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A month in Europe! (Blow that dough)
Old 04-09-2018, 05:41 AM   #1
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A month in Europe! (Blow that dough)

We have finalized plans for our longest trip ever. We will spend an entire month in Europe later this year. Yippie! The itinerary and costs are shown below. The costs are the totals for the 2 of us. I included the costs as a reference for those that might be considering a similar trip.

While we have been to some of these destinations, we have not spent much time in any. If you can recommend sights to see, restaurants, or day train trips from the base cities, it would be appreciated.

Vienna, Austria 5 nights
Munich, Germany 4 nights
Strasbourg, France 5 nights
Lyon, France 3 nights
Avignon, France 5 nighs
Barcelona, Spain 3 nights
Madrid, Spain 3 nights

Total Costs $11,677 (Food/wine and misc. are budget items)

Airfare $ 2,122 Soutwest roundtrip from ATL to NYC Norwegian Air NYC to Vienna, Madrid to NYC (Economy Plus)
Eurail passes $1,145 Intercity travel between base cities (1st class)
Hotels $4,050 Mostly Airbnb with kitchens and terraces or balconies
Food/wine $3,360 $120 per day. Probably high for us.
Misc. $,1000 Extra train travel, museums
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:25 AM   #2
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Lots to see from Avignon. Other nearby cities are worth visiting such as Nimes, Arles. Pont du Gard of course. That is not acccessible by train but you can reach it by bus. We used a minivan day tour that also visited some Chateauneuf du Pape wineries. People like visiting the hilltop villages in the area. You need a car for that or take a minivan day tour.

From Vienna we did a day trip to the famous Benedictine monestary at Melk, then a few hours cruising down the Danube. This is a combo ticket you can buy at the train station. We got off early at the picturesque town with the ruined castle where Richard the Lionhearted had been kept prisoner, then took a bus to the next city to catch the train back.

From Barcelona, Monserrat was well worth it. Easy train plus gondola - combo tickets sold by the official tourist office in Barcelona. But with only 3 nights there I recommend you stay local - way too many terrific sights in the city. Same with Madrid.

Strasbourg we did a day tour of the small wine towns of Alsace plus a castle high up in the mountains and Colmar. This is another thing easier by car, especially over a couple of days. Minivan tours are available.

Lyon we took a train down to Vienne mainly to visit the Roman ruins museum plus walked up to a famous overlook. The Roman museum was terrific, but would be for someone really into that stuff.

I don’t think you budgeted enough for day trips, lol.

These are all well documented on the web and a little searching will pull up the details.

We have taken 4 annual trips to visit all those cities in your list, and our trips are long - usually at least three weeks not counting the week or two we visit family in Amsterdam. This year we’ll be 2.5 weeks in Holland and then 3 weeks in Andalucía and Madrid.
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Old 04-09-2018, 06:45 AM   #3
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Lots to see from Avignon. Other nearby cities are worth visiting such as Nimes, Arles. Pont du Gard of course. That is not acccessible by train but you can reach it by bus. We used a minivan day tour that also visited some Chateauneuf du Pape wineries. People like visiting the hilltop villages in the area. You need a car for that or take a minivan day tour.
Thanks Audrey. We are also wine folks. I am looking at rental cars in Avignon and/or the wine tours. Chateuaneuf du Pape wineries are on the list. It is one of my favorites! And, we like the smaller towns. Thanks for the recommendations.
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Old 04-09-2018, 07:26 AM   #4
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Thanks Audrey. We are also wine folks. I am looking at rental cars in Avignon and/or the wine tours. Chateuaneuf du Pape wineries are on the list. It is one of my favorites! And, we like the smaller towns. Thanks for the recommendations.
The winery right below some steps down from the Chateauneuf ruins is well worth it. And you might as well visit Pont du Gard while you have the car even though it’s a different direction, but not that far from Avignon.

We also enjoyed Orange which we visited by train from Avignon, we lucked into a full on Roman times festival at the amphitheater. This is not far from Chateauneuf-du-pape.

Colmar from Strasbourg is an easy day trip by train and the town itself worth a whole leisurely day. The region wineries and small towns between them though - best by car on a different day. Plus that castle.
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Old 04-09-2018, 09:56 AM   #5
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How much time did you allow for the SW to Norwegian Air connection?
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:17 AM   #6
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I have spent a lot of time in Vienna. For a beautiful day trip, from the city center (Shottentor), take the 38 tram to Grinzing and have a glass of wine at a Heurigen (new wine cafe). Transfer to the 38 bus-or just do an easy hike-up through the Vienna Woods to the historic area on top of the hill (Kahlenberg) where you can also have a glass of wine at the outdoor cafe while looking over the city. The famous little chapel is there where the Poles came to besieged Vienna's rescue.
In the city, tour St. Stephen's, including the crypt, and the Imperial palaces. Shop, drink coffee, and eat pastries on Kartnerstrasse. Eat $$$ Sachertorte at the Sacher Hotel. Visit the Albertina Museum. Take a boat trip on the Danube.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...rg-Vienna.html
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Old 04-09-2018, 10:41 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by audreyh1 View Post
...

From Vienna we did a day trip to the famous Benedictine monestary at Melk, then a few hours cruising down the Danube. This is a combo ticket you can buy at the train station. We got off early at the picturesque town with the ruined castle where Richard the Lionhearted had been kept prisoner, then took a bus to the next city to catch the train back.
...
We enjoyed this too. It can be a very full day so an early start is best. There is a good writeup in the Rick Steves Austria book on this. When you arrive at the train station there is a wait for ticket purchases but it can go pretty fast. We bought the tickets that have a river cruise back.

After we toured the Abbey we had lunch there. It was a nice day and the outside dining was great. Lots of tour groups come in by bus so getting ahead of them if you can is a good idea.

There is a nice garden at the Abbey too which we had just time enough to stroll around a bit in. Then we took the river boat up the Danube to Vienna. A great way to end the day.
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Old 04-09-2018, 11:36 AM   #8
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A bit OT- this has been a dream of mine and I may still do it, but I just got back from 3 weeks in India and Nepal, which was the longest I've been away from home due to travel, and it felt a bit long. It was still worth it because after crossing all those time zones you may as well explore once you get acclimated, but I'm seriously considering whether I want to be gone that long again. I like my house and I miss my usual activities even when I'm having a good time someplace interesting.

Anyone else feel that way about long trips?
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:05 PM   #9
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@flintnational thanks for posting this. I’m consider a similar trip, maybe in a couple years.

We spent a couple of week between Madrid and Barcelona last year. Tons of ideas to share, but here are a few:

Barcelona
The Palace of Catalan Music is beautiful, and made for a fun night out to see a show.

Madrid
If your into food and wine, Mercado De San Miguel is an amazing upscale market for lunch or dinner.
Reina Sofía Museum’s Picasso’s collection made me better appreciate and understand his work. Buy tickets ahead with the add on Picasso reservation.

Toledo
If you are looking for a day trip or one nighter (we did one night), Toledo was interesting and an easy quick train ride from Madrid.

General
I love the Rick Steve’s audio tours app, which are free and can be downloaded before leaving. iPhone app is here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rick-steves-audio-europe/id414357125?mt=8
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:15 PM   #10
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Anyone else feel that way about long trips?
Not me, because I had plenty of long trips in my w*rking days, so I'm used to it.

DW however doesn't like to be gone more than two weeks. By that point she is more than ready to come home.

But we're going to put that to the test this year. The big trip is already scheduled for a full month. Two weeks in Scotland, a week in London, then a week in Iceland. We'll see how it goes.
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:39 PM   #11
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I have spent a lot of time in Vienna......
In the city, tour St. Stephen's, including the crypt, and the Imperial palaces. .....
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...rg-Vienna.html
+1 on St. Stephens and the crypt (5 Euros from inside the Cathedral on the left side about half way along, you will see signs).
Also, once done the crypt tour, as you come out the door, follow around the Catherdral to the right, circling the Cathedral and you will find the entrance to walk up the spire/tower, costs a few Euros, is quite a walk up but the views from the top are worth it.

After St. Stephens we visited the summer palace, by taking 2 subway (or maybe it was we took 2 back). The subway stop for the palace lets you off about 200 feet from the entrance, just walk to the street and turn right and you will see it on the left side. It is Fantastic. Free to see gardens, or pay to tour inside the palace on a self audio tour. (worth it). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%F6nbrunn_Palace
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:52 PM   #12
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How much time did you allow for the SW to Norwegian Air connection?
We allowed 4.5 hours. I think that will be enough? But, to make it even more risky we arriving at LGA and departing JFK.

Edit to add: We have 7 hours on the return flight. The outbound connection is on a Saturday and the inbound is on a Sunday. Hopefully the weekend will help with the connection times.
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:54 PM   #13
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I have spent a lot of time in Vienna. For a beautiful day trip, from the city center (Shottentor), take the 38 tram to Grinzing and have a glass of wine at a Heurigen (new wine cafe). Transfer to the 38 bus-or just do an easy hike-up through the Vienna Woods to the historic area on top of the hill (Kahlenberg) where you can also have a glass of wine at the outdoor cafe while looking over the city. The famous little chapel is there where the Poles came to besieged Vienna's rescue.
In the city, tour St. Stephen's, including the crypt, and the Imperial palaces. Shop, drink coffee, and eat pastries on Kartnerstrasse. Eat $$$ Sachertorte at the Sacher Hotel. Visit the Albertina Museum. Take a boat trip on the Danube.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...rg-Vienna.html
Thank you. That sounds perfect. Wine stops are the best stops!
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Old 04-09-2018, 12:58 PM   #14
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A bit OT- this has been a dream of mine and I may still do it, but I just got back from 3 weeks in India and Nepal, which was the longest I've been away from home due to travel, and it felt a bit long. It was still worth it because after crossing all those time zones you may as well explore once you get acclimated, but I'm seriously considering whether I want to be gone that long again. I like my house and I miss my usual activities even when I'm having a good time someplace interesting.

Anyone else feel that way about long trips?
We have done 21 days before. 15 of that was a pretty easy trans-Atlantic cruise. I have always wanted to do a longer stay in Europe and like most we should probably do it now while we are relatively young. Travel is tough. We may curtail Europe trips in a couple of years. Although, I still want to rent a house and maybe spend the summer.
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Old 04-09-2018, 01:00 PM   #15
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@flintnational thanks for posting this. I’m consider a similar trip, maybe in a couple years.

We spent a couple of week between Madrid and Barcelona last year. Tons of ideas to share, but here are a few:

Barcelona
The Palace of Catalan Music is beautiful, and made for a fun night out to see a show.

Madrid
If your into food and wine, Mercado De San Miguel is an amazing upscale market for lunch or dinner.
Reina Sofía Museum’s Picasso’s collection made me better appreciate and understand his work. Buy tickets ahead with the add on Picasso reservation.

Toledo
If you are looking for a day trip or one nighter (we did one night), Toledo was interesting and an easy quick train ride from Madrid.

General
I love the Rick Steve’s audio tours app, which are free and can be downloaded before leaving. iPhone app is here:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rick...414357125?mt=8
Human, thank you. We have only been in Barcelona for a cruise stop and are looking forward to a more in depth dive.
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Old 04-09-2018, 01:02 PM   #16
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+1 on St. Stephens and the crypt (5 Euros from inside the Cathedral on the left side about half way along, you will see signs).
Also, once done the crypt tour, as you come out the door, follow around the Catherdral to the right, circling the Cathedral and you will find the entrance to walk up the spire/tower, costs a few Euros, is quite a walk up but the views from the top are worth it.

After St. Stephens we visited the summer palace, by taking 2 subway (or maybe it was we took 2 back). The subway stop for the palace lets you off about 200 feet from the entrance, just walk to the street and turn right and you will see it on the left side. It is Fantastic. Free to see gardens, or pay to tour inside the palace on a self audio tour. (worth it). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sch%F6nbrunn_Palace
Sunset, thanks. We have never been to Vienna so I was a little unsure about sites. I appreciate the information.
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Old 04-09-2018, 02:05 PM   #17
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I have spent a lot of time in Vienna. For a beautiful day trip, from the city center (Shottentor), take the 38 tram to Grinzing and have a glass of wine at a Heurigen (new wine cafe). Transfer to the 38 bus-or just do an easy hike-up through the Vienna Woods to the historic area on top of the hill (Kahlenberg) where you can also have a glass of wine at the outdoor cafe while looking over the city. The famous little chapel is there where the Poles came to besieged Vienna's rescue.
Oh right - I meant to add this one for Vienna. Actually, we took the tram to Grinzig had lunch (at Figls), and then caught a bus up to to the Kahlenberg peak with awesome views of Vienna and the Danube, then hiked down through the Vienna woods and then past vineyards, finally reaching Nussdorf where we had wine and food at a Heuriger at Beethoven’s house. I think that was the Mayer Am Pfarrplaz. From near there is was another tram ride to downtown Vienna. Super enjoyable outing!

I always drink gespritzers in Austria. Very refreshing white wine spritzers made with local white wines.

There are tons of museums in Vienna. It would take two weeks! The Treasury was fantastic. And of course Schönbrunn Palace.
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Old 04-09-2018, 02:22 PM   #18
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We enjoyed this too. It can be a very full day so an early start is best. There is a good writeup in the Rick Steves Austria book on this. When you arrive at the train station there is a wait for ticket purchases but it can go pretty fast. We bought the tickets that have a river cruise back.

After we toured the Abbey we had lunch there. It was a nice day and the outside dining was great. Lots of tour groups come in by bus so getting ahead of them if you can is a good idea.

There is a nice garden at the Abbey too which we had just time enough to stroll around a bit in. Then we took the river boat up the Danube to Vienna. A great way to end the day.
I think I bought the combotickets when we arrived in Vienna. They are open tickets - you don’t have to commit to the day if I recall correctly. Good for 2 weeks or something like that.
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Old 04-09-2018, 02:33 PM   #19
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I always drink gespritzers in Austria. Very refreshing white wine spritzers made with local white wines.
Jawohl! Gruner Veltliner gespritz.
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Old 04-09-2018, 02:34 PM   #20
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I have spent a lot of time in Vienna. For a beautiful day trip, from the city center (Shottentor), take the 38 tram to Grinzing and have a glass of wine at a Heurigen (new wine cafe). Transfer to the 38 bus-or just do an easy hike-up through the Vienna Woods to the historic area on top of the hill (Kahlenberg) where you can also have a glass of wine at the outdoor cafe while looking over the city. The famous little chapel is there where the Poles came to besieged Vienna's rescue.
In the city, tour St. Stephen's, including the crypt, and the Imperial palaces. Shop, drink coffee, and eat pastries on Kartnerstrasse. Eat $$$ Sachertorte at the Sacher Hotel. Visit the Albertina Museum. Take a boat trip on the Danube.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attracti...rg-Vienna.html
I agree with above. My first trip to Vienna was 48 years ago, and it is Europe's Music City. We always stay at K&T Boardinghouse, one metro stop outside of the Ring. It is a quite lively city.

You appear to have prepared well for your trip. Looks as if you have divided your trip into three segments, and are taking the cities slowly. The towns you have chosen per segment compliment each other and are easy to get to by train.

We leave Sunday from NYC on a cruise ship ending in Southampton. Then flying to Ireland for a week in a B&B in County Kerry. Ireland is about the only country in Europe we have never visited. We are on an adventure as my wife will be in a wheelchair after injuring a knee 3 weeks ago.

Sounds as if you will have a great time.
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