Our Europe May/June 2019 Itinerary- 25 cities, 9 countries, 5 weeks

19 August 2019

I’m no travel blogging pro, but since I’ve been asked by my readers to blog about our Europe trips, I’ll oblige. And because I am no pro, I will structure this blog post the way I like it.
This is the second blogpost from our Europe series. The first one is about Our Travel Process. How we chose the cities, sights and best experiences and how we navigate around the continent? Where to research before finalizing an itinerary? All that is in this blog post.

Back to this blog, it’s about the itinerary we followed. I've listed the cities we covered in photos below (in order). Full details of transport, stay, prices, etc is after the photos.

Istanbul (Turkey)- 4 nights
Dubrovnik (Croatia)- 3 nights
Kotor (Montenegro)- 1 night


Dubrovnik to Spilt (Croatia) by Ferry, Stay in Split- 2 nights

Split to Zagreb by Croatian Railways (most scenic journey ever), Zagreb (Croatia) 2 nights

Ljubljana (Slovenia)- 2 nights

Graz (Austria)- 2 nights

Graz to Vienna by train- all our luggage on us

Chill vibes in Vienna (Austria)- 4 nights

Salzburg (Austria)- 3 nights


Hallstatt (Austria)- Day trip from Salzburg

Hiking the Austrian Alps in Hallstatt

Fried bread 'Langos' in Nuremberg, Germany (Day trip from Herzogenaurach)
Nuremberg, Germany (Day trip from Herzogenaurach)

Regensburg, Germany- Day trip from Herzogenaurach

Herzogenaurach to Strasbourg by train, stay in Strasbourg (France) 3 nights

Lucerne (Switzerland)- Day trip from Strasbourg, France

Basel (Switzerland), Day trip from Strasbourg, France

Colmar (France)- Day trip from Strasbourg, France

Triberg (Germany)- Day trip from Strasbourg, France

Triberg (Germany)- Black forest cake in the black forest

Rudesheim (Germany)- Day trip from Frankfurt (Germany)
Eltville (Germany)- Day trip from Frankfurt (Germany)

Eltville castle gardens in full bloom

Stay with friends at Melbourne (Australia)- 3 nights

Home- Auckland (New Zealand)

We left Auckland for Instanbul (Turkey) via Ethiad Airlines. We had the most incredible flights with them. I’ve written about our experience here.
As Europe is very far away from New Zealand, our journey was very long. Auckland to Brisbane (3-hour stopover) to Abu-Dhabi (1.5-hour stopover) to Istanbul Airport. The total time to reach the destination was about 36 hours from memory. It’s a long way to travel with baby too, her first flight. I’ll be writing more about our experience soon.
Here’s our full itinerary with the days spent at each place
-Auckland (NZ) - Home- 36-hour journey ahead by Ethiad Airlines- return ticket for about $1800 NZD

-Istanbul (Turkey) - 4 nights - Hotel Saba in Sultanahmet Area via Booking.com- About $300 NZD

-Dubrovnik (Croatia)- 4 nights- Stay at Airbnb. Istanbul to Dubrovnik via Turkish Airlines flight. About $350 NZD each (very expensive by our standards).

-Kotor, Perast (Montenegro)- 1 night- Day trip from Dubrovnik (Croatia ) that ended up being an overnight stay- Stay at Airbnb.
Dubrovnik to Kotor by local bus from the main bus station (Autobusni Kolodvor, Cost $35 NZD per person). Explored Kotor for the day. Hiked the mountains to reach ruins of Castle of San Giovanni.
-Kotor to Perast (Montenegro) - Next morning, we took a taxi from Kotor to Perast village (€11) as the local bus timing and location weren’t very specific on the internet. We explored the village of Perast for half a day. We took a boat ride to ‘My lady of the Rocks’ church. Back to Kotor in the afternoon via a local blue-line bus that dropped us outside Kotor fort walls (€2).

-Split (Croatia)- 2 nights- Dubrovnik to Split by MB Kapetan Luka ferry (About $50 NZD pp)- Ferry stops at islands of Mljet, Korcula, Milna, Hvar)- Stay at Airbnb.

-Zagreb (Croatia)- 2 nights- Split to Zagreb by IC train (most scenic journey ever). Ticket price for IC train, first class $70 NZD pp- Booked via HZPP app (Croatian Railways)- Stay at Airbnb

Note: IC trains are super-fast bullet trains, hence their tickets are more expensive than regional trains.

-Ljubljana (Slovenia)- 1 night- Zagreb to Ljubljana by Eurocity train, booked on OBB app, ticket price $43 NZD pp for second class- Stay at Airbnb

-Graz (Austria)- 2 nights - Ljubljana to Graz by train- 2nd class, booked via OBB app- $15 NZD each, Stay at hotel Ibis right outside Graz's main train station.

Note: Cheaper ticket option- Sparschiene Österreich ticket: Starting price for an ÖBB Sparschiene ticket per person and direction, 2nd class, offer only valid for a specific train and subject to ticket allotment, can be booked max. 6 months (180 days) before departure only online and via ÖBB App.

-Vienna (Austria) - 3 nights - Graz to Vienna by train- 1st class, booked via OBB app- $33 NZD pp- Stay at Airbnb

Note: Cheaper ticket option- Sparschiene Österreich ticket: Starting price for an ÖBB Sparschiene ticket per person and direction, 2nd class, offer only valid for a specific train and subject to ticket allotment, can be booked max. 6 months (180 days) before departure only online and via ÖBB App.

-Salzburg (Austria) - 3 nights- Vienna to Salzburg by train, 1st class, booked via OBB app- $62 NZD-Stay at Airbnb

-Hallstatt (Austria) - Day Trip from Salzburg. Train from Salzburg to Hallstatt (Change at Bad Ischl, Attnang-Puchheim), then ferry boat crossing the lake to Hallstatt town ($18 NZD return for the ferry)

- Herzogenaurach (Germany)- 3 nights- Salzburg (Austria) to Erlangen by various trains, as we missed a connection due to rail replacement bus. Picked up by a friend from Erlangen to stay at their home in Herzogenaurach village. Train ticket booked via DB App.

-Nuremberg (Germany)- Day trip from Herzogenaurach, by bus to Erlangen and then by train to Nuremberg- Bought the weekend ticket for the group which works out way cheaper.

Note: The Weekend ticket allows travel on all regional trains, however no ICE trains, Intercity and Eurocity trains, Interregio and fast trains. Weekend ticket includes all form of public transport in the city. Ticket bought from a vending machine at the station. One ticket for a group of 4 people.

-Regensburg (Germany)- Day trip from Herzogenaurach, by bus to Erlangen and then by train to Nuremberg- Bought the weekend ticket for the group which works out way cheaper.

Note: The Weekend ticket allows travel on all regional trains, however no ICE trains, Intercity and Eurocity trains, Interregio and fast trains. Weekend ticket includes all form of public transport in the city. Ticket bought from a vending machine at the station. One ticket for a group of 4 people.

-Strasbourg (France; unplanned trip) - 3 nights- Herzogenaurach to Strasbourg via train. Various train changes because we utilized the German day ticket till France/Germany border. Stay at Airbnb (right opposite main Train station Gare de Strasbourg). DB Railways put us on rail replacement buses to Strasbourg, hence some delay and missed connections.

-Lucerne (Switzerland)- Day Trip from Strasbourg- 2nd class ticket, bought via Oui SNCF App (French railway) and SBB App (Swiss railways)

-Basel (Switzerland)- Day Trip from Strasbourg - 2nd class ticket, bought via Oui SNCF App (French railway)- Basel is the border city between France and Switzerland. It has 3 stations- one for Swiss railways, one for German DB, another one a 2-minute walk for French Railways.

-Colmar (France)- Day Trip from Strasbourg- 2nd class ticket, bought via Oui SNCF App (French Railway)

-Triberg (Germany)- Strasbourg (France) to Triberg (Black Forest, Germany)- This is day trip on our way to Frankfurt. We reached there in the morning, deposited our luggage in self-managed luggage lockers and did a hike in the Black Forest. Back on the train to Frankfurt in the evening.

- Frankfurt (Germany) - 3 nights- Triberg to Frankfurt via various trains, utilising the day pass facility from DB- Stay at a friends place

-Rüdesheim (Germany)- Day Trip from Frankfurt- utilising the day pass facility from DB App. Also, visited Eltville on the way back.

-Heidelberg (Germany)- Day Trip from Frankfurt - utilising the day pass facility from German Railways DB.

-Frankfurt to Melbourne (Australia) - 3 nights- Stay at a friends place. Paid a little extra for an extended stop-over.

-Melbourne to Auckland (NZ) - via Air New Zealand flight.

Here you go! That was our itinerary for Europe May/June 2019. Of these, many cities were not even on our list when we left home and we still made it there, just trusting my gut feeling that they’ll be good, based on friend's recommendations.
My next blog post on Europe would be on the Airbnb’s we used. My favourites among them and my tips on booking a good one. I also intend to write about our experience of travelling with an 8-month-old. Our learning’s from it. I’ll follow that with our packing light tips and must-haves while travelling with a baby. So lots to come, trust me I’m slowly but surely making my way through these travel posts.

Is any of the cities listed above on your wish-list?
Talk soon! Happy Travelling
Love
Nishu

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