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Itinenary advice needed

We will be travelling to Zurich, Zermatt and Florence in mide May of 2014 and are currently looking that the following itinerary:

Fly out from London
2 nights in Zurich
3 nights in Zermatt
2 nights in Florence
Fly back to London

Day 1 - Arrival in Zurich: Zurich lake, Rhine Fall and the surroundings
Day 2 – A round trip to Lucerne including Mt. Rigi
Day 3 - Arrival in Zermatt:
Day 4 - Day trip to Sierra and Sion for wine tasting
Day 5 - Trip up to Gornergrat and Rothorn.
Day 6 - Arrival in Florence: explore around
Day 7 - Day trip to Tuscany, Siena, Pisa, Lucca

Any advice are welcome.

Thank you

Posted by
10334 posts

I prefer to think of the number of nights I will be in each location, rather than the number of days. Two nights is only one full day. I have no experience in Switzerland, so I will leave that to others to critique. With 2 nights in Florence you plan to spend a partial day (arrival day) in Florence and on the one full day you will go to Siena, Lucca and Pisa? What time do you arrive in Florence? Are you flying or arriving by train? You also mention Tuscany, but I'm not sure what you mean by that. All those places you mention are in Tuscany, including Florence. Will you have a car to see those places or do you plan to travel by train? Either way, I don't see how it can be done. Pisa and Lucca can be combined into a day trip. Or you could do Siena as a day trip. With one full and one partial day in Florence I don't think it's worth doing any day trips frankly.

Posted by
355 posts

I agree with the other response regarding Florence. Spending your entire time in Florence will barely scratch the surface of the city. You will not have time to explore other cities or areas. Regarding Switzerland - if you have 5 nights to spend, staying in the Berner Oberland the entire time makes more sense to me, depending on the weather in May. Remember that moving from one place to another really eats up most a day. I would definitely check on weather that time of year and perhaps wait until summer or early fall if you are set on Switzerland. That time of the year you might be better off to spend your seven nights in Florence and Tuscany. You could really do Italy justice in seven nights.

Posted by
12040 posts

The Switzerland part looks OK to me, but just realize that May isn't a great time of year for visiting the mountains. The weather often doesn't cooperate with your plans. That being said, the three nights in Zermatt are a good idea, in case one of your days there is foggy and raining... although you're out of luck if both days are nasty. Just keep your schedule flexible, and don't try to pin a specific activity on a certain day.

Posted by
3392 posts

I think that your Switzerland portion is fine...that is, granted the weather cooperates. Zermatt is a crap-shoot - it could be cloudy and you won't see anything or it could be beautifully clear. Keep your eye on the weather before you go and be open to adjusting your itinerary accordingly. Zermatt is NOT worth the money if you can't see the peaks surrounding it or get good views at the top of the lifts!

I spent three weeks of this last summer in Valais in the area of Sierra and Sion and I highly recommend. Yes, the Berner Oberland is beautiful but Valais is often overlooked by Americans which boggles my mind! If you enjoy wine you are going to the right place! Just make sure you think ahead and do some planning if you are going to go wine tasting. Wineries do have tastings but you need to make appointments ahead of time with the owner so with only one day you need to be armed with a plan and reservations. There are several winery cooperative tasting rooms that keep regular hours but I only found 3 in that area. One is south of Sion, across the river on the road leading up to Nendaz. Another one is in Leytron, north of the freeway on the main road leading into town, and the third is also near Leytron easily visible to the north of the freeway. Otherwise you will need to find someone who speaks French to call and make a reservation for you at whichever wineries you wish to visit.

I highly recommend a visit to Sion - it has a beautiful medievil town center and two peaks in the center of town each topped by an ancient castle and church dating to the 1100s.

About your Italy portion - sorry but it seems unrealistic to me. You will spend an entire day getting from Zermatt to Florence and checking into your hotel. Maybe you'll have some time to walk around in the late afternoon/evening but you won't be able to see much of anything. One day to see Siena, Lucca, and Pisa is also just way too much. Pick one - I would recommend Siena - the ONLY thing to see in Pisa is the leaning tower and adjoining church. Lucca is lovely but if you try to do all three you won't see much of anything at all. Maybe save Tuscany for another time or save a day by flying home from Florence rather than travelling all the way back to London?

Posted by
7496 posts

You need to do more research about the value (to the two of you) of each of those destinations. For example, Zurich is a major air center, but Zurich and the Rheinfall pale as outdoor destinations in comparison with the rest of Switzerland-including Lucerne, the most accessible lake/mountain destination. BTW, are you aware of how exposed you are to foggy days in Switzerland?

Have you (for example, using Rick's book) timed out the Lucerne day? It's very busy, and you won't have time for any art or architecture in Lucerne. I presume you don't care about the expensiveness of Switzerland.

Do you have any interest in the history of art? I ask not to be snooty, but you don't show any knowledge of what a rich destination the city of Florence is. I can't see spending time on wine tastings when you are missing so much of Italy. Day 7 is totally unrealistic. Do you mean you're selecting just one of those towns?

I realize that Singapore is a long way from Western Europe, but this is not a visit to the mainland from the UK - it's a high-altitude flight over a microscopic subset of European tourism. Have you been to Paris? A round-trip rail journey from London would be a better use of the week. With Versailles and Giverney, you'd easily fill a week. How long are you spending in the UK?

Posted by
3392 posts

I just realized that you are flying in and out of London but you are visiting southern Europe...this makes no sense at all! Your post heading says you are in Singapore...are you going to be living in London or visiting there already and making a side trip? If this is the case then I can understand but if you're flying from Singapore to London, completing your trip in Switzerland and Italy, and then flying back from London to Singapore, I don't understand what the point would be. You should be flying into Zurich and out of Florence to save time - you'll lose nearly two full days of your itinerary travelling between London and southern Europe.