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New travelers on honeymoon - Switzerland, Austria, Italy


Aug 13th, 2014, 03:38 PM
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New travelers on honeymoon - Switzerland, Austria, Italy

We have never traveled before and this will be our first - on our honeymoon! We have no clue what to do! I have always wanted to see snow in the Alps, so that is our main goal. We want a 12 day honeymoon with travel being the other 2 days. We would like to see Switzerland, Austria and Italy, wine country. Am having problems finding a good tour to see all three areas - we want to see good tourist spots but don't have to see everything. Castles, beauty and snow a must - although no skiing! Help!
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Aug 13th, 2014, 03:55 PM
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When are you traveling and where are you flying from?
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Aug 13th, 2014, 04:17 PM
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How are you traveling and yes when makes a big difference on easily being able to see snow (being from northern Michigan I can't fathom why anyone would want to see snow!) but I suggest you center on the fabulous Jungfrau Region around Interlaken - a nice village where you are eyeball to eyeball with glacier-girdled and snow-capped peaks soaring up thousands of feet above lush cow-doted meadows

toy-like trains and thrilling aerial gondolas and hiking trails for all levels of experience going off in all directions - ensconce yourselves in a mountain town like Wengen or Grindelwald where the view from your hotel balconies will be as appetizing as the unlimited buffet breakfasts typically served in hotels and guesthouses - many family-run and intimate places.

To me the Jungfrau Region with so so many varied things to do is the highlight of Switzerland for first-time tourists and will fulfill the dreamy Alpine Wonderland images of Switzerland perhaps etched in your minds' eyes.

Trains and cable ways are the best way to get around this area that has restricted cars to parking lots at the edges of towns (and no vehicular access at all to Wengen and Murren and others and in Switzerland in general, especially in winter if that is when you all are going - check these sites for lots on Swiss trains and the Jungfrau Region in general: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com. If traveling around the country a bit, say to another region investigate the Swiss Pass, Swiss Card or half-Fare Card.

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Aug 13th, 2014, 05:08 PM
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I would be VERY hesitant to do a tour for your honeymoon. Typically they require early starts every morning (often luggage outside your door at 7 am and the bus is gone by 8 am. Then you have long days on the bus, dinner possibly at a hotel out by the highway and perhaps not an easy trip into the town center to do anything in the evening - if you have the energy after all those 6:30 am wake up calls (if you don;t get to breakfast until 7:30 it's likely the best stuff will be gone).

IMHO with your limited time much better to pick 2 or 3 locations and stay in each several days (versus moving every night) and have a more relaxed rip focused on what YOU want to do.

People here can help you plan a trip - it's really not difficult - although you do have to commit to the time to do the reading and research.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 06:45 PM
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I agree that it makes sense for you to consider traveling independently, and I think nytraveler's suggestion to limit yourselves to two or three locations is a good one.

You might start by looking at a few really good guidebooks, either by buying a few or going through them at your local library. I find the Eyewitness, National Geographic Traveler, and Insight Guides the best for getting inspiration, as they have some great photography. I find the Michelin Green Guides, Fodor's, and Frommer's most helpful for prioritizing specific sites once I have a good sense of what places I most want to visit. And I find the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet (and Moon, when it is available) invaluable for actually planning.

Hope that helps!
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Aug 14th, 2014, 07:14 AM
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Yes bus tours and always being stuck with a group even in hotels is not a great honeymoon - plus those early reveilles like nytraveler talks about are endemic to a tour bus industry that must advertise so many places they visit - cramming as much as possible into a short time frame.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 08:55 AM
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"wine country", huh? You understand this is not some tiny bunch of valleys north of SF right?

Italy is either the largest or the second largest wine producer in the world. I guess there are areas where no wine is produced (central rome) but really you can see the stuff everywhere.

Switzerland, makes wine but it is basically very expensive and to be clear seldom worth the money but if you want it look in the southern valleys especially along the Rhone.

Austria, makes wine, after a technical disaster 30 years back they have completely rebuilt the industry and in some areas become world beating (think the town of Rust and the lake there for sweet wines).

So you probably either plan around the castles and find wine locally or plan around the wine and find the castles.

I think you could do with a Rough Guide for the countries and then come back
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Aug 14th, 2014, 10:07 AM
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Thanks all! This is really overwhelming as there are so many aspects and I really don't have any idea on where to start.... I had been told that to see snow, I would have to travel at the end of March or April so as to still see snow, but not be in the middle of winter.... My options are open!

As far as travel, I guess that too is up for opinions. I heard that the overland rail pass type thing is no longer just get on and ride, that now you have to schedule. Still, I am looking for suggestions....

My fiance did tell me that he would not want to change hotels every night and be on a rigorous schedule. But I want to see as much as possible, so I am in a quandry as to what to do in this instance.....

Thanks for everyone's help and still want opionions so we can make this scheduled trip and not have to wait for 2016, if we are too late in making reservations.....
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Aug 14th, 2014, 10:08 AM
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Ooops: we are flying from Houston, Texas to wherever we need to be in the states to fly overseas..... Would that be NY?
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Aug 14th, 2014, 10:27 AM
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<< we are flying from Houston, Texas to wherever we need to be in the states to fly overseas..... Would that be NY? >>

That's not how it's done. You look for flights originating in Houston and ending in whatever city you're flying into. Returning from whatever city to Houston.

For instance: Houston to Rome or Houston to Paris, etc. Your connection may be in Europe or the US or Canada but you choose the flight based on price, connection time, and number of stops.

A flight from Houston to Florence may connect in Paris, Amsterdam, or Atlanta.

You do not book a ticket from Houston to NYC and then from NYC to wherever in Europe. You want 1 ticket because if you don't make your connection, the airline will put you on the next flight. If you book 2 separate tickets and don't make the connection you have to buy another ticket.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 10:58 AM
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I heard that the overland rail pass type thing is no longer just get on and ride, that now you have to schedule. Still, I am looking for suggestions....>

right in Italy but not in Austria and Switzerland where you can hop on any train virtually anytime - a Swiss Pass for Switzerland would let you do that on any regular train, lake boat, postal bus, city trams and buses and also give you free entry to 470 Swiss museums, such as the fantastically popular Ballenberg Open-Air Museum in the Jungfrau Region.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 11:24 AM
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Because it is a honeymoon, I would plan the trip yourself (not join a tour group). 3 entire countries plus "wine country" is too much for only a 12 day trip you need to narrow things down.

Since you are 1st time travelers I would keep it simple. You could fly do something like fly from Texas to Geneva. Spend some time in Switzerland. The take a train to Venice or Florence. Spend some time there. Either return to Geneva or fly home from an airport in Italy at the end of your trip.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 11:36 AM
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Winemistress, Hope you have noticed that people are suggesting you fly "Open Jaw", that is into one city and home from another, as opposed to flying return , to and from the same city. It saves on time and money and backtracking.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 11:38 AM
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there are places in Switzerland where you can see snow all year round. So much better to travel in nice weather, say June or September maybe, and see a little bit of snow on the mountaintops. Going to Switzerland in cold, rainy April when many things are closed would be no fun at all. Especially as you don't want to ski.

Pick 3 places. once you've picked the places, then worry about the transportation. Its good to keep yourself from getting too overwhelmed. Also, remember to keep telling yourself that you will be back, so you don't have to see everything this trip. Also, I think "seeing as much as possible" doesn't have to mean "covering as much ground as possible". You can see a lot in one area, or one country. You don't have to go to 3 on your very first trip. A friend I know has been to Switzerland many times, amounting to nearly 6 months total, and still hasn't seen everything. So don't push yourself so hard that you miss the trees for the forest

I also recommend taking a look here at various trip reports for the areas that interest you. its a good way of finding things that you might want to see, and learning itineraries that might work.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 01:16 PM
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If "Castles, beauty and snow a must," then I suggest you fly from Houston to Milan via London (British Air), and immediately upon landing in Milan, take the train to Verona and spend two nights there. Fantastic castle, fantastic wine (plus a Roman colosseum -- just a plus!) Then take the 1 hour train ride to Trento, see the castle there (amazing, with views of the snowy mountains) and rent a car and drive to the Dolomiti Alps. Spend 3 nights there, and on your last day, get up early and drive the Great Dolomiti road to Belluno, and then drop down to Venice, give up the car, and spend your last days in Venice before flying back to Houston. If you like, you can back to Milan to spend your last night in Italy if that is simpler and cheaper. (Milan has a big fat old castle by the way, with a Michaelangelo statue in it.)

The Dolomiti Alps are incredible, plus you don't have to change currencies. And the wine in Italy is just great no matter where you go. Drink prosecco in Venice with every meal.

Have a great time.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 01:25 PM
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i do agree with sandralist... the dolomiti area is gorgeous! we were just there this summer in Auronzo di Cadore (near belluno) and you can see the view from our farmhouse bedroom if you look up my review on tripadvisor. (kawh for boton d'oro). if you have limited time, and want to settle in and see italy as well as the alps, this is a great area.

another place that we went would be an amazing honeymoon spot "bagni vecchi" right on the swiss/italian border. it has thermal water, is quite fancy, and exceptional meals are included. also great hiking in the area with views of the alps.
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Aug 14th, 2014, 02:21 PM
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Wow, thanks everyone, I have some really great tips here to help me!!! Now see, this is what I wanted my travel agent to do for me but I have not gotten!!!

Ok so now I guess I need to narrow down to do I want to add anything/place in Austria to this Switzerland and Italy? Anything in Germany? I am German heritage but anything there to see? Or add maybe a day or two in Brussels? Also, any other ideas for Italy, so I can put these places/things on my list to give to a travel agent to make us our own tour??

Do I have to have a Visa for any of these countries? Shots? Anything I need to take/not take? Will my phone work there with AT&T? Do I need to worry about altitude sickness?

You guys have been amazing - too bad you aren't travel agents! THANKS!!!!
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Aug 14th, 2014, 02:47 PM
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Ok, I think I have Jungfrau Region/Interlaken, Ballenberg Museum (SW), Venice/Florence, Verona, Trento, Dolomiti Alps (Italy) and Bagni Vecchi. But I would like to see either Brussels and/or Holland as a side trip. Any ideas or comments on these?

Do I need to worry about restaurants or is there enough to pick from when we get there? Do they have Diet Dr. Pepper or do I have to bring my own case??! LOL
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Aug 14th, 2014, 02:48 PM
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winemistress, most of us don't use travel agents.....just get the information here and book it. You will have to let us know where you are from before anyone could tell you if you need a visa or not.

Your phone will work with AT&T but could be very costly. You need to talk with them regarding your plans. I buy the minimal data plan and a texting plan and primarily use wifi when traveling.

You've been advised to choose 2 or 3 locations for a twelve day trip. Germany and Brussels will have to wait
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Aug 14th, 2014, 03:07 PM
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Ok, Interlaken area- I prefer Brienz on the lake (short bus rude up to Ballenberg Outdoor Museum), with exploration up Jungfrau and various daytrips makes an excellent choice for Switzerland. Can't comment on the Italian choices as I haven't been...good start.
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