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7-9 days in Italy Itinerary! First Time and Looking forward to it !!!

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Me and my husband (based out of New Delhi, India) are planning to travel to Europe in August.

We have 2 options (depending upon the availability of seats as it comes under staff travel) to fly into Milan or Brussels.
Need tips / feedback on the enclosed itinerary.

How can we save time in travel? Which is the best rail pass that we could opt for? Which area should we stay in Rome / Venice / Florence to be near the top sights?
Considering we are on a budget trip !!

Enclosed are 2 working itineraries I could think of.

Option 1 - New Delhi-Milan on Aug 5th morning
Day 1 - Reach Milan at around 7 pm. Stay overnight

Day 2 - Milan to Venice by train (early morning)
Day 2 - Sight seeing in Venice, relaxed dinner. Stay over night

Day 3 - More sight seeing, stay overnight

Day 4 - Head out for Florence by early morning train
Day 4 - Sight seeing in Florence. Stay overnight

Day 5 - Check out from the hotel early. Quick day trip to Pisa. Take an early evening train to Rome
Day 5 - Reach Rome evening. Relaxed dinner near Spanish steps. Stay overnight in Rome

Day 6 - Sight seeing in Rome. Stay overnight

Day 7 - Sight seeing in Rome. Stay overnight

Day 8 - Day trip to Naples / Capri / Tuscany. Stay overnight in Rome

Day 9 - Take a morning train from Rome to Milan. Visit Duomo. Stay overnight.

Day 10 - Travel to Switzerland from Milan. NOT TOO SURE ABOUT THE MODE OF TRANSPORT & DURATION OF TRAVEL? Stay overnight in Switzerland.

Day 11 - Sight seeing. Stay overnight.

Day 12 - Travel from Switzerland to Brussels. NOT TOO SURE ABOUT THE MODE OF TRANSPORT & DURATION OF TRAVEL?. Stay overnight in Brussels.

Day 13- Sight seeing in Brussels. Stay overnight.

Day 14 - Early morning flight to New Delhi




Option 2 - New Delhi-Brussels on Aug 4th night
Day 1 - Overnight flight from New Delhi. Reach Brussels at around 7 am. Relax during the day. Overnight train to Milan.

Day 2 - Reach Milan. visit Duomo & others. Relaxed evening & dinner. Stay overnight in Milan.

Day 3 - Milan to Venice by train (early morning)
Day 3 - Sight seeing in Venice, relaxed dinner. Stay over night

Day 4 - More sight seeing, stay overnight

Day 5 - Head out for Florence by early morning train
Day 5 - Sight seeing in Florence. Stay overnight

Day 6 - Check out from the hotel early. Quick day trip to Pisa. Take an early evening train to Rome
Day 6 - Reach Rome around evening. Relaxed dinner near Spanish steps. Stay overnight in Rome

Day 7 - Sight seeing in Rome. Stay overnight

Day 8 - Sight seeing in Rome. Stay overnight

Day 9 - Day trip to Naples / Capri / Tuscany. Stay overnight in Rome

Day 10 - Travel to Switzerland from Rome. NOT TOO SURE ABOUT THE MODE OF TRANSPORT & DURATION OF TRAVEL? Stay overnight in Switzerland.

Day 11 - Sight seeing. Stay overnight.

Day 12 - Travel from Switzerland to Brussels. NOT TOO SURE ABOUT THE MODE OF TRANSPORT & DURATION OF TRAVEL?. Stay overnight in Brussels.

Day 13- Sight seeing in Brussels. Stay overnight.

Day 14 - Early morning flight to New Delhi

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    Welcome to Fodors, abhak! I would say that you are covering a *lot* of ground with your itinerary. I understand the urge to try and fit it all in, especially since it's a long way from India! On this forum, I think you'll get many recommendations to slow it down - but I'll say first that if that's your style of traveling, then go for it!

    Just be aware that at your current pace, you'll get only a quick view of a number of places. And you'll be spending basically as much time in transit as in sightseeing: in addition to the time on the train, you should take into account the time it will take for hotel check-in and check-out - and getting to the hotel in the first place. Sometimes it's helpful to look at your trip not so much in terms of days but rather in terms of nights.

    So, a couple of questions to better understand what you want - and what your requirements are - for your vacation. Maybe in thinking about these, you'll come up with more specifics I haven't even thought of!
    - I understand that you aren't yet sure if you'll land in Milan or Brussels. But to be clear, you'll definitely depart out of Brussels?
    - On Day 9, you have "Day trip to Naples / Capri / Tuscany". Is this to see all of these, or you'll choose one? FWIW, Tuscany is not geographically near Naples and Capri.
    - Where in Switzerland do you want to go? What do you want to see there? It's a small country, but with only 2 nights there, what is the intent?
    - What are your interests when you travel: do you prefer history, art, being outdoors (all of the above or something else)? More time in museums, or more relaxing in an outdoor cafe? Would you want to see some countryside, or are you okay with such a city-centric trip? Are you high-energy and can see a lot in each day, or would want "down time" within these two weeks?

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    Have you already booked your flights? You really have too much moving around in too short of time. I would drop Switzerland and backtracking to Milan and fly to Brussels from Rome.

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    If this really is the pace you want to move at and the number of things that you want to cram into this short period of time, in your case I would suggest joining an organized tour. You're apparently not interested in any of the European countryside, but rather hopping from city to city, so a tour would be perfect and relieve you of the considerable logistics that will be involved in all your moves from place A to place B. It relieves you of the need to book accommodations, too. I hardly ever recommend tours, but given what you want to accomplish, it seems far more reasonable than making the dozens of lodging and travel bookings you'll need to make to get this trip off the ground.

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    Hey Guys ! Thanks all for your feedback.

    Ggreen to answer your queries:

    I understand that you aren't yet sure if you'll land in Milan or Brussels. But to be clear, you'll definitely depart out of Brussels?

    YES WE WILL DEPART FROM BRUSSELS.


    - On Day 9, you have "Day trip to Naples / Capri / Tuscany". Is this to see all of these, or you'll choose one? FWIW, Tuscany is not geographically near Naples and Capri.

    WITH ALL THE FEEDBACK FROM YOU AND OTHER MEMBERS WE HAVE DECIDED TO SKIP THIS ONE. WE WILL RATHER EXPLORE ROME.

    - Where in Switzerland do you want to go? What do you want to see there? It's a small country, but with only 2 nights there, what is the intent?

    WE HAVE TO VISIT OUR FRIEND IN SWITZERLAND SO THAT SHOULD NOT BE VERY HECTIC. WE WILL STAY AT THEIR PLACE AND DO PLACES AROUND THE LOCATION OF THEIR HOUSE. (DONT KNOW YET ABOUT THE WHEREABOUTS!)

    - What are your interests when you travel: do you prefer history, art, being outdoors (all of the above or something else)? More time in museums, or more relaxing in an outdoor cafe? Would you want to see some countryside, or are you okay with such a city-centric trip? Are you high-energy and can see a lot in each day, or would want "down time" within these two weeks?

    I THINK WE ARE MORE TOWARDS THE RELAXING IN AN OUTDOOR CAFE. THOUGH WE WOULD WANT TO COVER THE MAIN SIGHTS INCLUDING FEW MUSEUMS / ART GALLERIES ETC.

    SO NOW THAT YOU KNOW OUR INTERESTS AND THAT WE WILL BE SPENDING AROUND 9 DAYS IN ITALY BETWEEN MILAN, VENICE, FLORENCE & ROME. COULD YOU PLEASE HELP REJIG THE ENTIRE THING SO WE SPEND LESS TIME IN TRAVELLING.

    would be of great help. Regards
    abha k

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    Well, I would reverse the itinerary and fly into rome and then head north, ending in Milan. Then take the train to Switzerland. If the location in Switzerland is a big city, you could fly to Brussels, or take the train, but that would take more time.

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    Thanks abhak for the update! As much as I love the Amalfi Coast and Naples, it's for the best you drop it on this trip. Also, it will be very crowded there in August!

    So these are the non-negotiable parameters of your trip as I understand it:
    - 2 weeks in August
    - Arrive in either Milan or Brussels (set by employer)
    - A stop in Switzerland (location not currently known)
    - Depart Brussels
    - Italian itinerary to include Milan, Venice, Florence, Rome

    IMO, I would keep all your Milan time together. If you end up flying into Brussels, I would look into getting a cheap flight from there to Venice. There are a number of airlines such as EasyJet - just keep in mind that they have strict luggage limitations! (If you want advice on packing light, there's a ton of good info on these boards. It's something I always aspire to LOL.)

    I don't think your route is a bad one. From Rome, you could take an overnight train or a cheap flight to Switzerland.

    Of course you'll get plenty of different opinions here, but I'd say 2 full days each for Venice and Florence is brief but adequate. On my last trip, I had 4 days in Rome and wished for one more (but I guess no matter the amount, I'd always want to extend it LOL). For me, it was a full day for the Roman Forum/Coliseum, etc.; half a day for the Vatican museums and another for the Galleria Borghese (with those afternoons spent relaxing); another day wandering around and popping into various churches... I'm not sure Pisa is worth the detour, but then I've never been there.

    For lodging, I'd recommend searching this forum, since each of these cities have been covered. I can tell you that in Rome, I stayed near Piazza del Popolo, which was central enough but also relaxed. I also like the area of Campo de Fiori, which is busier but for me somehow "homey".

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