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Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

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Fremont
posts: 19
Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

We're planning a 2 weeks trip to Europe. we have worked out an extensive agenda for travel and sightseeing. I needed a sanity check from the community to make sure this will work.

Day 1 (15th August): We're flying from San Francisco into Milan on 15th August after a connecting flight through Frankfurt. We reach Milan at 1:45 PM local time, pick up our rental car and

drive to Brescia to check into our hotel. We will rest/roam around the nearby area that afternoon/evening.

Day 2: The entire day's plan is to sightsee Milan. Need to find out if we can take local transport from Brescia to Milan and sightsee? Don't want to drive into Milan. Need suggestions for

this day (recommendations?).

Day 3: After breakfast and checking out of the hotel early morning, we plan to drive to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (through Interlaken). I believe it would take us around 5 hours. We can

check into the hotel and roam around in Lauterbrunnen that afternoon/evening. Not sure if it makes sense to go to visit Interlaken (any recommendation?)

Day 4: After breakfast, take the train/tram to Murren and sightsee the area. By lunch time come back to Lauterbrunnen and post lunch start driving to Innsbruck, Austria. Google maps show

the time as 4 and half hours but I guess it would take longer.. need to know how difficult/long the drive would be (recommendations?). Anyway, check into the hotel in Innsbruck and retire

for the day.

Day 5: Have breakfast and visit the Innsbruck town (we need to check out of the hotel so only 1 night stay in Innsbruck). Drive to Venice in the afternoon. Wanted to find out if half a day

would be enough time for Innsbruck. Does it make sense to drive all the way from Lauterbrunnen for half a day in Innsbruck. (recommendations?) The drive to Venice shows as 4 hours in Google

maps. I guess it would take around 5 hours? Retire for the night in Venice. Staying in Holiday Inn near airport.

Day 6: Entire day, sight see Venice

Day 7: Sight see Venice for the first half of the day, check out from the hotel and drive to Pisa in the afternoon. Shows 3.5 hours in the maps. Is that right?

Day 8: Go from Pisa to Florence to sight see. Does it make sense to drive to Florence or take public transport (recommendation?). Come back to Pisa for the night.

Day 9: Sightsee Pisa the first half of the day and after checking out of the hotel, Drive to Rome, return the rental car at airport and take a train to the hotel in Rome.

Day 10: Sight see Rome

Day 11: Travel to Pompei using public transport and sight see Pompei this entire day. Come back to the hotel in Rome in the evening

Day 12: Sigtsee Vatican

Day 13: More Rome sight seeing this day. This is the last day of the trip so wanted this to be more relaxed and prepare for the long journey back.

Day 14: Depart from Rome early morning.

Need recommendations to figure out if the driving would be achieveable? Does it make sense to do as many places, especially Innsbruck? Would the time planned for each place be enough for visiting?

Ashish

New York City, New...
posts: 816
reviews: 1
1. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

This is crazy -- you'll be spending half of the trip in a car! Scenery will be nice in some places, but what is the sense of rushing through 10 cities in 12.5 days? Stay in northern Italy, Switzerland and Austria and focus on a maximum of 4 places you really want to see. Leave Florence, Pisa, Rome and Pompei for another trip.

New York City, New...
posts: 816
reviews: 1
2. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

I realized you are locked into your departure from Rome, so I'm revising my advice. Make it an Italian trip, and skip Switzerland and Innsbruck. 1 day in Milan, 2-3 in Venice, perhaps followed by a day in Ravenna, with its beautiful mosaics, 3-4 in Florence with a day trip to Pisa and also perhaps another day trip to Siena or San Gimignano. Spending time in the smaller cities and towns will give you an entirely different experience of Italy. I would also skip the car and take the trains. You'll enjoy the scenery without the burden of navigating, parking, paying for parking (!), etc. You'll also meet Italians on the train.

I'm quite jet-lagged for the first day or two after a trans-Atlantic flight so I don't plan a packed schedule then. When my sleep schedule has adjusted to local time and my energy is revived, then I'm ready to go. Conversely, at the end of a trip, I know I can relax on the plane and sleep when I get home, so I don't slow down then. I do pack up as much as I can on the second last night, so that I can enjoy a final relaxed evening, especially before an early morning flight.

See Switzerland and Austria on a separate trip.

New York City, New...
posts: 816
reviews: 1
3. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

Brescia to Milan: There are frequent trains, probably every hour or so, which take about an hour. The www.trenitalia.com site is wonky tonight, so I couldn't pull up any schedules. I'm sure there are frequent buses, too. Check the Brescia forum.

Vienna, Austria
Destination Expert
for Ghana, Vienna
posts: 1,435
reviews: 4
4. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

I think you really need to think about what kind of trip you want to have. Do you want to 1) rush through immensely historic locations ticking off a list provided by some travel book of what you should see spending half your time in a car navigating very busy cities and paying a bunch for gas or 2) slow down and enjoy 2-3 of the cities on your itinerary getting to feel "local" even if you stay just a few days.

Except for Milan, I have been to all the locations on your itinerary, granted over several different trips. A few other thoughts:

1 - Don't rent a car; parking, getting lost, unfamiliar road rules, stress, etc. Take the train, that is what Europeans do to travel b/t cities. I think you should recalculate yoru driving times to factor in checking in and out of hotels, unpacking, getting gas, figuring out directions, finding parking...

2 - Cut out Switzerland, Austria and Venice and plan on doing these on another trip. Stick instead to Milan, Florence/Siena/Tuscany and Rome. There is more than enough to keep you busy in these areas for 13 days.

3 - If you do sitck with you agenda, please reconsider how you are seeing Florence. To stay in Pisa and make a day trip to Florence is a way off the mark. Nothing really to see in Pisa except the leaning tower. So, so much more to see in Florence and beautiful cities in Tuscany so much more compelling than Pisa.

This itinerary is not sane, in my opinion. As another poster said, this is a vacation, not the Amazing Race!

New York City, New...
posts: 816
reviews: 1
5. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

Cherries beat me to it -- skip Pisa. It pales in comparison to the rest of Tuscany. Also, see www.seat61.com for excellent information on train travel, and www.trenitalia.com.

Basingstoke, United...
posts: 1,976
reviews: 110
6. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

Lauterbrunnen is a wonderful place - as is Murren, BUT you need at least a week to see a fraction of what is in this area!

Interlaken also needs at least a whole day to do a boat trip, look around the city, etc.

Suggest you choose one country and see it in greater detail.

Fremont
posts: 19
7. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

All, thanks for the great advice. I am beginning to see the light. I guess we will skip Switzerland and Austria and just do Italy this time. I will think again about train vs renting a car. I am quite comfortable driving and have driven in other countries (like India) with crazy driving and we would anyway use the car only for traveling from hotel to hotel and use the public transport within the city. I believe it is more convenient for a family of four to be using car instead of train. If I was alone or just me and my wife, it definitely would have been train all the way.

New York City, New...
posts: 19
reviews: 7
8. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

I've driven the Vaduz to Innsbruck a handful of time in the last year. It's tough even for the most well rested. It's in the valley floor, so great scenery, but the train takes the same route. There's tolls (which you have to stop and pay at and don't forget the vignettes for both countries), it's one lane each way in some places (so you're at the mercy of the slow trucks) and A LOT of tunnels. From the middle of Switzerland to Innsbruck is going to be well over 4.5 hours for someone not familiar with the area or driving in Europe. Overall, your itinerary is poor, too much time spent traveling between places, just as the others have mentioned. The driver and the navigator will not be enjoying themselves. Scale it back.

Vienna, Austria
Destination Expert
for Ghana, Vienna
posts: 1,435
reviews: 4
9. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

I am also comfortable driving (lived and drove in Ghana for 7 years) and have a family of four. I find that the train is so much easier on everyone as all can relax. The kids can walk around, you can actually enjoy each other's company, get snacks, use the toilet, etc with no fuss.

Fremont
posts: 19
10. Re: Europe trip agenda - need recommendations

Got it. Serious rework of itinierary is in progress. Will update in a few days