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captain burrito

Backpacking around Europe

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i'm planning on backpacking around europe next year and i'm just starting to do my research into where to go etc.

keeping with the current trend of threads on here, does anyone have any experiences they wish to share of their time in europe, places to go/stay/eat/avoid? or perhaps some general advice?

hopefully the exchange rate will be slightly more in my favour come next year!

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Belgium is very nice. The food is fairly good and not exactly expensive and beer is/was very reasonably priced as well :)

Brussels is a good place to go and Mechelen is pretty nice as well. Some of the architecture is breathtaking.

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Go to Sienna in Italy it's amazing. Think there is a horse or chariot race in the main square (the biggest medieval square in Europe (my holiday there was obviously educational as well as concentrating on drinking beer and coffee watching hot Italian women strutting about in very little)) during the summer.

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Just please please don't come back as one of those boring fuckers who talks incessantly about their travels. Who can counter every story with "Funnily enough, when I was in Nepal....."

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nah, have met people like that and it's insanely boring chatting to them.

it's like: "man, that was a really good meal" and then the reply of "not a patch on the one i ate in a cave in latvia with a dragon, oh man that was a good meal!" at which point i'm either asleep or the room is dripping with well-travelled blood. sometimes both.

anyways, it's cheaper to do it before you're 25 it seems and as i reach a quarter century next year, it makes sense.

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When in Holland, don't bother with Amsterdam. It's a bit of a rite of passage but it's become so touristy and watered down it's a waste of time. (my opinion only)

Go to Rotterdam instead. Less stoned frat boys pining on about how 'weed should, like, totally be legal in the states' (yawn) and pissed up stag parties (nicknames printed on t-shirts = wankers) clogging up the place. It's got a quality natural history museum, modern art gallery and just as much coffee shops (if that's your thing). It's also got a skate park slap bang in the centre which is pretty cool. Out in the more ghetto outskirts you can get some amazing ethnic food on the cheap too. Cracking music scene as well, loads of gigs on all the time. Dutch folk always say they prefer it to Amsterdam.

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My top must see cities would include Gothenburg, Brussels, Berlin, Salzberg. Incidentally that would make a pretty good backpacking trail, and you can get ryanair flights to Gothenburg for silly money.

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Berlin. I stayed in the Generator Hostel. Nice enough and it gives you free breakfast... which if you discreetly make sandwiches at your table can also become lunch too.

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Berlin. I stayed in the Generator Hostel. Nice enough and it gives you free breakfast... which if you discreetly make sandwiches at your table can also become lunch too.

I found generator really boring. Circus and Helter Skeltor were awesome though :love:

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I found generator really boring. Circus and Helter Skeltor were awesome though :love:

We didn't really spend much time in it and we were there for a week. Our twin room and en-suite were spacious enough for 2 people sharing. Staff were friendly and it wasn't too complicated on public transport to get places.

I suppose it depends on what you want from a hostel. I just want a clean room and a comfy-ish bed! :)

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thanks for all the replies guys, but maybe some of you can expand on what you found so enjoyable about your time in the cities you've mentioned?

also, what travel guides should i look into? 'lonely planet' springs instantly to mind, but i've heard good things about the 'let's go' series.

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It depends on how long you've got in the cities you're going to. If you venture to Berlin, it might sound cliched, but you should definitely visit the major sights. The views from the Reichstag are amazing and you should also go to the Olympic Stadium.

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also, what travel guides should i look into? 'lonely planet' springs instantly to mind, but i've heard good things about the 'let's go' series.

Don't waste your time buying travel guides, they rarely offer anything that you can't find out yourself. The 'In Your Pocket' guides are rather brilliant though, and cover quite a few major cities in Europe. Their guides are also available online for free, so they are 'for the win' as some people might say. They're also usually available free in major hotels, and they're all in English.

But the most major piece of advice - buy an interrail pass. Train prices in Western Europe are hideous for any sort of walkup fare - even Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam (maybe 30km?) is about 5 euro single. But be careful with the pass - sometimes you need to buy reservations before getting on the train, particularly with 'EuroCity' international trains and domestic InterCity trains. The reservations are usually quite cheap, but you absolutely must have one before boarding if it's required, otherwise you'll get a rather horrible fine.

The other piece of advice is to use hostelworld.com comprehensively - the reviews on there can usually be relied on if it has many ratings.

But...why Western Europe? You can do Eastern Europe for half the price - unless of course, you don't like the idea of no-one speaking English ;)

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Train prices in Western Europe are hideous for any sort of walkup fare - even Hoek van Holland to Rotterdam (maybe 30km?) is about 5 euro single.

So about 5 for an 18 mile train journey... I think that's quite reasonable.

A journey down here (Glasgow) for about 8 miles is 2.70.

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But...why Western Europe? You can do Eastern Europe for half the price - unless of course, you don't like the idea of no-one speaking English ;)

No way. I found that everywhere I went in Eastern Europe last summer, everyone spoke perfect english. Slovenians are famous for their perfect grasp of english; even the 50+ drunks in bars in tiny little villages I might add. I also visited Croatia, Bosnia & Hercegovina, Serbia and Hungary and their ability to use english is absolutely fantastic; however maybe not to the same extent as Slovenia. On that note, if you're in Northern Italy or Austria, definitely consider a trip to Slovenia. It is really cool and there is a heck of a lot to see for such a small country. It's probably the most picturesque place I've visited, which is of course subjective. As for Italy, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast are must visit places. There is so much to see and do in Tuscany, however if you don't care for the leaning tower, avoid Pisa. The horse race in Siena is the Pallio. It's pretty cool, I went with my parents a few years back. It's at the start of the new James bond movie and it is just as frantic and fast paced as it is depicted in the movie. Ok, I'm definitely getting boring now. Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Sardinia, Venica and Verona. If you make it to venice, go to Slovenia! 2 hours on the train.

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Go to seville in spain its awsome it was an arabic city that was taken over by christians and the mixture of the two cultures is pretty noticeable, theres some huge palace to visit there aswell, and everythings fucking dirt cheap

hi im new

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But...why Western Europe? You can do Eastern Europe for half the price - unless of course, you don't like the idea of no-one speaking English ;)

the places i want to visit isn't set in stone [for example, gothenburg is looking an attractive proposition now it's been mentioned] but as i am planning on moving to western europe when i finish university i'll be using the trip not just for fun but also r&d.

i'm planning on getting a railcard, but it dosen't seem as straightforward as i thought. i'm still very, very early in the planning stages though and haven't researched anything nearly enough yet.

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If you're touching northern Italy... I can't recommend Bologne enough. It's a University city/town so there's a lot to do. It's also the food capital of Italy and is brimming with little restauarants and cafes down little alleys. The best food I've ever had has all been from my visit there. The only draw back is that not many people speak English but if you know a little Italian, or even French, you'll get by fine.

Summary: Go for a couple of days and stuff your face!

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