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help plan my itinerary germany- swiss or swiss-italy

Hi all. I'm looking for some input on favorite small quaint romantic towns, villages or hamlets. Our personal favorite has always been Murren and we are looking for more of the same. We are not looking for large cities or crowds but lakes, rivers, waterfalls, mountains, trails and outdoor life. The problem is there is so much to choose from we are having a difficult time deciding to land in Frankfurt and drive down the romantic road to Rothenburg and stay for several days seeing the towns in this area (fussen, augsberg) (suggestions??) and then keep going south into northern Switzerland possibly to appenzell. We do not want to spend much time driving but enjoying wherever we are. If you have any favorite towns please let me know.

Another option is to land in Zurich and travel south through the Bernese Oberland (been there twice however) then to the Engadine and then possibly towards northern Italy. (are the Dolomites worth a trip) We have been to Vareena on Lake Como and loved it. Any suggestions?? Other small town with lots of charm, history, and beauty that we shouldn't miss. favorite hotels??
thanks so much for your input.

Posted by
31318 posts


YES, the Dolomites are absolutely worth a trip. The scenery around Castelrotto/Kastelruth and Alpi di Suisi is incredible, and there's an extensive network of hiking trails in that area, with some of them easily accessible via Cable Cars or Chair Lifts. I've only explored the two towns mentioned, but I've seen other posts here recommending Ortisei and that area. You may find it helpful to have a look at THIS website.

Another region you might look at in eastern Switzerland is the Appenzell area. It's a very traditional part of Switzerland and again the scenery is wonderful. If you were adventurous and don't mind "roughing it", you could perhaps spend a night or two in the Berggasthaus Aescher-Wildkirchli, where you'd be right in the mountains.

Posted by
12040 posts

I'm going to weigh in that adding Switzerland or Italy is going very far out of your way to see more of the same. Like flying into New York but then driving to Philadelphia or Boston to see a large city. All of the routes through Germany to Italy have to pass through the Bavarian and Tyrolian Alps first. Plus, the Dolomites are just one small subrange of the much larger Italian Alps. Likewise, continuing on to the Berner Oberland, you'll skirt the Bavarian Alps, and the high peaks of several other cantons in Switzerland.

"We are not looking for large cities or crowds" To avoid the crowds, substitute Rothenburg with Dinkelsbühl or Nördlingen. I think they're just as nice, but they see a fraction of the visitors.

Also, the Romantic Road is just a road with rather ordinary scenery. Nothing particularly special about it except some of the towns along the route. Drive it if you must, but to save time, just identify the towns that interest you and connect them via the most time efficient combination of Autobahn and secondary roads.

Don't overlook some of the many historic towns and nature preserves in the immediate Frankfurt area either.

Posted by
9857 posts

"are the Dolomites worth a trip) We have been to Vareena on Lake Como and loved it. Any suggestions?? Other small town with lots of charm, history, and beauty that we shouldn't miss. favorite hotels??"

The Dolomites are a favorite destination for us. We are off to the B-O for a second trip, so that attracts us, too, but planning our fourth trip to the Val Gardena. (Liked Varenna too!) Our favorite town in the V.G. is Ortisei. Everyone we send there loves it. Try Hotel Garni Walter in Ortisei. The town is well-located for taking gondolas and lifts up both sides of the valley. Buy a Val Gardena card if you are going to use the lifts and buses a lot.

Posted by
7 posts

I would like to jump in on this conversation for help. I will have a rather open agenda and want to go to Switzerland. I will travel by train and walk about. Zurich is my first stop to see the city then I want to see the Alps and smaller hamlets. My dates are around late October and early November. I would like recommendations for hostels or small hotels with near by pubs and restaurants in a walking district for Zurich and recommendations for further destinations in the Alps with equal eating and sleeping accommodation. Thanks in advance.

Posted by
12040 posts

My dates are around late October and early November. Not a good time of the year for the mountains. Most of the mountain infrastructure shuts down in preparation for the ski season. And the weather can be cloudy and overcast for weeks at a time.

If visiting the Alps are still a high priority, you need to budget a window of several days. If you just pick one or two days far in advanced (without the benefit of a short-term weather forecast), you risk seeing nothing but gray haze. For a low-yield time of year, I would stay in Luzern. If the weather is clear one day, head to the nearby mountains as soon as possible. You may not get another chance.

Posted by
2703 posts

Hi Jay,

Another recommendation for the Dolomites here! Visited on four trips so far. Have you considered flying into and out of Munich and driving to say Mittenwald, Germany, then into the Dolomites and then on the way back maybe staying in the Zillertal, Austria for a couple of nights?

We are partial to staying in the Alta Badia in the Dolomites. This is our favorite place to base:


Posted by
7 posts

I'm not sure where to put this question but this seems to be near to the right spot. My Journey will start in Dover England. What is the best recommendation to get to Switzerland by train? Once in Switzerland I plan on using the train to travel around with the regular stops in between.

But how to get to Switzerland and would it be best to take a couple/several days to get there? Would it be best to start in Bern or Zurich once there?

Posted by
12534 posts

James, you will get more helpful answers to your question if you start your own discussion, right here in the Switzerland forum, or in Transportation.