My long absence to the blog was primarily attributed to a big Europe tour I went in the 1st week of April. It was something that was never planned well in advance and things materialised barely 2 months before the trip. I managed to visit 5 countries in 10 days, namely Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland in a space of 10 days.I covered Paris and Amsterdam on my own first two days, while I opted for a group tour from a travel company for the remaining 8 days (covering Paris/Belgium/Germany and Swiss). So finally here I am, trying to share my europe tour itinerary and some key things to keep in mind while planning a vacation to Europe.
My tour itinerary included (In that order)
- 2 days in Amsterdam, Netherlands
- 3 days in Paris, France
- 1 day in Brussels, Belgium ( through Group Tour )
- 1 day in Cologne, Germany ( through Group Tour )
- 1 Day in Heidelberg, Germany ( through Group Tour )
- 3 Days in Lucerne, Interlaken & Zurich – Switzerland ( through Group Tour)
Cost of Tour (All incl flights/meals/sightseeing/transport/shopping) : 1,34,000 INR
- Flights (Chennai to Paris, Return ticket via Etihad Airlines ): 33,000 INR
- Schengen Visa ( directly through VFS for France) : 5500 INR
- 8 day Group Tour (Paris/Belgium/Germany/Switzerland) incl Accommodation/Breakfast/Dinner/Sightseeing: 56000 INR
- Extra 1 day in Amsterdam&Paris(Sightseeing/Travel/Accommodation/Dinner): 20,000 INR
- Lunch/Shopping/Local Transport/Other Miscellaneous Expenses: 20000 INR
- Euro Exchange Rate : 70INR / 1 Eur and 65INR/1 CHF(Swiss Franc)
- Average price for a Cup of Capuccino ( across Europe) : 3.5 Eur
- Cost of meal/thali in Indian Restaurant(across Europe) : 15 Eur
- 1 way train/metro/bus ticket inside Paris(except to Airport) and Amsterdam : 2 Eur
- Average price for Entrance tickets to Museums : 10-20 Eur
- Average room night for 2 ppl in Paris/Amsterdam/Other cities in Europe for a Budget Hotel/ 3 Star Hotel with breakfast : 100 Eur/night
Things to Keep in Mind While in Europe
- The first thing you realize is , there’s no concept of MRP in any product. Be it a chips or a chocolate or even a water bottle, anyone is free to charge whatever they’d like. So always advisable to buy from large supermarkets, to get the lowest price possible.
- Water is safe to drink from taps ( in your hotel room or even outside). Just get an empty bottle and fill it up from tap. A litre of Water can cost anywhere between 1Euro(70Rs) – 3 Euros(210Rs).
- Coffees can become an expensive affair. A simple small cup of cappuccino costs as much as 3.5 Euros(250RS). So a good idea to just carry coffee sachets and creamers and make yourself a good coffee on the move. This could easily save 6K INR on your trip !
- Its advisable to buy 1 day (Bus/metro/tram) pass for as low as 7-10 Euros that gives you unlimited rides in any of the above transport options. You can save valuable time standing in every counter buying a ticket to every place.
- Advisable to download/screenshot the transport option from one place to another. Suppose you want to go from louvre to Eiffer, check google maps for the right metro station/bus no to take and the stop you should get down at. ( I didnt buy a sim connection, so this came in handy)
- Let’s face it. France, Belgium, Italy and most parts of Europe are not safe, even by any means. There’s a 50% chance you will be pickpocketed or someone in your group relieved of their bag/purse/cell or even presented with a knife to give your cell and purse. So be extremely careful.
- Travelling between Europe countries? Check for trains through Thalys (https://www.thalys.com/) or www.raileurope.co.in or Loco2 (https://loco2.com), specially for Swiss/Italy etc. If you are ok with a comfortable BUS (way cheaper than train), try OuiBus (http://www.ouibus.com).
- Book all tickets to famous museums like Louvre, Versailles, Eiffel online to save a lot of time. Plus they run discount sales if you buy in a group, online.
Meanwhile , do check out this post on Spain by AllTheRooms
Stay tuned for individual city itinerary posts, tips while applying for Schengen Visa and ideas to plan the perfect Euro Tour.