We may be crazy but....

We are planning a trip to Italy for August/September 2014. We had a taste on an MSC cruise two years ago but want to go back and do it right. Due to bucket list items our itinerary is shaping up like this. We plan on rail travel for the duration of the trip. Fly into Zurich 2 nights in Zermatt 3 nights in Venice 2 nights in Villefranche 2 nights in Florence 2 nights in Positano 3 nights in Rome Fly Home We have the time and the means to do this. Trying to catch mid to late morning trains to get into respective cities during the afternoon and possibly avoid busy trains. Other than telling me I need a sanity check can someone offer some suggestions?

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5658 posts

In my opinion, you are trying to do way too much in the time you have. With this schedule it isn't that much different than the "taste" you got on your cruise. With your itinerary you will be spending a great deal of your time in transit and not so much time actually site seeing. Keep in mind that if you spend 2 nights in a location it give you one full day there. Of your 6 locations you have 4 two night stays. For example your trip from Florence to Positano will take a lot of time, considering only having one day there. Don't underestimate how much time it takes to get from hotel to hotel. You might consider just concentrating on Italy.

Posted by Bets
2844 posts

How did Villefranche get in there? You'd have to fly Venice to Nice and then back to Florence. I'd take out Zermatt and Villefrance, and drop Venice down to two nights, but buff up Florence and Rome with more nights. So it would be Zurich to Venice and then Florence, Positano, and Rome.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5658 posts

But why bother with flying to Zurich if there's no plan to spend any time there? Just concentrate on Italy, flying into Venice. That gives you 4 extra nights.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8780 posts

Paul, don't want to comment on whether you are crazy or not, but will say this looks like a list of boxes you want ticked,, not really interested in seeing too much of them are you? A two night stay is one full day. I think if you feel a place is only worth one day of your time you should examine whether its worth visiting at all. You say you have the time , but frankly, it looks like you don't and you are just trying to cram in alot into a short trip. You have two weeks. Pick three or four places. Travel itself is time consuming,, packing up, checking out of hotel, getting to train station, getting on train, travel, getting to next hotel, checking in, now what its dinner time. One night gone. Next day touring about.Night two. Next day, start process again. Remember even if you get an later afternoon train you will still need to check out of hotel, leave bags there, or take them to a train station and put them in a locker, now tour about abit, maybe two three hours, and back to travel again. Its a great tour of train stations though.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21678 posts

Paul, I agree with the others that your proposed Itinerary is FAR too ambitious for the time you have available. The route you propose is inefficient and will waste both time and money. Does your 14 day time frame include your two flight days? Why were the locations in your list chosen? My first suggestion would be to skip at least one and preferably two of the locations you listed. The outliers IMO are Zermatt and Villefranche sur Mer. Adding time to the other locations will allow for travel times, which in some cases will take the better part of a day. This is one option that might work.... > D1 - Fly inbound Nice (via Paris?) > D2 - Arrive Nice and then to Villefranche > D3 - Villefranche > D4 - Return to Nice, flight to Venice (EasyJet operates on that route, but only on Monday, Friday and Saturdays - prices as low as €48.37 PP). I didn't check other airlines on that route > D5 - Venice > D6 - Train to Florence > D7 - Florence > D8 - Florence (day trip to Siena or Cinque Terre?) > D9 - Train to Naples, Circumvesuviana to Sorrento, Bus or Taxi to Positano (Travel Times: train to Naples ~2.5 hours, Circumvesuviana to Sorrento ~1 hour, Bus or Taxi ~1 hour). > D10 - Positano > D11 - Train, etc. to Rome - Bus/Taxi to Sorrento, Circumvesuviana to Naples, train to Rome (Total travel time ~4 hours). > D12 - Rome > D13 - Rome > D14 - Flight home from FCO There are lots of ways this could be arranged, and this is only one suggestion. Another option would be to eliminate Villefranche from the above suggestion, fly inbound to Venice and limit your trip to Italy. That would allow for a more "relaxed" travel schedule. Good luck with your planning!

Posted by Charlene
Centennial, CO, US
1101 posts

If heat bothers either of you at all, I'd recommend moving this trip into late September/early October, if you can. We just did late August/early September in Turkey and hit a heat wave that made it almost impossible for me to walk around outside and really enjoy it. I concur with the others about skipping Zurich, Zermatt and Villefranche and focusing on Italy.

Posted by Judy
Adelaide, SA, Australia
841 posts

Paul, if you have the time and the means, add at least another 7- 10 days to your schedule.

Posted by gone
2081 posts

Paul, whatever you do good luck and have fun. but i would like you to post a trip report on your trip, and how you felt and faired after the trip and schedule. happy trails.

Posted by Dawn
Denver, CO
426 posts

Hi Paul, Like you, when I start planning a trip, I keep adding to my wish list because there are just so many great places to see. But, when I actually start mapping it out, I realize that as much as I'd like to see all of the places, it just isn't very realistic. Your proposed itinerary is possible, but you have to realize how much travel time there is between stops. Here is roughly what it would look like: Day 1 Fly into Zurich Day 2 3 ½ hour train to Zermatt with 1-2 train changes Day 3 Zermatt Day 4 7-8 hour train to Venice with 1-3 train changes Day 5 Venice Day 6 Venice Day 7 8-9 hour train to Villefrance with 2-4 train changes Day 8 Villefranche Day 9 7-8 hour train to Florence with 2-4 train changes Day 10 Florence Day 11 3 hour train (no changes) to Naples, then about an hour on the local train to Sorrento and then about an hour bus or ferry ride to Positano Day 12 Positano Day 13 Do the bus/ferry/train thing again to Rome – probably around 3-5 hours Day 14 Rome Day 15 Rome
Day 16 Fly Home This seems like a whole lot of travel time and short stays in some of these cities, but it is your vacation after all, and if you're okay with it, that's all that matters!

Posted by Lee
1017 posts

This looks like a part of my itinerary on my backpack trip way back when I was young. It was all great fun then but I couldn't do it now because it would wear me out. But what the heck, if you've got the energy, go for it.

Posted by Marbleskies
660 posts

Your stated goal is "to go back and DO IT RIGHT"........ Then slow down and absorb experiences. Stick to Italy and pick four destinations. Take a deep dive into creating a trip planning book and fill it with ideas, recommendations, wish list etc. keep researching and start prioritizing based upon suggestions. Then allow some simple trip logistics start to shape the trip. Like an onion, start peeling back the layers of information to shape your trip objectives. VITAL! Plan some time to sit on a bench and people watch. Plan time to relax in the countryside with a picnic. Allow time for your mind to absorb the experiences. Finally,August is hot month when a lot of locals take off on vacation. If you can go in late sept/early oct you will find fewer crowds and delightful weather.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
5658 posts

Paul,it would be helpful if you could let us know what your thoughts are regarding the advice you are receiving from some very well traveled people.

Posted by Paul
15 posts

It has been one of those weeks and have just gotten back to this. Thank you all for the advise. I knew going into this that the plan was aggressive and daunting. I am dealing with three other people, two of whom have limited travel experience. They appointed me the defacto trip planner since I have the most travel experience and planned most of our last trip. I am formulating alternative itineraries based on all your comments and suggestions. I'll let you know what transpires. Thanks for the help

Posted by Marbleskies
660 posts

No good deed goes unpunished...... Put your travel companions back on the hook. Assign each of them one destination to thoroughly research as part of trip planning. This will spread trip planning responsibilities and make each traveler take ownership for their contributions to the rest of the traveling party. It will also take you off the hook for having planned the entire trip. Plus, it will help your less experienced travel partners become better travel partners. Success may be partially defined if you find your travel partners start posting on these forums asking for help!