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Italy/Switzerland Trip Advice

Hi folks,
We finally ironed out our itinerary for our trip to Italy and Switzerland coming up in September this year. I wanted to get your advice on the itinerary (especially in Switzerland) given our time duration. To me, our Switzerland leg of the journey seems a bit rushed. If you agree, what places would you take out (again – given our time constraint).

Thanks!
-SB

Itinerary:
Arrive Zurich 8:30am on 9/2 (Leave to Rhine Falls and then to Lucerne); Sleepover in Lucerne; Day in Lucerne; Leave for Mt. Jungfrau later in the day; onwards to Interlaken; Sleepover in Interlaken; Day in Interlaken: Leave for Bern and then onwards to Zurich (to train station); Catch the overnight train from Zurich to Rome; Arrive Rome (morning) Stay in Rome on 9/5,9/6,9/7, 9/8; Leave Rome by train to Florence (at night on 9/8); Stay in Florence (and day trips to San G, Siena, Chianti, Montelcino): rent car 9/8,9/9,9/10,9/11; Florence to Venice (train on 11th evening); Stay in Venice 9/12, 9/13,9/14; Venice to Como (on 14th morning);Stay in Lake Como 14th, 15th; Lake Como to Zurich (Leave by train on 15th evening); Stay overnight in Zurich; Catch flight from Zurich 16th morning

Posted by
6898 posts

Wow, we were just in Italy and Switzerland and I'm woozy looking at this itinerary. A couple of thoughts. It's a 2.5-hr train ride from Lucerne to Interlaken. It's not clear from you message if you plan to look at the Jungfrau or actually travel to the Jungfraujoch (near the top). If your planning the train ride up, it originates in Lauterbrunnen, a 20-minute train ride from Interlaken Ost. The trip up takes 2 hours and the trip down takes 2-hours. Once up there, you will want to spend 1-2 hours as the views are spectacular.

Second, why would backtrack to Bern/Zurich just to catch an overnighter? It's 2.5 hrs to Zurich and about 1.5 hrs back to Spiez on the way to room. In that 4 hours, you could be in Milan. There's an 11:20pm train to Rome with 1st and 2nd class couchettes arriving at 7:15am.

For Rome to Florence, are you looking at an evening train or a sleeper to Florence. It's a 1.5-hr Eurostar ride. Too bad you couldn't fly into Zurich and out of Rome.

Posted by
4132 posts

That sounds like fun! I have three suggestions.

First, if it is not too late, switch your tickets to fly home directly from Rome (or Venice or Milan). Make that you rlast stop. This will spare you the return to Zurich and save you both time and money.

Second, I'm a little confused about what you mean by "Leave for Mt. Jungfrau later in the day; onwards to Interlaken; Sleepover in Interlaken; Day in Interlaken: Leave for Bern and then onwards to Zurich (to train station)" By mid September, the sun sets early. You'd have to leave Lucerne before "later in the day" if you hope to visit the Jungfrau.

I also don't think that Interlaken is worth a night and a day. Instead I suggest leaving Lucerne for Wengen, and visiting the Jungfrau the next day.

Finally, instead of detouring back through Zurich to get to Italy, take the more direct train through Brig.

Have fun!

Posted by
705 posts

Just a couple of comments. Be aware that if you have train connections they don't always work the way you want. I travelled from Genoa to Milan and then onto Como but missed the connection from Milan to Como as the train from Genoa was held up. Factor in some time for missed connections.

You have very little time in Florence as you are planning day trips from there. Florence is wonderful and there is so much to see. You may like to rethink your time there.

You probably would be better off to fly out of Rome as you can and plan your trip all 'one way' without back tracking, more or less. Perhaps Zurich, Como, Venice, Florence and then Rome. Or even take out Como on this trip. You are covering a lot of miles and even with night trains you may find it a bit rushed.

Posted by
705 posts

Er, fly out of Rome was what I meant.

Posted by
705 posts

Fly out of Rome if you can. That's what I meant!

Posted by
23125 posts

To me it is kind of a jumbo -- lot of travel, lot of back tracking. There is no reason to round trip out of Zurich. You need a straighter line of travel. Do an open jaw into Zurich and home from Rome. Could be cheaper. We did the reverse this summer and it was $200 cheaper than a round trip to Rome. Follow Helen's advice.

Posted by
2 posts

Hi folks,

Thanks so much for the quick responses. I wish I could have done the "open jaw" travel, but unfortunately, its prohibitively expensive now (>$500/person for change fees). To clarify the itinerary a bit more - we were not planning on going up on Mt Jungfrau. Rather we were just planning to view it and move on. However, I do agree with the suggestions of taking the train from Brig (would that be the closest train station?) to Rome.
Also, would renting a car from Zurich and travelling to Lucerne, Wengen etc. be better or taking the train? Lastly, any recommendations for places to stay in Venice would be much appreciated!
Thanks again!
Savinay