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Advice on this itinerary

My husband and I are planning a trip to Italy, Germany, and Switzerland for this July, and would love to hear some feedback from more experienced travelers about our proposed itinerary. In particular, I'm wondering if this is the best route through Italy or if it would make more sense to see the cities in a different order. Also, is it worth it to go all the way over to Switzerland and back? I recently realized that adds a lot of travel time. Would it be better to explore more of Austria (Hallstatt, Vienna) during that time?

Here's what I have so far:

7/02 – flight arrives in Frankfurt, AM train to bacharach (1.5hrs)

7/03 – in bacharach, rhine river cruise

7/04 – AM train to rothenburg (4hrs)

7/05 – AM in rothenburg, afternoon train to munich (3.5hrs)

7/06 – in munich

7/07 – in munich, day trip to salzburg

7/08 – in munich, day trip to neuschwanstein or dachau

7/09 – AM train from munich to berner oberland (8-9hrs)

7/10 – in switzerland

7/11 – in switzerland

7/12 – in switzerland, then night train to venice (10hrs)

7/13 – in venice

7/14 – AM train to cinque terre (6hrs)

7/15 – in cinque terre

7/16 – in cinque terre

7/17 – train to Florence (2.5hrs)

7/18 – in Florence

7/19 – train to Siena (1hr)

7/20 – siena/hill towns

7/21 – siena/hill towns

7/22 – train to Rome (3.5hrs)

7/23 – in Rome

7/24 – in Rome

7/25 – flight to Seattle in AM

Posted by
32109 posts


Your Itinerary looks reasonably well sorted. A few comments...

On the trip from Munich to the Berner Oberland, the shortest trip I found was 6H 45M to Interlaken Ost. (Reservations compulsory).

I would probably travel from Switzerland to the Cinque Terre and then carry on to Venice and then Florence. The shortest travel time I found from Interlaken Ost to La Spezia was 6H 35M (4 changes, reservations compulsory - there are also slightly longer trips with fewer changes). From La Spezia the trip to Venezia S.L. is only 5-6 hours. This method "breaks up" the long trips to some extent, avoiding a 10-hour trip to Venice!

From Florence use the BUS to Siena. The Coach station (SITA as I recall) is right next to Firenze SMN rail station. Travel time is almost the same and the Bus drops you right in town (rather than at the bottom of the hill).

When you're leaving Siena, take a Taxi to the station (I find that the easiest method).

Finally, I'd probably drop one day from "Siena/hill towns" and add it to Rome.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
10344 posts

Nice job on the itinerary.A couple of things that occurred to me:I can't tell if you have two full days in Venice or only one full day plus a 2nd partial day? Night train gets you there in the early morning, you'll probably be a bit tired (most people don't sleep as well on a night train as they do in a bed that's not constantly being jerked around), then leaving the next morning for CT?Will you have a rental car for the Siena hill towns part?

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you so much for the input! I think you both make some good points. I changed it around so that we'll do Cinque Terre before Venice, taking shorter day trains everywhere instead of that long night trip. With the changes we'll get more time to enjoy Venice and will be more well-rested when we get there.

Ken - The reason I have more hours listed for the trip from Munich to Berner Oberland is just to remind myself about the extra time to get from Interlaken up into wherever we end up staying. It sounded like that process would take 1-2 hrs, unless I'm mistaken?

As for the Siena/hill towns part, I haven't figured out details yet and would be open to suggestions. If we move a day to Rome, we would have 2 nights in Siena. Would that allow enough time to explore the region, or should we just relax in Siena? We are open to the idea of renting a car but hadn't really thought about that yet.

Thanks again!

Posted by
10344 posts

I'm glad we could help you think through the night train thing--the change you made in your itinerary sounds like one you're body (and mind) will thank you for later.Not sure what to advise about renting the car in Siena for just two days. Maybe. You want to weigh the trade-off between the flexibility that the car gives you, against the fact that by the time you find the car pickup location, do the paperwork, get oriented navigation-wise, and then turning the car in the next day, plus the hassle of parking in Siena--there's not so much time for you to actually enjoy the flexibility the car gives you. So there's advantages and disadvantages to renting a car for such a short period of time. Don't know which would be better: renting the car or relaxing and enjoying exploring Siena itself.