Hey guys! So last October I went to a 12 days road trip around Europe with new buddies whom I met on Twitter. It was extremely random and a very last minute plan. I accidentally purchased a return ticket to London for 25 days without no plan or friends to travel with. 25 days with no plan… So, I decided that I should visit Europe.
I did a lot of research at first regarding the rental car, airbnbs, fuel price, weather, routes and everything. I even read some blogs – Most helpful one was khairulabdullah.com. He’s a Malaysian living abroad and he wrote a book on backpacking around Europe but I didn’t buy his book though. I only took some notes from his blog posts which was still very helpful!
Tips: I used Google Maps to plan my road trip route. I checked the distance between places, how many hour, the road and everything to see if it’s possible to cover all places in 12 days time. Do check the tolls and car stickers too. Some countries like Italy and Slovenia have tolls everywhere which reminds me of Malaysia a little. Paid parkings are available mostly everywhere.
Anyway, the trip starts on 9th of October until 20th of October. It was autumn at that time and luckily it wasn’t during peak season. The weather was mostly wet and really cold. Lowest temperature we’d experienced during the trip was 6 degree celsius. Traveling in the cold has its pros and cons – No sweating, so it’s okay if you don’t shower for days haha and you can re-use your clothes if they’re not dirty. However, on the first few days of the trip weather was mostly cloudy so I didn’t get to take many cool pictures because the lighting was ergh disappointing but the places we visited were still beautiful nevertheless.
Let me remind you, my trip starts from London – Budget and spendings don’t include return flights from Malaysia. I took Malaysia Airlines (MAS) direct flight KUL to Heathrow. I bought the tickets while they were holding a sale for RM2486 (Actually affordable compared to normal fare).
Tips: Always buy flight tickets while they’re on sale. I recommend you guys to use Google Flights to check flight fares rather than using Skyscanner, Cheapflights etc. Or just check directly with the airline.
We went on a road trip for 12 days crossing 8 countries and 16 cities. In 12 days, exactly. We spent
RM4000 on everything literally all in except for Malaysia return flights (supposed to be almost RM500+ less but everything was last minute and we accidentally purchased two car insurance. How careless)
So let’s start!
Day 1 (Berlin, Germany)
We departed from Stansted Airport, London early in the morning. My mates and I met for the first time the night before, we all slept at the airport while taking turns to guard our backpacks. Luckily there was a small prayer room at the airport. We refreshed ourselves at the toilet and performed our Fajr prayer there before running to the gate. We took RyanAir, the ticket fare was very affordable with no checked in baggage etc. – £13/person. That’s about RM72.26 way way way cheaper than the fare of domestic flights in Malaysia.
I already had a friend whom I met on Snapchat waiting for us in Schonefeld Airport. First thing first, we went to Hertz office to pick up our rental car. We had an issue with my credit card and in the middle of our worries, we accidentally bought a second car insurance (I had already bought insurance through Expedia upon booking the rental car but it was meant to happen so…) that was when our budget for the car increase. Sorry guys.
Tips: If you want to go on a road trip, make sure you book the car at least a month before your trip because the price may vary. It’d be much cheaper if you book your car earlier than going for last minute booking (like I did). What makes road trip cheaper is when you split the toll fare, fuel and the car rental fee among your travel buddies. If there’s only the two of you traveling, please forget about it. You’re only wasting money because the fuel price in Europe is ridiculous.
Btw, most car rental companies will ask for credit card. They will not accept debit cards, paypal etc. But there are also companies that allow payment using debit card such as Sixt. Do a lot of research and contact the companies directly for confirmation.
Regarding the license, you don’t need international driving license to be able to drive in Europe. I actually used my one year Malaysia P license upon picking up the car, there was no problem at all haha. They didn’t even care.
Once we’ve settled with Hertz. We went outside and spent another hour in the rain looking for the car at the airport parking lot. It was hilarious, we searched the entire place many times when the car was literally just right in front of us. How silly. I initially booked a Mercedes but was given a Peugeot 508. Fancy I know but there were going to be 5 of us and we needed comfort for long drive and space for backpacks. There were cheaper cars like Volkswagen Golf and Polo. Manual cars were cheaper but duh, we’re noob and lazy Malaysians. After we kept our bags in the car, we took the train to the city.
- Berlin Wall
As you can see, they placed fences alongside the Berlin Wall to avoid vandalism and protect the wall arts. Most of the arts were vandalised. There were a lot of cool arts though, and each one of them had their hidden meanings. The Berlin Wall itself has its history.
- Mercedes Benz Arena
- Berlin Cathedral Church
- Berlin Tower
- Reichstag Building
- Berlin Light Festival
This was truly interesting. People from all over the world submitted their creative videos mostly related to history and they were all played here.
- Berlin Sony Centre
We also went to Memorial Holocaust Berlin but it was too dark to take pictures 😦 What a bummer. Anyway, after a whole day of walking, we went back to the airport and decided to sleep overnight in the car at the parking lot. So we did. There were only 3 of us at that time so it was fine. Plus, I got to sleep at the back teehee.
Day 2 (Prague, Czech Republic)
Next morning, after fajr we drove straight to Prague. It was around 3 hours drive because we made a stop a petrol station and hung out a little bit. We bought some food yesterday at a supermarket in Berlin. I also brought sambal kentang ikan bilis and serunding from home so we ate whatever we had in the food bag for breakfast. Nak jimat kata kan hehe.
We had a hard time to find parking in Prague, but we managed to find one- Paid parking of course. Did I mention that we had issue with the car’s tyre and the local guy at the petrol station didn’t want to help us until another local asked him to? How disappointingly rude. After we had settled the car issue, we walked around and went to attractions by walking.
- Prague Castle
- Charles Bridge
- Old Town Square
- Astronomical Clock Prague
- Dancing Building
- Old Town Center
Oh, if you’re wondering where we slept…
Tips: We booked most of our stay in Europe via Airbnb app. Airbnb is basically a website where hosts/owners advertise their homes/available rooms for renting purpose. In malay we would say, rumah sewa or bilik sewa. You can choose whether you want to rent a whole house or just a room for a period of time. If you’re renting a room, normally you’d be living with the host themselves or with other travellers. Personal pov, I think Airbnb is cheaper when you’re travelling by group.
Day 4 (Bratislava, Slovakia)
After a day of walking around Prague, we drove straight to Bratislava. We reached our Airbnb stay around Maghrib time. Unfortunately, I caught a fever and I wasn’t feeling well as I reached. Our host, Adam was extremely friendly and nice to us. He made me this hot lemon paracetamol drink (sounds disgusting and weird but it actually tastes good). That one time I was in the shower, he knocked the bathroom door asking me to be careful in the bathtub because it’s slippery. He even helped us plan for our tour in the city the next day. Sis terharu teruks. How very thoughtful of him.
So the next day we explored Bratislava’s attractions. Apparently we couldn’t find any halal restaurant there and ended up having McDonald’s Fish Filet Burger.
- Devin Castle
- Blue Church
- Old Town, Bratislava
- Bratislava Castle
After a whole day of walking around the city. We drove straight to Budapest where we stayed at a friend’s place. It was actually just a small rental room but anything yang jimat duit, we went for it hehe. The best part was, I got the bunk bed! 😛
Day 5 (Budapest, Hungary)
On the forth day, my fever got worse & I couldn’t walk very much. I felt dizzy all day so I stayed at a cafe alone while the other went for a hike. Honestly, I didn’t favor Budapest very much because there wasn’t much to see but the light view at night was really breathtaking.
- Fisherman Bastion
- Liberty Bridge
- Chain Bridge
- Gellert, Budapest
Day 6 (Vienna, Austria)
We reached Vienna the night before and slept at our Airbnb with our host. We didn’t do much in Vienna, only made a short visit to Schonnbraum Palace.
This palace is amazing. It has 1,441 rooms built in the castle and it used to be the royal’s summer stay. Apparently they have a beautiful garden but at that time, we didn’t get to explore it because we were rushing to pick up another two buddies in Salzburg. They took the train from Germany. Another a few hours drive.
On our way to Salzburg, we got lost. The location we received was wrong and instead of Salzburg, we ended up in Eugendorf (a very small town, 10km from North Salzburg). It was so funny but amazing. We drove between the hills, witnessing greenish view from the car window. For the first time in my life, I thought it was okay to get lost if it was in a beautiful place haha.
After we’ve picked up another two mates we drove to our hostel in Salzburg which wasn’t very far from the train station. Airbnb’s price in Salzburg is awfully expensive. Thank goodness we found available hostel dorms there.
Tips: I always use hostelworld.com to book dorms and cheap places to stay other than Airbnb. I only use Airbnb when I’m traveling in group so it’d be cheaper after we’ve split the rental fee. Hostel world can be more expensive sometimes because you’re gonna pay per head instead of per place, so you need to scroll down and compare their price. Don’t forget to read the reviews too and of course, check their location.
For female, normally hostels provide female dorms (the rate is higher than usual) but some hostels don’t. In Salzburg, they didn’t have the female dorm so basically… I slept with my hijab on haha.
We parked our car nearby the hostel and traveled by foot.
- Mirabell Palace Garden
- Love lock bridge
- Center of Salzburg
- Church (I forgot its name)
- Hohensalzburg Castle
- The Golden Chamber
Day 7 (Hallstatt, Austria)
So, after our last pasta dinner in Salzburg. We prayed at the restaurant and got on our way to Hallstatt. We had a problem finding a place to sleep because there was no hostel available and the airbnb price in Hallstatt was really really expensive. We decided to go with booking.com and surprisingly we found a somewhat a hotel-apartment to stay at. It was affordable and huge, located around 30 minutes-40 minutes from Hallstatt. The route was really creepy at night thought but extremely breathtaking during the day- definitely worth the long drive.
We left in the morning and made some stops during our journey to Hallstatt. We stopped by the road, river and even a playground to play at. I swear the view was really amazing. Not to forget, the Europe scar (I named it lol) I made on my forehead.
Anyway, Hallstatt was my one of my favourite places during the trip. It’s a very beautiul small town located between the hills. I saw the pictures on the postcard, if you think the pictures I took were beautiful. Hallstatt during winter is even more beautiful.
OK! To go up to the viewing deck, we had to take the cable car. It was quite expensive but worth it. There’s also a salt mine there but you need to hike a little to see it. We didn’t eat here because there was no halal food restaurant and most eateries here were too expensive.
- World Heritage View
- Hallstatt Lake
I remember that time when WE LOST OUR TOOTHPASTES. I brought mine from Malaysia and my friend left it in Vienna. So we bought another one in Salzburg but one of us left it on the shop’s counter. We had the chocolate bars that we bought from the shop but not the toothpaste lol seriously I don’t get it either. So the next day we had to ask for another traveler’s toothpaste at the hostel so we could brush our teeth. Then, in Hallstatt we bought another toothpaste but then the plastic was damaged and ripped open and we only realised it until we reached the car. Again, everything we bought was there except for the… toothpaste. It made us all go crazy. I mean, it was like the curse of the toothpaste. How tragic. Lol!
Day 8 (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
We left Hallstatt around Maghrib time and reached our airbnb stay in Ljubljana around 10pm. We got a whole house to ourselves hehe. We cooked maggie goreng with serunding as usual for dinner. Funny thing was, the bathroom door had no lock. I brought my phone and shuffle my Spotify playlist loudly whenever I went to the bathroom. Another person suggested hanging a hanger on the door but I thought the music worked better. Haha
The next day we found a halal place, they sold EUR4 Horse Burger. So we thought… “bila lagi nak makan kuda????” It tasted weird but acceptable.
- Ljubljana Center
- Postcard to a follower
(Bled Lake, Slovenia)
Bled Lake is located around 40 minutes from Ljubljana. By the time we reached, it was an hour or so before Maghrib, almost dark. The lake was really beautiful so it’s best to come during the day. We even had the time to rent a boat, it was so funny the guy had to come and find us in the middle of the lake because we took so long… Well, excuse me we don’t do this every day.
Couldn’t take nice pictures because it was almost dark but it was unforgettable, being stuck in the middle of the lake at night with no light. Hahahaha
Day 10 (Venice, Italy)
During our trip to Venice, we didn’t stay in that area because the airbnb and the hostels there were extremely expensive. We stayed in another town near Venice, parked our car at our Airbnb stay and took a bus to Venice. It was really really cheap, EUR5 return tickets to Venice if I’m not mistaken. There were many halal food eateries here. I even found a place that sold fried chicken. After a few days of kebabs and pizzas and all…. Fried chicken was a blessing.
In Venice, the only transportation here is the water bus, gondola, taxi boat and your own two feet. We took the water bus to go to the square and went back by walking. Venice is beautiful but don’t expect too much. It’s very crowded and not very clean.
- Saint Mark’s Basilica
- Rialto Bridge
- St Mark’s Clocktower
- Santa Maria della Salute
Oh, the gondola there would be EUR80 for an hour ride. If you’re rich enough, go for it. My friends and I walked around to find the cheap gondola, EUR2 per ride. Well, a one minute ride to be exact so we rode it twice just to take pictures haha.
- Grand Canal
Some raw pictures from my camera. Thought I’d share with you guys the beauty of Venice!
Day 11 (Milan, Italy)
After we left Venice, we drove straight to our airbnb. I fell asleep as usual. We stayed at a place in a small neighbourhood nearby Milan. It was really nice. Milan was supposed to be a drive je but we decided to check out the cathedral and the mall and get something to eat before driving to Switzerland. We only went to 2 places here because by the time we went out, it was already noon so it was kinda late.
- Milan Cathedral
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
After that, we drove straight to the Swiss border. Here we had to pay EUR40 for the car sticker. If we were aware of it early, we would have stayed in Milan but we had no choice so we paid for it anyway or else we couldn’t get through the border 😦
By the time we reached Switzerland it was already dark so we couldn’t see the view, we drove straight to our airbnb in Zell. The neighbourhood was quite far from the city but it was a very small peaceful town. The house was located right next to a railway path. It was really cool.
Day 12 (Lucerne, Switzerland)
Switzerland was initially the country we were really excited to explore. We were planning to ride the bobsleigh and do a lot of cool activities here but unfortunately day 12 was a waste for us. The bobsleigh was closed and to get up there we had to pay around EUR150 by cable car. Too expensive. It was quite disappointing, the weather was also bad and too cold for us to go up. So we decided to stop by the nearby town and then drive straight to the airport.
Basically, Swiss is a high living cost country. Everything was ridiculously expensive. Most cool attractions are only accessible by train, cable car etc. and the fee/entrance is crazy. There are so many beautiful places to go there. So maybe if I were to visit Switzerland next time, I would focus on Swiss only. Expensive but worth it, the view is magnificent. Sad even a fridge magnet costs EUR8 😦
After we reached Geneva airport, we dropped our car at Hertz’s office and parted ways with our two friends from Germany. It was so sad haha. We flew back to London that night with Swiss Air. The flight attendants were very nice serving us vegetarian cheese sandwich since we’re Muslims. It tasted delicious too!
& That marked the end of our road trip.
Thanks guys! You were the best travel buddies ever although we were strangers at first and despite me being the only girl in the group (the other two girls cancelled last minute 😦 ) So glad it all went well. ❤
If you readers have any questions at all, do leave a comment. I’ll answer ’em! 🙂
Thank you for reading!