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First time European Travelers Itinerary Advice


My husband and I will be traveling to Europe for a week before we meet up with our RS tour. We decided to fly in/out of Zurich due to price l (and savings) since we are purchasing a rail pass. We are having a hard time whittling a few things down since it is our first time. I know for first time Europe travelers it is easy to over plan/not keep in mind how long it takes to travel to places. We would appreciate your help in revising our itinerary.

Day 1 (9/6): Arrive in Zurich - Walking tour of Zurich, relax for the night

Day 2 (9/7): Leave Zurich - Arrive in Fussen Walking tour, Zugspitze

Day 3 (9/8): Fussen - Castles

Day 4 (9/9): Munich - Arrive early, Walking tour, 1 or 2 museums

Day 5 (9/10): Munich - Dauchau, Hofbrauhaus

Day 6 (9/11): Munich - Andechs Monastery? (Is this possible as a day trip? Or would it be best to spend the night in the area?)

Day 7 (9/12): Travel to Plzen or Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Day 8 (9/13): Plzen or Cesky Krumlov

Day 9 (9/14): Travel to Prague meet up with tour

Day 10 - 17: RS Tour Prague & Budapest

Day 18 (9/21): End of tour in the morning, Option 1 - Stay in Budapest for the day, take night train to Zurich. Option 2 - Take train to Vienna, spend day/possible night (or take night train).

Day 19 (9/22): Option 1 - Explore Zurich for the day. Option 2 - Take train (probably day train, my husband enjoys watching scenery) from Vienna to Zurich.

Day 20 (9/23) Leave Zurich for home.

Are we traveling too fast? Missing out on anything? We would appreciate any help/pointers/not to be missed spots that you can help us with!



Posted by
11613 posts

Sorry to ask the obvious backtracking question, but is going back to Zurich really more cost-effective than flying out of Vienna?

Posted by
64 posts

Unfortunately, everything I found (various combinations of starting/ending points, round trips) was more expensive. I consistently watched the google matrix for 3-4 months and ended up saving $600 in airfare. I know it is usually better to book open jaw, but the cost is about equal once train tickets are added (which we would be buying anyway with places we wanted to go).

Posted by
12040 posts

Day 2 won't work. You won't be able to fit everything in, especially by public transportation. And the Zugspitze is an extremely weather-dependent activity. If you want to ascend the mountain, keep some flexibility in your schedule. Don't try to pin-point a specific day, but use your first available day with good weather. One option to make it easier might be to stay in Garmisch-Partenkirchen instead of Fuessen.

Posted by
5412 posts

Getting from Cesky Krumlov to Vienna by train is a complex journey with several changes. You might want to consider one of the many shuttle services for this route, such as Bean Shuttle or CK Shuttle.

Posted by
18213 posts

Stay in Budapest for a few more days. Not JUST because its Budapest but because it makes the best use of time, then fork out the $300 for a ticket to Zurich to make your connection home. You will either get more out of Budapest and think the $300 upcharge was a heck of a deal or you wont, but you never know until you give it a chance. Second choice is hop the first flight after to the tour to Zurich and spend more time there. But time is precious when I travel and Zurich is a long haul on a train.

Posted by
64 posts

Thank you guys for you help!

James - Staying in Budapest for another night was our option 3. We are very excited to go to Budapest. In fact, we were set on going on the Paris/Normandy tour until we saw a chat about Prague/Budapest. But, I'm curious on your thoughts about Budapest...there are some very vocal anti-Budapest, and some who love it.

Posted by
4637 posts

So is it Plzen (Pilsen) or Cesky Krumlov you decided for? Cesky Krumlov is a picturesque, fairy tale like town full of American (and other) tourists (deservedly). Plzen is the fourth largest city in C.R., interesting for us is that unlike most of Czechoslovakia it was liberated from Nazis by the US Army as was Cesky Krumlov, Ceske Budejovice, Karlovy Vary and many other small towns in that area. The rest of Czechoslovakia (which split into C.R. and Slovakia 1993) was liberated by the Soviet Army (unfortunately for Czechs and Slovaks). And the main thing why you would want to go to Plzen is beer. You can tour (and taste beer) Pilsner Urquell Brewery which brews one of the best beers anywhere.

Posted by
4637 posts

Mollie, to satisfy your curiosity, James loves Budapest very much. Everybody on this Forum knows that. If you want to hear (read) the opposite opinion ask George from Canada. IMHO James is closer (and I think we can even say much closer) to truth. Well, we cannot say truth because it's subjective but let's say that he is closer to that what most people think about Budapest.

Posted by
19118 posts

Andechs is very possible as a day trip. I did exactly that in 2007. The trip by S-Bahn and bus takes a little over an hour. Buy a MVV Gesamtnetz Takgeskarte (one person, 11,70€, up to five, 21,30€) and use it for the S8 from any stop under Munich (Hbf, Marienplatz) to Herrsching, on Ammersee. The S-Bahn runs at 20 min intervals, but not every one goes as far as Herrsching. Sometimes the S-Bahn is met by an MVV bus. If so, a Gesamtnetz Tageskarte will cover both the bus to Andechs as well. If not, there will be a private bus at the station. It will only cost a few euro (2,20€ in 2007). Or wait 20 min for the MVV bus. Plan to be there for lunch at the cafeteria.

There is also a route by S6 to Tutzing, on Starnbergersee, and a bus from there, but that's not the way I went, so I don't know anything about it. And, there are some regional trains from Munich Hbf that stop at Herrsching. All routes and conveyances (S-Bahn or regional train) are covered by a Gesamtnetz Tageskarte.

You can get schedules on the MVV website.