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France, Switzerland, and German Trip Itinerary:Feedback Please

France, Switzerland, and German Trip Itinerary:Feedback Please

May 25th, 2019, 09:36 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 108
France, Switzerland, and German Trip Itinerary:Feedback Please

Hello Fodor's Travel Community, I'll be traveling on a solo backtracking trip for 5 weeks to Belgium, France, Switzerland, and Germany during the month of July. I consider myself a pretty good traveler. I've done similar trips in other parts of Europe and Asia. I haven't been to France, Switzerland, or German. I was wondering if anyone is willing to look over my tentative itinerary and give me feedback on (does the route I'm taking make sense?, the main cities/side trips I'm traveling to, what to see there) I'm interested in history (WWII), Museums, small picturesque towns, castles, beer, and being outdoors.
I'm traveling from each city by train. I also stay in hostels.

I'll be arriving and departing from Amsterdam, because there's a main hub and direct flights to where I live. The cities I'm traveling to and the number of days in each city are not set in stone. I can easily add or subtract days from each city.
Tentative Itinerary:
Amsterdam: (2 days)
Brussels, Belgium: (2 Days) Side trip to Bastonge. I've already been to Brussels.
Paris, France: (7 Days)- Side Trip- Normandy Beach, Mount Saint Michel, Caen, (Women's world cup final in Lyon)- I'm using Paris as a base, because the places I'm going to don't have hostels available.(I try to do it on the cheap side)
Marseille, France (4 Days) Side Trip-Carcassonne, maybe Nice
Zurich, Switzerland: (4 days) Side Trips: Jungfraujoch and or Lucerne?
Munich, German: (3 Days) Side Trip neuschwanstein castle
Nuremberg, German: (4 Days) Side Trip- Nordlingen
Frankfurt, German: ( 3 Days) Side Trip [Rothenburg ob der Tauber or Strasbourg]
Berlin, German: (5 Days)Side trips suggestions?
Amsterdam: (2 Days) Rest and Relax
Depart Home

Please let me know what you think. I know many of you will say that it's too much, but I'm young and I've done trips like this before.
Thanks for your feedback.

gawr0008 is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 10:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 78,339
Yes ambitious but when young I traveled like that too - and check out railpasses and you are taking so many trains -if under 29 you can get a youthpass. For lots on trains check www.seat61.com; BETS-European Rail Experts and www.ricksteves.com.

go straight to Bastogne - why go out of your way to hit Brussels? Longish day trip from Brussels.
PalenQ is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 11:48 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,304
I think
you should have a look at a map and try to avoid all the backtracking that you plan, this zigzagging costs not only time, but also money;
you will spend more time in trains and local transfers than at the places you pretend to visit;
these latter correspond in no means to what you pretend to look for (history (WWII), Museums, small picturesque towns, castles);
the tickets for all your train rides will get horribly expensive (at least 400 EUR for the small Swiss leg).
neckervd is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 02:47 PM
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Posts: 78,339
They may have a Eurailpass - a good deal if they take all those trains.

Marseilles to Zurich too long for train.
PalenQ is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 04:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Zurich, Switzerland: (4 days) Side Trips: Jungfraujoch and or Lucerne?

Instead of visiting the Berner Oberland from Zurich, why not just stay there? It's not really a 'side trip' from Zurich, it's a full blown destination with scads of things to see and do - especially since you like the outdoors (and who doesn't?) - a day trip just won't do it justice.

Is there a reason you want to stay in Zurich? It's not exactly the best option for day trips.

I'm glad you're young and energetic, because you're going to need it with an itinerary like yours.
Melnq8 is offline  
May 25th, 2019, 06:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 1,248
All the places you've chosen are undoubtedly interesting. It's a very city focused itinerary, but many people prefer that so it's fine if that's your choice.

Many of your side/day trips would be much too long for me to consider doing there and back in a day - and are likely to be expensive. As a starting point, use rome2rio to check how long the journey is for each of those side trips.

I'd also consider flying into one port and out from another. Going back to Amsterdam is both expensive and time wasting. In general, your transport costs will be high.
dreamon is offline  
May 26th, 2019, 08:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
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Zurich is a nice large city but the beauty of Switzerland IMO lies in the high Alps such as the Jungfrau Region and staying up in dem hills is great in a small town like Wengen or larger small village like Grindelwald - but 25 mins from Interlaken_Ost train station.


Ditch Zurich except for a few hours - nice on landing day but then move onto Interlaken area and the Switzerland of your dreams - maybe stop first night in Lucerne and not Zurich - much nicer - lovely Lucerne.
PalenQ is offline  
May 27th, 2019, 06:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 108
Thank you for your feedback. PalenQ, I decided to do two days in Zurich and two days in Lucerne. Neckervd, yes you're right that I'll do a little zigzagging/backtracking, but I don't think It's a huge problem. I planned it so I could hang out in the French Riviera. I have 5 weeks. Do you have an idea of how I can minimize my backtracking? I know I'll end up spending a lot of money in Switzerland, but I don't think there is a way around it. If you want to go to Switzerland, it will cost you a lot. (I'm Ok with that). I'm a nervous flyer, and I don't want to fly anymore then I have too. Plus I like taking trains. My flight is in and out of Amsterdam. I can't changed that. There is a direct train from Berlin to Amsterdam. 6 hour for around 60 Euros. it's not too bad. Plus, I don't mind, I love Amsterdam.

Please let me know if you have any more suggestions. places to eat, other side trips,
gawr0008 is offline  
May 27th, 2019, 07:02 AM
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 101
Marseille did not interest me, an odd port.
Swiss Alps are spectacular!
BAHItaly is offline  
May 27th, 2019, 08:20 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 6,304
" Do you have an idea of how I can minimize my backtracking?"

May be:
Bruxelles - Libramont (Bastogne) - Luxembourg - Paris - Caen - Normandie - Rennes - Bordeaux - Carcassonne - Marseille - Lyon - Chamonix or Brig (Zermatt/Saas Fee/Aletsch Glacier) - Lucerne - St. Gallen - Kempten - Fuessen (Neuschwanstein) - Munich - Noerdlingen - Rothenburg - Frankfurt - Berlin - Amsterdam.

Jungfraujoch is fine for (American and Asian) tourist watching. If you only want to go into snow and ice, to the best viewpoints, highest peaks, ices caves and longest glaciers, there are tons of cheaper solutions.

IMO neither Marseille nor Zurich or Frankfurt are good bases for day trips. Accommodation at Zch and Fft is usually more expensive than in smaller and more scenic towns around them.
neckervd is offline  

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