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16 replies
What to do in Interlaken, Florence, Munich, and Nice
dhp5013
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I’m going with two friends to Europe at the end of the summer/early fall. As of now the cities are as follows: Rome, Venice, Munich, Zurich, Milan, Marseille, Paris, London, Dublin.

Paris, Rome, Venice are all pretty much decided what we’re doing, but I was wondering if anyone knew of fun things to do/see in the rest of the cities (especially Milan, Marseilles, and Munich). Two of us are history nerds so anything of particular historical significance to check out would be awesome to hear about as well.

Also, while in Zurich the plan was to do some biking in the Alps, how feasible is that with 3 days scheduled?

Finally, I’m kind of getting the vibe from what I’m reading here that Dublin isn’t all that great. Any arguments to the counter?

Thanks!

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I’d skip Milan and go to Florence instead, and I have a feeling you’ll get similar advice about skipping Zurich and Marseilles.

daniel3721
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I would skip Zurich and visit Interlaken Switzerland. If your looking to do some hiking and out door stuff this is the place to do it. Having been to both cities, I would not suggest going to Zurich but would recommend Interlaken everytime.

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I’d skip Marseilles, one of the world’s busiest ports (think Oakland in the US) and go anywhere on the Riviera or elsewhere in South France.

A visit to the Dachau concentration camp isn’t fun, but you may want to reserve a 1/2 day while you’re in Munich. Dachau is a Munich suburb.

dhp5013
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augustin25: I’ll definitely be taking your suggestion under advisement, but what makes Florence more worth while than Milan? Why would you switch? What do you think are some of the must sees of Florence vs. Milan?

daniel3721: Thank you! That was exactly the kind of suggestion I was looking for! Do you have any suggestions or links I could look at for Interlaken? My only question about Interlaken would be about travel then. Could I use the rail just as easily with as Zurich?

oldlady: I’m thinking of switching from Marseilles to Nice, what do you think? Also, we weren’t sure if it would make more sense to travel via rail or plane to Paris leaving southern France. Your thoughts? Finally, I wanted to clarify that when you were talking about Dachau as “not fun” you meant that the experience would be somber as opposed to unsafe, true?

Everyone: thanks so much for your help!

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London, Paris, Nantes, Cinque Terre, Rome, Interlaken, Zürich
dhp5013
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I am leaving from Baltimore, MD with $3000 for 23 days
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Quote:
oldlady: I’m thinking of switching from Marseilles to Nice, what do you think? Also, we weren’t sure if it would make more sense to travel via rail or plane to Paris leaving southern France. Your thoughts? Finally, I wanted to clarify that when you were talking about Dachau as “not fun” you meant that the experience would be somber as opposed to unsafe, true?
Nice will be a good visit, but do a search and check some old posts about the area. Antibes, Ville Franche sur Mer and other riviera places may be less expensive. Provence and non-coastal parts of Alpes Maritime are also great visits if glitzy beach resorts aren’t your thing.

There’s excellent rail service between Paris and Nice and the fastest trains take just over 5 1/2 hours. Since any flight takes 5 hours when you add getting to/from airports, security time and check-in time to the actual flight time, it’s a toss up. I’d go with whichever was cheapest and/or had the more convenient schedule. A flight or train in the middle of the day kills the entire day. An overnight train is a good choice for this route and your Venice-Munich leg.

Dachau is a chilling experience (though not the same as a death camp like Auschwitz), but it’s certainly safe. I’d recommend it.

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dhp5013 wrote:
augustin25: I’ll definitely be taking your suggestion under advisement, but what makes Florence more worth while than Milan? Why would you switch? What do you think are some of the must sees of Florence vs. Milan?

Milan isn’t completely devoid of things to see, but Florence offers much more and is a great place to just wander and soak in.

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I’ve not met many people who think highly of Milan, but they have a famed opera house and Leonardo’s famous last supper (which apparently requires a lot of planning to view. Florence is the birthplace of the renaissance and has more classic art and architecture than you can see in a week, so I would think it would be a good choice for history buffs. Pisa is an easy day trip from Florence, too.

Zurich, like Geneva, has a lot of history but is not really convenient to the alps. Zurich has the best art in Switzerland, including a world-class museum. Interlaken is not in the alps, either, but is a short train ride from some scenic mountain areas; my preference would be Lauterbrunnen, in a scenic valley that is closer than Interlaken to those mountain areas. That area is the Bernese Oberland (BO for short) and is widely viewed to be the most scenic part of Switzerland, but is also heavily touristed. If you just want to look at the scenery and bike, I would suggest a mountain village in the BO that has facilities for biking.

Go to http://www.myswitzer…

Click on summer and scroll down and they have a section on biking that they say will give you information on your best options, depending on your input. I’ve seen bikes for rent in Railroad Stations, but lately a lot of the stations have replaced their agents with machines, and I’m not sure you can rent bikes as widely as you used to, but that site may give you information on that.

The BO is easy to get to, but there are many other areas that I find just as attractive and scenic, and less crowded. I think your itinerary (where you are arriving from and where you are going to) might inform your choice.

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Where else would you recommend going on the Riviera/southern France?

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clevelandbrown wrote:
Zurich, like Geneva, has a lot of history but is not really convenient to the alps. Zurich has the best art in Switzerland, including a world-class museum. Interlaken is not in the alps, either, but is a short train ride from some scenic mountain areas; my preference would be Lauterbrunnen, in a scenic valley that is closer than Interlaken to those mountain areas. That area is the Bernese Oberland (BO for short) and is widely viewed to be the most scenic part of Switzerland, but is also heavily touristed. If you just want to look at the scenery and bike, I would suggest a mountain village in the BO that has facilities for biking.

Go to http://www.myswitzer…

Click on summer and scroll down and they have a section on biking that they say will give you information on your best options, depending on your input. I’ve seen bikes for rent in Railroad Stations, but lately a lot of the stations have replaced their agents with machines, and I’m not sure you can rent bikes as widely as you used to, but that site may give you information on that.

Just wow, this was perfect! I’ve found about 3 or 4 different bike tours that will probably work. I think I’m going to stick with Interlaken, but the tour I’m most interested in is in Lauterbrunnen, which seems to be less than an hour away via public transport.

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Munich has the best technological museum in the world. Augustiners beer haus is touristy but it’s good. Glockenspiel is also in the area. Where are you planning on staying? There are plenty of places around Hauptbanoff.

Eat the food, use the wrong verbs, and end up getting charged double.

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There are a ton of hostels in the area around the train station in Munich, and pretty much all of them are decent. The site has lots of reviews and ratings so you can check them out. I’ve stayed in the 4you Muenchen. It’s nice enough (good breakfast), but I’d just go for the cheapest bed at a reputable place.
I’ve never been on a bike tour in Munich, but I know there are a few companies that do them. If you like biking (it seems like you do…), it might be a good way to learn the basics about the city since you have such a short time. The guide should be able to tell you about any places of significance in various historical periods and let you know what to see that matches your intrests. The Deutsches Museum (the technological museum mb mentioned) is incredible, think Smithsonian level huge, and is definitely worth a visit. If the weather is good, you should climb to the top of the tower of Alter Peter (a church right beside Marienplatz). It costs 1 euro and you have 360deg. views of the city. Best beer: Augustiner, without a doubt. The best place to drink it and have a Bavarian meal is the Augustinerbraeustuben on Landsbergerstrasse.
tour websites:
http://www.mikesbike…
http://www.radiustou…
http://www.radcitybi…

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Lauterbrunnen is only 20 minutes via train from Interlaken. Beautiful valley with alot to offer and plenty of other scenic areas nearby, including Gimmelwald. All the outdoor activities you’ll ever need are in this area.

Milan has a massive church, but Florence is just beautiful and I’d recommend that as part of any Italian visit. Very charming, most importantly walkable, and great art & museums if that’s what you’re in to. Micahelangelo’s David is there. Can see what you want in one full day if you work on it.

Nice is a great base to explore other towns on the Riverina. Half an hour max train ride to Monaco, which is a fantastic day trip. Also accessible is Cannes, St. Tropez and all those fancy pants places. We stayed 3 nights in Nice and ventured out quite a bit.

Have a great trip.

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Munich is freakin’ awesome. Easily one of my personal favorite cities in Europe. The Technological Museum is definitely worth seeing as someone mentioned before. The Glockenspiel is easy to get to so go there for a few minutes and watch the “show”. You will be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t stay at Wombat’s Hostel Munich, right by the train station. The place is awesome! Great food, great beer; which reminds me, stop by the Hofbrauhaus when you visit the glockenspiel and have a stein. Don’t forget to say “Prosst!” (means cheers in German). Whether or not you take a trip to Dachau is just based on personal preference. I’d recommend you do it, but it is heavy, heavy stuff. Certainly was a life-changing experience for me.

You’re not going to go wrong in Interlaken, Gimmelwald or Lauterbrunnen. The landscape is unbelievable. Brace yourself!

Nice is a fun little town, though most of the fun is to be had in the nearby towns. But, stay in Nice still. I highly recommend the Villa Saint Exupery in Nice. The place was easily one of my favorite hostels I stayed at (As was Wombats in Munich). A wide selection of beer that is priced fairly, and they bring in chefs to cook the meals for dinner every night. It’s fantastic stuff! Monaco is a must see. You can easily get there by train.

Like others said, skip Milan and go to Florence. Florence is more fun all-around.

Have fun

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Go to your local book store and thumb through LETS GOand other European Guide Books to get good ideas and tips. Rick Steve’s guide books ahs great info on all the places you are going and great info on Interlaken and the BO, Gimmelwald and Murren great for a day hike. Balmer’s is a great hostel in Interlaken and you can go Canyoning, Paragliding or skydive out of a helicopter. Bike rental shops all all around the hostel and you can ride for miles along the lakes and take the train back. You can also rent bikes at the train station and rent one way. I would add Cinque Terre, Italy for an amazing Italian experience ( 5 villages along the coast, 1 hour north of Pisa) Google it and you will go! If you hit Nice on Friday night, go to Wayne’s bar in Old Town by 9:00pm Scope out the scene and get a seat down in the pit. A live band will start and jump on top of the tables and dance the night away. For Munich, jump on the 8:20 S-Bahn to Dachau/Peterhausen. Exit Dachau and take the bus out front to the memorial camp. Go to the rear of the camp/ovens than to barracks and than to museum. Hit the movie theatre by 11:20am for the 11:30 show in English and finish museum and take bus back to Dachau station and train back to Munich. Get a bike to eat than jump on Mike’s Bike Tour. New Tours in many cities now oofer FREE TOURS and you tip at the end. Keep your ears open and see what your hostel has to offer.
Salzburg is another great day trip from Munich if you like the Sound Of Music or want to visit a beautiful old town and amazing fortress.

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lhiester wrote:
Where else would you recommend going on the Riviera/southern France?

IMHO the Pont du Gard is not to be missed. Arles is well worth it with low key atmosphere and more Roman ruins, the Camargue is cool if you like to see the white horses, black bulls, and flamingoes.
Up in the foothills: Grasse (the perfume factory is really kinda cool), Vence, St Paul de Vence—incredible views from those medieval towns.
We definitely visit Nice but stay in Antibes.
Collioure (further south, closer to Spanish border) is both fun and unspoiled.
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