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1st time in Europe - Please critique our itinerary

1st time in Europe - Please critique our itinerary

Old May 17th, 2013, 05:01 PM
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1st time in Europe - Please critique our itinerary

Hello,

We are a 20-something, newly married couple, physically fit and really excited about our first trip to Europe. I've been trawling through several posts on various euro country forums here, gorging on all the valuable advice from you lovely people and have sort-of arrived at this itinerary below. I would love your honest feedback and any suggestions for changes to our itinerary.

***
1-Sep-13 fly from New Zealand. long flight!
2-Sep-13 Land in London..in one piece. Sleep the jetlag.
3-Sep-13 London
4-Sep-13 London
5-Sep-13 London
6-Sep-13 London
7-Sep-13 One day trip to Oxford
8-Sep-13 One day trip to Stonhenge.
9-Sep-13 London
10-Sep-13 Catch morning train to Edinburgh.
11-Sep-13 Edinburgh
12-Sep-13 Edinburgh
13-Sep-13 Catch morning flight to Paris.
14-Sep-13 Paris
15-Sep-13 Paris
16-Sep-13 Paris
17-Sep-13 Day trip to Versailles.
18-Sep-13 Catch morning flight to Krakow. Visit Oskar Schindler's factory.
19-Sep-13 Auschwitz-Birkenau one day trip. Catch night train to Prague.
20-Sep-13 Prague
21-Sep-13 Prague
22-Sep-13 Prague
23-Sep-13 Bus/Train to Vienna
24-Sep-13 Vienna
25-Sep-13 Vienna
26-Sep-13 Vienna
27-Sep-13 Catch morning train to Luzern
28-Sep-13 Spend the day checking out Luzern.
29-Sep-13 Mt Titlis. Take evening train to Murren/Wengen
30-Sep-13 Jungfraujoch
1-Oct-13 Jungfraujoch
2-Oct-13 Jungfraujoch. Take afternoon train to Zermatt.
3-Oct-13 Matterhorn
4-Oct-13 Take Glacier Express. Spend the night at St Moritz
5-Oct-13 Take train to Venice via Tirano.
6-Oct-13 Venice
7-Oct-13 Venice
8-Oct-13 Venice
9-Oct-13 Travel to Rome.
10-Oct-13 Rome, Italy
11-Oct-13 Rome, Italy
12-Oct-13 Rome, Italy
13-Oct-13 Flight from Rome to New Zealand.

***
My questions and concerns are:

a. Logistically, does this itinerary look okay to you? Any suggestions or changes in the order of cities we're planning to visit?

b. Should we, say, instead of taking overnight train to Prague (from Krakow), goto Vienna instead?

c. Are we doing the right thing by flying to Krakow from Paris? Or should we take the train to Krakow instead? Time is not an issue for us.

d. I am not sure if I've allotted enough time at Zermatt? Is one day enough for Matterhorn?

Thanks in advance for your feedback.

Cheers,
Sri
srir4m is offline  
Old May 17th, 2013, 06:00 PM
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Isn't it awful that we need to fly so far to get anywhere in the world - sitting on a plane for that long is just the worst.

Here is what i would change to make things easier :
Edinburgh - this does not make sense for just 2 days, especially as you are going to Paris. It is much easier getting to Paris from London - Eurostar. Probably cheaper and easier.

If that is all the time you have in Paris I would skip the day to Versailles.

Krakow - it is a shame you are not seeing any more of this city. It is a lovely place and deserves the extra day, and it seems that you are only doing this trip from Paris to visit the concentration camps. If this is something you need to do for personal reasons then do it, but if it is just something that is on your list to see - skip it. In fact skip Poland if you are only going there for a day.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 06:04 PM
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We visited Switzerland, we only did a day trip to Junfraujoch. We took the train visited the top and came back down. Also we stayed in Lauterbrennan, one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. From there we did hikes to Murran, Wengen and other area hikes. Absolutely one of the most gorgeous spots on earth. Enjoy your trip.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 06:40 PM
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millie2112, thank you for your comment. i agree with you regarding Edinburgh. I'll skip it this time, and stay a bit longer in Paris. You are right, I am visiting Krakow just to visit Auschwitz. Ever since I read about World War II, it is one of places I want to visit when I get the chance. I'll do further reading on what we can see Krakow and look to spend more time there instead of just one solitary day.

anjun, thank you
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Old May 17th, 2013, 10:01 PM
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I think skipping Edinburgh and adding more days to Paris was the right move. Now you have enough days in Paris to visit Versailles. Prague is lovely so I hope you won't short change it to allocate more days to Krakow. So many places so little time.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 11:01 PM
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Zermatt is nice, we spent 3 nights there, but I was with my father and he had a special interest,, he had summited it years before and liked to go back and hike to the hut every few years.. he had taken his wife , my sister , and myself all on separate trips, all in all he had hiked up to the hut 10 times ( beside the time he summited).
So we hiked the to the hut one day. The next day we took the train part way up to the Gornegrant ( sorry I know I spelt this wrong ) and hiked up the rest of the way , amazing view point there you are looking into France and Italy on a clear day.. and left the next day.. so three nights two full days.. now I think you could do it in 2 nights though.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 11:02 PM
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oh, yeah, I know it sounds weird, but find the little cementary, it has many climbers and guides graves there, and they are often carved or have sculpture of climbing axes or ropes etc..
The guide the took my dad to the top is there, he died taking a climber up the year after he took my dad up.. very sad.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 11:06 PM
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>

The factory is not open and I do not believe there is anything inside it, at least nothing for tourists. There is a museum in the administration building but it is not about Schindler. It's called Krakow Under the Occupation and is a wonderful museum all about life during WWII in Krakow with sights and sounds replicating the era. There is a board with photos of Schindler survivors on the first floor and videos of survivor stories in the museum but no factory.

I agree with Millie about Krakow. It is one of my favorite cities and it offers much more than Auschwitz. The main square is a delight as is the Salt Mine, just outside Krakow. The Ghetto is full of history and interesting sights. If you tour the castle, salt mine, and Auschwitz you could easily spend 5 days there and not be bored.

Even in your 20s I think it's a huge mistake to build an overactive itinerary. It leaves no space for simple enjoyment of a city or town. There is such a thing as travel weariness and sensory overload. It's difficult to zoom from sight to sight and only see places superficially. Of course, some people do this and enjoy it but do you know that both of you are this type of person?
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Old May 17th, 2013, 11:33 PM
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Is there any chance you can move Switzerland into the summertime? Weather is unpredictable, but the earlier you can get there, but statistically higher chance of mainly clear, dry weather.
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Old May 17th, 2013, 11:36 PM
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with cutting out Edinburgh you have two extra days - I would add one to Paris and one to Krakow so that things are not so rushed and you can do what you planned.

i have never been to Switzerland - I am going this September, and it is the one place that had me really confused. All I know is the trip to Jungfraujoch takes one day and is very expensive.
you will need to look at getting the Swiss Rail Pass. Have a look at this site:
http://www.switzerland.com/en.cfm/home. It may give you some ideas.
Wengen is considered to be a great place to stay.
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Old May 18th, 2013, 10:49 AM
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Switzerland is VERY expensive, even a night dining at that "Scottish restaurant " ( McDonalds! LOL) is going to cost you a lot.. I remember visiting the mcDs in Zermatt and being quite taken aback, lol

Switzerland is lovely , beautiful, but just remember you will bleed money there . Its worth it though.
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Old May 18th, 2013, 02:35 PM
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I agree with everything above. Spend at least 1 full day at Krakow and may be another one at the salt mines of Wielicka.
You may take the night train (sleeping cars) from Vienna to Zurich - Lucerne.
I wouldn't go to Titlis if you go to Jungfraujoch and Matterhorn Paradise (Kleinmatterhorn) after that (3times snow and glaciers, Titlis being the less impressive of all).

Spend at least 1 full day around St. Moritz in order to enjoy all the lakes and glaciers of this area. Otherwise you would sit 2 full days in trains: Zermatt - Glacier Express - St. Moritz 8hrs, St. Moritz - Bernina - Tirano - Milano - Venice 9hrs. You may stay 1 day less in the Jungfrau area instead.

The weather in the Alps is always unpredictable, but end September/early October is rather on the sunnier and drier side; a month earlier wouldn't be better.
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Old May 18th, 2013, 02:47 PM
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It is almost always more expensive to eat in McDonald's in Europe than eating the local food. Swiss food is not so exotic one needs to worry about it being so distant from American fare. It is generally meat, cheese and potatoes. In northern Italy, a hamburger is often called a "svizzera", because Italians don't generally eat meat patties like the Swiss do.

Switzerland gets much less expensive if you look for apartments to rent and modest local places to eat in that serve soups, sausages, potatoes and eggs.
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Old May 19th, 2013, 09:58 AM
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"It is generally meat, cheese and potatoes"
Where did you find that?
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