Switzerland, Croatia, Austria - doable itinerary

Day 1: Fly into Zurich from Chicago (train to Lucerne-45 min.) Day 2: Lucerne Day 3: Murren (early morning train from lucerne) Day 5: Murren Day 6: Train to Milan (pass through Lugano?); catch fly to split? Day 7: Split Day 8: Split Day 9: Bus to Dubrovnik (along the coast 4hrs) Day 10: Dubrovnik Day 11: Flight to Vienna ($300) Day 12: Vienna Day 13: Train to Salzburg Day 14: Salzburg
Day 15: fly out of Salzburg to Chicago My main goal is to see Switzerland, Croatia, and Austria. Croatia seems to be he hardest place to fly into. I would love to see Venice and Padova again but seems like too much. I would appreciate and suggestions or opinions a pit this itinerary. Thanks!

Posted by James E.
3491 posts

Seems doable but its a pretty intense schedule. You are only doing a day and a half at most stops. Personally I would slow down and spend more time at each stop.

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
1442 posts

There are overnight ferries from the east coast of Italy over to Croatia...everything from sleeping on the deck to actual beds in cabins. Not as fast as flying but you can get directly to Split or Dubrovnik without flying all the way to Zagreb.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

This itinerary is physically doable but pretty pointless in terms of enjoyment. I won't even speak to the Swiss part, as I am not that familiar with Switzerland, but things get pretty dicey from Dubrovnik to Vienna to Salzburg. Too much time in transit, not enough time at your destinations. Is there a reason you want to do both Croatia AND Austria? It would make a lot of sense to cut one out (or cut out Switzerland)

Posted by David
Florence, AL, USA
2918 posts

You could visit Switzerland, take a train to Milan Malpensa Airport and fly EasyJet to Dubrovnik, Croatia. Austrian Airlines and Croatia Airlines can get you from Croatia to Vienna, but flights might be a little expensive.
Your trip would be more efficient if you limited your trip to two countries, and spent more time in each place.

Posted by Erin
Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 posts

Thank you all for your replies and suggestions! I decided to take out Switzerland. Here is my new and improved itinerary. New and Improved: Day 1: Chicago to Venice. Take easyjet to Split. Day 2: Split Day 3: Split Day 4: Split (I am considering taking a day trip to either Havr, Brac, or Vis on either a ferry or catamaran. I would likely spend the night in on the island and then travel to Dubrovnik) Day 5: Bus to Dubrovnik Day 6: Dubrovnik Day 7: Dubrovnik Day 8: Flight to Vienna Day 9: Vienna Day 10: Vienna Day 11: Vienna (Again I am considering a day trip to either Danube Valley, Wine regions: Nussdorf and Heiligenstadt? Grinzing? Biking in Melk?) Day 12: Train to Salzburg Day 13:Salzburg Day 14 Salzburg
Day 15: Fly out Salzburg On a whole I think this will allow me to fully experience enjoy each place more so then my original itinerary. If anyone has suggestions on hotels or restaurants please comment! In terms of hotels, anything with a view (esp. in Croatia). Also, I head that July-August are high season and hotels often increase prices and such. I am planning on going last week of August and first week of September. Would it make much of a difference to push it back a week? Thanks again for your help!

Posted by Fred
San Francisco
4137 posts

Hi, Good trip itinerary, esp the revision since it drops Switzerland...very doable. You could still drop a day in Salzburg to prolong the visit in Vienna. Good that you found the flight from Dubrovnik to Vienna. If you had another week, I would say take the train but with just 2 weeks flying is much better.

Posted by Will
Columbia, SC
336 posts

Honestly I would prefer your original itinerary with another day or two thrown in- I love Switzerland. The area of Split of interest to tourists is quite small (Diocletian's palace and the waterfront). I spent about eight hours in Split between ferries, and that seemed the right amount of time. Two or three whole days could be way too much. In the same vein, Old Town Dubrovnik is quite small. I got bored with Dubrovnik after a day and a half. And, though I haven't been to Salzburg, I understand one whole day is enough to see all there is to see.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

Your new itinerary is better but might give too much time to a few places - BUT BUT BUT - that's ignoring daytrip opportunities, which are great. Split is really worth a full day, but by all means, daytrip to an island from there. It should be easy and fun (haven't done it - only had an afternoon in Split, hence I know of what I speak when it comes to overcrowded itineraries) Dubrovnik is also really a full day, a rather relaxed one at that, but you also have numerous fantastic daytrip opportunities from there. My recommendation first off is to stay outside of Dubronvnik to really relax. Dubrovnik is beautiful and worth seeing but also expensive and touristy. Meanwhile the nearby seaside town of Cavtat is relaxed and gorgeous and many beautiful and affordable hotels - in villas! - give you a great view of the water. We paid about 40/night for a really nice hotel, the only catch is it was up a few steps. If you're really interested in staying outside Dubrovnik let me know and I'll look up the name. From Dubrovnik you can day trip to Montenegro's Bay of Kotor or Mostar in Bosnia. Highly recommend the latter, the former is still on my to-do list. Honestly, the issue with your first itinerary was the distance/time involved. You don't really need 3 nights in Split, Dubrovnik, or Salzburg, so I'd consider taking a night from one of those that has the least interesting day trips for you and spending it in Mostar. You won't be disappointed! (I'm tempted to throw Sarajevo into the mix but it feels unfair since we told you to cut down before, lol) For Salzburg, a full day is all you need for the city, true, but you have great day trips to Berchesgaden, the Koeningsee, the Eagle's Nest, and Salt Mines.

Posted by Sarah
Stuttgart, Germany
2029 posts

As for Vienna and daytrips I'd play it by ear. I love Vienna and could easily spend a week there. Some people here find it boring and are done after a day and a half. Go ahead and plan for 4 nights in Vienna, and if after two you're bored you know you have good day tripping opportunities from there - in addition to the Austrian sights you mentioned, Bratislava is really close, and Budapest would be doable for a long day trip via fast train. I'm gonna go ahead and say that Split had the best food we had in Crotia (between Cavtat, Dubrovnik, and Zadar). I'm not going to say that Split alone is worth 3 nights, but it was our favorite city in Croatia, and again, you have the islands right there (which sadly we didn't get a chance to explore). Rereading your question for hotels/food: I was in Croatia last October, and it was definitely the tail end of tourist season. Things weren't too busy except Dubrovnik, but the weather was still nice. I'd push it back as far as you can for pricing. I don't know your budget, we were going for cheap but not horrible. In Split we stayed at House Sandra - it was very "family run" but in an appealing way and recently renovated and very affordable (about 40/night), and clean. No views though. Villa Rozic is where I stayed in Cavtat, loved it, loved the room (relatively luxurious i.e. up to U.S. standards, no phone or TV tho, but who cares?) balcony with amazing view. Restaurants will require some more research but I'll get back to you.

Posted by Mark
Santa Barbara, CA, USA
166 posts

I think your first itinerary was fine. Unless you go to Europe often, you may as well cover as much as possible. Frankly 3 days in Split and 2 days in Dubrovnik seems a bit much.