The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary

As some of you might recall, we will be going on a 9 week road trip through Europe. Why? Because it’s very difficult to do this again once our little one goes to school mandatorily (as of age 5). But mostly because it’s great fun. Like most of you probably agree, some of the fun is in the preparation of the trip. The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary presented here is a rough indication of where we would like to go. We will remain flexible during the trip and will switch directions based on weather, preferences, limitations or other life events that will happen.

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary

The current plan is to leave mid April and return late June. We will thus have a total of up to about 63 days to play with. That is quite a bit of time! Now, travel insurance wise (at least for the one we are considering) you are allowed to do continuous travel for 60 days. In short, if we do stretch to the max we should not do any weird things in the last few days 🙂

Miss CF is a typical kid, so she’s generally not very good at sitting still (sounds familiar?). We therefore want to limit our daily travels to about 2-3 hours of driving per day maximum. In reality we will have days we drive more and days we drive less (or not at all). Assuming an average speed of 50 km/h that gives us about 100-ish km per day on average. That would be about 6.000-6.500 km in total.

Considering this will be a “slow travel” type trip (i.e. it’s about the journey not the destination), we will do the exploring along the route and at places where we spend the night. Let’s assume we need about 80% of the km to make “the journey” and 20% of the km to do local sightseeing. This is what we came up with for the journey (~5.000 km or 3.000 mi):

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary - Rough Route

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary – Rough Route

Netherlands

We will obviously start in the Netherlands and head so the south of the country. We will likely meet with some friends that live in Maastricht. Perhaps we stay a day or two before we head further south.

Holiday Destination Maastricht

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Maastricht
Source: http://www.vvvlimburg.nl/regio-vvvs/maastricht/

Belgium

We have done several holidays and meetups in Belgium already, so will likey skip through the country and head straight to Luxembourg. As we have not looked for accommodations, we might still spend the night in Belgium instead of Luxembourg, depends on what we can find on AirBnB or otherwise.

Luxembourg

It’s been a while since I have bee in Luxembourg, actually we have never been there as a couple. The county is pretty small, but has nice nature areas as well as a pretty capital. We also need to go there for Mrs. CF as she will need to meet people for business purposes too. Should only take an hour or so, gives us a good reason to explore the capital city and the country!

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Luxembourg

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Luxembourg
Source: http://airlines-airports.com/klm-office-in-luxembourg-luxembourg/

France

Once we leave Luxembourg we will head towards Lausanne in Switzerland. To get there we will drive a couple of days through northern France. There are some nice nature areas where we might try go for a few walks and try to stay the night. We will also do the same on the way to Monaco. Southern France is really nice and can be very well enjoyed when doing slow travel. We will take a more rural route here with lots of hiking (if all goes well).

Switzerland

We have both been to Switzerland on a couple occasions for both hiking holidays and winter fun. We drove by Lake Lausanne before and really would like to return. So decide to try and make this a stop for the trip and spend some time in the area. Once we leave here we would like to head towards Monaco via a lot more of France.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Lausanne

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Lausanne
Source: http://metro.co.uk/2015/11/01/why-lausanne-not-paris-or-amsterdam-should-be-your-next-city-break-5461449/

Monaco

Monaco is a bucket list item from Mr. CF. Initially I wanted to combine with the Formula 1 event. Albeit the chance of that happening is rather slim, as the event is in late May and we would like to see as much as possible in a non-rushed way. Guess there is always a next time!

Italy

Italy is a country that for some reason we missed a lot during out travels in Europe. So it is time to catch up and spend a few weeks in this lovely country. The rough idea is to travel along the coast line to Genoa and head to Rome via Florence. Next the plan is to drive to the other side of the country, hop on a ferry and sail to Croatia.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Italy Genoa

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Italy Genoa
Source: http://www.citalia.com/holidays/italy/liguria/genoa/

Croatia

Several people we know have already visited Croatia, heck I even had colleagues from this country. Not one person I spoke had a bad thing to say about the place! It’s got a great coastline (snorkeling??) and nice nature parks more inland. Add in some nice cultural spots and you have a recipe for a great time.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Croatia

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Croatia
Source:http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/europe/croatia-split-dubrovnik-beaches-festivals-music-food-airlines-hotels-a7091831.html

Slovenia

This is a completely new country for us, we really need to do some homework here. But we got triggered to visit this country after a documentary we watched by Michael Moore (“where to invade next“). If you have experiences here, please do share!

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Slovenia

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Slovenia
Source: https://www.slovenia.info/en/places-to-go/regions/alpine-slovenia

Hungary

From Slovenia we will likely drive towards Budapest for a city trip and some other local site seeing. Hungary is also a new country for us to visit with lots of things to learn and explore. From here we plan to go to Vienna (Austria) via Slovakia.

The 9 week road trip Itinerary - Budapest

The 9 week road trip Itinerary – Budapest
Source: https://www.flixbus.com/bus-schedule-bus-stop/budapest

Slovakia

On our way from Budapest to Vienna, we have the opportunity to explore yet another country we know little about. The plan is to drive through Slovakia and visit Bratislava for some more cultural exposure. Not sure what to expect, but it’s bound to be good.

Austria

Vienna has been on the list to visit as well. We have been in the area, but never made the time to actually visit the city. When we go to Austria we normally go for hiking, during such active holiday we tended to avoid bigger cities. This time around we won’t do so much hiking (Miss CF is not grownup enough yet), so city trips make more sense! Once we leave Vienna we will head north to Prague in the Czech Republic.

Czech Republic

Both our mom’s have visited Prague before and were quite enthusiastic about the city. So if we have enough time on the way back, the plan is to visit the Czech Republic and explore yet another country we have not been.

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Czech Republic

The 9 Week Road Trip Itinerary: Czech Republic
Source: https://www.flixbus.com/holiday-destinations/czech-republic

Germany

On the final leg of the journey we will be travelling through Germany. Depending on how much time we have left, we will spend some time exploring the central areas in Germany. As Mrs. CF’s company also has offices in Germany, we might need to do a quick stop in Frankfurt for a quick business meeting. We are very familiar with Germany and have been there several times before, so it should be smooth sailing for this part of the trip. We know we are in for a good time!

Summary

In short the idea for this trip is:

  • Visit up to 13 countries;
  • Visit up to 5 new countries;
  • Up to 6500 km of driving;
  • We are aiming to spend up to €150/day all-in = max. budget of €10.000;
  • Many, many photos; and,
  • One heck of a good time!

 

Bring on all your tips, tricks and idea folks!

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44 comments

  1. Looks like a great trip Cheesy! Please keep close track of your expenses, I’d like to know how much it costs.

    This year we’re doing a road trip with the family in the States, but I’d like to do it in the EU sometime. Would love to see a trip report that details the costs for each segment!

    1. Hey Mr Tako, sure thing. Since we pay most with the debit/credit cards it will be easy to keep track! No promises that I will do this during the trip, really want to unplug as much as possible.

  2. I finally get a chance to check out your plan! 🙂 Looks good. I like the idea of limiting the driving. We’re considering a similar length trip in the US for summer of 2019 and if we go coast to coast (and back home) it’s 7500 miles or 12,000 kms which would be 120 mi or 190 km per day. Seems like a lot of driving on average but in the US the typical speed on the freeways are 70 mph which means we can drive 80 mph/130 km/h. So about the same 2-2.5 hrs/day on average.

    Glad to see you’re passing through Slovenia – a favorite of ours. Germany is awesome too. I felt Prague was overrated and rather busy but glad we visited nonetheless. Happy motoring!

    1. Hey Justin, thanks for the feedback and nice plans you have! That would be an awesome road trip, but as you note, rather a lot of driving. A few break days in between are useful too, but I don’t have to explain that to an American 😉

      1. We’re actually going all over Croatia(Split, Zadar, Dubrovnik, Korčula, Primosten, Plitvice ) with some extra trips to Bosnia (Mostar) and Montenegro(Kotor). We don’t have kids, so we’re a bit more mobile :).

  3. Nice plan. Where will you be sleeping?
    Did you do any research on the cost of hotels/guesthouse/airbnb?
    I do a lot of travelling in Asia, but the prices of accomodation have always kept me from going on a longer roadtrip in Europe. Maybe I am to pessimistic?

    1. Hey Walter,
      we will indeed be doing hotels/guesthouses/AirBnB’s, we have not checked prices everywhere, but have a pretty good feel for how expensive it will be overall. It’s ok if we have to pay a bit more on occasion, we won’t be doing this again soon and want to enjoy fully. What we will do is book a 2 people room and bring a matrass for Miss CF, saves quite a bit of money sometimes. But if you compare Europe to Asia, it will almost always be more expensive, albeit eastern Europe might surprise you!

  4. Awesome trip Cheesy!

    Don’t underestimate the costs in Switzerland, it is pretty expensive compared to the rest of your trip 😉

    Rome is great, as well are Vienna, Budapest and Prague! Lyon is actually quite a nice city, might be worth a small detour. Don’t go driving in Rome, just don’t. 😉 Croatia is beautiful, too bad Dubrovnik is not on your list 😉 A bit off-route as well..

    Okay, we’re jealous!

    1. There are things we won’t be able to do, we have tried to maximize the amount of cool stuff for the minimum amount of driving. That being said, we won’t spend too much time in Switzerland. Mainly because we already have spent quite some time there and it is rather expensive as you and Sloth already noted.
      Wherever we go, it will be fun!

  5. Sounds like a fantastic roadtrip!
    Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary (Budapest) are great! We spend 2 weeks in Budapest & still haven’t seen/done everything.

    Here are some tips, that I were requested by my friends. (In Dutch, because they are Dutch too. And they don’t have children, neither do we. So perhaps not everything is doable for you, as you’ll be travelling with your kid).

    Budapest:
    Aanrader als je van geschiedenis houdt: “House of Terror” (Andrássy út 60) (museum over Hongarije onder het fascistische en communistische regime). Héél indrukwekkend vond ik.
    Verder moet je natuurlijk naar zo’n thermal bad, die zijn er heel veel, kost maar een tientje. Szechenyi Thermal Bath is het beroemdst, zeker een aanrader. Maar wij zijn ook bij Lukasz Bath geweest. Iets minder mooi, maar nog steeds lekker.
    Je moet zeker een keer in het donker/schemer de berg aan de Buda- kant oplopen want dan heb je een schitterend uitzicht over de hele stad. Zowel vanaf het Vissersbastion als vanaf het kasteel.
    En je kunt er voor twee euro naar de opera, dat heb ik zelf niet gedaan maar lijkt me wel een mooie ervaring.
    Ook een aanrader, de wandelingen uit het boekje 100% Budapest. Zo zie je heel veel van de stad.

    Kroatië:
    In Istrië is alles mooi eigenlijk. Veel leuke stadjes heb je, dus daar is het sowieso leuk om een beetje rond te kijken. Ik vond in Istrië Rovinj het leukst. Iets verder naar beneden vond in Zadar & Split ook leuk. De eilanden schijnen heel tof te zijn, maar daar zijn wij helaas nog niet geweest.
    De nationale parken zijn ook een aanrader! Krka, Paklenica & Kornati hebben wij allemaal bezocht. Zo totaal verschillend, maar allemaal mooi. Krka heeft van die mooie watervallen, vergelijkbaar met Plitvice, dus hebben we Plitvice niet meer bezocht.
    Naast Split schijnt Trogir ook echt mooi te zijn, maar daar zijn wij nog niet geweest.

    En de kayak safari deden wij bij Riva Rafting Centar (zit in Obrovac) en ging over de Zrmanja Rivier. Vond het echt heel mooi (je bent er wel 4-6u mee bezig, dus zorg voor goede zonnebrand & neem wat eten mee. Wij dachten dat we met 2u wel klaar waren, dus we hadden niets meegenomen). Rafting klinkt overigens heftiger dan het is, de rivier is rustig en er zijn maar een paar kleine verspringingen. Je verzamelt in Obrovac & je rijdt dan samen met hun naar het vertrekpunt in de bergen. Vond die rit ook wel indrukwekkend al, want dat gebied is echt zwaar getroffen door de oorlog & dat is nog heel goed zichtbaar. In de kustplaatsen krijg je daar niets van mee eigenlijk. De gids die mee was vertelde daar ook wat over onderweg, was wel echt indrukwekkend.
    Wij zaten een half uurtje van Obrovac in Starigrad. En in Starigrad zit je praktisch in het Paklenica park. Daar kon je nog veel meer toffe dingen doen (naast gewoon zelf het park bezoeken), maar daar hadden wij geen tijd meer voor helaas.

    Slovenië:
    Ljubljana staat nog op ons lijstje, maar Maribor/Marburg hebben we wel bezocht. Leuk stadje, maar hou er rekening mee dat op zondag ALLES dicht is. Zelfs de meeste restaurants (en wij waren er in augustus).

    1. Thanks for the essay! 😉 Some of these tips are really cool (but hard with a kid as you already note), but we seriously need to look into some of these. Much appreciated!

  6. This looks so awesome. There are a lot of cities that are still on my bucket list and hope to do something similar one day as well. I loved Budapest, Croatia and Prague by the way.

    A great way to kickstart you’re early retirement!

  7. I’m really curious to see what you think of Luxembourg. I was there a few years ago, along with Belgium, France and Switzerland. Lausanne is quite nice! Spent most of our time there and made a day trip to Gruyeres. Quite nice there and worth the trip if you like H.R. Giger. They have a museum with original works there.

    Can’t recommend Prague enough. That’s another city I fell in love with as part of another trip. Sounds like you guys have an amazing trip planned! Enjoy!

    1. I’ve been to Luxembourg before with my mom a long time ago, did some city tripping and country side cycling. It was a lot of fun!
      Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll discuss with the rest of the Team 😉

  8. Fantastic trip Cheesy! I’m envious and look forward to living vicariously through you guys. Rock on
    -Bryan

    1. Hey Bryan, thank you! Besides (hopefully) living vicariously through us, start planning your own trip too. Life is so much fun, and if you do it well, you don’t even need too much money to travel!

  9. Great plan CF.
    I will read your posts about the trip with attention, I hope one day we will try a similar adventure.
    And I see that you are coming to Frankfurt. If you want, we could have and Apfelwein together.

    1. That’s right, we can combine that visit by seeing you guys too! Will be in touch when we get towards that part of the trip! I’ll skip the Apfelwein, but I’ll take a beer 😉

  10. Have fun on your trip, it sounds amazing and a great time of the year to visit these countries!

    One word of caution on the travel insurance, I would certainly look into travel insurance (+ check what your health insurance covers for medical emergencies abroad) that will cover you the last few days of your vacation as well. During university and (some time after that) I used to work for an alarm center that assisted people who needed medical help while abroad, so I’ve seen firsthand the problems that can occur without proper insurance. Really, you don’t want that. Travel insurance is not just for lost luggage… There are plenty of travel insurance companies that cover longer tips than 60 days so I’m sure you could find one that fit your needs. Okay, I’m getting off the soapbox now ;-), but please look into this!

    1. Love your soapbox! Insurance on a trip like this is very important, you likely will never need it, but once you do it has to cover the critical items! I’d been looking specifically for the medical coverage, the car is already covered through the Toyota dealer (and will be serviced before we go), cancellation is not required as we will not book very far in advance. Luggage is also not very critical, most of our stuff is old and crappy.
      Any particular company that you like?

      1. It’s hard to recommend one particular company because I used to work for several different ones that were decent. In my experience it’s better to not go through an intermediary (‘tussenpersoon’) because it can be hard to verify. It can be useful to go with an insurance company that uses the same alarm center as your health insurance because than information doesn’t have to be transfered at some point.

  11. I have three words for you guys: Ter-ri-fic! 🙂
    Must meet before you go, because we’ve heaps of tips. But just to start:
    – if you could squeeze Corsica into the plans, go for it!
    – Slovenia is great, we’ve been there last summer.
    – And don’t forget the Plitvice lakes in Kroatia
    – Bratislava is great as well, very good atmosphere
    – When is Vienna: go eat at Immervoll, just around the corner of the Stephansdom. The best place (full of locals) !
    And and and 🙂

  12. Wait, let me get this right. Your early retirement starts with a 5 week ‘holiday’ through Europe. And that ‘holiday’ happens to starts with visits to Luxemburg, Switzerland and Monaco? Right, got it….

  13. Looks awesome – I did one very similar to your route in 2006 except we drove around the Adriatic coast to Slovenia instead of the ferry. Bled is AMAZING!

    And oh by the way, driving a car in Rome is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done in my life, and I climb dangerous mountains and scuba dive with sharks!

    1. hahaha, I’m also already terrified of it, so we might park somewhere else and take the bus or train to the city centre! Otherwise the car might also depreciate even faster 😉

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