Hello, My family of four toured Munich, Austria and Italy for 17 days in July through this travel company and Zicasso. We had an amazing time! We worked with our agent to develop our first ever Europe trip. We loved all the destinations, some more than others. We felt our agent did a pretty good job but there were some snafus that we felt could have been avoided if better planned and communicated. For instance, we missed a train and had to repurchase tickets because it was not clear that two sets of train tickets were together for different days and one set got thrown away. Cha ching! Another major disappointment was that we missed a much anticipated boat tour off the Cinque Terre coast due to too tightly scheduled itinerary. Cha- ching! Thirdly, another boat tour was scheduled very far away from our hotel and did not realize the distance until late the night before. Luckily, our hotel was still at the desk and made arrangements for a driver to get us to our location in time for the boat tour. However, it too was very costly. Cha- ching! Our agent did offer to reimburse us for this taxi fee. On the upside, we loved the planned out books that listed our itinerary with the 5 W's and an H. Made each day easier having everything we needed in a neat, colored, hard-bound book.
Some pros and cons: We overpacked! We could have done with half the clothes as we found laundromats in most cities. More luggage was definitely a downer lugging on the trains as we moved around every 2-3 days. Some of the hotels were less than we thought they should be as we were told they would be 4 and 5 star accommodations and a few were not. One though, in Levanto Italy, was very nice. The highlights were Salzburg and Hallstatt, Austria. Hallstatt was one of the most breathtaking places we have ever seen with its majestic mountains and lakeside, beautiful village! We also adored Cinque Terre and hiking among the five villages along the Ligurian Sea-Spectacular! Lastly, the Amalfi Coast of Positino and surrounding area was also amazingly beautiful with its blue grotto and jutting rocks out of the Sea. We were very disappointed to miss a sunset tapas cruise out of Levanto due to train delays and a too tightly scheduled tour. The local guides were awesome! Very personable and knowledgeable. Really enjoyed our guides in Salzburg, Munich, Tuscany and in Positino. One of the best, unexpected part of our trip was seeing Pope Francis for his Sunday blessing on the faithful in St. Peters Square. It was free and fairly hassle-free and of course, so moving!
Eliminate some cities to build in more leisure days which we felt were needed because of all the new information and sights you are trying to process. Cut down time to no more than 14 days. The last few days we were walking zombies and could not appreciate fully the last few tours. Schedule tours on second day of arrival to avoid stress/missing a tour. Pack a lot less! There are laundromats. Have plenty of coins on hand for the restrooms because you need them a lot and they cost! Patience is a must in an unfamiliar city so remember to take a lot of deep breaths.
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