(Closed) European HM Adventure!

posted 8 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
722 posts
Busy bee

How much time do you have? That’s quite an itinerary. I would make sure that you have enough time in each place-you don’t want to spend your whole trip on a train/in the car.

You may want to consider more flights. They can be very cheap and save a ton of time.

Post # 4
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I would second the flight suggestion. In fact, Lufthansa often has a 99EUR special on inter EU flights which is cheaper than the train unless you get a special offer and they fly to all the main airports unlike RyanAir. However, you should also check out, the low costs (EasyJet, German Wings, TUI, etc.). Alsom, you may want to consider a multi stop flight quote from Kayak.com, who knows you may be able to save by booking several flights together, especially because you are already planning open jaw. If you are sticking to trains, I imagine you are getting a EurRail pass?

As far as lodging, in Europe I really like HRS.com to find good deals. I think London and Paris are going to be your most expensive cities for hotel and it may be worth it to “splurge” on a known chain because I’ve had some really bad luck in London as far as thinking I was in a nice neighborhood and then arriving to find out I was in a shady area or a rundown room.

As far as things to do, I have been to most of the cities you’re visiting but don’t know what you’re looking for or how long you will be there. IMO, you will need at least 3-4 days in Rome but could do Paris down to 2 and you could easily spend a week in London and not run out of things to do. When you are in Munich, go to the Hofbrauhaus (HB), it’s historical and suprisingly authentic for a place in all the tourist guides. I would also highly recommend a restaurant we found across the street from the Hard Rock Cafe, it’s not huge and had some flags out front, the wait staff wore trad. German dress and spoke little to no English, sorry I don’t tknow the name but the food was AMAZING (I had the schnitzel but everyone in my group of 8 was happy). Also, while you are in Munich if you have interest/time take a day trip to Neu Swanstein (spelling could be off) and tour the castle that inspired the WDW castle. Marsellie has some nice beaches but you may need to get out of the New Port to find them. Eat ice cream in every country, you’ll be happy. PM me if you have specific questions, I may have answers.

Post # 5
11325 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2011

Um… can I just say I have some serious honeymoon envy? That is the trip of a lifetime right there!! πŸ™‚ 

While I can’t say anything too specific about traveling between those cities, I would second looking into more planes. They’re usually faster and often cheaper. When I was going from Oxford, England to Edinburgh, Scottland, I took a train and (if memory serves) it was like 70 pounds. (at the time the exchange rate was 1.9 so almost $140!). Later in the trip we took a plane from London to Barcelona, and it was only 35 pounds! (about $70 at the time). 

RyanAir is great for SUPER cheap flights, especially if you book really early. 


How much are you planning on taking? RyanAir makes all of their money on extras. There are really high fees for “overweight” luggage and the maximums are ridiculous. Like I think that the rule there was that your luggage could be no more than 15 pounds and you got 1 personal item (no carry-on). THEN they charge you a ton if you go over. We packed super super light because we knew this before hand, and when we got to the airport i put all of my heavy stuff in my duffel as my personal item so it was just clothes in my luggage and I made it through. 

The other thing about RyanAir is that they’re really stingy on timing. We were supposed to check in for our plane by 1:40pm (this time is burned into my brain!) and we got stuck on a broken down tube trying to get to the airport. We RAN to the counter and made it there at (literally, by THEIR clock) 1:41 and they said they wouldn’t let us on the plane, then we had to pay 50 pounds each to transfer to a plane 6 hours later and going to a different city, and then we had to find a bus into barcelona. Total mess. 

So basically, RyanAir is super super cheap but you really have to follow their rules to the letter so you don’t get charged. 

Post # 7
183 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Wow, you’ll have an amazing time!

When I travelled around Europe, I got an inter-rail pass which worked really well. You probably wouldn’t get your money out of it since you are driving too (which is probably going to be very expensive if you’re hiring cars) but train travel is great in Europe and for long journeys you can get a sleeper cabin, which is really cute and loads of fun.

Flights can be okay but, travel into the city from the airport is where it stings you financially. Ryanair is cheap, but as @CorgiTails says, they make their money on extras and, I heard rumours about them even charging to use the toilet these days! Jet2 and EasyJet are budget European airlines too.

My advice would be to look at the prices of rail passes as I bet you can do that route – or in a similar order- that way and save on accommodation in the process. We did Paris, Bordeaux, Nice, Monaco, Madrid, Barcelona, Malaga, Rome, Florence, Venice, Prague, Vienna, Krakow and Berlin all on trains in four weeks. Whatever you decide though, you’ll have an amazing time!

Post # 8
722 posts
Busy bee

3 weeks is a great amount of time, but honestly I would edit your itinerary a bit. You are going to lose many days traveling (Paris-Munich is 8 hours by train, Munich to Athens much longer.) probably a full week.

If it were me, I would choose 3 countries for 3 weeks at the most.

Post # 9
1297 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I second using Ryan Air–awesome prices to travel within Europe

Post # 10
78 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I am worried that you will be so burned out by the end of your holiday, and upset that you weren’t able to enjoy it. I’m a seasoned traveller and I have done Europe on a Contiki in four weeks and that was a whirlwind without having to plan anything myself as far as the itinerary.

You have about 12 locations on your itinerary, if you’ve got three weeks that gives you just over one and a half days in each location without travel time. In some locations if you’re lucky you’ll get eight daylight hours in each place.

If you can’t extend your trip I would seriously urge you to consider a planned trip that matches your itinerary with a company like Intrepid, Contiki etc.

You could even do say, a 10 or 15 day trip of all the major sights and then spend the other part of your holiday going off the beaten track. Good tour companies give you plenty of time to yourself, and especially if it’s your first time in Europe, and you want to see all the big stuff (Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Leaning tower of Pisa etc) that is the way to do it.

Tours like that are great fun and the stress of the holiday (especially if you’re keen to see the major sights) like booking transport, accomodation, etc is all taken care of for you.

Things can and will go wrong (flight cancellations, missed trains, etc) and I’d hate for you to miss a dream destination because of it.

Post # 11
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Comments on the itinerary

London to Paris by train you mean the Eurotunnel???? Skip it!!! Use train (holyhead to London, London to Dover) plus ferry – Dover to Calais – plus train again (Calais to Paris) — you can tell I know this route eheh

Munich – Greece definitely plane!!!

Greece – Rome you might try the boat if you have time otherwise plane (no train!!!)

Rome – Cinque terre is 4.5 hrs by train and roughly the same by car. You don’t need a car cause the route isn’t scenic (I was born there so I know the location extremely well). If you have time, visit Tellaro, Lerici and Portovenere (the extremities of the so called “Gulf of Poets” — Shelley lived there and Byron too).

Cinque Terre – Marseille is NOT feasible by plane (you would have to get back to Pisa and there are no flights from Pisa to Marseille, only to Nice — I live in Pisa at the moment). You want to drive from 5 Terre to Marseille, as it’s VERY scenic. Don’t miss Monaco and Nice!!! I have friends and relatives there too.

Marseille – Barcelona by train — been to Barcelona several times

As for Ireland: Dublin to Rosslare is boring and not scenic (the scenic part of Ireland is the WEST — I have relatives there so I know it)

PS if you need help with the itinerary send me a private message and we’ll chat about it

Post # 12
525 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

Ah yeah and skip (stinky) Venice! All you need to see in Italy is in Rome plus Florence… besides Florence isn’t out of your way if you then want to go to France.

I’ve done a lot of travelling in just 18 days so it can definitely be done IF you organize it well – don’t worry. 

Post # 13
647 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

My sister and I backpacked through Europe three years ago for ten weeks.  Amaaazing trip.  Here are my itinerary suggestions:

Leave Ireland for another trip.  The best parts of Ireland are driving/hiking through the countryside.  We didn’t backpack Ireland, but I went back and spent a week in Ireland two years ago, and I think it’s worth a separate trip.

Flying in and out of London is a good idea.  Because it’s a big airport you can get there cheaply and easily from the states.  We spent two days in London, and that was enough for our trip, it’s expensive and busy.  I definitely recommend finding a cheap puddle-jumper to Paris rather than taking the train.  I’ve used RyanAir, but checking bags adds more to the cost.

Paris we stayed in for a full week, and rented a very small studio apartment near Gare du Nord.  Paris has so many beautiful museums and parks that I think the whole week was worth it.  And we took a couple small side trips to Versaille and Monet’s gardens, etc.

Paris to Munich I think by train is a good idea, especially if the ride is during the day, or an overnight and you come in during the morning and get to see all that beautiful Bavarian countryside.

I don’t want to tell you to cut Greece out of your trip, but we did, and I reeeeally wanted to go.  But it was too expensive/out of the way for us.  My advice would be to give yourself extra time if you’re going to an island because the ferry schedules are SO unpredictable because of whether and strikes, you don’t want to be put off if your boat gets cancelled.

In Italy we went to Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, and Cinque Terre.  Depending on how much time you have there, I would skip Rome and spend all the time in Cinque Terre.  It just feels like you’re on vacation there.  Nothing to do but laze around floating in the water, hiking, shopping, and eating.  Very laid back and very beautiful.

I don’t know anything about Marseilles, but in Spain, my preference was for Madrid waaaay more over Barcelona.  It just felt more on a smaller scale, better museums and parks, more walkable.

But these are all my preferences, do what works for you!  I also highly recommend picking up Let’s Go! Europe.  Written by Yale students backpacking through Europe.  Really good advice and recommendations.

Post # 15
4123 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

Depending on how long you’re in Ireland, the west isn’t all that far from the east! Your biggest thing is going to be making sure one of you is the reminder to drive on the ‘right’ side of the road. Also, in case this matters, the majority of rental cars are standard… i.e. the shifter is on your left hand side…. You need to make sure you request (and will have to pay extra for) an automatic if necessary.

Look into Eurail passes!

Look into flights, especially munich-greece.

I would also say fly dublin (or maybe shannon or kerry) to London. Honestly, the “novelty” of taking the ferry can quickly wear off.. especially if it never shows, get’s “docked” for weather, or the water is too rough. I highly suggest flying that route! It will also save you a lot of time and you really won’t miss much scenery. Also, the way the weather is, you may not see Ireland once you’re 100 yards out! lol

I would say train for all the italy/france/spain parts. 

Also know, everything is subjective. I appreciate what Florence has to offer, but to me, Venice is worth at least a day. I think we spent maybe like 5-6 hours there… and while it would have been nice to stay longer, it was one of the highlights of all my european travels and I was satisfied. We stayed overnight in Florence and the only thing that was nice about it was seeing David… 

Rome, know that you can’t choose just “2-3” highlights. Skip the sistine chapel (it can take hours to get in). Definitely run through St. Peter’s, Don’t go INSIDE the coliseum, it’s a waste of time and money. Spend time in the forum and if you are christian spend time in the churches and basilica’s. You can see the pillar Christ was scourged on, his manger, the table of the last supper, chains that held certain apostles, the nails, and so so much more. It’s amazing also to see the “underground” churches. If you can plan enough in advance, try and take the vatican’s “scavi” tour. You need to plan this asap in advance, can’t do it once you’re in town. It’s the excavations under the vatican and even has Peter’s bones… pretty neat stuff. But, again, it all depends on what is important to you and will take a LOT of advance planning. It’s a large city and takes a while to get around… and everything is so amazing you don’t want to leave it! 

Paris, I could care less about. Not a fan ;-0 I hear you either love it or hate it… I was in the later group.

London – My second home. My parents live there and it’s pretty amazing. It IS expensive though! Unless it’s really important to one of you, skip a lot of the tours… but make sure you make it around to see everything. (Also keep in mind, “London Bridge” is not the right bridge. You want to see “Tower Bridge.” πŸ™‚ Also, the London Eye is pretty expensive, and honestly, I don’t think it’s worth it… 

The 2 places not listed I would rec looking into for alternatives if something doesn’t work out, is Prague and taking a train through Austria and time in Salzburg. I think Austria is one of the most overlooked EU destinations out there. It’s my favorite country out of the 15 I’ve been too worldwide… 

Keep hydrated and make sure you can say hello and do you speak english in the local language! You’ll get much further asking in their language than you will in English…. Most know English, but appreciate the respect of not assuming they do. πŸ™‚


Post # 16
714 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

Have you booked anything yet?  If not you might want to look into a contiki tour.  The first time I went to Europe this is what I did.  It is perfect because you get to see a lot of things in a limited amount of time.  The tours are for people 18-35 so it is a lot of fun.  My cousin (who traveled with me) met her husband on this trip, and we also made other life long friends on this trip.  You would be traveling with about 40-50 other people, but there is still a lot of private time available too.  Wouldn’t be my first pick for a honeymoon trip, but you could make it work.  http://contiki.com/tours/europe

Other than that your itinerary looks pretty good, but exhausting!   I’ve been to a lot of the cities you are planning visiting and they are all wonderful. 

Personally, I was never interested in Paris, but I have now been there twice and I think it is fantastic.  When we went last time we stayed a cute little hotel on Rue Cler  http://www.hotel-leveque.com/fr  I highly recommend it! 

Cinque Terre is amazing!  Stay there as long as you can!  In Italy I highly recommend Florence, one of my all time favorite cities!  Rome is also cool and a can’t miss.  Over all I would say spend as much time in Italy as you can!  It is beautiful, and the food can’t be beat! 

Munich is pretty cool.  I was kind of sick while I was there, and it was winter with snow on the ground, but you can’t really beat beer and sausage! 


Good luck with your plans~ 


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