Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Planning a 15 night trip through Europe (September)

Planning a 15 night trip through Europe (September)

Old Jun 30th, 2014, 10:49 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Planning a 15 night trip through Europe (September)

This is our first time going to Europe and we will be driving through Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, and France. I have a 'rough' itinerary but would love to get your input.

A few important things to note:
-WHEELCHAIR ACCESSIBILITY. There are 4 of us (ages 21 - 58) going, including one person in a wheelchair. I'm trying to plan the best possible trip for wheelchair accessibility (hence why I left Venice off the itinerary).
-Flying into Munich, flying out of Paris. Renting a minivan as we leave Munich and dropping it off as soon as we get to Paris.
-Although we will visit a few of the main ones, we do not care to see every historical site, museum, church, etc. in each city. We prefer beautiful scenery, great cafes and restaurants, and to just experience the different cultures across Europe.

-Fly into Munich, get there early morning (2 nights)

-Drive to Neuschwanstein castle, then onto Innsbruck (1 night)
Is Innsbruck worth a night? Anywhere else in the area you think is a better option? Maybe a small Bavarian town? Or should we just spend an extra night in Munich/Verona?

-Drive to Verona (2 nights)

-Drive to Bologna (2 nights)
This isn't set in stone as I'm still trying to decide the best area for us to visit after Verona. We would love to drive through the Italian countryside and visit a few wineries, stop at a couple quaint little towns (maybe spend a night?). I wish we had the time to go to Tuscany but I think we'd be too rushed. So I thought maybe the Emilia Romagna region would be nice...but how does it compare to Tuscany? Or maybe the Aosta region? Would love to get your advice for a similar experience to Tuscany (countryside, rolling hills, vineyards, etc) but in Northern Italy. I have Bologna listed for 2 nights as we'd like to at least experience the food but I'm certainly not set on staying there 2 nights...and may even prefer to stay somewhere more quaint?

-Drive to Grindelwald/Wengen (2 nights)
Trying to decide between Grindelwald and Wengen. From what I've read, most people recommend Wengen and say it's got better views. But it's car free and we'd have to park our car in a lot and take a train into the village. Would this be too difficult for a wheelchair? Does Wengen or Grindelwald have better wheelchair accessible paths/trails and access to cable car rides?

-Drive to Lucerne (1 night)
I'd like to see Lucerne but is it worth a night here? Or should we spend 3 nights in Grindelwald/Wengen instead? But need to take into account we won't be able to fully experience this area (hiking, climbing, etc) as we have a wheelchair so maybe 3 nights there is too much?

-Drive through France on way to Paris (1 night somewhere in between Lucerne and Paris)
This is a fairly long drive so I'd like to stay somewhere (maybe a small quaint city?) in between. I'd love to get some recommendations for the best route (scenery wise) and towns to stay in.

-Drive to/fly out of Paris (4 nights)

Thoughts? Is this too ambitious? I understand that's it quite a bit of driving but we don't mind driving. We once drive over 3,000 miles within a 2 week span on a West Coast (USA) vacation. We're not really into the relaxing and laid back type vacations (tropical). But I do want ample time to enjoy each city (but as I said above, we don't need to see every historical site, etc). What are your thoughts? Any advice is greatly appreciated!
traveler8586 is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 10:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Way too ambitious. You will be spending so much time getting places you will have little to see anything or even just sit in a cafe and watch the world go around. (Two night in a place gives you just one day there. One night gives you perhaps half a day - depending on when you leave and arrive - why bother?)

And do be aware that driving a minivan into many of these cities/towns can result in very high fines (hundreds of euros) for violating the local pedestrian zones.
nytraveler is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:00 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,215
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>-Although we will visit a few of the main ones, we do not care to see every historical site, museum, church, etc. in each city.>Thoughts? Is this too ambitious? >We once drive over 3,000 miles within a 2 week span on a West Coast (USA) vacation.> I do want ample time to enjoy each city
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:01 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,215
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
we were posting at the same time - same message . . .
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:18 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Consider leaving Innsbruck and driving to Cortina d'Ampezzo for beautiful mountain scenery. After that, drive down to Verona. There is a wine route you can take, and although it will not be like the Tuscan countryside and it will be different wine, you can still get something of the flavor of the importance of wine to Italy.

http://www.roughguides.com/destinati...und/wine-road/

I think Bologna and the general area of the Emilia Romagna doesn't have what you are looking for.
sandralist is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:18 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,435
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Even if you were to do half of what you plan, it would be ambitious in the amount of time you have.

Germany, Austria, Switzerland

or

Italy and (possibly) Switzerland for a day or two

or

France and (possibly) Switzerland for a day or two.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:24 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,215
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
I assume your flights are already booked - right? Then you have some problems since none of dwdvagamundo's good suggestions will work.

But what you have planned now is totally unrealistic -- back to the drawing board (and maybe consider paying the change fees to change your flights)
janisj is online now  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:39 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 2,672
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
And are you aware that picking up a vehicle in one country and dropping it in another will incur large drop-off fees?
mamcalice is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:43 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 49,553
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Crazy plan. And it's going to cost you a small fortune, like 500-1,000 euros to pick up a car in one country and drop it off in another.

Start over. This is totally unrealistic. Rent a nice place in a pleasant European venue and enjoy a relaxed week or two.
StCirq is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 11:45 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Regarding my suggestion to drive through the Dolomiti after visiting Innsbruck, it would actually be better to aim for the area around Corvara first. No need to go as far east as Cortina d'Ampezzo. Then head west toward Bolzano, and on to the wine country south of Trento, and on to Verona.

By the way, I don't know what it is like in other countries, but in Italy there are no special laws against minivans and a minivan is allowed to go anywhere a passenger car is allowed to go. There are many restricted areas in many Italian cities. If you have the right kind of handicapped sign, you might be allowed some access other tourists would not be --- but that is something you would need to research. I honestly don't know.
sandralist is offline  
Old Jun 30th, 2014, 08:28 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 86
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Munich
Innsbruck
Verona
Bologna
Grindelwald or Wengen
Lucerne
somewhere in France
Paris

that is 8 cities/destinations in 15 nights, with a wheelchair accessibility constraint added in.

WAAAYYYY too ambitious. Even if it was 2 backpackers with no luggage I would suggest not.

If your flights are into Munich and out of Paris, that is 2 destinations. Add 1 or max 2 more between them, with high-speed rail in between.

Maybe
4 nights in Munich
3 nights in Lucerne (there is a train with only 1 change)
2 nights in Geneva/Montreux
6 nights in Paris

Taking a car from Germany and driving it to Paris is going to cost an enormous amount, and will not be allowed to go where you want anyway.

Many of the trains will assist with people in wheelchairs if you call/set up in advance. The lake ferries in Switzerland etc are wheelchair accessible. The mountains are not so easy - so maybe stick with an organised day trip from Lucerne for mountains

This website seems to have a lot of information for disabled access
http://www.munichfound.com/archives/id/81/article/1572/

Rick Steves also does a "easy access Europe" with lots of tips
http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Steves-Ea.../dp/1566916682

Swiss info
http://europeforvisitors.com/switzau...witzerland.htm


changing locations normally takes at least 1/2 day - and that is with a short travel time between locations. Having to arrange wheelchair access and the stuff that is involved ... means extra.

That means - 4 cities at the absolute maximum. Out of my suggestion above, if it were me, I would drop Geneva/Montreux and just do Munich, Lucerne, Paris. You will have a fantastic time, see lots without the stress of trying to move around too much.
Newbie00 is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2014, 04:00 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 35,369
Likes: 0
Received 14 Likes on 11 Posts
>>>This is our first time going to Europe>>We once drive over 3,000 miles within a 2 week span on a West Coast (USA) vacation.
kybourbon is online now  
Old Jul 1st, 2014, 07:29 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 68,215
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
>>In Italy, you need an IDP (available in advance from AAA).
janisj is online now  
Old Jul 1st, 2014, 09:06 AM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,435
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Picking up on JanisJ's suggestion, what about:

Munich

Innsbruck--we enjoyed it for one nite and have often thought about returning. Charming place.

Switzerland

France

That way, you could see three of the four countries while moving steadily west.

Don't know anything about driving through Switzerland, though. (and don't know much about Switzerland in general)
I just searched Innsbruck to Besancon, France and it showed a drive of five and a half hours, which seems doable given the length of your trip.
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Old Jul 1st, 2014, 01:37 PM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I could be wrong, but i think if my enjoyment in traveling was dependent on what I could see I wheels, I would most enjoy spectacular scenic drives. There really is nothing like the fantastic and fabulous Dolomiti in all of Europe. That is why I suggested you alter your driving route to include it.

It is understandable you would want to drive through scenic Tuscany as well. It is also one of the incomparable scenic drives of Europe. But it is too far south if you must end up in Paris (as you already know) unless you are willing to ditch the car in Florence or Rome airport.

Having been to both Wengen and the Dolomiti, I will say that the Dolomiti is the more spectacular sight. I didn't drive in Switzerland, but it is my understanding it is not a driving-friendly country, but I could be wrong.

I can't comment much on the rest of your driving itinerary, not having done it, but it does appear to me you would need more nights to accomplish it than you have allowed.

If you are unwilling to fly for part of the journey, maybe an interesting scenic route for you -- with spectacular scenery and good food and cafes -- would be


Munich
Innsbruck
Dolomiti
Lago di Garda
Piemonte wine country (the Langhe hills)
Lyon-Beune-Dijon area
Paris

Skip Switzerland- You wrote "We would love to drive through the Italian countryside and visit a few wineries, stop at a couple quaint little towns (maybe spend a night?). I wish we had the time to go to Tuscany but I think we'd be too rushed."

You could have something close to that in the Piemonte and into France.
sandralist is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:17 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 40
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you all for the suggestions, you've been a huge help. I'm not sure how to edit my first post so I'll post my updated itinerary here:

-We've added 2 nights so we have a total of 17 nights (instead of 15).
-I've taken the Bologna/Emilia Romagna area off the itinerary as I feel that's too far south and we'd be too rushed.
-Still trying to decide if we should do 3 nights in Grindelwald, 1 night in Lucerne OR 2 nights in each. Not sure if there are enough wheelchair accessible opportunities in Grindelwald to justify 3 nights. Thoughts?

-Fly into Munich, get there early morning (3 nights)

-Drive to Neuschwanstein castle, stay in Innsbruck (1 night)

-Drive through Dolomites on way to Verona

-Drive to Verona (3 nights)

-Lake Como (1 night)

-Grindelwald (2 nights)

-Lucerne (2 nights)

-Drive through French countryside/vineyards on way to Paris, stay in Beaune (1 night)

-Paris (4 nights)

I understand it's still a fast-paced schedule. But does it look more doable now?
traveler8586 is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 07:26 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 2,435
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Yes. Much better. Congratulations on taking the comments to heart.

Buon Viaggio!
dwdvagamundo is offline  
Old Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:41 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 6,534
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Have you checked out accessibility issues for Verona? If you already have and are happy with what you've learned, ignore my worries because I have never researched the issues. However, I have been to Verona, and if you haven't researched the issues, then I highly recommend you do so because many of its major attractions are Roman ruins, medieval castles and churches and cobblestoned piazze --- the kind of place that in most of Italy can be totally inaccessible to wheelchair users. At best, one sees them from the outsides. Likewise, the most charming cafes and restaurants may not have exterior seating and may not have wheelchair access and if it is raining, you might have a hard time getting into restaurants housed in medieval structures.

There are vinyards right in the vicinity of Verona and it might make sense to pick a countryside stay and only visit Verona. You can also check out the Eastern shore of Lago di Garda as a "base" for visiting Verona. But then I don't think you want 3 nights in that area. I think you will want to go more slowly through the Dolomiti (taking a scenic, photogenic route via Brunico down to Corvara and Bolzano) so spending a night in the Dolomiti would make a lot of sense.

You need a Rainy Weather Plan B for both the Dolomiti and Lago di Como, and I think Grindelwald too in case of bad weather. There is NOTHING to do in these scenic places if it rains or is very foggy.

If it is raining in the Dolomiti, there is really no point in going. I would suggest that a Rainy Weather Plan B from Innsbruck would be to skip the Dolomiti and go to Trento and stay the night the Isera wine country.

A Rainy Weather Plan B for Lago di Como might be to go to Lugano or spend more time in Verona.

Just don't know what the alternate attractions would be in Switzerland, but I will also point out that by including Lucerne, you a buying a lot more driving time to get to Beaune that you would if you picked someplace more southerly in Switzerland. Wish I could suggest something, but just don't know the country that well.

If you give up on Grindelwald due to accessibility issues or bad weather then I reiterate my suggestion to consider the Langhe hills of Piemonte. It really does not depend on fine weather to enjoy it and you could head into France from there.
sandralist is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
paulmpatrizio
Europe
2
Aug 15th, 2018 08:34 PM
Lisadvd
Europe
12
Mar 25th, 2016 03:48 AM
ginbudjim
Europe
18
Aug 3rd, 2009 11:07 AM
PaoloCast
Europe
6
Jun 24th, 2007 07:57 AM
szanti
Europe
8
Mar 10th, 2004 03:03 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:10 AM.