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Itinerary help: Switzerland / Italy in August

Itinerary help: Switzerland / Italy in August

Old Jul 27th, 2017, 02:27 PM
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Itinerary help: Switzerland / Italy in August

We are a family of 4 planning a 10 day vacation in August. We fly into Zurich and out of Milan - the 10 days do not include this travel time.

We have traveled to Switzerland and Italy several times. We like dramatic landscapes, scenic little villages, art galleries (over museums), architecture, and to a lesser extent shopping and good food. My husband and I like easy walking but not strenuous hiking, we would like to walk 5-6 miles on an average day. We like the BO region in Switzerland, on our previous visits we enjoyed the scenic yet relatively flat walks the area offers. While our familiarity with the BO will be relaxing, we also like the excitement of visiting a new place. Besides, we realize that we will have to get our architecture and art gallery fix elsewhere.

After browsing these forums, my dilemma is whether to:
1) Divide our time between Murren (or Wengen) and the Lake region which we have never visited
- If so, which town in the lake region? Any suggestions? Como (Bellagio/Mennagio/Lenno/other?) or Garda (Malcesine/Sirmione)? Will it be too hot in August? We don't do well for very long in temperatures over 85 F.
2) Divide our time between Murren and the lower Engadine (Pontresina/Scuol)
3) Skip the familiarity of the BO region altogether for the lower Engadine which he have never visited - does it offer easy walks? I read that the hiking there is more serious, we are frivolous hikers.
4) Take scenic trains to a town in the Dolomites, and spend all our time there. Will the Dolomites be doable without a car? Does it offer easy walks?

As you can see I am all over the map. We usually don't try to do a lot, but I really need a month off and the 10 days are not negotiable. I eagerly await your thoughts and responses.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 03:31 PM
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Even the high mountains in Italy -- including the Dolomiti -- can get hot. However, they don't have the humidity of the lakes.

If you really do not want to rent a car then I think Lago di Garda is not doable and you won't see the most spectacular parts of the Dolomiti. So that would leave either Lago di Como or Lago Maggiore as your train-travel options (unless you want to go to Bolzano in the Dolomiti area and see what's available from there with public transportation -- or hotels at this late date).

Another train travel option you didn't mention is the Val d'Aosta, In Italy many people like the mountain towns of Merano & Vipiteno Italy, also reachable by train. but I don't know the routing from Zurich to get to these places. I've only approached them from the south.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 03:41 PM
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There are some absolutely wonderful and very easy walks in the Lower Engadine, and IMO, it is a fascinating part of Switzerland! It's definitely got dramatic landscapes, scenic little villages, local architecture that I thought quite interesting and that is unlike anything one generally sees outside of the Graubunden, and its own cuisine, which includes some incredibly delicious foods.

You don't say how much of your time would be in Switzerland, so it's hard to make a recommendation of whether to split your time with the Bernese Oberland.

Hope that helps!
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 04:19 PM
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Massimop that is such great information, thanks. I now have Option 5). The pictures of Merano and Vipiteno look really pretty.
kja, I was initially considering spending 5 days in the BO, leaving on the 6th day, but I am also open to spending most of the days at one base, i.e. not splitting my time at 2 places as I imply in opeions 3 and 4. II have tried to describe the evolution of my dilemma in the order in which ideas occurred, your posts and isabel's photos played a role in it.
am not crazy about Alpine architecture but love the ability to experience the outdoors at my own pace.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 04:32 PM
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Sorry, but I'm still confused -- do you mean a stay of about 5 days in Switzerland (leaving on the 6th)? If so, I would think the lower Engadine, probably basing in Scuol, could work very well for you. Of course, it depends on what you want to see and experience.

And BTW, if your idea of Alpine architecture is of chalets, then note that the architecture of Graubunden is NOT that.
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Old Jul 27th, 2017, 07:53 PM
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Hi SHmom,

Sorry, I'm not much help with narrowing down other peoples' itineraries ... but I do have a few comments.

Yes, the Engadin Valley has more serious hikers than it does wandering day-tripping tourists, but that doesn't mean that even wimpy hikers (like myself!) can't enjoy themselves. With all the cable cars and busses and trains, you can choose to start or end a hike according to your own wishes. You can look at hiking websites, maps, or even ask your hosts to suggest a hike of about 1h or 2h for you.

You may also want to consider taking a bike ride or two down the valley. There is a wonderful bike trail that parallels the Inn River, and it runs from Innsbruck down to and past St. Moritz. You can rent bikes, hop on a train, and then bike back to your base. There are also numerous bike trails that ring all the lakes. I was a novice biker when I did that, and it was one of the highlights of my trip.

Oh, also like to say that, **of course** you can see Lake Garda without a car!! I did that a few years ago. There is train service to Peschiera, and then you can take a bus onward to your chosen town, or you can take train to Verona and then take a bus that stops in Peschiera, Bardolina, Garda & Malcesine. I stayed in Malcesine, at the middle of the lake, and took trips to Limone (ferry) and Riva (ferry & bus). Garda is also easy to get to from Malcesine. If I were to go again, I think I would stay in Garda because it's more central for easier transport.

Have fun as you plan!

s
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 12:42 AM
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IMO solution 3 is the best. There are tons of scenic easy hikes/walks/promenades in both, Lower and Upper Engadin (much more than in the Jungfrau area).
Zurich - Scuol - Pontresina - Bernina - Tirano - Lake Como can easily be done by train (very scenic itineraries).
Museums and galleries:
http://www.ticino.ch/en/explore/muse...eums-list.html
http://www.museen-graubuenden.ch/sites/home.html
http://www.ticino.ch/en/discover/exp...ture-list.html
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 01:34 AM
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Maybe I misunderstood, but I got the impression that you were considering the possibility of combining the Murren/Wengen area with Lago di Garda, presumably for its dramatic landscapes, which are in the northern end of the lake. Of course you can "see" Lago di Garda without a car, but traveling by public transportation from that part of Switzerland involves long rides & many changes with luggage and yet you're still not getting to the most scenic part of the lake. You can take ferries and more bus rides in order to day trip to the spectacular scenery on the lake. Did not think that was the experience of Lago di Garda you were looking for.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 01:57 AM
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swadav,

If you see this post, a honeymooner in another thread is looking for detailed suggestions for Switzerland after Paris, if you can spare a moment to help

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...-and-italy.cfm
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 03:07 AM
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Zurich (main station) - Scuol or St. Moritz: 1 train change (same platform for St. Moritz).
Scuol - Varenna/Lake Como: 2 train changes at the small stations of Pontresina and Tirano
St. Moritz/Pontresina - Varenna: 1 train change
St. Moritz - Menaggio/Lake Como: direct bus

Scuol - Riva/Lake Garda: change at Martina (one bus beside the other), Mals (tiny railway station, Bolzano/Bozen and Rovereto;
St. Moritz/Pontresina - Desenzano or Peschiere (both lake Garda): change at Tirano and Milan.
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Old Jul 29th, 2017, 08:04 PM
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Hi massimop --

Thanks for directing me to that post. I'm not sure that I can help, as the op hasn't provided a basic itinerary or suggestions about his/her desires. I did offer a very standard itinerary for the trip, but I'm not sure how useful it will be. Usually I wait until the op has a basic itinerary, and then I feel my comments can help maximize his/her time. I really don't want to try to act like a travel agent...!

Thanks for clarifying your comments re: Lake Garda & the car. I was wondering if you were talking about seeing the Dolomites & Lake Garda without a car .... I haven't been to the Dolomites, but I have never heard of anyone using trains & busses there.

Anyway. I tried to help ...!!

s
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 05:50 AM
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Massimop you understood correctly, I was originally looking at combining Wengen with the Lake region. I have 'back-up' reservations in hotels around Wengen and Bellagio for a similar number of days and for our last night near the airport.

Our kids have not experienced Wengen but my husband and I have visited that area a lot, and while we are not bored of it we would not mind newer experiences. Plus when I see pictures of Wengen now it looks suspiciously touristy. The Valle d'Aosta and the Engadine both look promising in photos. Question is - do they have the up-close view of the mountains like the BO region?

We are also open to spending ALL our time at ONE place if there is enough to do for 10 days, we don't HAVE to go to 2 places. We travel at least 2 times a year as a family but are typically unable to go away for periods longer than 10 days. We have driven on previous trips just don't want to on this one, so there will be opportunities to visit the Dolomites the right way in the future.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 05:53 AM
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Swandav2000 thanks for your reassurance on the Engadine region, and neckervd for the train details. We are not looking at the train travel as part of the fun and we will travel light.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 05:55 AM
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Oops, meant to say we are looking at the the train travel as part of the fun.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 06:16 AM
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I have no idea if this is the best part of the Dolomites, but I was just in Ortisei and didn't have a car. I was coming from Venice, so took a train to Bolzano and then taxi'd to Ortisei; a private taxi transfer was 85E. Might be more for more than 3 people. There is also a bus; I just didn't want to deal with my luggage on the bus. From Ortisei and Selva and Santa Cristina I did hikes, which I thought were fabulous, and some of which were not easy (that was my choice, though; I am only 50% frivolous hiker--great term, by the way).

Anyway, this might not be a good option for you given your goals, but thought I would mention it.

Enjoy your trip, whatever you decide.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 02:45 PM
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I've been the Bernese Oberland, although I stayed in Murren, not Wengen. I'm not sure what you mean by the "up close view of the mountain". I've not been all over the val d'Aosta, but what I enjoyed was walks through the valleys with the cows and without the tourists (I actually preferred Lauterbrunnen valley to Murren & piz Gloria.) Maybe if you look at pictures of the La Salle area near Montebianco that will tell you if those are the kinds of up close views that you like.

What I will say is that while Switzerland is awesome I was astonished by the Dolomiti. If you want to go to just one place, that would be my pick. But without a car, I just don't how much variety is available. I had a car, and my favorite part of the Dolomiti was around Corvaray in the Alta Badia.
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Old Jul 30th, 2017, 02:46 PM
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sorry -- I'm having trouble with my keyboard -- it's spelled Covara
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 01:21 AM
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...or may be Corvara/Kurfar, easy to reach by bus from Bruneck/Brunico/Bornech
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Old Jul 31st, 2017, 03:47 AM
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yes, in addition to my keyboard, I also make a lot of spelling mistakes on my own!
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