1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Europe

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by sco5123, Feb 20, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,698
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    I am thinking about a trip to Europe. What are your favorite countries in Western Europe in particular? What are your favorite things to do/see?
     
  2. phade

    phade Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Messages:
    334
    Location:
    Western NY
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    5
    Western Europe Cities (thinking big cities only)
    London, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome would be my prime or category A cities to visit...

    Then cities like Venice, Madrid/Barcelona, Brussels, Antwerp, Belfast, Copenhagen rate as category B for me.

    That doesn't mean they are less fun at all, just the order in which I would visit destination wise. The neat thing is you can travel easily to most cities via train.
     
  3. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,449
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    105
    Sit in a outdoor cafe in Spain, France, or Italy and watch the world go by. You will find margaritaville pretty boring for evermore.

    Madrid, Paris, Dublin, Amsterdam...the list goes on. Try not to do too much in one trip.
     
  4. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    In college I did museums & cathedrals & cheap beer (I was at university in Belgium for a year) As an adult, I eat & drink better and go to museums that are more interesting to me & spouse - for instance, in Paris last year, we went to the Sewer Museum instead of the Louvre. Still went to Versailles, because I will always have time for palaces:peace: I like to rent apartments so I can go to markets and buy food to prepare at home. I also shop for souvenirs in grocery stores, no matter where I travel:thumbsup:

    Pretty much ANY place is going to be wonderful and a great experience. It is simply impossible to say what you might like. Throw a pin at a map. Figure out something you've always wanted to do and then see where you can do that in Europe. Look at Travelzoo and see if any of the special trip prices/airfares etc are appealing to you.

    I want to go to cooking school in Italy (probably an agriturismo stay) My husband and I want to go skiing in Europe (I did in college, he hasn't, so it's something we'd like to do together) I want to go to St. Petersburg and see the Hermitage. Find something special TO YOU and make a trip around it.
     
  5. Username

    Username VIP Whale

    Joined:
    May 5, 2010
    Messages:
    1,368
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    Epcot Center in Disney World is the closest for me as I like to spend my money in the GREAT U.S.A.

    We camped across America in 2006......best time ever.......17 states traveling 6,500 miles in 30 days......seen the Bad Lands, Mt Rushmore, Cody WY, Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, Zion NP, Grand Canyon, Cripple Creek, CO, Colorado Springs, USA Air Force Academy Base just to name a few......all for less then flying to Europe....and met the nicest people everywhere we went.

    We are now planning another SEE AMERICA trip....but this time we will be staying in hotels.

    Have fun wherever you decide to go and play it safe.
     
  6. TRN

    TRN High-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2011
    Messages:
    700
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    23
    My parents recently took a cruise to hit a lot of the major cities and ports along the Mediterranean coast, it looked amazing. My next trip to Europe would be something like that.

    I agree with the advice provided so far. Organized tours / trips take some of the work out of it your first time, so you can sample many places and figure out what you really like... so you can return and focus on the spots you enjoyed most.
     
  7. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,683
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    35
    I visited Europe last year. It was probably my once and a lifetime trip to that side, so hard to travel from Hawaii to the other side of the world. Plus I had united miles to use, it was great, only took 55k miles to get there. I have to use that much on delta just to get to the east or west coast from Hawaii.

    I took a tour since I didn't want to worry about logistics. The tour took care of my transportation, hotel and some meals (almost all breakfasts were included, but only a handful of dinners). I took the cheap Trafalgar costsaver tour. Cost about $2400 for 16 days (not including air) using Affordable tours (cheaper than Trafalgar, guess Trafalgar gives discounts to booking companies).

    I travelled (bus and ferry) from the UK to Amsterdam, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and ending up in france. I think it depends on what you want on your trip, whether seeing old architecture, art, majestic views, quaint restaurants, etc. I enjoyed visiting London, Amsterdam, Lucerne (awesome views from the top of the mountain), Venice, Rome, Florence, Nice (yum, topless beaches, lol), and ending up in Paris. I would recommend Rome, Venice, London and Paris as must sees IMHO.

    The tour was great because I didn't have to worry about much, they took care of my hotel (mostly 4 star hotels, not vegas types though), bus ride to all the countries mentioned and my luggage. I only spent money on my day to day stuff, some dinners and my shopping. Also had to add on some $$ for optional tours (Vatican, Venice canal tour, etc.). The tour and optional tours took care of entry to places like the Vatican, Eiffel tower, Versailles, etc. so we didn't have to wait in long lines like the general public. Travelling with the tour group was also good, the tour director looked out for us as there were many general tourist areas that were crime areas, it was surprising that many of the pickpockets were children.

    On the negative side, because the tour was a 'saver' type the hotels were mostly outside of town so not easy to get around if you stray from the tour group. Luckily our tour director dropped us off in the middle of all the cities and picked us up so we didn't have to fend for ourselves to get back to the hotel. The bus rides were very long, taking up a lot of the day so we didn't get much time to sightsee and explore in cities like Amsterdam (only had 2 hours to explore the city) and Karlsruhe Germany; wish that I could have spent more time in Germany and the Netherlands. The tour also took you to the general tourist areas so you were part of the mass of tourists in the city. I travelled at the end of May so just missed the summertime crowds. The tour was very hectic, :faint: leaving the hotel at 7 or 7:30 am and getting back in the late afternoon or evening, sometimes near midnight (in paris).

    Now that I am familiar with Europe I would probably skip the tour and go on my own. A lot of "legwork" planning everything (hotels, transportation, how to get everywhere, etc.) but at least I can spend more time in cities (instead of sleeping on the bus) and take a day off in between travelling. I did extend my stay, taking an extra day in London prior to the tour (visited the Warner Brothers Harry Potter studio) and 2 extra days in Paris at the end of the tour (visited the Louvre, Sacre Coeur, etc.), staying in hostels in both cities.

    I may go back to Europe one day but I will probably visit asia before that.
     
  8. mdee

    mdee VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2010
    Messages:
    1,372
    Location:
    Orlando
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    28
    London is always fun and there's lots to see and do. Be sure to visit the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben. Take a double decker bus tour of the city and drive over the London Bridge. If you have time and are a Beatles fan you should take a buss to Abbey Road Studios and walk across the crosswalk! Oh and ride on the London Eye so you can compare it to the High Roller in Vegas. There's also the original Hard Rock Cafe and Madame Tussauds is really cool and different than the ones we have here in the States.

    If you fly into Gatwick you can take the EuroStar Train into Paris. Take a Bus or Boat tour and see the Mona Lisa at The Louvre and see the city from atop the Eiffel Tower need I say more? Ok then how about a stay at Euro Disney and see both parks? Way more European than the States!

    If you choose Italy ride a real Gondola in Venice's St Mark's Square area. Florence was beautiful and in Pisa I walked over 300 steps up to the rooftop of the Leaning Tower of Pisa very cool! It goes without saying but you have to see the Vatican and the Colosseum in Rome. Just expect Rome to be a little dirtier from soot and beggars.

    And I'll add that if you plan a Cruise you'll have a Bed and Food at every Port. Shore Excursions can be hectic and costly but a great way to see everything.
     
  9. IowaRyan

    IowaRyan Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    312
    Location:
    Iowa
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    Europe is freaking awesome

    Go see the Tower of London in London; or

    Take a stroll along the Seine in Paris; or

    Attend Mass at St. Marks basicalla in Venice; or

    See the Monster house at the top of the Spanish steps in Rome; or

    Take a picture of the Charlie Chaplin while you tour the ring of Kerry in Ireland; or

    See the David in Florence.

    No matter what you pick you can't go wrong.
     
  10. squidward

    squidward Probationary Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Messages:
    304
    Location:
    South Texas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    52
    A few years ago I spent about 6 weeks in Helsinki, Finland. Arrived in February to work on a contract for the Finnish Red Cross.

    Never-ever go to Finland in February! Especially if you are from South Texas! Why you ask... because it's too damn cold there... miserable for six weeks?
     
  11. mikenhe

    mikenhe VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,580
    Location:
    anglo american in Tampa
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    you've listed a lot of stuff there that's on my list to see.


    but as I'm from Europe I'll just say - don't restrict yourself to this country. theres a massive amount of stuff out there to see.
     
  12. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    2,698
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    11
    WOW! Thanks for all the info. I am excited about the idea of Europe. Do you think it's possible to walk along the Siene for miles? Is Tower of London worth the price? Is Versailles in Paris worth the price? Is it better to see the Vatican or Colleseum first? Just how dirty is Rome...because I hear it a LOT! I hear about pickpockets A LOT in Europe...how to avoid them?

    Wow a sewer museum; that actually sounds really interesting. The cruise and/or tour package idea sound splendid for the future!! But for now it would be cheap food, cheap/free sights and great people-watching...so LOTs of fun ideas here!
     
  13. mikenhe

    mikenhe VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    Messages:
    2,580
    Location:
    anglo american in Tampa
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    9
    my advice on London has always remained pretty consistent. Find the list of the top ten most visited sites.
    Do not go to any of them.

    get a time out magazine and see whats is really going on - small theaters, art shows, walking tours - hell even book signings.

    buy shows tickets at the 1/2 price booth in Leicester square- for that day!!

    take a walk - do Tower Bridge and then walk west on the south side of the river - taking in Southward cathedral (walking right past the London dungeon), Borough market, the globe, tate modern, cafes in the side street,
    book stores under the bridges, the London aquarium, walk over to parliament and go in for a look at "democracy" in progress then head up to the west end.

    you'll see a lot more of London that way.

    I'm not adverse to one of the double decker sightseeing buses though - good way to see around the place.

    oh and the free museums and art gallerys. especially the tate. awesome.
     
  14. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    Versailles is outside of Paris, about a 30 minute train ride and you can walk to the palace from the train station. You can walk along the Seine - not sure for how many miles but there are sidewalks. In the summer they bring in loads of sand and create a beach along one section. We always walk and walk and walk when we visit cities. We walked 8miles our first day in Istanbul a couple years ago:peace::peace: (Paris has quite a few offbeat museums - I imagine many cities do and people avoid them for the "top ten" as Mike mentions. Since I did those things 25 years ago, these days I seek out the different and offbeat instead:thumbsup: The sewer museum was my husband's idea and it was fascinating and informative - he loved it from a civil engineering perspective and I loved it from an historical public health perspective) One museum I really wanted to visit but we ran out of time is the Musee de la Chasse et de lat Nature (museum of hunt & nature).

    There is crime and pickpockets and con artists in every large city in the world. Be a smart traveler and take reasonable precautions no matter where you travel. Once you decide on a destination, read up about that city and any particular scams that might be common (like the "gypsies" in Florence etc) Preparation is your friend. But fears of pickpocketing shouldn't be a reason to avoid any place, in my opinion.
     
  15. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    For fun ideas - start watching Rick Steves Europe on PBS. Informative & fun. He sometimes drives me crazy with his style (I much prefer Samantha Brown shows but they're not being aired at the moment and Rick Steves - old & new - are) Half hour ideas of what is out there and what you can do in different places:peace:
     
  16. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,683
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    35
    Pickpockets, our tour director said to watch out for groups of kids (girls mostly because boys will put you on guard). Try to stay close to the edge of the sidewalk and along the wall if possible. You don't want to be between them walking because one could distract you while on the other side another is cutting your backpack or picking your pocket by "accidently" bumping into you (dead giveaway, don't let them get close enough to you to bump into you). Keep your valuables (passport, large amounts of $$, etc.) under your clothes. I wore one of those security pouches around my neck and under my clothes, pickpockets aren't as likely to get under your clothes if you are layered (since it was cool I had on a short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt and a windbreaker). I also bought one of those wallets that are lead lined so nobody could scan my cc info. If you have a backpack or bag or purse, make sure it only contains stuff you can afford to lose, I heard that sometimes pickpockets can distract you and actually cut your bag away from you in a crowd.

    The Louvre had a big problem last year (they shut down for a day or two because of thefts) but I could tell some of the crooks, while everyone was looking at the artwork the crooks were the ones checking out the tourists. I saw a couple of them, they saw me looking and quickly walked away. I'm surprised that they don't have cc cameras everywhere watching for thieves.

    Versailles is awesome to see, esp if you like to see artwork and building. Outside their gardens are also great to see, I think at 5 pm they turn on their water jets to their many water pools (a la Bellagio fountains) but no real show like Bellagio, just water shooting in the air.

    I didn't think Rome was that "dirty", yes it had a lot of dirt with all the crumbling architecture and ancient ruins. Actually I felt that Paris was dirtier, a number of areas I could smell the stench of urine, while they washed the sidewalks down they didn't wash the corners that bums would urinate in. And many Parisians didn't pick up after their pets! In some areas I had to watch where I was walking because there was dog doo on the sidewalk. Most of the tourist areas were better kept but away from there it seemed "dirtier".

    My tour did the Vatican first thing in the morning, then the coliseum in the afternoon. That way we got in early enough before the mass of people (was still crowded though). IMHO, the coliseum is always crowded throughout the day. Since I didn't take the optional tour I was able to see the coliseum at night when it was lit up, very awesome. One thing to note: if you are planning to buy postage stamps or send something from the Vatican (considered a separate "country"), make sure you hit the post office in the Vatican before you exit the gates, you can't go back in once you pass the barriers. There is a trailer outside that is a post office but everything is expensive, over $25 euros just to buy a postcard and send it to America. (I think inside the Vatican it only costs a couple of euros to buy a post card and another couple of euros to send it).

    Our tour had a boat ride on the Seine in the evening, we could see many people walking it, some even waving hi to us. We cruised by the Eifel tower too. IMHO I would recommend cruising the Seine at night, neat to see all the things all lit up, esp the Eifel tower. Btw, at 10 pm the Eifel tower lights up with blinking lights for 5 or 10 minutes, an awesome sight. If you have free time, go up the Seine and find the statue of liberty. It was on the national treasure 2 movie.

    I missed the Tower of London, it was a rainy day and everyone was in line to see the Tower of London. I also missed the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace since it was too rainy. There were probably over 5000 people there anyway hoping that it would go on, the place was a mass of people. As someone mentioned, the open top bus tours are a great way of seeing London, you can check out the sights and get off on the stops that interests you.

    So much to do and see, so hard to remember everything, that's why it is good to keep a journal of your trip.
     
  17. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    The Eiffel Tower lights up every hour at the top of the hour, not just 10pm. Starts at 6pm (or it did November 2012 when we were there) and goes until 1am http://www.tour-eiffel.fr/en/everything-about-the-tower/the-illuminations.html

    Do note that MANY times/opening hours change depending on time of year. Going straight to the source is important to confirm.

    My husband wanted to visit the Catacombs in Paris but they were closed due to ventilation issues when we were in town. Fortunately they kept their website updated so we didn't make a wasted trip.
     
  18. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    3,683
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    35
    you mean that I didn't have to wait until 10 pm? rats...(lol).

    Actually I think the light show started at 10 pm when I was there in June because the sun set late and it didn't get dark enough until then. Our Seine cruise went from 8 or 8:30 to 9:30 and we didn't see the light show mostly because it wasn't dark enough until 10 pm.


    Agreed, make sure you go straight to the source to get your information. It would be a bummer to go on your trip only to find that something isn't open. I had that problem with the louvre, someone told me that it was closed on Mondays so I went on a Tuesday, when I got there nobody was around. Luckily I had 2 days to spend so I visited the louvre on Wednesday and on Tuesday I visited the places I had originally planned for Wednesday.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.