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Thread: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    I have never done anything like this before so I am in dire needs of your expert advice, suggestions, past experience knowledge and great recommendations. I need your help in planning a european summer road trip in the months of June/July (length up to 4 weeks). Six people (30+ years of age) are going to be attending. We are open to visiting all european countries and would prefer to see as many as feasible. The start and end location are open to any city which has an easily accessible airport.

    The most important aspects:
    1. Have lots of fun
    2. See and Photograph amazing places & experience amazing food and culture!

    I am looking forward to your response, for which I thank you in advance!

  2. #2
    msk2193's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Texas, USA

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    Paris (or Brussels for better food!)
    Lake Como

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jan 2009

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    I take it car/van hire is involved? There are very big differences in rental rates. Spain (Barcelona/Madrid) is a cheap country compared with others.
    As early as possible - as holiday traffic (especialy North-South) builds up through July (and prices too).
    Not Monaco/Nice/Cannes - keep inland around this area!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    If you can get an open jaws deal, you can fly into one city and leave from another.
    Flying into Amsterdam, Paris or Frankfurt are good options from the west coast. Austrian Airlines usually has some good deals if you want to fly into Vienna from the east coast as does Aer Lingus into Ireland. I think Austrian Airlines also have deals on car rentals & hotels too. Lodging can be very expensive so definately do your homework. Pensiones(sp?) are usually good deals.
    Zermatt and the Wallis are incredibly beautiful and with a network of gondolas incredible sights are easily accessible, but Switzerland is very expensive! An activity that dosen't cost much is wine tasteing--Swiss wines are excellent, too!

    Paris is lovely but you can spend a lot of time there and still not see much because there is so much to see(and tourists are all over the place!) For a minimal stay, Id suggest:
    Take in at least one street market, an evening at Moulin Rouge(yes it is touristy---save some $$ and don't eat there. Last time I was there, Chez Catherine, right up the hill was delicious and all the wine we drank really livened up the evening!)
    The Louvre and the Invalide are two must see museums, along with Notre Dame and the going up the Eiffel Tower at least to the first observation deck. You can pack all this into two days easily, maybe even add a boat ride? You'll only have seen the tip of the iceberg but you'll feel like you've seen a lot and it's all accessible using public transportation(so not hunting for parking spaces!)
    Rome, Florence & Venice are the three biggest crown jewels of Italy, but I wouldn't drive in Italy unless some one was holding a gun to my head.
    Take the train.
    BTW, if the weather is nice, you can take an open train across the Pyrennees if they are running the open cars.
    The adriatic coast has (or had, it's been quite awhile) some excellent deals that might be worth checking out for a coastal frolic.
    FWIW Rick Steves "through the back door" guide books and the Lonely Planet guide books are great resources for you. Also, look to incorporate local festivals and fairs when possible in your schedule.
    I'm envious!
    "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority"---EB White

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Bielefeld and Hamburg, Germany

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    Food and culture is very different from country to country in Europe, and so are the amazing places. A couple of suggestions for "theme" trips:

    A. A "classical" southern trip around the Alps. This is a good combination of scenic landscapes and scenic cities. Fly in to Munich, Milan or Zurich, visit cities like Munich (Germany), Innsbruck, Salzburg, Graz, Vienna (Austria), Lucerne, Berne, Geneva (Switzerland), Milan, Verona, Venice (Italy). There are also spectacular mountain sceneries like the Jungfraujoch or the Matterhorn in Switzerland, the Dolomities in Italy, and many more everywhere. Also very beautiful: the lake sceneries (Lake Constance, Lake Lucerne, Lake Geneva, Neuschwanstein Castle, Lake Como and many, many smaller lakes). If you like, extend your trip south into Italy (the Tuscany with Florence, Pisa, Sienna) or west into France along the Cote d' Azur. Food is good everywhere, food styles are very different with many local variations. Different food every day. Temperatures will be ok everywhere in June, July can be hot south of the Alps. And we don't believe in the concept of airconditioning in Europe, so you will feel the heat. Italy will be packed in July, everybody heads off for vacation at the same time. Sometimes difficult to find a place to stay on short notice.

    B. A "classical" northern trip. Fly into Paris, Bruxelles or Amsterdam, then visit places like Paris, Orleans and the castles in the Loire valley in France, the Belgium cities (Bruxelles, Ghent, Bruges, Antwerp), cities in the Netherlands (Amsterdam, the Hague, Delft, Leiden, Utrecht, Breda, Maastricht and many small places) and places in Germany (Cologne, Aachen, a trip down the Rhine valley and the Mosel valley). Landscape is rural, the coastal areas in France (Bretagne, Normany) are definitely worth a trip. You can hop over to England (many ferry crossings from the Netherlands, Belgium and France), and the southern part of England has many places worth a visit, starting with London of course. Again, food is good everywhere, with local variations. Temperatures will be ok everywhere in June and July. France is packed in July, everybody is off for vacation.

    C. Not so classical alternatives/extensions. First, the eastern parts of Europe. Less traveled, so don't expect the same infrastructure, but beautiful. Slovenia, Croatia or Macedonia, for instance. But also classical cities like Prague and Budapest. Second, the Scandinavian countries. Cities like Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Copenhagen and Stockholm are just beautiful, and the Norwegian fjords are breathtaking. Quite expensive, though, especially with respect to alcoholic beverages. Not the first choice if fun and food is high on the agenda, but very nice if you care for a great outdoor experience.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2008

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    Western Europe has of course may wonderful places to go and visit and of course you will have seen millions of photos of all those great places.

    I have say that I'm in full agreement with Thomas' C choice of Eastern Europe. Far less travelled but also incredibly beautiful and you will quite simply see things that you never will in the West - and I'm talking here about the things people do. One suggestion is to draw a line from Warsaw in Poland to Athens in the South. Follow that line and you will have a great time. You can also of course take diversions to hit Prague, Croatian Coast / lakes, Bosnia and Montenegro (all have stunning landscapes and few(er) tourists) or the other side of the line to go into Transylvania or further to Bucharest and then down to Sofia.

    Don't also dismiss Belgrade and the Serbian countryside - a much maligned place but infinitely worth it, especially south of Belgrade / Danube.

    And of course you will end up in Athens - the most Classical of all classical spots.

    Of course there will be difficulties as not everything will be easy. You should be able to find spots along the way to fill up on film - you can even buy local stuff (Efke, Adox, Foma) to keep with the Eastern theme.

    And, if you still have time, pop into Istanbul.

    Hmm, Rome, Athens, Istanbul. That also would be a nice tour thinking of it - "Classical Capitals".

    Of course, in June / July it will be hot so you'd have to be prepared for that.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2008

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    I'd fly to Barcelona and follow the coat towards France. On either side of the border, you would be in Catalan country. Food, people, weather, Mediterranean sea, all of these are warm and welcoming. Wine and olive tree country. I love it there and I am proud to come from there. June is a good period because it is just before the tourist rush.

    French side:
    It is the home of the oldest European man (Search for Tautavel) where you can swim in a river at the end of a canyon. There's also the Cathar castles built on top of hills (Queribus and Perpertus for the most famous), mediaval village (Castelnou), place where all the artists like Picasso and the likes spent some time (Collioure, Ceret, Port Vendre). You can camp on very private beach next a marine reserves (dive and see loads of fish). See the fantastic beach after to cross the ancient dynamite Nobel factory (Paulile).
    You also have the mountains not far, the "orgues d'ille sur Tet". I am sure you get a lot of pictures and good memories.

    Spanish side:
    Ollot volcanoes with a chapel built inside the crater (faster way to get to heaven?). You will understand why Salvador painting this way (Port Llegat, Figeras), you will see the Pyrenees ending in the see.

    I would rather concentrate on one region and see it properly, rather than wasting time in transit/travelling. Also, travelling with 6 people, everyone has to do what they want and it could be difficult to please everyone.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Delphi, IN

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    Another thing to think about are the other people in the group. Will they be photographing with a LF camera? If not, and if the group needs to stay together, will they be patient enough while you do your setup?

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    Thank you all for the great suggestions, lots to think about. Are there any companies offering preorganised road trips?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Oslo, Norway

    Re: Help me organise a Photographic/Scenic European Summer(June/July) Road Trip.

    imho, the cities realy worth seing in europe are :
    Nice (rather than Monaco)
    (then Amsterdam, Dublin, Copenhagen if you got some spare time)

    Landscapes worth seing are :
    The adriatic coast in Croatia,
    French Normandy, (D-day beaches and etretat cliffs)
    The pyreneans mountains.

    Monuments worth seing :
    El Pilar cathedral in saragossa, spain.
    Beauvais cathedral (highest in the world), france.
    Burg Eltz caslte, germany.
    all of paris venice and praha

    If "fun" is concerned, I would rule out Vienna and Budapest... night life there is realy not up to the standards of eastern europe. Go to Munich Zagreb or Praha for drinks...

    In Europe, travelling by train is part of the experience. Should you choose that, you may be interested in a EURAIL PASS, witch allows you to travel first class in 22 european countries for 10 days (non-consecutive) in 2 monthes for US$735. That's probably more expensive than renting a van, but way cheaper than booking 10 intercity train tickets separately...
    "I am a reflection photographing other reflections within a reflection. To photograph reality is to photograph nothing." Duane Michals

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