Travel: Europe

Keen to hear your recommendations and tips about all things Eurotrip!

I had my first DIY tour last Nov 2019. We did Amsterdam-Brussels-Ghent-Paris-Bilbao-Barcelona.

Visa applied via Netherlands
Budget: <200k PHP
Duration: 14 days
Fave cities: Barcelona and Ghent
Most exciting: Amsterdam
Least fave: Paris (ang dumi and mabaho :unamused:)

Next time I want to visit Eastern Europe and Scandinavian countries. :heart_eyes:

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Wife and I spent our honeymoon in Europe in October-November 2018. Our five-week honeymoon took us to Munich-Prague-Geneva-Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam-Brussels-Pisa-Firenze-Rome-Marrakech-Sevilla-Madrid-Barcelona.

Budget was <PhP400k, relatively reasonable considering the duration of our travel. For our accommodation, we were either hosted by friends or stayed at budget hostels. We tried all modes of transportation to take us to our destinations - airplanes, trains, and buses. For traveling within cities, it was mostly walking (averaged 12 kilometers per day) and combination of limited travel passes.

It was a memorable trip but the highlights would be the hike in the Bernese Alps in Grindelwald; and watching El Clasico, football match between Barcelona and Real Madrid (it was also our most expensive splurge kasi we didn’t budget for it).

A couple of tips:

If you plan to go to Paris, schedule your trip so it falls on the first Sunday of the month as all museum fees are waived. Also if you fly RyanAir, make sure to print your boarding passes. We learned an expensive lesson for not doing so, we were charged a printing fee which was twice what we paid for our airfare. :sweat_smile:

Yan din yung napansin ko, amoy ihi. :grin:

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My first Europe trip was in 2016.

Italy-Austria-Hungary-Czech

I wrote a blog entry na 150k lang, pwede ka na mag Europe for two weeks.

Cathay Pacific Manila-Rome-Manila was only 42k round trip. Our hotels for five cities (Rome, Venice, Vatican, Vienna and Prague) nasa 80k. Divided by 2 so tig 40k lang. Trains, tours, plane tickets within Europe — siguro nasa 20-40k din.

So yun. With more or less 100k, makakapag Europe ka na. Although ang nagastos ko noon was close to half a million dahil sa shopping and pasalubong. Plus OOTD :joy::joy::joy:

In 2018, we went to Europe again. Three weeks naman. Six countries, nine cities. Pero cheaper ang airfare — 35k RT. Korean Air. Tapos tatlo na kami so mas madami maghahati sa hotel accommodations. Nasa 300k lang yata nagastos ko doon, to think na mas madami cities and mas matagal kami.

Among the cities na napuntahan ko — Prague talaga favorite ko. Next is Rothenburg. Bruges din. Maganda din ang Florence.

Hindi ako natuwa sa Venice. Tapos yung Paris and Barcelona — pang bucket list lang siya for me. Three days lang kami sa Paris noon — mas nagtagal kami sa Amsterdam.

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Went to Germany-Switzerland-Italy-Greece few years ago. RyanAir saved me a lot of money (~20 euros/flight lang). Athens is my favorite city. Like I literally cried when I saw the Parthenon. I spent around P250k all-in.

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The first time I went to Europe, I visited Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Hungary. Yung mga bansang hindi puntahan ng mga turista. I spent around 150K for 2 weeks. Mura lang kasi dyan sa mga bansang yan. Maganda sa Prague. Binalikbalikan ko sya nung nag-settle ako dito. :hahaha:

Yung mga susunod na trip ko was Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland. Medyo mahal sa Denmark at Switzerland. Nakalimutan ko na kung magkano nagastos ko pero mas malaki previous travel kasi December to. My favorite destination this leg was Præsto, Denmark. Dun din ako kinasal.

Yung mga susunod kong trips ay sa Slovenia, Italy, Norway (saksakan ng mahal pero worth it kasi dito ko nakita yung Northern Lights. :inlove:), Sweden, and Spain. Pagpupunta kayo ng Scandinavian Countries, maghanda kayo ng maraming pera kasi napakamahal. :embarasslaff:

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Went to Amsterdam-Utrecht-Köln-Paris for a 5-day Eurotrip. Haha maipagpag lang. :lol: Only had $1000 cash. 2 nights stay in Utrecht was c/o bosses. Plus they also treat me for meals. Kaya sobrang laking tipid. I say, Utrecht is more like Amsterdam but less touristy. Also, very convenient ang public transpo nila. I only used google maps to explore both Amsterdam and Utrecht.

Yung sa Köln, as in stop over lang sya sa Cathedral na katapat lang din ng train station. Tamang picture-picture lang. maipagpag lang ulit. :lol:

Sa Paris, stayed in AirBnB with friends. So hati hati kami sa bayad. Same observation, mabaho at madumi. At nakakatakot yung mga gypsies. We witnessed how they mugged japanese tourists, at nakuha nila ang wallet. Went to Musee D’Orsay, dahil pinilit lang ako. I think museums should have a separate day of its own. We ride the Metro. Ok naman. Malinis pa ang LRT-2 natin. Haha

I think, kelangan ko bumalik ng Paris and see it for what it is. Pero yun nga, may rustic feel (whatever that means) sya sakin. Alam kong maganda sya, kulang lang ako sa oras to appreciate.

Wala naman akong biniling pasalubong kaya siguro around $500 lang ang nagastos ko (exclusive of airfare) sa 5-day trip.

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Nakaka inspire at inggit mga trips nyo. I’ve never been to Europe. Plan ko dapat solo trip this April-May to go to Amsterdam-Paris-Barcelona. Sakto season ng tulips. Maybe next year kung safe na ulit mag travel.

I would love to see Prague also. Dami na nagsasabi na maganda sya. Ibababa ko na rin expectations ko sa Paris. Eiffel Tower lang tapos museums okay na.

Ang gagaling nyo mag budget! :aprub:

^ best budget tip is to find budget airlines. For PHL, CebuPac via Dubai is one of the cheapest gateway to Europe and Africa. If may seatsale, grab one. Going back is more expensive and Middle Eastern airlines (e.g.Emirates, Etihad) are worth it.

One tip is to do the “free” walking tours. Wala syang fee, donation lang at the end of the tour (we usually give Eur5-10 each, pang estudyante. haha).

Usually mga estudyante din ang guide. and I like it more kasi from a local’s PoV ang tour, mga eskinita ang pinapasok. Gusto ko din yung mga side kwento.

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My most favorite city is Amsterdam, I felt really free, safe and I liked it that people are so conscious of everything around them. I loved walking along the canals and just going in and out of the pathways/walkways which will bring you to amazing places you never thought were there.

I also love Venice, it was like being in a movie set the whole time. Being there was exhilarating.

Florence is like a medieval place full of high-end shops and old churches, structures, buildings. I loved the cobblestoned streets and the mercato. What I can’t forget is staying in this Airbnb apartment. It was beside the Florence Cathedral, on the second floor of a very old building sitted right on top of the Armani, Gucci, and other hi-end Italian shops. The room was literally straight out of another era. Old furnitures, big windows where you can see everything happening below the shopping street. I would love to go back again.

Whenever I travel to Europe, I usually stay in hostels, if it’s outside of work. This gives me a lot of opportunity in meeting locals and other travellers plus saves me money which I put on other essential stuff.

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In terms of food, I enjoyed it the most in Spain. Grabe yung tapas, wine, pintxos etc ughhh. If you are in Barcelona don’t forget to eat at Quimet Y Quimet and Vinitus. I still dream about the taste!

Sa Amsterdam masarap yung VLA nila, parang pudding na shake. Namali lang ako ng bili nun pero turned out super sarap pala. I also loved the Van Stapele cookies na by accident na naman nakita.

Sa Brussels and Ghent, try Amadeus (unli ribs, unli salad and hot potatoes with butter (out of this world ang sarap).

Sa Paris naman, matabang food nila. I always put salt. Pastries ang panalo (croissants, macarons sa Laduree and Pierre Herme). Wag kang aalis nang hindi umiinom ng hot choco sa Angelina. Nag-uwi rin ako nung mamahaling Le Beurre Bordier butter na halos €5 each. Sulit naman at masarap! :yum:

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Prague ang favorite city ko in Europe. Cheap, but really very pretty and romantic. When I was looking at photos, parang may natural filter siya because of the terracotta rooftops, gothic, and baroque architecture. It feels very surreal and cinematic any where you go. It’s very photogenic, walang pangit na anggulo kumbaga.

Vienna too, maybe because of the Before Sunrise series. :embarasslaff: But I also found myself walking miles and miles for days because of its medieval alleys and imperial squares. The rich history and culture is evident in the architecture. Vienna‘s sights are opulent, elegant and sophisticated.

Italy is probably the country with the most beautiful cities. I used to take fast train rides, go city-hopping and do day trips there. It was very therapeutic. Skiing in the Alps, visiting magnificent villas, heritage sites, ruins, and temples, slurping creamy gelato while daydreaming and strolling, reading and people-watching in family-owned, cozy al fresco cafes. I found the people to be more welcoming, say compared to the French. La dolce vita.

Paris is romantic but I found it dirty and smelly nga. Nakaka-turn off. Parang amoy ihi ng aso everywhere. :sad: Medyo intimidating (maybe even uptight) ang mga tao. Same with London, bland ang food except pastries. :drooling_face: I prefer the idyllic French countryside – less populated and polluted, cleaner, serene, prettier, parang paintings ang scenery. I want to explore more of it in future travels rather than stay in Paris.

I also fell in love with Bavaria in Germany. Ewan if it’s always like that but when I visited, it was drizzling and the weather was gloomy. I felt as if I was a character in the Grimms fairy tales. Perfect for car road trips — picturesque towns with cobblestone streets and half-timbered houses, mysterious monasteries, romantic landscapes, palaces, castles, castles, and more castles.

On the other hand, Berlin has its own distinct flair - modern, artistic, and sensitive. They have learned history’s lessons well. Maybe I romanticize my travels a lot, but I found the graffiti in Berlin’s walls, subways, buildings, and bridges edgy, creative, rebellious, beautiful. Amsterdam also has the same effect on me. Pretty too, cozy, safe, and carefree.

Lost a camera in Barcelona (madami pickpockets so I don’t know if nanakawan or naiwan) so medyo affected ang impression but otherwise, the city is very beautiful too. Magnificent churches, tons of cultural museums, and shempre, Gaudi. The city is situated between mountain and sea. The food is much more flavorful than in the rest of Europe.

I usually just walk in most of my trips because Europe is generally walkable. But everything is convenient in terms of public transportation. I utilized budget airlines (RyanAir, WizzAir - when I went to Budapest), trains, buses, car apps, rental cars. This is where I usually travel alone. I miss Europe. :cry:

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SKL nakita ko na yung blog entry ko about Europe on a budget. This was written in 2016 pero parang applicable pa din naman siguro and may tips din on applying for Schengen visa and booking accommodations.

Nakaka-miss nga mag Europe. Yung weather. Yung food. Yung puwede kang maglakad ng ilang kilometro nang hindi pinagpapawisan. Lahat sa Europe, maganda, kahit alulod nila at basurahan! Nakaka-miss tumunganga lang at mag people watch. :sigh:

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We have small kids so when we travel around Europe we lease or rent a car. Usually 3 weeks yung travel namin. Ok yung lease kasi brand new yung car na ibibigay and it costs the same as renting. Pero select cities and countries lang yung puedeng pick up and drop off ng leased car. And usually ginagamit lang namin yung car pag lumipat kami from one city to another. While we are in the city we use public transport. We park the car in a long term parking garage. We find it convenient to travel by car and we get to be flexible in our itinerary.

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I went to London-Paris-Amsterdam-Leiden-Brugge last year (2019) for 14 days. The first two legs were work-related so malaki talaga ang natipid ko sa airfare at accommodation. The last three legs were personal side trips. Biggest surprise of the trip ay yung Leiden in The Netherlands. It wasn’t part of the itinerary at all. Nirekomenda lang ng Airbnb host namin. Since one train ride away lang, eh pinuntahan na. Less touristy than Amsterdam, and very very quaint. The population is also young since it is a university town.

I stayed in Brugge for less than two hours. Was supposed to go around for an entire day, eh naiwan ng tren dahil sa slight technical difficulty at nagka-work emergency. Literally, tumatakbo kami around Brugge to take in as much as we can in the limited time that we have. Lesson learned: huwag isiksik ang sightseeing ng isang city sa isang araw. :laughing:

Di ko naman naexperience yung madumi at mabahong Paris. Malinis naman yung mga napuntahan ko pero to be fair, di talaga ako nakalibot sa underbelly ng Paris.

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I love reading your posts, I :heart_eyes: Europe!

I can’t share any budgeting tips, I’ve made so many mistakes. My first trip was when Erap was president (baka the kids won’t know that he was President once upon a time). The exchange rate was something like 1 usd = 54 pesos. I blew 10k USD on a 3 week tour with contiki, their road to athens tour from london-paris-Etc etc etc all the way down to athens. Don’t do this, kids. Mas mura ang DIY. Well, kung gusto mong makahanap ng foreigner jowa on tour, then go ahead and join a Contiki tour.

Recently I was in Rome, nags-start pa lang yung covid pandemic, it was in February. There was an unexpected death in the family in January, my husband and I just needed to get away for a while. Since it was unplanned, we didn’t really have a set itinerary, and we just stayed in Rome. Feb is a good time to visit, thin crowds, cool weather. I’d highly recommend it!

I think one of the most naturally beautiful places in the world is Iceland. We went there because of game of thrones, uso yung Iceland. It’s stunning. We chased the northern lights, saw lots and lots of waterfalls, tasted a glacier, ate their weird food. It’s maybe my #1 most memorable euro trip.

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This was taken in San Sebastian, Spain exactly a year ago! One of the best spots I have seen facing the Atlantic Ocean.

So far, I have visited France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Finland, Czech Republic.

Looking forward to returning again…

image

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Babalik ako rito. I miss Europe! :heartpump:

Hi! Some tips:

Do try visiting the Baltics—(except for Talinn) they’re not (yet) overrun by tourists. You can fly to Vilnius, Lithuania. The city is very interesting and hip. You can spend 3 relaxed days there, going around the old city center and sampling the local beers :smiley: and then on the third day, do a roadtrip to Trakai—there’s a beautiful 14th century island castle there and the scenery is amazing.

Then you can take a bus to Riga, Latvia and spend another 3 days or so there. I would recommend NOT missing the Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum, which would take you almost an entire day to see. The buildings (aka cottages, houses, churches, etc)) and landscape are worth seeing.

After Riga, you go to Tallinn, Estonia. The architecture in the old city center in Tallinn is more impressive than Riga and Vilnius, methinks. But ut’s also more crowded. There’s this small medieval pub at the Tallinn square which doesn’t use electricity and you get food as how they used to do it in olden times. Complete with eat-all- you-can pickles, which you’d have to fish out of a huge wooden barrel with a pitchfork or something. :sweat_smile:

And then from Estonia, you can extend your Baltic trip to the Nordics and hop on a ferry and go to Helsinki, Finland, where suddenly the beer gets more expensive. :beers: ( dont miss the Rock Church!)

Now, for Scandinavian tips. I’ve been to Norway (studied in Oslo for a while), Sweden, and Denmark but on separate trips so I can’t really give inputs on country-hopping in one go.

Norway — SIMPLY BREATHTAKING.
While Oslo is a must see (don’t miss the open-air Norsk Folkmuseum), I’d recommend doing a road trip (with ferry trips) all around the country—or at least as much as you can. For example, you can hop on a plane to Bergen (rainy as it is, the city’s beautiful) and then to Ålesund (rebuilt in 1904 following a devastating fire) and then do road trips/bike tours to and around Geiranger Fjord, Trollstigen, Stryn, around Møre og Romsdal, and drive through the Eiksund tunnel (second deepest undersea tunnel in the world) just for the heck of it. If you have more time, drive up the Atlantic Ocean road too! Plan a lot of time for a Norwegian roadtrip because the scenery is just so beautiful that I’m sure you’d want to stop all the time and take pictures. Food and drinks are really expensive (makes Swedenn and Denmark seem so cheap; circa 2016 a can of cheap beer at the supermarket was about 8euros :lol: and a glass of cocktails at a bar in Oslo was about 18euros) BUT you can fish for free—except in the salmon lakes, then you’d have to pay for entry/fishing fee. And you can forage for mushrooms and berries!!! :yummy: domestic flights via Wideroe would be relatively cheap(est) around late summer to early autumn (July to September), so do check the rates.

Sweden — Stockholm and Gotland
Stockholm is classy and shouldn’t be missed. Go to the gourmet food hall in the AM and nibble on free goodies that the shops put out for taste test. Lol. Not to miss: 1. Vasa Museum that features the warship, Vasa, which was recovered from the sea (after sinking on its maiden voyage more than 300years ago) and reconstructed, 2. Sodermalm, and subway art in the city :wink: . For food, while Kotbullar is popular, try Toast Skagen as well. Also, if your hotel offers breakfast buffet, i’d say go for it. Food is expensive (not as expensive as Oslo, but still…) so you can get a huge fill before you start your day. :smiley: ah and end a day on a ferry, crusing around Stockholm’s small islands.

Gotland is another island to see. Take the ferry from Nynashamn (south of Stockholm)–takes 3 hours. Or fly in (about 30mins). Apart from its beautiful coast and hiking trails,they have a traditional midsummer fest and a medieval week!!! You’d have to dress in medieval clothing the entire time and bask in medieval-themed food and activities (incl jousting!)

Denmark — apart from just looking for the (literally) little Mermaid in Copenhagen, i suggest also visiting Aarhus (and catching the Danish National opera’s “The Passenger” at the Musikhuset)! I’d generally recommend staying at Feriehuse or airbnbs so you can just do groceries and cook as much as you’d like. Lidl sells good local ingredients at very affordable prices. Or, if you are in Copenhagen, head over to Paper Island and sample the street food!

Okay. My comment is too long. Will come back here next time for other tips (Germany etc.) :hahaha:

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