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Greece - Italy - Switzerland itinerary help

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Mar 14th, 2011, 09:38 PM
  #1
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Greece - Italy - Switzerland itinerary help

Hello!

We're going to Europe for our honeymoon next month and would like to get as much input as possible on our current itinerary. As you can see, the planning is a bit rushed as we initially planned of doing this later on this year. Things have change though, so it's either now or wait til next year sometime.

I have gone through lots of threads in this forum to get some ideas on where to go, how to get to each place, etc. However, this is our first time travelling out of Asia/Oceania so we'd really appreciate it if you could provide any feedback on the following itinerary. Feel free to add any comments to each Day item too if you wish.

Thanks in advance!

Greece (4 days)
-------------------------------
Day 0 (17/04, Sunday)
03:55 PM: Leave Perth, Singapore Airline
09:20 PM: Arrive in Singapore, transitting.

Day 1 (18/04, Monday)
01:05 AM: Leave Singapore
07:30 AM: Arrive in Athens
Hire car and drive to Meteora
Visit 1-2 monasteries (Holy Trinity, St. Nicolas Anapausus) in Meteora region.
Stay in Kalambaka for the night

Day 2 (19/04)
Spend the day exploring other regions in Meteora.
Visit Delphi.
Stay in Kalambaka for the night

Day 3 (20/04)
Drive to Athens
Return hired car
Catch a boat from Athens to Santorini
Stay in Santorini for the night

Day 4 (21/04)
Explore Santorini.
Stay in Santorini for the night.


Italy (13 days)
-------------------------------
Day 5 (22/04)
Catch a boat back to Athens
10:20 AM: Fly to Rome (EasyJet)
11:30 AM: Arrive in Rome
Stay in Rome for the night

Day 6 (23/04)
Explore Rome

Day 7 (24/04)
Explore Vatican

Day 8 (25/04)
Hire a car in Rome
Drive to Montepulciano
Explore the area
Drive to Sienna
Stay in Sienna for the night

Day 9 (26/04)
Explore Sienna
Stay in Sienna for the night

Day 10 (27/04)
Explore Monteriggioni and
Explore San Gimignano (which one is better for sunset?)
Stay in San Gimignano for the night (or back to Sienna?)

Day 11 (28/04)
Drive to Florence
Explore Florence
Stay in Florence for the night

Day 12 (29/04)
Explore Florence
Return hired car in Florence
Stay in Florence for the night

Day 13 (30/04)
Catch train to Cinque Terre
Relax at the base town
Stay in Cinque Terre for the night (which town as a base? Manarola?)

Day 14 (01/05)
Explore Cinque Terre - walk on foot through all villages

Day 15 (02/05)
Catch train to Venice
Stay in Venice for the night

Day 16 (03/05)
Explore Venice
Stay in Venice for the night

Day 17 (04/05)
Explore Venice
Stay in Venice for the night


Switzerland (11 days)
-------------------------------
Day 18 (05/05)
Catch train to Montreux
Buy 8-day pass at the train station
Stay in Montreux for the night

Day 19 (06/05)
Explore Montreux
Explore Geneva
Stay in Montreux for the night

Day 20 (07/05)
Catch train to Zermatt
Stay in Zermatt for the night

Day 21 (08/05)
Explore Zermatt
Stay in Zermatt for the night

Day 22 (09/05)
Catch train to Lauterbrunnen
Explore Murren
Stay in Murren as the base

Day 23 (10/05)
Explore Lauterbrunnen
Visit Trümmelbachfälle waterfall
Stay in Murren for the night

Day 24 (11/05)
Explore Murren
Explore Wengen
Stay in Murren for the night

Day 25 (12/05)
Catch train to Jungfrau
Stay in Murren for the night

Day 26 (13/05)
Catch train to Interlaken
Explore Interlaken
Visit Lake Brienz
Stay in Murren for the night

Day 27 (14/05)
Catch train to Luzern
Explore Luzern
Stay in Luzern for the night

Day 28 (15/05)
Catch train to Pilatus
Stay in Luzern for the night

Day 29 (16/05)
Catch train to Zurich
11:45 AM: Fly back to Perth via Singapore
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Mar 14th, 2011, 11:56 PM
  #2
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I just realised that we'll be in Rome during Easter. Are there anything that we need to be aware of, i.e. are restaurants open during Easter etc?
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Mar 15th, 2011, 12:48 AM
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My only comment is I wouldnt book a ryanair flight from Athens and try to catch it based on a ferry from Santorini. If you miss it for whatever reason you will have to buy another flight at on the day prices which is £££. Can you work it so you are in Athens last so you dont have a ferry + flight in the same day (can you even make a 10am flight? What time is the ferry??)
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Mar 15th, 2011, 12:50 AM
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I also think you have too many destinations - 2 days in Rome isnt enough, I would give it at least 4 full days/5 nights. You will lost at least 1/2 a day each time you move so you will be spending more time in transit than actually enjoying these lovely destinations. Cut down on the destinations so you can relax and actually enjoy each of them.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 01:26 AM
  #5
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Hi jamikins,

Thanks for the input! Good point on the risk of missing the flight in Athens! I'll think about it again and revise the itinerary in Greece. This could mean adding an extra day in Santorini.

Re the rush in Rome, my sister was just telling me the same thing too. I may sacrifice one of the Tuscany days for Rome - or maybe just add an extra day to the whole trip (my next Europe visit will likely be in other countries so I'd probably rather add an extra day or two even if it means more unpaid leave *cries*).

Thanks!
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Mar 15th, 2011, 01:55 AM
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Not sure I'd be up to tackling Athens traffic after a long flight. Perhaps visit either Santorini or central Greece but not both? If you want to do both, consider flying to Santorini on arrival and travel from Delphi to Athens on your last day in Greece.

In Switzerland you seem to be travelling from east to west and back to central Switzerland. However I checked the SBB timetable and it's actually quicker that way. Must be less mountains in the way!

I don't think you'll want a car in Florence so I'd ditch it on arrival. I've heard San Gim is best experienced after the day trippers have left but not sure it's worth changing hotels for it. Siena is actually pretty close. You could drive home to Siena late at night anyway.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 02:22 AM
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Hi spacegoat,

Having flown between Europe and Australia twice (once, like you, transiting through Singapore), I know how exhausting it can be, and wouldn't want to tackle a drive to Meteora immediately after landing in Athens.

You have picked two interesting sites (Meteora and Delphi), but I wonder if the time spent to reach them, including two nights in Kalambaka, is worth it? Athens is a wonderful city, with ancient sites, museums, entertainment, and excellent restaurants, yet you plan no time there at all. Why?

With such a short time in Greece you need to make the most of what is available. My recommendation would be to fly straight to Santorini upon arrival in Greece, spend two nights there, then the other two nights in Athens. That will eliminate the risk of a same day ferry from Santorini to meet your easyJet flight.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 05:12 AM
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dreamon & Heimdall, thank you for the suggestions! I discussed them with my partner and we both agreed that we'd rather have a relaxing afternoon in Santorini than a drive + stair climbing in Meteora

Heimdall: I'm quite keen in photography and that probably explains my huge interest in Meteora. I'm sure there's a lot of things to do and see in Athens (which is why I'm now adding 1 extra day there, also to reduce fatigue), but the images of Meteora that I've seen just left my jaw hanging wide open

I've altered my itinerary further based on your kind comments:
- Day 1: Fly to Santorini upon arrival in Greece
- Day 2: Stay in Santorini
- Day 3: Back to Athens and drive straight to Meteora
- Day 4: Explore and stay in Meteora region
- Day 5: Back to Athens and explore Athens a bit (added 1 extra day here)
- Day 6: Fly to Rome
- Added 1 extra day in Rome
- Drive back to Sienna after the visit to San Gim
- Remove Day 21 from the original itinerary as 1 night in Zermatt seems to be enough - better spent in Rome.

I'm very happy with the feedback I've been getting here so far! I'll most likely buy the air tickets tomorrow now that the itinerary is looking much more solid than before. Thanks guys! If you've got any more comments keep them coming though
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Mar 15th, 2011, 05:43 AM
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As noted above, you won't need a car in Florence and driving into Florence can be a nightmare. I suggest dropping the car in Siena and taking the bus to Florence.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 05:54 AM
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Hi again spacegoat,

That sounds better to me. I once had a chance to visit Meteora, and opted out in favour of an extra day on the beach. I've regretted that decision ever since. Maybe one day.

Your change of itinerary means you will spend the first night of your honeymoon (not including transit) on Santorini rather than in Kalambaka. Good choice! ;-)
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Mar 15th, 2011, 05:57 AM
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the 8-straight day Swiss Saver pass IMO is one of the best travel bargains in Europe and especially in normally very expensive Switzerland (bring any essentials in from Italy!) - for lots of great info on the Swiss portion and trains and conveyances, etc check out these fab IMO sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. And check prices for the Swiss Pass in australia at RailEurope Australia - last time i recently checked the same pass bought in the U.s. was significantly cheaper than once in Switzerland - could be the same Down Under perhaps?
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Mar 15th, 2011, 08:20 AM
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mamcalice: Whoops yep I forgot to mention that after the comment from dreamon but yeah I'll definitely return the car the moment I arrive in Florence. Thanks!

PalenQ: I was gonna buy the 8-day pass when I arrive in Montreux but wow I'm glad you gave me all these links, in particular the RailEurope Australia. They seem to have a free 1st class upgrade deal at the moment. This means a 1st class 8-day Swiss Saver pass will be about $350 per person (instead of $600!). Sweet! Thank you - we owe you some drinks!
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Mar 15th, 2011, 10:07 AM
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ah just put another shrimp on the barbie for me!

1st class at price of 2nd - I wonder if RE USA is offering that deal? I've have to check it out.
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Mar 15th, 2011, 10:40 AM
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Your trip sounds lovely. But before you book, think through the Greece itinerary one more time just to be sure. It's incredibly hectic at the point in time when you're going to be most exhausted. Maybe stay put in Athens that first night. Not as lovely as Santorini perhaps. You could take EasyJet from Santorini to Milan and rework your Italy itinerary. That would eliminate the need to backtrack to Athens. Alternatively, I'd take one more day from Switzerland and add it to Greece. Or, if you arrive in Venice early in the day, you could get away with only spending two 2 nights there. Good luck and have a great time!
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Mar 15th, 2011, 12:01 PM
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I would not recommend spending the first night in Athens, unless you are unable to get a morning flight to Santorini. It takes about the same length of time (45 minutes) to fly from Athens to Santorini as to get from the airport to central Athens. Then you would have to check into a hotel, check out the next morning, and get back to the airport or to Pireaus for an 8 hour ferry ride. Result: one whole day wasted.

With a 7:30 am arrival in Athens, you have ample time to catch the 10:35 am Aegean Airlines flight to Santorini. It arrives at 11:20 am. If you are interested in that flight, book now before the tickets sell out: http://en.aegeanair.com/
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Mar 15th, 2011, 06:47 PM
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wayfinder45: Yep as Heimdall pointed out we should be arriving in the early morning so we're now really keen in spending the first day relaxing in Santorini. But thanks for the thought!

Heimdall: Thank you for that link!
We'll be busy booking flights and rails today, and we'll start looking into accommodations tomorrow.

PS: This forum is amazing - we've gathered so much info from so many different threads. We don't have experience in travelling in Europe so I'm really glad I came across this site!
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Mar 16th, 2011, 01:10 AM
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Didn't realise that you hadn't booked your airfares yet. In that case, I'd look into airfares from Greece from ports other than Athens. e.g. Ionnina, Volos, Thessaloniki, Santorini. If you want to see Athens this doesn't help but just a thought.

I think that the Greek portion of your holiday looks awfully rushed.

btw it's years since we visited Meteora but it's fantastic. In fact northern Greece is one of my favourite places.
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Mar 16th, 2011, 10:22 AM
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Delphi is one place I would try to stay overnight in - I enjoyed the ruins area even more after the daytime bus tours, etc had departed - a eerie feeling in early evening - very different than rushed perhaps quick look while wanting to get back to Athens that same day.
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Sep 9th, 2012, 02:51 AM
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we want to go greece on 23 sep. for 5 days(my wife and I)for honeymoon.let me know your best plan for visit there.
regards,
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Sep 10th, 2012, 09:23 AM
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maj - Make a separate posting with something like "Need Help Planning Greece Trip" to get some response other than asking a question that is buried deep in this old thread. And then you'll get lots of responses.
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