I will be embarking on a 35-40 day trip through Western/Central Europe in May-June of 2013 with my two younger cousins. A few years ago when I was a freshman in college my brother and I backpacked through Europe for 3 weeks, so I am an experienced traveller. I was wondering if you could take a look at my rough itinerary and give some recommendations/critique/advice on the cities I would like to travel to. I am a budget traveller and will be staying in hostels every night as well using the Eurail. The following is my estimated itinerary:
1. Arrive in Paris 2. Paris 3. Paris 4. Paris 5. Depart Early- Bruges 6. Bruges 7. Depart Early-Luxembourg 8. Luxembourg 9. Luxembourg 10. Arrive Bacharach, Germany 11. Bacharach, Germany 12. Arrive Heidelberg, Germany 13. Arrive Rothenburg, Germany 14. Rothenberg, Germany 15. Arrive Munich 16. Munich (perhaps day trip to Berchtesgaden) 17. Munich 18. Arrive Cesky Krumlov 19. Cesky Krumlov 20. Arrive Vienna 21. Vienna 22. Arrive Salzburg 23. Salzburg- Day trip to Hallstatt 24. Arrive Vaduz, Liechtenstein 25. Vaduz, Liechtenstein 26. Arrive Luzern (haven't decided between here or Appenzell) 27. Arrive Bern, Switzerland 28. Bern, Switzerland 29. Arrive Interlaken region 30. Interlaken 31. Interlaken 32. Interlaken 33. Arrive Cinque Terre 34. Cinque Terre 35. Arrive Rome, Italy 36. Rome 37. Rome 38. Rome 39. Depart for USA
Post by madamtrashheap on Mar 28, 2012 21:32:34 GMT -5
Welcome to GFE, hemple.
As you've already been to Europe, I'm guessing that's the reason for the omission of some places (Prague, Florence) or less time in other places (eg Rome), but I can suggest the following:
Luxembourg - you may find that 1 full day (2 nights) or even 1 night if you arrive early from Brugges/Bruges and have the rest of that day and some time the next day before departing for Bacharach. 2 full days might be a little long in that particular city.
Germany - starting at Bacharach, which is a good choice, will give you a chance to see a little of the Rhein, and you can even look into a river cruise for a few hours (head north to Cologne and explore there for the full day before catching the train back) if you want to experience the scenery (check www.kdrhine.com or www.k-d.de ). Or you could even get on the cruise at Bacharach on the day you're going to Heidelberg, sail up (but south) the Rhein to Rüdesheim am Rhein (not far) or further along to Mainz then catch the train to Heidelberg, sightsee and have the night there before a little time the next morning and continuing by train to Rothenburg ob der Tauber (NOTE: make sure you use this as a destination when searching on German train sites as there are two other Rothenburgs (one on the German/Polish border, the other up near Leipzig) and you want the one on the River Tauber, which is often shown as Rothenburg o.b.T.
NOTE: the KD Cruise boats accept Eurail passes as a travel ticket, which might help for the full boat trip Bacharach to Mainz then the train to Heidelberg as it is activated as a day of use and the boats are considered a form of transport akin to the train.
The train from R.o.b.T to Munich will be between 2hr45 to 3hr15 and involve a few changes, so you can get an early start and make the most of arrival day in Munich, thus sneaking in a little extra time. Or take the extra day from Luxembourg and add it to Munich, giving you 4 nights/3 full days allowing for your trip to Berchtesgaden (which could also be done from/on the way to Salzburg), half day at Dachau, day trip to the Ludwig II castles (Neuschwanstein, Linderhof, Hohenschwangau) and time in Munich itself (a great town).
And something worth knowing - if you odn't want to use the days on your Eurail pass for the day trips from Munich, there is something called a BayernTicket (or on weekends the Schönes Wochenende ticket) which is for train and bus travel in the state of Bavaria on most routes. The group ticket (more than one person) is Euro 25 (or may now be 29) from ticket machines in the stations, or Euro27 from the travel centre ticket office in the station. This may help with keeping days on your pass for travel days in the future. www.bahn.de/regional/view/bayern/bahnregional/freizeit/bayernticket.shtml
Cesky Krumlov - the train from Munich to CK takes around 7hr30mins, so either look at a night train on this section or add another day to CK if you feel you really want to sightsee. Otherwise, 1 full day will be good.
Vienna - you may want an extra full day here as there is a lot to see and experience and just one day won't really give you much time. The train from CK to Vienna will take 4hr30 with a few changes, so if you get an early start on the travel day, you'll have a good portion of the afternoon of arrival in Vienna, but still may find you need the additional full day, ie 2 full days.
Vaduz - you'll find you only need 1 night here as it's small and easy to walk to see the sights (you can even see the castle from the main street, so don't have to walk up to the gates). NOTE: there is no train station in Vaduz, just bus services. So from Austria you'll train it to Feldkirchen on the Austrian/Lichtenstein border, take the bus into the Zentrum (centre) of Vaduz, then a bus out to Schaan-Vaduz station to catch the train to Switzerland.
Luzern - it's a stunning town so I'd choose here rather than Appenzell if it were me. And if you have 2 nights - 1 full day you could also take time to wander the city, cruise the lake (stunning scenery).
Bern - I like Bern, but feel that 1 night here would be enough for you, so take the day from here and add to Luzern.
Interlaken - not sure what your interests are and what you plan to do, but you might find that heading a little further into the mountains around Lauterbrunnen might work better for you in terms of scenery, activities, etc. Interlaken has a lot of adventure activities, but in terms of staying "in the mountains" you can't beat Lauterbrunnen, Murren and around the area. There are hostels in L'brunnen and Murren and a campsite (with cabins or a dorm) in L'brunne, so you'll find accommodation if you book well ahead (ie now!).
NOTE: I'd consider travelling from Vaduz to Bern, then Berner Oberland/Interlaken, then Luzern and travelling to CT from Luzern as the trains are a little more conducive to travel (there is an 8am-ish train with only one change in Milan then on to La Spezia for the regional train to the 5T). Otherwise, remember that if you catch a later train, the regional trains along the 5 villages stop around 11.10pm or sometimes the last one is 00.50 and the next isnt' until around 5am the next day, so don't arrive at La Spezia Centrale too late in the day.
Rome - the train will take a good chunk of your day from CT to Rome, unless you take the Eurostar Italia between Florence and Rome (1hr30mins), but 3 full days in just Rome will allow for a good amount of exploring, sightseeing and eating.
Other than that, you've put together a good itinerary. See what you can do with the above suggestions and no doubt the others will chime in with some more ideas soon.
WOW! First off thank you very much for the detailed reply. You have alot of interesting ideas here that I didn't even think about. I originally was planning on flying out of Switzerland after 30 days, but then realized since I have an unlimited Eurail 30 day pass, I might as well take the train to Rome on day 30 and then spend a few days in Rome. So that is the reason why the first and last city of my trip are generally the longest stays. Luxembourg: Sorry for the typo, when I say Luxembourg I mean the entire country. Probably going to staying in Echternach and branching out from there on day trips. I think 2 full days is ample time to see much of the country. Germany: That is a very good idea to take a boat down the Rhein on the way between cities. I will have to look more into this and see if it works into our schedule. Hopefully it will as that seems like a pleasant way to travel. Cesky Krumlov/Vienna: I am willing to add a day to either one of these cities, but not both. Which one should I chose? I'm leaning towards Cesky Krumlov only because I seem to like smaller/cozier cities than rather large ones such as Vienna. I would like to do a raft tour of Bohemia while in Krumlov. Vaduz: Ok, I realize this is a small country and not much to see. I have read that there is great hiking in Liechtenstein, but I'm wondering, should I just scrap these days and spend them somewheres else? Perhaps add a day to Vienna? Or instead go to Ljubljana, Slovenia? Luzern: On my first backpacking trip I did one night in Luzern, but I must admit I saw hardly any of the city. I took the train up to the top of Mt Pilatus (which was awesome). By the time we got back from the top, we were so tired we called it a night. So I would like to go back here and give it more time than last. Interlaken: This was by far my favorite part of my previous trip. I know 3 days might be a little excessive but I fell in love with this region and hated when we left. Cinque Terre: That is a great idea. One of the flaws with my current itinerary was the train from Interlaken to Cinque Terre. I think it was over 8 hours with 4 or 5 changes. Crazy. Luzern seems much easier.
Once again thank you so much for all this information. Once I get everything figured out (I'm sure there will be quite a few changes from now until May 2013) I will post again.
Post by madamtrashheap on Apr 3, 2012 5:34:31 GMT -5
Glad we could help, hemple!
Great idea for an open-jaw ticket to fly in and out of Europe - makes the most of your time without backtracking.
I misunderstood about Luxembourg, thought you meant Luxembourg City and not the whole country, in which case go for it. 2 full days will be good for what you plan to do.
Hard call between CK and Vienna in terms of the extra day, however it seems that you'll need it for the rafting in CK so go with that. Vienna, whilst the capital, is hardly a big city really, but if you have more interest in the outdoor activities than museums, etc then go with the extra day in CK.
Yes, there is hiking in Vaduz, but there's also much hiking to be had in the Bernese Oberland (BO), including Interlaken. In fact, skiiing in Vaduz in Winter would be a better reason to spend more time there, so perhaps just a passing lunch stop on your way from Austria to Switzerland will be enough if you just want to experience it, otherwise you could remove it and add it to time in Luzern and/or BO. I'm glad you've already been to Pilatus - great mountain as your first Swiss one! Yes, Luzern is worth more exploring, especially a walk on the old town walls, so a full day (2 nights) would be a good opportunity to see the city and lake.
And I don't think the time in Interlaken/BO is at all excessive - I totally understand why you want to stay there as long as possible. Maybe this time you can stay further into the Valley, hence the Lauterbrunnen/Murren suggestion - you think you like Interlaken, wait til you wake up in L'brunnen!
Keep chipping away at the plans and don't try to shove more in (eg Slovenia - it needs 2 full days for Lake Bled, etc). Keep us posted on your progress as it's shaping up to be a very good trip indeed.
Okay, I think I have another edit I'm making for my trip. I was thinking I would cut Luzern out entirely. I have been there before and would like to try somewhere else. I was thinking about taking a train from Interlaken and going to Certaldo, Italy and spend a few days there day tripping to Florence or Pisa. Tuscany seems awesome and I think it would be a great stop before hitting the Cinque Terre. Any suggestions?