T Nation

I'm Going to Europe, Advice?


#1

I'm in the process of planning a two week vacation to Europe. Spain, Italy, and Greece in particular. Probably going to spend time in 2 cities in each country. I plan to spend extra time in Greece and am looking to go to Mikonos and Santorini in addition to Athens.

Does anyone have any advice? And by 'any' I really mean ANY advice. I've never done anything close to this broad of a trip so I don't really have an idea of what I'm getting in to.

This is going to be mostly for sight seeing and relaxation. I'm hoping for a nice combination of the two. Money is somewhat of a concern so I'll probably rough it in hostels half the time. Experience in specific hostels would be great. As well as advice for traveling within Europe and within Greece (mainland to the islands) and within Italy (from Rome to Sicily and possibly up north).

Thanks


#2

Just remember this one thing: condoms are for sailors.


#3

Rome and Florance, for sure. make sure not to take a open bag of white powder in your carry on.... aka protein, they threw mine away. all 7 pounds :(, Buy the chickens that are rotisserie roasted in the lil shops, they are the best deal for the money. lets seeeeee. get a euro rail pass, ummmmmmmm peanut butter sandwiches are ur friend, make a TON of them. Ryan Air is the best way to travel (long distances)... i got a round trip from Munich to Rome for 37 US dollars. ill write out more things if i can remember. OH and remember to pack some rubber workout bands and lifting straps for pullups. Thats all


#4

go eurorail!! its a total deal, you can get packages that allow travel on rail, bus, the local metros, a great wya to get to and from countries. check out the website, i think its eurorail.com, i highly recommend it.

also go to venice!! go to berlin! go to switzerland!...skip france completely. belgium too.


#5

I've actually been to all these places, so I'll throw a few things out there.

Spain:
Take a nap in the afternoon. You'll want to stay out late -- the whole town does. Best things to eat: fresh sardines (boquerones) and veal steak (filete de ternera.) Barcelona: see Gaudi stuff (Park Guell, Casa Batllo) and the Museu Picasso. Madrid: spend a full day in the Prado and get a lifetime's worth of Goya.

Italy:
In Rome, go to some of the old villas. The Villa Giulia has Etruscan stuff - I loved that. Roman food is thin-crust pizza and the best artichokes you'll ever eat. Florence is a zoo, but it may be worth it to see the Uffizi.

Greece: go snorkeling, seriously. And the Parthenon is worth it. Live on fish, yogurt, and sunshine.

General travel tips:
A European city invariably has a main pedestrian drag. You'll see everyone walking along it in the evening. The streets that branch off it have the good restaurants (for the locals; not the expensive tourist traps.)

Walk everywhere you can.

Buy fruit for your room. Groceries can be cheaper than eating out.

Don't wear clothing with logos or slogans.

Try drawing a sketch instead of taking a picture.


#6

Eat and drink local - don't go to McDondalds, etc. You may want to refrigerate your bread; they don't put all the preservatives in bread that you're probably used to. It's the most amazing bread... local stuff, that is. Local markets are going to have cheap good fruits & veggies.

Bring excellent walking shoes. Tennis shoes tend to mark you as an American. If you're ok with that, then accept the fact that they'll treat you like another American. We tend to have a reputation as being loud, obnoxious, demanding, etc. One way to REALLY improve the way you're treated is to learn to say "Please, thank you, I would like...," in Italian, German, etc.

Enjoy!

Renee


#7

if you have time to travel once you are in Italy go to Cinqua terra. The most amazing place in existence. Its not too expensive over there and its gorgeous. Enjoy your trip, the times ive been to italy and through europe have been the best in my life and i plan on going back this summer for a while. Good luck its awesome


#8

oh and if you need quick italian language advice pm me and i gotcha covered


#9

Keep an eye on your valuables. Obvious, I know, that's what I thought as well until some pickpockets stole my stuffs at 3 different places in Italy and France.


#10

Don't feed the gypsies.


#11

..leave your expectations at home, be in the moment and enjoy yourself...


#12

All og Nothern Italy is great!! Verona is the most beatyful city, and there are some wonderful small villages and sites to be seen around the lakes of Nothern Italy. If you choose to go to Venice, take the small alleys and streets.. Venice wonderful!

You said Italy, Spain and Greece.. excellent! But you should consider Austria and southern Germany too. And as reneeweimer said.. eat local!


#13

Rome is notorious for pick pockets. Try to avoid bringing a bag if you can, but if you must keep a real tight eye on all your valuables all the time. Especially on public transport. It's also a pretty dirty city.. but it's well worth seeing in spite of those two problems!!

Greece is sooooo cheap. It's just awesome. And the weather is quality.

Enjoy!!


#14

Just remember in those southern european countries the prettier the face, the hairier the minge.


#15

Stay away form Italy - Venice, too touristy in my opinion.

And as said before, eat and drink where the locals eat. Stay away from places with pictures, the food served there will never look as delicious as illustrated.

Barcelona in Spain is pretty cool.


#16

Hey, I'm going to be in England and Europe over the summer too. I'm in England for the most part doing a university program, but I've got a couple trips planned with a buddy of mine. We're going to be in Madrid, Rome, and possibly Amsterdam, also doing the hostel thing because it's cheaper and you get to meet lots of people!

As for advice, if you don't already have one, get a credit card with a chip and pin number. I was told that a lot of places over there won't swipe now, and I'm not sure about in the States, but I know the plan here in Canada is to convert all credit cards over to pin/chip technology soon, so you're probably going to need it eventually anyways.

Also, pick up an International Student card if you can, it'll get you discounts on all kinds of stuff.

www.hostelbookers.com is the site I've done most of my bookings through for hostels. They have ratings, pictures, and all kinds of good info. And if you're flying, Ryan Air is the way to go!

Have a great trip!


#17

x2 on Barcelona

I recommend getting a sleeper car ticket and traveling at night on the train. This way you pay for your transportation and lodging with one shot.

Highlights from my backpacking trip included: Switzerland (outdoors, mountains, hiking, biking, etc.), Spain, Italy, South of France (Nice and Monaco), and Munich (definitely stop by the Hofbrahaus).

You will have a blast.


#18

if your going to greece for a while island hopping is prob the best way top get in as much as possible..plus you will get to crete which is an incredible party island. for getting around cheap defo fly with ryanair.as said a eurorail ticket would also be a great idea..i just bought a month pass that gets me on any train in europe for â?¬310.in spain barcelone is an absolute must.beautiful city with a great nightlife.u cud also hit benicasime festival if you will be in spain around the 13th-19th of july.

watch out for pickpockets and dont try to plan it to the last detail...let loose and enjoy!


#19

Thanks for all of the replies so far. Definitely some good stuff to think about.


#20

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.