Right guys, I’m back with an update on how our holiday planning is going. I think my last update was back in December and we’d booked everything but our travel within Europe because most of it is just not possible so far out.We’re now at the point in which we can start and starting to realise how some places while looking relatively easy to travel between aren’t necessarily.
The place we’re noticing this most is Croatia, not realising perhaps quite naively that Bosnia and Herzegovina splits Croatia in half which made finding transport from Zadar to Dubrovnik quite difficult if we didn’t wanna sit on a bus for 8 hours, alas that is the option that we’ve had to go for in the end. We also struggled to find travel routes from Pula to Zadar that again wasn’t an entire day, however, lucky there is a flight route with Croatian airlines which we can grab. Once we’d sorta calculated the costs of flying (€80ish) for the two of us inc luggage, with a half hour flight, the bus honestly wasn’t that much cheaper and just took a lot longer. This was one of those situations which you need to add the cost of your time into the equation and we decided that the flight would be so much easier, despite me starting this whole planning thing wanting to avoid any airport at all costs! (I hate airports, they stress me out). As far as leaving Croatia and heading into Italy, its really quite as simple as getting the overnight ferry from Dubrovnik, which we managed to spend about €200 for the both of us on a cabin with a shower, I mean that includes a night of accommodation and breakfast.
We found it relatively easy to find travel between places in sort of Eastern Europe (Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria), probably the easiest section of our holiday to find travel options!
When it came to booking trains in Italy I found this really good website (Italiarail) that showed so many good options for travelling between major train stations in Italy and they were so cheap! This website also gave me a route which has allowed us 3.5 hours to explore Rome which we hadn’t planned on and having been to Rome I know this enough time to see the major sites in Rome. I mean I’m sure there are other sites out there that provide the same services but I honestly just found this site so convenient and easy to use! I used this site to book trains from Naples to La Spezia, we’re actually staying in Riomaggiore which is just 8 or so minutes on a local train from La Spezia, I also used it to book from La Spezia to Genoa.
The only other place I really had an issue was Barcelona to Seville and really the issue was we hadn’t budgeted enough purely out of naivety and not really realising how far away they are from each other and obviously, it was gonna take time and would be more expensive. Once I realised this and I came to terms with the fact we would have to spend 3x our original budget (142€ for the two of us) and a 5.5-hour journey on the fast train it was okay! There was a cheaper option for like 60€ for the two of us but that was an 11 hour travel time and as we’re doing this journey on my birthday I decided that the more expensive, shorter travel time was the option for us!
For everything else we pretty much just used Flixbus (we’ve used Flixbus before doing Bruges -> London and they were great) :
- Kosice -> Budapest
- Budapest -> Bratislava
- Ljublana -> Zagreb
- Zagreb -> Pula
- Bari -> Naples
- Genoa -> Nice
- Nice -> Marseille
- Marseille -> Barcelona
Whats left that I haven’t mentioned are places in which we’re going to buy when were there and using local transport essentially and the only travel we haven’t booked is in Portugal because that’s still too far out for anything to be available, hoping that they start showing this week before Lachy finishes work and we have to go find somewhere to print the tickets!
I think the thing we had to decide on was how much our time was worth versus the travel time like I mentioned above for Barcelona to Seville we went the more expensive, shorter route, whereas in other places we chose the less expensive, longer route. Our main factor in this was the amount of time we had to spend in a place, the longer the travel time, the shorter the time we had to spend in a place so we really only chose the longer option in places we had a few days so we didn’t lose as much exploring time!
And yeah that’s an update on where we are at with our planning, we’ve essentially paid for all accommodation and travel and we leave next week! I can’t believe it’s almost time to set off on our journey, it barely feels real, all this planning is finally coming together…!