#1 5-22-2017 10:18 PM

maddie531
Adelaide, Australia
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First solo trip to Europe

Hi all,

I am booking a month long solo trip to Europe this November (only time I could get off work!) I am having trouble deciding on destinations and duration and would love some advice smile

I love history, nature, music and I plan to eat/drink a lot. My idea was to choose 3-4 base cities to spend a week in that I can explore quite easily as well as take a day trip or two from. At the moment I am thinking:

Barcelona
Paris
London
Dublin

or changing up Dublin for Amsterdam as I have read about the poor weather and light hours in Dublin however Ireland is one of the places I reallllly want to see!

Any tips or suggestions about solo travel and the destinations would be amazing!

Maddie

 

#2 5-22-2017 11:11 PM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

I wouldn't count on London or Paris, or Amsterdam, being any better than Dublin in November. The light is based on latitude and the three cities you've mentioned are all about the same for that. That's not really a problem for city breaks, though- all the cities are set up knowing their winters are grim and by late November will be gearing up for Christmas. I'd say bring good waterproofs and reliable shoes and you'll barely notice.

All the cities you've mentioned are great for history and food, but less good for nature. Like any major city, they have parks and gardens, but the great nature in Europe is not in the capital cities. On the UK leg of your trip, you'd definitely need to leave London for that. And although the weather is unreliable and the light is short you could still plan on some trips out of the capital. The UK's most beautiful natural scenery is in Scotland, in the highlands, but you'd need at least an overnight stay for two nights - that would mean flying into Glasgow and traveling north from there, if you're over landing you'd need longer. Closer to London, there are the Cotswolds - there are easy coaches into oxford or trains into Bath but I'm less sure how good local public transport is once you're there. It's a lot less dramatic than Scotland, more the sort of "typical English" landscape you'd see in period dramas. Or between the two are places like the Peak District and Lake District- that time of year you'd want overnight stays. York is an option, less for nature and more for the history. I would not say to try more than one of those places in a week, just to do a bit of research if you're planning a full week in the U.K. and see what else catches your fancy.

British trains are MUCH cheaper if you buy the tickets in advance, but there are long distance buses that are slower but can be a lot cheaper. British music concert tickets can be hard to get hold of- touts bulk buy the tickets- so I'd look at that well in advance if there are specific things you want to see. Although in most cities there will be smaller bands playing all through the cool parts of town- I am no longer cool enough to offer much advice on where to find them in London!

 

#3 5-22-2017 11:30 PM

maddie531
Adelaide, Australia
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Thank you for your input Sarah, I really appreciate it and will consider it when planning my trip! I'm silly to think Ireland would be the only country potentially affected by light and weather haha however I think I might just risk it and make the most of what comes! smile

Do you have any suggestions of places that may be worth seeing other than these cities at that time of year?

Maddie
smile

 

#4 5-23-2017 12:20 AM

sarahelaine
Sarah Elaine
Manchester, England
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

If you pack warm clothes and you're lucky it's quite a good time to travel- absolute low season so in Paris, where you spend a lot of time queuing, it can be a good time (Paris is one of the few places it's worth getting a museum pass in advance smile ).

Your other option would be Southern Europe. I'm absolutely in love with Seville, Córdoba and Granada, and there's a good chance it would still be pleasant that time of year. But the weather in Europe is always going to be unpredictable- there's a saying "there's no bad weather, only the wrong clothes." I'd stick with following your dream but bringing a rain coat smile

 

#5 5-23-2017 12:58 AM

StevieP
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United Kingdom
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

As long as you're not overly fussed about sunshine and warm weather you can travel to most cities in November, just have warm clothes available. Lets be honest, the weather can be hard to judge even in summer. As Sarah said though, Southern Europe could still have some warmer weather, we went to Lisbon in November and it was still very warm. Whatever you choose to do enjoy it, I'd say you could definitely fit another couple of destinations in, whether that's another city in the countries listed above or another country, 4 days in each of the above would be plenty.

 

#6 5-23-2017 2:28 AM

shavy
Belinda
Belgium
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Nomad
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

If you like nature base on your list, Ireland is absolutely a place to be. As Sarah said, Scotland has amazing landscape. For architectural sites Barcelona is a must! and the  weather in November is a lot better than Amsterdam and Paris

 

#7 5-23-2017 6:04 AM

stefmuts
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Neerpelt, Belgium
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

I would keep Dublin and Barcelona and maybe change one of the others for Rome
For Paris London and Amsterdam the weather is a bit like Dublin so after 2 weeks of that you can go south for a bit better weather in Barcelona and Rome
And Rome is great for history and food!
If you want nature you will have to leave the city (any city)
The Irisch coast is great, maybe you can take the time to do a part of the Ring of Kerry or maybe even just take the time to it whole
French countryside is great as well and near Barcelona there is the Ebro Delta which is nice

 

#8 5-23-2017 10:21 PM

maddie531
Adelaide, Australia
Couch Potato
Posts: 5

Re: First solo trip to Europe

Thanks everyone your advice has been great I am feeling more confident about coming and my choices haha.
I think I am going to stick with the flights I found.

Adelaide - Barcelona
28 nights
Dublin - Adelaide

If anyone has any itinerary suggestions like in terms of the order to visit places that would be amazing. I love the idea of Rome but I was thinking i want to stick to a relatively straight route in that makes sense. Sorry I'm such a travel novice!

I am happy to travel by train, plane or bus for shorter trips and if there is smaller cities/sights I need to see in between the big cities. I just want to make the most of my days smile

Last edited by maddie531 (5-23-2017 10:24 PM)

 

#9 5-24-2017 12:45 AM

StevieP
Steve
United Kingdom
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Great you have a starting place and a finishing place. Flights from UK to Dublin are very cheap if booked early, and you could travel by Eurostar from Paris to London. If you want to see a few other cities, I would leave Barcelona and go as far east as you can, maybe take in Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava, Brussels. Really depends on how much time you want to spend in each place and getting your relaxation in too.

Its a personal thing, I like 3 days in a city, which if you get good connections, means you could easily travel to several places.

Last edited by StevieP (5-24-2017 12:48 AM)

 

#10 5-26-2017 8:50 AM

fransglobal
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

I would tend to concentrate on cities at that time of year. It actually gets darker earlier in London in Dublin so I wouldn't exclude Dublin but it is not best time at all to visit most of rest of the country. I have a few blogs on my profile on what to see in Dublin and Ireland.

And you don't have to fly to Dublin. Though there's plenty of flights from many airports in UK and rest of Europe to many airports in Ireland including Dublin, Belfast City, Belfast International, Cork, Kerry, Derry, Shannon etc.

You can come to Dublin, Belfast and Rosslare from UK by train/ferry or bus/ferry.

 

#11 5-28-2017 12:24 AM

Ranchero
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

If I were you, I'd add: Budapest, Porto and Venice to the list.

You want to visit Paris, I see and London - two major capitals you can't miss out on. And Barcelona in addition is a fantastic choice.

But I'd add Budapest, Porto and Venice to the list!

 

#12 5-29-2017 6:53 AM

CMTinPHX
Christopher
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

I adore Dublin, but I don't think it warrants a week. A week in Ireland, sure, but not a week just in Dublin. (Or a week split between Dublin and Edinburgh would be good).

Prague is week-worthy. And I see no Italian cities on your list (or Sajay's).

 

#13 5-30-2017 7:22 AM

harbinger
Cathy
Brussels, Belgium
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Well Maddie, for a travel novice, I have to say that you appear to be getting the hang of this travel planning thing very nicely smile
If I might make a suggestion, now that you seem to have a handle on your arrival/departure points and main bases, why don't you post more specific queries on each of these destination to get more input from people who might not respond to such a general query.  It might also make it easier to keep track of input per location?

 

#14 6-20-2017 8:39 AM

albertino11
Couch Potato
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Hi Maddie, all

I'm new here and I'm from Italy. From my point of view you shouldn't miss to visit Italy but you have to consider that we have beautiful cities, such as Venice, Rome, Florence, Palermo but we also have fantastic villages, landscapes and towns that worth watching. And we have fantastic food and wine too, with many differences between north and south. People too, are really different from north to south and it would be really surprising to know how people can be so different within the same country.
I think that this is true for all the countries in the world, but especially for Italy.
So my advise is: visit all the countries you want during your one-month-solo-trip except Italy and take you next one-month trip to visit Italy from north to south. It would be great and you can move without any problems using trains or internal flights.

About other cities here in Europe: absolutely don't miss Lisbon and Wien; totally different but totally cool!

Hope it helps!

Alberto

 

#15 6-21-2017 8:38 AM

Sept922
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Yeah...I would choose Italy over Barca..but everyone is different. Base it also on your budget as some cities are cheaper to fly into at certain times. I just left the Amalfi coast and WOW!!!!!! Mind blowing. And I stayed in Salerno which is only a 45 train ride to Napoli and was almost tourist free!!! I flew into Rome and took the train south. I skipped Rome this time but man was I happy!

 

#16 6-27-2017 2:49 AM

MarioBG
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Not quite sure what you want to see and what fascinates you, but from what you have planned I would recommend Anecy, Colmar and Strasbourg which could be feasible smile
I would also definitely try to visit Amsterdam.

 

#17 9-4-2017 5:50 AM

MrD3071
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Lot of good suggestions for you so far Maddie. If you did want to consider spending a little less time in each city (say 4 - 5 days as opposed to a week, which is often too long for most cities), then maybe you could consider travelling by train and getting an interrail pass (see link below). Although it will take longer to get from A to B you can take in the scenery on the train.

https://www.interrail.eu/en/interrail-p … lobal-pass

As far as choices go based on your likes, for the outdoors I'd definitely suggest visiting places around Ireland (which is convenient no?) and you should possibly consider Switzerland (Bern in particular would be nice).

For history (and indeed food) it would be well worth taking a detour to Rome (and why not swing down to Naples/Pompeii).   

London has a lot to offer in general (if you don't mind us 'miserable Brits'). I'd also advise seeing Amsterdam and maybe even Munich (my favorite European city). 

Feel free to drop me a pm if you want to know any more details smile

Best of luck with planning your trip.

 

#18 9-4-2017 10:07 AM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
Leonardtown, Maryland
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

If you fly into Barcelona, that is a good place to get over jet lag.  Just relax on the Ramblas and then take a tour of the city.  Visit the Sangria de Familia and the other places designed by Gaudi.  Then after five or six days, take a train to Paris.  Maybe stop off on the way on the Riviera for a couple of days.  Then spend a week in Paris.  Take the train to London and spend a week there.  Possibly take excursions to Bath or down to Cornwall.  And then fly to Dublin.  If you don't want to spend a whole week there, get out into the country - go to Blarney or the Cliffs of Moher or even up to Belfast. 

I think that's probably enough for the first time.

 

#19 9-4-2017 11:32 AM

fransglobal
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Interrail is only for Europeans. Original poster seems to be Australian so may not be eligible.  Eurail is for non-Europeans. See details on www.seat61.com.

Only Americans go to Blarney tongue Wouldn't be a highlight of Ireland for me. Americans flock to Cliffs of Moher.  A possible highlight but has become a bit of tourist circus.  Not the highest cliffs in Ireland. Cliffs of Achill Island and Slieve League in Donegal much higher and arguably as beautiful and no tourist buses blocking the view. smile

Belfast not the most beautiful place in Ireland. Interesting for a day at most.

 

#20 9-4-2017 11:51 AM

grandmar
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Since I'm an American I know mostly about places that they take us to. I was just trying to suggest that the OP did not need to spend all her time in the city.  Feel free to make better recommendations.

I'd like to go to Belfast because some of my husband's ancestors were there.  He has been but I haven't.

 

#21 9-4-2017 1:26 PM

shavy
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

grandmar wrote:

If you fly into Barcelona, that is a good place to get over jet lag.  Just relax on the Ramblas and then take a tour of the city.  Visit the Sangria de Familia and the other places designed by Gaudi.  Then after five or six days, take a train to Paris.  Maybe stop off on the way on the Riviera for a couple of days.  Then spend a week in Paris.  Take the train to London and spend a week there.  Possibly take excursions to Bath or down to Cornwall.  And then fly to Dublin.  If you don't want to spend a whole week there, get out into the country - go to Blarney or the Cliffs of Moher or even up to Belfast. 

I think that's probably enough for the first time.

Sagrada Familia big_smile

 

#22 9-4-2017 5:32 PM

grandmar
RosalieAnn
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

shavy wrote:

grandmar wrote:

If you fly into Barcelona, that is a good place to get over jet lag.  Just relax on the Ramblas and then take a tour of the city.  Visit the Sangria de Familia and the other places designed by Gaudi.  Then after five or six days, take a train to Paris.  Maybe stop off on the way on the Riviera for a couple of days.  Then spend a week in Paris.  Take the train to London and spend a week there.  Possibly take excursions to Bath or down to Cornwall.  And then fly to Dublin.  If you don't want to spend a whole week there, get out into the country - go to Blarney or the Cliffs of Moher or even up to Belfast. 

I think that's probably enough for the first time.

Sagrada Familia big_smile

Yes I'm spectacularly bad at spelling - especially in a foreign language.  I feel lucky that I got the initials correct and didn't call it a cathedral. smile

 

#23 9-4-2017 7:47 PM

Sept922
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

I finally made it to Europe this year but only Munich/Lisbon and Milan (as well as the Amalfi coast.) Lisbon is one I really want to return to! I love Milan also. I don't need a million ruins and all, just a cosmopolitan city with good nightlife, food and vibes. Great old architecture is a plus and most euro cities, especially Mediterranean places,have it. I will only have a week or less to check out Barcelona this time but if I like what I see and feel and taste, anything goes! For the Op I like your simple choice to fly to Barcelona and work your way west to Dublin. After Barca you can go west to Madrid, then fly up to the UK region. Anything goes as long as you don't cram in too much stuff to get the feel of the places you are visiting. Nothing worse than blowing through a place with pics but no memories!!!!

 

#24 9-6-2017 11:30 AM

MrD3071
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

fransglobal wrote:

Interrail is only for Europeans. Original poster seems to be Australian so may not be eligible.  Eurail is for non-Europeans. See details on www.seat61.com.

Of course, my apologies Maddie!

Thank you for the correction.

 

#25 9-24-2017 6:40 PM

conradgg
Melbourne, Australia
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Re: First solo trip to Europe

Hello fellow Aussie! If you're not too worried about weather Amsterdam has a lot to do and a great close-knit scene for all of what it sounds like you're looking for in music/nightlife but very easy to get around and mingle on your own.
I'd also say the same for Prague, that place seems to be a magnet for solo travellers/backpackers but beautiful with well kept history.

 

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