16 Days and 4 countries too much?

Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:05 AM
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16 Days and 4 countries too much?

So, this is our first time visiting Europe. We fly out on June 3rd to Munich and fly back on June 18th from Paris. Our tentative plans are below, but is it too much? I want to enjoy myself without feeling too rushed, but I would like to see several areas too, so I'm torn.

(June 4th arrival to Munich)
6/4 - 6/8 Munich, Germany
*6/8* Travel by train
6/8 - 6/10 Salzburg, Austria
*6/10* Travel by train
6/10 - 6/12 Zurich, Switzerland
*6/12* Travel by train
6/12 - 6/18 Paris, France
(June 18th flight back to states)
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:16 AM
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It would be way too much for me, but I tend to spend a month or more in one or two countries.

Having said that, Salzburg is an easy trip from Munich at just about two hours by train. Many people do this as a day trip, but it's giving Salzburg short shrift IMO.

I find it easier to plan in nights...so how many nights do you have? Five nights is four full days, so are these 16 days full days or do they include moving from place to place? I suspect the latter as I count 14 nights...?

And specifically what do you want to see? Most people who visit Switzerland go to the Alps, which will involve more travel from Zurich. Likewise, there are many great areas around Salzburg, such as the Salzkammergut and Berchtesgaden, Germany.

Are you only interested in cities?

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 1st, 2024 at 10:24 AM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:25 AM
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I have 14 nights total. I was going to do 4 nights in Munich, 2 nights in Salzburg, 2 nights in Zurich, 6 nights in Paris.. Hope that makes sense!

I could cut out Salzburg completely, if it's too much.. or maybe the day trip thing. The most important for us is Munich and Paris, but Zurich is in 3rd place even if it's brief.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:30 AM
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Personally, I think it's just too much. Have you checked the train travel? A quick glance shows me that Salzburg to Zurich is 6-10 hours with many connections. Munich to Zurich is 3.5-7.5. Zurich to Paris is 4.5-9 hours. That's a lot of train time, which cuts into your actual visit time considerably.

Two nights in Salzburg is only one full day, two nights in Zurich is one full day. Not near enough time. You could walk through old town, have a meal or two, see an attraction or two, but that's about it. Is that what you have in mind?

Personally, I'd stick with Munich and Paris, as that's what you want to see. You could make a long day trip to Salzburg from Munich, and visit the Zugspitze and a castle or two from a Munich base if that appeals to you.

Last edited by Melnq8; Apr 1st, 2024 at 10:33 AM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 10:38 AM
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My husband has been looking at raileurope.com to price and see travel times. I checked for a train from Munich hbf to Zurich HB for then and it was 3 hr 33 min and no changes.. So, I may just cut out Salzburg and keep the others. The train from Salzburg to Zurich is much longer, so that would help shorten everything by skipping it.

Thanks for your help!
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by brookebradshaw3386
I have 14 nights total. I was going to do 4 nights in Munich, 2 nights in Salzburg, 2 nights in Zurich, 6 nights in Paris.. Hope that makes sense!

I could cut out Salzburg completely, if it's too much.. or maybe the day trip thing. The most important for us is Munich and Paris, but Zurich is in 3rd place even if it's brief.

Welcome to Fodors. First of all do forget about RailEurope -- they are mostly sellers of EurailPasses and are not a good resource. (and usually Eurailpasses are too expensive for what you get)

As for your plan -- what you have is:

4 nights in Munich which equals 3 full days and a few jet lagged hours on your arrival day.

2 nights in Salzburg = 1 Full day plus a few hours.

2 nights in Zurich = just 1 day

6 nights in Paris = 5 days

The Salzburg and Zurich stops will just be a blur of travel / checking in / unpacking / packing / checking out / travel / repeat.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 12:19 PM
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Any particular reason for Zurich? You really only have one full day there (unless you changed your plan if you are eliminating Salzburg).. If there is a certain landmark that is on your must see list that you absolutely must see, by all means, include it. But it is a bit of a trek travel wise. Zurich often ends up on itineraries, I think, being the Swiss capital, but there might be another city/area in Switzerland that may suit better. I know some may disagree, but Zurich left me...bored! Again, depends on your interests, not mine and certainly do not want to dissuade you as this is your trip.

I did Salzburg as a day trip from Munich as Mel suggests and found it to be enough for me. So, you do not have to completely eliminate it, unless you really want to, of course.

Consider reviewing the many options for train travel. A fantastic resource is seat61.com. I traveled by night train from Munich to Paris once. Depending if you keep your current plan, that might not work obviously, but might be something to consider.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 01:19 PM
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I think it's fine. YOu have plenty of time in the bigger Paris, in fact, I might add a day from Paris to Zurich.

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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 01:26 PM
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..

Last edited by brookebradshaw3386; Apr 1st, 2024 at 01:31 PM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by janisj
Welcome to Fodors. First of all do forget about RailEurope -- they are mostly sellers of EurailPasses and are not a good resource. (and usually Eurailpasses are too expensive for what you get)

As for your plan -- what you have is:

4 nights in Munich which equals 3 full days and a few jet lagged hours on your arrival day.

2 nights in Salzburg = 1 Full day plus a few hours.

2 nights in Zurich = just 1 day

6 nights in Paris = 5 days

The Salzburg and Zurich stops will just be a blur of travel / checking in / unpacking / packing / checking out / travel / repeat.
Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
Any particular reason for Zurich? You really only have one full day there (unless you changed your plan if you are eliminating Salzburg).. If there is a certain landmark that is on your must see list that you absolutely must see, by all means, include it. But it is a bit of a trek travel wise. Zurich often ends up on itineraries, I think, being the Swiss capital, but there might be another city/area in Switzerland that may suit better. I know some may disagree, but Zurich left me...bored! Again, depends on your interests, not mine and certainly do not want to dissuade you as this is your trip.

I did Salzburg as a day trip from Munich as Mel suggests and found it to be enough for me. So, you do not have to completely eliminate it, unless you really want to, of course.

Consider reviewing the many options for train travel. A fantastic resource is seat61.com. I traveled by night train from Munich to Paris once. Depending if you keep your current plan, that might not work obviously, but might be something to consider.

This will be a trip with just the two of us, as we are leaving our two kids with my parents. So we are looking to relax, enjoy some good eats and drinks!

We like to travel to try foods from different regions! We do enjoy the old architecture and castles, so we do want to see those kinds of things. Were not hikers, so not looking to climb any mountains or such. We are not shoppers, so not don't really care about that, just some knickknacks to take back with us.

I think a day trip might be nice to Salzburg, but I was afraid we'd be too rushed to try and get back to the train on the same day. I'm super indecisive, so this has been really hard! haha
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by brookebradshaw3386
This will be a trip with just the two of us, as we are leaving our two kids with my parents. So we are looking to relax, enjoy some good eats and drinks! . . .

I think a day trip might be nice to Salzburg, but I was afraid we'd be too rushed to try and get back to the train on the same day. I'm super indecisive, so this has been really hard! haha

Not sure where the 'relax' fits in -- except maybe in Paris

As for the train from Salzburg back to Munich -- they run very frequently throughout the day and late into the night. You can spend as much time as you want and still get back to Munich the same evening.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 01:54 PM
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Random comments...

You may be miscalculating how much time you'd have to explore each destination because you are counting June 8th, 10th and 12th as days "in" the city and also as days traveling to the next destination. Unless you take relatively early trains (before 8:00 a.m.), a couple of your transfers will not get you to the next city until afternoon.

Salzburg doesn't make geographic sense the way you've ordered the itinerary. It would be better to start in Salzburg and work your way east to Munich, Zurich and Paris. There is frequent train service from the Munich Airport to Salzburg (short connection in Munich).

I would not drop time in Salzburg just to spend more in Zurich. (BTW, Zurich isn't the Swiss capital. That's Bern which IMO is more interesting than Zurich.) Both Salzburg and Zurich have things to see/do, but a Munich/Zurich/Paris itinerary is big cities only, and I would enjoy the different atmosphere of Salzburg. (Disclaimer: I haven't been to Salzburg in the summer, but I understand it gets crowded esp. the closer you get to the Salzburg Festival dates.)

I wouldn't visit Salzburg as a day trip from Munich (1.5 hours minimum each way), but that's me. I like Salzburg.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Jean
I would not drop time in Salzburg just to spend more in Zurich. (BTW, Zurich isn't the Swiss capital. That's Bern which IMO is more interesting than Zurich.)
Thanks for pointing this out, Jean. I apologize for my inaccuracy above...blond moment. <blush>

TBH, for relaxing, I would not consider all the moving you are planning on doing to be "relaxing." And for food, well. German, Austrian, and Swiss are not exactly culinary regions. Of course you can find good restaurants anywhere. The thing is...this region's food culture is rather... plain.

Have maybe given some thought to Lyon, which is sometimes touted as Europe's "culinary capital?" To maybe include a little bit of Germany, you can hit the western portion of the country and head to the Alsace Lorraine area of France and onto Lyon before Paris, if logistics work, obviously. Stu Dudley posts here often and probably can give some good advice on Lyon if it is at all of interest.

Munich is a neat city and absolutely worth it. I would not be ny first choice to go to as my very first city in Europe (unless I misread that this is your first trip).

Not trying to dissuade or sound negative - just giving my thoughts bases upon what you've relayed about what you want to achieve for your trip.

Last edited by Travel_Nerd; Apr 1st, 2024 at 02:16 PM.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 05:33 PM
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Yes, for a first-time trip to Europe, the selection of destinations (other than Paris) is a bit surprising.
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 08:58 PM
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Yeah, about Paris - you know the Olympics is being held there in July? I would look into price and availability of accommodation if you are there in June. It may be that you might prefer to substitute other destinations, or start in Paris, end up in Munich based on your investigations. I hear prices in Paris are huge, accommodation is booked up .... but I don't know when from. Congratulations on your first trip to Europe anyway, I hope it's magical for you!

Lavandula
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Old Apr 1st, 2024, 09:37 PM
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Lavandula makes a great point. The Olympics will be from July 26th though August 11th.

While this does not impact OPs dates of travel, the fact many travelers are (likely) adjusting their travel plans to be earlier (such as June) to accomodate this schedule may impact OP. OP, if you have not already, I'd book your Paris hotels asap, followed by your sightseeing plans (timed entry is required/recommended for many landmarks) once you have a set itinerary.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 02:11 AM
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Zurich is a bit dull compared to the sort of wonderful places you will be traveling through IMHO
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Old Apr 2nd, 2024, 06:49 AM
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I think you have your reasons for this 4 city trip.
And I suppose you know that you will have seen almost nothing of Austria, Gemany or Switzerland by staying in these rather cosmopolite and in no way typical places.
But your trip is perfectly feasible.
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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 07:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
Thanks for pointing this out, Jean. I apologize for my inaccuracy above...blond moment. <blush>

TBH, for relaxing, I would not consider all the moving you are planning on doing to be "relaxing." And for food, well. German, Austrian, and Swiss are not exactly culinary regions. Of course you can find good restaurants anywhere. The thing is...this region's food culture is rather... plain.

Have maybe given some thought to Lyon, which is sometimes touted as Europe's "culinary capital?" To maybe include a little bit of Germany, you can hit the western portion of the country and head to the Alsace Lorraine area of France and onto Lyon before Paris, if logistics work, obviously. Stu Dudley posts here often and probably can give some good advice on Lyon if it is at all of interest.

Munich is a neat city and absolutely worth it. I would not be ny first choice to go to as my very first city in Europe (unless I misread that this is your first trip).

Not trying to dissuade or sound negative - just giving my thoughts bases upon what you've relayed about what you want to achieve for your trip.
Originally Posted by Jean
Yes, for a first-time trip to Europe, the selection of destinations (other than Paris) is a bit surprising.
Originally Posted by bilboburgler
Zurich is a bit dull compared to the sort of wonderful places you will be traveling through IMHO
Originally Posted by lavandula
Yeah, about Paris - you know the Olympics is being held there in July? I would look into price and availability of accommodation if you are there in June. It may be that you might prefer to substitute other destinations, or start in Paris, end up in Munich based on your investigations. I hear prices in Paris are huge, accommodation is booked up .... but I don't know when from. Congratulations on your first trip to Europe anyway, I hope it's magical for you!

Lavandula
Originally Posted by Travel_Nerd
Lavandula makes a great point. The Olympics will be from July 26th though August 11th.

While this does not impact OPs dates of travel, the fact many travelers are (likely) adjusting their travel plans to be earlier (such as June) to accomodate this schedule may impact OP. OP, if you have not already, I'd book your Paris hotels asap, followed by your sightseeing plans (timed entry is required/recommended for many landmarks) once you have a set itinerary.
Originally Posted by neckervd
I think you have your reasons for this 4 city trip.
And I suppose you know that you will have seen almost nothing of Austria, Gemany or Switzerland by staying in these rather cosmopolite and in no way typical places.
But your trip is perfectly feasible.
For some reason, I couldn't respond for 24 hours and then I got distracted by life.

So, after reading everyone's comments and doing more research we have modified our plan. I did not want to feel rushed and I feel like our new plan will make it less so.. I should have also added in the beginning, that my husband has traveled a lot for work out of country. We have all of our hotels/Airbnb's booked for the entire time. Also, we do plan to take a day trip to the Neuschwanstein Castle (from Munich), The eagles nest (from Salzburg) and other things so we won't just be stuck in the city.

6/4 - 6/8 Munich
*6/8-train travel to Salzburg*
6/8 - 6/12 Salzburg
*6/12 - Train to Munich airport & fly to CDG (it was much cheaper this way & shorter)*
6/12 - 6/18 Paris (including 2 days at Disneyland)
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Old Apr 5th, 2024, 07:42 AM
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When one first joins Fodors they s/he is limited to 5 posts the first 24 hours - which is why you couldn't post right away. You are off probation now

Just very quick - re Disneyland -- two full days may be overkill (unless you are real Disney aficionados). Since you are traveling in June most European/British schools are still in session so as long as you hit it on a weekday it won't be be very crowded.

Last edited by janisj; Apr 5th, 2024 at 07:57 AM. Reason: typos
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