Help with itinerary-switz/france/italy

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Nov 16th, 2006, 04:40 AM
  #1
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Help with itinerary-switz/france/italy

Hi all! I am trying to plan a 6 week trip to the above countries and im not sure about places to go. im starting in london (mid-late may 07) then on to paris. After that 2 weeks in each country?
this is what im thinking so far

Paris to basel via strasbourg
Switzerland *not sure which way to go, but want these places before heading into italy
Interlaken, Bern, Zurich, Lausanne, Lucerne, geneva
then Milan to verona to venice to florence to pisa to rome
and then ill be flying back to london

Im 18 fem from australia, looking for sceneray and the typical touristy stuff. not many museums, i like markets, shopping etc love snow (wont be much then i spose. lol) a couple of nights a week going out, though in places like paris im happy to just wander around and enjoy the lights and whatnot

COuld you guys help me plan a route that makes sense, and add or drop any cities, recc. #days per place etc
Ill be staying in hostels too
Thanks!
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Nov 16th, 2006, 05:14 AM
  #2
ira
 
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Hi V,

Lucky you.

Do you have 6 weeks for F, S and I?

I assume that you will not have a car.

For France: I suggest 5 days in Paris

Train to Auxerre - see Auxerre

Train to Dijon - 3 days
Visit Beaune and other towns in Burgundy

Train to Nancy - 2 days

Train to Colmar - 3 days
Visit Strasbourg, Ribeauville and other towns in Alsace

Train to Basel

For Italy:

Do you need to visit Milan?
There is a night train from Zurich to Venezia san lucia

You can visit Verona from Venice.
(Juliet is a fictional character. Her balcony is not the real thing.)

I suggest 3 days Venice
5 days Florence
Visit Bologna, Siena, Lucca/Pisa
6 days Rome
Visit Orvieto, Hadrian's Villa, Ostia Antica

You will probably want a railpass, but center your itinerary at www.railsaver.com and click "only if it saves money".

Train schedules and ticket prices in and from France are at www.voyages-sncf.com. Look for discounted PREMS fares.

Train schedules and ticket prices in and to Italy are at www.trenitalia.com. Look for 15E and 29E discount fares.

Check these links:
Paris Superthread
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34519236

100 Great Things to Do in Paris
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...=2&tid=1277898

Degasís Paris Walks
http://fodors.com/forums/threadselec...2&tid=34712768

Helpful Information: Italy 2
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34568596

Enjoy your visit.

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Nov 16th, 2006, 11:30 PM
  #3
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thanks for your reccs
What about switzerland?
I am thinking Based in zurich 4 days with trips out and around Luzern, then based in bern with trips around lausanne
then down to interlaken for 4-5 days then into milan
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Nov 17th, 2006, 03:39 AM
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Hi vinylcrocodile,

For your Swiss portion, I recommend you ditch Interlaken in favor of the mountain villages of Wengen, Muerren, & Grindelwald. Interlaken is a city that's filled with tourist shops & hotels -- it functions as a tourist transit spot rather than a charming destination in itself. Interlaken is about 40 minutes from the villages or the cable car to the peaks.

I think you don't need to stay in Bern if you're also spending time closer to the mountains. You can take a day-trip to Bern from any of the villages nearby. If you're thinking to stay there for a quick excursion to Lake Geneva (Lausanne), I don't think you'll see enough to appreciate it. There's so much to do (lakeside promenades, lake ferries, vineyard strolling, cafes, Chillon castle, etc) that one day's excursion will not satisfy you.

For your Lake Geneva portion, I recommend you also ditch Lausanne in favor of Vevey or Montreux, smaller towns.

So basically I would recommend Zurich/Luzern, then Wengen/Muerren/Grindelwald, then Vevey/Montreux. That's actually the route of the Golden Pass Panoramic scenic train --

Have fun!

s
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Nov 17th, 2006, 05:00 AM
  #5
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Ira: I have looked up a few of the french towns you suggested and i cant find any hostels in those towns... are they more hotel places? My budget would be MAX $40 night

swandav: The reason I chose Bern & Zurich to be based in, is because of the hostels there. Its hard to find hostels in those other places and just easier to take trips out.unless those places do have hostels?
Thanks, ill have a look on the map for your suggestions
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Nov 17th, 2006, 05:12 AM
  #6
 
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Switzerland's hostels are very good. For their locations, check out:
http://www.youthhostel.ch/
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Nov 17th, 2006, 05:15 AM
  #7
 
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Hi again,

You can search for hostels by map at www.hostel.ch.

I see hostels at Grindelwald & Montreux (I've walked past the one in Montreux quite a few times; it's just a few steps from the lake). There's also the Mountain Hostel (www.mountainhostel.com) in Gimmelwald (not Grindelwald) where beds go for 23 chf/night.

You can also get an inexpensive room at a b&b by searching www.bnb.ch, where rooms usually go for about 50 chf/night including breakfast.

There are lots of options beyond staying in the big cities!

Have fun!

s
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Nov 17th, 2006, 05:41 AM
  #8
 
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Good morning vinylcrocodile,

Here is a link to a hostel in Grindelwald.

http://tinyurl.com/yly5cw

The location is perfect! It is only a 30-second walk to the train station of Grindelwald-Grund or the bucket-style lift of Mannlichen. From here, you can explore the beautiful regions of the entire Grindelwald area.

On their website, there are also many other hostels listed, either in Grindelwald or throughout the area.

Happy travels!
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Nov 17th, 2006, 06:09 AM
  #9
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lol, i take it back. the sites i were looking at didnt have much but if i stick to the YH sites, there seems to be lots!
Im not sure what to DO in switzerland apart from take a cable car or scenic train as i dont know about the must see sights like ido for paris...
anyway, i am still researching my french part of the trip before moving onto switz.
thanks for all your help
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Nov 17th, 2006, 06:21 AM
  #10
ira
 
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Hi V,

Have you googled "France Hostels"?

Here's a site that has them in Colmar and Dijon. http://www.hostels.com/en/fr.html

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Nov 17th, 2006, 01:00 PM
  #11
 
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I can help with one part...

For Geneva area I would stay in Vevey (you can easily travel back into Geneva, Lausanne, or on to Montreux by train). There is a great hostel there right on the lake called Riviera Lodge.

The open air street markets days in this area are: Tues AM & Sat AM in Vevey and Fri AM in Montreux.
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Nov 17th, 2006, 01:02 PM
  #12
 
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www.rivieralodge.ch
30CHF/22euro per person per night
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Nov 17th, 2006, 11:04 PM
  #13
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Thanks for all your help!
Okay, how about this as a rough outline..
Paris (10 days)
to Dijon (3-4 days)
France total 2 weeks

to Lake Geneva Region (4days) staying in vevey
to Interlaken (4 days) trips/or staying in grindelwald *RECCOMEND ME
to Bern (2-3 days, staying in fribourg?)
to Lucerne (3-4 days)
To Zurich day trip?
Switzerland total 2 weeks
I am not into hiking so what do you think of my distribution of days? I dont mind a walk around a mountain or something, but id rather take a train/cable car and enjoy the view...
Where is that ice cave thing located? I heard about it..
I like sitting in a park or cafe, strolling along the river, cruise along the river, flea markets etc
I can add a few more days to switzerland if needed

then train to Milan (2-3 days)
to Venice (3-4 days incl trip to verona)
to Florence (5 days)
Visit Bologna, Siena, Lucca/Pisa
to Rome (4 days)
ITALY total 2 weeks

that gives me an extra week in london plus a week spare for extra days, travel & things going wrong.

Based on the above...do you think i would benefit from a rail pass like the select 3 country, 15 days in 2 months...?

Anyway, what do you think of that?
I need validation it will all be okay!! hehe
Thanks!! =)
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Nov 18th, 2006, 03:30 AM
  #14
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On second thoughts, maybe I should skip Bern? And follow the goldenpass railway? It says it is 67CH from Montreax to Luzern..can you like get on, get off or is it a one way ticket?
thanks again
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Nov 18th, 2006, 04:17 AM
  #15
ira
 
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Hi V,

Your new itinerary looks good.

Is there a particular reason for visiting Milan for 2-3 days? If not, I would add the time to Venice and Rome.

>do you think i would benefit from a rail pass<

Enter your itinerary at www.railsaver.com and click "only if it saves money".

Paris/Dijon PREMS fare is only 20E.
See www.voyages-sncf.fr

Venice/Florence full fare is 26E
Florence/Rome is 29E
See www.trenitalia.com

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Nov 18th, 2006, 04:25 AM
  #16
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Thanks so much, everyone has been so helpful!
Milan...I don't know. Shopping I suppose..It IS supposed to be the fashion capital of the world
Maybe if I cut it down to 2 days, 1 night?

I already tried railsaver and it totaled $360 whereas the 5 day in 2 month pass is $390..I think im better off using P2P tickets.
I wont have problems in June will I?
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Nov 18th, 2006, 04:33 AM
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Hi again,

I hate to advocate ditching anyplace in Switzerland, but I'm just not a big fan of cities, nice as one might be -- So for that reason, I would agree to ditch Bern. You can see it easily from either Wengen or Grindelwald because it's under two hours by train.

Remember that the Goldenpass train requires reservations, so you'll have to determine where & when you want to hop off.

HOWEVER -- also know that many many trains run over those same tracks, and they do not require reservations. The only difference is that the regular trains & cars do not have larger windows. So you can easily buy a ticket, say from Montreux to Gstaad, stay there a few hours or a day, then buy another ticket on to Interlaken. Also, regular tickets are usually good for 24 hours or a month (I can never figure out which one it will be until I look at it).

Anyway, hope this helps!

s
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Nov 18th, 2006, 04:44 AM
  #18
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the regular trains with windows sound fine.. Can you like, stick your head out? lol
Do they open? would going to a bunch of stops long the goldenpass route equal to the 67CHF (montreaux to luzern)
Could you give me a couple of eg. prices? interlaken to brienz, interlaken to grindelwald etc?
Sorry to be annoying =p
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Nov 18th, 2006, 04:55 AM
  #19
 
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It's time to introduce you to sbb.ch.
You'll find timetables, platforms and prices for all trains within Switzerland. Push En for English, punch in your destinations and you'll find all of your answers.
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Nov 18th, 2006, 05:15 AM
  #20
ira
 
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Hi V,

>I already tried railsaver and it totaled $360 whereas the 5 day in 2 month pass is $390..I think im better off using P2P tickets.
I wont have problems in June will I?<

It is likely that your P2P tickets will cost even less.

If you buy your train tickets for your next leg upon arriving at the train station, you shouldn't have any difficulty.

You can also buy tickets over the internet, usually 60 days in advance.

That's how to get the discounted fares.


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