11/8/17

I have 14 days in May to spend in Europe. I plan to fly from NYC to London (Day 0). If you only had 14 days to spend, where would you go? I am fine with paying for any necessary flights, trains, etc. so that's not an issue.

Comments (63)

11/7/17

Hahahaha like I get vacation

Financial Modeling
11/8/17

Lol I actually get my full weeks and they make me take it. Only catch is that I don't really get to pick when I take it. Which sucks but makes it kind of fun to be spontaneous about taking a couple days when things are slower and seniors give me the heads up.

In terms of Europe, I'm a huge fan of England so spend at least a couple days in London and if you're into countryside and driving then go rent a fast car and drive up to Scotland and go visit all the scotch distilleries and take it all in. One of the best trips I've ever done.

Spain is always a blast and if you haven't been, you need to go. Barca is so fucking fun and actually super cheap too. I've been to Ibiza a few times, it's not really worth it. Greece is beautiful and can be fun, but is getting increasingly sketchy these days. Last time I saw people making drugs from battery acid in the streets and shit. That's what a decade of greater than 50% youth unemployment, crushing debt and austerity will do to a country. Italy and France are awesome to see and take in but isn't as fun as you might think. The food really is as good in both countries as people say. Like fucking christ I would be obese if I lived in Paris. Germany is actually more fun in many ways; the Berlin bar scene is pretty underrated.

If you're looking to move around Northern Europe then Krakow is super fun, Amsterdam is somewhere everyone should go at least a couple of times, and the Nordic and Scandinavian countries are really beautiful but just a little too eerily utopian for me. The women though.......

11/8/17

Ibiza was the biggest surprise for me. I was expecting Miami and I got the Dominican Republic outside the all-inclusive resorts. There is literally nothing happening on that island other than EDM and rampant thievery. Unless you're 18-20 years old and love EDM, then stay away.

11/8/17

Does smoking fuckloads of COCAINE count as a vacation?

11/8/17

Go to Switzerland and/or the Montenegrin coast. Adriatic cities like Pula and Split are nice as well.

11/8/17

Did you find it was easy to communicate using only English (if that was your only language)? I read that smaller cities typically can't accommodate English speakers the same way

11/8/17

With the huge influx of tourists these areas have come to accommodate English speakers pretty well. However I speak Serbian-Croatian fluently so it wasn't a problem for me. It is really helpful if you have a basic understanding of the language.

11/8/17

Cinque Terre Italy, Mediterranean coast of Spain, the many islands of Greece, surfing Hossegor France, I generally like Italy a lot even Rome and Milan - Venice is ok - good pictures.

When you get to London, leave immediately, don't stay there at all. London sucks.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

11/8/17
Isaiah_53_5:

Cinque Terre Italy, Mediterranean coast of Spain, the many islands of Greece, surfing Hossegor France, I generally like Italy a lot even Rome and Milan - Venice is ok - good pictures.

When you get to London, leave immediately, don't stay there at all. London sucks.

Let me clarify:

London really really sucks.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

11/8/17
Isaiah_53_5:

London really really sucks.

Why? I live here, and I don't mind living here. Where should I relocate? Ideally in Europe with same job opportunities but a better city life.

11/8/17

You hung out around Picadilly - ended up at Tiger Tiger, had sex with a Tranny, got robbed by a minicab driver, and woke up in Peckham?

Discounting a city that has things to offer for every age group, every wallet, and with some of the meanest after parties you can find is pretty fucked up.

Cinque Terre Italy has been ruined by the masses and the huge influx of 15 years of dirty tourists. Nothing to go on about. Milan the shit hole of Italy that is only good for business? You fool.

Paris is great, spend money it will be worth it. Barcelona is lovely and my American friends love to meet up with me there. Amsterdam is beautiful and you don't need to smoke weed to enjoy it (on the contrary weed bars etc... are grim and depressing - ruins the city). Brussels is good fun but I probably wouldn't necessarily go there if I didn't know anyone. Berlin is insane if you want to party till dawn (that said Madrid is out there in terms of partying, more so than Barcelona). Oslo is extremely expensive, so is Stockholm - but both are great if you are ready to spend just realise that a night out will cost you a kidney. Budapest is a blast Someone mentioned Krakow - I would pick Krakow over Warsaw any day of the week - beautiful and you'll find plenty of Americans road tripping. Rome in the summer is hell. Geneva is dull, unless you are raising kids. Finally London is fucking great - it has everything you want. One last point - don't go to Ibiza if you don't intend on dropping a lot of $$$.
If you noticed there is something great about most European cities, that's because they are all different and all have their own charm. Pick one or two and discover them instead of Eurotripping all over the continent. You'll enjoy it better this way IMO

11/8/17

Munich.

11/8/17

Of the cities I was just in, Berlin, Copenhagen and Amsterdam are LIT. Also you can never go wrong with most places on the Med.

11/8/17

While a ski vacation or a day at the beach would be nice, I would love to visit Scotland, Denmark, and Iceland.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
11/8/17

I'm not a huge fan of hitting loads of places, but not really getting to see a city. I have lived in 14 cities in 7 different countries, and I wouldn't say I've seen all they have to offer. It takes time to get to know a place. You could easily spend two weeks in London alone, and not see or do the vast majority of interesting things in the city. You could make the same claim about Paris, Berlin, Rome or Barcelona. You might even meet some people the first few nights that you're there, and have a genuine experience of that country.

'Tourists' used to go touring for months at a time and spend weeks in a port before moving on. Maybe consider doing the same? If you're just looking to say that you've been a bunch of places, I guess you can pack a load of different cities into a single trip, but I see little value in that compared with the alternative of actually living somewhere for a couple of weeks.

Besides, you don't really want to come back from vacation exhausted because of all the travelling you've just done, do you? That seems to defeat the purpose of going on holiday.

11/8/17

how the hell have you pulled off living/ working in so many places? sounds awesome

p.s. I agree with you on your statements about really trying to experience a single city

11/8/17

doing that throughout Europe with a solid crew of friends is the dream

11/8/17

Mali Losinj Croatia

"Elections are a futures market for stolen property"

11/8/17

Used Zizoo a few years ago to rent a yacht and sail around Croatia. It's pretty fantastic, would recommend. Also heard really good things about Kotor in Montenegro. A director I really didn't like bragged about the villa he rented in Italy, sounds like a BSD move, until you see that it's actually not that expensive, but living in wine country, cruising around in an Italian roadster is a nice break from the office.

That said, for your own ego, stay out of places where they have lots of money, like Monte Carlo or most of Switzerland. Friend of mine went to Monte Carlo as a junior banker thinking he was a baller, until he realised just how far $250k a year goes in some of those places...

11/8/17

Kotor has a good party scene. Maximus packed with horny Russian women.

"Elections are a futures market for stolen property"

Financial Modeling
11/8/17

I did a two week (three weekend) vacation last year going from NYC to London, then Paris, Geneva, Madrid, Barca, London again, then back to NYC. My takeaways are:

A) DO NOT DO WHAT I DID. Holy shit did I need a vacation from my vacation. Constantly packing my suitcase to move to the next hotel, catching flights, running on a 6AM to whenever I pass out schedule just to pack as much as possible into the time I had. It was not a vacation, more of a two week "welcome to the deep end" trip through western europe. Pick a central city in a region you want to visit. Set up a home base of operation, use public transport to do day trips to surrounding areas. Can you see it all in one trip? No, but neither can you when you hop around so fast as to just get time for the really touristy things.

B) Switzerland sucked balls, at least for me. Its beautiful, its clean, its expensive as all hell, things close so early your late night options get real limited real quick. That being said, if winter sports are your forte, its a killer destination for a nice chalet on the mountain, but be prepared to drop bands to make it happen.

C) London is, IMO, a NYC equivalent (a terrible designed one I must say). Everything you want to do exists there, somewhere. The city is massively sprawling but very easy to get around on the tube. Obviously, expenses are high again, but if you can stomach the costs, everything you ever wanted to do can be done in and right around London.

  • C.2) I say this as a Brit who grew up just a few hours north of London - there's something to be said about a grid layout city vs "fuck it, put a road going across this one, intersecting with that other circular one, and randomly twisting and turning." Maybe its just me, but I still struggle to navigate London unless I know the general neighborhood that something is in.

D) Madrid was amazing. My highlight of the trip by far. Cheap food, cheap drink, cheap lodging (comparatively). Great people. Excellent quality women. From Madrid, you can hit a lot of awesome surrounding areas on train/bus day trips. Highly recommend.

11/8/17

Agree with a lot of the commentary here. For a 2 week trip you probably want to split your time to 4 locations max.

London is cool for a day or two, but the allure of a foreign city isn't there, the language is English, the atmosphere is like any big american city, and the food and weather suck.

I have been to a few European cities and if I had to recommend a few they would definitely be Barcelona (awesome culture, food, sites, cheap, etc), Amsterdam (small city can walk all of it in 2 days, red light district, smoke shops, laid back relaxing atmosphere), and Munich (I went during Oktoberfest so my opinion of this might be skewed way higher due to this, but had an absolute blast).

Enjoy.

12/8/17

I agree with the max ~4 locations advice (would advise fewer locations in an area with poor transport infrastructure). Regarding Munich, I'll chime in and offer Berlin or Hamburg as interesting options (in my opinion better than Munich outside the Oktoberfest). Slightly different atmosphere and tons of stuff happening for all tastes.

11/8/17

Internal flights in Europe are stupid cheap, you'll be able to see alot. If it's your first time, I'd do the grand tour and come back savor your favorite spots later. Rome, Paris, and Munich are musts. The rest depends on what you like. Play it by feel. Hostels are a great way to meet like minded young people who want to party. Plus, they organize good events. If you're a woman: take a friend and share a private room. Italian and Spanish men are generally more forward / aggressive. Don't put yourself in bad situations.

UK
London needs at least 2 days. Do all the touristy stuff (Buckingham, London Bridge, Tower, Bath, Stonehenge). You should also do several pub crawls.
Edinburgh is a short train ride and worth a day on the back end.
Flights to Dublin are cheap and quick, but aside from Guinness factory and beautiful countryside, you aren't missing much.

Scandinavia
Iceland / Norway are amazing if you love nature and nightlife. Short / cheap flights. Skip Sweden / Denmark / Finland.

Mainland Europe
You can train everywhere from here and I'd recommended it. If you don't mind spending, a river cruise is an option (very slow though).
Paris is a must. At least 2/3 days. Walk everywhere you can, you'll appreciate it more
Amsterdam is really cool if you do drugs. Otherwise, skip it.
Berlin is clean and a good spot to party, but Munich is much nicer and more traditional.
Prague is for a short stay. Drinking and castles.
Vienna is pretty and clean. It's almost sterile. Classical music available outdoors every night. I didn't like it.
Milan: crazy hot women, weird wild parties with friendly people. Como is a short trip. Great shopping. From there, you can go to capri / south of France if you like beaches and yachting. Or south to Florence if you love history.
Venice is beautiful. Short stay is fine.
Rome: A must. at least 2 days. Eat all the gelato you can here.
Spain: optional. If you love motorcycling it's a must. You can rent a bike and ride to Jerez to see a MotoGP race, party all night to house music and drink cherry. Seville is on the way and has amazingly pretty architecture.

@meredithpalmer

11/8/17

What, no Albania, Moldova, and Belarus?

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
11/8/17

I'm not a fan of eastern Europe, especially without a local. The women are cute though @Yankee Doodle .
Plus, it's logistically difficult unless it's your sole focus.

11/8/17

I was just screwin' around.

"Work ethic, work ethic" - Vince Vaughn
11/8/17

Can you elaborate on the Milan party scene? Never been but I'm curious - I've heard good things.

"Who am I? I'm the guy that does his job. You must be the other guy."

11/8/17

I randomly got invited after meeting someone on the train to Milan. It was a while back. Villa party in the hills. Lot's of coke on offer. Local dance music. 2nd night, went to a local club downtown with a girl. Wish I could be more helpful.

11/8/17

Cote d'Azure/Provence region.

Set up shop in Nice. Do day trips to Cannes, Monaco, etc. Hit the beach, hang out at cafes while people watching, enjoy the beautiful weather.

If you get bored, take a train to Italy. Turin, Milan and Florence are all quite close.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

Best Response
11/8/17

Again, don't listen to these people. Spend some real time in one or two spots. I have an enormous amount of travel experience (I bet more than just about anyone on this site). In addition to the 14 cities in 7 countries that I've lived in for more than a year, I travel a LOT for work, and have been doing so for a decade.

Don't waste your time doing a bunch of touristy crap or psychotically jumping from one city to the next. Go to one or two cities for at least a week, and really see the city. Given the sprawling nature of London, Paris, Rome and Berlin, you could even stay in two different parts of the same city, and get a completely different experience. It's never occurred to me to move hotels within the same city, but if I were spending two weeks in London, I might spend a week at something like the Chiltern Firehouse or maybe Claridge's (if I felt like going old school), and then something much further east like The Ned or The Ace if I felt like experiencing Shoreditch without having to deal with a commute across the city while inebriated.

You could do the same in Paris. I used to stay at the Hotel Costes because they have a great bar, but you could do something like The Ritz, The Shangri-La or The Peninsula if you wanted something really high end and new (or newly renovated) and then Costes or Le Burgundy to be closer to better nightlife.

Alternatively, you could rent someone's apartment for far cheaper than the cost of any of those hotels. I would suggest this, as you are quickly going to feel very poor in those cities if you're spending $600-700 per night on the hotel before ever going out. If you're renting in Paris, look for something in Saint Germain. If you're renting in London, I'd choose the West End over the rest of the city.

Your final option is to stay at one of the reciprocal clubs of any private members' club where you may have membership. They tend to have very nice rooms, and are considerably cheaper than hotels in comparable locales.

11/8/17

It takes at least 3 weeks to truly appreciate a major city. That's impractical for most people. This goes double if you don't have any work connections or locals to show you around. Additionally, many people don't travel europe on the company's dime. If seeing sights is important, being a generic tourist is ok and shouldn't be shamed. If you're spending $600+/night anywhere in the world, I can't relate to your experience. I doubt that's what @meredithpalmer is doing. Not everyone has director money ;)

FWIW, I've been to 47 states and 50+ countries. I've flown into various Europen cities dozens of times. I lucked out, because a buddy worked for a major airline.
@brotherbear

11/8/17

Yeah, I suppose to clarify I would like to spend less than $5000 on the whole thing. Definitely no director money here. Did you ever use the Eurail when traveling? Did you enjoy it?

11/8/17

Eurail is good, but the cheapest ticket has restrictions on travel times and night trains. May be worth getting the 1st class one. Train is great if you're gonna bounce around. The 15 day continuous seems like a great value.

FWIW, Flights can be had for less than 100 round trip. This is especially good if you're doing less than 3 locations and are traveling light.

11/9/17

I'm all for Switzerland, having lived there before. If you've got money saved up and want to completely unwind in a luxurious way, you should try a few nights in Lugano, particularly Villa Principe Leopoldo. It's a stunning place in a totally unknown and upscale Swiss/Italian lake region made for an extremely secluded and private relaxation. If Lugano proves a tad pricey, then have a look in Como . There are rentals you can get into that may be more reasonable on the $ without losing the view.

If neither Como nor Lugano work for you, then you can always go down to Cernobbio not too far off. There's definitely more life and accommodation there without the loss of amazing view.

For the Swiss experience, though, I can't recommend enough a visit to the Klosters. You might just make it your entire vacation. Unbelievable region. Sick Alps exposure juxtaposed to an extremely "authentic", down-to-earth Swiss experience in the valley. I don't know if they still do it, but the locals used to give a Swiss horns performance every Sunday.

Although I cannot speak from experience, another "magical" Swiss destination is supposed to be Andermatt, given its location in the Alps. A lot of people opt for weekly apartments there instead of doing hotels, so it might be a possibility.

But, the nice thing about all of these is you're right in the area, so after couple of days in Como/Lugano/Klosters you can hop on a train and visit Gstaad or Geneva for a more "populated" stay. Both towns are pretty sleepy though, so it will not be an invigorating (nor exhaustive) stay.

In the end, most importantly, consider your safety. Europe isn't exactly the safest spot to be in right now. Personally, I'm uneasy to set foot in Paris again after what happened there. Switzerland is extremely safe.

11/8/17

Great post. Really know your stuff. Try Chedi Andermatt when you're out there.

11/8/17

Thanks, it looks great.

11/8/17

agree with @bullorbust great post. Got any insight into Courchevel ? Wife and I thinking of going in December.

11/8/17

Thank you. I absolutely do. To be perfectly honest, Courchevel is disgusting. A nauseatingly overpriced, overcrowded sub-par resort inflated by an army of Russian oligarchs pouring into the place to "have fun" with their under-aged mistresses. If you are so inclined, you'll get a lot more out of Courchevel without the wife... tons of "working girls" treating the place like it's Pigalle. Does it paint enough of a picture? Chamonix's pretty nice, but if memory serves me correct, the locals think Matterhorn to be "the ultimate" in skiing. Andermatt is "the romantic". Feel free to PM me if you wish, more than happy to help.

11/8/17

Thanks, that's awesome. Just PM'ed.

11/9/17

Nice. Been to Como, didn't know about Lugano. Thanks for the heads up.

11/8/17

As someone who has traveled and lived abroad extensively, I agree with focusing your time in a specific area. Here are some high level ideas for spending 1 week in a region:

  • 7 days in GB Isles: 1 day London, 1 day Bath, 1 day Scotland (Edinburgh, not Glasgow), 4 days Ireland (hire a car and do 2 days on the west coast, 1 in Cork and 1 in Dublin)
  • 7 days in Germany: 2 days Berlin, 2 days Munich, 3 days Bavaria / Austria (castles, lakes, forests, etc.)
11/8/17

This is one of the better recs so far (although if you're a partier, not sure the British isles would be good for 7 days...) I would also recommend that on "Day 0," you fly to your second location and do that part of your trip first - you'll be jetlagged/tired anyway, so knock this out, and then when you're actually completely drained at the end of the trip, you'll end it in the place you'll fly out of/you'll be speaking English; much more convenient.

Skip Paris.

Amsterdam is polarizing, but insanely fun. If you are doing the trip solo, Amsterdam will be one of the more easy places to meet people/go out/everyone speaks English.

For those who would say "I'm harping on this English part too much," traveling to a place where you can't get around easily because you can't speak the language is much more difficult than it seems (i.e. Eastern Europe) - this is especially true for solo travel.

And Barcelona/Prague (Prague is easy for an English speaker) are magical.

If you're doing this to maximize fun (party), I would recommend London, Amsterdam, and Barcelona (or Prague). If you're doing this for culture, Synergy's rec is very solid. And touristy places are touristy for a reason - because they're usually awesome. No need to try to be a cultured hispter if that's not your scene.

11/8/17

If my budget is roughly 5K- would anyone recommend the Eurail pass? And based on the comments I am thinking the 3 or 4 country pass. Did y'all find it convenient to use? Worth the money? Safe?

11/8/17

Not worth it for a 2-week trip. Booking your rail travel in advance will be cheap enough, and you can always just fly...The budget flight options between countries will vary, but usually in the $50 -$100 range.

11/8/17

portugal is top of my list to spend a month or two

for a trip i'm due for northern europe: amsterdam, berlin, stockholm copenhagen, prague, budapest and then spend some time in eastern europe

WSO's COO (Chief Operating Orangutan) | My story | My Linkedin

11/8/17

Planning on spending a week in Italy; half in Rome, half in Positano (Amalfi Coast)

11/8/17

Some other spots to consider:

  • Baltics, especially Estonia (Tallinn -> Ferry to Finland for some quality binge drinking in Skandinavia)
  • Then keep going west through Poland (Warsaw and Wroslaw come to mind)
  • Quick stops in Prague and Pilsen
  • Then either do Berlin/Hamburg/BeNeLux
  • Or the southern route: Switzerland, Italy (Florence, Venice, Milan, Rome)

Or if you wanna do somethin really crazy: Take the Trans-Sib train all the way to Vladivostok. Locals are friendly and super excited when someone makes an effort to get to know the culture (Read: Drink) and it's definitely something different.

11/8/17

Chamonix in France looks pretty sweet. Some soccer (football) matches might be worth it too if you're into that. The seasons would be wrapping up or over by the time you're there.

11/8/17

the Riviera. nothing compares.
emphasis goes to Monaco and Antibes.

Germany if you love cars. The stretch south of Munich to Neuschwanstein Castle is unrestricted and usually empty. Pure bliss. cruising comfortably at 180 mph anyone?

11/8/17

Two of my fave trips recently have been Croatia and Norway. Very different vibes (chill vs outdoorsy), but both beautiful countries. I am not one to revisit places I've already been to, but I'd go back to Croatia (and Norway, for that matter). Me and two friends were there for about 10 days, split evenly between Split and Dubrovnik. We stayed in Airbnbs and traveled exclusively by boat. The food is healthy, the wine is plentiful, and the weather is perfect (in August at least).

Least favorite: Paris (Rome is a close second)
It's probably not the cities themselves I don't like, just the absolute ubiquity of tourists at every turn.

11/9/17

it's summer in the southern hemisphere. be a god, cough up the $8k, and go to antarctica.

shorted canada goose and bought swaps on treasury ponds
11/28/17

As has been mentioned by others, Amsterdam, Berlin, and Madrid all have great night life if you're focused on that. Paris tops for 'culture', but there are plenty of other cities that have a ton of it. As someone also mentioned, go explore Eastern Europe as it's much cheaper and the people are generally friendly. Poland is great, especially Krakow and the south if you like winter sports. Prague, Budapest, and Bratislava are all great too. Spain is fairly cheap, or at least it was back in '07, Portugal even more so. Lastly, Greece is nice if you are going with some friends or know locals and head immediately to the islands, the mainland is mostly rocky and shrubby, and Athens is a complete shithole for the most part, but good cheap souvlaki.

11/28/17

A slight bit off-topic, but does anyone have any tips for Russia in the summer? Heading out there next year for two weeks and plan on doing Saint Petersburg and Moscow. Anything else I should look into?

11/28/17

A river cruise from Moscow to Saint Petersburg would be cool. If you're interested in history, Velikiy Novgorod is really interesting since it's the place where Russia was more or less founded, and there are a lot of cool monasteries around Moscow that are worth a visit, like Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius.

12/4/17

Russia can be a pain in the ass, depending on your passport; likely need a Visa, processing times may vary.

12/7/17

Right Place Bar is an amazing restaurant around corner from a boutique Radisson in St Petersberg

11/28/17

I'll just give a shout out for my two favorite cities in Europe; Siena and Lyon. I'm not sure what it is about the "second tier" cities, but I always have the best time exploring these places vs. the giant hubs. Obviously I think it's pretty mandatory for everyone to spend some meaningful time in Paris, Rome, London etc but if you have a two week+ trip I would definitely sprinkle in a few days in some of these smaller cities. People tend to be friendlier, the food is incredible (particularly Lyon which has an eating scene to rival just about anywhere globally), there are still plenty of tourists to pal around with but it's not the crush of humanity that you get at some of the most touristic spots. With any luck, I'm hoping to save enough to move out to one of these cities for a couple years when my kids are a bit older...

BTW, the Thorn Tree forum is still pretty good for this stuff (not that I would every steer anyone away from WSO...) Have fun!

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/forums/euro...

11/29/17

I looked into Lyon and everything there looks beautiful. I know you said there are a lot of tourists, but do many people there speak English?

11/30/17

Unlock These Comments - Free

Join Us or Login
11/30/17
12/4/17
12/7/17
Add a Comment