Please sign in to post.

2 week honeymoon

Thanks in advance for any input.

We are spending our 2 week honeymoon in Europe September 2009. I have researched extensively and am looking for any input from others regarding things that should not be missed at our destinations, and potential driving routes between stops. We will fly into Munich, rent a car and drive the entire loop back to Munich. Here is the itinerary:

Mon: Arrive in Munich Monday AM. Rent car drive to Salzburg.
Tues: Salzburg
Wed: Drive to Venice
Thurs: Venice
Fri: Drive to Tuscany (Montalcino)
Sat: Tuscany
Sun: Tuscany
Mon: Drive to Cinque Terre
Tues: Cinque Terre
Wed: Cinque Terre
Thurs: Drive to Lake Como (Bellagio)
Fri: Bellagio
Sat: Drive to Munich
Sun: Munich
Mon: Leave Munich in afternoon

We love food, walking cities, being able to sit down at a cafe for a coffee, or a bar for a glass of wine or beer, and seeing the natural beauty outside of the cities (mountains etc.) The goal of this trip is not every art/historical museum, however we would like to mix some this in, especially some of the castles in Germany and Austria. Any suggestions on this itinerary are appreciated.

I would particularly like a suggestion about a driving route from Salzburg to Venice. I want to be sure to pass through Grossglockner during this drive.

Also, a suggestion for the drive from Lake Como back to Munich. I am undecided on whether to go through Switzerland into Germany by way of Luzern and Zurich, or to go through Austria again by way of Innsbruck.

Thanks again.

Posted by
1036 posts

Hi Jeremiah,

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! You picked a wonderful part of the world to spend your honeymoon.

When we drove from Munich to Venice in 2006 we stopped first in Hohenschwengau to see Neuschwanstien. It was a great stop, but a little touristy for me. Then we went to Hallstatt and that was very relaxing and a place I would recommend. When you enter into Austria you must stop and get a sticker "permit" for your car. You can get them at any gas station and if I remember correctly they were 10 euros or so. Then we took the A23 to Venice.

Your itinerary sounds very aggressive. Have you and your fiance been to Europe before? The reason that I ask is that many first timers to Europe (myself included) try to see everything on the first trip and end up having a difficult time actually enjoying it. You haven't allowed time for jet lag, and that will be a factor. You also appear to be spending the majority of your time driving, unpacking, packing and you haven't allowed time for getting lost! :) You will get lost...

My advice would be to reduce your itinerary to three locations and that way you can really experience each place and your honeymoon.

Also, I seemed to have read somewhere that you may not have to do this anymore, but when we drove through Switzerland coming back to Germany (we did the loop too) We had to buy a pass there too and it was around $75 dollars. You may want to look into this.

One last note is to watch the posted speeds in Europe. Although you won't be pulled over for speeding, you will likely receive a ticket in the mail a few months (or years) after you return home. They have photo radar everywhere and they don't "forgive" tourist ignorance. :)

Enjoy and feel free to PM with any particular questions.

Posted by
6222 posts

Two obvious items:

  1. Too many places, not enough time. I'd cut down the number of places significantly.

  2. Why spend all that time doubling back to Munich? Fly open jaws and save time, money and hassles.

Congraulations on the honeymoon. :)

Posted by
31738 posts


First of all, congratulations!

I agree with the others that you're trying to fit far too many cities into what is a very short European trip. IMO, you've very much underestimated travel times between some destinations.

Although you prefer the "freedom" of having a Car, you will probably have a more relaxed and enjoyable trip with carefully planned rail trips. That way there would be no concern about having to return to the starting point to avoid exorbitant drop-off fees. You'll also have to allow for parking fees, the high cost of fuel, tolls and the other realities of driving in Europe. Finally, if using open-jaw flights you avoid the time and cost of returning to your starting point.

You're going to lose the first day due to flight times, time zone changes and jet lag. You probably won't be up to "touring speed" for a day or two. With careful planning, you could probably get most of your destinations in.

If I were planning this trip, I would probably arrange it along these lines:

Fly to Munich - 3 days/2 nights (including flight day)

  • Train to Salzburg (~1H30M)

Salzburg - 2 days

  • Train to Venice (~6-8 hours)

Venice - 2 days

  • Train to Buonconvento / Bus to Montalcino (~8 hours)

Montalcino - 2 days

  • Train to C.T. (~6-7 hours)

Cinque Terre - 2 days

  • train to Lago di Como / Bellagio via Varenna (~4-5 hours)

Bellagio - 2 days

  • train to Milano for flight home (~1 hour from Varenna)

Travel times on some legs is basically a full day, so some compromises will have to be made.

I doubt that you'll be able to travel as efficiently or quickly if driving, so you'll have to allow for that (and probably drop 1 or 2 of your cities). The times I listed are approximate, and will vary depending on which train is used (reservations compulsory on some).

There are lots of ways this could be structured, but that's what I would do.

Good luck and happy travels!

Posted by
12040 posts

I can't help you on Italy... but a few suggestions.

First: You have too many destinations. For only two weeks, you'll spend too much time in transit to really be able to relax and enjoy each city. Going from one city to the next like this quickly gets very tiring, and you end up seeing very little.

Second: I would not recommend driving from Munich to Salzburg on your first day, especially if you have never driven in Europe. Give yourself a least a day to recover from the jetlag, or it will bite you later.

Third: You have not alloted much time for the drive from Bellagio to Munich. This is a LONG DRIVE! You will, however, get some wonderful Alpine scenery as you pass through Switzerland or Austria.

Fourth: "I am undecided on whether to go through Switzerland into Germany by way of Luzern and Zurich, or to go through Austria again by way of Innsbruck." Building on the last point, you may want to add an extra stop between Bellagio and Munich. Going by way of Luzern and Zurich will add too much time to your trip for little sight-seeing benefit. If you simply head north from Lake Como up towards the Bodensee in Germany, you'll see much better scenery for far fewer kilometers driven (you can barely see the Alps from Zurich). Taking the more easterly route through Innsbruck will also give you some amazing scenery, although this may take longer. For either route, you should probably consider a stop-off somewhere in between.

Posted by
7 posts

Thank you all for the responses.

I had a feeling that the overall reaction would be we are trying to do too much. Although I hate to see any of the destinations leave the itinerary, which would be your suggestions for removing?

As it is right now we have at least 2 nights or 3 nights at each location, how many days minimum would you recommend at a single stop? I know this can vary from city to city, but as a general guideline to not feel rushed. Also, at each location we are not going to be jamming in all the tourist sites. For instance, in Venice we are more interested in just walking the city and 'getting lost' and taking in the atmosphere, not seeing every historic site. My point is, while at a city we will not be rushing around, but relaxing, but I see how packing and unpacking could get old.

Lastly, we are the type that love to drive places, hence the rental car. We like the freedom to be able to stop anywhere we like along our travels. Also, with the car, there is a large fee for returning the rental in a different country, which is why we are trying to make it a loop, ending in the same country.

Again, thank you for all your responses, they are very helpful, and we will work on trimming it down.

Posted by
12040 posts

As painful as it may be, I would probably cut Salzburg. For an aggressive intinerary like this, you need to recover from the jet-lag first. Salzburg, although a wonderful destination, adds too many miles and too much time.

Another factor to consider. Despite the name, do you realize that most of Oktoberfest is actually in September? Munich will be absolutely jammed. Unless you specifically wanted to experience Oktoberfest, check your dates carefully to make sure you don't get bogged down in the crowds. And finding a place to park in the city will only add more stress than you don't need.

I don't know too much about your choices in Italy, but perhaps someone else on this forum can help you trim out some of the fat.

Posted by
7 posts


What does DC have to do with this? I drive into Boston for work each day, and have no problems. While I agree, that in major cities a car is more of a hassle, but when visiting most of these places the car will be parked while we are there.

As I explained earlier, the reason we are choosing to drive is to have the ability to stop where we please. We want to drive Grossglockner road and tour Tuscany, which as far as I can tell is best done by car. Some prefer trains, we prefer a car.


The part that I am still a bit unclear on is the drive from Lake Como to Munich, Tom touched on this. As far as I can tell his suggestion is to drive the A13/E43 to Munich. This is the most direct route according to google maps. Will this offer nice scenery? Any suggestions on a good place to stop either for a night or lunch in between?

Again thanks.

Posted by
12040 posts

Actually, either the E-43 or E-45 will give you spectacular scenery. The E-45 is probably a faster road, but the E-43 is closer to Lake Como.

If you take the E-43, Lindau is a good choice for a stop-off point, although coming from Lake Como you may find the scenery redundant. I don't know too much about the E-43 south of the Brenner Pass. You could stop at Innsbruck or Mittenwald, but these aren't really half-way points.

Posted by
31738 posts


To add to my earlier post, I'm not sure with a two week trip that you'll have the time to "stop where we please". If you still intend to fit all those destinations in, you'll need to get from place to place as quickly as possible. The distance between some of your cities is considerable, so you're going to be seeing a lot of "windshield time".

The decision is certainly yours, but be sure to give us an update when you get back. I'd be interested to know how well this Itinerary actually worked?

Happy travels!

Posted by
12040 posts

Reading Ken's last post got me thinking a little bit. Here's one more suggestion. If you really want to do the "stop-and-go" method by car, considering cutting your trip in two and picking one half. Meaning, do an Italian trip or a Bavarian-Tyrolian trip, but not both. Otherwise, we can't say it enough, your itinerary is too busy for the time you have allotted.

Posted by
31738 posts


One other very important point that I forgot to mention earlier, is that for driving in Italy an International Driver's Permit is mandatory. If you're stopped by Police and fail to produce this, you can be fined on the spot!

Note that the I.D.P. is NOT a Driver's License. It must be used in conjunction with your normal D.L. You can obtain the I.D.P. at any AAA office. Cost is only about $10-15, but a Passport-sized photo is required also.

I'm sure there are many here who have driven in Italy without one and had no problems, but I felt I should at least make you aware of this.

Also, be sure to read other posts here on the HelpLine regarding the Zona Traffico Limitato zones.