel by train through Germany's Black Forest, to Munich, then Prague (with side trips within Czech Republic), then Berlin, and finally fly to Paris where I've planned to meet some relatives.

or

2. Fly to London (tickets are less than $900) right now, spend a couple days there, then fly to Budapest, travel by train around Hungary, Slovakia, and Czech Republic, and finally fly to Paris to meet my relatives.

I'll have about 21-24 days, 2-3 involving the France portion of my trip at the end. Both routes are comparable in price.

My question is really about crowding. Am I going to be overwhelmed by tourists and crowds with the first scenario any more than I would be under scenario two (I know London is going to be a cluster, but I don't intend to stay there long and would really just like to see bits and pieces)? There are appealing aspects to both trips, but I want to deal with as few overcrowding issues (e.g. sold out hostels, train reservations, overcrowded restuarants, etc) as possible.

I assume scenario two might be the way to go, but if Munich and Berlin aren't going to be terribly congested that would be the easier of the two routes to go.

Thanks in advance for any responses.
I say 1.

Well, hostels are very popular. You can't book it a week before you want to stay there. 2-3 weeks should be ok. Of course there are always some major events and they are booked out 7-8 months in advance.
The train reservations can be made at the train station. Maybe even online, I don't know. I had this issue in May. Took the ICE from Hamburg. Figured I won't need a reservation. ICE reservations are only 2 Euros. The TGV in France costs more. Up to 18 Euros I think, depending on what time of the day. Well, I ended up sitting on some luggage. The train was packed. But people leave the train, of course, at the first stop. So I only sat there for like 90 minutes. It wasn't a big deal.
I've been to the places you listed many times and I never thought it was "overcrowded". London during the Olympics, yes. Or Berlin on New Year's Ev. But other than that, no.
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Old 07-01-2012, 08:04 AM
 
Location: the dairyland
1,230 posts, read 2,116,894 times
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If you take the Germany route I would recommend to book the train tickets in advance (unless you get something like the Eurorail pass) because they're usually cheaper if booked ahead of time.
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Old 07-05-2012, 03:18 PM
 
Location: Earth
24,629 posts, read 26,694,112 times
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Make sure you hit Cesky Krumlov if you're taking a day trip from Prague.
If you decide to go that route and are in Prague over the weekend, and are so inclined, I'll pop over for a cup of coffee with you.
Make sure you see the Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha.

The Olympics are taking place in London.
I'd stay as far away from there as possible.
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Old 07-05-2012, 10:59 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
91,430 posts, read 88,433,885 times
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I'd do #1. It's hard to beat Switzerland and the Black Forest & Bavaria.

I'd suggest a different route. From Bavaria to the south of Austria and then Slovenia. Slovenia rivals Bavaria for scenery. Utterly breathtaking. Then you could easily add Prague, if you want.

Is summer your only option, Doc? Europe in the fall, Sept/Oct. is glorious! And much cheaper, and no crowds! Something to keep in mind for next year.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:50 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
60,921 posts, read 49,193,245 times
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Number One for sure! Remember - the Summer Olympics are in London this year.

Germany is fabulous in the fall - and also in late April and May, by the way.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:53 AM
 
210 posts, read 646,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I'd do #1. It's hard to beat Switzerland and the Black Forest & Bavaria.

I'd suggest a different route. From Bavaria to the south of Austria and then Slovenia. Slovenia rivals Bavaria for scenery. Utterly breathtaking. Then you could easily add Prague, if you want.

Is summer your only option, Doc? Europe in the fall, Sept/Oct. is glorious! And much cheaper, and no crowds! Something to keep in mind for next year.
Yeah, I'm a teacher so summer is my only option.

I've kind of tweaked my options. I know I'm flying into Zurich so that'll be my starting point.

From there I can either:

1. Go into Germany, through the Black Forest to Bavaria to Prague and then to Koln and Paris.

2. Go into Austria, to Salzburg and then Vienna, and then into Prague, then back around back through Austria and Switzerland into France to Paris.

I'm planning on buying a four country eurail pass, which is why I'd have to look back around to get to Paris in option two. Austria and the Czech Republic are probably my preference, but I'm a little concerned about how long it'll take it loop all the way back to Paris.

Is it worth it? I'd really like to go to Salzburg and ride through the Swiss Alps, but I've never been through the Black Forest or to Munich so that's appealing as well (going to Dachau would be a real experience considering I'm a Social Studies teacher).

Thoughts (anyone)?

Thanks for all the responses so far.
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Old 07-08-2012, 10:55 AM
 
210 posts, read 646,836 times
Reputation: 146
Quote:
Originally Posted by chielgirl View Post
Make sure you hit Cesky Krumlov if you're taking a day trip from Prague.
If you decide to go that route and are in Prague over the weekend, and are so inclined, I'll pop over for a cup of coffee with you.
Make sure you see the Slav Epic by Alfons Mucha.

The Olympics are taking place in London.
I'd stay as far away from there as possible.

I definitely plan on spending a day and night in Cesky Krumlov.

Thanks for the coffee offer! I'm not a coffee drinker but might be willing to join anyway.

What can you tell me about Prague? Is it safe at night? What things should I do while I'm in the city?

Thanks!
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Wonderland
60,921 posts, read 49,193,245 times
Reputation: 87922
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
Yeah, I'm a teacher so summer is my only option.

I've kind of tweaked my options. I know I'm flying into Zurich so that'll be my starting point.

From there I can either:

1. Go into Germany, through the Black Forest to Bavaria to Prague and then to Koln and Paris.

2. Go into Austria, to Salzburg and then Vienna, and then into Prague, then back around back through Austria and Switzerland into France to Paris.

I'm planning on buying a four country eurail pass, which is why I'd have to look back around to get to Paris in option two. Austria and the Czech Republic are probably my preference, but I'm a little concerned about how long it'll take it loop all the way back to Paris.

Is it worth it? I'd really like to go to Salzburg and ride through the Swiss Alps, but I've never been through the Black Forest or to Munich so that's appealing as well (going to Dachau would be a real experience considering I'm a Social Studies teacher).

Thoughts (anyone)?

Thanks for all the responses so far.
I vote for option #1. Here's why (and these are ONLY personal opinions and observations - not trying to establish any of this as hard cold fact!):


1. I much prefer Germany to Austria. I've traveled through both countries extensively, and Austrians are generally NOT as friendly as Germans, ESPECIALLY in the Vienna area. The rudest people I have ever met in Europe were in that area.

2. Salzburg is pretty interesting, but if you have to choose between Salzburg and the Black Forest - or better yet - Neuschwanstein and that area - I'd choose the Black Forest and Alps any day. Bavaria is simply hard to beat when it comes to beauty and ambiance.

My husband and I went to Bertchesgaden and then Salzburg last year. We remarked afterwards that other than the Salt Mines outside Salzburg (which are worth the tour), we wish we'd spent another day in Berchtesgaden (hell, I don't know how to spell it!). And Hitler's Eagle's Nest is a very interesting day trip.

3. Prague is GREAT. Have fun!

4. Driving back up thru Germany from Prague to Koln will be a LOVELY trip. There are so many interesting sites along the way.

My husband and I flew into Belgium, rented a car, and drove from Ghent to Salzburg and then made a circle back up the Romantic Road last year. If you want any tips on any of that area, just let me know. It's fabulous and one of our favorite places on this earth!
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Old 07-08-2012, 12:36 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
91,430 posts, read 88,433,885 times
Reputation: 99115
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrVanNostrand View Post
Yeah, I'm a teacher so summer is my only option.

I've kind of tweaked my options. I know I'm flying into Zurich so that'll be my starting point.

From there I can either:

1. Go into Germany, through the Black Forest to Bavaria to Prague and then to Koln and Paris.

2. Go into Austria, to Salzburg and then Vienna, and then into Prague, then back around back through Austria and Switzerland into France to Paris.

I'm planning on buying a four country eurail pass, which is why I'd have to look back around to get to Paris in option two. Austria and the Czech Republic are probably my preference, but I'm a little concerned about how long it'll take it loop all the way back to Paris.

Is it worth it? I'd really like to go to Salzburg and ride through the Swiss Alps, but I've never been through the Black Forest or to Munich so that's appealing as well (going to Dachau would be a real experience considering I'm a Social Studies teacher).

Thoughts (anyone)?

Thanks for all the responses so far.
#2, Salzburg is SO much better than Koln! No comparison, really. Vienna, too. Koln has no charm, imo. More of an industrial city. Kind of like Chicago, lol. On one of your passes through Austria, you could go to the south, and drop down to Lake Bled in the north of Slovenia, near Austria. If you can squeeze it in, you'll be glad you did.

This sounds like a beautiful trip. Tell us about it when you get home.
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