Please sign in to post.

Advice Needed! 30 Days in Switzerland/North Italy Coming Up Quickly

My hubby and I are taking a 30-day trip and could use some advice. Let me preface our timeframes with the fact that I have long covid so don't want to be rushing around from place to place so the goal is to spend several days in one area and take day trips and also be able to rest. We are big outdoors people and like to explore.

We will be renting a car. I would appreciate input on the locations and amount of time we are spending in each location to see if we should take time from one and give it to another or leave it as is. We don't have many places to see/hikes planned yet, so input into the areas would also be helpful. We do have friends who lived in Italy for 5 years and has family in Switzerland, and they have given us some thoughts on places to visit so I will include those. We are bigger outdoor Here goes:

Fly into Geneva July 14th and spend the night there and get the car before starting our trip

July 15-20 - Annecy 4 nights

July 20-25 - Grindelwald 6 nights - Day trips to surrounding valleys

July 25-29 - Lucerne 4 nights - Day trip Strasbourg (?)

July 29-August 4 - Salzburg 5 nights -- Day trips Mondesee, Hallstatt
Eagles nest
Water park (king that used pumps - sound of music tour)
Beer Garden

August 4-9 - Val gardena 5 nights - hiking in Dolomites but this may be too much hiking for me

August 9-11 - Treviso 3 nights - should we stay here or inside Venice?

August 11-13 - Lake Como 3 nights

August 13-15 - Zermatt 2 nights - Hubby is already climbing Matterhorn before I arrive so just a bit of sightseeing

August 15-16 - Geneva - Should we plan more time here?

Fly out August 16th

Thanks for your input

Posted by
862 posts

Some thoughts:
1) Why do you want to have a rental car for the first 14 days of your trip? Have you considered using the phenomenal Swiss Train system for that portion? Think about the cost of parking (which can be very difficult to find) and fuel. Do you intend to get any type of Swiss rail pass for your time in Switzerland? Or, are you going to purchase point to point tickets for your mountain excursions and day trips? The cost of those will add up quickly. I would do the math to see what is most budget friendly.
2) Does the rental car company permit you to drive across multiple country borders? You will also need to purchase a vignette for Switzerland and Austria. I would encourage you to think about doing portions of your trip by train where that is feasible.
3) Is it safe to assume that you have already booked your lodging? If not, you need to do so ASAP.

Posted by
1532 posts

Renting a car and driving on foreign roads within one day of arrival from the US is risky. You should not drive till you have fully recovered from jet lag.

Posted by
27336 posts

Treviso sounds like a lovely place (I haven't been there yet), but if you want to see Venice you should stay in Venice.

Be sure your lodgings in Annecy are air-conditioned. It can get quite hot there.

This trip is very heavily weighted toward mountains. Perhaps that is right for you. I'd prefer 4 nights in Vnice (if not longer) and not so much mountain time. I believe you might be glad of another night at Lake Como, too. However, finding lodging there in August would probably be difficult.

I think daytripping from Lucerne to Strasbourg is not a good idea. ViaMichelin estimates a driving time of 2 hr. 25 min. each way, and that doesn't allow for stops, traffic or navigational errors. The trip by train takes at leat 2 hr. 45 min.

Posted by
26 posts

What a fabulous trip!!
I have just a couple suggestions.
When you are in Grindelwald, and maybe Lucerne as well, you might want a train pass. There are many threads on here about what is best, and I am no expert, but they really do make life so much easier in that area. There are 8-day Swiss passes, I think, and the Berner Oberland pass is another one I have seen people get. Keep the car, but supplement with the trains if you can--I think you will find it much easier for most of what you want to do there--and everybody gets to sightsee, not just the passenger!

At the end, you might consider staying elsewhere along Lake Geneva (Lausanne, Vevey, Montreux) as it is beautifully scenic and so easy to get to the airport. I didn't find Geneva very exciting, but it is a pretty city--so I wouldn't discourage you if its someplace you want to see.

I have heard Venice is charging a fee to control crowds. I recall a RS special where he recommends staying outside of Venice to escape those crowds.

Posted by
4973 posts

In Venice, to escape the crowds, don't stay in the Rialto or St Marks Square area. We stay in Cannaregio, on the quiet back canals, and are only a ten minute walk to a vaporetto stop on the Grand Canal.
I think you'll be wasting a lot of time and money with a rental car. The price of gas in Europe is much higher than the US, and often the pricey , available parking adds to your walking time, as it's outside the city centers. The trains usually come right into the center of the old towns.
Securevlodging asap, as that may influenced where you are going.
Safe travels!

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks for your replies and advice. With your input I'm beginning to rethink the trip.

Regarding the car, I have a lung condition and immune disorder so I need to be able to come and go if I get tired. With the health in mind, some down time is needed, as I can't be on the go constantly.

Good advice to check the rental agency regarding cross-border travel. I also like the idea of keeping the car but supplementing with the train.

My friend who travels says I am jumping around too much and need to spend more time in one place to really enjoy the area. She also thinks 6 nights in Grindelwald is too many but there are a lot of day trips we'll like to take, including Montreux. Hubby is a climber (he's climbing Matterhorn before I join him) and we like to hike, which I can do, but not every day. He also wants to do via ferratas (though I'm fine without them)

With that in mind we changed the itinerary a bit, taking out Salzburg -

July 15-21 - Annecy 6 nights

July 21-26 - Grindelwald 5 nights

July 26-30 - Lucerne 4 nights

July 30-August 3 - Val gardena 4 nights

August 3-8 - Treviso or Venice 5 nights -

August 8-13 - Lake Como 5 nights

August 13-15 - Zermatt 2 nights

August 15-16 - Geneva (for flight out)

I'd appreciate your input and also ideas for activities that you enjoyed. Thanks so much for all your help.

Posted by
183 posts

Hi pbundy516.

Your trip sounds wonderful. I can offer a suggestion for Lucerne. I have taken a trip up Mt. Rigi two or three times. You might look into this option. Also every time we are in the area we take boat rides on the lake. It is possible to go all around the lake on the boat which can take several hours. I don't know how that works without a Swiss Pass but with our Swiss Pass we have been able to get on and off the boat at stops where we have researched and found something interesting to do. For example Fluelen, Brunnen,
Vitznau - where the cog train up to Mt. Rigi is located. There is also a good restaurant "Restaurant Rutli" near the boat and cog train stations that has friendly service, a chance to dine outside, good food. We ate there twice last year.
Seelisberg - get off the boat at Trieb and take a funicular up to Seelisberg. There are many hiking trails in this area.

In Geneva, if you have time, the Red Cross Museum is interesting and worth a visit, IMO.

That's my two cents worth!

Have a spectacular, relaxing and fun trip discovering and exploring beautiful places!

Traveler Girl