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Old 5th June 2015, 13:54   #46
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Very well said. Fully agree with you. The never ending tarmac not only gets boring, but you feel like abandoning the drive half-way through and somehow reach your destination immediately. Scenic drives are different though. For those who feel east-west drive is fun, you have been warned.

If you stay on the highways, yes it might get a bit boring. But there is no law that stipulates you need to do that. You can drive east west and vv via some beautiful rural roads. Same in Europe, i dont particular enjoy highways or motorways, but you get there fast. You want really nice scenery, little attractive villages, you need to get off the main routes.

GPS units such as TomTom are ideal. You put tne destination in and let it plan according to avoid highway/motorway. great way to go in Europe and USA, but its going to take longer.

Jeroen
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Old 7th June 2015, 13:43   #47
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

What's the reason for you guys recommending a compact instead of the lowest economy class when booking car through rental?

Also, in Zurich the car rental is turning to be about 150% (at least) expensive instead of, say, Frankfurt. And the choice of cars that I get is also very different. Getting a Merc A class from Frankfurt is turning out to be cheaper than a Hyundai i20 in Zurich.
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Old 10th June 2015, 12:53   #48
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Ok, twist in the plan.

I came across something called 'Romantic Road' in Germany. The villages enroute look fabulous and I was thinking of including this in the trip.

Vienna is out. After going through Tanveer's log we decided that 'monuments only' aren't really our cup of tea.

So how does the following sound -

We go to Frankfurt and rent a car from there. Drive through the Romantic Road, reach Zurich or elsewhere in Switzerland and basically cover entire circuit in Switzerland, then go to Black Forest and drop the car to the nearest major town within Germany.

Then take a train/flight to Barcelona/Prague, spend 2-3 days here and again take a train/flight to Prague/Barcelona, spend 2-3 days and then fly back to Delhi.

Romantic road business - 2-3 days
Switzerland & Black Forest - 5-6 days
Barcelona - 2-3 days
Prague - 2-3 days

Makes sense?
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Old 10th June 2015, 15:28   #49
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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What's the reason for you guys recommending a compact instead of the lowest economy class when booking car through rental?
More space, more comfort. But most importantly, pulling power on the long highways and mountain roads. Look at it differently: if you were traveling from Delhi to Shimla or Manali for a 1 week holiday, would you rather take an Alto800/ Nano or a Ford Figo/ i20? For one week of driving, a lesser car is one compromise you should avoid.

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We go to Frankfurt and rent a car from there. Drive through the Romantic Road, reach Zurich or elsewhere in Switzerland and basically cover entire circuit in Switzerland, then go to Black Forest and drop the car to the nearest major town within Germany.

Then take a train/flight to Barcelona/Prague, spend 2-3 days here and again take a train/flight to Prague/Barcelona, spend 2-3 days and then fly back to Delhi.

Romantic road business - 2-3 days
Switzerland & Black Forest - 5-6 days
Barcelona - 2-3 days
Prague - 2-3 days

Makes sense?
One suggestion - If you can drop off the car in Munich, you will have lot of relatively cheap bus options to go to Prague (I believe it should be 5 hours). You may want to do the Prague leg before heading out to Barcelona as it makes more sense logistically.
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Old 10th June 2015, 17:09   #50
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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One suggestion - If you can drop off the car in Munich, you will have lot of relatively cheap bus options to go to Prague (I believe it should be 5 hours). You may want to do the Prague leg before heading out to Barcelona as it makes more sense logistically.
So would I be going to Munich just to drop off the car?! I mean I'd as such be coming from that side only, then do Switzerland and again go back.

Or do I take a detour via Dolomites & Austrian Alps maybe?

I'm facing one issue. I'm still not very sure of Barcelona, looks similar to Prague. My wife has strongly voiced her opinion that she'd want to go to Greece, Athens basically. I couldn't figure out if spending 2 days in Athens or nearby is worth, thoughts?

EDIT: Athens looks bloody beautiful! I think I can replace Barcelona with this.

So how would the itinerary look like when I've got Romantic Road, Switzerland, Prague & Athens?

Last edited by fine69 : 10th June 2015 at 17:38.
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Old 10th June 2015, 17:41   #51
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Also, in Zurich the car rental is turning to be about 150% (at least) expensive instead of, say, Frankfurt. And the choice of cars that I get is also very different. Getting a Merc A class from Frankfurt is turning out to be cheaper than a Hyundai i20 in Zurich.
What you say is correct. I read a similar analysis on car rentals here.

Munich might be ideal point to land if you are planning to drive Austria, Switzerland. Also talking about Austria, Grossglockner Alpine highway comes to mind, haven't been there but have heard a lot.
---
Summers could be extremely hot in south Spain. So do explore the weather in Barcelona before you plan that.

About Greece, Santorini is definitely beautiful from pictures of friends. Again, haven't personally been there.
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Old 11th June 2015, 00:14   #52
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

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So would I be going to Munich just to drop off the car?! I mean I'd as such be coming from that side only, then do Switzerland and again go back.
I would suggest you decide the itinerary and then decide where to drop off the car. If you want to drop off in Germany and proceed to Prague, Munich would probably be the best bet for you (that is my guess, you can verify). It is not far from Switz and Austria, and it is very well connected by air, train and bus. It's just a convenient location through which you can transit.

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I'm facing one issue. I'm still not very sure of Barcelona, looks similar to Prague. My wife has strongly voiced her opinion that she'd want to go to Greece, Athens basically. I couldn't figure out if spending 2 days in Athens or nearby is worth, thoughts?

EDIT: Athens looks bloody beautiful! I think I can replace Barcelona with this.

So how would the itinerary look like when I've got Romantic Road, Switzerland, Prague & Athens?
Barcelona is nice, if you ask me, much better than Athens (personal view). Athens has a couple of ruins, but the rest of the city is not a patch on some of the nicer European cities. Of course, the attraction of Greece is really in its islands like @narayans80 has mentioned.
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Old 11th June 2015, 19:12   #53
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

How does the following look?

I dropped Barcelona and put in Amsterdam instead. It looked a lot more happening and I think this itinerary has a good mix of different natural beauty, culture, infra etc.

2 week holiday - Where on this planet?-capture.png
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Old 12th June 2015, 12:12   #54
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Do air fares fluctuate (downwards also) or they would only increase as time goes by. I was thinking to book the air tickets based on the above itinerary so just wanted to check.
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Old 12th June 2015, 14:06   #55
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Do air fares fluctuate (downwards also) or they would only increase as time goes by. I was thinking to book the air tickets based on the above itinerary so just wanted to check.
It does, but maybe well in advance. I did book mine for similar dates in reverse direction, but I did in early March for late August travel dates. I was trolling airline sites on a daily basis since January and got a lucky break in early March, where I got tickets for 2 adults+1 child+1 infant almost 50-60K INR cheaper on the total.

The current rates 57K INR/head in Lufthansa for DEL-PRG and AMS-DEL is pretty decent. I have seen similar rates like 52K, 54K INR/head for Madras-Bologna, Madras-Milan, Bangalore-Bologna flights in Lufthansa and Air France. Only twice for very last minute tickets have I seen amounts like 75K/head. I've never flown Aeroflot, so don't know how they are (they offer the cheapest tickets for your itinerary at 47K INR /head).
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Old 13th June 2015, 16:08   #56
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

So the itinerary is final. How do I go about booking tickets? I mean through cleartrip or elsewhere?

I'm being quoted 1.28 lac for (1) New Delhi to Prague (2) Munich to Amsterdam & (3) Amsterdam to New Delhi.

Does the price look alright?

Or Maybe I don't book the Munich to Amsterdam flight and get a train/bus instead, any pointers?

Last edited by fine69 : 13th June 2015 at 16:28.
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Old 13th June 2015, 17:59   #57
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Default Re: 2 week holiday - Where on this planet?

Update: Found rail tickets (2 x double sleeper - 1st Class) for 13.7k

Air fare from ND to Prague and return from Amsterdam is now costing 99k. Cleartrip & Yatra have the lowest rates.

Airline - Aeroflot, timings are a decent 10-11 hrs both ways with stopover at Moscow.

From Prague to Munich train timings didn't make sense. Maybe I'll take a bus, it should be a 5-6 hr journey at max.

Thoughts?
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Old 13th June 2015, 18:29   #58
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From Prague to Munich train timings didn't make sense. Maybe I'll take a bus, it should be a 5-6 hr journey at max. Thoughts?
I have my doubts on buses. Intercity buses are pretty rare, I've mostly seen only short haul airport-nearby city kind of buses. I'd say if you don't have direct (or one stopper) trains, please fly. Not worth it with luggage in tow.

If you don't have a proper rail connectivity, why not rent out from Prague instead? Am not sure about the rental rates, but I see an Air France DEL-PRG, PRG-AMS,AMS-DEL at 1.21 lakh for 2. You can rent out on 31st from Prague and return on 9th in Prague (as per your plan) and fly out to Amsterdam.
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Old 13th June 2015, 18:46   #59
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I have my doubts on buses. Intercity buses are pretty rare, I've mostly seen only short haul airport-nearby city kind of buses. I'd say if you don't have direct (or one stopper) trains, please fly. Not worth it with luggage in tow.
I got the link for buses, they are regular, both Czech and German.

http://czech-transport.com/index.php?id=2604

Don't want to rent out of Prague because going back to drop it off would lead to significant time wastage.

Renting out from Munich makes sense to me because I'll cover some places in Bavarian Alps, halt there or somewhere in Austria for the night and then reach Switzerland. Coming back from Switzerland I'll cover few other places in Southern Germany and drop the car in Munich.

How about booking the air tickets, is booking through Cleartrip/Yatra ok or do I go to the airline website?
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Old 13th June 2015, 19:34   #60
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Agree on the extra travel, adds about 4 hrs (385 km) either way.

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How about booking the air tickets, is booking through Cleartrip/Yatra ok or do I go to the airline website?
Have used Cleartrip as well as airline websites. Sometimes there is a difference (like 30-40 overall) on airline site over aggregators. You'll get more transparency in the website (cabin luggage not included in the fare on flights within EU is more clear in KLM or Air France site. Infact you can add a cabin luggage at booking time). This may not be obvious if you are booking in Cleartrip
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