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Joanne Apr 14th, 2002 01:08 PM

germany/switzerland/austria/northern italy itinerary help
Hi-My husband and I are planning a 16-day trip to Germany/Austria/Switzerland/Northern Italy in September. Here are the regions we intend to concentrate on:<BR><BR>Bavaria<BR>Berner Oberland<BR>Salzburg<BR>Venice & Northern lakes region<BR><BR>Does anyone think this is too much to do in 16 days? We are mountain/lake people but we also enjoy charming, small cities. We would like to start in Bavaria and make our way southward. We are thinking of flying into Zurich or Munich and flying open jaw out of Venice. Also, would a Europass we worthwhile? Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

BOB THE NAVIGATOR Apr 14th, 2002 01:42 PM

Joanne, That is my favorite part of the world and have done it many times. I see a loop starting in Munich and ending in Zurich with a total of 6 destinations. But, I would have a car for most of it,using the trains in Switzerland. This is rough, but a start:<BR><BR>land Munich--to Salzburg area--3 nites<BR>Drive to Dolomites--2 nites<BR>To Venice--3 nites<BR>To Lake location[Como or Maggiore]3 nite<BR>Drop car in Lugano--train to BO-4 nites<BR>Last nite in Zurich<BR><BR>There ar many good options, and that is a good time to go. Hope this helps.

Joanne Apr 14th, 2002 03:34 PM

Thanks Bob for the ideas! How is driving through this area? We heard it can be a little hairy. Also, if we sacrifice the Dolomite region for more of Switzerland, where in Switzerland would you suggest? Any suggestions for day trips from Salzburg? Is Innsbruck worth a stop?

Bob Brown Apr 14th, 2002 05:27 PM

You are indeed about to begin a tour of some of the most majestic mountain scenery that is readily accessible that I know of. The Himalayas might be higher and grander, but they are also much harder to reach.<BR>I think it depends on what you want to see and do. If you like mountains as I do, let me list those areas in the general region that I like the best.<BR>Naturally, I will start with Switzerland, but be aware now that 16 days is barely enough!!<BR><BR>In terms of my own preference:<BR>1. The Berner Oberland with an apartment base in Lauterbrunnen. (And here we go again on why I select that village. In a single sentence: Lauterbrunnen is in heart of the area I want to vist and it is a center of transportation.)<BR>2. The region around Zermatt and Saas Fee.<BR>3. The &Ouml;tztal of Austria (south and west of Innsbruck)and the valleys on the other side of the Timmelsjoch (Joch = Pass) in the Tyrol of Italy. It was on a mountain slope to the west and south of S&ouml;lden, Austria, that the Bronze Age mummy known as &Ouml;tzi, or the Iceman, was found. <BR>4. The Hohe Tauren National Park the Gross Glockner Hochalpenstrasse. Both are south of Salzburg. Heiligenblut is a good location for overnight.<BR>5. The area north of the &Ouml;tztal in Austria and Bavaria. This section incudes the Zugspitze and the "magic" castles -- Linderhof and Neuschwanstein.<BR><BR>As cities go in that region, Munich has the most to offer. There are that fabulous museum of science and technology, the Residenz of the Wittelsbach Dynasty, and the art museum known as the Alte Pinakothek. Nymphenburg is ok, but I think the other 3 places are a better bet in terms of reward for time expended. Of course if you hate art, then the Alte Pinakothek is x'ed off the list.<BR><BR>Salzburg is a small city of charm and character. It is worth perhaps two full days depending on conerts and performances. Out from Salzburg are some lovely lakes. Mondsee being one of them.<BR>My four favorite places in Salzburg are Schloss Hellbrunn, the Mirabell Gardens, the Festung on the hill, the Mariontetten Theater, and the Old Town part including the churches. <BR>For a first time visit, Salzburg is charming. <BR><BR>Innsbruck is not a city I really fell in love with. It has some interesting places, such as the Hapsburg Residence<BR>but, when I left there last September, I knew I would not be putting it high on the "call again" list. <BR><BR>In Switzerland, Luzern and Lausanne are pretty cities, and interesting places to visit.<BR><BR>But you will need to set priorities to see what is important to you. With about 14 full days available to you, you will quickly "day here" and "day there" yourself to the limit very quickly. <BR><BR>If you like mountains, the ones around Zermatt are the highest and most impressive in all of Europe. Those of the Berner Oberland are also beautiful, and more accessible.<BR>As a result, I have spent more time in the Berner Oberland than in the area south of Visp. But some of that has to do with combining two objectives: having a convenient place to stay with mountain scenery at my doorstep. As a general rule, apartments are about half the cost of hotels, but usually in peak summer season, most apartment owners want to rent by the week. I can discuss this subject at length, and describe past adventures and this summer's plans.<BR><BR>One thing you need to bear in mind before you commit is this: if you rent a car in one country and return it in another, you will pay dearly for the privilege. I investigated returning an Avis car rented in Interlaken at an Avis office in Munich. The cost was much more than two train tickets from Z&uuml;rich to Munich. <BR>If you rent and return in the same country, but not necessarily the same city, there is usually no drop fee.<BR>

Bob Apr 14th, 2002 05:28 PM

Bob the Nav is giving you good info about getting a car to enjoy the area and staying in one place for about 3 nights. Both are the way we prefer to travel.<BR><BR>Trips from Salzburg: Berchtesgaden for sure. It is an easy drive over from Salzburg and has beautiful areas.<BR><BR>Innsbruck: This town is not on my hot list and I have been there 4 times, most recently in December. You can see the Old Town section and that does not take long. You would be better served visiting some of the smaller towns around Innsbruck.

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