Munich to Rome - any tips/hints

Mar 7th, 2007, 07:08 PM
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Munich to Rome - any tips/hints

We're taking our first European vacation in May - (we're 45; daughter 13) We want the true cultural Europe trip. We will be packing only backpacks (hubby's idea; not mine); travelling the picturesque highways and trying to find a vacant B&B at night time when we're ready to drop.

Hubby wants to start in Munich; daughter wants to see Italy; I'm looking forward to seeing Alps one day & the coast the next We don't want to take the bus tours.

So our plans are to fly into Munich; hire a car; travel to Innsbruck; San Marino; Rome; Florence; Genoa; Zurich; back to Munich. 15 days.

Is this do-able? Any hints would be greatly appreciated.

Does anyone have their own websites with a similar itinerary?

Thank you for your helpful insights.
dreppy is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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7 destinations in 15 days seems like a lot to me. Does the 15 days include your arrival and departure days? Changing location will take at least half a day each time you move, even in a car. I'm also surprised by a few of your choices. (San Marino and Genoa on a first European trip?)

Also wondering about the backpacks. If you plan to drive, you won't be carrying them around that much, which is why most people choose to use backpacks.

Your "true cultural Europe trip" will give you a great understanding of European highway systems. Please, do slow down a bit. Think of your trips as number of nights you have. I would recommend that you stay at least 2 nights in each place you choose.
ellenem is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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I was wondering about the backpacks and the car as well. If you've got a car, then why not go with regular luggage? Or, since you are focusing on cities and larger towns, you could just as easily take trains and then the backpacks might come in handy. Check the rates for a 2 week rental on a car as well - it can get expensive. Last summer we rented a Golf in Germany and the rate with taxes and everything ended up being close to $100/day. We also travelled around on trains for part of our trip and didn't spend nearly that much for tickets.

Either way, I agree with ellenem - this trip will be very rushed and you wont see much of any of the places you visit.

Zurich is your most westerly point, so it makes sense to knock that off the list. You can see plenty of Alps in southern Germany and Austria without making a swing into Switzerland.

Can you do an open jaw flight and leave from Rome, perhaps? That would eliminate the need to get back to Munich. Although, with a car, that might be a problem (droping a car off in a different country than it was rented - check that out before you decide).

J_Correa is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 10:18 AM
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I also don't think you need a car for this itinerary than the highlights here. Trains are the easiest way to go if you're trying to hit major destinations. Especially since it's your frist trip, and you've listed a lot of big cities here, you might be better off just concentrating on the cities and taking day-trips to smaller towns.

I also think you're trying to do too much, espeically since it's your first time in Europe. I would just keep it to Bavaria, Florence, and Rome. Basing yourself in those places and taking a few day trips from Florence and Rome would give you a fantastic trip and be more than enough to keep you wide-eyed for 15 days. You could see Siena on a day trip from Florence. And there are lots of great small towns around Munich that you could visit.

I would keep it to those three things, and then perhaps add one of the following on your way back north from Italy:
1) You could spend a night or two exploring around Salzburg. It's a great town and the Alps are impressive around there.

2)You could maybe fit a night in Venice, as it's sort of between Bavaria and where you're going in Italy. Not perhaps "true cultural Europe" but definitely a lot of history and an important visit.
Felly is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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I second the other suggestions. Skip Genova and Zürich - they are not first-rank destinations - and San Marino, thus having more time for the other destinations.

I also second visiting Venice, which is on your way and, of course, true cultural history of Europe, probably more than any other destination.
traveller1959 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Personally I love Salzburg. You can also stop off in Bolzano to see the Ice Man. Nice town too.
TravMimi is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 10:49 AM
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A cultural trip? You can do the same by staying home and driving Interstates.
Sounds like the kind of trip I would NOT do, ever.

It does, unfortunately, sound like something my father would have done. Back in the car, you can look at the pictures when we get home.

You will ride a lot, see blurs, and have no time to learn much about any place you stop.

bob_brown is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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"Back in the car, you can look at the pictures when we get home."


My dad's signature phrase on road trips was "Get out of bed, we're burning daylight." - usually at 6am.
J_Correa is offline  
Mar 8th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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To travel the "picturesque roadways" you're trying to do way too much. It sounds to me like you want a backroads tour, but instead you list cities on your itinerary. Big cities are a nightmare to navigate and park. I think you just don't know the names of the smaller places where you would prefer to go, you just need to educate yourself about some other destination choices.

I recommend you go to the bookstore or the library and get Michelin Green guides to Italy, Austria and Germany or other "driving tour" or "roadtrip" type guides. Put a couple of their suggested itineraries together.

I would cut out Genoa, Rome, Florence and San Marino. Stick to Bavaria, western Austria and the eastern part of Northern Italy (Venice, Verona, Vicenza, Bassano del Grappa, Dolomites, Cortina, Bolzano, etc.)
lovisa is offline  
Mar 9th, 2007, 11:48 AM
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WOW! Thanks all for the replies! this is awesome!

Lovisa - you hit it right on - we want to do the backroads - the "off the beaten path" - which is why we chose car vs. train. The itinerary is just the main direction we would like to take. However, dropping Zurich & Genova sounds like a good idea - thanks J Correa & Lovisa

We want to start in Munch & work in the direction of Innsbruck, find a nice pension after checking out the sights in Innsbruck, etc. If we decide to stay in an area for an extra day, then we'll go from there.

Any tips for Salzburg, Felly?
Venice - We're not too sold on Venice -we've had more people tell us to miss it, saying it's as "Tourist Friendly" as other parts in Europe - i Germany, Switzerland & Austria.

Backpack issue - that's my hubbies way of thinking he can make up for not doing the so-called "Grand Tour" in the 80's!! He only wants to pack two pairs of undies - daughter & I may end up on the train after a few days! Better he gets it out of his system now, instead of when his old and grumpy.

Thanks again for your help!! Any suggestions for B&B's in any of these areas would greatly appreaciated.

Thank you Travel Gods of Fodor!!
dreppy is offline  
Mar 9th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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Ooops -
Venice - We're not too sold on Venice -we've had more people tell us to miss it, saying it's NOT as "Tourist Friendly" as other parts in Europe - i Germany, Switzerland & Austria.
dreppy is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 12:41 AM
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Hi Dreppy - If you want to see the best of the Alps, check out the Dolomites!

Steve_James is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 01:00 AM
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Driving from Munich to Italy causes problems. Many car rental companies don't want you to take their cars out of country and will charge you a VERY big fee for it's return if you do. It's not like in the US where you are crossing state lines.

We are doing a similar thing in July. However we will rent a car for Germany and Austria in Munich with a return to Munich. We will then take a train from Munich to Rome and rent a different car in Italy. It's much cheaper, less trouble, we get to see the alps and countryside from the train and much more relaxing. You can get tickets for day trains and enjoy nice seating or get night couches with sleepers.

Check out the extra fees compared to how we are doing it.

Dr. Ken Rich
drkenrich is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 06:07 AM
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Dr. Ken - are you saying that even if we return the car back to Munich at the end of the trip they still charge you for taking it out of the country?
dreppy is offline  
Mar 10th, 2007, 06:31 AM
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Hi d,

This is not at all the kind of itinerary I would recommend for 1st timers. You are spending far too much time on the road.

>... rying to find a vacant B&B at night time when we're ready to drop.<

What fun, especially with a cranky 13 year old.

It is unlikely that you will find a B&B open after about 19:00.

15 days is perfect for the Grand Tour: Fly into Venice, train to Florence, train to Rome, fly home.

If Munich is a must, I suggest:
Fly into Munich - 5 nights, rent a car and visit Dachau (I think that this is a must), Innsbruck, Garmisch, Fuessen, Salzburg, etc

Train to Venice - 3 nights. You get a great view of the Alps between Munich and Verona (See for itinerary, etc).

Train to Florence - 3 nights. Visit Siena or another hill town.

Train to Rome - 3 nights.

Fly home.

See for airfare.

Enjoy your visit.

ira is online now  
Mar 11th, 2007, 08:23 AM
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If you start in Munich and end in Munich you will NOT be charged for a drop off in a different country. Most rental car companies have some restrictions or additional fees for taking a car into the former Soviet bloc, but you're not doing that. You will be assessed a surcharge tax which applies to the whole rental if you pick a rental car up at the airport in Munich, rather than in town, but the surcharge tax does not apply if you return it to an airport. If you are planning to see Munich at the beginning of your trip, you might want to just take the s-bahn (local communter train) into Munich and pick it up as you leave.

Be aware that you lose one night when you fly from the US, so your 15 day trip becomes 14 nights on the ground. If you spend the first 2 nights in Munich that leaves you only 12 nights.

Be aware that B & B type accommodations are not very common in Italy. There are agritourismos (farms) which rent rooms. A lot of those have a minimum stay. Also, I assume you would be wanting a triple room (sleeping for three). Those are not nearly as common as double rooms. They don't have roll-away beds much in Europe. Hotel rooms are smaller and there wouldn't be the room to put that rollaway.

I would recommend that you have a reservation for at least your first night on your day of arrival. Also, be aware that May is already the tourist season. You may have a hard time getting a room in both Florence and Rome.

For Italy, there is a Michelin book, "Michelin Italy Hotels and Country Guesthouses for less thn Euro 100" which you might find useful, and which is available on Amazon. If you can at least pin your husband down about where you are going the next night you can ask your current hotel to call ahead for you and make a reservation.

At least get some good maps before you go. The ones supplied by the rental car companies are really poor. You can also check out routes, distances, and travel times on under "Driving Directions" (like Mapquest)

Make a tentative plan like this:

Day 1 (monday) in flight

Day 2 (Tues) arrival - pick up car at Munich airport 10 a.m. and drive to
Salzburg, 180 km, 2 hours driving time.

I would also try to negotiate with your husband that you don't want to drive more than 4 hours a day. And it sounds like you're going to be spending a lot of time in the car, so pick one that's a little larger, not the cheapest economy choice, so your daughter in the back seat will have some place for her legs.

Even cutting out Zurich and Genoa, while your trip might be logistically feasible, it will be very hectic, and mean you spend most of your waking hours in a car. Do-able? Yes, possibly, but not enjoyable for most of us.

Good luck!
lovisa is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Here's a "drivin' fool" itinerary for you. It skips San Marino and Rome, but adds the Riviera. The logical way from Munich to Italy involves going through the Brenner Pass, so this gives you a different route on your way out, and gives you mountains, seaside, and countryside. The times and distances are from viamichelin which most people say underestimates driving times:

Day 1 - In flight

Day 2 - Arrive in Munich - public transport to downtown Munich, night in Munich

Day 3 - Pick up car. Drive to and stay in San Moritz (Sankt Moritz) Switzerland
282 km, driving time 3:57

Day 4 Sankt Moritz area - take cable cars, funiculars up mountains, walk

Day 5 Drive Sankt Moritz to Camogli on Riviera di Levante
342 km, driving time 4:35

Day 6 Camogli - See Portofino and Santa Margherita Ligure or go to Cinque Terre by train - this is your beach day

Day 7 Drive Camogli to Lucca
146 km, driving time 1:38

Day 8 Stay in Lucca another night - go to Florence by train from Lucca as day excursion

Day 9 Drive Lucca to Val d'Orcia (either Montalcino, Pienza, Montepulciano) via Siena - see Siena on way
193 km, driving time 2:36

Day 10 Spend another night in Val d'Orcia. This is the Tuscan countryside of picture books. The Val d'Orcia area is a UNESCO world heritage sight for its scenery.

Day 11 Val d'Orcia to Verona (distance and driving time from Montepulciano)
325 km, 3:33 driving time

Day 12 Drive Verona to Innsbruck
271 km 2:41 driving time
You might want to make a detour on part of the Great Dolomites Road toward Cortina

Day 13 Stay in Innsbruck

Day 14 Drive Innsbruck to Munich, stay in Freising near airport

Day 15 Flight home

Hope the above gives you some inspiration.

lovisa is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 10:35 AM
Join Date: May 2004
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A few more notes re the above itinerary:
You can stop in Pisa to see the leaning tower and piazza on the day you drive from Camogli to Lucca.

I would actually change the stays in Verona and Innsbruck since the goal is to keep you from driving in the cities. On the Val d'Orcia to Verona day I would make a stop in Mantua (Mantova) and stay somewhere on Lake Garda instead of Verona. And instead of stopping in Innsbruck I would stop in Hall-in-Tyrol right nearby.
lovisa is offline  
Mar 11th, 2007, 11:15 AM
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Hi dreppy,
Just my two cents...
We've rented cars from Munich airport (returned there also) and driven into Italy (only as far south as Bolzano) a few times. My experiences with rental companies is they don't allow (or charge extra) for certain makes/models of cars to be taken into Italy, such as BMW and Mercedes. We were never charged extra, but do let the rental company know your plans and what countries you will be driving in.

I agree with lovisa...stay in Hall in Tirol (6 miles east of Innsbruck) instead of Innsbruck itself. IMO Hall is much nicer and is a terrific old town to walk around. We stayed at Gasthof Badl ( on 3 seperate trips and aside from being very convenient to the old town of Hall in Tirol and the major highway towards Italy (Brenner Pass), it's our favorite place to stay in the region. Driving time from Munich to Hall in Tirol is only about 2:30 and then the Italian border is about 30 min. away.

I also second Freising as a great last night before heading to the airport. We usually stay at the Moevenpick (close to both Freising and the airport), arriving in the mid afternoon, drive to Freising (less than 10 min.), walk around, have dinner, I drop my wife at the hotel and return the car the airport when were done for the day. I take the Moevenpick shuttle back to the hotel and we both take it directly to our terminal the next morning.

As Steve James mentioned.. "If you want to see the best of the Alps, check out the Dolomites!" A short side trip (about an hour) off the highway between Brenner Pass and Bolzano is the road leading into the Val Gardena.
One of our favorite places to experience the Dolomites.

pja1 is online now  

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