AROUND THE WORLD.ORG

travelling the seven parts of the world

Europe

 
 


23600 km (14750 miles)
95 days
24 countries
13 ferry crossings
43 nights in a tent
45 bottles of alcohol smuggled across the border

In the summer of 2009 we went on one of our largest trips yet, encompassing half of Europe. Starting from Riga, Latvia on May 27th, with our own car packed full of camping supplies, we headed south for sunny Italy, stopping by in Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein. After reaching the tip of continental Italy, we took the ferry to Sicily, from there to Sardinia, Corsica and back to mainland Europe in Nice. After traveling through Southern France, we smuggled alcohol across the borders of Andorra, dashed across northern Spain, and spent large amounts of time in Portugal, southern Spain and Gibraltar, crossing the ferry to Morocco. From there on its all northwards driving through Spain, France, Benelux and Germany, while dashing through Denmark and Sweden, stopping by in Aland Islands, and back to Latvia.

I left out places like Switzerland and close lying areas, because I want to go on a separate hiking tour there, and I left out areas close to home, such as Poland, most of Germany, Denmark, Sweden. Its not that they are not beautiful countries, its just that they are so close and so similar, when there I don't feel like I've traveled anywhere. Other large areas of Europe (East, Balkans, North, UK & Irlenad) had to be left out because the trip was already too long.

Europe is expensive, and this trip took us to some of the most expensive places of all. The total cost came out at around $100 per day per person. When in the countryside, we usually stayed in a tent, but in large cities we splurged on hotels. When my brother visited me in Portugal and Spain, we stayed in hotels for 3 weeks straight, had we left that part out, the average would have been far less. Time of the year is important - June in Italy was much cheaper than August in France, but May in Austria was too cold for comfortable camping. One thing we realized very quickly is that you can't eat out all the time, its just too expensive. We ended up cooking in campsites whenever we stayed there.

Another high cost item is entrance fees, in some countries you will pay them even for entering churches. The number of places you can visit and spend your money is staggering - in USA, there are 2500 national historic landmarks; in Italy alone, they number 100,000. In some days you can visit 3 or 4 UNESCO world heritage sites in a single day. If each one boasts a 9.50 euro entrance fee, for two people at the current exchange rate that comes out at $110. Add to that extortionate parking fees and gasoline at $8 a gallon (or if you're using public transport, transport tickets that cost more than parking and gas, and gigantic amounts of wasted time) and you've spent $150 in a single day without any accommodation or food to speak of.

Traveling on a long trip like this without a car is very inconvenient. For starters, you can cut the number of places you can visit and things you can do in half, because public transport isn't as fast and doesn't always go where and when you want it to go. Secondly, some of the best bits of a trip like this are small stops in beautiful little towns scattered across the European countryside, I just can't fathom how you can visit these places in any kind of a reasonable timescale without a car. Thirdly, you can put all your stuff in a car and leave it there, not having to carry all your bags on every bus and train is reason enough to drive.

Camping in Europe is nice in most mountainous regions, but everywhere else you're in campground from hell. The worst are coastal campgrounds, which are like little caravan towns full of loud vacationers with their kids. People who frequent these campgrounds have hardly seen a tent in their lives. Italy, especially south of Rome, is the most offending country, but that's only because campgrounds in Spain and Portugal are so hard to come by, we hardly managed to experience them. In high season, camping for two with a car can cost as much as $40 a night (but more around the $25-$30 range). In most places there is very little privacy, most campgrounds are just a large field with tents/caravans stacked next to each other so you can safely hear several people snore during the night. Showers often cost extra. That being said, if you go without a tent, you are going to be paying monumental amounts of money for hotels and you'll miss a lot of great camping.

Posts in the Europe Trip

 
 
Road Trip
Vienna
Melk Abbey
Hallstatt
Salzburg
Neuschwanstein Castle
Lindau
Vaduz
Innsbruck
Krimle Waterfall
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse
Italian Dolomites
Lago di Garda
Venice
Ravenna
The Oldest Republic, Land of the Free
Urbino
Bologna
Parma
Pisa
San Gimignano
Monteriggioni
Siena
Florence
Lago Trasimeno
Perugia
Assisi
Spoleto
Rome
Vatican
Rome at Night
Naples
Pompeii
Capri
Mount Vesuvius
Sorrento
Amalfi Coast
Melfi Castle
Sassi Neighbourhood in Matera
Driving to Sicily
Climbing Mt Etna
Syracuse
Sicily's Valley of Temples
Palermo
Monreale
Segesta
Ship to Sardinia
The Coast and Mountains of Sardiny
Tarros
Alghero
Nuraghe
Last Camping in Sardiny
Corsica
Monte Carlo
French Riviera
Verdon Gorge
Driving the Provence
Gordes
Abbaye de Sananque
Fontaine de Vaucluse
Avignon
Pont du Gard
Arles
Pont de Gau Ornithological Park, Camargue
Santes Maries de la Mer
Nimes
Gorges du Tarn
Millau Viaduct
Carcasonne and Cathar Country
Peyrepertuse
Queribus
St Martin du Canigou Abbey
Land of the Valley
Montserrat
Barcelona
Monestir Poblet
Lleida
Alquezar
El Pilar in Zaragoza
Santiago de Compostella
Braga
Guimaraes
Vila do Conde
Porto
Douro Valley
Lamego
Serra da Estrela
Piodao
Aveiro
Striped Houses
Coimbra
Fatima
Convento de Cristo, Tomar
Batalha Chruch and Monastery
Alcobaca Church and Monastery
Peniche
Obidos
Sintra
Azenhas do Mar
Cabo da Roca
Cascais and Estoril
Belem Tower and Jeronimos Monastery
Serra da Arrabida
Sagres, Cabo de Sao Vincente
Serra de Monchique
Silves
Algarve Coast
Tavira
Sevilla
Ronda
The Rock
La Linea Amusement Park
Ceuta
Tetouan
Tanger
Granada
Estremoz
Evora
Fado in Lisbon
Lisbon
Monsaraz
Vila Vicosa
Elvas
Marvao, Serra Mamede
Caceres
Merida
Cordoba
Mezquita in Cordoba
Toledo
Madrid
El Escorial
Segovia
Penadareda del Duero, Spanish Countryside
Burgos
Pamplona
Pyrenees on the French Side, Road of Masts
Pau
Lourdes
Moissac
Cahors
Sunset in the Central Massif
Rocamadour
Sarlet
Lascaux II
French Countryside
St Malo
Mont Saint-Michel Abbey
Fougeres
Chartres
Chambord
Chambord Night Show
Blois
Chenonseau
Saumir
Angers
Vitre
Dinnan
Dinard
Hambye Abbey
WWII Beaches of Normandy
Etretat, Cliffs of Normandy
Jumieges Abbey
Rouen
Chateau de Gaillard
Amiens
Notre Dame de Paris
Sainte Chapelle
Louvre
Triumph Arch
Eiffel Tower
Paris at Night
Versailles
Reims
Epernay
Visiting the Moet and Chandon Champagne Factory
Champagne
Wodden Churches near Lac du Der Chantecoq
Moselle Valley
Burg Eltz
Maria Laach
Cologne
Aachen
Brussels
Amsterdam
Volendam
Giant Dams
Hamburg
Lübeck
Crossing Denmark and Sweden
Islands Cruise and Overnighting