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Europe trip

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Jun 6th, 2012, 07:30 AM
  #1
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Europe trip

We (family of 4 adults) will be touring Austria, Switzerland (Zurich) and Italy (Venice, Florence and Rome) in August for about 3 weeks. Have already finalized our travel itinerary. Pls help us with the following information:

1) Is Euro currency accepted in all these countries, or should I carry any other currency.
2) I heard that August will be a warm month in Europe. How will be the temperature in the Alps area ... should we carry special jackets for the Alps.

3) Is there any tourist attraction in these cities (for eg., Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna ) which needs advance booking to avoid long queues.

4) We will be staying 3-4 days in each city and plan to visit the nearby places by local train (For eg., Vienna to Salzburg). Is it economical to buy a rail pass or train ticket for these trips in each country.

Would appreciate any help on above.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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ira
 
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Hi E,

Switzerland uses the Swiss Franc (ChF) Austria and Italy use the Euro.

>Is there any tourist attraction in these cities (for eg., Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna ) which needs advance booking to avoid long queues.<

In Florence, Uffizi and Academia museums
Venice the Doge's palace and St Mark's

>Is it economical to buy a rail pass or train ticket for these trips in each country.<

A railpass is good only if you will be doing a lot of travel on trains that don't require seat reservations.

Enjoy your visit.

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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:41 AM
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Yes, the euro is used in all these countries. Don't carry dollars for exchange. You'll get a bad rate, and it will cost you. The cheapest ways to spend are to use ATM's and credit cards. The ATM's usually charge a fee (mine is $5.00 per withdrawal), so I get the maximum amount each time I withdraw.

You might ask your bank to raise your daily limit so that you can get as much money as possible per withdrawal.

My credit card charges a 3% fee for foreign transactions, so it's probably cheaper to get cash and pay that way. (With my Wells Fargo debit card, I can get $1000 for $10, whereas I would pay $30 in fees if I charged that much.)

There are cards (Capital One comes to mind, also cards from credit unions) that don't charge a fee or that charge a lesser amount.

I haven't been in the Alps in August, so I can't help you there. I suggest you get a guidebook to see recommendations for advance booking. I'm a very seasoned traveler, but I never travel without a guidebook or two. You might check their websites.

I can't answer the question about rail pass or point to point tickets, but I do have a number of a company that can help you. When my sister and I were visiting some of the capitals of Europe, we called Budget Europe Travel Service 1-800-441-9413 or 1-800-441-2387. They advised us which system to use. They also sent us a mini-magazine with lots of useful information.

I hate to fuss, so when I travel, I usually just buy point to point.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:43 AM
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Oop! I forgot that Switzerland uses the Swiss franc.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 09:02 AM
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If you're just going to Zurich and the immediate surrounds, you won't need extra jackets. The only place you might need them is high in the Alps, like up Jungfraujoch.

It's just possible you could justify a Swiss pass or some other such pass in Switzerland. It depends on where you're going.

You didn't ask but Zurich isn't the place in Switzerland I'd spend 3 or 4 days, especially on my first trip. It's more of a banking/business capital. Whereas Lucerne is more what we imagine Switzerland to be like -- mountains, lakes -- and it's only an hour or so by direct train from the Zurich airport.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 10:03 AM
  #6
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Glad to see all these responses to my query, thanks a lot. Since I already committed 3 days stay in Zurich, is there any nearby tourist attractions which I can visit on a day trip (One being Lucerne) .. Bern, Interlaken ??
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Jun 6th, 2012, 10:48 AM
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You really don;t wnat to spend al that time in Zurich, which is primarily a business city. If you want to see Switz go to the Berner Oberland and s stayin either Interlaken (the valley) or one of the smaller towns part way up the mountains.

Typically weather is cold only on mountaintops. Yuo bring layers - light jacket, light sweater, long sleeve shrt - and add them as you ascend. At the top it is rarely very cold in midsummer - we were fine with layers, jeans and sturdy waterproofed shoes with non-skid sles for the snow.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 11:48 AM
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Agree - no reason to go to Zurich unless you will be visiting your money there.

There is plenty to do in Austria and Italy for 3 weeks.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Thanks for all the inputs. Will try to add few more days in Austria. A day trip to Budapest from Vienna ... Is it worth ?
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Jun 6th, 2012, 12:27 PM
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When we were in Vienna, we visited the Hofburg Imperial apartments and bought the "Sissi ticket" which was a combo ticket that included the grand tour at Schonbrunn. This turned out to be a great idea because it did allow us to dodge a very long line at Schonbrunn. I'm not sure we saved any money though, as we did not use the also included admission to the Imperial Furniture collection...which I was actually sorry to miss, I think it would have been interesting but we ran out of time.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 07:37 PM
  #11
 
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Eric,

How are you commited to Zurich? Hotel rooms can usually be cancelled.

I guess I don't understand why you would be commited to Zurich when you don't know what there is to see in the city.

Give us some more detials of exactly where/how/why you chose your destinations.....
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Jun 6th, 2012, 08:56 PM
  #12
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Hi Dayle, We booked 4 days in Austria, 3 days in Zurich, and 4 days each in Venice, Florence and Rome. Yes I can cancel the hotel booking in Zurich but need to check on the train ticket which I booked from Vienna to Zurich .. hope it shouldn't be a problem to change the dates.
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Jun 6th, 2012, 09:01 PM
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Budapest is worth several days.....
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Jun 6th, 2012, 09:31 PM
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In Rome, you'll want to book the Vatican and any Colosseum tour. Do a search on this forum for threads about these two, as there's a lot of info out there (guided tour or not and what tour companies to look at, the underground areas of both, etc.).

Another sight to book in advance is a ticket to the Galleria Borghese. This former mansion is chock-a-block full of Baroque art; tickets are sold in advance for a timespan of two hours. http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/i...iew-90089.html
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Jun 7th, 2012, 06:31 AM
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Just because you have a train ticket to Zurich doesn't mean you have to stop there. You can buy another ticket from Zurich to somewhere else in Switzerland. You'll probably have to change trains however, so allow time.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 09:48 AM
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This is an excellent forum to be in for a novice like me. Thanks for all the responses.
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Jun 7th, 2012, 01:24 PM
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I would just keep the train tickets to Zurich (unless there is no penalty for canceling). Instead of staying in Zurich, travel on to somewhere close like Lucerne (about 1 hour from Zurich) that is somewhat on your route to Venice.
http://www.luzern.com/en/
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