Italy & Swiss Holiday

Jun 7th, 2010, 06:44 AM
  #1  
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Italy & Swiss Holiday

Me & my wife are planning a 15 day trip to Italy & Switzerland this fall - Oct 15th - 30th.

We are planning to fly into Rome, arriving Oct 16th, and the following itinerary....

Oct 16th - 18th Rome
Oct 19th - 21st Florence & Pisa
Oct 22nd - 24th Venice
Oct 25th - 26th Milan
Oct 27th - 29th Lake Como, Bernini Express, Glacier Express and back to Rome

Is this doable? Can we delete something and do something else? Is it possible? What would be the best means of transportation?
sourbh_b is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 06:54 AM
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That is similar to what we did last year with three kids in 18 days. I wish we could have skipped Milan but the train ride from Venice to Zermatt needed to be broken up. And it would have been nice to fly home out of Zurich but the Rome return ticket was pretty cheap. I assume you already have a return ticket?
colduphere is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 07:06 AM
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Trains would be the best because you are only staying in large cities except for Lake Como, where boats are the best way IMO to get around - especially, duh, to islands.

Cars are liabilities in cities like Rome and Florence and obviously must be parked in considerable expensive in Venice - and other cities too if as many hotels do not have parking or charge a lot for it if they do.

Leaving a car outside means you should empty it of all valuables.

And folks here have reported that you may get a ticket in the mail months later in say Florence for having violated the no go zone for private vehicles - city centres are now widely off limits for private vehicles.

If taking the train you are traveling enough to look at the Italian Railpass - the more days of travel the cheaper the pass becomes - for lots on Italian trains and passes and alternatives i always spotlight these info-laden sites - www.seat61.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. Go to www.trenitalia.com to see what tickets would cost if you bought them as you went vs the pass. Passes are better deals in first class since a first class pass does not cost that much more than a second class pass - and IME of four decades of Italian train travel i think, for the average traveler doing a trip of a lifetime perhaps - the relatively little extra money for first class is well worth it - lots more room for luggage - bigger seats and often empty seats to spread luggage out on near you - as well as gratis cup of java and a pastry on the Eurostar type trains. Trains do require a 10 euro pass holder fee but even with that factored in still investigate the pass.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 07:59 AM
  #4  
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Reading the forumes etc. I'm thinking of going from Pisa to Cinque Terra and from there to Milan.

Is it better to get the Swiss Trains from Venice or Milan?
sourbh_b is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 08:16 AM
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Milan by far because from Venice you have to go thru Milan to get to Switzerland by train.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 7th, 2010, 08:32 AM
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Hi sourbh_b,

I think you've got too much train travel on your Swiss portion. As much as I love trains, I like them as transportation, not the sight itself. In your three days for the country, you'll be on trains almost the whole solid time.

The best of Switzerland in my opinion is getting your feet on the mountain and your face in that clear, clean air. So I would suggest that you do the Bernina Express only as far as St. Moritz and then spend maybe two days there (or in the area) so that you'll have time to get into the countryside.

The Glacier Express is about eight hours long, and you'll be poorly positioned to get back to Rome. I'd just skip it and enjoy the mountains.

Have fun!

s
swandav2000 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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I agree with swandav2000 - ditch the Glacier Express (one of the most overhyped and publicized things in Switzerland IMO) and dwell more on the Bernina/St Moritz area

and you can return to Rome by this route so you do not backtrack via Tirano, Italy the way you came up:

From St Moritz hop the Majola Pass bus or Palm Express bus to Lugano - this is a dramatic Alpine bus ride the first hour or so out of St Moritz - descending thru forests via hairpin turns down to Lake Como and going along that placid lake for a bit - there is a halt for a stretch at Menaggio - a sweet lake resort and then over the hills to Lugano and Lake Lugano - Lugano being on a main rail line to Rome.

More scenic IMO than the Glacier Express route via Brig to Rome and a whole lot shorter.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 8th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Oct 16th - 18th Rome Arrive 16, leave the 18th - not much time at all. It's really just two nights and the day in between.
Oct 19th - 21st Florence & Pisa Ditto above.
Oct 22nd - 24th Venice Ditto above.
Oct 25th - 26th Milan CAN YOU DROP THIS?
Oct 27th - 29th Lake Como, Bernina Express, Glacier Express and back to Rome Consider open-jaw from Milan to home - less backtracking.

Overall I'd consider:

Oct 16th - 19th Rome (depart mid-morning the 19th)
Oct 19th - 22d Florence only (arrive early afternoon, depart at noon the 22d)
Oct 22nd - 25th Venice (arrive mid-afternoon, depart at noon the 25th)
Oct 25th - 29th Lake Como (arrive mid-afternoon the 25th, fly home the morning of the 29th), Bernina Express, and fly home from Milan.

I'd consider dropping the Bernina Express train ride because even with the extra day or two it's a lot of moving around. Do you just want the train ride, or are you going to stay overnight at the destination and then head back? Your first itinerary was far too short to allow for a train ride as well. If you arrive the 25th in Lake Como and leave the 29th, you only have three days there. You could base yourself there and perhaps visit Lugano if you want to step across the border briefly.
flygirl is offline  
Jun 8th, 2010, 12:38 PM
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You can easily do the Bernina Pass train route as a day trip from a Lake Como base - take a train to Tirano from Varenna (lake boat service from all over the lake) and then just do the Bernina route up until the actual Bernina Pass - about an hour from Tirano and the absolute highlight of the whole trip - the mirror-like glacier lake lying at the foot of awesome glaciers - a popular walk goes around the lake and to the foot of the glacier.

And though it would be about 3.5 hours each way from and back to Varenna IMO the Bernina Pass railway is the most awesomely scenic in Europe and well worth the effort.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 09:20 AM
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So this is what it's coming down too....

Day 1 arrival into Rome
Day 2 & Day 3 - Rome
Day 4 morning - Rome to Florence
Day 5 - Florence
Day 6 - morning Florence to Pisa and evening Pisa to La Spezia
Day 7 - Cinque Terre
Day 8 - La Spezia to Venice
Day 9 & 10th evening Venice - Tirano
Day 11 - Tirano and the Bernina Express to St. Moritz
Day 12 - St. Moritz and area
Day 13 - St. Moritz to Zurich
Day 15 - Zurich to Rome by Train

Now this is probably very aggressive, but the kind of people we are, we won't enjoy too much of just sitting around and taking in the sights. I've tried to do Rome (city) and then Florence (history) ..and then relax and take in the sights/views/etc. in Cinque Terre....then Venice....relax on the Bernini and the Swiss Alps in St. Moritz....into Zurich...city...and then back to Rome....I'm going to try for an open jaw out of Zurich back home.

It's just two of us, 33 and 30 in age, leaving 2 kids 3 and 8 months behind with Grand Parents and want to do this for a long time. Can't do more than 15 days...so I've cut out Milan and Como area ...any suggestions? recommendations? blunders I'll do here? Thanks.
sourbh_b is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Are you sure you cannot fly home from Zurich? It's aggressive, but, if you like moving it's doable. The main change I'd make would be the departure city. Zurich will have nonstops to Dulles, for example, and NYC and I bet Atlanta too.

If not, I'd go to Rome from St Moritz area - why go all the way to Zurich? Stay in the mountains. The Engadin is absolutely beautiful. Days 12, 13 and 14 in that area would be really lovely. I assume the Cinque Terre is a day trip - IE if it's raining you could always opt to stay in La Spezia or head to Venice a day early?
flygirl is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 10:22 AM
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Sory, but this is crazy. You are totally underestimating your travel time. Why Zurich?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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I'd more likely go to Lucerne than Zurich if you want a taste of Switzerland - more manageable for just a day than Zurich - IMO Lucerne is one of Europe's most lovingly situated cities - plopped on awesomely gorgeous Lake Lucerne.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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Hi Bobthenavigator, can you recommend what I could do alternatively? Zurich is simply because my wife wants to travel Switzerland as well and Zurich is the main city. Any other alternatives? The Cinque Terre from what I've read about would be a trip where I get in one night, then spend the complete next day, and the following morning travel from there to Venice.

Thanks.
sourbh_b is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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If CT was meant to be an actual "move camp", I'd drop that. I thought you picked La Spezia to get partway to CT and decide from there what to do the next day based on weather etc.

Try this:

Day 1 arrival into Rome
Day 2 - Rome
Day 3 - Rome
Day 4 morning - Rome to Florence
Day 5 - Florence
Day 6 - morning to Pisa and back to Florence that night
Day 7 - Florence and perhaps Chianti - day trip.
Day 8 - Florence to Venice in AM
Day 9 - Venice
Day 10 - late afternoon train from Venice - Tirano
Day 11 - morning - Tirano and the Bernina Express to St. Moritz
Day 12 - St. Moritz and area
Day 13 - St. Moritz area (plenty to see nearby esp if you like to hike)
Day 14 - St. Moritz area
Day 15 - morning - head to Zurich for an overnight and the next day - home
flygirl is offline  
Jun 9th, 2010, 11:11 AM
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ps. you could move the late afternoon train ride to Tirano one extra day to Day 11.
flygirl is offline  
Jun 10th, 2010, 01:04 PM
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St. Moritz to Zurich
Day 15 - Zurich to Rome by Train>

alternatives to Zurich

you could take the Glacier Express train, as originally prevued, half way to the interchange at Andermatt (shutle train down to Goschenen) with the mainline rail line to Italy - stopping at Lugano, a neat Swiss city on a perfect Swiss lake - would be significantly less travel time and much more scenic route.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 11th, 2010, 09:23 AM
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And if you want to redouble your route back to Tirano, Italy you can take the Bernina Express bus direct to Lugano - it goes thru rather scenic scenery when goes along shores of Lake Como - to Lugano.
Palenque is offline  
Jun 11th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Ditto with above post. Don't go to Zürich. Go back down to Rome direct from St. Moritz. It leaves you with more quality time.

St. Moritz - Rome: 8hr 50 min.

St. Moritz via Zürich: 11hr. 50 min.
kleeblatt is offline  
Jun 11th, 2010, 01:22 PM
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Zurich ain't a bad city but it is hardly what you think of when thinking of Switzerland - Lugano or Lucerne are much more Swiss, if that makes any sense - smaller, etc.

Zurich is cosmopolitan and much much larger - I don't think it is worth the detour when there are other places more on a less long route back to Italy in Switzerland to consider.
Palenque is offline  

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