Here is a suggested travel itinerary that takes you through two of Europe's top countries, Germany and Italy, and offers a stop in one of Europe's best cities, Amsterdam. Our suggested itinerary can be done in two weeks, although more time is always better.
Amsterdam to Italy's Lake Region
The itinerary you see on our map takes you through the heart of Western Europe. You'll experience the liveliness of Amsterdam, the best of western Germany, Switzerland, and Italy's lake region. The itinerary can be followed easily and efficiently by train, although driving is always an option.
When to Go
This is a great trip in spring and fall. If you're doing it in November, there's lots of snow in the alps at that time. If you're doing it in early summer, start in Italy and head north as things warm up. Here are some travel resources for the suggested itinerary.
Spend 3 days in Amsterdam with an optional trip to Utrecht.
Relax, spend a day or two in the baths, or discover Karlsruhe or Freiburg.
Spend two days on the boundaries between France, Germany and Switzerland. Have a great meal at a historic guild hall. After Basel, you'll have a decision to make. You can take the Bern route and stop a few days at Stresa, on the shores of Lago Maggiore, or you can head over to Lugano in the Ticino region of Switzerland and go on to Lake Como. Have more time? From the lake region on our suggested itinerary, head toward Venice with the best of Italy's Northeast suggested itinerary. More? Head all the way down the boot with our Venice to Sicily Itinerary.
Starting and Ending Points
In Amsterdam, you should plan to fly into Schiphol airport. In Italy, the closest international airport is found outside of Milano, Malpensa Airport. Malpensa is very conveniently located for visitors to the lake region. We have some suggestions for staying near Malpensa. You can also start in the middle of the itinerary, at Frankfurt airport.
Since trains in Italy are fairly cheap, you can go with a Eurail Germany-Switzerland Pass (or Eurail Germany-Switzerland Saverpass, if traveling as a family together) targeting the number of days you'll be traveling by train. We suggest Germany and Switzerland instead of Germany Benelux because you will probably only travel one day out of Amsterdam to Germany, and it's easy to buy a single ticket for that leg of the itinerary.
Plus, there is a benefit to buying a pass for Switzerland--you won't have to pay in Swiss Francs, as Switzerland doesn't use the Euro. If you want a pass for all the countries on the itinerary, select the Eurail Selectpass for the number of days you will travel. A Eurail Saver Pass will get you 15 consecutive travel days through all the countries with few hassles. This is the best option if you decide you'd like to make side trips or day trips--to Strasbourg, France for example.