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Old 08-22-2010, 06:11 PM   #1
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Travelling to Europe alone

Hey everyone. I'm a guy in my mid-twenties and I need to revamp my life because I've gone through some rough things (was in an emotionally abusive relationship with my gf, got betrayed by multiple "best friends"). I'm thinking of going on a 1-2 week vacation to Europe by myself. I want to get around, see new unusual things, and especially meet a lot of new people and hopefully make some international friends.

Does anybody here have recommendations on how I can go about doing all of this? Where in Europe are the best places to go alone? I don't want to do a huge tour of many countries, since I would only have about 10 days - I'd rather explore quality of places than a quantity.

But yea, for going about it alone, meeting people, what would be a good idea?

Thanks everyone.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:17 PM   #2
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Dublin on my own for a week was heaven.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:50 PM   #3
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I'm jealous.

Have a great time.
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Old 08-22-2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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Dublin on my own for a week was heaven.
Cool, what did you do there? Did you meet anyone from U2?
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:34 PM   #5
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I would love to do this. I've actually been thinking about it, but I don't have the money.
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Old 08-22-2010, 07:46 PM   #6
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If you like to save a little, I could recomment couch surfing to you. Of course only if it's your thing. A friend of mine offers his spare room here in Berlin to couch surfers. It's very well sought after, but also a great opportunity to have a cheap stay and, depending on your host, some local who can show you parts of the town you are going to that are not that easily accessible for tourists. It's also a big community with lots of activities in some cities, but no strings attached. Neither do you have to offer your appartment in return, nor are you supposed to do things with your host. You can limit the host you are looking for very well on the website for couch surfers, so you get pretty much the kind of housing you are looking for. And it's free. You may give tips, but there is no rent or something like that.
CouchSurfing - Participate in Creating a Better World, One Couch At A Time That should be the website, but I could ask him to make sure.

The obvious place for a U2 fan is, of course, Dublin, and it's a very nice place, or so I've been told. Attached to a beautiful country as well.

As a Berliner I could also recommend you my town. Most of the people that've visited told me it has been the greatest city they've been to so far. It was my city of choice, so I can understand, but still it surprises me each time again. I just have to think of cities such as Dublin, Amsterdam, Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, Sydney (though I prefer Melbourne), Tokyo, Rome... and what great places these are, and am fascinated that such a tremendous number of people come to Berlin and say, quite honestly, that it's been the best city of all they've been to.
It's a very international place and it's easy to find your way around. Even on your own and without a knowledge of the language. Further, Berlin is a relatively cheap city, so you can do lots of things and still pay less than in most other major cities.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #7
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Thumbs up for CouchSurfing. We stayed with a really friendly couple just outside of Salzburg, Austria, this summer (just overnight since we were passing through on our way to Northern Italy). They took us on a bike ride into town on the world's most beautiful bike path, showed us the sights and cooked an awesome vegetarian Indian meal.

I learned much more about Salzburg this way than if we'd stayed at a hotel.

If you're looking to make friends, CouchSurfing is a great way to go.
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #8
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I have to second Berlin - it's fantastic. I was there a couple of weeks ago and I was surprised by how much I loved it. Really fabulous food (not just the German stuff either), relatively cheap compared to other Euro capitals, good bars/pubs, very modern, etc. I'd have no hesitation going back there. And everybody speaks English so if that sort of thing worries you, Berlin is no problem at all.

Barcelona is probably another good city for meeting people, as it's teeming with tourists, though usually drunken English ones in my experience.

If you want to meet a lot of new people then hostelling is probably a good way to go. It also depends on the time of year that you're going. If it's something that's already crossing into winter weather you may prefer the Mediterranean countries (or at least, I would).
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Old 08-22-2010, 08:47 PM   #9
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As a U2 fan, I'd agree with the others Dublin is a must not to mention it's visitor friendly and fun. Some of the larger metro cities would be fun if that's your thing, like Lisbon, Amsterdam, Barcelona, London and I agree even Berlin. Hostels are aplenty throughout Europe and public transportation not only excellent and a bargain but fairly easy to navigate once you get the hang of it. Lots of people traveling especially on the trains Getting in and amongst the locals is a great way to learn about inexpensive fun places to see and things to do. What an excellent trip to take now from what you describe you've been going through. Always be careful traveling alone, always be aware of your surroundings and DO NOT LOSE YOUR PASSPORT! (scan a color copy of it and email it to an accessible email address to yourself so you'd have access to it if necessary, or carry a color photocopy of it). Have a great adventure, take lots of photos and report back after your trip! Good luck! (I'm jealous)
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:31 PM   #10
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I've done several of these trips (and a couple alone in my 20s). Many cities are dead during the week, so I'd stick to cities with universities or large cities where something is going on all the time. Keep jetlag in mind too - it may be difficult to stay with someone if your schedules are hours apart (e.g. midnight there is 6pm here). London, Paris, Berlin are good choices, as others have said. Look into rail or cheap flight options to get around.
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Old 08-22-2010, 09:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achtung11 View Post
Cool, what did you do there? Did you meet anyone from U2?

No, I was there the week the Vertigo tour started in the US, which was fine with me. I did some U2 sites and also some churches: St Patrick's, Christchurch (for Easter Sunday services) and St Michan's. I also took a tour up to the Giant's Causeway. I loved it; it's one of my favorite vacations ever.
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:23 AM   #12
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If you wanna go to Eastern Europe, here's something interesting from Lonely Planet.

Top 10 Eastern European getaways - travel tips and articles - Lonely Planet
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Old 08-23-2010, 05:59 AM   #13
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Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna are all fantastic places to explore over a few days. I had a fantastic week in Paris by myself last year.

Make sure you always have cash on you when you travel - sometimes ATMs at the airport can't be relied on!
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Old 08-23-2010, 08:39 AM   #14
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My first trip to Europe by myself was to Florence, Italy and I loved it.
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Old 08-23-2010, 09:19 AM   #15
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Crickey this is difficult.

Eastern Europe is a great place to visit...the old world becoming a new world. It's quite cheap once you are there (hotels and metro travel) but getting there is more expensive. If you're looking to do any of the obvious places (London, Paris, Milan) then getting a flight into Eastern Europe could easily set you back more than your flight from the US.

I'd probably recommend the geographically compact combination of Paris, London, Amsterdam, Berlin. You could probably squeeze in Austria or Switzerland if you took an overnight sleeper. Mainland European trains are reasonably priced and very reliable. There's also a multitude of low-cost airlines (see skyscanner.net). Barcelona is a compact city, great for tourists.

Stick to hostels if you want to meet people.
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