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Travel to France, Switzerland, Italy & Croatia

Me and my husband are planning for a trip to France, Switzerland, Italy & Croatia in May/ June for 15 days. Struggling with many questions in mind as it's the first time visit for both of us. We are travelling from Bangalore, India and have certain doubts:
1. Is May/ June the best time to visit these countries?
2. How much advance planning is required to book the tickets/ hotel.? As currently, the fares showing on a higher side for May'18 in comparison to next few months this year.
3. Is 15 days worth to cover these 4 countries? We not only want to explore popular places but really wanted to travel like their own citizen to better understand their culture and day to day lifestyle. Also, when we planning for our itenary, it's been suggested to spend only 1 day in Switzerland. Is it enough?
We are on a very early phase of planning and request to help us out with few novice questions...

Posted by
25563 posts

Fifteen days is too short a time to cover that territory. Even if you omitted Switzerland, it would still be too short. France and Italy are huge countries. Each one of them is worth much more than 15 days. If you tell us what sorts of things you want to see, we can perhaps suggest how you might split your time between France and Italy (with or without a side-trip into Switzerland) or between Italy and Croatia.

The advice to allocate only one day to Switzerland is probably because just about everything there is very, very expensive.

Posted by
631 posts

1) there is no best time. In northern France, Switzerland, northern Italy t can rain a lot during the hot months, and can rain a little during milder months. And sometimes it doesn't rain and the sun shines even when the experts say it's the wrong time. It's a lottery. The only thing you can guarantee is that late June has the shortest nights (even if the days aren't very bright).

2) Next few months are amongst the least popular, especially November and first 3 weeks of December. May is probably mid price, it will get more expensive for July/ August especially as the date gets closer (true of most dates). Cheaper dates = less popular and there's a reason for that.

3) 15 months would be a better guide for this list!! ONE day in Switzerland is insane, forget it, buy a book about the country you'll get more from it and it'll cost a lot less.

with just 15 days choose France OR Italy.

Posted by
7175 posts

You could try for something like this if you are just looking to skim some of the major sights.

Paris (4)
Lausanne (2)
Luzern (2)
Venice (2)
Florence (2)
Rome (3)

Most people on here would not care for a trip as quick as this, but ultimately it's up to you.

Posted by
11294 posts

I understand - you're coming a long way and spending a lot of money to get from India to Europe, so you want to see as much as you can. However, not only can't you see everything in 15 days, but getting from place to place takes time. Particularly in the case of Croatia, which seems "right next to" your other destinations, but has poor connections to your other countries (you basically lose a day getting there).

I don't know who suggested you spend only 1 day in Switzerland, but I "suggest" you stop listening to them. Unless your only goal is to say you've been there (and some people are country collectors, for whom that's sufficient), either spend enough time in Switzerland to make this detour worthwhile, or skip it. The best part of Switzerland is the scenery, and for that you need decent weather, which can't be predicted. So, you want to spend a few days at a minimum, to maximize the likelihood of seeing it well.

Rather than countries, focus on areas. Some areas combine well, and others don't. For instance, in 15 days you could start in Paris for a few days, go to Switzerland for a few days, and then go to Italy, ending in Rome. This would all be by train; you'd want to pre-book these trains for best prices, as some of them would be VERY expensive at the last minute. However, if you want to see the Dordogne in France, that's much harder to combine with Italy or Switzerland on a 15 day trip; you'd do better in that case just to focus on France. And if you are skipping Switzerland and Croatia to have more time in France and Italy, you may want to fly between them (say, from Paris to Venice).

So, start by figuring out what you might want to see in each of these countries. Then start investigating transit links between them - BEFORE you get too attached to seeing any one place! A great start for learning how to get between places is Rome2Rio: However, it is just a start; you should always go directly to the website of the airline, bus company, train line, etc to learn all the latest prices and details. It will warn you if you're looking at a 10 hour travel time between places that seem "so close together."

If you want some ideas of what to see, read as many guidebooks as you can, and look at travel videos; Rick's are here (scroll down for each country):

We not only want to explore popular places but really wanted to travel like their own citizen to better understand their culture and day to day lifestyle.

Accept right now that you can only do this in a very limited way in a short visit. How much could a visitor to India who was only there for 15 days, and moving around all the time, "understand the culture and day to day lifestyle"? That's how much you'll get from visiting Europe this way. Don't get me wrong - you'll see and learn all kinds of things you didn't expect and didn't know about beforehand. And you'll have a great time. Just don't expect to "understand the Swiss" or something similar if you're only there 5 days - much less 1 day.