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Trip to Austria, Switzerland & South of France

Trip to Austria, Switzerland & South of France

Dec 23rd, 2013, 10:14 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Trip to Austria, Switzerland & South of France

My wife and i have booked flights which have us arriving in Vienna on Friday morning, September 5, 2014 and departing Marseille 17 days later on Sunday, September 21.
After two or three days in Vienna, we were planning on renting a car and making our way through Austria and Switzerland and down into Provence/French Rivera, ultimately dropping the car off in Marseille. We also were thinking of allocating 5 - 7 days in each of Austria and Switzerland and 3 - 5 days in Provence.
In Austria, we were thinking of spending time in Vienna, Krems, Durnstein, Bad Ischt, Hallstatt, Salzburg and Innsbruck. In Switzerland, we were thinking of Zurich, Lucerne, Berne , Lausanne and Geneva. In the South of France we were thinking of Nice, Menton, Saint-Tropez and Aix-en-Provence before finishing off in Marseille. Looking into the future, there would be a chance that we would make it back to France for a longer stay.
Some of the questions we have are: Where might we invest more/less time? If we need to drop some destinations, which one(s) might we drop? Are there can't miss/must do experiences? Are there suggestions with respect to the car rental? Should we drop the car off in Austria and take the train to Zurich and pick up another car there? Are there recommendations regarding accommodations in any of the destinations? Are there any broader suggestions and recommendations?
RvanWely is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 10:22 AM
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Your first problem is going to be renting a car in Austria and dropping it off in France - HUGE expense (someone has to drive the car back to Austria).
StCirq is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 03:35 PM
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By my count you have only 15 1/2 days/16 nights to see the stuff you want to see.
- 1 1/2 days, 2 nights Vienna
- 1 night Krems, Durnstein, Bad Ischl

- 1 night Bad Hallstatt, Salzburg
- 1 night Salzburg, Innsbruck

- 1 night Zurich
- 1 night Lucerne
- 1 night Berne
- 1 night Lausanne
- 1 night Geneva - this is a good place to drop off the Austria car & pick up a French car

- drive 6-7 hrs to Nice. This day will be "lost"
- 3 nights/2 days Nice
- 2 nights/1 1/2 days St Tropez
- 1 night Marseille

That's a lot of "one-nighters" and not much time "being there".

Personally, I go to Switzerland for the Alps - not the big cities. Bern is interesting, but I can't say the same of Geneva.

We spent 5 nights on the Danube in Melk & explored between Vienna & Linz - you're spending 1 night there. We were busy all the time.

You won't see much of the Cote d'Azur in 3 1/2 days & 2 locations (don't do a day-trip to St Tropez from Nice). We've stayed on the Cote for 16 weeks.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 03:43 PM
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For the Alps, go up the Rhine valley to Andermatt and down the Rhone valley to Geneva. You could take a detour to go over the Susten and Grimsl passes.Between Innsbruck and Lichtenstein you could also take the Silvettra Hochstraße.

Michael is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:27 PM
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I think you are trying to pack too much in the short period of time you are going to be there.

Renting a car in Austria and dropping it in France will be very expensive. Take a train from Salzburg to Zurich. It is a great trip. Or from Salzburg go to munich, spend a day there and then go on to Zurich.

The website http://SwissRailPasses.com has a ton of good travel information. Explore the idea of getting a Swiss Pass for Switzerland. You can always rent a car for a day or two if you wish.

Zurich, Lucerne, Berne Lusanne and Geneva are all great, but you do was to spend a couple days in Zermatt. It is unlike anywhere else in the world.

In Austria I would suggest, Vienna, Salzburg, and the lake district just south and east of Salzburg...that is where they filmed Sound of Music.

In Switzerland I would suggest Zurich, Lucerne Lausanne, Zermatt. Get a car in Zermatt and spend a couple days driving along the north shore of Lake Geneva. that is a very special part of Switzerland.

Then take a train from Geneva to France.

Sorry I can be of much help to you in France.


May I suggest spending at least two nights at each stop. That way you are not always packing and up packing.
wclemmensen is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 05:33 PM
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>>May I suggest spending at least two nights at each stop. That way you are not always packing and up packing.<<

Yep - but they would either have to do a lot of time-consuming back-tracking, or skip half of their destinations after Vienna & before France.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 06:15 PM
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This looks more like a business trip than a vacation - looking in on a different client every day in a different city.

Let's take Switzerland. Why five cities - Zürich-Luzern-Bern-Lausanne-Geneva? None of the countryside and mountain regions that are what makes Switzerland so desirable?

And these cities are so close together, it's quicker to go base yourselves in one and go to the other as a day trip than checking out of a hotel each morning, taking the luggage to the next city, find parking near another hotel, checking in - half a day is gone.

In Switzerland you want to take trains, drop your car off on leaving Austria, base yourselves in Berne or Lucerne for a few nights and make the most of the few days you have by exploring the area.

If you insist on visiting Lausanne, you can see what's worth stopping for in a few hours on a stop on the way to Geneva.
michelhuebeli is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2013, 06:24 PM
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Crazy-busy trip, even once you get past the issue of the pickup-dropoff.
StCirq is offline  
Dec 25th, 2013, 09:21 AM
Original Poster
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Merry Christmas to you all! Thanks so much for the feedback. Making changes to our plans as we go.
RvanWely is offline  
Dec 25th, 2013, 10:22 AM
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Agree that what you have outlined will take at least 5 weeks to see much of anything. Otherwise you will be mostly driving - with a couple of hours sightseeing in each place.

We have done MANY road trips in europe - and the drop off charge is not a huge issue - assuming you have a trip that makes sense. In your time frame I would do either Austria/Switz or Switz/South of France - an have a total of 4 (FOUR) hotels/cities - no more - an do day trips from them after you have seen the basics.

As for accommodation - what is your nightly budget - keeping in mind how expensive Switz is (prices more than double US big cities)
nytraveler is offline  
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