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Italy and Switzerland June 2023: your advice needed.

Italy and Switzerland June 2023: your advice needed.

Old Sep 20th, 2022, 08:52 AM
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Dubrovnik looks as far away from your other destinations as Amalfi Coast, which you ruled out because of distance.

I've never been to Croatia but I've done some research because I was in Trieste last month.

The flight links to some parts of Croatia weren't easy, for instance the Istrian peninsula, it seemed you would have to fly into Zagreb, then drive or fly into a smaller airport.

It may be a different story for Dubrovnik and Split, which are well south of Istria and Zagreb.

But my recollection was flights from Italian airports to Croatia weren't that common, at least direct flights. In fact, I saw that it might be easier to take a hydrofoil from Venice or a ferry from Puglia to reach some of the coastal Croatian places.

You may want to compare train and flights between the Dolomites/Lake Maggiore to Dubrovnik vs. to CT or even to Amalfi Coast.

Up to you how much transit time you're willing to endure. But I've seen intra-European flights of over 10 hours because there was a lack of direct flights, so you'd be flying to Frankfurt or something and wait for several hours before boarding the second flight. Sometimes, a LCC like Ryan might offer direct flights on some of these city pairs but only certain times of the week.

CT has plenty of sea views, as does Amalfi Coast. But if you're willing to endure long transit times, you may consider adding a day or two to your trip.

My guess, out of the places you named, the best transport options would be out of Milan which is about an hour from Lake Maggiore. Otherwise, Innsbruck is a 2-hour drive from Ortisei so that's a possibility.

In Switzerland, you could take the train back to Zurich airport, see if there are flights to other places on your itinerary but it's a pretty long train ride, though pretty comfortable, as it will drop you right at the airport.

Or alternatively, fly from Verona airport (also near Val di Gardena) or Milan airport to Puglia and then take the ferry there, probably from Bari to Croatia.
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Old Sep 20th, 2022, 09:09 AM
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Hi. Can i ask why you did not enjoy Lake Orta?
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Old Sep 23rd, 2022, 03:14 AM
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Thanks for the reply, scrb11. Personally, I would start in Austria (without rental) and then do Ortisei, Maggiore and the BO as indicated, but I still have four others to convince ...
I'll spend some time looking into flights etc from Dubrovnik and where to land. I still have some time before we'll have to look at plane tickets.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2022, 10:39 AM
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I don't know about 2023, but in the past Dubrovnik in June could be awfully crowded, esp. on days when multiple cruise ships dock there.
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Old Sep 23rd, 2022, 03:04 PM
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There are a lot of great experts in here already so I'll just make a a few comments:
1. In the Dolomites we stumbled onto one of the most beautiful family owned hotels we've ever visited. We've stayed there twice and will come back again at least once more. The views are incredible and the hotel magnificent. The food was also wonderful. Check out Uhrerhof Deur.
2. We've stayed in Murren and Wengen and preferred Murren. The scenery is more beautiful, but it's harder to get to. With 7 days there I might consider half on one side and half on the other. Murren is more quaint in my opinion. If you want to go to the top of a mountain you can do the Schilthorn from the Murren side. If you stay in Wengen then you'd do the Jungfraujoch. Definitely don't stay in Lauterbrunnen.
3. It seemed like you had moved away from flying into and out of the same city. Go open jaw (multi city) for sure.
4. You really need a car in the Dolomites to enjoy them. Just be ready for some nervous passengers.

Enjoy the trip. Being able to introduce the "kids" to Europe is a cool thing to do.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 09:39 AM
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Hi everybody.

I don’t think Dubrovnik is going to happen, for the same reason as CT or the AC will not happen.

Wekiva, thanks for the hotel information; I’ll most definitely investigate it. Ortisei seems a bit shy on ‘book now, pay later’ accommodation like I always do on Booking.com. Not the end of the world, though, I’ll start researching it as soon as we have our exact dates.

I understand your reasoning behind splitting accommodation between Wengen and Murren, but we would probably stay in one for the duration of our visit. We are not big on packing and unpacking.

I have again today looked at YouTube videos on Tre Cime and surroundings and again thought that we would need a car to get to all the places in the Dolomites. We’ll probably do so.

And we’ll do the open-jaw thing when it comes to flying there and back.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 10:00 AM
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If you find hotels you like on Booking.com, it might be worth it to try a booking search on the hotel's own website and see how the price compares. I've often found in the last couple of years that booking direct could be a lot cheaper or in some cases, vice versa.

In many cases in the mountains, these hotels are family-run so they don't even have a booking engine. You have to request certain dates and they will write you back with an offer.

Some offer half board. In the summer in the mountains ,some places do not have a full service restaurant and a lot of the restaurants are attached to hotels.

The other thing, Tre Cime is a LONG DRIVE from Ortisei. People often get there early in the morning. I haven't been but I've seen that it's true in nearby Misurina and Lago di Braies. Also parking in the Rifugio nearest where the hike starts is like €30 for Tre Cime and Lago di Braies also has high parking fees.

I've only stayed in Wengen but Murren is certainly beautiful and there's a great flat hike with great views on a clear day from Murren to Grutschalp or vice versa. However, I think Murren is bigger, has more hiking options and more transit options as well, like Mannlichen or taking the train up to Kleine Schiedegg or Jungfraujoch.

These are all popular areas and there's an advantage to staying in Wengen if planning to go up to Jungfraujoch or in Murren for Schilthorn.

I've also liked staying in Interlaken for proximity to the lakes and to other mountain areas like Niederhorn and Rothorn.
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Old Sep 25th, 2022, 05:28 PM
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I searched on booking.com for a random week in Ortisei in June and found hotels that were book now and pay later... some on arrival. Were you looking for something specific? An apartment, perhaps?

FWIW, we have stayed in one of the big, full-service hotels (Adler) and in a small family-operated B&B (Garni Walter) and enjoyed the small B&B more.

Whatever, I wouldn't wait long to book something in Ortisei for June. Lots of places book up months in advance. You can book now and cancel later if you find another.

Last edited by Jean; Sep 25th, 2022 at 05:31 PM.
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Old Sep 30th, 2022, 09:19 AM
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There's a lot of good commentary here that I can't improve on. I'll just add a couple of specific notes.

Lake Maggiore - We made a mistake and stayed right in Locarno. Good access but we missed the best scenery. Based on comments I've heard, stay in Ascona or Stresa.

Bernese Oberland Hikes - One of the great things about this area is that you can take a cable car up to a trail head, have a reasonably level hike on a good trail, end up at a restaurant, and either take the cable car back down or walk (not recommended for old knees).

Hike #1: Cable car from Wengen to Mannlichen, hike to Kleine Scheidigg, train back down to Wengen. The hike takes about 2 hours and I can't say enough good things about it.

Hike #2: The Murren cliff trail. Best done by taking the bus to Stechelburg, the cable car up to Murren, hiking the trail parallel to the cliff and the rail tracks, taking the cable car down to Lauterbrunnen (by the train station). Also about 2 hours. This direction is slightly downhill.

There are lots of side hikes. Get a hiking trail map from the TI or your hotel. These maps have great information on altitude, slopes, distance, time, and difficulty. I'm 74 yo and don't have any trouble on these hikes. But you have to be aware of your personal limitations regarding effort and altitude.

Don't stay in Interlaken. You just waste time getting into the mountains. I wouldn't have a preference between Wengen and Murren except that Wengen is easier to get to, especially with luggage. We prefer Grindelwald but that town has a different feel.

Check the BO pass and the Swiss half fare pass to see which one saves you more money. Hard to say until you have a final itinerary. The cable cars are expensive.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 01:01 AM
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I’m back! Thanks scrb11, Jean and Michguy for your valuable input.

We are looking for accommodation with a washing machine on site, since we are going to try and travel with carry-on luggage only (my wife says she’ll try her best …), and that narrows down the accommodation. I am also looking for accommodation on VRBO and AirBnB, both of which I have never used. We’ll get it right eventually. And yes, we always try and check on the websites of the properties we are considering to see if they have specials available.

If we have to do so, we’ll see if some of the towns/cities have public laundromats.

Jean, I just quickly checked those two properties, and they seem to want me to send an e-mail with an enquiry. I’ll do so shortly.

Michguy, some very valid comments and information from you, thanks a lot. I’ll have to be careful with the difficulty of the hikes/walks available. Those mentioned are on our list for sure. We won’t stay in Interlaken, it’s too far from the beautiful places anyway!
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Old Oct 3rd, 2022, 08:45 AM
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Duvies, I doubt the Adler would have washing machines for guest access, but they would offer laundry service. Not sure about the Garni Walter, but it's a small, family-operated guest house, so they might make an accommodation for you although I wouldn't count on it. There's a self-service lavanderia in Ortisei... Dolomiti Wash on maps.google.com, about 5 minutes' walk west of the main parking garage.

FWIW, I would try to bring mostly clothing that's easy to hand-wash in a bathroom sink. I bring a drying line that I can attach inside a shower, over a tub, etc.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 12:50 AM
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Thanks Jean. We do have two of those elastic type of drying lines, which we'll take with. We have done washing in basins before, but our aim is to do all the washing on days that suit us at our accommodation. But again, we are flexible.
If we use the laundromat in Ortisei, then our accommodation options increase drastically. This will solve my problem of book-now-pay-later properties being few and far between. I'll have to sell this to the other travellers, but that should not be a big issue.
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Old Oct 5th, 2022, 11:52 AM
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I've always ended up doing laundry at one point, whether it's wash and fold places where you drop off laundry or spending an hour or two at the laundromat.

Or renting a vacation apartment with at least a washing machine.

In Ortisei, I see a place called Dolomiti Wash, west of town center.

I'm sure some of the nicer hotels will send the laundry out but they probably charge by the piece, so you're paying a few Euros for each piece of clothing.

Otherwise, quick-drying underwear and some wool blend shirts which tend to hold up longer between washes?

If you want a place with a washing machine, you're best chance is to look for a vacation apartment -- you can search on Airbnb and VRBO, specifically filtering for washing machines. Ortisei does have some vacation apartments so may want to do a Google Maps search as well.

I found a place in Santa Cristina which had a washing machine and dryer as well as garage parking but Ortisei certainly has a lot more in the way of shops, restaurants.

Last edited by scrb11; Oct 5th, 2022 at 11:54 AM.
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 02:29 AM
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Lauterbrunnen has a laundromat with US sized washer and dryers. It's saved us on many trips to the BO. Easy enough to reach from Wengen or Murren too - just haul your laundry down there. It's fast, unlike most of the European washing machines and dryers that take hours and hours.

Of course an apartment with washing machine is your best option, although I find that many don't have dryers, so you'll need to wash a day or two before moving on so your clothes have time to dry - many apartments we've stayed in over the years will have a sign up system for the washer (if in a building with several apartments that share the washer - and will have a line dry system set up in the basement with the washer.

We once did wash and fold in Zermatt - cost a fortune.
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 08:50 AM
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Thanks scrb11,
it's funny how I start with a certain thing in my mind and then try to stick to it no matter what (hope I am not the only one who does!). I was hell bent on staying in places with washing machines, come hell or high water. But, thinking about it, it makes no real difference whether I wash at my property or somewhere in town. Granted, it a lot more comfortable if we can wash at .home' but maybe we meet some fantastic people at the laundry! I'll look into the laundromat in Ortisei, for sure. Maybe I have to look at Santa Cristina for accommodation in a bit more detail.
Melnq8, we would not like to ask any hotel to do our laundry, way too expensive. Thanks for the information about the laundromat in Lauterbrunnen; we'll certainly use it. Being such a small town, it should not be difficult to find.
One more thing off our tick list: laundry. Thanks all!
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Old Oct 6th, 2022, 09:01 AM
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Actually it's convenient to have a washer at least in the place you're staying.

Because you could toss it in and go do something else, even if you're staying in the apt, browsing the web or something.

Some of the home appliances in Europe are these combo washer/dryer units and those things can go for hours. They have tiny capacity so you can't throw a big piece like a coat in them but you can't let your laundry accumulate too long.

The commercial ones in laundromats are big and fast and you can get dry clothes after 30-60 minutes.

I've paid for wash and fold whenever I could but never found a place in Switzerland. They're more common in bigger cities, not mountain villages. Often some laundromats will do it for you, toss it in the washing machine, then dryer, then fold, for something like 10 Euros a kilo. That was before the pandemic though. But most laundromats are unattended so you're on your own.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 06:20 AM
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Just a plug for Stresa. We were absolutely blown away with the beauty of the lake. Since I was dealing with my own knee injury, we changed our itinerary at the last minute from Wengen (as hiking was out of the question) to Stresa and we did not regret that decision. While we stayed five days, I probably wouldn't recommend that much time unless you really wanted to unwind. (We stayed at the Grand Hotel des Iles Borromee and the newly added spa and pools made it too easy to relax and recuperate.) Have a great trip!
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 08:07 AM
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I wonder if the lakes have enough water because of the drought conditions.

I visited Lake Misurina in the Dolomites and it was like a puddle, seemed pretty shallow even at the deepest parts.

Still looked beautiful with the surrounding mountains and there were plenty of people there but looked like nobody was taking the boats out.
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Old Oct 9th, 2022, 08:31 AM
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I thought flying either into or out of MXP might be helpful if you visit Lake Maggiore. It is very close to MXP.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 02:29 AM
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Good day Everyone,

Scrb11, sometimes those European washing machines are very slow, as suggested. First prize will be a washing machine at our property, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Thanks, Bibliotecaria71, we are so looking forward to it! We have added Maggiore as a bit of a slow down between the mountains, but we are still unsure of whether to stay in Stresa or Ascona. Both are very Italian, and both seem to be great to stay in. We are seriously considering the former and will probably end up staying there. And we are undecided between four – or five full days. Maybe four full days will be the way to go, based on your recommendation.

Let’s hope the rains are back and on time, so we can experience the lake/s at their best.

Thanks for the advice on MXP, we’ll hold that on ice until we have decided on the sequence we’ll be travelling.

Ewoud
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