Hi Guys, Hubby and I are skipping over to Europe for a 3 x week tease of France, Tuscany & Switzerland arriving 1st June. Would LOVE your suggestions, comments feedback on the proposed itinerary thus far......... 1st June - Arrive Paris 3 x nights 4th June - Depart Paris catch the TGR train to Avignon - spend 2 x nights here hiring a car and exploring Provence 6th June - Leave Avignon by car and head along French Riveria and spend 2 x nights somewhere around Nice?? Or other spot reccomended in place 8th June - Leave Nice (change hire cars when crossing to Italy) and head to Tuscany. Destination TBC here to base ourselves for 4 x nights to explore region ( should we stay over at the island for a night?) 12th June - Leave Tuscany - drop off car at Bolgna - catch train to Venice - 2 x nights 14th June - Leave Venice - train to Milan - then Lake Como Switzerland - 2 x nights 16th June - Leave Lake Como - train to Milan - train to Lauterbrunnen x 3 x nights to explore Interlaken etc 19th June - Leave Laurterbrunnen by train - Zurich - 2 x nights 21st June - Depart Zurich - AUSTRALIA Really appreciate your help and advice !!!! Thanks Andrea
Your itinerary has just got too much travel in it for me. I'd suggest first taking in Paris and the suburbs. Then fly EasyJet.com to Rome and work your way up to Florence/Tuscany and Venice. Rent a car from Venice and go to the Dolomites or go to Lake Como area for a few days.
Fly out of Milan or Florence or wherever you're going to be at the end of your time.
Hi David, Thanks for your feedback. We are actually staying in Paris for 3 x nights and thought the train down to the south of france would be the the quickest route. Keen to stay out of Rome and stick to tuscany due to our time restraints. My main concern with the trip from Venice onwards is it might be a little tricky and time consuming with trains etc with the route we have. Thanks
It's a little rushed for my taste, but I do understand your wanting to get in as much as possible. Have you looked at the actual train schedules? Have you allowed enough time to get to/from train stations to hotels? A rough guideline is to allow 1/2 day for each move, which is why most people on the helpline don't encourage strings of 2-night stays when you're traveling by train. Since you live on the Gold Coast, I wonder if the Riveria might be a disappointment? You asked "should we stay over at the island for a night?" What island? I assume you know a car rental at the border where you can change cars. I think you won't have enough time in Paris. You only have two full days and they are after a really long journey (how many hours? how many flights?) and lots of jetlag. Many people don't see the beauty of Paris until their third day there.
Not that Zurich isn't nice, but would spend my last 2 days in Luzern, day and one-half, rest for Zurich; depends on when your flight leaves Zurich.
One thing I would not change... keep your three nights in Lauterbrunnen (or any other Alpine location). That lessens the chances of having your whole visit to the region spoiled by bad weather.
I think given the number of places you want to see for a 'taste' or Paris three nights is fine. No, you cannot see it all, but neither can you see it all if you were there for months...and there are so many other wonderful places calling. Have a whirlwind trip... I however do second the idea of not spending as much time in Zurich...your other locations are so much better, I would add a day to something else.
Thanks so much guys - Yes you raise a valid point Chani about the train schedules - had only based the itinerary loosely on the above till I looked into it further. Personally I could skip Venice to allow more time in other locations as I've been there twice, but husband hasn't been there before. I have heard the Riveria coastline is a little ritzy so maybe we spend less time here - I was just trying to keep at least 2 night minimum on places to stay due to the checking in and out. Do you advise maybe just driving straight from Avignon through French Riveria and to Tuscany and not stay there? I can't see the island name on the map but it's jsut off the coast of Tuscany ( Ajaccio is the main area I think ?) Really appreciate the advice. Thanks
Andrea, that Island is Corsica - it's part of France but it's location is closer to Italy. Ajaccio is on the opposite side of the island from the Italian coast. How were you planninig on getting there, flying or ferry? I really don't think you have time for that side trip.
Thanks Nancy for the feedback and info. We would have planned to go by ferry and I thought with 4 x nights in Tuscany we might have time but possibly not as we may already be trying to do too much....
Perhaps you should ditch the French car in Nice, train to Italy and pick up another car when you arrive. If you are rushing around too much, you won't really have time to enjoy your trip. Less really is more. It's hard to choose, but really, you'll enjoy everywhere you go, and you will never be able to go everywhere.
Hi, If you really go through with the Corsica visit, the ferry leaves from Toulon. In that case I suggest cutting out parts of the itinerary on Italy.
Actually ferries go to Corsica from several ports including Livorno in Tuscany. However, that ferry goes to Bastia on the NE coast of Corsica so they'd have to drive from there to Ajaccio. Ferries directly to Ajaccio leave from Nice, Marseilles, Toulon. It's pretty time consuming (not a day trip) so they would have to juggle the rest of the itinerary if they want any add'l time in Tuscany besides Corsica. It's their decision how they want to spend their time. Corsica is a little more off the beaten path if that's what they are looking for.
hi, jmo, if this is your first time touring, you will find out if you like whirlwind tours or not. just remember that Europe and the rest of the world will still be there for the next time! this is jmo too, but i try to plan my trips to see alot too. Enough to keep me happy, but no so much i get burned out 1/2 into it. It maynot be for everyone, but its something i tried to plan into my 1 month trip last year. I was running out of steam by my last week, but i knew i would return this year so i could miss something and not loose sleep over it. whatever you choose/do, happy trails.
Personally, I loved the Riveria. Didn't think I would. I am not a big fan of the Gold Coast. You can't possibly compare the two. If you can possibly fit it in to you itinerary, you won't regret it.
Thanks for all the feedback, really appreciate it. Yes knowing now that Corsica isn't really a day trip, I think we are kidding ourselves to try and fit it in. If we took out Venice we could do it, but seeing as husband hasn't been there I guess we really should go there.
( I have already been twice) Thanks for the helpful advice on Corsica) Yes, we most definitely are doing alot (& I have done one whirlwind trip already when I was 18) and know it will be on the go, but as we are having a baby late September it's going to be a long time until we get back over! If we find we're getting spent by the time we get to Lake Como we could maybe skip Interlaken / Lauterbrunnen ( Unless this is a must do destination!!) Just finding it hard to cut parts out of the trip as they all sound fantastic! Any suggestions? Yes Judy - we agree with you. We live just south of Byron Bay in Lennox Head so the Gold Coast really isn't our idea of an amazing coastline anyway. I hear a few areas around Nice are beautiful and worth the stop over. Yes maybe dropping the Car off in Nice and training it to Italy to pick 2nd hire car sounds like a plan. Need to investigate further now we have a rough itinerary. Thanks again - it really helps getting advice other travellers based on experience!
Andrea, you have lots of input so my 2 cents probably isn't needed. I'd spend an extra day in the Provence area and omit the Riviera. I'd go straight from Avignon to Tuscany and omit trying to get to Corsica (just too much). Four days to see Tuscany, especially since Florence can justify a full day, is not to much time. Bolgna is nothing special so take a train from Florence to Venice. Rent a car from Milan to go to Lake Como, the only way to see the lake. While in Milan see DeVinci's "The Last Supper". As I have gotten older I find a slower pace suits me better and your itinteray sounds exhausting. Buy an extra couple of days by omitting the Riviera and Corsica and I don't think you will regret it.
Bolgna is nothing special Disagree, Bologna is a really neat place. It has an "o" in the middle by the way. Don't think there's enough time for Bologna, but I fundamentally disagree that Bologna is nothing special.
Thanks Nigel and John. I probaby should have emphasised much earlier that when I say 4 x nights in Tuscany we do not plan to do any of the main cities ( Florence, Sienna etc) As yes, I don't fancy spending days getting stuck in queues / traffic which such limited time in the area. Plus I have been to Florence once before. We were more wanting this time to be about exploring the country areas + Cinque Terra etc. It had been recommended to drop the car back at Bolgna and catch the train to Venice from there instead of dealing with traffic in Florence, so the trip to Bolgna is purely just to make our way to Venice. Would you advise against this?
Florence to Venice is such an easy run, I've done it in a gully-warsher thunderstorm with green sky in not too much time. Why stop part way to change transportation systems when you can go straight through and drop your rental car in P. Roma, right on the Grand Canal?
Hi Andrea. Definately challenging schedule so if you eliminate an area like Interlaken it would give you the time to do everything else. But the question is ..how much do you love mountains? I love mountain areas more than anything else. I have been to all the areas you are going except Corsica and they are amazing. I have been to most amazing mountain areas in the world..Andes American and Canadian Rockies Alps and New Zealand. IMO the most beautiful with hiking and village combinations and amazing scenery in every direction is the Interlaken and Berner Oberland area. If you love mountains and want to chill from the otherwise fast pace spend four nights (some days are cloudy but rarely 3 days in a row). If mountains dont thrill you,do the other stuff and save this area for your next trip when the baby grows a little and can hike. Sounds like a great trip have fun.
Thanks Nigel. We would definitley prefer to drive straight to Venice but I thought the train would be much quicker? I guess maybe not like you mentioned having to change modes of transportation etc and going via a city. I'll have to do some investigating into driving times and routes but thanks for the advice. Yes Terry - we would hate to miss out on the area surrounding Interlaken... I know we will love it and like you, relish going to places with so much natural beauty. I plan to still be as active as I can whole way through pregancy ( 13 weeks at the mo and still running 6x days a week!) so provided Doctor is o.k we will still be doing some light hiking - I'll be 5mths. I guess we could take out Lake Como - but again I've been told this is a must do and from what I've read / seen pictures of looks amazing Arrh Europe is such a tease!!! Really can't find areas of the trip to cut out!!
Two and a half hours or a bit more Florence to Venice by car. Although Bologna i closer to Florence than Venice, the winding and tunnels through the mountains between Bologna and Florence means it is about half way by time. By the time you have left the Autostrada, found your car return place, returned the car, found the station, waited for your train, and trained to Venice I guarantee you will have arrived there.