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Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

San Diego...
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Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

I just got notified I'll be on a work trip this week to Frankfurt Germany. I work until Thursday noon, after which is my free time until Monday when I fly back from Frankfurt back to the US. So I have a couple of free days to explore somewhere in Europe (my first time and I'll be solo) with absolutely nothing booked yet for those days.

Given the last minute notice and I'll be too busy working to make much in the way of plans, I have to make a decision tonight where I'm going and what I'm doing (usually I would've taken weeks to plan this!).

So name of the game for me is I need hotels and activities I can book by Monday. E.g. All day tours or day trips so everything is taken care of and I just have to show up. Just looking for the lowest stress option (e.g. Minimal language barriers, reputable companies, straightforward transportation, etc.) while still getting in as much of a European city as I can.

I'm defaulting to Paris right now side it's an easy train ride from Frankfurt and I assume there's gotta be tons of all day tours to keep me busy. But it seems like it might be more high strung than I'm looking for. Other suggestions welcome!

Any advice or resources would be greatly appreciated!

Somerset
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for Somerset, Solo Travel, Exmoor National Park
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1. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

Use the green bar at the top of the page - above any destination forum eg Paris - and there is a drop down list of things to do, accommodation with links to reviews. That would be the quickest way.

Choose and get accommodation booked. You can sort the rest after.

You may want to take a look at places like Prague. Trip report on the right of this page under Top Questions but it's the end of the peak holiday season in Europe so last minute prices may be high. On other hand last minute deals, who knows. It will be busy tho.

You're a lucky guy.

Denver, Colorado
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2. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

Try Budapest. (Lufthansa has flights to Budapest from Frankfurt. Check the times for the return to Frankfurt to see that they match with your flight back to the US on M.)

I assume that you'd arrive late afternoon or early evening on the Th, so not much to do besides have dinner and maybe go to a ruin pub (or just have a nice drink) Th evening. (A walk along the river to see the lit-up city and bridges Is also advised. Budapest has the most spectacular river frontage of any city I've visited in Europe. The Danube flows literally right through the middle of the city. (Buda is the city on the W bank, and Pest is the one on the E bank.) Buda has spectacular hills, and Pest is flat as a pancake.

The thermal baths are not to be missed. Neither are the Great Market, Heroes Square, the Chain Bridge, and Castle Hill. A 'cruise' on the Danube (not a dinner one) is a wonderful experience.

A HOHO bus tour would be a good idea on F. That would give you an idea of the lay of the land. One stop on that you should not miss is the one at fovam ter (Great Market Hall). It closes early on Sat and is not open on Sunday.

Definitely assign an afternoon (or morning?) for a visit to one of the thermal baths. (The two most often mentioned are Szechenyi,(sp) and Gellert. You'll have stops on the HOHO bus for both, but just keep that in mind for another day.)

To get to and from the airport, either Fo taxi or the shuttle bus will deliver you directly to your hotel. Both take credit cards. Do not change money at the airport or at your hotel. You will need to change some money into forints, but that is best done in Budapest.

If you are familiar with the international signs by the time you leave Frankfurt, you will be OK in Budapest. Restaurants and the major hotels in Budapest are fine with English. (Personally, I have absolutely NO Magyar, but have managed to travel all over western Hungary without it. Sometimes a bit hairy out in the boondocks.)

Get a 72 hr travel card on arrival. (Available at the airport Not the Budapest card.) Do not change money to forints until you are in central Budapest. The travel card allows you to use all busses, trams, and the Metro without further validation or payment within the city limits.

What is your budget for accommodation? B'pest has some great hotels for far less than the cost of equivalent ones in Paris, Vienna, etc.

If this is of interest to you, send me a pm, and I can give you more details.

Amsterdam, The...
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3. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

Berlin! Rent a bike and just explore. Pick up a guidebook. Loads of museums and outdoor monuments you can visit without needing a tour. Nice parks, beer gardens, funky shops, cheap food at international restaurants from all continents, lots of street art, great nightlife, friendly locals, slow pace of live, mellow vibe. The city is mostly flat and the other traffic is used to cyclists. There are bike lanes, and if there aren't you ride on the bus lane and the bus will take a wide berth.

For example stay in IMA Lofts in Kreuzberg, or Circus Hotel in Prenzlauer Berg area.

www.seat61.com for train info.

Have fun!

Cecilia

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/berlintips.htm

Edited: 24 August 2014, 13:14
San Diego...
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4. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

Thank you all for the detailed suggestions! Budapest, Berlin, and Prague all sound like great options. This really helps me narrow down my list (was overwhelmed before), I'll research these a little bit this afternoon and make a decision & book tonight.

london
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5. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

I would throw London into the mix if you can get a flight

Scottsdale, Arizona
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6. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

could always stay in germany. hit the main cities in the country.

paris, prague, netherlands, etc. endless ideas... just what would you personally like to see is that it boils down to. enjoy it.

Las Vegas, Nevada
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7. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

To put this in American terms, Frankfurt's airport is the Atlanta-Hartsfield of Europe. Pretty much anyplace and everyplace in Europe is connected to it via non-stop flight.

Normally, I would push Prague or Budapest, but you are in Germany. Munich or Berlin would be an awesome long weekend destination that would be quite reachable via train or short flight from Frankfurt.

If you want something different, I definitely would suggest either Prague or Budapest. Given how last minute this is, I would recommend Prague over Budapest, even though Budapest is my favorite place I've ever been. The reason I would favor Prague is it is easier to figure out where the interesting places are and what you want to see. For the most part, they are in the Old Town (Stare Mesto) and the Mala Strana and Castle area just across the Charles Bridge from Old Town. In other words, Budapest (ultimately a more rewarding destination) takes a little more research and planning. Prague is better for a last minute drop-in.

I definitely would favor Prague or Budapest (or Berlin or Munich) over Paris for two reasons. First, a long weekend is not enough for Paris, while you can really feel like you've had a satisfying, complete visit to the other places. Paris would be great, but it would likely feel like a reconnaissance mission to get a basic feel for the city in preparation for a more detailed visit in the future. Second, Paris is easier to get to. You already are in Europe, so choose a destination that would take a little more effort (and connecting flights) to get to from your home base.

Edited: 25 August 2014, 22:00
8. Re: Last minute (literally!) solo Europe trip - need advice ASAP

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