First time touring Europe

Apr 25th, 2014, 01:21 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2014
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First time touring Europe

Dear all,
I need some advice/help on potential routes for our trip around europe. We have 12-14 days. Starting point would be in London as a few of us live here. So a flight out would be a good start and then work our way back. We are happy to take trains and flights and also drive where and if necessary.

We would like to cover Germany, (Munich) Austria (salzberg), drive through Switzerland Alps, Geneva and to Paris then back to UK.
This is a rough guideline of the route we would like to take, has anyone got any advice regarding this? I am willing to look at completely new routes if easier or more convenient?

Just a little about us, there are 5 of us traveling we are in our 30's and don't mind a jam packed 12 days. Also some outdoor activities etc would be much appreciated....

any help would be appreciated.

Confused traveller
Bij07 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 01:41 AM
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A few questions:

1. Does the 12-14 days include your arrival and departure dates?

2. What is your per person budget?

3. What is your intended travel month?

Depending on how much luggage you have and how much moving around you do, the cheapest and most flexible means of travel might be a van. I see Sixt has a Ford van for 982 Euro with pickup in MUC and dropoff in CDG - that's less than 200 Euro per person (plus petrol. figure 100 Euro pp).
sparkchaser is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 01:54 AM
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Hi Bij07,

You'll need to check the fine print if you decide to try to rent a car or van by picking up in one country and dropping off in another. You have to specifically ask about one-way drop charges, which can be as high as 500 € or more.

Driving through the Swiss Alps is not a great thing either, imo. All of the peaks and the prettiest mountain villages are car-free, so you'll likely just park your car/van (and pay for parking), then take the train anyway. Plus, it'll be quicker to get from Geneva to Paris on the fast train than by driving (you may want to look into going from Basel, which is just about 3h from Paris).

I would also prefer to drive in Bavaria, but I guess I'm in a minority. It's simply better for the environment, and with the dramatic problems climate change is bringing to our mountains, it just makes sense. Also, using a good/workable train system is a rare thing, so it also makes sense to take advantage of it when you can.

Sorry I can't help with your plan or itinerary -- I like to travel (much) slower!

Have fun as you plan!

swandav2000 is online now  
Apr 25th, 2014, 01:56 AM
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I think it would behoove you, to put your itinerary to pencil and computer and see how much time you will spend wherever, including traveling time. There is a difference between jam packed amusements and having the time to be amused.
IMDonehere is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 01:59 AM
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swandav2000, the price I quoted included the drop off fee but that is a very good point to mention.

And I think you meant to say that you don't like to drive in Bavaria (I don't like to drive either but sometimes it's the most convenient thing if you need to get to an out of the way place or are on a time critical schedule)
sparkchaser is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 02:20 AM
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Hi Spark chaser
*14 days travelling - this does not include arrival and departure date
*I guess our budget PP is around 700-1000 GBP (1200 EURO)
*intended travel month is 19th/20th July to 2nd Aug

we are light travellers so can have mid suitcase each or backpack

We don thave to drive around as I understand that the fine print as swandav2000 mentioned and the petrol which can get pricey. we dont mind using public transport
Bij07 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 04:58 AM
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1200 euros is not even 100 euros per day per. This is hostel, picnic type traveling and since you are moving so much you would need to buy air and train tickets far in advance to get the cheapest tickets - meaning being tied to specific schedules.

Since there are 5 of you, you may be able to get a private room in a hostel - versus beds in dorms - I don't travel that way so don't know the prices.

Can only say it looks like way too many places in too little time - unless you have been to at least Paris before (I think it needs a minimum of 3 days/4 nights). So I would lay this trip out day by day, including specific travel times from actual train schedules ( for all of europe) and discount flights (skyscanner) - keeping in mind that the airports the discount flights use are often far from the cities they server.

For me it would be way too much time getting TO places instead of staying IN places and actually seeing/doing things. (For us this would be more like a 3 week trip - with a totally different budget). You might get better info by looking at Let's Go Student Guides or the thorn tree section of the Lonely Travel website - to get the most from your limited budget.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 05:07 AM
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sparkchaser: Yes! What a mind/typo. Should read: I would also prefer not to drive in Bavaria.


swandav2000 is online now  
Apr 25th, 2014, 05:18 AM
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For a good rundown of trains and rail itineraries, etc here are some great sites IMO:; and With that little time you probably will not take enough trains for warranting a railpass - look fofr discounted tickets on web sites of national railways.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 06:24 AM
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Like I said,I dont really have a route and this is why I am asking for advice. The budget is just an estimate, its nothing we have discussed as yet. 100 Euro a day seems like alot less now thinking about it.

what seems like a realistic trip would be 2 or three places only and to travel by flight and train rather than car?
Bij07 is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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It's easier to respond when the person posting the question is specific in his needs.

What exactly are you looking for? A detailed route by car? Are you looking for the fastest way, the most scenic, a route with the most sights (you'd need to specify what you want to see)?

If you have no specific requirements you can go to and enter each city you want to visit and you can get a route either on toll roads or on secondary roads.

Viamichelin will also tell you the driving time and how much petrol will cost. I would always add 25% to the driving time plus time for stops.

You need a vignette in Austria to drive on toll roads. I'm not sure of the other countries but I believe the same is true in Switzerland.

Renting a car in one country and returning it in another country will result in a huge drop off fee - as much as E350 perhaps. You could return the car in Munich or perhaps just over the border from Strasbourg and then take a train to Paris.

BTW - the title of your post does not indicate what you want to know. Lot of people use titles like yours and they often get ignored. Since you wanted a driving route your title should have reflected that. "First Time Touring Europe" has nothing to do a driving route.
adrienne is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 07:54 AM
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"...there are 5 of us traveling we are in our 30's and don't mind a jam packed 12 days. Also some outdoor activities etc would be much appreciated...."

With all those original destinations I think you'll be jam-packed into the car, 3 into the back seat, for too much of the time you have. Paris takes 4-5 days for most people with an outing to Versailles. Munich takes about the same or longer with outings.

"...what seems like a realistic trip would be 2 or three places only and to travel by flight and train rather than car?"

I think so.

If budget is a concern stay the H out of Switzerland.

Here are some suggestions that include some hiking.

Fly from England to Munich w/ discount airline; stay for about 5-6 days.

Daytrip by train to Salzburg (Bayern ticket daypass, €39/5 adults)
Daytrip by train to Garmisch (Alps! €39/5, Bayern ticket daypass) Do some hiking.

Daytrip to Andechs Monastery - by S-bahn to Herrsching and hike to the Monastery for some monk-brewed beer and traditional German food:

Train to Paris for 5 days (about 6-7 hours; you could get tix now for about €60 - €80 each for July 23, 24, or 25, for example, according to the German Railways site:

(Savings fares like these go quickly. Buy ASAP. Regular fares are twice that price.)
Russ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 08:44 AM
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Fly England - Munich
Munich 3 days + 1 day trip to Salzburg
Pick up rental in Munich, Drive to Garmish via Andechs & Linderhof, O/N Garmish
Next morning go to Neuschwanstein & then drive on to Lucerne O/N Lucerne.
Drive to Interlaken - 3 nights
Drive to Basel, drop car off on German side, train to Paris (3.5h)
Paris - 4 days
Hez is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 12:05 PM
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, drive through Switzerland Alps,>

Most of the primo Alpine resorts in Switzerland at least do not allow private cars but force people to either hike, take trains or hop on postal buses or aerial gondolas - cars have to be parked on the edge of the high Alps, often at an expensive per day rate.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 25th, 2014, 01:24 PM
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If it were me, I would look closely at both Russ's and Hez's itineraries. Both offer a nice sample of European destinations. Try not to crowd too much into this one trip.
crckwc1 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 08:37 AM
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Hi Russ and Hez

Both itineraries seem more realistic and I appreciate the time taken to suggest, i will look into both.
i will keep you posted on what i decide to do.

Bij07 is offline  
Apr 28th, 2014, 01:30 PM
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Russ' itinerary shows that you do not need a car and in Switzerland's Alpine areas cars must be parked in expensive lots IME and you have to use the train anyway - if driving note that drop-off charges for pick ups in one country can be high if not returning the car to that country so be sure to do as Hez says - end in Basel and drop the car on the Basel Bad in Germany, just across the Rhine from the Swiss train station and take a train from Basel, Germany the few miles to Basel, Switzerland's main station.

I'd say forego the car and take the train the whole way - you're on a fairly tight schedule so have little time for wandering around the back roads of Bavaria which cars are really useful for.
PalenQ is offline  
Apr 30th, 2014, 01:54 AM
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Don't want to confuse you more, you've already got a lot to do, but I would really recommend the Austrian alps, you should do atleast 1 day trip from Salzburg, Halstatt being the best one, you can have a look at my page on Austria here:
ashwinb is offline  
Apr 30th, 2014, 10:33 AM
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Hallstatt is fantastically awesome! And you can easily get there from Salzburg via train or more scenically by bus thru the lovely Lake District (a k a Sound of Music Country), another must if doing Hallstatt.
PalenQ is offline  

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