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Switzerland, Austria, Germany itinerary - seeking feedback

33 days in Germany, Austria and Switerzland:
Goal is: nature, hiking, mountain biking with some city time in between to change things up.
Will have new Volvo (picking up in Sweden and will ferry into Germany) to drive

Hamburg 2 nights
Prague 2 nights
Hallstatt 3 nights (visit Salzburg)
Venice 2 nights
Forence 2 nights
Cinque Terre 2 nights
Zermatt 4 nights
Gimmelwald / Murren area 5 nights (day trip to Bern etc).
Lacerne 3 nights
Baden-Baden (Black Forest area) 3 nights
Zurich 3 nights (fly home from here)

Posted by
20440 posts

Skip Baden-Baden and Zurich. You can get from Luzern to Zurich airport in 1 1/2 hours on the day of your departure. Now add those extra days into your 2-nighters and make them at least 3-nighters.

I take it Volvo is cool with you dropping the car in Zurich.

Bone up on vignettes (toll stickers required in Czech, Austria, Switzerland), ZTL's (driving in forbidden central districts in Italy), Robocam speed traps everywhere, International Drivers Permit.

Posted by
11484 posts

I agree with Sam: You need to make your 2-night stays into 3 each. What time of year?

Posted by
31 posts

I'm doing a similar trip this coming week but with a BMW. I've concentrated on smaller towns and villages, avioding larger towns because of the navigation and parking.

Check if the hotels you are staying at have parking and if you need to pay extra. You may also need to reserve parking when you make your reservation. Also, the parking spaces at the hotels will probably be very tight.

Posted by
4 posts

Good advice on making these 3 nighters. We will be there approx June 23-July 26. Since we will have the car, should we avoid the larger cities, or maybe stay close by in a smaller city/take a train in?

Do other recommend we drop Black Forest from this list?

Posted by
11484 posts

Since we will have the car, should we avoid the larger cities, or maybe stay close by in a smaller city/take a train in?

Venice, Florence and the Cinque Terre can be problematic for parking, but there is no substitute for staying in Venice proper. Here is some info on parking while visiting the city.

For Florence, you may be able to find a hotel on the periphery that has parking. I know Hotel David does.

Each Cinque Terre town has a parking lot at the top of the town, but I have never driven there so perhaps someone else can be more specific. I suspect they get rather crowded.

Posted by
271 posts

First, with that kind of time, Baden-Baden, a place Mark Twain claimed you simply MUST go to before dying, is a must do. I would try to space it as close to the middle of he trip as you can. It is a recharge moment. 2 full days and nights is good for Baden-Baden. Fredricksbad (sp?, I will check). Go for the spa, which is about $30 or so for about 5 hours of oh my god. My wife and I loved it when we wen several years ago. Go on a nude day. Nothing weird, it is just very freeing. There is a kids water-spa-kinda-park next door.

Good spa, food, etc. love it and will go back next time I have time...

All right, I have had time to do some basic thinking about this.

Driving days don't suck. In fact, they can be really good days. They are a chance to leisurely stroll (see some of my coming change suggestions) through areas few foreigners (or at least fewer) ever go. With a car you can wander into a a tiny home shop on the side of some twisty turny road to buy cheese or honey and end up touring their family-run operation. One of a few versus one of 50 or 100s a day. I have had very intimate experiences (I work with bees and huts) that I think driving in car made possible. As far as parking I will say this: I have carried (ie lugged) luggage from a station to a hotel and I have found hotels/houses that provided parking or I have found parking on the street. I prefer the latter.

Now my suggestions...

6/23,24 - Hamburg

6/25 - drive 6 hours stay in Baden-Baden(same drive time but no border crossing or need to buy a sticker for Czech)

6/26, 27 - Baden-Baden

6/28 - drive 4 hours stay in Hallstatt (drive goes from 5 to 4)

6/29, 30, 1 - Hallstatt 3 nights (visit Salzburg)

7/2 - drive 5 hours stay in Venice

7/3, 4 - Venice 2 nights

7/5 - drive 5 hours stay in Cinque Terre (via Florence)

7/6, 7 - Cinque Terre 2 nights

7/7 - drive 5 hours stay in Saas Fee (drive goes from 5 1/2 to 5)

7/8,9 - Saas Fee 2 nights (car-free and around the corner, literally, from Zermatt; park right outside the city "gates" in a cute little tower)

7/10 - drive 3 hours stay in GMG

7/11, 12, 13, 14 - Gimmelwald / Murren/ Grindelwald 4 nights (day trip to Bern etc).

7/15 - drive 1 1/2 hours stay in Luzern

7/16, 17, 18, 19, 20 - Luzern 3 nights (Vierwaldstatersee, FraekMuentegg, Army installations on your way in from GMG)

7/21 - drive 2 hours stay in Appenzell/Ebenalp

7/22, 23, 24 - Appenzell/Ebenalp 3 nights (stay in one of the public huts, maybe a different one each night, carrying nothing but your phone, charger, wallet, change of under wear, water, and a day bag--my 3-6 year-old can/has done it) MAKE RESERVATIONS, even if you do them on the ground, but this is a busy season!

7/25 - drive 1 1/2 hours stay in Zurich

7/26 - Zurich 1 night, (fly home from here, stay at Apart-Hotel, 8 minute free shuttle ride to the airport after shower and tasty early morning breakfast)

Good trip wherever you go! And June/July is BUSY SEASON, RESERVATIONS can put your mind at rest and get the ONLY AVAILABLE parking place when it comes to it :)