Italy, Switzerland, Germany

Aug 16th, 2007, 09:42 PM
  #1  
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Italy, Switzerland, Germany

May 08 landing in Milan and 15 days later flying out of Frankfurt. Renting a car in Milan. Planning on the first 2, 3 or 4 days in Milan & Lake Como area. Driving from Milan to Switzerland. If time permits will drive through Lichtenstein and touch Austria before entering Germany and ending up in Frankfurt.

We want to concentrate on Italy Lake country, Switzerland and Southern Germany. Again, will take the time to see Licht. & a little of Austria if possible.

Looking for your input on towns to stay in, sites to see, food to try, etc. We enjoy smaller towns/villages with B&B/apt/private home accommodations.

We usually spend a week in one location before moving on. This time we will spend 1-2 nights at one location. Lots of travel but we want to try it this way one time.

Your suggestions would be much appreciated.

Paul & Linda
offseason is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 05:41 AM
  #2  
 
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Before you go any further, you're going to have to confront the problem of the large drop-off fee you'll incur for returning the car in a different country.

Be sure to include the Berchtesgaden area (and Salzburg) in your planning.
TuckH is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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You can do this trip by starting and ending in Germany and solve the car problem. I would look at Munich to start and include these stops:
Salzburg area
The Dolomites
Lago Como
Luzern
Bavaria castle country

That is a good loop and perfect for 15 days.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 08:56 AM
  #4  
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I appreciate the information. The flight tickets into Milan & out of Frankfurt are already purchased & cannot be changed.

I have accepted the car expense, including drop off fees.

If we could only see one area in Germany should it be Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg?

How lnog of a drive (in hours or days) is it from the BO region in Switzerland to Salzburg?

Also wndering about weather in May in the mountains. I know no one can perdict weather but is it usually spring, flowers & greenery, in May rather then valleys full of snow?

Again, thank you for the input. Any & all suggestions are much appreciated.
offseason is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 09:04 AM
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>>If we could only see one area in Germany should it be Bavaria or Baden-Württemberg?<<

Bavaria, specifically the areas around Garmisch and Berchtesgaden.

>>How lnog of a drive (in hours or days) is it from the BO region in Switzerland to Salzburg?<<

Use viamichelin for this info.
http://tinyurl.com/2ut8qd
TuckH is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 11:27 AM
  #6  
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Tuck, Thanks for the viamichelin site. It's a great site.

Does anyone know if you can view the Matterhorn from the Italian side? If so, iis it the same sort of classic view on sees from Zermatt?
offseason is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 01:17 PM
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Yes, you can see it from it well from Italy but the view is not the same.
Just for kicks, compare the price getting the car at Malpensa versus at Lugano--just an hour away and with bus transfers.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 01:36 PM
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>>Does anyone know if you can view the Matterhorn from the Italian side?<<

Yes. We got real 'close' in Breuil-Cervinia. Facing south of course, it's in full sun - majestic!

The Val Tournenche is pretty and so is the mountain village of Chamois - reachable only by cable car.
TuckH is offline  
Aug 17th, 2007, 02:59 PM
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Last May, we spent 3 nights in Lauterbrunnen in the Berner Oberland. We had great weather for the most part. Went up to Schilthorn with a stop in Murren and did some driving around Lake Thun with stops in Thun and Spiez.

I would suggest that you could spend 3 or 4 days in Bavaria, maybe doing a day trip to Hallstatt or Salzburg but also, depending on your departure time from Frankfurt Airport, you could spend your last night in Rothenburg or somewhere near Wurzburg. There are lots of lovely small towns around Wurzburg that would make a great overnight stop (Iphofen, Dettelbach, Wertheim, Miltenberg, etc.) It's a 2 hr drive to the airport from Rothenburg, less from Wurzburg.
bettyk is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 12:49 PM
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Bob, thanks for the Lugano suggestion. The rental is less in Lugano. We will have a couple of large suitcases (and maybe a couple small ones), will this be a problem taking the bus to Lugano?

I am looking at AutoEurope to rent the car. 2 questions.

Anyone have suggestions on other rental companies or brokers to look at?

I know I need the highway sticker for Switzerland, are there other things I should be aware of before renting a car (Special taxes, congestion fees, etc). Are there special considerations when taking the car through several countries?

I plan to finalize the car rental on the phone, rather then the internet, so I can discuss all this with the rental company. I just want to be prepared before talking with them.


offseason is offline  
Aug 18th, 2007, 01:26 PM
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We've used Andy Bestor (and AutoEurope) numerous times...
[email protected]
www.gemut.com
Gemut.com Travel Services
800-521-6722, 541-488-8462

Taking the car in Lugano, it'll already have the sticker. There are no other issues crossing borders.

BTW, Lake Lugano is our fav of all The Lakes. From Lugano, it's also easy to branch out to the other lakes.
TuckH is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 07:12 AM
  #12  
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Betty, thank you for the information about your trip last May. Right now our thoughts are to spend time in the BO area.

We are planning on turning out car in and then spending that last night in Frankfurt at the Marriott because it has a shuttle to the airport. Our plan leaves Frankfurt at 9:45AM and we want to be there a couple hours early.

Thanks Tuck. What is it about Lake Lugano that you liked. We were thinking of spending a couple nights around Lake Como, maybe in Bellagio, but our plans are still open to better ideas.

Reading some other threads here, it appears we would not have a problem finding lodging without reservations. We would like that, it would allow us much more flexibility. We would appreciate others input on availability of good lodging throughouy our travels without any reservations.
offseason is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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You need a sticker (vignette) to drive in Austria also -- at least the highways. If you pick up the car in Italy, you will be required to have an International Driver's Permit and to pay CDW. (An IDP is easily and cheaply obtained at the AAA.)
Mimar is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 11:29 AM
  #14  
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Thanks Mimar. Right now it looks like I will pick up the car in Switzerland, drive to Italy, back to Switzerlan, on to Austria and Germany.

So I need to be sure to have a sticker for Switzerland and Austria. Getting this car in Switzerland will I need any stickers, or anything else, to drive into Italy or Germany?
offseason is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 05:25 PM
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Clarification: You're not required to have the IDP - it's recommended in case you have the bad luck to be involved with the police.

Also the sticker-vignette is required only on the autobahns and it's enforced only if you're caught without it, which is also a matter of luck. Nothing of this kind is needed in Germany or Italy.
TuckH is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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>>What is it about Lake Lugano that you liked.<<

Lake Lugano is the most fjord-like of all The Lakes. It's quite narrow and the mountains seem ready to fall into the lake. The shape is irregular and is thus in a more 'intimate' scale.

Plus, you have San Salvatore, Monte Bré, Gandria and Morcote.
TuckH is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 05:48 PM
  #17  
 
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offseason,

Definitely Bavaria over B-W. Berchtesgaden would make a great central location for exploring Salzburg and the lakes region of Austria. By renting a car, you'll have much greater flexibility than we did by using trains as our only mode of transportation.

It will also allow you to follow bettyk's recommendation of seeing some of the smaller, less-touristy towns in Bavaria. Check them out.

Leichtenstein is so small, that if you blink, you'll miss it. Nothing of note to see, just pass through on your way to another destination, no need to plan for a stop.

As for accomodations,
http://www.bensbauernhof.com/
has a lot of really helpful information.

MvK
MarkvonKramer is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 07:25 PM
  #18  
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I appreciate all the information everyone is supplying. It will all be put to good use making our vacation spectacular.

Tuck, thanks for the clarifications on all the driving stuff. So Tuck, which town would you spend a couple nights in on Lake Lugano? My problem is I keep hearing about Bellagio being one of the most beautiful villages in the Lake country.

Mark, thanks for Bens website, the music is great. We have decided to stick with Bavaria.

I would appreciate input on going to Geneva. Are there any compelling reasons to go there. Would our time be better spent going directly from Italy to the BO region before heading east to possibly Salzburg before going on to Germany?
offseason is offline  
Aug 19th, 2007, 07:51 PM
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I think Geneva would be kind of out of the way, but having never been there, I can't comment on the attraction. I expect you'll be recommended to save Geneva for a later trip as it probably deserves more time than you'll have to explore.

I'd do Italy, BO, and then Berchtesgaden/Salzburg in that order. Just my take on things.

You might want to hold-off on the car rental until the B-O visit is complete. Trains are fabulous in Switzerland, but you may prefer the car for the remainder of your trip.

MvK
MarkvonKramer is offline  
Aug 20th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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We spent a week in a ferienwohnung halfway up Monte Bré (in Lugano). We frequently drove over to Lake Como (1 hour to Menaggio). We went to Bellagio (and Varenna) by parking the car at Cadenabbia and buying an all-day ferry ticket. Personnally, we found Bellagio a bit overrated - we preferred Varenna. Best of all the Lake towns was Orta San Giulio on Lake Orta.
TuckH is offline  

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