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10 days in europe

  • 12 December 2023
  • 47 replies
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  • Keeps calm and carries on
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i was planning a trip to swiss alps, but my family is not skiing, so not worth it. Asking for help planning 10 days in europe.  i need an itinerary that allows us to see as much as we can in a short time.  flying in to one city and out of another to maximize places visited would be great. thanks

 

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Best answer by thibcabe 12 December 2023, 20:44

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Is there a budget for flights ? I'd say look first to where you can find cheap tickets.

Are you planning the trip in January-February ? Around that time I'd suggest southern Europe.

For example Italy : landing in Rome, visit the city, then Florence, Venice and ending in Milan. Or the other way around of course.

Spain : Barcelona - Madrid - Sevilla - Cordoba/Granada. It will be easier to come back to Madrid by train and fly home from there.

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we have a budget, and it’s for 5 of us, husband, 3 adults kids and myself. i was thinking milan, st. moritz on bernina express, then luzern, and end somewhere near there for return flight to new york.  what do you think?  i want to get some guidance regarding trains.

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I'd spend more time in Italy since your focus is not on skiing but it's a good idea to finish with the Bernina Express for sure. You'll probably leave from Zurich (unless you find good deals from Geneva).

Something like :

- Rome 3 nights

- Florence 2 nights

- Lake Como 1-2 nights

- St. Moritz (I don't recommend)/somewhere else in Engadin Valley for a night but you could go straight to Lucerne

- Lucerne 2 nights

It's a bit fast-paced but you asked for that itinerary. :)

High-speed trains between Rome and Florence (up to 4 per hour, 1h30 journey), Florence and Milan (hourly, 2h journey). Then multiple slower regional trains through the Alps !

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how come you don’t recommend st. moritz?  so flight into rome? what are your thoughts on venice?  do we need 3 nights in rome?  really appreciate your insight.  feel like i’m almost there!

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also, what town in engadin valley do you suggest?

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St. Moritz is in my opinion an overrated ski resort for millionaires. The town in itself is quite ugly too.

There are other more beautiful villages but they're quite small so don't expect a lot of activity. For example Zuoz, Madulain or Zernez a bit further away.

Venice is worth a visit, especially in winter with less tourists than usual. I visited the city in February and it was lovely !

You could add it between Florence and before Lake Como/Bernina Express. Something like :

- Rome 3 nights

- Florence 2 nights

- Venice 2 nights

- Lake Como 1 night

- Lucerne 1 night (or Zurich if your flight leaves early anyway)

Would be better to stay for 2 nights in Lucerne/Zurich so maybe only 2 nights in Rome. That's up to you honestly.

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perfect itinerary.  would i be able to take trains between all these locations?  what mode of transportation do you recommend?

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Definitely use the train. It's no use flying for these journeys.

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i know a couple of these routes you can take a scenic train, correct?  the bernina express?  otherwise i get the train pass for europe?

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Yes, most if not all routes in the Alps are scenic. Whether on a regional train or on the Bernina Express.

The panorama carriages on the Bernina Express require a 36 CHF reservation on top of the pass/tickets but you can travel in the reservation-free regular carriages at the front : less busy, pull-down windows (better for pictures).

The rest of the journey will be on high-speed trains. They don't run throughout the journey at 250-300 km/h but they are comfortable and a great experience nonetheless.

With the Eurail pass you need to add mandatory reservations on Italian high-speed trains on top of the pass. Trains run often and reservations are available on the day.

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hi again, flights to rome are high right now, what are your thoughts on flying in to Milan?

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Sure, it’s totally fine too. Maybe leave Rome for another trip in that case as it would add a lot of travel time.

I wouldn’t go far on your first day (jetlag, delays, etc.) so maybe :

  • Milan 1-2 nights (not the most beautiful and interesting Italian city but I’m not sure you’ll want to travel by train for 2-3h on your first day. Your choice!)
  • Florence 2 nights
  • Venice 2 nights
  • Lake Como 2 nights
  • Switzerland 2-3 nights
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another hiccup….flights from zurich to ny are very high...what do you suggest?

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Check flights from Geneva, Basel (EuroAirport Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg) or Munich?

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yes, tried those, also high.  paris is most reasonable

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in and out of milan is cheapest

 

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Then go back from Milan. You can do Lucerne (or Zurich) - Malpensa Airport easily avoiding Milan center :

  • any train Zurich/Lucerne - Lugano
  • hourly regional train Lugano - Malpensa Airport

If your flight leaves in the morning better to spend the night in a hotel next to the airport.

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having looked at  the trains options, seems would be difficult for the 5 of us to get from lucerne to milan airport and risk loosing time with interruptions i’ve noted.  what are your  thoughts in or out of paris and milan?  an itinerary between these two.  or, i can bite the bullet and pay the higher rate flying into rome and out of paris.

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What do you mean by interruptions and losing time ? The Gotthard Base Tunnel is closed and trains take the old line yes but it's nothing as long as you take the extra hour into account. Timetables are reliable. It's also a scenic journey through the Alps !

For example :

- IC21 Lucerne - Lugano 10:18 - 12:48

- S10 Lugano - Malpensa Airport 13:06 - 14:41

Hourly service, with every other hour an easy and guaranteed connection in Arth-Goldau.

You could land in/leave from Paris, sure. Only do that if you intend to visit the city though. Otherwise it would be lost travel time as the journey isn't particularly scenic through the grey countryside.

I mean there are loads of options...

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sorry, it looked like there were multiple stops in which we would have to walk to another station.  can you send the link?

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the flight from milan to new york is at 3:40 pm

 

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the flight from milan to new york is at 3:40 pm

Then you'll probably want to leave a bit earlier. Check timetables on sbb.ch.

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bit the bullet and booked flights, we fly in to rome and out of zurich.  now the planning of the rest resumes. 

Rome 2 nights

Florence 2 nights

Venice 2 nights

Lake Como 1 night

St. Moritz/Engadin valley 1 night

Lucerne 1 night

Zurich 1 night (our flight leaves 1:30)

we have a total of 9 nights, which do you think i can remove?

how does this look?

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Three 1-night stops in a row in Switzerland sounds like hard work, and a lot of wasted time checking in and out, packing bags etc. I would try to stay in 1 spot for three nights if at all possible. Switzerland is very easy to get around. I don’t think St Moritz is worth a special visit.

How about stay this instead:
Day 1 Como to Chur via the Bernina Express, sleep Lucerne
Day 2 Day trip to Bern via the Goldenpass route in one direction, sleep Lucerne
Day 3 Day trip to somewhere else. Zurich or your choice, sleep Lucerne
Day 4 Quick morning in Lucerne then 1h10 train Zurich airport

You could just as easily make an itinerary work with 3 nights in Bern or Zurich.

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I would try to spend more time in Rome than 2 days. Drop either Florence (because although it’s gorgeous, it’s probably the least interesting of your three Italian cities) or Venice (because it’s further out of your way).

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