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Itinerary help for 8 nights in Switzerland and Northern Italy

Itinerary help for 8 nights in Switzerland and Northern Italy

Old Mar 31st, 2003, 07:26 PM
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Itinerary help for 8 nights in Switzerland and Northern Italy

Hello. My husband and I have never been to Switzerland or to Northern Italy before. We arrive into Zurich on Sat. April 19th, and we leave from Zurich Sunday, one week later. We want to rent a car and drive everywhere.

I'm having a really hard time coming up with an itinerary. We'd like to balance the time between Switzerland and Italy and between seeing a lot and not feeling totally exhausted by our vacation! Is this possible?

1. I was thinking of going immediately from the Zurich airport to Luzern, spending one night in Luzern (or two? help?), and then going to Lugano.

2. Any suggestions for how many nights we should spend in Lugano?

3. After Lugano, we were thinking of going to Lake Como. Should we?

4. We then want to spend one night in Milan.

5. Any suggestions for where in Italy to visit after Milan?

6. Any suggestions for where to visit on route back to Zurich?

We don't mind places that are "touristy," if they're worth seeing. We also might like to hike, but we're not experienced hikers and are aware that the weather might not be good for that.

I'd really appreciate itinerary help that keeps in mind we'll be driving--I can read the other posts for hotel recommendations! Thank you!
CAK2003 is offline  
Old Mar 31st, 2003, 11:29 PM
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I live in Zurich. If you are picking up a car in Zurich, make sure the office will be open on the day and at the time you want to pick up your car. All shops in Switzerland close around 4 pm on Saturday and are closed on Sunday. In addition, Monday 21 April is a holiday here, so shops will be closed. This may also affect your sightseeing schedule, as museums will be closed on Monday and will most likely be closed on Easter Sunday (an exception to the general rule of museums being op n on Sunday in Switzerland). While ferries and trams and the larger restaurants will be open as usual, some smaller restaurants may close for the whole long weekend until Tuesday.

You itinerary seems like a lot of driving, esp. to Como and Milan if you are only going for one night. April will be pretty cool/cold in Como. Many of the hotels and restaurants will still be closed or just opening for the season. Milan is worth more than 1 day IMO, but not sure it is worth the drive there and back if you only have a week. Lugano will be warmer than Como as Lugano as more protection from the mountains behind it and is a microclimate. This would probably be a better choice than Como.

As you have never been to Switzerland, you may just want to concentrate on seeing as much as you can in a week. Switzerland is a very popular destination on this site, many people seem to spend 7-10 days here.

Zurich and its immediate environs is worth about 2-3 days, you might want to save this to the end after Easter and when you don't really need a car. In addition to Lucerne, you might consider the whole Bernese Oberland/Interlaken/Jungfrau area. I am a big fan of Zermatt, although I would encourage you to take the train as you can't drive in the town and it is a pretty train ride from Zurich to Zermatt (about 4.5 hours). 1-2 nights is good there, you could get away with 1 night if you took an early morning train in and a late afternoon train out. You could go to Geneva from Zermatt (3 hours by train) and then go to Berne, Fribourg and Gruyere on your way back from Geneva to Zermatt. There are so many options. Do a search here, look at the Destination guides Fodors has above, and maybe buy the Fodors book or another guidebook.

FYI, gas costs about $4.50 a gallon here. You don't actually need a car as the train system here is fantastic, it is clean, relatively cheap and efficient and gets you everywhere you need/want to go, without the hassle of finding parking (hard to find in many places.) Go to Sbb.ch for information, fares and schedules for the Swiss Railway system.
Cicerone is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2003, 01:01 AM
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I agree with cicerone, the distances you are trying to cover in such a short time are really prohibitive. Zurich is a beautiful city with much to see so you may well regret not having a few days there on arrival, I would then include a smaller town such as Lucerne and only one italian lake, Lake Lugano.
KathyNZ is offline  
Old Apr 1st, 2003, 04:08 AM
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Let me suggest an itinerary that includes places I have been and have enjoyed. I start many of my European vacations in Zurich. For only a week, I agree with the others that you don't have very much time to explore, but the following route will be extremely scenic, with lots of nice towns to visit along the way.

-Day 1: Arrive in Zurich. Rent a car at the airport and immediately drive to Rapperswil for your first night (Saturday night). See the little town, enjoy the lake and the castle, and get your tourist legs.
-Day 2-3: Leave Rapperswil and drive southeast toward Chur and on to St. Moritz, and stay overnight in Silvaplana, a lovely little village near St. Moritz. Visit St. Moritz and the surrounding area. This takes Sunday and Monday nights.
-Day 4-5: On Tuesday, drive south to Lugano, but continue a little south past Lugano to the lovely little village of Morcote right on the lake. Stay here 2 nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) and visit Lugano and other nearby places.
-Day 6: Drive north to Weggis or Vitznau on Lake Lucerne and stay overnight on Thursday night.
-Day 7-8: See Lucerne in the morning and then drive north past Zurich and stay in the neat little village of Baden. Stay Friday and Saturday night in Baden. See Baden, Zurich, and other places nearby on Friday and Saturday.
-Day 9: Drive to the Zurich airport, turn in your car, and leave for the U.S.

This is a great itinerary, in my opinion. I've visited and enjoyed all of these places. And though it keeps you hopping, it isn't very stressful. Most of all, it gives you as much as you can possibly see and do for the week you have available. Good luck.
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Old Apr 1st, 2003, 05:02 AM
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I agree with Wayne. His itinerary sounds great.

However, I'd like to suggest to stay in Sils instead of Silvaplana. And, you should consider that April 19 is late skiing season and Easter holidays. This means 1) probably crowds in the Lugano area and 2) not the perfect time to visit ST. Moritz area (if you're not skiing).

Ingo is online now  
Old Apr 1st, 2003, 05:07 AM
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Crowds in Lugano? For sure over Easter, incidentally, all over the Ticino area.
Same old story as every year, just like the famous traffic jams.
Try to find accommodation asap.

Otherwise, Wayne itinerary sounds fine.
Ursula is offline  
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