a VirtualTourist member from Perth
I have decided to take a gap year with my twin sister and I am wondering if anyone has good ideas of where I should travel in Europe and why. I am a 19 year old girl and love travelling. I want to have travelled the world some day and this is my first big trip. I like major cities, little country towns and everywhere in between. I will be starting form Perth and heading to Lucerne, Switzerland but do not know where to go from there. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Hi, can you give a bit more information? Idea about budget? Do you like warm or cold weather? Do you like sports or events?
It would help of you would put your citizenship on your Home Page here. Since you're starting from Perth, the assumption is you are Australian. You will need to do some research to spend a year in Europe because many of the countries are party to a treaty called the Schengen Agreement which limits time spent in certain countries but also makes border crossing easier. The general rule is you may stay in the Schengen area for 90 days; then you must leave for 90 days. You can then repeat this for your full year.
While this sounds like a nuisance, it can be fun to work around it and discover some countries you might not have thought of visiting. Here's the web site with information. http://www.schengenvisa.cc/
On our first trip (many years ago), we chose one country and tried to see as much as possible but we only had a month. You have a real adventure awaiting you! Write down places you have decided are must-see or, better yet, mark them on a map or a Google Map. This will give you a definition for your trip and you can start to branch out from there. It gives you a focus and that makes the planning process easier.
When you have some places on your map, type them into the VT search window above and see what members have already written about them on their Travel Pages. There will be photos, hotels and hostels, places to eat, things to do, transportation advice and outside web links to help your planning. You may want to start with countries instead of cities but you'll soon have a list of places you want to see.
Welcome to Virtual Tourist and please feel free to come back and ask as many questions as you like. Many of our members have gone before you and I'm sure they'll soon log on and give you an lot of help.
Enjoy your adventure.
Hello Leslie / Susanne,
welcome to VT for starters lots of luck and joy in what wil no doubt be an unforgettable experience. As another answer stated it all depends on your preferences, but with the time shedule you mentioned you ought to be able to take in a lot. There are tons of interesting sights and cities in Europe, such as Bern (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria), Tuscany in Italy with its cultural gems such as Florence and Pisa and so forth. This area is particularly suited for seekers of culture and romance and culinary delights. There's Spain with its many beautiful cities and natural areas (Valencia, Cordoba, Granada with the Alhambra, Madrid, Barcelona, etc). France with Paris ofcourse (a definite must anybody traveling to Europe) and lots of other beautiful places and regions, most of them with their own types of delicious wines and cuiisine. French are knownfor their "savoir vivre", you know. There's my own former country, belgium, a tiny dot on the map of Europe but nevertheless worth a stay. It has a number of beautiful places in both the north and the south, such as my own birthcity of Antwerp, Bruges, Ghent, (the center of ) Brussels, Dinant , Namur and Durbuy, reportedly Europe's smallest town where you can engage in many adventures activities. The western city of Ypres has some impressive remnants of WWI, if you're interested in that. germany as well has many different regions, all with their own peculiarities and in the south such castles as Neuschwanstein for instance. If you feel brave and up to it, you might visit Kjeragbolten in Norway, a boulder lodged between two rockfaces 984meters above the surface of the fjord below. It's a well known spot to have your picture taken. Well, these are just a few idea to get you started. I'm sure many others will follow nd you can always browse members and locations on here......have fun and enjoy this undoubtably marvellous experience...
First thing you are going to notice, it is built very different from Oz. Streets are smaller and buildings are close together. You will not see as much sky because of this. Second it sounds different, as the birds are very different in sound. Third, the foliage is very different. This is a very different world you will be entering. Get to know some of the different languages. It is amazing how far you can go if you just know the polite words for each language. You will need to presume much upon the charity of strangers to get where you want to go.
If we know your interests we can help you better with suggestions. :)
Also investigate Working Holiday Visas (WHV's) as you are within the age criteria to get one in the UK. While jobs can be hard to find, a WHV and using the UK as your base, makes it far more practical to get to Europe and back and still keep within the schengen visa rules (the UK is not part of the schengen group).
I suggest that you go to the library in Perth and borrow the guidebooks on Europe and study them, as well as studying the tips here on VT and you should come up with some ideas of the places you want to visit.
By a strange co-incidence my first major trip abroad, all these years ago brought me also to Luzern as my first stop!!!
Do your homework on Europe......and read read read.........keep a map handy.
There is tons of information right here on Virtual Tourist, and if you need any more specific info on city or country, type the name into 'destinion box' top right of page.- click GO.
Half the fun is planning the trip.
My daughter did a similar trip a few years ago, and although she had made rough plans, she found that freewheeling was more fun. She is also Australian.
As has been pointed out by others, if you intend to work, get a working permit.
Italy, France and Spain were her favourite places. She also loved Scotland.
The Lonely Planet EUROPE is also a handy read
Hi [VT member 1710a7] and thanks [VT member 1710a7] your reply :)
I am a student so I don't have that much money but I don't have a tight budget. I do like to enjoy myself when I travel and don't like to miss out on anything so I do make sure that I have a decent amount of money when I travel. I will be traveling the whole year so I get all the seasons. I don't have a preference on warm or cold weather and want to travel far north to icy cold countries as well as the south of Europe with blistering heat. I know it's a bit broad but I just want ideas of where other people have been and why they liked it there.
Thank-you for the replies
A few people have been asking me to give my interests. I haven't travelled that much and so I don't know what I like specifically but I like walking around parks and towns and love places with history. I also like visiting both big cities and quiet towns and I'm not that big on shopping.
Do you enjoy museums, architecture, quaint villages, hiking, sports, cultural events? I think people here just want an idea of what you enjoy most so they can make useful suggestions. BTW, have you checked visa requirements? It would be a shame to get your trip all planned and then discover a visa problem. Hopefully you have that all sorted.
You could look at the train lines and base yourself near a good hub. For example, in France many trains backtrack through Paris so if you base in Paris, you can go directly to many smaller towns without changes and wasted time. Find your hubs and make life easier. Just a thought.
Another fun, if not useful, thing to do is choose something in an area that interests you and follow a theme. You mentioned liking historical places. Once in southwest France we got Cathar Passes and tried to see everything on the pass. There are many ways to do something themed, and travel with a purpose is fun and memorable.
Hi [VT member 171cf5], a year is great, but it'll also cost a lot of money certainly in West-Europe. The east is still cheaper. I agree that you should look carefully to visa and perhaps also work permit. Maybe it's also possible to earn a bit with internet like writing good reviews about destinations you've visited.
If you like cold and warm, cities, towns and parks, then you've a large choice. Perhaps it's an idea to visit Scandinavia in winter or early spring, then you can see the aurora and probably have lots of snow, although the countries are expensive. Norway is the most beautiful country I've seen in Europe and Stockholm is great and perhaps you can go via Finland back to the Baltic States. Further you certainly shouldn't miss cities like London, Paris, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. In London you can spend a week if you want, certainly when you also are interested in museums.
I don't know if you've a driving license. Perhaps an international one is necessary, actually I don't know. Or you've plans to use public transport. Certainly parks are easier to get by car than by train.
In South-Europe you can make a trip by train like Napels, Rome, Florence, Venice. Spain also is interesting with beautiful cities like Barcelona, Madrid and Seville. I heard renting a car is expensive there, so perhaps it's better to take the train in Spain.
When you want to fly you can use Ryanair, Wizz Air and Easyjet. They're budget airlines. You can get very cheap tickets if you book early and only have hand luggage. Last year I flew for 35 euro from Dusseldorf to Italy. Only taking the train here in Holland to Amsterdam costs me almost more money :P
In East-Europe I enjoyed cities like Prague and Budapest. Also the coast of Croatia is beautiful and nice to relax. I can also recommend islands of Greece like Rhodes, Kos and Crete, but be aware of the economic crisis. There frequently are strikes, certainly in South-Europe.
Also look at busabout which many of the younger group use as a means of getting from place a to be in Europe.