Going to Europe this summer!

  • D300

    Posts: 86

    Apr 27, 2011 5:25 AM GMT
    Hey guys!

    I'm going to Europe this summer and I'll be there for three weeks in July. A friend and I are traveling to London, Brussels, Paris, Zurich, Venice, Florence, and Rome.

    Do you guys have any suggestions on places and attractions we need to visit, places to eat, etc?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks guys, icon_biggrin.gif

    Jake
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 11:36 AM GMT
    I love Rome. I lived there for six months in 2007 in the Monteverde neighborhood of Trastevere (on the other side of the Tiber river about one mile south of the Vatican). Definitely have gelato, and lots of it.

    Things to see in Rome: everything. It really depends on what you;re interested in. Since I am an archaeologist, I am naturally drawn to the ancient things, of which there are lots. I would say definitely see the Coliseum and the Forum. Vatican City is also fantastic. If you like renaissance/baroque art, I would definitely check out the Gesu, which is the headquarters of the Jesuits (Society of Jesus). It is, IMHO, the most beautifully decorated church outside of St. Peter's Basilica.

    The Gesu is located to the east of the north end of Largo Argentina (where you can find the ruins of four republican era victory temples that now serve as part of Rome's cat sanctuary). Just south of L. Argenitina, you can find a Chinese restaurant that is some of the best I've had. I know what you're thinking: "Chinese restaurant? In Rome? SOUTH OF THE CAT SANCTUARY!?!?" Trust me, it's fine. In fact, it's fantastic. Order their calamari.

    Restaurant advice in general when in Rome? Don't eat near the touristy areas. The food will generally be over-priced and crappy. Find the hole-in-the wall places. You may need to speak some Italian, but trust me when I say that it's worth it. Also don't order "house wine". There are no vineyards around, so "house wine" typically comes from the vat (or 5 gallon bucket) where they dump the dregs of the other bottles they serve that aren't finished.

    Also see about getting pizza "al taglio". Roman pizza is delicious and they serve it to you by the slice (which is what "al taglio" roughly means). There's a pizzaria near by the Largo Argentina, called Ai Marmi: Viale Trastevere, 53-59 (06- 5800919). You can find there the perfect Roman pizza: thin with a crispy crust. This place is popularly known as the obitorio, or "morgue," because of its Spartan interior, it brims with life in the evenings. Try the fried zuccini and any of the pizzas. Dinner for two is about 30 euros, but you can get pizza by the slice for pretty cheap and it is all very tasty.

    Have a great trip!
  • Rowing_Ant

    Posts: 1504

    Apr 27, 2011 11:57 AM GMT
    Paris....the Bascillia of Scare-Couer on Montmartre, the Church of Saint-Suplice and the Church of the Madelaine.

    AVOID Notre-Dame de Paris. Swarming with tourists. Millions of them and the Isle de le Cite is horrendously over priced. Saint Chapelle is amazing, however. The last time I was at Notre-Dame de Paris, even on a Sunday, hordes of people, some dumb toursits asking if they could see the Hunback (seriously) and the tour guide saying it was all medieval (the front is new, put on in the Second Empire).

    Again avoid the Crypt of Napoleon 1er at Les Invalides - too many tourists. The Cathedal of St Louis at Les Invalides is, however, usually very quiet and also gorgeous.

    Id recommend trips out to Versailles, to St Cloud and the Palace of Compiegne. Malmaison is also worth a trip.

    Find a nice street cafe, order Un Creme sit back and people watch!
  • stee99

    Posts: 317

    Apr 27, 2011 11:58 AM GMT
    calling yourself canadian might make things easier too.. lol icon_wink.gif
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 11:58 AM GMT
    JD300 saidHey guys!

    I'm going to Europe this summer and I'll be there for three weeks in July. A friend and I are traveling to London, Brussels, Paris, Zurich, Venice, Florence, and Rome.

    Do you guys have any suggestions on places and attractions we need to visit, places to eat, etc?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks guys, icon_biggrin.gif

    Jake
    most def sweden...stockholm is great in the summer, plus a more liberal country than sweden is hard to find. Great place to see the nordic life;)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 12:19 PM GMT
    If your not flying, use trains, not buses ^_^
    Take the bus as a last resort, hehe icon_razz.gif

    And about the food. Don't sit in the biggest square, in the most obvious restaurant.
    2 tips, find a restaurant that isn't in the popular spot (you'll pay like a Sheik)
    ...and if your picking a restaurant, sit at the one where most people are - means it's good.
    If you're not up for restaurants, there's tons of markets where food is cheaper and you can also maintain healthy diet (if that's your thing).
    But again....don't go to a market that's in the middle of a square or near an important historical monument ^^ lol.

  • Poolboy44

    Posts: 54

    Apr 27, 2011 12:23 PM GMT
    When you are in Rome find Giolitti's gelato. IT is near the pantheon, well a few streets away but still, it's also right down the street from Piazza Colonna. Go get some and chill by the Pantheon.

    Venice, just eat some food! It's amazing there! I loved everything I ate in Venice!

    I haven't been to the other places, but have fun with your friend, wander the cities, explore on your own without just a tourist guide. I've been in europe for 4 months and I'll be here for a another two, I just wish my friends were here to share the experience, so enjoy it!!!!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 1:49 PM GMT
    In Florence, go to the Accademia to see the real Michaelangelo's David. If you are in Florence for just a few days, I would do that rather than the Uffizi, which has awesome paintings but can be awesomely exhausting too! Check out the leather shops near Santa Croce (which I think is the most beautiful church I've been in) and bargain hard in the shops to get some real bargains. If you want to take a quick city bus ride, go to Fiesole, about 5 miles away and on a beautiful hill, lots of splendid villas on the way, plus Roman and Etruscan ruins, and a small Etruscan museum. The Etruscans had an interesting culture and to me seemed to be more fun than the Romans. I don't think you can have a bad meal in Florence as long as you avoid the "menu turistico" places. We have eaten twice at La Maremma, also in the Santa Croce district, recommended years ago to us by a gay acquaintance.
    In Rome, try to see the Basilica of San Clemente, near the Colosseum. The current church itself is very old, but it's built on top of an earlier church, which is built over a Mithraic temple, which is built over a street burned in Nero;s time! You walk down narrow staircases back into history!
    In Venice, we had the most memorable meal ever at Harry's Bar, which has a somewhat touristy reputation. Try their martinis at least. We were trreated like royalty there.
    Bon voyage!
  • D300

    Posts: 86

    Apr 27, 2011 4:01 PM GMT
    Wow, thanks guys for all your input/advice, it means a lot!! I'll definitely be using all your advice. icon_biggrin.gif

    Jake
  • awm55

    Posts: 619

    Apr 27, 2011 4:15 PM GMT
    Go to the sacre coeur in Paris at night. The view over Paris is astounding with the Eiffel Tower all lit up and the city beneath you. Probably the most beautiful thing I have ever seen within a city.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 6:10 PM GMT
    Hey I lived in Paris six months and in Florence for three months.

    In Paris go to Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower even though they are super touristy, there is a reason for that. Just walking around there will let you see the Seine which is such a beautiful sight. Also do not miss the Arc of Triumph and walk down Champs-Elysees.

    I highly recommend going to Monte Matre in the afternoon it has such a chill vibeee and nice mode that area and there are a lot of restaurants there that are not that over priced.

    Most importantly go to the 6th arrondisement and the Quartier Latin, this is the Left Side of the River. This I consider to be the best part of the city, it is authentically French because a lot of French people still live here and it is filled with students since there are may universities in this area.There are a lot of Parisians walking around which are not tourists. Also there are hidden restaurants in this area that have good lunch menus. If you can go to one called La Boussole very nice food for a great price. And don't miss Le Jardin de Luxembourg in my opinon the best park in Paris. If you have time go to the Pantheon which is in the area, not as impressive as the other monuments but still pretty impressive.

    Now for Florence, as stated earlier see the David before you see the Galeria degli Uffizi and again go to Fiesole. It is such a beautiful sight it's like seeing all of Italy on top of that hill. I recommend a great pizza place called pizza Paza and it is la via dei canto dei Nelli, in the leather market in front of the Basilica Medici. They are not expensivee and are such good pizzas. Oh don't forget to eat a gelato, but there are millions of places like this in Florence. Message me if you need more tips and sorry to bother you with so much details.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 6:13 PM GMT
    My grandparents live near Brussels. While it is an amazing city and I love to visit, it isn't derided as 'Europe's most boring city' for no reason. A solid day and you will have your fill.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 6:32 PM GMT
    Been there. I visited Windsor Palace, and ate at a small fish and chips shop a few blocks away from there. It was really cheap- we're talking like $10-$15 for a big plate, and this was 2 years ago when the dollar was $2/L1. London eye is worth going on twice. Tower of London- once. Also if you're not used to it, in certain areas- prepare to smell car exhaust and lots of it.

    Paris was alright. Traffic can be a bitch and if you want to see the Eiffel, go early. The Louvre is massive. You can spend days looking at art in that place. Also by the Notre Dame there are various riverside shops that you can visit. They have nice posters that cost about E1-3 as well as French novels.

    Venice- prepare to pay to pee. Seriously- the glass factory was the only place I saw that had a free bathroom. Shopping there was rather expensive, but you can get nice pieces of glass. I'm talking super nice; fancy even.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 7:12 PM GMT
    For the Louvre be aware that there are different entrances depending on whether you are on the guided tour or on your own/audio tour. Can save you heaps of time waiting in line. Maybe money too.
  • Nayro

    Posts: 1825

    Apr 27, 2011 7:26 PM GMT
    Swap Brussel for Amsterdam! Will be more fun ;)
  • wellwell

    Posts: 2265

    Apr 27, 2011 7:39 PM GMT
    Daelin saidSwap Brussel for Amsterdam! Will be more fun ;)


    ...what he said . . .

    You will make permanent friends in d'Nederland if you spend the slightest bit of time there.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 7:41 PM GMT
    I used to live in London and get back once a year (most recently in early March). If you're looking for accommodation try www.londontown.com and www.lastminute.com. There are often some good deals on basic hotels in Russell Square, South Kensington, Victoria, and around Tower Bridge.

    Some great cheap restaurants include Satsuma (noodle house on Wardour St right at the end of Old Compton St in Soho, across from The Village bar), Cafe Emm on Frith St just down from Soho Square, and The Stock Pot near Cambridge Circus.

    My favourite museums are the V&A (www.vam.ac.uk Victoria & Albert Museum of Decorative Arts, South Kensington), Sir John Soane's museum (www.soane.org Lincoln's Inn Fields, near Holborn), and The Wallace Collection (www.wallacecollection.org practically right behind Selfridge's department store).
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Apr 27, 2011 7:42 PM GMT
    The Louvre is open late on Wednesday nights, that's when I went. You really could spend weeks there, so if you are going try to prioritize what you want to see so you don't get sidetracked.

    I went to Versailles and it was a great time. Get there early and go straight out to the Grand Trianon, Petite Trianon and Marie Antoinette's Hamlet, then work your way back through the garden and see the main palace on your way out. There is a trolley you can take for about 4 euros to get out there.

    The hike up Notre Dame is a bitch, but it's worth it. It give a great view of the city and the Eiffel Tower.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 7:46 PM GMT
    What are your interests? I'm not going to recommend a bunch of museums or historic sites if you have little to no interest.

    Are you using Zurich as a base for some outdoor adventures in the Alps? No, then maybe skip it.
    Are you crazy about Magritte and Tintin? No, then skip Brussels too.
    Instead, head to Amsterdam and Berlin. They're fun vibrant cities with a lot to do and see.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 7:52 PM GMT
    I have to agree and come down on the side of the Dutch in the Amsterdam V. Brussels debate. Brussels is great for beer & food (hi, welcome to Brussels--how would you like your potatoes?) but Amsterdam is a lot more lively. I'm glad I went to Brussels (Sept 2009), but I'm in no hurry to visit again.
  • sloughwest

    Posts: 210

    Apr 27, 2011 7:58 PM GMT
    Venice restaurant - I'd recommend http://www.allombradelgabbiano.it/ ate there in Feb 2011, it's on the mainland rather than the venice islands so is better value, also lots of less touristy bars locally to the restaurant.

    London is big, and there are loads to see and do. Buckingham Palace is worth the tour. London Eye does have great views (take telephoto lens), but can be packed - book online beforehand.

    Madame Toussauds can be a bit of fun, or visit the Olympic 2012 stadium http://www.london2012.com - it's classed as East London.

    Harrods (great cafe in the back lane opposite ) and Selfridges (great Mozarella bar in Women's fashion ), Oxford street for shopping - leads to Tottenham court road - good gay cafe for coffee and cakes!

    Head out of town to Windsor, tour the castle, visit the Dorney Olympic rowing lake.

    Have fun icon_smile.gif









  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 8:07 PM GMT
    You missed out Berlin! You must go to Berlin.
  • D300

    Posts: 86

    Apr 27, 2011 8:38 PM GMT
    Thanks again guys for all your input!

    I think we may be going to Amsterdam for a day but its not confirmed yet. We have two night in Brussels (where my family is from) and may take a train to Amsterdam for one day. I read that it is only a two hour train ride? would it be worth it?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 8:43 PM GMT
    Buy the "Eyewitness Travel Guides" by DK Publishing. They're the best tourist books I've ever seen. They make "Top 10" books for most of the big destinations.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html?ie=UTF8&docId=1000106761
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Apr 27, 2011 8:47 PM GMT
    Forget Brussels, it's a shithole with only that one square and 4 streets around it that are actually nice.

    Go to Amsterdam instead - 2.5 hours by train from Brussels.