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Summer 2009 Itinerary - Please Review!

Paris (7 nights) - Day trips to Versailles and Giverny
Bruges (2 nights)
Amsterdam (2 nights)
Bacharach (2 nights)
Rothenburg (1 night)
Munich (4 nights) - Day trip to Neuschwanstein
Salzburg (3 nights) - Day trip to Hallstatt
Venice (3 nights) - Day trip to Burano
Rome (4 nights)
Florence (3 nights) - Day trip to Chianti Wine Region
Gimmmelwald/Swiss Alps (4 nights)
Bath (4 nights) - Day trips to Cotswolds & Stonehenge, Avebury, and Lacock
Edinburgh (2 nights) - Both in-between either 3 or 5 day tour of Loch Ness and Isle of Skye
London (5 nights) - Day trip to Windsor
Paris (1 night) - Last au revoir before heading home the next day

Posted by
32265 posts

Caroline, your proposed Itinerary looks reasonably well organized, however I have a few questions and comments.

  • it appears that the trip will be about 8 weeks? Have you considered the travel times between cities? I assume you'll be travelling by train for the most part, except for the segment from Gimmelwald to Bath, where I'm assuming you'll be using budget airline (you'll have to fly out of Zurich or one of the larger cities, so travel time will be a factor there too - that segment will probably be the better part of a full day).

  • why only 3 nights in Rome? My preference would be to add at least one, but preferably 2 nights.

  • rather than returning to Paris, why not use open-jaw flights and fly home from London. There are LOTS of flights available from either LHR or LGW, so you shouldn't have any trouble finding a flight. That will save you the time and expense of returning to Paris, and provide one more day of touring!

  • compliments on making most of your stops at least 2 nights (except for Rothenburg). I find that it's best to minimize the one night stops!

Good luck with your planning!

Posted by
12172 posts

The thing that sticks out is only 3 days in Rome. I might reduce Bath by 1 night (even with the day trips) or a day from Paris and give it to Rome.

If possible, visiting York for a day or a half day between Edinburgh and London would be time well spent.

I'm also interested in the order. Paris, Bruge, A'dam, Bacharach, Rothenburg, Munich, Salzburg, Venice, Florence and Rome make sense. They are in a logical order. Rome to CT makes sense, Gimmelwald? - okay, but then a big jump to Bath, another big jump to Edinburgh, and another back to London then Paris. Could you fly open jaw out of Edinburgh and go to London, Bath, then Edinburgh and home?

It's a great trip. Have fun.

Posted by
6798 posts

Nice trip overall.

Agree that you need another night in Rome.

I would also suggest an outing to Zaanse Schans from A'dam, which could require another night in A'dam.

To accomplish this, I'd take a night from Salzburg. Munich-Salzburg is a short trip so you'll have plenty of time there with an early start from Munich. Additionally, you could manage with just 2 Nights in Venice.

While in Bacharach, you should squeeze in a tour of Marksburg Castle in Braubach: www.marksburg.de

Posted by
68 posts

Kent - I'll arrive in Edinburgh from Bath and spend the night. The next day I'll be going on either a Haggis Adventures or Rabbie's Trailblazers tour of Loch Ness and the Isle of Skye. Whether I go on the 3 or 5 day tour will depend on how my budget's doing. The tour includes spending two nights in the Isle of Skye and/or Loch Ness before coming back to Edinburgh on the 3rd or 5th day of the trip. Then I have a full day in Edinburgh before heading to London the next day.


Regarding open-jawed flights - I'll have to speak with a travel agent before I make any decisions. It would certainly be convenient, but I need to figure out if the cost of an open-jawed flight would make up for the cost of traveling back to the city that I flew into. I won't be purchasing my plane ticket until September, but I'll definitely keep the option on the table.


Originally I had 2 nights in Venice and 4 in Rome. I gave Venice a day from Rome which was apparently the wrong thing to do, lol. So now I've decided to just take out the CT entirely so I can save it for another trip and added two days to both Rome and Gimmelwald.


Now my problem lies in how on earth I'm going to get from Rome to Gimmelwald in a reasonable amount of time. I'm thinking of going straight to Rome from Venice, Rome to Florence, and taking the train to Switzerland from Florence. Does this sound reasonable?

Posted by
4637 posts

I think theoretically your itinerary is doable. For me it would be overwhelming and at some point I wouldn't even think I am on vacation. Few years ago we did Italy: 3 nights Venice, 3 nights Rome, 4 nights Cinque Terra and 1 night Milano because we flew from there. Cinque Terra was where we felt we had vacation. Gorgeous place. I wouldn't skip it. Now we just came from Czech Republic and Poland. Of course we did Prague and Krakow. But also a lot of small towns, castles, some cycling and hiking in the nature and even several days of spa treatment in beautiful Jesenik spa. Year ago we did Turkey and Greece. Not only Istanbul and Athens but country, too. Imho vacation is excitement (big cities) and relaxation (seashore, mountains etc.). So if I were you I would not skip Cinque Terra and Scottish countryside, I would add some more and leave some cities for next time.

Posted by
12172 posts

I like CT on your trip because you are going to need a break. IMO the best part of CT is the slow pace in the middle of an otherwise hectic trip. If you take it out, Venice to Rome back to Florence then North would work. Either way you are left with that big jump to Britain.

Posted by
95 posts

Some may argue, but I would almost recommend taking 1 of the nights in Munich and adding it to Rothenburg. While you won't need 2 full days to see everything, it might be a nice place in your trip to have some downtown for a day. It's about 4 1/2 - 5 1/2 hours from Bacharach to RODT depending on which train you get. So after getting there and finding your place and checking in, you are looking at late afternoon. We arrived like this and managed to spend about 1/2 of the following day in RODT before heading to Munich, but wish we'd had the extra night there to have a more relaxing evening at that part of our trip.

Posted by
63 posts

One of Rick's long time basic suggestions for summer time travel is to start in the South were for example in June the weather should be nice but not hot yet. Then as you travel North the nicer (warmer) weather should follow you.

A travel plan that is pretty much South to North would be to fly into Rome. After Rome head North. To Florence, Venice, Swiss Alps, Munich/Salzburg, Rothenburg, Bacharach, Paris, Amsterdam, Brugge, London, Bath and finish in Scotland. Fly out of Edinburgh. A couple of airlines fly directly back to the states from Edinburgh. (Or skip London on the way North and end in London and fly home from there if it would save you money on the plane ticket.)

Only a couple of jogs (to the Alps and to Paris) keep this from being a direct South to North trip that is mostly short train rides between sights. It seems to me to be the most logical order to visit these sights as it has very little back tracking. The less you back track the more time you should have to see the sights.

Posted by
68 posts

Robert - I like the sound of your itinerary, however I have to start in Paris because I will be spending the majority of those seven nights with a tour group following the conclusion of my study abroad program in France. So I have no choice but to start my trip from Paris. I'm considering doing the big jump from Paris to Rome and then going North from there, but then my only option would be using a budget airline which I'm reluctant to use because of baggage requirements. I'll definitely try and look into it, though.

I'm sad that I have to cut the CT out of my trip, but it gives me a reason to return to Italy!

Posted by
63 posts

Okay, more details to help us work out a plan. So you have already been in France for a fairly long time (a semester?) plus a week in Paris on Tour. So you will be ready for a vacation from your vacation. Head out of Paris to the Swiss Alps (4 - 5 hours) and then to the Cinqua Terra (around 6 hours from the alps). Then on to Rome, Florence, Venice, Salzburg, Munich, Rothenburg, Bacharach, Amsterdam, Brugge, then on to London, Bath and Scotland. In this order these cities are fairly close together. Many just 2-3 hours apart. One of the longest would be Venice to Munich/ Salzburg (7 hours). Plus it gets you to the C.T. which is a plus.

I do have a question. Most study abroad programs I have known about involve 3 to 3 1/2 days of class work a week which allows for long weekends for travel. Plus week long mid term breaks for even more travel. Does your program not have this plan? Or are you just going to other places during those breaks?

I joke with my brothers kids about how I think it was pretty slick of how they both got their dad to pay for their European vacation while "going to school".

Posted by
68 posts

Thank you for your help, Robert! Unfortunately I'll only be spending about 5 weeks studying in France since graduating early will not allow me to take an entire semester off. I'm not sure about long weekends, but I do know that the program I'm going with will arrange some field trips to San Sebastian/Basque Coast and the Pyrenees. I plan on visiting the French Riviera and some other cities in Spain during the weekends when the program is not sponsoring outings.

Posted by
655 posts

Caroline...You are planning a wonderful trip. I have been to most of the places you include. If I were doing your trip I would keep Edinburgh, try to add York, omit the Scotish countryside and Skye, and add the time saved to Italy including the CT as well as some time to visit rural Tuscany and/or Umbria.
Just my opinion.

Posted by
12040 posts

Sounds like a very reasonable tour, well thought-out and logical. Many people who post their itineraries on this website string together dream trips that don't consider geography and travel time, but it looks like you've nicely broken everything down into relatively short train rides (well, except Gimmelwald to Bath!). Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Caroline. I like the travel plan suggested by Robert at Hiawatha KS (7/10/08 11:05 A.M.). In that travel plan nearly all of your train travel could be in high speed express trains. Your travel from the Europe continent to England could be a fast train ride from Belgium to London (through the chunnel). And I would delete Bath, add York. Delete northern Scotland. Add days to Italy : small towns and rural Tuscany.

Posted by
1717 posts

I think 3 nights in Rome is sufficient. Rick Steves recommends being in Rome for a short time. I think 2 nights in Salzburg is sufficient. Try to stay overnight at Hallstatt. I think 3 nights in Munich is sufficient. That would give you one whole day in Munich, and a day trip to Neuschwanstein.