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Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
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Easy_C Offline
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Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Evening gents.

I'm posting here looking to bounce some ideas off of people.

This fall I am looking at taking my family to do some sightseeing in Western Europe. I will have a kid and the mother with me so as you can imagine the priorities will be a bit different from usual. For this trip I'm more focused on history and sightseeing: I want to eat some great food, go some places that will help appreciate some of the things that Western Civilization built, and see some fantastic scenery.


I anticipate a bit of a different itinerary.

Things I'm looking for:
  • Historical architectural and cultural achivements
  • Walking-friendly towns with a friendly atmosphere
  • Easily accessable by train

Criteria that don't matter:
  • Nightlife
  • Anything related to contemporary "arts" and "culture".
  • Tourists. I'm not looking for a tourist experience, but I'm disinclined to pass up a "must see" because tourists are there
  • The girls. I'm packing my own for this trip.
  • "Cultural Enrichment"
  • Anything Overpriced/Overcrowded
  • Anything potentially hazardous
  • Anything inordinately expensive.


Catch is that does make planning a bit more difficult because that steers me away from metropolitan areas and into smaller, more friendly locations. Two I've visited on previous trips that would fit the bill are Bruges and Lucerne.


What cities would people suggest?
02-23-2019 09:05 PM
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Bienvenuto Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
I would seriously suggest Granada.. awesome city/ small town really - sitting on the plain of Andalusia with tonnes of history and great culture and food and drink. Magical place.

Check out Los Alpujarras on the other side of the Sierra Nevada whilst you're there.
Specifically Pampaneira gorge and the tiny villages that cling to its side. Amazing food and setting.

Also check out the history of the Cathars and their mountaintop castles that the Catholic Church laid siege to and eventually conquered.
Incredible trail of hilltop castles strung across Basque Country, South West France.

https://www.audetourisme.com/en/tools/th...-trail.php
02-24-2019 01:00 AM
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Minnesotadrake Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
My vote would be for Krakow, Poland. Great walkable city with one of the largest city squares in europe. This city also has planty park, wawel castle and remnants of medieval walls. St. Mary's basilica is one of thr coolest churchs I've ever seen in person and the jewish quarter is also interesting which includes Osker Shindler's factory. The food is also very delicious and inexpensive.

I made Auswitz and Berkinau a priority on my trip and it easily was one of the top travel experiences of my life. Seeing both camps in person really made me appreciate my life even more.

The Wieliczka Salt Mine was also a unique attraction that would be ideal for your family too.
02-24-2019 02:39 AM
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mickeyd Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Pick a historical time period and study up before you go. Its kind of pointless and overwhelming to try and absorb 1000 years of history, it will simply go over your head. You could focus on Roman history, Greek, Holy Roman Empire, Rennaissance, etc visit a series of sights related to the subject accordingly. And please for the love of God dont just jump around various capital cities while spending only 2 days in each one.
02-24-2019 03:06 AM
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flyinghorse Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Verona and Florence are beautiful, culturally rich, and great walking cities with barely any cars in the centre.
02-24-2019 05:04 AM
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Sp5 Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
(02-24-2019 01:00 AM)Bienvenuto Wrote:  I would seriously suggest Granada.. awesome city/ small town really - sitting on the plain of Andalusia with tonnes of history and great culture and food and drink. Magical place.

Check out Los Alpujarras on the other side of the Sierra Nevada whilst you're there.
Specifically Pampaneira gorge and the tiny villages that cling to its side. Amazing food and setting.

Also check out the history of the Cathars and their mountaintop castles that the Catholic Church laid siege to and eventually conquered.
Incredible trail of hilltop castles strung across Basque Country, South West France.

https://www.audetourisme.com/en/tools/th...-trail.php

Second this. For a fall trip with wife and kid, Spain would be hard to beat.
Weather would be good, food great and reasonable (have to get into Spanish meal time). Lodging cheap compared to northern Europe.
You can easily take trains and buses to many other sites in the area, Cordoba, Malaga, Seville.

The range of the history is neolithic (Antequera stone tombs) through Phoenician and Roman to Visigothic to Islamic to Spanish. Sites of all types just in south of Spain alone.
02-24-2019 06:46 AM
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Ceasar Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
You can't go wrong almost anywhere in Western Europe, to be honest.

Granada would be good.
Barcelona & environs also good.
Madrid, plus Segovia, El Escorial, Valle de los Caidos good. And don't miss "Patones de Ariba".
Paris & Versailles.
London plus bath. Edinburgh.
Stockholm & the Viking ship museum & viking restaurant.
Italy -- Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Pompeii, Herculaneum.
Sicily.
Kings Landing. Kotor. Budva.
Munich, Hitler's Eagles Nest. Goslar in Lower Saxony.
Copenhagen. Amsterdam.
Piter. Moscow.
Istanbul.

Hell, pick any old town in W. Europe with an historic center, and you'll see some cool things.
02-25-2019 02:58 PM
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Netherlands, very easy to travel by train. Have an easy ticket sales system (in many countries this is difficult): Amersfoort, Utrecht, Deventer.
Maybe little towns in Friesland especially if the weather is good.
Or do you want to go to warmer countries?
02-25-2019 04:21 PM
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Savonarola Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Spain.
There is a high-speed train line, the AVE, that goes from Madrid to Toledo to Cordoba to Seville. From Seville, take a 3-hr bus to Granada.
Take 7-10 days for the itinerary.
You'll be in European history heaven.

1st alternate choice: Portugal. There is a train that goes Lisbon-Coimbra-Porto. That's magical too.

2nd alternate choice: Almost anywhere in Italy.
(This post was last modified: 02-25-2019 08:40 PM by Savonarola.)
02-25-2019 08:39 PM
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Heuristics Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Oh wow bro, sounds awesome. I myself am a big fan of Germany.

I'm gonna give you a suggestion a bit out of left field: Quedlinburg, Germany.

I don't know how i found the place, but it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It's a bit off the beaten path as far as germany is concerned but I loved it because it was in East Germany.

Prices are much more reasonable, and surprisingly for a historical place in East Germany, it was somehow preserved.

The Harz mountains are freakin beautiful. I also find the Germans to be much more pleasant with foreigners than the French. It is only a couple hours from Berlin and easily accessible by train or bus. It is a beautiful city and decently affordable.

The castle and the old town are both well preserved and escaped damage from world war 2. Highly recommend.

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(This post was last modified: 02-25-2019 08:53 PM by Heuristics.)
02-25-2019 08:52 PM
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Easy_C Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
Thanks for input so far. Quedlinburg looks like a great stop.


Follow up question: I think I want to make this trip partially useful as well and scout out Poland. What locations in Poland (or surrounding areas) would fit the bill?
03-13-2019 02:07 PM
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Aquarius Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
(03-13-2019 02:07 PM)Easy_C Wrote:  Thanks for input so far. Quedlinburg looks like a great stop.


Follow up question: I think I want to make this trip partially useful as well and scout out Poland. What locations in Poland (or surrounding areas) would fit the bill?

For strictly sightseeing purposes, definitely Krakow. There's a reason why the entire non-PUA, non-weekend getaway tourism industry of Poland is centered around Krakow.
03-13-2019 07:36 PM
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gework Offline
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RE: Planning a Western Europe Trip (History/Sightseeing focused)
If you want to go further west you could go to Cornwall (England), an area that is largely free from cultural enrichment, has distinct and quaint architecture, countryside and down to earth people - much more like they were before the cultural revolution.

I'm guessing that you'd be coming in from the US. If you book in advance you can get a flight for about $150 to London. Obviously get out of there ASAP and into the southern counties, where there are lots of small villages with good pubs and varied medieval and early modern architecture.

There's lots of good beaches, small villages, good cider and attractions, such an Tintagel Castle, alleged home of King Arthur.

[Image: Tintagel-Castle.jpg]

[Image: E4J5AJ.jpg]

But the best are The Isles of Scilly, which you can get to by hovercraft for $50 per person. The island had a a mixed Caribbean-French appearance with great beaches.

[Image: tresco%20a%20%28Custom%29.jpg?itok=9piqc...1488363825]

[Image: TSF-0256-1.jpg]

[Image: Tresco_Island-Staying-Sea-Garden-One-Bedroom-1.jpg]

Then head back to the mainland and get to the nearest airport (Exeter, 100 miles) and you can get on a $40 per person direct flight to Malaga, from where you could do Andalusia, as mentioned above.
(This post was last modified: 03-13-2019 08:12 PM by gework.)
03-13-2019 08:08 PM
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