I am happily writing this blog from Rome because I took advantage of the Easter break to get around Europe and know the most famous cities. In fact, it was my first time on the continent, and I am surprised at the beauty and diversity of the principal European cities. For this reason, I would like to write this blog about my experience travelling around Europe, giving you some tips that I consider useful to make easier this amazing adventure.
First and most important, regarding the University, try to advance in your assignments before the break. Since the University and the programme give the deadlines and conditions for the assignments early, it is not a good idea to leave them for Easter break or even after that, because the time will be too short. Leaving the less possible tasks to the last minute will allow you to enjoy your break without worries.
I would like to share my impressions and recommendations for the cities that I have known. My trip started in Berlin, which is an amazing city to move around. Actually, in my opinion, Berlin has one of the best Metro systems in Europe. If you visit this city, do not miss the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, Alexanderplatz, the main Cathedral, and the Memorial to the European Jewish.
My best piece of advice (because unfortunately, I had to learn it during the trip) is to make a booking to go to the Reichstag Building, with at least one week in advance. The Reichstag Building has free entrance to its dome, which has a beautiful view of Berlin. However, as the building is the Parliament of Germany, the number of visitors is controlled, and it is almost impossible to get a turn to enter during the same day. I did not know this situation, and I missed this amazing activity. By the way, you should do the same booking process to visit the Eiffel Tower in Paris, you would save much time queuing. I hope my experiences help you to achieve getting into these places.
Additionally, I recommend the Keukenhof experience in Amsterdam. Keukenhof is a natural park, located 15 minutes away from Amsterdam. The park is only open during spring, and it is the perfect place to admire the beauty of the tulips, decorating the landscape with a wide range of colours.
In Brussels I strongly recommend not buying the Del Jin bus tickets. Although those tickets are cheaper, the company has just a few services. Actually, I purchased a day pass, and I only could use it once. If you go to Brussels, buy the STIB ticket, which is a little more expensive but a lot more useful. I lost money for not knowing this.
In Italy enjoy the food; it is delicious. Visit Florence and marvel with all the art treasure you will find, and assign part of your budget to learn about all the history behind monuments like the Coliseum in Rome.
One last thing that I learnt during this journey (which maybe most of you know, but for me it was not too obvious) is that low-fare airlines have great prices for cities like London, Paris, or Rome, but they use small airports located outside the cities in near towns. Because of this, you should consider not only the cost of the flight but also the cost and time of transportation to get to these airports from the city centre. I did not know it, but sometimes, it is more expensive for the low-fare-airline ticket plus the transportation to the airport, rather than the ticket in a regular airline using the main airports. I suggest you consider this when you are buying airline tickets, and maybe you could get a better deal.
In summary, these three weeks have been amazing, and I have learned a lot about not only different cultures and places but also how to travel in the most efficient way. Arranging a journey is not an easy thing, and even more when you try to cover many places at once with a low budget.
If you are planning to study at The University of Manchester and you are a citizen of a non-EU country, you are probably thinking of harnessing your stay at the UK to visit more European places. If you use your time before break wisely to advance in your studies and plan your journey carefully, I assure you will have an amazing experience in the old continent.
P.S.: I used the app Google Trips, as a tool, to plan my stay in each city and it was very useful. It allows you to get the most out of your time while travelling.