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Thread: Which European country would you visit if you had a week?

  1. #1
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    Which European country would you visit if you had a week?

    Thinking ahead to next spring or fall ... I would like to spend a week (or maybe two) in Europe. I have traveled a lot in the last few years, mostly to Africa and the Middle East, and had many layovers in Europe that were tantalizing but unsatisfying, as I never got more than a few hours outside of the airport. The only place I've really spent any time is Hungary, which was an absolutely fabulous trip I did with some members of my family a few years ago, made more meaningful by the fact that we had some ancestry there that we were able to explore. And Budapest was quite safe, walkable, and rich in history, so I'm looking for an experience like that.

    Possible contenders for a place to go would be: Zurich, Copenhagen, Berlin, Munich, Amsterdam, or Helsinki. Right now Helsinki is on the top of the list because I am so curious about it, they have kayaking opportunities with all the lakes, and I could take a ferry to Estonia. Wrong or right, I am not particularly interested in France, Spain, Portugal or Italy, and though I would love to see Norway or Sweden, I have heard that they are very expensive countries.

    I'll probably be traveling solo, and my strategy when doing so is to seek out B&B's for a more personalized experience, and do lots of planning ahead to avoid getting lost

    If you had a week in Europe, where would you go?
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    Vive La France.

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    Registered User TavaPeak's Avatar
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    I've interested in almost anything in Europe. But weather would be one of my considerations for location. I don't mind rain or cool temps, but I don't like to travel in freezing temps.

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    The Czech Republic deserves a week, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. There are lots of hiking opportunities. You can also raft the Vltava river. Prague and Cesky Krumlov are beautiful; the latter is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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    @bchaplin My experience was that Zurich was more expensive than Stockholm, and a Google search shows that it's currently 50% more expensive, so I'm not sure you should dismiss your Scandinavian selections on those grounds if you're keeping Zurich in play. Of the places you've listed under consideration, I've most enjoyed spending time in Copenhagen and Munich (haven't been to Berlin or Helsinki), but I liked quite a lot of places that fall into your "not particularly interested" list.

    When are you planning on traveling? (And along the lines of @TavaPeak's comment, I had terrific weather when visiting Stockholm). Also, what sorts of things did you most enjoy about your previous trips?

    moriond

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    Quote Originally Posted by amazngin View Post
    The Czech Republic deserves a week, especially if you enjoy the outdoors. There are lots of hiking opportunities. You can also raft the Vltava river. Prague and Cesky Krumlov are beautiful; the latter is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
    Actually, I did think of suggesting this when @bchaplin mentioned her Budapest trip. But she might be looking for something slightly different now?

    ETA: Sorry, what I meant is that I think visiting the Czech Republic would appeal to @bchaplin for the same sorts of reasons that she enjoyed visiting Hungary and Budapest, but that I thought she might be looking for similar visiting qualities in a different sort of venue. This was definitely a good suggestion with both beautiful and historic qualities, along with the outdoor and hiking. You should probably be more of pickpockets in Prague than in Budapest, but it's safe to walk around.
    Last edited by moriond; 07-19-2014 at 12:40 PM.

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    If you are drawn to the Scandinavian countries, I would give a plug for Norway, as the fjords are amazing, plus you have big cities like Oslo. When I visited I designed an itinerary using Norway in a nutshell (google them) that involved traveling solo via a mixture of trains and ferries to see as much as possible. While Norway is expensive, this turned out to be a more cost effective way of doing things. I also took time out for side activities like an all day kayak trip in the fjords that involved climbing a waterfall, plus my trip coincided with Extreme Sports week in Voss, where I got to try parabungy (yahoo!). I tempered this with calmer pursuits like exploring scenic Bergen and other areas, where I had booked B and Bs in advance.

    Of the other cities you listed an interest in seeing, Berlin has an overwhelming amount of things to explore, so even in that amount of time, you would have plenty of choices to consider for what you might want to see most. I have not been to Helsinki, so I cannot offer any advice on that.
    Last edited by NWhikergal; 07-19-2014 at 12:58 PM.

  8. #8
    Registered User monkeylady's Avatar
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    I would never go to Europe for a week. Three days are eaten by travel for me. Now if I had TWO weeks, that's easy. TURKEY!
    The stockpile keeps growing...I'm in serious trouble.

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    I suggest Denmark and/or Sweden - haven't been to Norway or Finland - because the days are deliciously long at this time of year. Same is true in northern Germany. You can eat and walk and be outdoors till you are ready to sleep, practically. Enjoy!

  10. #10
    Registered User bchaplin's Avatar
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    If I had not visited Budapest, Prague would definitely be on my list! I still may see it someday, just not on this trip. I am really drawn to the Nordic countries, more out of curiosity than anything else, but I have not seen much of Western Europe either.


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    Registered User kkintea's Avatar
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    In a way, you were just in Berlin! (vicariously through your WF) I had 3 full work days and 2 personal days, plus travel time. I did a terrific bike tour the first day I was on my own and went back to a number of the places again the second day. I found it really helpful for orienting to the city, and I met some awesome folks from all over the world at the biergarten stop ;-)

    I had layovers in both Copenhagen and Oslo, but didn't get to leave the airport. I was on Norwegian, so I read about some great off the beaten path Scandinavian adventures in the in-flight magazine. Definitely will consider in the future.

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    Munich and Bavaria are quite nice for a week. Munich is very walkable. It's not too long a drive to Fussen/Neuschwanstein and some other great small towns. Train to Salzburg is very quick, IIRC an hour or so. I haven't been to any of the others on your list.

    I know you say Italy isn't on your list, but if you want intimate, relaxed small town and walkable, then the Cinque Terre is definitely worth a look. A week might be too long there, but Rome and Florence are easily reached by train to supplement for another couple days.

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    Volunteer Moderator Badger's Avatar
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    Hmm. I like Italy too. I'm interested in the Alto Aldige for a future trip. I'm not so much into going up and down mountains, but I am intrigued by the distinctly Alpen culture there--much more northern in its ethos than much of the rest of the country.

    I am woefully under-travelled in the rest of Europe, but Janine and I have been throwing around the idea of going to Denmark. Why Denmark? Because we want to take our picture in front of the "Welcome to Middelfahrt" sign. Apparently we are twelve.

    If you end up going to Scandinavia, or I guess anywhere on the continent, you can take advantage of Iceland Air's stopover in Reykjavik. A couple of days there could be a lot of fun: there's an Icelandic version of Norway in a nutshell, plus a number of thermal baths. And I hear that bars there are open until like 4 am in the summer, not that that's at all appealing to me.


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    In doesn't matter which one any of us would go to.....which one calls out to YOU? Which one gives you just a little more charge?

    Badger....this is for you:

    Name:  Ausfarht.jpg
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    Editor--One Bag, One World: News, Reviews & Community for Light Travelers. http://www.1bag1world.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank II View Post
    In doesn't matter which one any of us would go to.....which one calls out to YOU? Which one gives you just a little more charge?

    Badger....this is for you:

    Name:  Ausfarht.jpg
Views: 220
Size:  59.2 KB
    All German and Austrian roads seem to lead to Ausfahrt, but where the heck is it on the map?!

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