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European Itinerary Advise - Munich, Prague, Vienna, Venice and Swiss Oberland

European Itinerary Advise - Munich, Prague, Vienna, Venice and Swiss Oberland

Oct 10th, 2002, 02:58 PM
  #1  
Guido
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European Itinerary Advise - Munich, Prague, Vienna, Venice and Swiss Oberland

European Itinerary Advise - Munich, Prague, Vienna, Venice and Swiss Oberland.

For the past few months I have been planning an 18-day trip to Europe with my wife for April/May 2003. Bought the guidebooks and maps, and done a lot of research via the internet, specially in this Travel Forum.

And now, I would like to request from the many experts that visit this site a critique of my itinerary. Please add your comments, analysis and suggestions to the proposed travel plan.

Day 1: Arrive in Frankfurt at 10:00 - pick up rental car. Drive to Rothenburg. Sleep in Rothenburg.

Day 2: Drive to either Reutte or Fussen. Romantic Road & Bavaria castles. Sleep in Reutte/Fussen.

Day 3: AM more Bavaria, late afternoon drop car at Munich. Sleep in Munich

Day 4 & 5: Munich. Take night train (almost midnight) on day 5 to Prague. Arrive early next day.

Day 6 & 7: Prague

Day 8: Leave Prague early AM, arrive Vienna around noon. PM Vienna.

Day 9 & 10: Vienna. Take late night train on day 10 to Venice. Arrive early next day.

Day 11 and 12: Venice. Take late night train on day 12 to Zürich. Arrive early next day.

Day 13: Morning take trains to Lauterbrunnen, arrive around noon.

Days 14, 15 & 16: Berner Oberland.

Day 17: Take train to Luzern around noon. Sleep in Luzern.

Day 18: Take very early train to Zürich, leave for home around 10:00.

We enjoy walking, music, art and museums, and we specially enjoy good food and wine. This trip is for my 50th birthday. Our last trip to Europe was in 2000.

At this point we have some flexibility in our plans.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 
Oct 10th, 2002, 06:38 PM
  #2  
tim
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i've done the same trip twice before. except i always fly into geneve and drive the entire route (over about 20 days) in the opposite order. you're in for a major, major treat. it looks like you've managed the time as well as anyone could, good job and safe travels.

just a sampling of my highlights were:

getting lost driving on all the one way streets in praha and finally giving up, went to a bar and drank 19 cent beers all night and paid a cabby to lead me back to my pension.

meeting the friendliest people in all my travels in vienna. shonbrunn palace is truly magnificent as is the rest of this beautiful city.

a perfect schnitzel in zurich. our table next to a fireplace in a locals restaurant with the snow blanketing the city outside. very romantic indeed. it was at least a 4 hour dining experience and several bottles of the house wine.

munchen was ok, my favorite again was getting lost and meeting locals in the various pubs after a day of sightseeing. later we got invited to a wedding as guests but had to get on the road back to zurich.

venezia, taking the ferry in by night. the most magnificent, romantic experience of my life. the people there are wonderful. we felt very welcome indeed.

offshoots i've done on that route include milano(duomo was highlight there) and budapest(!!)

cheers,

Tim


 
Oct 11th, 2002, 04:59 AM
  #3  
bettyk
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My only suggestion would be to spend more time in Rothenburg, especially if you have never been there before. It's a wonderful town that's great for walking and shopping. We spent 2 nights there after our overseas flight to Frankfurt and still didn't see/do everything. Otherwise, it looks like a great trip.

I'm taking the liberty of emailing you our recent itinerary for Vienna. It might help with your planning.
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 05:44 AM
  #4  
Guido
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Tim: thank you for your reply with the highlights. I look forward to doing some of them myself.

Betty: thank you for your reply also. If I can work some extra time in Rothenburg, I will. Looking forward to receiving your e-mail with the Vienna itinerary.

Guido
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 05:53 AM
  #5  
Bob Brown
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Your plan is certainly doable, but my concern is that you are not allowing enough time for Vienna or the Alps.
Also, 2 days in Venice may be a little tight. You will definitely see the highlights of each city, but your schedule leaves no time for in-depth exploration.
If you want to attend musical performances, both Munich and Vienna offer ample opportunities. If you like opera, Die Volksoper makes the ticket purchasing process quite easy. In 2000 we attended a performance of Die Fledermawus; in 2001 we attended performances of La Traviata and Die Lustige Witwe (Merry Widow). Both were good.

The opera situation in Munich is also good. The performances are usually sold out, particularly for operas like La Boheme and Falstaff. The ticket ordering process in Munich is not so good. There is a web site for this purpose, but I tried it and failed to get tickets. My order, submitted twice, disappeared twice. The box office had no knowledge of either order.
Fortunately a friend who lives in Munich followed up and, when the box office denied any knowledge of my order, she bought the tickets herself.
(I repaid her of course.)

As for the Berner Oberland, be advised that May is pre summer season and many hotels are not open. If you go to visit Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Mürren, I would schedule it for early June when those mountain villages are gearing up for the summer season.

I have spent a total of 5 weeks in those hills in the last 5 years and they have yet to lose their beauty and appeal.

I think you are also ignoring the fatigue factor of constantly being on the go. I consider myself a veteran traveler, and the schedule you list will in all likelihood cause you to
"hit the wall" about the 14th day unless you have incredible stamina.

I do not understand at all why you are going from Venice to Zürich and then backtracking to the area south of Interlaken. Why not go direcly to Interlaken from Venice??
It hits me as being a day wasted on a train.
It is a 7 hour trip from Venice to Interlaken Ost and another 20 minutes to Lauterbrunnen and 34 minutes to Grindelwald.
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 09:02 AM
  #6  
CharlieB
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Message: Sounds perfect! In the Bernese Oberland I would recommend the hotel "Alpenruhe" in Murren just up the mountain from Lauterbrunnen. Enjoy!

 
Oct 11th, 2002, 01:07 PM
  #7  
Guido
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To Bob Brown, thanks for taking the time to provide your thoughts on the itinerary. You have a point in that we are covering a lot of ground and maybe not allowing for in-depth exploration, but we are going for breadth not depth in this trip.

Your info on the opera in Munich and Vienna is very welcome. This had not been part of our plans up to now, but will certainly be included from this moment on.

Regarding the Oberland in June, you are absolutely correct. I would rather visit during this time of year, however April/May is when I get vacation time from my job, very little flexibility there.

Regarding the trip Venice to Interlaken via Zürich, I was looking for the most direct and efficient way with minimum interruptions during the night (no changing trains - for sleeping purposes mostly). The E-358 train departs daily from Venezia S. Lucia to Zürich HB at 22:43, arriving 08:53 + 1, according to the info I've able to pull from several internet sites. Where I live I do not have access to the Thomas Cook European Timetable that Ben Haines often refers to in his excellent posts.

If you have a more direct alternative from Venice to Interlaken in 7 hours, I would love to hear what it is. I have been unable to find it. Looking at the map you are once more correct, from a strictly geographical point of view. The other alternative route I've looked at is going through Bern. But this alternative has one drawback. As you put it in a great post some time ago called "Break Even Analysis of the Swiss Card", this is a great buy. However, I don't know if I'll be able to buy the Swiss Card there, and I'm quite certain I can buy it in Zürich.

Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks !

To CharlieB, thanks for your recommendation.
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 01:51 PM
  #8  
Bob
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A few general comments:

You will arrive tired on your first day. I too would spend 2 nights in Rothenburg so you can really see the city and take the nightwatchmans tour at 8pm at the City hall main square when you are awake. Good place for dinner is the restaurant of the REICHS KUCHENMEISTER HOTEL. Located next to St Jacobs church (largest in town). Great schnitzel and good service at reasonable price.

Lucerne and Zurich are two towns that we have been to many times and in my opinion do not really deserve too much time spent in them if you have to give up time in the small mountain towns. The famous bridge in Lucerne burned a few years ago and is now a reproduction. Zurich is a lot of traffic. The Interlakens and Murrens are fantastic.

You are covering a lot of territory and getting on and off a lot of trains. I am in your age bracket and we prefer to relax a little more and really enjoy each area. You may be spending too much time with train schedules. We always use the car 100%. On my 50th all I wanted was to be drinking a cold German beer in Germany in Bavaria and we did that.

All in all, some great locations. You will have a fun time.
 
Oct 11th, 2002, 02:37 PM
  #9  
tim
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i've done the same trip twice before. except i always fly into geneve and drive the entire route (over about 20 days) in the opposite order. you're in for a major, major treat. it looks like you've managed the time as well as anyone could, good job and safe travels.

just a sampling of my highlights were:

getting lost driving on all the one way streets in praha and finally giving up, went to a bar and drank 19 cent beers all night and paid a cabby to lead me back to my pension.

meeting the friendliest people in all my travels in vienna. shonbrunn palace is truly magnificent as is the rest of this beautiful city.

a perfect schnitzel in zurich. our table next to a fireplace in a locals restaurant with the snow blanketing the city outside. very romantic indeed. it was at least a 4 hour dining experience and several bottles of the house wine.

munchen was ok, my favorite again was getting lost and meeting locals in the various pubs after a day of sightseeing. later we got invited to a wedding as guests but had to get on the road back to zurich.

venezia, taking the ferry in by night. the most magnificent, romantic experience of my life. the people there are wonderful. we felt very welcome indeed.

offshoots i've done on that route include milano(duomo was highlight there) and budapest(!!)

cheers,

Tim


 
Oct 14th, 2002, 07:22 AM
  #10  
Guido
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To Bob Brown, I just received confirmation from the Swiss Federal Railways via e-mail that the Swiss Card is available at the Zürich train station but is NOT available in Bern.

Any thoughts?
 
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