Europe has oh so many sites to soak up and immerse yourself in. Solo travel is great, what with the many hostels in countries in Europe where you can make friends or just cut down on costs. Also, there are many low cost airlines to help you zip from place to place and not break the bank.
Let’s explore 8 cities again through my memory of visiting them one summer for a month. I travelled alone and had a great time. I flew into Rome and out of Paris via Helsinki. I got to other cities by high speed trains, a bus and a flight. Here is my itinerary:
Three Cities in Italy:Rome, Florence and Venice (Day trip from Florence to Siena and Pisa)
Rome is a city etched in time and lovely to explore. I made the right choice to stay in the city centre where I could walk to all the attractions. I was not a fan of where I stayed though. Colour me shocked to find out that air conditioning in Europe isn’t the norm! I saw all the usual sites and sat in piazzas to people watch and enjoy being there. One day I took the train to the Vatican City and joined the throngs gazing up and away at all the artistic wonders. Though I was there solo, I met a Japanese lady and we ended up sightseeing all day. That was a great experience.
Siena is lovely and worth spending some time in this more laid back town. I enjoying playing around trying to get a good picture at The Falling Tower of Pisa, alas it was not to be. I spent much time walking around Florence enjoying its beautiful architecture. The Uffizi is worth exploring for a few hours even though the wait may be great and it gets crazily crowded. This is a joy of travelling solo, you can go at your own pace and wait in line until you get to feast your eyes on all manner of lovely artistic wonders.
Venice of course was picture perfect. Though it is under pressure from the number of tourists it gets, it’s a lovely place, hence its draw.
I love how compact the city was. I was helped by the kindest woman it was my pleasure to encounter. She directed me well to my hostel. I enjoyed the service offered in restaurants and the absolute beauty of the architecture and nature there. Another highlight was taking the train to explore Lake Bled. It is so picturesque.
That was a long train ride and I had a transfer to get there. It was scenic in places though the train was sweltering. Bratislava was very nice though and I especially liked the town square. I happened upon a festival there with people dancing in traditional garb. That was a treat. This is why I travel, to experience different cultures first hand. There were also stalls selling handcrafted items and I bought myself some quirky earrings which I still wear. This sculpture brings back memory of that city square.
Prague, Czech Republic
I made the most of my 24 hours stopover in Helsinki and checked out the sites in town. There are a number of beautifully crafted churches. It was nippy in August though. Despite this, I had the most succulent salmon sitting by the seaside and chatting with an older Finnish gentleman. It was a great way to end my first jaunt through Europe.
To Sum Up…
I crafted my itinerary to include countries that were expensive and others that were reasonable. This means I could stretch my budget and travel debt free which is my preference. I also opted to stay in hostels in Prague, Ljubljana, Budapest and Bratislava to help with this. They hostels I found in these countries suited me well, so I could afford to stay in hotels in the other cities.
I really enjoyed the Eastern European cities because they were not as popular as the others, so sites weren’t overrun with people.
One tip I would give to someone planning a similar trip is to stay in the city centre of places you visit. It helps to cut costs when you can walk to many places or take the train around.
There is rich history in countries across Europe and it is the continent that offers the most convenient and affordable means to go from country to country.
On my next solo travel jaunt to Europe I would love to explore some of the Baltic countries and get to a few places in Spain and Portugal too.