Travel

Backpacking Europe from Toronto advise !!!

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  • Feb 19th, 2019 1:06 am
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 9, 2014
600 posts
179 upvotes
Toronto, ON

Backpacking Europe from Toronto advise !!!

Dear all fellow members,

My wife and I decide to do backpacking from Toronto to Europe for 15 days. We haven't done it before. We are looking for some advises here if anyone has done this. We want to visit mostly main attraction (Vatican City, Pisa tower, Paris Eiffel Tower, Rome, London, and few more places)

1) What is the best time to do? We are planning to do from mid-May to June
2) What is the best route to take? Planning to take a flight from Toronto to Rome, and then using publicity (bus, train) to get around
3) What is the budget? Planning around $7K (Is it possible)
4) Should we stay with motel or Airbnb? (Want to stay close to the attraction and working distance as possible.

Thanks in advance
22 replies
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
9665 posts
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skip the pisa tower, you will thank me later. there are tours that take you there, ours was a wine tour with a stop in pisa. its around an hour from Florence. the Vatican is walkable from downtown rome, everything is walkable in Rome except the airport.

we spent 10 days in Italy in the fall and spent 9000, the CAD - EUR sucks. but we also stayed at decent hotels.

I would just do 15 days in Italy if you haven't been before, you can fly into Rome and out of Venice. theres a ton to see and do in Italy.
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Nov 3, 2006
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rocking23nf wrote:
Jan 28th, 2019 11:25 am
we spent 10 days in Italy in the fall and spent 9000, the CAD - EUR sucks. but we also stayed at decent hotels.
Wow $9000 in 10 days? What percentage of that was your hotel? Does your total include airfare?
That's enough for a decent hostel bed for a whole year for me :razz:
rocking23nf wrote:
Jan 28th, 2019 11:25 am
I would just do 15 days in Italy if you haven't been before, you can fly into Rome and out of Venice. theres a ton to see and do in Italy.
I tend to agree as well. But most people tend to make this mistake anyway. No harm no foul though, just an excuse to come back in the future to tour the places properly :)
Last edited by twotterdhc6 on Jan 28th, 2019 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
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twotterdhc6 wrote:
Jan 28th, 2019 11:34 am
Wow $9000 in 10 days? What percentage of that was your hotel? Does your total include airfare?
That's enough for a decent hostel bed for a whole year for me, haha.


I tend to agree as well. But most people tend to make this mistake anyway. No harm no foul though, just an excuse to come back in the future to tour the places properly :)
our flights were 3000$ CAD, this was economy to rome, premium economy from venice. We are in Edmonton.

our hotels were 2100 EURO. so 3000 CAD

then meals, a little bit of spending, a few tours.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jul 9, 2014
600 posts
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Toronto, ON
Thanks,

Where did you visit in Italy? My wife wants to visit Paris on her trip, so I can't make only Italy though.
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
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cam1982 wrote:
Jan 28th, 2019 2:15 pm
Thanks,

Where did you visit in Italy? My wife wants to visit Paris on her trip, so I can't make only Italy though.
we did Rome 4 nights, Florence 3 nights, venice 3 nights, we also did day trips of the Amalfi Coast, and Siennna and the wine region.
Deal Guru
Feb 7, 2017
10167 posts
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Eastern Ontario
Read this recent RFD Topic as well
1-month-europe-2260146/

Good info in it as to setting a focus
Gotta remember that all of Europe is about the same size as all of the USA
50 Countries in the space of 50 States

With just 2 weeks... I think I would either focus on
JUST ITALY as @rocking23nf suggested
Or maybe London / Britain and Paris / France
Lots to see and do in these 2 countries
And they are an easy commute via the Chunnel & the Eurostar train

Both the cities alone of London & Paris could occupy 3 to 5 Days each
(More better than less)

Plus then you got all the intersting countryside in both countries
France is often overlooked IMO
DDay Beaches - Cdn War Graves - Wine Regions (Bordeaux - Loire Valley - Alsace) - Provence - French Riviera etc
Easy to spend a week or two in the French Countryside
(France being approximately equivalent in size to Texas)
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Jul 5, 2004
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The main attractions are almost never the highlight of the trip. Take the time to explore whatever country you visit. There's so much more to see and enjoy than just the main attraction in each country.

You just can't visit that many countries in such a short period of time and actually enjoy the trip.
Jr. Member
Jan 1, 2018
130 posts
26 upvotes
I did 4 days in Rome, 3 in florence and 2 in venice with day trips to Pompeii and Pisa in March 2017. Flew into Rome and leave from Venice. Skip Pisa as the tower is very overrated. You need to book your trip so you can book advance train tickets as some can be as cheap as 19 euros/pp. I recommend you buy/ book Vatican and Colosseum skip the lines tix which you can buy online.

Trip was great!

This website is what I used to plan my trip: rometoolkit.com.

I am not a pro but you can PM if you have any questions. Hope you both enjoy your trip.
Deal Fanatic
May 29, 2006
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we did not do the skip the line at the colosseum, we entered through the roman forum to get our ticket.
Deal Fanatic
Jun 18, 2012
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rocking23nf wrote:
Jan 28th, 2019 12:07 pm
our flights were 3000$ CAD, this was economy to rome, premium economy from venice. We are in Edmonton.

our hotels were 2100 EURO. so 3000 CAD

then meals, a little bit of spending, a few tours.
R.I.P.

ouch...
Deal Fanatic
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Jan 9, 2011
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cam1982 wrote:
Jan 28th, 2019 10:04 am
My wife and I decide to do backpacking from Toronto to Europe for 15 days. We haven't done it before. We are looking for some advises here if anyone has done this. We want to visit mostly main attraction (Vatican City, Pisa tower, Paris Eiffel Tower, Rome, London, and few more places)
Too many places, too little time. If you are dead set on both Paris and Rome, skip London. Consider: 6 nights Rome, train to Florence, 2 nights. 1 night in Pisa. Fly from Pisa to Paris on easyJet. 6 nights in Paris. Fly home from there.
Sr. Member
Jan 14, 2010
640 posts
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Central Ontario
Don't be dissuaded here @cam1982 ; if you are the type of travellers that will haul a$$ all day your ambitious itinerary is doable. Lay out a wish list (in pencil for flexibility!) on a calendar, including where you would sleep each night, travel between sites, and what you want to see. Your budget is also doable if you plan everything very early (cheapest rates on hotels, train/planes). Many of the cities you are looking at are walking and transit friendly. Sample:

Fly overnight from Toronto. Would advise into London as quickest flight to get journey started and highest take-off fees (you'll avoid by training out).
London 3/4 nights (not including fly in): start right away (most hotels will either hold your bags or even give you your room):
HOHO tour
walk the Thames
see Parliament
Westminster
PM residence
Trafalgar Sq,
British Museum (plan 5h here, it's amazing and free)
Picadilly Circus (like Times Sq)
Buckingham Palace
St. James park
Kensington Palace
bike around Hyde Park
window shop or have tea in fancy area by KP (like Harrods, etc.)
see a play in West End
look at London Eye (too expensive and wastes too much time to be worth the actual ride)
walk all the way from Vauxhall or Lambeth bridges to tower bridge (winding your way over each for cool pictures)
take the water ferry (included in HOHO) to Greenwich
Covent garden
could go out to Windsor, Wembley, Beatles sites, Watford (Harry Potter studio)
Choose what's worth expensive admission (we were happy seeing outside of Westminster Abbey, paid to see a West End play) and enjoy free sights like telephone booths, iconic tube station signs, and an amazing multi-cultural yet English-speaking city.

Train to Paris. Eurostar takes 2hrs, and has benefit of starting you out from one of the most beautiful stations (Kings Cross/Euston) and ending you an easy Metro ride to anywhere in Paris (unlike flights which make you take the commuter trains a long distance). 4/5 nights depending on out-trips. Dump bags and roam: it too has an easy to navigate Metro that can get you practically everywhere within 20 min.
Walk up the Eiffel tower (not that much cheaper, but fun to say you did)
check out Napoleon's grave and grounds
see the Louvre (again, at least 5h)
walk to Sacre Coeur
Notre Dame
Luxembourg gardens
walk the Seine, take pictures of bridges
visit Galleries Lafayette (and window shop or just stair at the amazing ceiling)
walk the Champs Elysees
train out to Versailles and pay for the interior tour of just see the amazing grounds for cheap (free? cant' recall)
train to Vimy to see amazing Canadian monument (if timed right you could train to Arras and then train back to CDG for a flight out which would save time and transport from downtown Paris to the airport)
visit the Catacombs and learn about Paris during the plague (get a jump the line ticket and go early in the morning)
eat crepes
Ugh, too much to see, but walk everywhere and jam it all in. Avoid restaurants and buy baguette and great cheese and wine and be romantic picnickers in the parcs. Stay away from Disney!

Fly to Roma. 3-4 nights.
Colleseum
Pantheon
Vatican (skip museum although I think that might be the only way to see the Sistine Chapel and map room so maybe don't), walk up the St. Peter's tower
walk the Tiber (not near as nice as other 2 but stick with the theme!)
hike the Spanish steps
see Fontana de Trevi
all the piazzas, palazzos, obelisks (have you read any Dan Brown books?)
mangia mangia mangia pizza, pasta, gelato, etc.,
smaller religious Catacombs here too if you missed in Paris
Roman Forum
Palatine
Circus maximus (and don't be disappointed that it's just a field).
Drink in the rich history and culture (and drink lots of vino, prosecco, aperol...).

In between, pick you options. break up Paris > Rome via South of France (Nice, Marseille, Monaco, Corsica) or Barcelona for a couple days. Brussels is trainable from London or Paris. Amalfi coast beaches. Other major Italian, French, or UK cities. Add nights to existing cities. Other than Eurostar, EasyJet and Ryanair tended to be cheaper and quicker (especially if you can do no checked bags). Be warned and check your ambition after the major cities; you'll be pretty wiped after 14d. Worth it though... have done and would do again in a heartbeat! Decide on what you want to see and where, book your transport, then book your hotels/AirBNBs, then book any pre-pay tickets and consider what you will enjoy seeing for free.
Deal Addict
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Oct 2, 2006
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What the guy said above. For 15 days, you can split it up as London for 5 days, Paris for 5 days, then Rome for 4/5 days.

London has some great options for a day trip outside the city:

Brighton (vibrant seaside town that some say is a smaller version of London, which I somewhat agree)
Oxford
Cambridge
Salisbury (for the famous cathedral)
Canterbury (cathedral town as well and famous for Chaucer)
Bath (beautiful town famous for the Roman baths -- I recommend this to be an overnight trip)
Stonehenge (there are tours that visit this, plus Salisbury and Bath but it seems a bit too much for a day trip)
Dover (white cliffs)
Bournemouth (seaside resort town with a large sandy beach)
Windsor Castle and Eton College
Hampton Court Palace (technically within London -- take train from Waterloo station)
Kew Gardens (a UNESCO World Heritage site and technically within London as well -- take district line bound for Richmond)
Blenheim Palace (birthplace of Winston Churchill near Oxford)
Stratford-upon-Avon (if you're not into Shakespeare, you may skip this)
Cotswolds (Chipping Norton, etc)
Chiltern Hills (for some hiking on the countryside -- you'll need a car)

There are lots of other beautiful small towns surrounding London that are within commuting distance by train and remain unknown to most tourists (like Winchester in Hampshire for example). Since your time is limited, then I wouldn't recommend them, so stick to the above.


For Paris, you can do day trips to:

Versailles
Chartres (for the famous cathedral)
Loire Valley (various chateaux such as in Chambord, Amboise, etc.)
Deal Guru
Feb 7, 2017
10167 posts
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Eastern Ontario
@cocodc
@heymikey

Don’t know that i’d want to go at things with such a torrid pace

BUT ... I learned a lot from your posts, so giving each a thumbs up

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