We just came back from a whirlwind trip to Europe and we had an amazing time. We spent about 17 days in Switzerland, Paris and Italy. We fell in love with the first town we touched and the next and the next. It was our longest trip yet but even at the end of our stay we were left yearning for more. More of the picturesque countryside, the historical city centers, the amazing paintings and sculptures by masters, the energetic vibe and the delicious food. Oh! The delightful mouthwatering food.
We had spent days planning our itinerary before making the bookings. It was a long process where we selected the destinations, identified the likely places of interest and then decided on the number of days. So, if you are planning a Europe trip, just scroll below. For your benefit we have listed our day wise itinerary complete with the activities and places to eat. Feel free to copy any or all of it.
It might seem like we have packed too many destination in a single trip. But we had taken a chance to spend limited time at a single location and tried to touch more destinations in one go. And being our first trip together to Europe, we wanted to get a taste of much more. We have no regrets. It is still hard to pick one destination as favorite out of so many we traveled to. And we wanted to spend more time at most of the cities. So, next time we go back we would select one of these wonderful places, for a more relaxed time.
Here goes our long stay itinerary.
DAY 1 – Milan
(Landed in the afternoon, stayed at The Residence Pola)
- Shopping on Corso Buenos Aires.
- Definitely go there if you want to shop. Lots of showrooms on either side of the street.
- Had dinner at Venice near Porta Venezia
- This place was pocket friendly with decent food.
- Slept at The Residence Pola.
DAY 2 – Lucerne, Switzerland
(For Switzerland travel, opt for Swiss Travel Pass. It gives free travel on most of the trains/boats, entry to museums and reduced fare on mountain trains)
- Travelled by train to Lucerne. Took the scenic route of panoramic Wihelm Tell express. Checked-in to Airbnb.
- Lake Lucerne Cruise
- Must do. No ticket needed if you have Swiss Travel pass.
- Excursion to top of Rigi mountain
- Spectacular view from top. We would recommend this even when weather is overcast.
- Slept at Airbnb.
DAY 3 – Lucerne, Switzerland
- Expedition to Mt. Titlis via Engelberg
- Full of activities on the top and in the valley. Enjoy the year-round ice caped mountains and glacier. Do check the weather on the top before the ride.
- Delicious cheese fondue in Engelberg Cheese factory.
- Definitely try for the authentic feel. You can also buy different flavors of cheese but need to keep it in refrigerator.
- Went to Rhine Waterfall
- You can view the waterfall from multiple levels. Worth a visit.
- Slept at Airbnb,
DAY 4 – Interlaken, Switzerland
- Travelled by train through the scenic Golden Pass panoramic route.
- Visit to Jungfraugh (Top of Europe)
- Definitely go there. Ticket is costly but you get 25% discount if you have Swiss Travel pass. Apart from the amazing views, go for sledging and tubing for sure.
- Checked-in to Airbnb.
- Slept at Airbnb, Wimmis.
DAY 5 – Bern, Switzerland and then Paris
- Wimmis town tour
- Beautiful town. It is a recommend stay.
- Bern city tour
- Old town is architecturally beautiful. Visit it for sure and allocate 4-5 hours for the trip at minimum.
- TGV Train ride to Paris.
- Slept at Airbnb, Paris
DAY 6 – Paris, France
- Visit to Eiffel Tower
- A marvel to visit. Not much to say. But avoid if weather is not good. Paris has numerous museums perfect for a rainy day.
- Visit to Notre Dame
- One of the best attractions. Must visit. Try the souvenir shops for some good stuff at reasonable prices.
- Arc De Triumph
- One of the city landmarks. But we thought it could be skipped if pressed for time.
- Paris Tour on Seine boat cruise (Bateaux Mouches)
- You would find many operator options for the tours. We enjoyed this one. Bring a jacket as it gets chilly on the evening cruise.
- Slept at Airbnb, Paris.
DAY 7 – Paris, France
- Montmatre area (Sacre Coeur Basilica, Wall of Love)
- Beautiful view of city from the basilica.
- Trip to Palace of Versailles
- It is better to pack some food and have a picnic. If you want to rent a bicycle, get it near the main gate.
- Top of Eiffel Tower
- Go to the top just before sunset. This way you get to enjoy the day view, sun set over the city and then stay back for night view.
- Slept at Airbnb, Paris.
DAY 8 – Paris, France
- Went to Louvre Museum
- Definitely get an audio guide. Choose what interests you as one cannot see everything in a single day.
- Had dinner at L’As du fallafel
- Best fallafel in town. Both veg and non-veg options available.
- Slept at Airbnb, Paris.
DAY 9 – Munich, Germany
- TGV train to Munich in the morning.
- Visit to Oktoberfest
- To sit inside the beer tents, either book your table beforehand or get in early in the afternoon. Great atmosphere and good beer (obviously).
- Took an overnight train to Rome
DAY 10 – Rome, Italy
- Check-in to Airbnb.
- Breakfast at PanDivino
- Fresh home-made bread paninis and heavenly tiramisu.
- Visit to Colosseum and Roman Forum
- Book tickets beforehand to avoid long queues. There is a single ticket for Colosseum and Forum. Main entry is from Colosseum side.
- Went to Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Piazza Navona
- Spanish steps and Piazza Navona are known for the lively atmosphere
- Dinner at one of the pizzerias in Trastevere area.
- Slept at Airbnb, Rome.
DAY 11 – Rome, Italy
- Went to Vatican museum.
- Reach early to avoid long queue and save time. You can’t afford to miss Sistine Chapel.
- Gelato at Gelateria Oldbridge near Vatican.
- Super tasty. Blackberry yogurt was heavenly.
- Peter’s Basilica and Square
- Have to endure another long queue, but worth the wait. The art and architecture is spellbinding.
- Top of St. Angel’s Castel
- Best sun set view. But you have to climb 400 steps.
- Dinner at La Boccaccia, Trastevere.
- Pizza by slice. Best pizzas we had in Italy
- Took overnight train to Venice
- Not such a good idea as it is a ~6 hr journey and you reach Venice really early in the morning.
DAY 12 – Venice, Italy
- Breakfast at Brek, near railway station
- Good food.
- Short visit to Rialto Bridge
- Better views are from Grand Canal or farther away from the bridge itself.
- Basilica di San Marco in Piazza San Marco
- Beautiful mosaic. Take tickets to the terrace and it will not disappoint you.
- Lunch at Al Portego
- Spotty service but decent entrees.
- Getting lost in Venice streets
- Grand canal tour by waterbus
- If you are not able to buy tickets for the bus beforehand, do not worry as you can buy tickets onboard.
- Slept at Airbnb, Venice.
DAY 13 – Florence, Italy
- Morning train from Venice to Florence.
- Piazza di Santa Croce, then walk to Ponte alle Grazie
- Don’t miss the beautiful view of Ponte Vechhio from Ponte alle Grazie.
- Visit to Uffizi Gallery
- Book tickets beforehand to avoid queue. And the tickets are for specific time entry. So be there 15 min before to pick up the tickets if you have booked the tickets.
- Up the hill to Piazza Michelangelo
- Spectacular view of sunset over the city. Must do.
- Dinner at Natalino restaurant
- Highly recommended for amazing food. Must try Pear Ravioli and Tiramisu there.
- Slept at Airbnb, Florence
DAY 14 – Tuscany, Italy
(Took a car on rent from Avis Florence to enjoy Tuscany country side for a day trip)
- Visit to Sienna
- We loved the small walled city. We would definitely recommend it.
- Visit to Pienza
- Views of the real Tuscany countryside. But the country side would be more beautiful in spring and summer. Around 55km from Sienna and 135km from Florence. Keep time to get back.
- We would recommend to stay in Tuscany for at least a night. That way you can enjoy the beauty to the full.
- Had dinner at Antonio Porrati Pizzicheria
- Must try chickpeas and mushroom soup.
- Slept at Airbnb, Florence
DAY 15 – PISA, Italy then Cinque Terre, Italy
- Morning train from Florence to Pisa for obligatory visit to Leaning tower of Pisa
- Only slot couple of hours. Apart from The Tower and the Basilica nothing much to see.
- Train from Pisa to Manarola (Second village in Cinque Terre) and check-in
- Lunch of Pesto pizza from Il Discovolo
- Went to bell tower
- It is uphill on top of the town and has good views of the village.
- Hiking to the trail to Marina
- Best panoramic sights in Cinque Terre. Spectacular view of the village and the sea. Must do.
- Gelato from Gelateria Cinque Terre
- Heavenly mixed berry gelato.
- Had pesto and focaccia in dinner
- The region of Liguria (including Cinque Terre) is known for Pesto and focaccia. So can’t go wrong there.
- Slept at Airbnb, Manarola
- Book your stay near railway station so that you do not have to carry your luggage up hill.
DAY 16 – Cinque Terre, Italy
- Breakfast at Da Aristide
- Good food.
- Trek from Manarola to Corniglia via Volastra
- If coastal trail is closed, then you have to go via alternate trail (506 to 586 to 587) which is approximately 3-4 hrs., medium to difficult trek.
- Visit to Vernazza
- Go towards Monterosso coastal hiking trail to get the best view of the village.
- Back to Manarola and then the train to Milan.
- Slept at Airbnb, Milan
DAY 17 – Milan, Italy
- Window shopping on Corso Como.
- All big brands at one place. Shopping dreamland.
- Went to Sforzesco Castle.
- Entry to castle is free but museums are paid. You can check from outside only if you do not have time.
- Admiring The Last Supper at Piazza Santa Maria delle Grazie.
- Must visit. Tickets open 3 months prior and gets sold immediately. Definitely book in advance. If they are sold on site, then you can book via call.
- Visit to Duomo di Milano.
- Amazing architecture. You can skip going inside. If you do want to go, then buy tickets from other counters not the main one to save time.
- Flight back to India.
Planning a Europe trip and have questions regarding any of these destinations? Or need help building an itinerary? Contact us. We will assist you in creating your dream holidays.
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