Where to go for 2 weeks in Europe?


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boroangel

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Apr 23, 2005
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I will be attending a course early next year in France for 7 weeks...during these 7 weeks I will prob have 1 to 2 days off per week to travel around France...and after that I will have another 2 weeks to travel around Europe...any suggestions on where to go in France for weekends and a possible route for the 2 weeks in Europe? I will be near Paris. Tot of getting to England to catch EPL but I heard the visa for Paris allows you to travel around Europe but UK needs a seperate visa. Is it possible to apply for the UK visa online as I m overseas now...

I am thinking of covering Italy for around 5 to 6 days and the rest will be spent to cover another 1 or 2 countries. For Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg maybe I will fly over over during the weekends cos it is relatively near. Switzerland, Prague, Sarajevo, Vienna, Budapest all sounds so enticing...

Anyway its a really general question...and there are too many neighbouring countries around France to cover in 2 weeks...but I welcome all possible suggestions...;)
 

boroangel

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Apr 23, 2005
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#3
Where do u have in mind?
East/west/south/north.
Easier to recommend.


.
I m just looking at the map now and I dont want to waste too much time flying...so if I were to go to Italy it doesnt make sense to fly back to Spain so I m thinking of doing a Northeast, East and Southeast route...u know...to the eastern side...and I m trying to squeeze Belgium and Netherlands in during the weekends...not too keen on Germany...maybe something like Switzerland, Italy and Austria for 2 weeks? Bearing in mind that I have to fly back to Paris to take the flight back to my workplace.

any rough guide on airfares and flight duration...I heard its very common to fly budget in Europe...
 

Trash

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Dec 12, 2004
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#5
Spend your weekends around Paris and surrounding regions. Assuming you have time in the evenings to explore Paris thoroughly. These are some other nearby areas that I like,
  • Quaint villages in Normandy and Brittany
  • Reims and other villages around Champagne (yes... where the bubbly is produced)
  • Explore castles in Loire
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Brugges, Antwerp in Belgium (don't spend too much time in Brussels except to try out the famous mussels and beers)
  • Strasbourg
  • Versailles
  • Euro-Disney?
  • Cote d'zur (French Rivera: Nice, Monaco) Preferably over a 3-4day weekend

As to long the longer 2 weeks trip. Be more focus, choose a country or two. Some nice places in Europe to think about,
  • Italy (2 wks)
  • Greece (Min 1 wk)
  • Czech Republic (1 wk)
  • Spain (2wks)
  • UK (2wks)
  • Further away (if you are already sick of Europe): Morocco, Tunisia

    There is just too much in Europe. So pick the right places and take your time. That's the best way to enjoy.
 

#6
It really depends on the time of year.

For the UK this time of year for example, i'd really only recommend London. If you like street photography, it's as good as any city in the world - but bear in mind the weather will be pitiful. Cold, raining, etc - expect it all. I would definitely not put the rest of the UK anywhere near the top of the list for winter / photographs tho. But London is a big thumbs up. Having said that, if it's in the summer - there are some beautiful parts of the UK all very easily accessible. Scotland is just amazing for landscapes for example and can be reached by train / car or v v cheap flights on ryanair (like < 10 ukp). You can get to london from Paris via the eurostar (train) from Paris. V easy, 3 hrs and you'll arrive in central london. I'm not aware that you'd need a visa if you hold a Singaporean passport.

Paris is truely amazing all year round. The world's best street photography took place in that city. As with all cities in Europe, taking photography at night, I'd usually recommend making sure you watch out for your belongings, etc. My colleague is from Normandy - says it's v beautiful but again, depends on the weather. This time of year is UK-like, whereas summer as awesome. One place I have always wanted to visit but not have the chance yet is St Michael (someone else's pic here - http://www.pbase.com/eldarrio/image/54153601). If you're interested, I can ask more abt it. S.France is fanatastic year round. Some beautiful places around Nice, etc. Small artists villages, etc.

For Italy / Greece / Spain - all amazing countries. Truely beautiful countries and great mix of beautiful countryside and old historical cities. Any search at any of the major cities or regions will produce amazing pictures of landscapes, old european architecture and so forth. Can't go wrong with any of them imo.

Central Europe offers some v interesting places like Prague, Bratislava and so on. All v nice, v beautiful. Quite different from western europe.

Amsterdam - fantastic place to visit to have fun. Not sure about photography further afield. I imagine it's v nice but i've never ventured out of the city.

Scandinavia I would personally avoid due to the weather and time of year. There are far better times to go than winter when there is only a handful of hours of daylight. During the summer, it's the opposite - light until 11pm in Oslo, Norway for example. Haven't shot there tho - it doesn't tend to be as big a pull for photographers.

Vienna - one of my favourite cities in Europe. Truely stunning architecture, some of the best museum's / galleries in Europe (home of many famous paintings from the secession). Great waether in summer and bitterly cold in winter as with the rest of Western Europe.

You know what... all this email is doing is reminding me the diversity and size of Europe. I think it impossible to really recommend any countries above the other on purely merit... all so different and depending on what you want to shoot. So long as you arrange certain things in advance, keep safe and are flexible, i think you can't go wrong :). If you want to know more about a specific country however, i'll be happy to provide more info if i happen to have been there.
 

zoossh

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Nov 29, 2005
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#7
go for somewhere that you are not so likely to fly all the way from singapore to there.

why dun you pick up europe on a shoe string, lonely planet? look thru the pictures to see what really catches you. then see your budget.

if it's me, i will do in depth travel in only one area in one country, but that's me. so lucky of you to have sponsorship. my wishlist is ukraine, czech, spain.
 

kelccm

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Mar 2, 2004
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#8
Given the amount of time you have, I would suggest that you use the time to explore France. France is a big country, and different region offers different landscape and cultures. Just exploring the Paris region would takes you several days. You can do short trips on your weekends to Normandy area, the Loire Valley, the north-west coast, or north eastern region including Strasbourg.

If you have more time, you add in visits to Brussels, Luxembourg, Black Forest region of Germany to the Rhine / Moselle river, and even Switzerland where you can see the Alps.

If you want to go further, you can go the Cote D'Azur, where you can visit Nice, Monaco, Cannes and Marseille. The seaview there is breathtaking.

Spending a week in Italy is good too, as you were thinking of. Rome itself will take you at least 2-3 days to explore, and you can spend a day or 2 each at Florence and Venice.

Just note that travelling will take up a bit of your time, so unless you just want to touch and go("I've been there once" mentality), it would be better to reduce the number of places to visit, rather it is better to explore each places more.
 

brian

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Aug 1, 2004
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#9
You can do Belgium on the weekends... Antwerp (diamonds) and Brugge (old quaint buildings) should do it. If you're going in January 2007, they have a promotion now starting tomorrow (from 29Euro 1 way) on www.thalys.com (Should be in English as well)... Thalys is based on the TGV train so its about 1hr-2hr to Belgium depending on the destination. 1 day antwerp 1 day brugge should do it, then back to Paris for the week.

Donno what passport you're on, but singaporeans shouldn't need a visa for almost all countries in europe... france + UK for sure. so you can go around easily... just that even for the french, UK is an expensive place to go. If you want somewhere that speaks english to get away from the french, Brugge would do it... and the people there are friendlier too (compared to err Paris) ... to me at least.

Other than that, no other recommendations. They're all equally good. You should be confused already by all the recommendations.
 

boroangel

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Apr 23, 2005
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#10
Wow thanks for all the prompt replies...I dunno the exact date of my course yet but it should be somewhere in March or April...

Yeah besides shooting the cities I am also keen to explore and capture places which are less travelled and not seen too much on galleries so I can share it with all. Budget wise I am quite relaxed on this trip I guess so I most prob will be flying and mix it up with train rides depending on which is faster. Anyone knows which is the most economic way to fly from Paris to neighbouring cities and how much it costs roughly, just trying to get a rough estimation.

Yeah its starting to do my head in where to go...so many places to cover...but I think I shouldn't be too greedy and I think 2 or 3 countries within that 2 week period should be sensible. I rather try to cover a country in depth so next time I can move on to another rather than just leaving footprints without really seen much of the place. With 1 or 2 days off per week during the 7 week course I reckon I will get around 10 days during the course period.

So Italy is my choice and I will just add 1 or 2 neighbouring countries for that 2 week period. Switzerland sounds appetizing.

I think I will use 1 weekend to do Belgium...go on a Friday and come back Sunday night. I will still have around 8 days to cover France on my off days. For the 2 week period, since Spain is on the opposite route to Italy and I am not keen on Germany...I am considering doing a Switzerland, Rome, Florence, Venice(but might try to try in some less travelled places in Italy and then Austria and back to Paris.
 

asterixsg

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May 22, 2006
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#11
Hi boroangel,

7 weeks in France, followed by 2 weeks holiday. WOW !!!
There are so many, so many options.
I think you've got a lot of constructive advice already.

You can use the weekends to travel to Paris and the neighbouring cities. I am not so familiar with France, but if you are interested, I can loan you my EyeWitness guide to France.

You can easily spend 2 weekends in Paris itself. Paris has plenty of photo-ops - during the day as well as at night. And then there are the museums too - if you are into such things.

In terms of travel, you can go to Brussels and back within a weekend. Its less than 2 hours train ride. I don't like Brussels so much, but you can go to the Grand Place and do all the tourist stuff like eating Mussels and drinking beer. Belgium has 400 varieties of beer, officially.
You can do sidetrips to Antwerp and Brugges too.

Amsterdam is another 2-1/2 hrs from Brussels. Not sure but if you can catch a night train from Paris to Amsterdam, you can leave on Friday night and reach there on Saturday morning. And do the same on Sunday night for the way back. Do note that hotels in Europe are pretty expensive. A tiny - I mean REALLY tiny - room with shared toilets costed us 85 Euros in Amsterdam. The only good thing was that the hotel was bang opposite the Rijksmuseum and 2 minutes walk to the Van Gogh museum.

So, whatever you can save by travelling at night, would be worth it.

For the 2 weeks holiday, after your work is over, I would second zossh's suggestion. Stick to one country rather than hopping from one country to another.

My suggestion would be to spend 2 weeks in Italy.

You can do a South to North trip eg. Naples (2), Rome (4), Florence (2), Pisa (1), Milan (2), Venice (2). The number in brackets indicate the number of nights you can stay in each of the cities. You can travel to/from all these cities by train - this will help save costs.

Good luck to you for your work and holiday. :thumbsup:

And yeah, do come back and let us know how it all went. :D
 

Astin

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Mar 2, 2002
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#12
Just try to give u some cold water...
Its now winter in Europe, so the sunlight hour is very short, little time for photography (maybe 5-6 hours per day?), so u should not try to cover so many places in a short time, instead pick 2 or 3 interesting places and spend a longer time there. My pick would be:
1. Loire Valley in France
2. Roma/Venezia
3. Munich and surrounding area
 

redstorm

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Oct 29, 2002
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#13
Just try to give u some cold water...
Its now winter in Europe, so the sunlight hour is very short, little time for photography (maybe 5-6 hours per day?), so u should not try to cover so many places in a short time, instead pick 2 or 3 interesting places and spend a longer time there. My pick would be:
1. Loire Valley in France
2. Roma/Venezia
3. Munich and surrounding area
Although it's only close to winter now, the daylight hours shouldn't be so short (5-6 hours). Just came back from Austria and daylights hours when I was there (first half of Nov 06) was from 7am till about 4.30pm.
 

kelccm

Senior Member
Mar 2, 2004
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#14
Just try to give u some cold water...
Its now winter in Europe, so the sunlight hour is very short, little time for photography (maybe 5-6 hours per day?), so u should not try to cover so many places in a short time, instead pick 2 or 3 interesting places and spend a longer time there. My pick would be:
1. Loire Valley in France
2. Roma/Venezia
3. Munich and surrounding area
The shortest daylight hours usually occurs around 21st Dec, the actual start of winter. Daylight hours then would be around 7-8am to about 4-5pm, depending on how north you are. If you are going during winter, then it is advisable to visit less places, and also some tourist attractions might be close during winter.

But TS did mention that he would be going around Mar/Apr, so by then it would be spring, and daylight hours would be almost similar to Singapore. By late Apr, the daylight hours would be longer than Singapore. I don't see a problem in touring during that period. In fact I feel that Apr/May is the best time to tour Europe.
 

nuts

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Jan 21, 2002
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#15
cool, in your 7weeks stint, can cover around France during weekends etc.
As for the 2 weeks, I'll probably cover only 1 country but thats me :)

I will be attending a course early next year in France for 7 weeks...during these 7 weeks I will prob have 1 to 2 days off per week to travel around France...and after that I will have another 2 weeks to travel around Europe...any suggestions on where to go in France for weekends and a possible route for the 2 weeks in Europe? I will be near Paris. Tot of getting to England to catch EPL but I heard the visa for Paris allows you to travel around Europe but UK needs a seperate visa. Is it possible to apply for the UK visa online as I m overseas now...

I am thinking of covering Italy for around 5 to 6 days and the rest will be spent to cover another 1 or 2 countries. For Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg maybe I will fly over over during the weekends cos it is relatively near. Switzerland, Prague, Sarajevo, Vienna, Budapest all sounds so enticing...

Anyway its a really general question...and there are too many neighbouring countries around France to cover in 2 weeks...but I welcome all possible suggestions...;)
 

AhV

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Jun 10, 2004
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Northland
#16
'andalucia'...... SPAIN :thumbsup:

I love it... you will too ! :)
 

whachoo

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Jul 31, 2006
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#17
I've never stepped foot on any other European country but Switzerland is truly amazing!

If you're a city person, Zurich, Geneva, Bern and Lausanne is awesome.

If you like the countryside, Interlaken is the place to stay while you explore the Alps. :vhappy:

Not forgetting the transport system in Switzerland is so efficient you can cover most cities within a few days, given your limited time in Europe.

The people there are extremely pleasant and they can understand English too!

The only downside is that it's more expensive than most of Europe. :complain:
 

boroangel

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Apr 23, 2005
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#19
I think I have roughly decided on 2 countries, most probably Italy and Switzerland for the 2 weeks period...yes I should be there around April/May...I wish I can borrow some guide books but I am working in Sumatra right now...no internet at my staff house so the only time I can try to check info on the net is to come back on off days to the office and use it...

And I am thinking of getting a wide angle lens (tokina 12-24 or nikon 12-24) before I head over to Europe but I dont have time to get out of the airport during transit in KL to buy it. Might have to fly back over the weekends to Singapore just to buy it.

I think covering France, Belgium, possibly Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland is like a dream for a first timer to Europe...I will research on these places first...and once I get an itinerary sorted I will ask u guys for advice again.


Thanks ... ;)
 

boroangel

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Apr 23, 2005
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#20
Can someone recommend me airlines or trains to fly between Paris, Belgium,Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland. Need to find the websites of the more popular, cheap and safe airlines, trains so I can plan travelling times to make the most of it. For example, some train rides leave from Belgium back to Paris in the afternoon on Sunday but if there a budget flight that leaves late at night then I would take that...

also want to add that besides cities and architecture...I love shooting landscapes of natural scenery....mountain, seas, cliffs...etc....in fact i prefer natural landscape more than architecture....besides all the nice architecture...are there places with good natural landscape secnery in Italty?
 

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