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2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Canton of Zurich...
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2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Hi,

My husband and I are considering a 2 week trip to Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco. We both have never been to Europe. What would you recommend for an itinerary? Our only priorities are skiing for 1-2 days in the Swiss Alps and seeing Venice/Milan/Verona. We are flying out of Chicago. Where should we fly to and leave from for the best prices?

THANKS!!!

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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1. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Hi snsmith27,

I think you are trying to pack in far too much in too little time. Do you mean that you want to see eachof Venice, and Milan, and Verona, or would consider doing only one of them? But even if it's only one of them, seeing the Swiss Alps, and Monaco, and one of V/M/V in 14 days will be quite time consuming.

Remember that every time you move bases, you lose half a day easily with the chores of packing up and checking out, then checking in and unpacking again. Since you are also travelling long distances, you will basically lose an entire day in the move. With three bases, you've lost three full days just for that.

Also, many ski resorts will require visitors to stay for one full week, and you may not be able to find a hotel room for only a few days.

So, I think you should sit down and do the difficult task of eliminating part of your wish list. I think you could comfortably do one week in northern Italy, one week in the Alps, then one night before you fly out.

I think you should consider flying into Milan and out of Zürich.

Have fun!

s

Canton of Zurich...
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2. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Thanks for the great advice! Where would you recommend we visit in the Alps and in Northern Italy?

Martigny...
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3. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Best thing is to make a circle itinerary so you do not waste time in back-tracking over the same route.

For example:

Fly into Milan. Visit Milan (2 days at least)

Train from Milan to Monte Carlo. You will probably have to change in Genova.

Spend 3-4 days exploring the Monte Carlo area. Monaco is tiny. There isn't all that much to see and do there but the area around Eze/Nice/Cannes etc is very nice and so is Menton on the other side. Most of this can be easily done on the local trains.

then FLY from Nice to Geneva on EasyJet. Cheap, mostly reliable and frequent flights. www.easyjet.com

Spend at least one night in Geneva and explore this fascinating town. Then continue on to Montreux and from there on the Golden Pass railway to Gstaad and over to the bernese Oberland.

Stay in the Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen/Murren or Wengen area. If you want to see some wonderful mountains stay up at either Murren or Wengen but these are not the best places for travelling about in the area. Whatever you do, be sure to visit the Open Air Museum at Ballenberg, next to Brienz. It is simply wonderful and you should spend a day here seeing the various types of architecture from all over Switzerland as well as the crafts etc on display.

Do NOT waste time in Interlaken. this is a "name" place but there is little to see or do in the town itself (aside from buying chocolates at Schuh!!) Instead go to Luzern. Spend the night. Take a lake cruise. Then head south back to Milan and back to Chicago.

Canton of Zurich...
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4. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Hi Hambagahle,

Thanks for the advice! Your plan looks great!! Do you think there would be enough time to go to Venice as well? If so, where should I fit it into the itinerary?

Thanks again!!

S

Martigny...
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for Switzerland
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5. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Venice is around 2 and a half to almost 3 and a half hours by train from Milano. so you can't do it in a day and have much time to see Venice. And you need time there- just getting from A to B on the vaporetti takes time...

You will need to take time from somewhere else. If I were you, I would drop Monte Carlo and substitue Venice. There is LOTS more to see and do in venice and even a week would hardly do it justice! To revise the suggestion I gave you -

Fly into Milano - 2 nights

After Milano go to Venice - 3 nights

From Venice back to Milano and then to Geneva

All of this, by the way, is train, not flights and certainly not driving! The Milano-Venezia autostrada is a nightmare (I just did it a few weeks ago...)

then Geneva- Bernese Oberland and Luzern. Then back to Milano for your last night

You should start looking at train passes. For these you need to work out what it would cost on a point to point ticket and what a Swiss or Italian-based pass would cost... I cannot help you here as I cannot use the Swiss ones and since I live almost on the Italian border, when I go to Italy, I drive! (But don't drive... not a good idea!)

For train schedules and pricing - www.sbb.ch/en OR www.trenitalia.com.

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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6. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Hi again,

I have a few comments on Hambagahle's good route above --

First, look into flying open-jaw into Milan (or Venice) and out of Zürich; you'll save money and time by not backtracking. Open-jaw flights are not one-way, and they are only about $20 to$50 more than straight round-trip. You can find them under "multiple destinations" buttons when you look for flights.

I would again caution you against having too many overnight stays -- they do rob you of about half a day of just housekeeping chores. The second route above has five stops (I think), so that will take away about 2.5 days of vacation time.

If it were me, I would:

Fly into Venice, stay four nights.

Fly to Geneva, go to Montreux, stay fthree or our nights.

Train to the Oberland, stay four or five nights

Train to Luzern, stay two nights, fly out of Zürich.

Have fun!

s

Martigny...
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for Switzerland
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7. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Swandav -

can you fly into Venice (Marco Polo airport!) direct from the USA? I don't think you can, so the poster would have to change in Milano anyway...

From venice to Geneva FlyBaboo.com runs direct flights. FlyBaboo may not be familiar to many but it is a small Swiss airline with excellent service and a good reputation. Flies to all sorts of unusual places from Geneva...

Garmisch-Partenkirch...
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8. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Hi H!

I've seen lots of posters at another forum talk about flying from the USA to Venice, so I thought it was possible. I just checked a few sites, and one can fly from JFK directly to Venice, or fly from ORD with connections at London, Paris, Rome, Belgium .. . lots of places. And that would still save more time than having an extra stop-over in Milan. Do you think Milan itself would be worth the time and hassle for a stop of a few nights?

s

Martigny...
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9. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

Milano is a wonderful city! (Even in the winter fog!). Oodles of places to see - of course the Duomo, lots of smaller churches with fascinating designs, history etc and quite a few major museums. The centre of town is beautiful - around the piazza del Duomo, la Scala and the via Montenapoleone. Given the fact that the OP will be flying in from the US and the arrival day will be a bit of a blur, yes I really think that 3 nights in Milano would be super! If someone offered me 3 nights there I would take it like a shot!!

(and the shopping isn't half bad either...MUCH better than here in CH!!)

Basel / Switzerland
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10. Re: 2 weeks in Switzerland, Northern Italy, and Monaco

You could combine everything by using the plane.

Fly in to Geneva.

Spend some days in the Valais (Zermatt) for skiing, with a sidestep to Northern Italy (Aosta valley) with a rental car via San Bernard pass. 4 days

Fly with easyjet from Geneva to Venice; and back to Geneva. 4 days.

Have a flight from Geneva to Nice. Visit the Côte d'Azur (Nice, Cannes, St. Tropez, ,Monaco) 4 days.

Fly out from Geneva

And you have still 2 days left for sidesteps to Lausanne, Montreux, Berne.

Easyjet flights are not more expensive than train tickets. You could also leave most of your luggage somewhere in Geneva, and just use the outfit for Venice/Nice, as it is not the same as for Zermatt, and the weight limit for the flights is 20 Kg.