Cerebral Shangrila

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Europe Travel Diary - A detailed Itinerary of my 2 week trip to Austria, Switzerland and Italy

DAY 1 - 1345 Hrs – Arrive in Vienna ( By Emirates Air).

To Reach Hotel ( My hotel was opposite to Kepler platz train station) : Take the S-Bahn (S7) Train located in the Airport terminal lower level. The fare is Euro 3.6 per person and it takes 24 mins to Wien center.Technically tickets have to be purchased and validated before boarding but conductors usually sell and stamp tickets on the airport line--instead of issuing a fine which they normally do on any other line.

24-hour ticket €5.70 Valid from time stamped.
48-hour ticket €10.00 Valid from time stamped.

Vienna Card – 18 Euros. Free rides for 72 hrs plus discounts at museums.

Tip: Buy a 24 hour / 48 hour / Vienna card depending on your length of stay. There is a direct non-stop train from Airport to City center (CAT) but it costs more (12 Euros) and saves just 10 mins of commute time.

Route: Airport - Schwechat - Kaiserebersdorf - Zentralfriedhof - Geiselbergstrasse - St Marx - Rennweg - City Air Terminal. Change to U3 [Direction Ottarkring] to “Stephansplatz”. Change to U1 to “Keplerplatz“. Exit „Raaber-Bahn-Gasse“North, approx. 2 minutes walk to “Columbusgasse 16”.

Visit Belvedere Palace at 1600 hrs. Either walk 700m from Hotel or take U1 and get down at Südtirolerplatz (next stop). Palace closes at 1800 hrs.

If not tired, try going to “Prater” park - open till Midnight.

DAY 2 – Sunday – Vienna Sightseeing

Take U1 to Karlsplatz (3 stops) and take the 10am guided tour (Tkts Euro 6.50) of Opera House & Museum.

After the tour, Take U4 from Karlsplatz to SchonBrunn ( 6 stops). Spend rest of the day at the Schonbrunn palace & zoo. Buy Schönbrunn Pass Classic Light that covers Grand Tour with audioguide, Crown Prince Garden, Maze & Labyrinth, Gloriette with viewing terrace.

Zoo tickets needs to be bought separately. Zoo closes at 630pm. Return to Apt.

Day 3 – Monday - Depart Vienna at 06:14 (Train) ; arrive in Salzburg 08:53 – Sightseeing Salzburg

To catch train, From Hotel take U1 to Stephenzplatz (4 stops) and from there U3 to Westbahnof ( 5 stops). U-Bahn starts at 5am, Nightbuses run till 5am.

Take Train to Salzburg. Arrive at 853am. Walk 400m to Best western Hotel.

Entire city of Salzburg can be seen by walk.

Must see attractions in the day : Salzburger Dom - the city′s cathedral, Mozart birthplace & living place ( 1 km from Hotel), Mirabell Palace & Gardens (400m from Hotel), Getreidegasse - Salzburg′s busiest alley, Scholss Hellbrunn, Salzburg Castle - Festung Hohensalzburg.

Day 4 – Tuesday - Sightseeing Eisriesenwelt ice caves & Burg Hohenwerfen.

Eisriesenwelt is located about 40 kilometers south of Salzburg, in a town called Werfen. To get to the caves with public transport, you should go to Salzburg Hauptbahnhof and buy a ticket to Werfen. From here, you catch a bus to the Eisriesenwelt parking lot.

From the parking lot, walk approximately 15 minutes towards the Wimmer Hütte, where you can catch the gondola (Cable car) . From the top of the gondola, the caves are about another 15 minutes walk.

The fortress is accessed up a shaded footpath (approx. 15 minutes' walk). An elevator carrying passengers straight up to the fortress courtyard is available at an extra charge.

Return to hotel and relax.

Day 5- Wednesday - Depart Salzburg at 06:02 . The train station is 15 mins walk from the Hotel.

Arrive in Zurich at 1120 . Take train IR2331 that departs at 1135 (from Platform 4). Arrive at Luzern at 1225.

Entire city of Luzern can be seen by foot. See Chapel bridge, Lion monument, Leger Cathedral.

Take the 18:55 Golden pass train to Interlaken. Arrive at 20:55. Check-in to Hotel.

Day 6 – Thursday – Sightseeing in Interlaken. Entire town can be seen by foot.

Places to see : Hoheweg Park, Unterseen Church, Boating in Lake Brienz, Walk around Lake Brienz, Reichenback falls ( Sherlock Holmes falls). Reichenbach falls is 20 mins walk from Meringen station ( Take 5 min furnicular ride to the falls). Meringen is 45 mins by train from Interlaken in the Luzern route.

Day 7 – Friday – Do the Jungfrau trip. Take the “Good morning” train at 0635 ( Cheapter tickets) and return to Interlaken after noon.

There are two routes to the top. Trains head southwest from Interlaken Ost along the valley floor to Lauterbrunnen, from where you pick up the mountain line which climbs through Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg; different trains head southeast from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald, where you change for the climb, arriving at Kleine Scheidegg from the other direction. All trains terminate at Kleine Scheidegg, where you must change for the final pull to Jungfraujoch – the popular practice is to go up one way and down the other.

Day 8 – Saturday – Depart by Train IC 956 from Interlaken OST at 0701 hrs. Arrive at Spiez at 0722. Depart Spiez at 0805 (Train 51), Arrive at Milan at 1035. Depart Milan at 1135 ( Train 9715) and Arrive in Venice at 1410.

Everything on venice can be reached on foot. Visit Rialto bridge & market.

Day 9 – Sunday – Venice sightseeing.

Visit St.Mark's square, Take a boat tour of Grand canal (preferably slow #1 vaporetto) , Doge's Palace ( Near Piazza San Marco), Visit San Giovanni e Paolo ( Dominican church). Attend an evening classical music concert ( Vivaldi's four seasons) behind doge palace.

Day 10 – Monday - Depart at 0839 from Ve Mestre ( Take a local train from St.Lucia to Mestre – Journey time is 10 mins); Arrive at Florence at 1030. Depart Florence at 1057 and arrive at Pisa at 1206 (Train No 23355). Sightseeing at Pisa – Leaning Tower, Knights Square, Baptistry.

Depart at 1727 ( Train no 6835) from Pisa to Lucca. Sightseeing the Lucca walls, San michele, San Martino cathedrals.

Depart Lucca at 2032 ( Train no 3089) ; Arrive at Florence at 2152. Walk to the Apartment ( 5-10 mins walk).

Day 11 – Tuesday - Sightseeing in Florence. All places can be seen on foot.

Attractions to see : Piazza del signoria, Il Duomo, Galleria Uffizi, Galleria Academia.

Day 12 – Wednesday - depart from Florence at 0700 ( Train No 9501); arrive at 0845 in Rome.
From Roma Termini, take the escalator down to the Underground and change to the METRO line “A”. Take a train going in the direction of BATTISTINI and get off the train at the station OTTAVIANO-SAN PIETRO. This is only 6 stops. (To help you prepare, the station BEFORE this is LEPANTO). Get out the station and walk down the street called Viale Giulio Cesare direction San Pietro (Saint Peter).

Our apartment is in Vatican city.

Sightseeing in Vatican City – St.Peter's cathedral, St.Peter's Square, Audition with the Pope.

Day 13 – Thursday - Rome sightseeing.

Take metro from Ottaviano to Roma termini. Change to B line towards Laurentina; second stop is colosseo. Get down here.

Walking tour of Ancient Rome - Visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum and the Palatine Hill. If you follow the Via Sacra (one of the oldest roads in Rome) out of the Forum, you will walk up a staircase and find yourself behind the Campidoglio (Capitoline Hill). Take a photo of the Forum from here, the view is beautiful.Then head to the Pantheon.Walk towards the river (Tiber, Tevere) and next to the Pantheon you will find Piazza Navona.

walk over to the Trevi Fountain, exiting right on Piazza di Spagna (if you are facing the steps) by via Due Macelli. Head back to Apartment.

Day 14 – Friday - Vatican Museums / Sistine Chapel / Raphael's rooms. Take an audio guide. Vatican museum is huge and includes Sistine chapel and Raphael's rooms.

Day 15 – Saturday - Morning Sightseeing in Rome – Visit Capitolini Museums ( Metro is Garbatella – 3 stops away from Colosseo). From Roma termini, take a non-stop train to FCO (Rome) Airport. Head back home from Rome.

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