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Can we do 3 to 4 countries in 15 days? Round trip out of Zurich.

Can we do 3 to 4 countries in 15 days? Round trip out of Zurich.

Old Dec 11th, 2015, 11:30 AM
  #1  
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Can we do 3 to 4 countries in 15 days? Round trip out of Zurich.

We are planning on taking a trip to Europe in May 2016 for 15 days (2 of those are flying days). We fly in and out of Zurich. Tickets are already purchased as I used my miles and needed to book early. My husband has never been to Europe. I have never been to this area but have travelled to Europe many times. We are renting a car and driving. My thought is to start in Munich then up the Rhine into Amsterdam then back down through France.
Tentatively this was by itinerary:
3 - 4 days Munich (possible day trip to Innsbruck/Salzburg)
1 day Rothenburg ob der Tauber
Drive up the Rhine
1 day Heidelburg
1 day Dusseldorf
3 days Amsterdam
1 day Brussels
1 day Colmar France
1 day Zurich
Is this too much travelling? (driving) I know from past visits to Ireland, England and other countries that you could easily spend 2 weeks in 1 town and still not see it all. However, my husband is adamant that he will probably never go to Europe again and this may be a one and only time. And it may be a long time before I can get back as we have saved for a long time for this trip. So really trying to see as much as possible. I think I kept all of our legs under 2.5 hours so as to not exhaust ourselves and gives us time to wander around before and after getting to each destination.
Please help with any suggestions on itinerary and/or suggestions.
Thank you
JCBD
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 12:30 PM
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You will certainly see as much ROADS as possible with this itinerary. However, if you want to something other than the roads, compute realistic travel times.

You can use google map (optimistic estimates) or http://www.viamichelin.com/ for more realistic estimates.

This would tell you if you have ANY time left at the supposed destinations to do what you thought you would be doing there.

I know for some people, travel=driving. One couple traveled in Germany by car. They moved everyday. They drove from the morning to the evening. He had a time of his life. His wife refuses to travel this way again. They did not have time to visit anything.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 12:55 PM
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Of course you can do it, you laid out the plan and those countries are next to each other.

You are the one who has to decide if it's too much driving. For me, days 1-3 would be too much driving.

I don't really understand why you'd be driving during the last part of the trip. YOu didn't buy these tickets already, did you? If not, why go back to Zurich for no reason, fly out of Brussels or Strasbourg, that's all. You can take the train between Amsterdam/Brussels/Strasbourg.

It's the end that's the worst, I'd drop 1 day in Brussels and just spend a couple days in Alsace. I wouldn't go back to Zurich.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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I wouldn't go into Zürich to begin with, but I certainly wouldn't make a loop to go back to it. I guess you did that because you didn't have much choice using miles?

Yes, you can do this. But do you really want to? You'll certainly become intimate with tarmac and your dashboard. But if that's the kind of trip you prefer, go for it.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 01:15 PM
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Plane tickets are bought so open jaw is out.

http://www.rome2rio.com/s/Z%C3%BCrich/Munich

Have you thought about taking the train to Munich? You would not need it while there and the train to Innsbruck or Salzburg is very easy from there. You could rent a car from Munich and drive and drop back off in Germany and train it back to Zurich. Train is more relaxing and you won't be driving all the time. Get a gps for sure.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 01:31 PM
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In deciding_ realize that to get a full day most places would require two nights. So most of your stops will only give you a few hours free in the town to see/do things. And if you are driving those free hours will be in the late afternoon/evening.

That would've a waaaaaay too rushed itinerary for me, and too much driving almost every day. But you know your own travel style.

(I have a roadster and LOVE road trips - but I do like to have at least a couple of days in most places.)
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 01:55 PM
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I think the trains are now running again between Munich and Salzburg but you might have a lot of hassles at the border.

http://www.reuters.com/article/europ...f1SofKK0xl3.97
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 04:01 PM
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We have done a lot of road trips in europe and love it. However, to actually enjoy the trip we do the following:

Don;t drive more than 4 hours in any day
No one night stays - we stay 2 or possibly 3 nights in smaller towns and 4 or 5 nights in big cities

Although I think most of your places are worthwhile (I would bag Brussels) but there is no way you could pay me to do that trip.

Get a Michelin green guide and check out the sights you want to see in each of those cities - how many there are, opening hours and what time you will b arriving there (are you going to do 6 am stops to get the driving done earlier in the day and have afternoons to see something?)

In your place I would limit to 4 cities at most.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 04:36 PM
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Most of the places on your list are cities. It's hard to drive in and out of cities and expensive to park. Parking more cheaply on the outskirts requires you to find your way into the center. A bus? A taxi? With such an itinerary, taking the train makes more sense, because trains travel from city center to city center.

And you need to cut down the number of stops or neither of you will want to return to Europe. Every trip I take I have to cut some stops and some sights I'd really like to visit. The more research I do, the more things I want to see. But, lacking infinite time and a very deep wallet, everybody has to limit their trips.

Look at Rick Steves' book Europe by the Back Door. It's directed at inexperienced travelers who do not stay in 5-star hotels or dine at Michelin-starred restaurants. But who do want a real European experience.

Or maybe you can find a bus tour that will take you to most of the places you want to see.

BTW it is possible to book an open jaws flight with miles, at least with some airlines.
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Old Dec 11th, 2015, 04:51 PM
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Also, remember that lots of things are closed on Sundays and also for a 2+ hr lunch.

Stu Dudley
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Old Dec 12th, 2015, 05:26 AM
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Trains would be the way to do this. Even Rothenburg has a train station. If border crossings are still a lot of hassle into Austria then look at Garmisch and that area. Just beautiful and you would enjoy the alps. Easy 1.5 hour commute by train. Nuremberg is a good day trip also but Munich has a lot to offer. Your husband might well enjoy the BMW tour. We loved it.
You will have longer daylight in May so that is a plus.
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Old Dec 12th, 2015, 05:56 AM
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Day 1: flight to ZRH
Day 2: arrival at ZRH, train/bus to Munich ar around 3pm. Most museums etc. close at 5pm
Day 3-5: visit of Munich
Day 6: Day trip to Innsbruck or Salzburg
Day 7: Munich dp by car 9.00, highway to Augsburg and Romantische Strasse with intermediate stop at Dinkelsbuehl (with lunch), Rothenburg ar around 2pm
Day 8: Rothenburg dp 9am - Romantische Strasse with intermediate stops at may be Bad Mergentheim etc to Tauberbischofsheim ar 11am, visit and lunch stop, dp 1pm - Heidelberg ar 3pm
Day 9: Heidelberg dp 9am - Mainz ar 11.15, visit (without Gutenberg museum etc.) and lunch, dp 13.30 - Ruedesheim ar 14.15, dp 15.15 - Rhine Valley with some intermediate stops - Cologne ar 19.00
Day 10: short visit of Cologne in the morning, drive to Duesseldorf, late lunch and some visits - drive to Amsterdam ar in the evening
Days 11-13: Amsterdam
etc. etc......
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 06:45 AM
  #13  
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Thank you all for the advice and suggestions.
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Old Dec 14th, 2015, 06:50 AM
  #14  
 
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Beware that picking up a car in one country and returning it in another can result in very STEEP drop-off charges.
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