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Planning a summer vacation through the Alps - all advice welcome!

Planning a summer vacation through the Alps - all advice welcome!

Mar 13th, 2012, 06:38 AM
  #1  
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Planning a summer vacation through the Alps - all advice welcome!

Dear All,

My wife and I are planning to do a road trip in the Alps this summer. I've seen some of the places I am going to mention below in other occasions, but my wife hasn't, and I think it will be a lovely trip through the Alps in mid August.

One end of the trip I think will be Milan and the other end will be Munich. I think I am going to start from Munich and come down, end with a night by Como and then off to Malpensa while totally skipping Milan intentionally (hence avoiding seeing beautiful! Milan and and the shopping costs that come with it Maybe I should start from Milan and ride up to Munich, what do you think ?

My ill-educated list of important places to see will be:

Italy: Lugano, Lake Como - what else ?
Switzerland: Luzern, Heidiland - Maienfeld, other advice ? Switzerland is the true alps, must be millions of fantastic things to see.
Austria: I think St. Anton would be fun in the summer, no ? Other places to see ?
Germany: Garmisch - Partenkirschen, Neuschwanstein

So please help me make an itinerary between Milan and Munich! All advice and tips truly welcome!
Medbird is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 07:04 AM
  #2  
 
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How much time in toto do you have to spend?

Does it have to be by road?

I think if you have the time in Switzerland and want to see as much "alpine" scenery as possible you might at least consider including the Berner Oberland.

Assume you are flying into Milan for convenience and the possibility of Lake Como. If you could give THAT up you might consider flying into Geneva or even Zurich and go from there.
Dukey1 is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 07:36 AM
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Many thanks Dukey1. I have 9 days... I prefer to drive around. Zurich is cheaper to fly into than Milan, I would honestly prefer Zurich, but I thought it would be an experience to ride the Alpine pass from Italy to Switzerland... and of course Lake Como, however overrated it might be.
Medbird is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 07:37 AM
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Hi Medbird - If you want to see the BEST of the Alps - head for the Dolomites.

Steve
Steve_James is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 08:29 AM
  #5  
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Thanks Steve - what towns would you specifically recommend ?
Medbird is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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If Zurich is cheaper, you might want to consider a circular trip through the Alps, because you will experience stiff cross-border drop-off fees on your rental if you start in Milan and finish in Germany.

From Zurich go to Luzern and from Luzern to Andermatt via the Furka Pass and then the St. Gotthard pass (skip the fast tunnel) to find yourself in the lake country shared by Switzerland and Italy. From there figure out a route to Austria and then the German Alps if so desired, and finish your trip back in Zurich.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mksfca/...57622927438333
Michael is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 09:51 AM
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From Lucern you can do lake steamers and will want to ascend at least one mountain. Pilatus and Titlus are easy from there. Jungfraujoch is much better but is too long from Lucer - really best done from Interlaken or one of the towns actually in the mountains versus the valleys.

IMHO Neuschwanstein is a big disapointment since it is so modern - and of Ludwig's castles I prefer Linderhof - and Herrencheinsee.
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Mar 13th, 2012, 12:13 PM
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St. Anton is no fun in summer. It's a great skiing town, but in summer it's not exactly exciting.

9 days is not exactly very long. If you want to drive passroads then consider Grimsel, Furka and Oberalp after staying three nights in the Bernese Oberland. You could drive on to the Engadin valley (via Disentis, Reichenau, Thusis, Albular pass) and stay 3 nights there. Last 3 days could be somewhere in Tyrol or in the Dolomites - both a day's drive away from the Engadine. And from there head to Munich.
Ingo is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 03:42 PM
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Michael, nytraveler, Ingo many thanks. This is truly appreciated!

The circular idea is a very good one, but the downside is that I need to be driving all the time. I think it might be best to have three or four stations - two or three days each - and do the vicinity from those on a daily basis. If you agree with that, which towns/villages would you recommend ? I would prefer to stay in small towns and villages.

Thanks a lot!
Medbird is offline  
Mar 13th, 2012, 04:03 PM
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I also highly recommend the Berner Oberland for it's incredible Alpine beauty. Please note that Lugano is in Switzerland although it's very near Lake Como
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Mar 14th, 2012, 02:13 AM
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The route I suggest is pretty much what you prefer. As for places to stay, I'd say Lauterbrunnen (since you'll be driving, so not Wengen or Mürren), Sils in the Engadin, then maybe Castelrotto or St. Ulrich in Val Gardena (both in the Dolomites) or Neustift/Stubai valley in Tyrol.
Ingo is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 02:57 AM
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Like Ingo I'd recommend Val Gardena for your Dolomites stop. St Ulrich/ Ortisei or Selva make excellent bases ...
Steve_James is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 09:33 AM
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Many thanks to all of you. Thanks to Fodors Community members I end up doing the right things - and left to my own devices I tend to miss a lot of the best stuff...

So my follow-up questions are?

@HappyTrvlr: Which town would you advise us to stay in in the Berner Oberland ?
@Ingo and Steve_James - Sils also seems to be car-free, no ? and which one do u think is nicer as a base - St. Ulrich or Castelrotto or Selva in Val Gardena ?
Medbird is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Sils is not car-free, but it's a cul-de-sac, so very little car traffic.

I personally like Castelrotto best. Most Tyrolean ambience IMO. St. Ulrich/Ortisei is the main place in the Gardena valley, quite busy and with some cable cars that take you up to hiking trails and viewpoints. Wolkenstein/Selva in Gardena is - to me - a bit too overbuilt with uniform hotels, more a winter resort and a short stop for driving the pass roads.

For the Berner Oberland I stick to my recommendation of Lauterbrunnen.
Ingo is offline  
Mar 14th, 2012, 04:37 PM
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Hi,

If heading to the Dolomites, be sure to drive a pass or two, the Gardena Pass in particular. We prefer the Alta Badia to the Val Gardena for Dolomite scenery in general. Just our opinion.

Not to throw another itinerary at you (especially one that doesn't include Switzerland) but...
I'd suggest flying into/out of Munich. From Munich stay 2 or 3 nights in the Berchtesgaden area. Drive to the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse (spectacular) via Zell am See and spend a night in Heiligenblut after driving the Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse. From here head to the Alta Badia area of the Dolomites (via Lienz and Cortina d'Ampezzo) for 2 or 3 nights. Then head to the Fuessen or Garmisch area for 2 or 3 nights. Head back to Munich or stay a night in the area of the airport. We like Erding for our last night before an early am flight.

Plenty of charming villages, spectacular drives (Grossglockner, Gardena Pass, maybe the Giau or Sella passes also) and then Neuschwanstein and/or Linderhof. Out of these two, we preferred the tour of Linderhof.

We have plenty of photo's of these places at:

www.worldisround.com/home/pja1/index.html

Paul
pja1 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 11:05 AM
  #16  
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Thanks to all of you, now I have a circular route that can only be completed in a month

One thing missing in all of this is - Tyrol! Nobody has pointed out to a Tyrolean destination yet... That is the only part missing - any ideas ?

Best,
Medbird is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 11:53 AM
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Depending on your trip plans, I'd recommend:

Zell am See
Heiligenblut
The Zillertal (Mayrofen, Zell am Ziller, etc.)
The Oetztal (Oetz, Solden, etc.)
pja1 is offline  
Mar 15th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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Oh, I did point out a Tyrolean destination in a former post:

> Neustift/Stubai valley in Tyrol

Btw, neither Zell am See (Salzburg) nor Heiligenblut (Carinthia) are in Tyrol.
Ingo is offline  
Mar 16th, 2012, 07:20 AM
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Hi - Personally I like St Ulrich/Ortisei best - a picturesque Tyrolean-style village with an attractive pedestrianised centre.

I find it a better base for a first stay in the Dolomites - with easy access to several superb lifts and a good starting point for touring also.

These will give you an idea of the area -

http://www.flickr.com/search/show/?q=Val+Gardena&s=int

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gigi62/...46895409/show/

Enjoy ...

Steve
Steve_James is offline  
Mar 18th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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Ahhh...my favorite part of the world! You might be interested in my 2007 trip report, when we covered the greatest Alpine passes of Switzerland and Italy in about 6 days:

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...f-the-alps.cfm

We were living in Stuttgart at the time, so it is a circular tour leaving from and returning to that fine German city. Our main stops were Kandersteg (Berner Oberland), Ortisei (Dolomites), and Bellagio (Lake Como). If you like driving and incredible scenery, with some hiking and shopping and fine dining thrown in, I can highly recommend our route.
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