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Easy, peasy Italy, Switzerland, France, Germany June 2023

We just returned from a 3 week road trip: myself & husband (49 & 50), 2 sons (19 & 16), my sister and her husband (60, their first Europe trip). I’ll link to some of my more detailed reports. This was our itinerary:

Fly from the west coast via Seattle, connect in Frankfurt, arrive in Munich about 4 pm. Munich Airport Hilton for 1 night before picking up the minivan the next morning.

3 nights at ApartHotel La Tambra in Santa Cristina Val Gardena in the Dolomites. One studio with balcony, one family apartment with balcony.

3 nights at an apartment in Venice. Loved the apartment: https://abnb.me/yRFvIXWziBb

2 nights in Stresa on Lake Maggiore at Hotel du Parc. Two lake view rooms, one triple room.

5 nights at two apartments (DG and OG) in the same chalet (Gerbera) in Wengen, Switzerland. https://www.chalet-protea-gerbera.com/wohnungen?lang=en

4 nights at an apartment in Colmar, France. https://abnb.me/yV2hlZPyiBb

3 nights in Bacharach at Hotel am Markt. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany-reviews/hotel-am-markt-bacharach-july-2023

Munich Hilton: this is a great overnight stop at the airport. Plenty of food options right at the airport, including a lovely Biergarten and a grocery store. Super easy to walk to from the airport terminal.

Santa Cristina: La Tambra is an amazing steakhouse and pizzeria. We all agreed that our favorite meals of the trip were had there: great steaks and a fabulous pear & walnut pizza. The views from the patio and balconies are fabulous. The breakfast was the best of the trip, also. Highly recommend this place. The town is small and not as glitzy as Ortesei, nor as crowded. Felt more authentic. This is a very special part of the world, where each gondola brings you to different spectacular views.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/dolomites-june-2023-76e7c26c-52f9-478e-8f05-682145f531a9

Venice: hot, humid & crowded. I love this place, though. It’s just magical, especially in the evening.
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/venice-june-2023

Stresa: Absolutely loved it. Beautiful, romantic, lots to see. We all wished we had stayed longer. It felt like living in a Pirates of the Caribbean set, but with Italian food and the best gelato. https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/so-lovely-i-don-t-even-want-to-tell-the-name

Wengen: what a stunner. We stayed in two apartments in this chalet. They were both 2br/1ba and wonderful. The owner, Ruth, is great and offers very helpful suggestions . The views from the balconies will make your jaw drop. It’s a bit of a walk to get to, but so worth it. If you don’t want to walk up the hill, walk down to the next station, then take the train up to Wengen. It’s faster.

We loved Wengen, and wouldn’t have traded the balconies for anything. I would have liked Murren, too, but would wait until the construction ends. Over 5 nights, we visited Lauterbrunnen (felt very busy), Allmendhubel (empty at 10 am), Gimmelwald (too small for our liking to stay there, but cute), Grindelwald (including First), Lake Brienz and Jungfraujoch. Over 4 days, there was only 1 where the weather at Jungfraujoch was clear, so we seized it and took the first train up. It was glorious. Sunscreen and sunglasses are a MUST. Spectacular.

Getting around by train, gondola and boat is super easy. Use the SBB app. Everything is so efficient. Don’t be intimidated by multiple connections, they are easy.

Colmar. Loved this town. Didn’t feel too big or crowded. Loved the shops and tons of restaurants. By this time we were ready for a change from German/Italian food so we ate at a Moroccan place: Les Delices du Maroc. Very good coucous, tangines and grilled chicken.

To be continued

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Our apartment was huge and perfectly located. Great ac. Easy parking nearby in the Montagne Verte parking structure. I can recommend this on also. We had an issue with hot water, which turned out to be our misunderstanding. The property manager offered us another apartment if we didn’t have hot water by morning, but the hot water returned so it wasn’t needed.

We explored Eguisheim, Requiwihr and Turkheim. Loved them all, but I could see myself living in Colmar.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/trip-report-eguishei
Last stop was Bacharach. Cute town but too small for us. I prefer Boppard.

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/germany-reviews/hotel-am-markt-bacharach-july-2023

We had lots of adventures in our van. If you’re planning to drive, these might be helpful:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/general-europe/urgent-help-needed-dialing-european-number-from-us-cell

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/3-weeks-6-people-and-a-full-size-van-oh-dear

I tried to track what I wore (I admit I packed way more than needed!):
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/trip-reports/3-weeks-in-summer-what-i-packed-vs-what-i-wore

And I also tracked some of the misc items:
https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/packing/misc-stuff-i-packed-vs-what-i-used

Overall, we had a blast. No one got sick, robbed, injured, etc. All our checked luggage arrived. Our flights were on time. We all still like each other (despite a few hiccups!). Everyone kept a good spirit of adventure and rolled with the punches. Really couldn’t ask for more!

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I enjoyed reading about your family’s adventures and I liked the way you were sharing in real time. It’s a great trip report when it convinces a reader that they MUST visit a place. Stresa is on the list!

You are in good company in your packing style. For a recent 13 night trip to Italy I packed four pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, two skirts, two dresses and seventeen (not a typo) tops! All in a carry on! We can start an Overpackers Anonymous group!