Europe Dec 19/Jan 20 Trip Report

Hi all,

Just got back from a great trip to Europe with my partner. For shorter periods I stayed with some friends/family but the majority of the trip was just 2 people.

I like to write-up my experiences for my own logging purposes and in case anyone ever needs some help with their own itineraries as OzBargain has been a great resource for my own travel planning.

Intra-Europe travel is pretty easy by plane, bus or train. Google maps or Rome2Rio are good resources.

Oslo, Norway - 22 December to 26 December

Accommodation - Bjorkiva Apartments Oslo
Comments - Fine apartment not too far from the city centre, 5x of us stayed here quite comfortably.

  • Oslo is a lovely and very peaceful city from my experience. The Scandinavian architecture and design is so much fun to observe.
  • It was Christmas time so the city was quite dead and it got dark super early which wasn't amazing. Quite expensive as you would expect for Scandinavia.
  • Norway has a heap of nature to check out but unfortunately I did not have time to venture out of Oslo.
  • Visited Vigeland Park which was pretty awesome.
  • Climbing gym Oslo Klatresenter AS was really awesome for indoor climbing/bouldering and gave us an excuse to see the suburbs a bit which was nice.
  • Any decently rated coffee place was really good and the quality of bakeries was very high (i.e. Apent Bakeri).

Reykjavik, Iceland - 26 December to 31 December

Accommodation - Embassy Apartments Downtown
Comments - Pretty good location and not a bad apartment. It's on the cheaper side so it's not perfect (random ceiling condensation, cleaning not amazing) but was very comfortable and we only really slept there.

  • Iceland was one of my favourite places to visit. So many different experiences and unique landscapes so it feels like you're on Mars sometimes.
  • The Reykjavik city-centre is quite small and can probably be scaled in a couple of hours.
  • Very expensive as you would expect for Scandinavia, but I feel it's more due to isolation rather than anyone trying to rip you off.
  • You can get away cheaper if you don't drink alcohol, eat cheaper street-food style meals (which are great) or cook at home.
  • I found the food to be really fresh and the tap water was really high quality. Coffee was quite nice too. One particular degustation style restaurant called Dill was a really fun and delicious experience but I note, hard to get a booking and expensive.
  • I would love to go back and explore Iceland by car myself but I was too scared to do it in the winter so I booked organised tours with transport.
  • Did a bunch of tours through Extreme Iceland (company was really good) as follows.
  • Tour 1 - waterfalls, glacier hike and northern lights search: waterfalls were amazing. The glacier hike was a crazy good experience and not like anything I'd done before, scenery was amazing. No luck with Northern Lights which is fine considering the universe isn't obliged to give me a light show.
  • Tour 2 - snowmobile and ice caves: never rode a snowmobile so this was just an incredible experience for me, visibility on the mountain was so low that this whole experience was kinda scary but it just made it more fun with a bit of danger. The ice caves were cool to see also. Takes a long time to get out to the mountain/glacier but the trek was worth it imo.
  • Tour 3 - more waterfalls and snorkeling: waterfalls were spectacular, something like niagara falls but smaller plus there were some small geysers which were cool. The snorkeling was an awesome experience but it was brutally cold. I found out I have awful circulation in my hands which caused me extreme pain which hindered the joy a bit but it was a cool thing to experience and I'm glad we did it.

Amsterdam, Netherlands - 31 December to 4 January

Accommodation - Motel One Waterlooplein
Comments - Really good hotel in a great location. Near public transport and many things are still within walking distance. Most accomodation in Amsterdam is very expensive which I believe is unavoidable.

  • Won't go into detail about Amsterdam, tonne of resources around. Great city with a thousand things to do. I feel like Rijksmuseum and the Anne Frank house are not to be missed.

Krakow, Poland - 4 January to 6 January

Accommodation - PURO Hotel Kazimierz
Comments - This was a great hotel, very modern and many nice touches. Accomodation is really cheap in Krakow so you can't really go wrong with anything that has great reviews imo.

  • Really charming city with plenty to do for 2 days (maybe 3 days if you do Auschwitz trip). Pretty cheap and easy enough to get around.
  • I really loved the food in Krakow and ate about 10,000 pierogi. Not the most delicate or refined dumpling but I just can't get enough of them.
  • We did a tour of a nearby salt mine which was pretty incredible, about 300m deep from memory.
  • Went to a haunted house/escape room type thing called Lost Souls Alley. Really fun and pretty scary.
  • Many different museums about but wasn't in the mood at the time lol.

Belgrade, Serbia - 6 January to 10 January

Accommodation - AirBNB in City
Comments - There's a million different accomodation options in Belgrade for extremely cheap. For $50 per night you can have your pick of the litter on AirBNB. For $100 per night you can live like a king/queen.

  • Belgrade is an overall great city and is extremely cheap. Lot of things to do for a few nights. I have lots of family there so I have spent quite a bit of time here.
  • Lots of different parks, monuments, bridges, fortresses etc.
  • Heap of day trip options too, pretty sure there is cheap skiing in the winter?
  • Food might not be for everyone but I love it and it's really cheap. Veal soup (teleca corba), karadjordje shnitzel, cevapi, plejskavica and burek are all worth trying.
  • In an area called Zemun, there is a crepe/pancake place called Pinokio; it is amazing and I could eat it everyday.
  • The huge downside for me is that smoking is allowed almost everywhere.

Budapest, Hungary - 10 January to 13 January

Accommodation - AirBNB in Pest (not the old town)
Comments - From memory, accommodation was pretty reasonable in Budapest and again, anything you like with decent reviews is fine.

  • Won't go into detail about Budapest, tonne of resources around. A visit to the old-town Buda is a must, the public baths are pretty cool if you're into that sort of thing. Overall a lovely city which we really enjoyed.

Salzburg, Austria - 13 January to 14 January

Accommodation - Hotel Achat Plaza
Comments - Really good traditional hotel right in the city centre. No complaints and was about $110 per night.

  • Was only here for one night, but seemed to be a really nice city and very picturesque. People were friendly too.
  • Visited the Mozart residence where they had an exhibition around Leopold Mozart (Wolfgang's dad). Very interesting and informative.
  • The 2x meals I had in Salzburg were really nice. Coffee was really good at this place called Coffee Press. The Mozart chocolate balls are a specialty here too and they are really nice.
  • Went indoor climbing/bouldering at a place called Boulderbar Salzburg. Awesome gym with heaps of different walls.

Kitzbuhel, Austria - 14 January to 18 January

Accommodation - Glockenspiel Hotel
Comments - Maybe a touch old but was right in the middle of town which is perfect. 6x people could comfortably stay here but there were 4 of us. I think accommodation in general is quite pricey.

  • A lovely little town. Beautiful, picturesque and lots of skiing/snowboarding about. People were generally really nice although there a heap of extremely wealthy people about who appear a little uptight but I don't know them personally so maybe I'm being harsh.
  • The town has like 5,000 people yet there are Rolex and Louis Vuitton stores which might give you some insight into the demographic. Only about an hours drive from Munich.
  • Coffee was surprisingly good. Food was generally OK but one place called Mocking was really special(although pricey).
  • It was my first time skiing so I'm no expert. We had a heap of fun doing 2 days of skiing. The mountains are beautiful and there are endless views. Ski lift/pass costs about 40 EUR per day. Even if you don't ski, it's worth taking the cable cars up and having a wander.

Munich, Germany - 18 January to 20 January

Accomodation - Leonardo Hotel & Residenz München
Comments - Perfectly fine no frills hotel. 2-3 min walk from train station which can take you anywhere in the city.

  • Munich is nice and definitely enough to do for 2 days but not my favourite city in general. To me it pales in comparison to Berlin although I understand there are a million day trips you can do from Munich.
  • The BMW Welt and the Olympic Park are worth a gander.
  • Lots of different parks about, English Garden in Munich is really cool and we watched people surf in the river for like 30 mins.

Comments

  •  

    Nice trip well done

  • +1 vote

    how much did you spend in total?

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    The Vigland sculpture park in Oslo is indeed amazing, such an extensive array by one man, but it took him many years!, it was a highlight of our visit there along with the walk back to the city center - many interesting houses and lots of electric cars!.

    As for the Northern Lights, we saw it on three consecutive nights in the countryside around Tromso Norway, we went out with SMALL tour groups to find the lights, expensive but the way to go!.

    Thanks for your trip rundown, extensive and interesting!.

    •  

      Yep loved Vineland. That's a cool fact, didn't know.

      That's cool you saw it so many times, was considering going Tromso but didn't have time to fit it in.

  • +1 vote

    Which level escape room did you do in Poland? I did the insane and ended up needing stiches and having my shirt ripped off. It was truly wild.
    Also, how much cheaper was Serbia than Australia?

    •  

      I believe it was the one before insane? Like there was one for kids, one above and then insane. They definitely grabbed you and pulled but that's as far as it went.

      That's absurd that you got stitches hahahah. Did they actually punch and kick?

      • +1 vote

        Yea I basically got beaten up haha. Albeit, I yelled at them but didn’t think they would hurt me…

  •  

    If you like Austria and want to spend less go to Slovenia. It's spectacular and much cheaper in comparison. I've only been in summer but to me it's almost identical to Switzerland and Austria.

    •  

      Awesome I'll keep that in mind next time. Had an event to attend in Austria so that's where I sent skiing but next time I'm going somewhere cheaper. Cheers.

  •  

    so after all that I guess you're really into coffee and indoor climbing LOL

    • +1 vote

      Well yeah lol, although I only went climbing twice but definitely could have gone more. Coffee…. yeah I have an addiction what can I say.

  • +1 vote

    People traveling to German looking for a good deals on hotels, they H4 brand is pretty good and very cheap. They say they are a 4 star hotel, but I think more 3-star. Very clean and modern (Alexanderplatz, I stayed in) but very small rooms. Similar setup to premier inn's in Europe. Very good value

    Note: H4 also offer early check-in for as little as 4 Euros. I checked in at 6am for 8 Euros

  •  

    Awesome, my daughter is travelling to Iceland from London tomorrow. She's hoping to see the northern lights. Did you get to any of the hot springs?

    • +1 vote

      Yes forgot to mention, went to the blue lagoon which is a very commercialised hot spring but I think still worth the money considering you can spend a few hours there.

      There maybe other cheaper/better hot springs but probably requires a bit of research.

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