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E_Ray13 Jul 10th, 2010 09:38 PM

Stay in Italy or Tour Germany as well?
Hello Everyone,

My fiance and I are planning to marry in Italy next summer (hopefully Amalfi coast). We are both history buffs. Italy and Germany have always been on my "Bucket" list. I speak fairly fluent German (I studied the language for seven years in middle/high school) but have never even been there! On the other hand, Italy has always been the number one in my heart.

Therefore, we had planned on the following:

Amalfi= 4-5 days

Rome= 3 days

Florence= 1-2 days

Venice= 2 days

followed by:

either an 8 day Rhine River cruise from Germany to Amsterdam OR 7-8 days in Germany (Bavaria area)

HOWEVER, I have been reading several forums discussing how Rome should really be a 5 day stay and I am also intrigued with Tuscany! We have about 3 weeks (and have to include travel time from USA to Europe) for the wedding/honeymoon of a lifetime. We would love to say we will be back soon, but I am afraid that jobs, children, and the unexpected nuances of life will interfere and this could be the only trip to Europe for a LONG TIME (if even ever). I don't want to have any regrets.

Any suggestions are welcome!



kfusto Jul 11th, 2010 03:52 AM

Much of Italy will be quite hot and crowded in summer so be prepared for that. Bavaria should be quite delightful. Your plan would allow a nice mix of experiences and cultures and with three weeks you can take your time and not rush around too much. Germany, Italy and Austria, are my three favorite countries in Europe to visit and each offer a diverse range of interesting places to explore.

I am not a big fan of the AC but our reasons for loving Italy are primarily the food, wine and culture followed by art, architecture and scenery.

Rome is one of my favorite cities in Europe and deserves at least 4-5 days IMO and 1-2 days in Florence is too short. If Tuscany intrigues you, is it the lure of Florence or the appeal of the countryside? It would help to know your interests. We generally stay in Florence and visit the countryside from there as we rely on public transport and hire a private driver to visit the wineries, always on the agenda. Others prefer to rent a car and base in the countryside, exploring towns and villages at will. What is your travel style?

There are so many options in Bavaria depending on whether you want a city setting or to be in countryside. Perhaps a bit of both would be a nice choice. You could base in Munich for 4 nights and visit Garmisch and Mittenwald in the Bavarian Alps, Regensburg, Nuremberg and more, depending on your interests. Perhaps plan a few nights in Salzburg or the Salzkammergut for a taste of Austria as well as this is really a beautiful part of Europe and would mix in well with your itinerary.

A lot will depend on whether you plan to rent a car for part of the trip or rely on public transport as well as where your interests lie.

pauljagman Jul 11th, 2010 04:09 AM

E-Ray, congratulations on the wedding!

Let me start by saying I love Bavaria. Been there a few times and would not hesitate to go back. The scenery, history, food and culture are unbeatable IMO.

Also we just did an 8 day Rhine River cruise. IMO it was not something I would do again but my wife LOVED it. To me it was way too low key and we didn't spend a lot of time in the ports. But maybe that's something you would like. After 11 days in Italy it might be nice to sit back on a deck chair and take it easy.

On the cruise you will get a taste of 7 or 8 different cities and not much more. You do a morning (usually) walking tour and then a couple hours of time on your own. The food is usually pretty good..

zeppole Jul 11th, 2010 04:17 AM

If you are planning on marrying in Italy, it does make sense for you to spend some time there, and if you are marrying in the area of the Amalfi and are history buffs, that area plus Rome could be delightful for you.

I would save the Etruscans. the Renaissance and the complex story of Venice for another trip. Enjoy the Greek and Roman antiquity around Rome, Naples and the Amalfi, and then head of for a relaxing and cool spell in Germany.

As for coming back, vacationing as family in Tuscany and Venice is really not difficult, and if the unexpected nuances of life take you elsewhere, they might take you to places even more interesting than Tuscany and Venice, so don't fret that one. Don't exhaust yourself with a rush-panic honeymoon gallop through Italy because of some overblown anxiety about the unknowable future.

Vttraveler Jul 11th, 2010 05:10 AM

You could consider spending some time in the Dolomites instead of/in addition to Austria or southern Germany. A place to practice your German in Italy.

If you are history buffs, I think you should plan on at least 5 full days in Rome.

ira Jul 11th, 2010 05:40 AM

Hi ER,

Your Italy itinerary is fine.

I would follow up with
Fly to Munich - rent car
Drive to Lake Constance - 2 nights
Drive to Fuessen - 2 nights - visit Neuchswanstein and Linderhof
Drive to Salzburg - 2 nights
Drive to Munich - 1 night (visit Herrenchiemsee along the way)
Fly off

>We have about 3 weeks....<
Where are you spending the 3rd week.

>this could be the only trip to Europe for a LONG TIME (if even ever).<

You will go back.

Enjoy your visit.


bobthenavigator Jul 11th, 2010 05:50 AM

Bavaria will be crowded this year---it is the year of the Passion Play in Oberammergau. Do not mix 2 excellent trips. See Italy this year and Germany your next trip.

E_Ray13 Jul 11th, 2010 10:20 AM

Pauljagman: thank you for warning us about the cruise. It don't think low key sounds too appealing...we are both young and energetic and like the excitement of the city. I don't like the idea of only having a few hours. That really helped re-clarify for me.

kfusto: I am not sure whether we will rent a car in Germany or not. What are the advantages, do you think? Is it more expensive? I was also wondering why you don't care for Amalfi. My fiance was actually saying today that he thinks three days there is plenty - he doesn't foresee there being much to do past that time.

Thank you everyone else for your comments. I have only explored the UK, so it is good to take all of this into consideration!

More comments definitely welcome!

nytraveler Jul 11th, 2010 11:12 AM

Agree that most of Italy is hellishly hot in the summer (and many places don;t have AC at all) - so if it were me I would divide the trip between the 2 countries - but making sure to leave yourself enought time everywhere to relax.

We often do road trips and usually try to do at least 2 countries - preferably with different cultures (1 more latin, the other more northern). But we have been numerous ties and plan to be many more - so we will select just a couple of places/areas to explore ech time - with perhaps a day or two at the landing/take-off city at either end.

But - we can do 2 days in Rome - since we've already been there are least 9 or 10 times - it it's your first trip - and a honeymoon I would give yourself at lest 4 or 5 days there - and just eliminate several of the other places.

And don;t assume this is your last trip. If yo really love it and want to keep going - you will find ways to do so.

If I had to do this trip I would fly into Rome and return home from Munich. Spend 6 nights in Rome, stop at one more place in Italy (Florence or Venice or a Tuscan hill town) for 4 nights, spend several nights somewhere in Switzerland - where you can visit the Alps - then spend 5 nights in or near Munich - to see the city and all that Bavaria has to offer. (I think those Rhine boat trips are fine for a day - but boring for much more than that - and you're too tied to the boat's schedule). I would pick up a car on leaving Rome and drop it after your day trips in the Bavaria after.

pauljagman Jul 11th, 2010 11:14 AM

E-ray13, you are welcome. The average age on most river cruises is probably 65 and the only nightly entertainment is usually an on board piano player. There may be 10 couples up past 11 PM so if you are young and energetic.....maybe not your cup of tea.

Others here have posted some great suggestions that you may want to consider if you visit Bavaria. As most young Germans are fluent in English you may find yourself starting a conversation in German but end up speaking English.

In my experience I've always found Germany to be a clean and orderly country to visit. Have a great honeymoon!

charnees Jul 11th, 2010 11:55 AM

Also, about the cruise on the Rhine: we went on a 5-day cruise and it seemed awfully long. There really isn't anything to do except sit and watch the scenery. And we were in our 60s when we went!!

Russ Jul 11th, 2010 11:59 AM

Jobs can come and go, and you'll want to take your kids to Europe later. You'll return.

In summer, I would get married in Germany where your chances of decent weather improve greatly. Italy is wonderful in winter, generally miserable in summer.

Maybe spend your honeymoon in a castle overlooking the Rhine?

bilboburgler Jul 11th, 2010 12:18 PM

Lots of good advice above.

Italy going to be hot
Depending on the Month Germans go to the med for their holiday while Italians go to the south of Italy. My advice would be May, June to Italy, July, August go to Germany

Tuscany is sort of special, so I might go there rather than Amalfi coast. Have a read around Siena etc

Germany, the rhine cruise is for 65 year olds. If German wine is your thing then if doing the rhine cruise check to see if wine festivals coincide with the dockings.

I think it might be nicer to 1) Walk/bike/car the black forest, 2) similar for the Moselle (just smaller and prettier) or 3) Constance

erinaldi Jul 11th, 2010 02:00 PM

Lots of ideas above. We're in Italy now, the Dolomites. German is spoken here as well as Italian. Quite a bit of WWI history here.

We visited the AC some years ago, not much there other than a nice sea view and some VERY interesting roads! Certainly not worth 3 days - it will be touristy/crowded. I also vote for Tuscany or Umbria. Umbria is Tuscany without the "name" and tourists. Todi is our favorite village there.

Focus on Rome then up to Bavaria IMO. The hot dirty city followed by the clean cool orderly countryside! We visited the Rhine valley years ago. You can see much by driving and not cruising - which would limit and bore me.

Finally, one year we stayed outside of Florence in the Tuscan countryside and took the train into the city. That was a delight - cool and quiet evenings.

Ah, too many choices, but I love it!

kfusto Jul 12th, 2010 01:53 AM

What I recall most about the AC is inching along in traffic and tons of tourists. That is not all that unusual in Italy in summer but just not our cup of tea. I can see beautiful coast line in Italy without visiting the AC. We just prefer to avoid heavily touristed areas as well as summer months.

We are energetic 50 year olds and did a short river cruise last year. It was not the senior citizen retirement center others have made it out to be and we enjoyed the experience. Most days we were in port from early morning until dinner and there are some itineraries with over night stays. We would head off on our own and stay in port until time to leave. We do prefer land vacations and I would not recommend it for you in this case but we met two other couples aboard our age and had a great time with them. It was a nice change of pace and we did it as part of a 2 week trip last winter at Advent season to Germany and Austria. The cruise was 5 nights so just right to see if we would enjoy it.

Since your trip is next year, the Passion Play is not a factor.

Personally, I found Switzerland very expensive and the Austrian Alps a much better value, with delightful villages and small towns.

I would begin in Rome for 6 nights, taking a day trip to Orvieto. The move on to Tuscany for 5 nights. I then would base in Salzburg for 3-4 days to enjoy this beautiful city and to visit the surrounding Salzkammergut, then spend a few nights in Munich, where you can day trip to other places in Bavaria.

If you have an interest in an energetic and fascinating city in Germany, perhaps end with 4 nights in Berlin, one of my favorite cities in Europe, and fly home from there.

As for car versus train, we rely on public transport as neither one of us cares to drive in Europe. We plan our trips accordingly. This means basing more in cities than the countryside but that is our preference anyway, as we like to have lots of options for dining, accommodations and things to do so we do not get bored. Small towns and villages are our choice for day trips from our base locations. If the opposite appeals to me, a car would be a better option.

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