Austria + Italy/Southern France

May 27th, 2012, 12:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2005
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Austria + Italy/Southern France

Hi, we are a family of 3 including a 4 year old. We are planning a two week trip and looking to cover the following:

a. Fly from Dubai to Vienna. Spend 3-4 days in Austria. We want to spend a day or so in Vienna and an overnight 2 day trip to Salzburg. Plan to rent a car for the drive to Salzburg. Any reason why one should look at an alternate way to commute for this leg?

b. Day 4 : Overnight from Vienna to Rome.

c. Day 5-10 (5 days) : Drive around Italy covering Rome, Pisa, Florence and end in Milan. I am not worried about driving skills in Italy But wondering if it makes sense to Eurail this leg.

d. Day 11 : Milan to Nice.

e. Day 11-14 : Drive around Southern France. No clue what we want to cover but we love drives and I am told this area has some fantastic drives...

f. Day 14 : Fly Nice to Dubai.

Comments / suggestions welcome.
kram is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 02:32 AM
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Sound like a hectic trip with most time spent on the road.

Firstly, I would seriously think about dropping Salzburg. Vienna is a fantastic city, with lots to see. Rail from Vienna to Salzburg takes 2:45, the drive would take over 3 hours.

Secondly, fly from Vienna to Rome. The night train (13 hours) is a torture.

Thirdly, 5 days for Rome, Pisa, Florence and Milan is extremely packed. You should spend at least two full days in Rome. Then you can drive to Florence (3 hours) via Siena, spend the night and the following day in Florence, drive to Pisa (1:30), spend the morning there and proceed to Milan (3 hours). Then you have one day for Milan, before you return your rental car and take the train to Nice (5 hours).

Frankly, I would also skip Milan and have a little more time for Tuscany which has more to offer than Florence and Pisa (San Gimignano, Volterra, Lucca).

You have to return your rental car in Italy and take the train into France to avoid a large fee.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 03:44 AM
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I would add, since you love driving, that you will love driving through Tuscany. Another reason to skip Milan.

Southern France:

I would base myself somwwhere near Cannes, Juan-les-Pins, Antibes. Or here:

From there, you have several beautiful drives:

- the Corniche de l'Esterel from La Napoule to St. Raphael - one of the most beautiful drives on the world. It ia also advisable to hike in the Esterel mountains. An easy, one-hour-hike would be around the Cap de Dramont, west of Agay. Spectacular views!

- the Grand Corniche and the Moyenne Corniche between Nice and Monaco with stops in Eze (Moyenne C.) and La Turbie (Grand C.)

- drives into the mountains, e.g. to the Gorges de Loup, with stops in Gourdon and Tourette.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:21 AM
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You have 3 trips here. The Italy portion alone will take 2 weeks, a week for Austria, and another week for the Cote d' Azur. You really need to cut back.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 05:40 AM
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Another thing to keep in mind is that dropping off a rental car in a different country than you picked it up will incur a large surcharge.

Definitely cut back on this itinerary as Bob the Navigator advises. He is an expert and his advice is always excellent. With 2 weeks, I suggest either Italy or Vienna and the Cote d' Azur. Fly between destinations. Travel in Italy is much quicker and easier by train. You have so little time - don't spend it all on the road or trying to find parking where you stop overnight.
mamcalice is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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some reasons not to drive on the Italy portion of your trip: the cities may well have restrictions on driving, called ZTL, or Zone of Traffic Limitation. If your unregistered car is photographed in one, you will get a whopping big fine, assessed months later through the rental company. Also, parking is almost impossible unless it's in a garage that charges high daily rates. Getting around in cities is best done by public transit or taxi. It's also very hard to find your way around in the cities, although with a GPS it might be easier.

But you are trying to do too much in Italy. And your four year old child will be miserable with all that traveling. I could see a melt-down somewhere along the way. Have you thought about what your child is going to do on this trip?

I am not trying to be negative, but realistic, based on many, many weeks of travel in Europe since 1982.
charnees is offline  
May 27th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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I read the note again after I finished typing it and told myself this is far too hectic. Thanks everyone for your inputs - really appreciated.

With a four year old, we will be limited by how much we can cover by foot and how much time we can be in museums. And yes, we will also need some rest and break time I guess.

- One option I am looking at is to skip the Austria leg and just do a week in Italy and a week in Cote D'Azur. We wanted a little 'mountain leg' and that was also one reason to include Salzburg and the drive. Where else can I look at a short 2 day mountain leg?

- If we do spend time in Vienna, we will fly from Vienna to Rome.

- Will look at compressing the Italy leg to Rome and 4 days in Tuscany. Does it make sense to rent a car just for the Tuscany bit or can I cover it in buses and trains?

- Will drop Milan. Probably look at flying out of Florence or Rome to Nice.

- Will read up on Cote D'Azur drives and attractions - thanks traveller1959 for the inputs.
kram is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 03:35 AM
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I would explore Tuscany by car. The landscape is beautiful, and there are many villages to see.

The Cote d'Azur is pretty close to the Alps. It is an easy daytrip to drive northwards into the mountains and back. Isola 2000 is even a ski area in easy reach from Nice.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 10:38 AM
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kram, in Rome you can easily visit many of the sights by bus or tram. You can get bus passes good for three days, as I recall. My grandchildren loved the fountains, of course, and also at Largo Argentina they liked the cats at the cat refuge in the exposed ruins. largo Argentina is a transit point where many bus and tram lines come together, so it is easy to get to.

Do stay in the historic center. For four days you can rent an apartment, which would give you a small kitchen with frig, and more room for your child to stretch out when you are not out touring. Look for places around Campo de'Fiori, Piazza Navona, Pantheon. Then you are right in the middle of everything. And it's not very far to the Roman Forum, or the Vatican, by bus.
charnees is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 10:57 AM
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IMHO the trip you describe would take at least a month to do and actually see anything - esp with a 4 year old in tow. (Since you will have to allow some time each day for the 4 year old to be 4 - play in a park or whatever) you will have to travel more slowly than a couple alone - or have a really cranky kid for 2 weeks.

You are not allowing enough time to see evenmajor sights in any of the places you are going. In two weeks you should have 3 or no more than 4 plaes (cities, not countries). That would only give you 3 days in each place - the minimum to see/do anything. (For instance - Vienna/Salzburg needs at least 6 nights - 4 Vienna and 2 Salzburg to realistically see even major sights.)
nytraveler is offline  
May 28th, 2012, 10:36 PM
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Hello, tried making a day by day trip and it does look packed. And I have not even read guidebooks or forums to make a list of things that need to be covered. Plus need activities for my daughter to keep her occupied.

So, the latest plan is a 5-6 day trip in Austria and the next 8-9 days in Italy. We will skip Cote D'Azur for another trip.....

Will post my detailed plan in a day or two - look forward to your comments and inputs on what all can be covered...
kram is offline  
May 29th, 2012, 11:23 PM
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Hi, here's the latest plan. Can you pls let me know if this looks doable. We are not very heavily into arts and museums. While we will cover them, we will not spend days on it. Eg. We finished the Louvre in a day the last time in Paris.

Date Day's plan
10-Aug Austrian Air flight to Vienna, rest and post lunch walk around Vienna
11-Aug Drive to Salzburg and visit old town
12-Aug Sound of Music spots and if possible afternoon drive into the countryside
13-Aug Drive to Cesky Krumlov and rest of day at Cesky Krumlov
14-Aug Drive back to Vienna, return car and Vienna sight seeing
15-Aug Vienna sight seeing
16-Aug Morning - wind up in Vienna
13:00 15:00 Flight to Rome and walk around Rome
17-Aug Rome
18-Aug Rome
19-Aug Rent a car and drive out to Tuscany area
20-Aug Tuscany are, cover Pisa
21-Aug Tuscany area
22-Aug Tuscany area (If ending in Milan, drive to Milan in the evening)
23-Aug If in Milan, else, drive to Rome in the evening
24-Aug Flight Milan to Dubai

kram is offline  
May 30th, 2012, 06:02 AM
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Not bad---some comments:
1. I love Cesky Krumlov, but I would not drive that far and back for it. See Hallstat and the Wolfgangsee instead.
2. Do not try to drive out of Rome--train to Orvieto instead to get the car.
3. Forget Pisa---too far off the path.
4. Milan is a long way from Tuscany. End in Rome. Actually, put all of your Rome days at the end and just drive from the airport to Tuscany.
5. August is hot--plan well.
bobthenavigator is offline  
May 30th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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Your second itinerary is even more hectic than the first one.

The first five days, you will spend most of your time in the car. Most drives won't be scenic. It will be a torture.

Two days for Rome is the minimum. Even if you do not like museums, Rome has lots to offer.

The Tuscany leg of your trip is reasonable. Of course, you can see Pisa if you have a car.

If you can fly back from Milan, it will be reasonable to include Milan. If you have to fly back from Rome, it will be crazy.
traveller1959 is offline  
May 30th, 2012, 09:34 PM
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Bob : Taking the car out of the airport to finish the drives first makes a lot of sense. I was thinking of doing it for the Salzburg leg as well - not sure if I want to do that after what will be a sleepless night on the flight.

Will check if Pisa should be included. Checked the directions and '' gave only a 3 hour driving time from Pisa to Milan - and I can fly out of Milan back to Dubai.

I will check out details on Hallstat and Wolfgangsee.

traveler1959 : 17/18 August are in Rome and so is the evening of 16th. We can even delay getting out on 19th if Rome needs more time.
kram is offline  

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