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Italy, Austria, Germany France Driving Tour

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Nov 10th, 2010, 06:39 PM
  #1
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Italy, Austria, Germany France Driving Tour

Planning a family vacation in June. We will arrive in Rome and have 16 days to drive thru Italy, Austria, Germany and ending in Paris. Thoughts are a few days in Rome then on to Venice then to Vienna or Innsbruck into Munich to Frankfort to Brussells into Normandy region and onto Paris. Is this too ambitious? Know the must sees in Rome and Venice but what like to hear others experiences of what not to miss on this tour.
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Nov 10th, 2010, 07:44 PM
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As your ideas include only large cities in Europe I wouldn't consider driving. Driving and parking in Rome, Venice, Vienna, Munich, Frankfurt, and Paris is difficult, timely, and expensive. Trains would be a better option.

If you want to drive I would do Tuscany, Alps, Normandy, etc

With 16 days I would stick to 2, maximum 3 countries. Rome and Paris both deserve a minimum 3 days, 4 days for each would be better. I would spend minimum 2 nights in smaller locations (Innsbruck, Normandy) and 4 nights in large cities (Paris/Rome/Vienna).
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Nov 10th, 2010, 07:52 PM
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For a family vacation that is meaningful and not just a bunch of driving, I recommend focusing on a coupel of cities/regions and moving arounf less. While compact, Europe is bigger than you think. Pick 2-4 places and do day trips as needed. I would start in Paris and end in Munich. This is what I would do (having been to these areas a few times)

Arrive Paris - 4 nights
Train or drive to Burgundy or Mosel Valley - 3 nights
Either Berner Oberland Switzerland or Bavaria- 4 nights
Munich(with a few days trips) - 4 nights

You could spend 16 winderful days in Italy alone. Italia is about the size of California (big) and deserves a lifetime (or atleast 16 days to start). 16 days in Italy would look something like this:

Rome for 4 days
Rural areas - 4 days
Florence - 2 days
Venice - 2 days
Lake Area - 3 days
Miland - 1 good day
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Nov 10th, 2010, 09:00 PM
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My wife and I spent two weeks in Italy a few years ago. We wanted to take our 19 and 20 yr old boys on this trip. Three or four days in Rome (on the front end of the trip) is a must with 3 or 4 days in Paris (at the end). Both boys want to experience the Alps, Germany and the Normandy area. Good suggestion about the rail. Probably could use Rome, Munich and Paris as base locations and use the rail between those cities and then possibly rent a car for day trips from those points. Any recomendations on sites to find rail passes? Do you purchase as multi city trips or over a specific time period? Is it necessary to buy in advance on line or could you purchase on travel days? I would think the boys would be able to get student passes.
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Nov 11th, 2010, 07:49 AM
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Ricksteves and eurail both sell rail passes. You have to buy these in advance, but then don't have to buy actual train tickets in advance. Whether or not you will save money buying rail passes really depends on how many days you plan on using them and in what countries.

For train tickets, you can easily just book the day of in the train station (or a few days early for night trains) but some people book weeks in advance online. I don't want to have to be set to a certain time so we always book the day of.'

I think your boys would enjoy Rome, Munich, and Paris. All three cities are very interesting and have good daytrips.
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Nov 11th, 2010, 01:23 PM
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For the amount of time you have, I would seriously consider droping the Normandy portion of the trip. It's just too much, too far out of the way. I know your sons are interested, but there's only so much you can do. They can always go back again someday. We have been going back to Europe every year or two since 1984!
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Nov 11th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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I would restructure your trip a bit to minimize ground travel time.

Rome: 3-4 nights

train to Venice: 2 nights

Fly EasyJet to CDG (tickets around 34 Euros if purchased early) on day 7, rent car, head straight to Bayeux for 3 nights.

Drive into Paris, drop car, 3 nights.

Catch train to Munich (6 hrs. direct) for 1-2 nights there.

Train to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Bayern Ticket, 28 Euros for all) for 2-3 nights.

Fly out of Munich.
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