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Itinerary help starting in Munich and heading to Northern Italy

My husband and I and our 11 year son will be heading to Munich next June for a couple of weeks. (This will be our 5th trip to Europe as a family.). We fly home out of Milan. We plan on staying the first 2 nights in Munich. After researching the cost of 1-way car rental, we will not be renting a car in Germany liked we had hoped to. I’m looking for suggestions on routes. We haven’t traveled this part of Italy and we are looking to see the Dolomites and discover some cool villages and hopefully check out Lake Como. I would love to see Cinque Terre if possible. I was there years ago, but my husband hasn’t been and I absolutely loved it there.

I would love to get some suggestions on routes and what towns you recommend seeing. We will be taking the train and then I was thinking of picking up a car some place in Italy, maybe Bolzano and then returning it in Milan.

Thank you!

Cindy

Posted by
9776 posts

The train from Munich to Bolzano is easy. Actually all of your itinerary is easily done by train with the occasional bus (from Bolzano to the villages of the Val Gardena, for example). Time and timing are factors, though. Mid-June is when the summer season starts officially in the Val Gardena. When exactly is your trip and how many nights do you have after arrival?

Posted by
625 posts

https://www.suedtirol.info/en

This should get you started on the Dolomite region.

Trains go just about everywhere you want to go.... Or, local buses from the main stations.

In a simple loop: Maybe Munich for several nights, Innsbruck for several nights, Bolzano for several nights (check out Otzi the Ice Man at the archeological museum), Verona/Lake Garda for several nights, Lake Como for several nights, Milan....

Remember that changing location/hotel basically takes up half a day even if the train trip only takes an hour or two. Driving doesn't help since there is parking, etc..

Oops, lost the Cinque Terre... Obviously you can add and subtract, but Como area to Cinque Terre is five hours on the train each way, which means there and back will take up an entire day of your trip. Maybe next year.

Posted by
74 posts

Thank you for your feedback. We arrive into Munich on June 12th. We will have about 11 nights. We could extend a night or 2 if we need to. You mentioned it was easy to get around using the trains. Seems like the train is the way to go, but I thought it would be better to get a car once we arrive in Italy. Thoughts?

Posted by
74 posts

Hi Nick,

Thanks for your feedback! Have you traveled to all the towns you suggested? Any favorites?That looks like a good plan. Those are all places that I have been looking at. Are there any other places that are must sees? Should we skip Innsbruck and go straight to Bolzano?

Thanks for your help!

Cindy

Posted by
18889 posts

It depends on where you want to go in Italy. In the Cinque Terre, for example, you cannot drive from town to town; you use either the train or the ferry. Or your own two feet, but several sections of the lower path have been closed for years due to storm damage.

If you were planning a long stay in the Dolomites, a car might be handy, but the bus service is quite good, and of course you need to switch to lifts to reach the higher places, anyway.

A lot of people get around Lake Como by lake boat and bus.

Posted by
74 posts

We are now skipping Munich and going straight to Salzburg via train when we arrive. We will spend 3 or 4 nights there and then take a train straight to Bolzano where we will pick up a car. Should we stay in Bolzano a night or drive straight to Ortisei? I want to spend at least 3 nights in the Dolomites. Is that enough? After the Dolomites we plan to drive to Lake Garda or Verona? Any suggestions on where to stay for 2 or 3 nights? From there we will drop off the car and take a train to Florence. We will stay 4 nights in Florence and then train to Cinque Terre for 3 nights. We will spend our last night in Milan before we head home.

Any suggestions?

Thank you!
Cindy