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Old 11-06-08, 01:34 PM   #1
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European Travel-Recommendations on bikeable, more car free, and full of cafes/clubs?

My Fiancee and I are looking to arrange a house trade, or looking over a owners home in any of the following areas...Copenhagen, Denmark, Italy, Venice, Naples, Paris, France, maybe Croatia will be a visit as well since I hear it is a inexpensive flight from Italy. I would love to see it is a possibility.

I am totally new to Europe. ALWAYS wanted to go. For our honeymoon I told her Hawaii just wont cut it, if we do not go...I will find a way to go within a year...if I need to find work somehow to be able to be there for a month, so be it.

So it looks like in July we plan to experience something new.

I am hearing about home trades often. My mother was gracious enough as a wedding gift to offer her home in Loreto, Baja Mexico as a trade for however many days we chose to exchange. She has wonderful rentals in the heart of this nifty laid back Mexican town (that is growing quickly...good/not so good in all of our opinions). She is not in the lame "supposedly" sustainable community with golf courts (Resort with Golf Courts in the desert???...Sustainable???) that is being referred to as Loreto-Bay. She is in the actual town with locals and the real-deal of Loreto.

We would love to visit locations that offer that best combination of culture, art, cafes (we love coffee), and costs within reason for eating. Cool night clubs or pubs would be great to explore as well.

Does anyone have recommendations on where we might want to visit? I figure if we are doing Europe...and the main costs are food, transit, and flight expenses...we are sticking around for a month. A week here, 3 days there at reasonable hotels or maybe we will find additional week long home trade opportunity... and back to a home base would be great.

We would like ot buy a couple dutch style bikes like Velorbis or Azor, Gazelle, modern or classic styles to use and then bring home on the plane.

If anyone has recommendations on how to arrange a home trade logistically and what areas we should try and arrange the trade with in the countries we would love to visit? Being in the center or close to the cool locations are always nice. Riding bikes and hopping on transit as well as the Euro-Rail to visit other countries...

Might it be better to say in Italy or in Copenhagen? Start in Italy, but a set of bikes there...and move our way up?

Thanks so much,


Last edited by djkenny; 11-06-08 at 01:37 PM.
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Old 11-06-08, 05:31 PM   #2
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July is high season for tourism. Some very broad generalisations here but is necessary here. I hope im not burned for heresy. Outdated only by a few years which is still major considering the speed things change especially in the east. A month is a short time for europe if you want to cycle to a lot of places.

Dutch bikes are often very heavy. Check say german bikes with the same style as they might weight less.

Your home base depends on the places you want to go to. What about Vienna? is centrally located and got good connections. Switzerland is closer to France.

London is far away so fly there. Cheap airlines like ryanair has lower limit for bags so look into that. Also their airports are sometimes more distant. But there are other airlines

Places to avoid: not that anyone accidentally ends there anyway but check wikipedia . Beach holiday style places. Some of them lack class along with the antics of the people. Seeing constantly drunk british younger people is bad. Also this plagues some areas of Amsterdam for example

places to visit:
Czech Republic with Prague. Crowded


Croatia is nice. Cheap flights from a lot of places too. The coast is challenging to cycle on. In some place falling can mean death. And theres some traffic too. The place has become a huge touristic destination in the last few years once again. Places to go Adriatic coast with isles.

If you want less tourists check the other countries in the area. As of a only a few years ago the tourist industry was very much developing compared to the huge institutionalized masses in say Paris. Places are very hilly and building motorways in such places is hard so sometimes lots of traffic on mountain roads. The pine christmas tree like hilly places are a contrast to the coast.

Albanian coast is growing in tourism. Check pictures for beaches in the south. Problem seems to be the forrests are often burning in july in the whole area(incl Greece) so cancelled that. It can get very hot in july. check google for the roads hehe

In general the train system is less developed than the bus system. Check when you take bikes on trains. Some of the trains a bit outdated and elsewhere overcrowded in july. In se transportation often cheaper
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Old 11-07-08, 08:15 AM   #3
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Check Montenegro- cheaper and a bit less crowded than Croatia.
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Old 11-07-08, 11:39 AM   #4
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Slovenia is good too, you into some real Alpes in the North with wine country in the South.
Most of the ex Yugoslavian cities are good for clubbing/cafe lifestyle and cheaper than the traditional hot-spots. Ljubljana is a good base with better connections then Albainia, Croatia or Montenegro. Northern Italy and central European capitals an easy train ride away.
The budget airline such as Ryanair and Easyjet operate from lots of smaller airports.
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Old 11-07-08, 12:06 PM   #5
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Slovenia. It is different from the other exyu places. It is apparent the place is richer when it has great infrastructure.

I also add places to go to:
Copenhagen is having different feel than the more central european countries. Good to go to if you otherwise hang around only in the south.
Greece coast and Athens . I would leave the bikes unless you are into that.
Istanbul is near Greece , who would not want to go there?
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