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Guidebook? Swiss/Austrian/Italian mountains

Guidebook? Swiss/Austrian/Italian mountains

Old Jul 7th, 2017, 01:36 PM
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Guidebook? Swiss/Austrian/Italian mountains


I am beginning (as, in started today) to plan a 4 week trip to Switzerland, western Austria and /or northern Italy for September/October. Perhaps fly into Switzerland and fly out of Milan... or some other combination. Still VERY fuzzy.

It is to be very much a mountain trip, focused on small towns, hiking and biking, rather than large cities and museums.

I will use a variety of public/local transport (I'm not pressed for time, and enjoy the process of getting from A to B). I will stay in hostels or small (read: inexpensive-ish) mountain inns, and self-cater as much as is reasonable.

Tomorrow's tasks is to get a couple of guidebooks -- and a good regional map -- to supplement information on the internet. Given my small town, outdoorsy interests, and lower-budget style of travel, can anyone make guidebook recommendations? Rough Guides by country? Are there regional guides that you can suggest?

I will be scouring this forum, as well as RickSteves, TripAdvisor and ThornTree. Recommendations for reliable internet resources would also be appreciated.

Thank you.
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Old Jul 7th, 2017, 01:59 PM
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The only printed guidebook I've used for any of the areas you mention is "Authentic Trentino - Alto Adige" by Touring Club of Italy. My edition is 10 years old (still available on Amazon) but probably fairly accurate for info on specific sights, history, lifts, etc. Of course, you'd have to confirm anything you find in a resource this old.

Cicerone and Sunflower both publish guides for hiking in the Dolomites.

Before you get emotionally invested in a particular itinerary, you should research public transportation away from main train lines, especially for travel after about Sept. 30th when things really begin to get quiet in mountain towns until the ski season starts. Some lodging closes up as well.

Also, if you intend to use lifts to access hiking, you should find their closing dates. The availability of lifts may help you decide where to go.

FYI, we have encountered snow flurries in Switzerland in the second half of October.
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Old Jul 7th, 2017, 03:40 PM
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I would recommend Rick Steves. His writing style is focused on budget travel. His description of each location, along with basic maps and info such as grocery and laundromat locations worked perfect for our three month budget minded trip. He also gives good travel info, how to get from here to there etc. I felt that I 'knew' each place before I arrived. I actually ripped his books apart and took only the sections I needed with me so I wasn't lugging a lot of excess weight. Good luck with your planning. The areas you chose are stunning and so much fun to visit.
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Old Jul 7th, 2017, 04:56 PM
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Thank you.

Yes, I've used Rick Steves in the past -- good on logistics along the popular tourist trail, and for a high level overview.

I think what I'm looking for now is a Rick Steves-ish guide for somewhat more off the beaten path (if that makes sense), with more nuts and bolts about local transport, etc. Lonely Planet is a bit too "scruffy student backpacker surviving on $6.73 per day."

Off to the big city tomorrow to find a Barnes and Noble.

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Old Jul 7th, 2017, 06:03 PM
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For my time in Switzerland, the guidebooks I found most helpful BY FAR were the Michelin Green Guide (even though I did not drive while there) and the Rough Guide. They will be infinitely better than RS for anything even a bit off the beaten trail.

For transportation, the Swiss rail site is a must -- and it covers trains, buses, boats, cablecars, etc.

You might also find some useful information in my trip report:
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Old Jul 9th, 2017, 07:11 PM
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You may wish to refer to MySwissalps.com as a starting point for your trip, the discussion on this site for rail passes I found quite helpful as I planned for our upcoming trip. Two books by, Kev McReynolds, Cicerone Press, 'Tour of the Jungfrau" and "Walking in the Valais." The books have a variety of hikes/walks, some accommodation recommendations and transportation suggests.

Have fun!
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