The quality of your travel experience in Europe depends on what you plan to see, do in each city and your mode of visiting the places.
Our typical day’s schedule would look as follows.
- Wake-up between 8:30 to 9:30 AM
- Leave the hotel or AirBnN around 10 to 10:30AM
- Breakfast on the go
- Walk to the first point of interest
- The day ends around 10:30 PM
- On an average, we walk 10 Kms with our family of 7
- On an average, we walk 15 Kms per day as a couple
We don’t compromise our safety, sleep, and food during the trip on any given day.
- Rookie Mistake – Don’t read about the city for the first time while you are on a train to a specific city.
- Read about the city before you decide to visit a specific city during the planning phase to get a general idea about the attractions and things to do.
- Plan ahead for list of things to do, what time and how to do it.
- Before you hop on the flight, you have a fairly rough idea of the what you major attractions and your day plan.
Here’s an Example:
Eiffel Tower will be on everyone to-do list. And we had planned an itinerary for 2.5 days in Paris. Then we couldn’t buy the tickets to visit Eiffel tower at the time as per our plan.
We wanted 7 PM ticket. Looks like most of the tickets were snatched-up by travel companies few months in advance. We got 2:30 PM slot by paying 4 times the cost of an entry ticket if we had purchased directly from the Tour Eiffel. So, that changes our 2.5 days plan.
So, we changed the order of things to accommodate Eifel Tower. On the last day, our initial plan was to explore the Latin Quarter. But, we tickets were available for the Louvre Museum at 10:00 AM. So, we skipped the Latin Quarter and went to Lourve to see Mona Lisa!
How to Explore the City
Our way of exploring the city is by wandering and getting lost. During my first trip, I was anxious to walk in a small street that’s not well lit. But, we learned that even stepping to a street parallel to tourist attractions would have so much offer.
We love to walk, take a break when coming across the Gelato shop – Amarino, do some people watching, the sights and sounds of the place is something we take-in without judging their culture and way of life.
In Rome, we started from our Hotel at 10 AM located near the main train station (Roma Termini). We followed the walking tour map from Rick Steves Italy Guidebook. With a backpack and 3 bottles of water, we were all set to explore the city.
By the time we finished visiting the attractions for the day, we had walked 17 miles. Spanish steps was a sight in itself, where we spent the last 30 minutes of our day people watching. Then took a metro back to our hotel. We picked-up chicken kebab from a Mediterranian restaurant on our way to the hotel for dinner.
Important Lessons About Trains and Bus time
We were staying in Murren, Switzerland. There are two ways to reach the mountain town of Murren, Switzerland from Lauterbrunnen Valley.
- Cable Car and Train
- Bus and Cable Car
Before leaving to Interlaken, I took a picture of the bus timings. There was two bus per hour. We came back from Interlaken based on two buses per hour. When we came around 8:30 pm, the place was totally deserted. And it was cold and drizzling.
And there’s just one bus per hour after 8 PM. I did not look at full days schedule!
So, we had to wait in the cold and rain for 30 minutes. Just before the came, there were like 20 passengers for the bus. As part of planning, I started making note of train times to get back home at end of the day. It shouldn’t be a problem in bigger cities, but in small towns, I learned my lesson.
- Have a list of must-see things, visit and eat
- Don’t waste the time crisscrossing the city
- Be flexible with your plans once you arrive in a city
- Don’t compromise food, safety, sleep, and health.
- Before you hit the bed, plan for the next day with timings.
- Get the map of the city from the Tourist Information (TI) center
- TI’s are typically located in central stations or near the station