First trip to Europe (Help!!)

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Jan 20th, 2006, 10:14 AM
  #1
bd
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First trip to Europe (Help!!)

DH will be in Innsbruck on business the last week of July, and I'd like to meet him and make a vacation out of it. I know August is a bad time to travel to Europe, but we don't have a lot of choice. Because of this I'm thinking of leaving major cities to another trip and visiting more countrysides. After a little research, my initial thought in addition to Innsbruck is to visit Venice (I know it's a city...), Cinque Terre, Berner Oberland, Luzern. Being a Euro-novice, I would really appreciate any suggestions on places to include/exclude, travel logistics, itineraries, how quickly we should book airfare/hotels, etc. We will be flying out of NY and are planning on 10 days or so. Thank you in advance for any useful opinions or info you wish to share.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 10:30 AM
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Well, here's a start...

Since its August, you might want to stay in the mountainous areas (Austria, Switzerland) for the cooler breezes.
Or how about the Italian Lake district?

You might want to start looking at air reservations in the next month or so, I doubt prices will go down. I try to book my first and last hotel stays in advance, so I know where I'm sleeping to and from the airport, but the rest can wait.

The other question is, do you plan to rent a car, or use the train? This may affect which locations you choose.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 10:41 AM
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I really like the idea of a "countryside" trip. But keep in mind, some of these small places are VERY popular, and due to their size, can be even worse than bigger places in the summer. I understand that the Cinque Terre is a nightmare in the Summer.

I think you could set up a very nice trip travelling between Innsbruk and Venice - even by train. Do you have the option of flying into one city and out of the other? That is always the way to go if you can arrange it. I have even created my own open jaws by connecting to or from a cheap one-way european flight before or after my transatlantic one.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 10:57 AM
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Lots of your questions are answered in the European Planning & Rail Guide, available free at www.budgeteuropetravel.com or 800-441-9413
It has lots of sample itineraries both for big cities and places off the beaten track and info invaluable to novice European travelers.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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bd
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Cap: We'd much prefer to use the train (if possible)

Salty: I am open to the possiblity of an open jaw ticket, but it seems like the best bet for a transatlantic to Innsbruck is to Zurich or Munich, so I was thinking flying in and out of Zurich made the most sense. Am I wrong?

Pal: thanks for the tip - I just ordered it.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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If it is cheaper, flying into Zurich or Munich makes sence, but then try to fly out of Venice, so you are not spending time getting all the way from Venice back to Munich to catch a flight. It shouldn't cost much more than a Munich return.

When comparing costs, keep in mind what you would pay for a train from Munich to Venice, the value of a lost siteseeing day spent on the train.
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Jan 20th, 2006, 12:38 PM
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Or if you go to Cinque Terre, it's only a few hours from there to Milan, a major airport with many US flights. Or go south to Florence and Rome and leave from there.
If going by train consider the Eurail Select pass for Austria, Switzerland and Italy (and Germany if landing in Munich) - there is a special going on where if you buy this pass before the end of March you get a free extra day and you have eight months after purchase to use the pass.
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Feb 9th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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Hi-I would recommend not over scheduling yourself, something a lot of us first-timers were guilty of. Pick a few key places and slow down and enjoy yourself and realize you can always come back. You really can't go wrong with any of your choices (although I agree that Cinque Terre is probably going to be a zoo in August), especially if you emphasize quality over quantity. Venice is amazing, definitely worth at least one full day just to see it.
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Feb 9th, 2006, 01:32 PM
  #9
bd
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Thanks Jenski - I've already decided, as much as I'd like to see Italy, to save that for a future (spring-time) trip. I've narrowed this one down to just Innsbruck (and surrounds) and the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. Just can't decide how much of Austria to see before moving on.
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Feb 12th, 2006, 11:24 AM
  #10
bd
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If I were to fly from to London, can anyone suggest the best way to get to Innsbruck and back to London from Switzerland? I see with Ryanair/EasyJet I can go via Friedrichshafen or Salzburg or Geneva or Munich? Which would be best from Berner Oberland area? Or is there another option? Thanks!
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Feb 12th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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I always fly London to Geneva as part of my regular overseas air ticket (I have friends in the area along the lake outside Geneva).

The Geneva airport is convenient (as is Zurich) because the airport and train station are connected buildings.
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