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10 Day Trip starting in Rome, ending in Zurich

10 Day Trip starting in Rome, ending in Zurich

Apr 10th, 2013, 08:23 PM
  #1  
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10 Day Trip starting in Rome, ending in Zurich

Hey,

I'm trying to get some advice on my first trip to Europe this upcoming summer. I'd be leaving June 11, with a flight landing in Rome on the 12th around noon. Here's my proposed itinerary from there:

June 12 - Enjoy the day in Rome, maybe see some of the things such as the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. Otherwise, just sightsee some and people watch after a long flight.
June 13 - Do the tour essentially, mainly the Colosseum, Forum, Pantheon.
June 14 - Vatican trip, leave for Cinque Terre area in evening (it's about a 4 hour train ride I've been told, arrive late)
June 15 - Spend the day at Cinque Terre, walking the path, and possibly a boat tour
June 16 - Leave early and go to Florence, spend day there, just sight seeing and such
June 17 - Spend morning going to see famous sights, leave after lunch in rental car to go to see some of Tuscany. Planning to stay at a bed and breakfast somewhere in the Greve region (but any suggestions are appreciated)
June 18 - Return car to Florence in early evening, take train to Venice
June 19 and 20 - Sightsee in Venice
June 21 - Leave early to go to Lake region of Italy (arrive at Lake Como around noon)
June 22 - Leave Como for Zurich early, spend afternoon and evening around Zurich
Then return home on June 23.

My biggest concerns are whether or not I'm trying to fit too much into one trip. I'm going with my girlfriend, and I like history while she enjoys the people watching. I'd really like to go to the Cinque Terre area at some point, but I'd be most ready to take it out over Venice, Florence, or Rome. Also, is the lake region in Italy worth just a day? Or should I just plan to go on in to Switzerland and see Lucerne?

Finally, I'm planning on doing Point to Point tickets now for the rail because they seem cheaper. Is that the best idea.

Any advice on places to stay and things to do are greatly appreciated. It's my first time heading over to Europe after years of wanting to go, so I'll take any help I can get.

Thanks!
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 01:56 AM
  #2  
 
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I suppose you know that the places (obviously in Southern Tuscany)that you plan to visit by car are just between Rome and Florence. But, of course, it's not forbidden to go first to 5Terre (about 500 km from Rome) and to backtrack then about 300 km.

I don't see why you want to fly home from ZRH. The easiest solution would be a train ride from Venice to Stresa/Lago Maggiore (at lest as beautiful as Lake Como) and a flight home from Milano Malpensa airport, jest a few miles from Lake Maggiore.

In the unlikely case you would intend to visit Switzerland, you would need more than half a day for that.
neckervd is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 06:02 AM
  #3  
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I have seen they are south of Florence between there and Rome. I would really like to see Cinque Terre, but it is a little out of the way. Is it worth going to for a day and a half? Also, the main reason for flying out of Zurich would be because of the significant difference in price. I was able to find the tickets open jaw for $850 per person. To fly out of Milan, the price jumped to $1275. In addition, I figured a ride through the Alps and taking some time to see Zurich would be fun.

If I cut out on Cinque Terre, would you suggest an extra day in Tuscany? Or an extra day to see Lake Lucerne/spend in Zurich?
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 06:12 AM
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I think the entire trip is too rushed. I agree that it wastes time to backtrack.

As for the airfare, you have to factor in getting to Zurich (cost and loss of such short vacation time).

With only 10 days, you need to stay 3 places max. Otherwise, you are spending a good chunk of your time on transport instead of actually seeing sites/cities.
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 11th, 2013, 07:07 AM
  #5  
 
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Finally, I'm planning on doing Point to Point tickets now for the rail because they seem cheaper. Is that the best idea.>

Yes for the relatively few train rides you have - go to www.trenitalia.com and if you book far in advance and do not require flexibility to change the ticket from the specific train it is valid on then you can score some deep discounts over full fare - like 9 euros flat fare on high-speed trains regardless of distance. But those tickets have to be grabbed as soon as they come on the system to guarantee as they are sold in very limited numbers - if it's here today book it as tomorrow it could be gone.

In any case do not worry about getting on trains ever or rarely so if you want to leave the ticketing till you're in Italy that is fine though you will likely pay more for the same seat you could have booked weeks earlier at a cheaper price.

Check out these superb IMO sites for lots on Italian trains - www.seat61.com (good info on discounted tickets); www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com. You are not nearly traveling enough on trains for make a railpass pay off.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 07:39 AM
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How about this revised itinerary:

June 12-14 (two and a half days essentially due to travel) - Sightsee and enjoy Rome
June 15 - Leave for Florence in the morning
June 16 - Whole day in Florence
June 17 - Rent a car and drive around Tuscany some (skipping out on Pisa and other areas that are too far, mainly looking at San Gimignano, and driving through the Chianti region)
June 18 - Return to Florence to drop off car, leave on train to Venice
June 19 and 20 - full days in Venice
June 21 - leave Venice for north lake region or Lake Lucerne in Switzerland
June 22 - Arrive in Zurich.

I like having more time in Florence and I think just three morning train rides is much better than a train to and from Cinque Terre (which would take up a lot of a day). Should I go on into Switzerland on the morning of the 21st? Or do the north lake region. Venice to Como says it is 3 hour, 30 minute; to Lucerne is 4 hours, 45 minutes. Either way I could be there by 1 in the afternoon (found a train from Venice at 7:30 to Lucerne, 8:10 to Como).
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 07:40 AM
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Did I get it right: it's cheaper to fly back from ZRH than from FCO? Otherwise you could just travel by train from Rome to 5Terre - Desenzano Lake Garda (similar to Lake Como) - Venice - Florence, rent a car, drive through Southern Tuscany and give the car back at FCO.
neckervd is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 07:55 AM
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Neckervd,

Yes, the ticket to fly out of ZRH is a total savings of $900, now, the train tickets to get there are about $140, but that's still a substantial savings. Should I just plan to do Cinque Terre when visiting next time? I plan to come back to Europe in the next year after June and fly into Paris, but also go down to Nice, The train from Nice to La Spezia (Cinque Terre) pretty doable. It would make for a nice time on the Mediterranean while this trip could be more focused on seeing the major Italian tourist cities.
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 10:18 AM
  #9  
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The only thing is I'm really itching to see Cinque Terre and the Mediterranean.... Is it worth going to for a day and a half (even though that'll be an extra 6 hours of travel on train and cut into a day in either Florence/Tuscany or Venice)?
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Did you reverse the trip and see if that made a difference on price (fly into Milan and home from Rome)? I always search multiple flight options (Bologna/Venice/Milan/Pisa/Rome).

A one day car rental usually costs as much as a 3 day.
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 11th, 2013, 10:46 AM
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Keep posting please...we are taking a very similar trip arriving in Rome 8/29 and departing Venice 9/10. Trying to justify extended train time from CT (which I too am dying to see) to Venice. Our traveling companions are departing 9/8 from Venice and we really don't want to be stuck there so many days. We may go to CT and send them on to Venice 9/6 without us, meet up with them their final night (9/7) for dinner and gondola ride. FYI all of our friends who've been to Venice say DO take the gondola down grand canal, evening of possible. Expensive, but worth it. Good luck.
kmatkins is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 10:51 AM
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You might consider instead of renting car in Florence and staying out that night doing just a day trip out and staying that third night in Florence. You could do the daytrip on your own by train or bus. Or you could do a private or small group wine tour or cooking class where they pick you up and take you out. That would save you the time picking up and returning car, figuring out where you are going, etc. Here's some links to some possibilities (not advertising I just found themby googling "private car day trips florence").

http://www.walksofitaly.com/blog/tuscany/day-trips

http://www.toursbylocals.com/sienasg...omonteriggioni

http://www.viator.com/Florence
laurie_ann is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 11:16 AM
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Kybourbon, I tried multiple open jaw combinations within Italy, but they all were more than I wanted to pay (averaging 1350 to 1600 dollars per person). I don't mind the travel day to Zurich, but I do understand it will take time. I forgot to note that the plane tickets are set: arriving in Rome at 11:40 on 6/12, leaving Zurich in the morning on 6/23.

Kmatkins, I will try to update as much as possible. A lot of it depends on communication with my companion. Neither of us have been before, so we're wanting to do the "touristy" things, but also try to enjoy each place.

Laurie_ann, thank you for that information! I did see that car rentals were a little expensive for just a day. I have researched the tour options and they all look good. My only concern would be you lose some of the freedom of roaming around on your own.

For anyone, if the cost didn't dissuade me from renting a car, what would be the best destinations to visit in Tuscany that are close enough to Florence to not be an overwhelming amount of driving, but also get a taste of the region?
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 12:16 PM
  #14  
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Also, any suggestions of places to stay in the various locations (Rome, Florence, B&B in Tuscany, Cinque Terre, and Venice)?

It's 10 nights to stay between those places (most likely 3 in Rome, 1 in Cinque Terre, 2 in Florence, 1 in B&B, 2 in Venice, 1 in lake region or onto Switzerland). Any advice on those will be helpful.
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 01:53 PM
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you could take the Bernina Pass rail route to Switzerland en route to Zurich. To me it is Europe's most scenic railway - awesome baby! (In the words of Dick Voitale!) - takes a bit longer so plan to spend the night in say St. Moritz and then go on to Zurich.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 03:35 PM
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I think you still have too many places and too much transport time for such a short trip. I think you are going to be surprised by how much time you are spending getting from point A to point B instead of actually enjoying locations.

La Spezia/Venice is 4-5 hours just on the train. You would also have time checking out, getting from CT to La Spezia, figuring transport in Venice, finding hotel. Easily 6-7 hours just on transport. Venice/Como would be similar. Unless you plan on catching 7 am trains which means getting up 5-6 am (not my idea of vacation), then you likely won't arrive places until mid-late afternoon.

>>>Neither of us have been before,<<<

Does this mean you haven't been to Italy before or Europe?

If you insist on keeping CT (I wouldn't), then it might make more sense to pick up a car as you leave Rome. If you don't want to drive to Rome, hop a train to Orvieto or Chiusi to pick up the car. Drive through southern Tuscany (Montepulciano? Pienza?) towards either Siena or Chianti. You can turn the car in at La Spezia to visit CT. Add Florence after CT.

Keep in mind you can't drive in many cities in Italy(Rome, Pisa, Lucca, San G, Siena, Florence, CT, etc.). With a car, you have to find parking (often at the edge of the town) and walk in or use other transport. You will also need an IDP. Make sure any rental estimates include CDW.
kybourbon is online now  
Apr 11th, 2013, 10:10 PM
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Kybourbon, so if I cut out cinque terre, where should I put the extra day and a half (plus travel time)? I have seen you comment on a lot and you definitely seem to know your stuff. If my main focus on this trip is sightseeing some, but also just relaxing in the cities and taking in the culture, does this itinerary work:
June 12: Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, check in hotel right away, mainly just take in some of the night life.
June 13: busy day. Do the colloseum, forum, pantheon, other churches, then walk around (any other suggestions?)
June 14: Vatican day
(Here's one debate, train to Florence today in the evening after seeing what we want? Or wait and take train in morning?)
June 15: travel to Florence, see some of be famous museums, art, etc mainly just get settled in
June 16: whole day in Florence, (is there enough to do for a whole other day or would it be worth going to Tuscany today?)
June 17: tour of Tuscany, either guided or via rental car
June 18: leave for venice, dinner on canal, night tour, gondola ride
June 19: st marks, other famous sites
June 20: another day in Venice
June 21: take use the bernina express scenic train to get into aw
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 11th, 2013, 10:15 PM
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Didn't finish my last post...
June 21: NOT Sure on Bernina Express. Heard great things. But I'd rather have a long train taking me to lake Como and then onward to lake Lucerne. What's the best way to travel into Switzerland from Venice? I would love to go to the lake region in Italy (could sacrifice last day in Venice and be there day earlier)
June 22: make it to Zurich around 1. Just spend day in Zurich, sleep at hotel near airport for next day flight.

How does all that sound? When I say "this is my first time" I mean I've never been to Europe. My companion studied abroad, but just went to Paris and Brussels. In regards to cars, I would only drive in Tuscany. I see no reason elsewhere. Is there a nicer hotel in Venice that isn't ridiculously priced? I've heard hotels are very expensive there.

Thanks for the help!
BradCurry16 is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 02:25 AM
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MULTI LEG FLIGHT Australia - Rome and back from Zurich CHEAPER than Australia - ROME AND BACK?
That's the first time a hear that, but one can obviously always learn something more.

In order to answer your most recent questions:

"is there enough to do for a whole other day or would it be worth going to Tuscany today?"
The first day I went to Florence, I had only 1 weekend (2 full days). It was a real marathon, only possible with an exact timing. At the and of it, I fell completely tired in my sleeping car bed (and suceeded even to sleep there!) With kids, you will need more time for sure. Book your museums ahead, if you don't want to queue!

The most sympathic Venice restaurants are not on Canal Grande, but in side streets resp on side canals.

"NOT Sure on Bernina Express. Heard great things. But I'd rather have a long train taking me to lake Como and then onward to lake Lucerne. What's the best way to travel into Switzerland from Venice? I would love to go to the lake region in Italy (could sacrifice last day in Venice and be there day earlier)"

Palen told you how to do it: spend 1 night and 1 day at St. Moritz. Otherwise it doesn't make much sense. If you want to see Lake Como too, you could do something like that:

June 20th: Venice dp 16.20 - Varenna/Lake Como ar 20.24
June 21st: Enjoy Lake Como. Leave Varenna 15.24 via Tirano - Poschiavo - Bernina and arrive at St. Moritz at 20.09
June 22nd: enjoy St. Moritz/Upper Engadine. St. Moritz dp 18.10 - Pfaeffikon SZ ar 21.17. Sleep there (several hotels on the shore of Lake Zurich)
June 23rd: Leave Pfaeffikon SZ by direct train to Zurich airport (50 min ride), dp 5.44am and then every 30 min until 22.44.

BTW: you cannot combine Bernina and Lake Lucerne, either the one or the other.
neckervd is offline  
Apr 12th, 2013, 04:47 AM
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I want to reiterate the point that kybourbon made about your longer train trips but restate it this way: EVERY time you move hotels, you will probably use at least 1-2 hours (perhaps more) to the logistics of travel in addition to the actual travel time. . . checking out of the hotel, traveling to the train station, navigating and waiting at the train station, delays while traveling, finding your way out of the arrival station, finding you way through the unfamiliar city to the hotel, checking in to the hotel.

So even a seemingly brief train ride like Rome-Florence (90 minutes) will actually take 3-4 hours. I always estimate losing at least half a day to relocating. I like your improved itinerary because you eliminated traveling every other day and dealing with these logistics which can become tiresome.

You've mentioned that you are already planning your next trip, so now you have the luxury of thinking of this trip as Part 1. If you are so set on Cinque Terre, then do that instead of Venice--save Venice for next time. Rome-Florence-Cinque Terre-Zurich . . .
ellenem is offline  

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