Frankfurt to Rome and back - advice appreciated!

Discussion in 'EMEA' started by XSoCal, Jun 2, 2014.

  1. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    So it is somewhat rushed, but an opportunity arose and I have rented a BMW F700GS in Frankfurt for a week (my KTM will just have to deal with it...)! In about 2 weeks I will be taking 3 days to ride to Rome, a day there working and then 3 days back to Frankfurt. I'm pretty much completely unfamiliar with riding (or even driving) in Europe, but I put together this route from suggestions on various websites and threads, and was hoping for some feedback. Any "definitely stay away from..." or "you are going to totally miss..." comments would be appreciated.

    Day 1) I pick the bike up at noon, and will be staying with a friend in Berne, Switzerland that evening, so I figured start out making time on the Autobahn, then getting off and taking (highway?) 500 around Freiburg, which is supposed to be nice. Google maps says it should take about 6 hours, I need to get to Berne by about 8-9pm, so I'm figuring that should be OK.
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    Day 2) Berne to Genoa area. I'm most looking forward to this leg - I ride in mountains all the time (Canadian Rockies), but I'm really looking forward to seeing Mediterranean coastal towns.
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    Day 3) On to Rome.
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    Day 4) A day of work...
    Day 5) Again I have to make some time to get back on schedule, and so I choose to go up the center to get back...but I hope to be able to find a nice place north of Milan to stay.
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    Day 6) This route though Stelvio Park is supposed to be nice. Going to stop near Augsberg, Germany. The castles look pretty impressive there.
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    Day 7) Just a straight run to Frankfurt for now, after maybe a late start in Augsberg after looking around.
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    Day 8) Return the bike in the morning and fly home.

    So any comments would be appreciated - the length of the trip is fixed, as is being in Rome on day 4. I know it is pretty rushed route, but it will be better than flying! Thanks!
    #1
  2. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    ok here´s a couple suggestions for your way down (...and these are assuming the weather is not bad, when you go, AND all alpine passes are open – actually that is something, that should be checked, before you go!)

    Day 2 – Your current routing is very nice, once you get close to the border of Italy, but that earlier part via Montreux, I´m not so sure of...
    so from Bern, I might consider heading east to Interlaken and to Grimselpass, then follow the valley of the Rhone to Brig (actually, if you had time, there is the origin of the river, the Rhone glacier nearby, it is shrinking fast, but still magnificent).. then turn towards Domodossola (Italy) via Simplon pass (passo Sempione). Again, if you had time, you could check out the nice Lago Maggiore coastal road around Stresa, then take the Autostrada A26 towards Alessandria. That motorway is very boring on the Po-river valley, but as you get closer to Genova, it gets more mountaineous, and even the motorway is quite nice and curvy.

    Day 3 – This is a detour, on slow roads, and I´m not sure, if your schedule allows it... but here goes: a bit west from La Spezia, right on the coastline, is the area called ´Cinque Terre´, some really beautiful scenery, coastal towns, and very very curvy roads. But I´m afraid it´ll take half a day to even get some taste of it.

    BTW, Rome is truly magnificent. I normally dislike big cities, but Rome was an exception. The same goes for Turin actually. Or even if you just leave the Autostrada on the Po-river valley, and pop up at basically any town of significant size, is gonna leave you saying “WOW!” – they sure do know, how to build beautiful cities in Italy! Of all countries in Europe, Italy is probably my favourite.
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  3. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    Thank you very much for your suggestions - Montreux was somewhat random, and I will follow the route to Brig instead. Cinque Terre looks amazing - reconsidering this, perhaps I will return to the coast when heading back and skip going up through Florence. I could just decide when I'm there I suppose, but I thought I should reserve hotels before hand. Is that really necessary? I was concerned about the bike getting stolen, and was going to reserve at motels that had secure parking before hand. Or is this not a problem...is it fairly easy to find a place to stay on the fly, with good bike parking? Thanks again.
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  4. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    Theft is a possibility in Europe, unfortunately. That said, I've been there at least 20 times on a bike, never had this happen to me. But I try very hard not to ever leave the bike on the street for night. Especially in the bigger cities, be careful, even during daytime. OTOH, it is not something to get hysterical about, you're on a holiday, and want to enjoy it!

    Sometimes I've taken cabins from camping grounds, there I think the bike is quite safe (I nornally use a disc brake lock). June is not really the high season yet, so generally I don't think pre-booking is essential. Just don't leave it very late to look up a place.
    #4
  5. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    OK, advice taken - I think I will book something in advance when I can. Does anyone have a recommendation for a good bike friendly place to stay around the Genoa -> La Spezia region? Thanks!
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  6. luckychucky

    luckychucky Long timer

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    That's looks like a great route. I wouldn't miss Florence. There is a camp ground in Rome called the Flamingo. If it's still there. Had nice showers and shade. Also, it's on the bus route that goes all over Rome. Lucky You!
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  7. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    Thanks...for me it is a ride of a lifetime. I know it is going to be a lot to cover but I don't really have the option of going slower - just trying to make the best with the time I have. I'm definitely going to check out Florence. Wanted to go to Venice, but I hear parking is tough there...!
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  8. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    Quickly went through your maps.
    Make sure you get a Swiss vignette ("Interstate"/ Autobahn sticker) as the fines for unpaid tolls/ missing stickers are quite hefty.
    In Italy you can pay at the toll booths on the autostrada, segment by segment.
    All of which will keep you quite busy apart from clocking the miles. A 500km day will be quite a full day, considering the far higher traffic density and narrower roads.


    Work on roughly covering/ a real 80km per hour averaged, that's the Autobahn/Strada version. Get off the main drags and onto country roads and you'll cover 50-60 km per hour traveled.
    Get onto any of the really nice and interesting stuff and traveled distance per hour will drop again, to ~30-40.
    That includes the very occasional photo stop, lunch stop, fuel stop etc.
    Skip Cinque Terre, Florence and Venice...there's just no time at all to be spent there, by the time you get in and out of any of those places.
    If there's any shred of time left, try to see just a tiny bit of Rome. Just a taste, to make you go back one day.


    I'd very much stick to your original routes to actually make the daily targets....you'll struggle enough with that.
    #8
  9. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    well it's a long way to go in just 6 days of riding, so I'd advice to stay mostly on the bigger roads. Switzerland, Italy & Austria are quite slow-going, if you do the smaller roads. Same goes for Schwarzwald area in SW Germany.

    A big city like Florence, is quite challenging to fit into that schedule (anything more than just quickly checking out the centre from the saddle I mean). It would take a few days to really get any deeper into it. And you will already be going to Rome... I'd think about skipping Florence, if I were you.
    #9
  10. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    Yes it is, and then they'll make you buy one anyway - 40 Swiss Francs - readily available at the border (the friendly Swiss Border Guards will be more than happy to direct you :D)

    And that's an understatement. Is there ANY way that you can tack on a couple of days to either end of this? You are going to be whizzing by some of the best motorcycling roads on Earth.

    Once you get off the Autobahns, expect to AVERAGE about 55kph. Twisty roads and closely spaced towns will keep your speeds down.
    #10
  11. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    This is all very valuable information, thank you. I realize I am pushing it on this ride; I was originally just going to fly from Frankfurt to Rome and back again, but I figured even if it is frustratingly brief, just to ride through these beautiful areas was worth it. I was concerned about what speeds I could in reality make - that information is very useful. My plan will be to stick to the route, and diverge into interesting area if I'm making good enough time. And I just realized Switzerland doesn't use the Euro...! I contacted the place I'm renting from and they filled me in on the Vignette's...there is a place on the bike to put them. I am going to book hotels ahead of time...I'll probably be pulling in late and don't want to be messing around with finding a place to stay.

    Hopefully I'll have wifi in the motels and can do a live ride report!
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  12. FTL900

    FTL900 White and nerdy

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    The autobahn tends to crowd up (and slow down) on summer weekends, so plan accordingly. People from other countries cut thru Germany headed south and it can get pretty congested.
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  13. gseur

    gseur Been here awhile

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    I agree with that.
    Other possibility, Interlaken and then Kandersteg, putting the bike in the train.
    Bern/Vevey on the Highway is very boring.
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  14. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    True - better six so-so days than zero.

    Given your schedule, booking ahead is smart - and wifi is pretty well available just about everywhere now. At least it was last year :D
    #14
  15. Pecha72

    Pecha72 Long timer

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    As stated before, your schedule really is quite tight, but on Day 3, from Pisa to Rome along the coast, I don´t think is nowhere near as spectacular as the coastline heading south from Genoa, for example. So after Pisa, for me the ´best´ route would go towards Siena, visiting Volterra and/or San Gimignano, those are really nice old towns (and Siena is also!), and there´s great Tuscan scenery along the way. But this could mean you then have to get on the Autostrada for the rest of the day... and still arrive in Rome quite late.

    edit. oh I just realized, that you actually plan to go all the way from Genoa to Rome in just one day... it is a long way even if you´d stay on the motorways all the time. I don´t think you can fit in both a visit to Cinque Terre, and re-routing via Siena, you´ll have to choose just one, make very quick stops wherever you stop, and even then you´ll be riding from early morning to late evening.
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  16. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    Thanks again for the tips - all taken into the plans now. Going crazy trying to get this organized, I leave this Sunday for Germany (although the ride doesn't start until the Friday after). Just started trying to find a hotel between Fussen (have to take pictures of the Disney castle for my daughters) and Augsburg. Having a really hard time - Germany seems not quite as welcoming as Italy for English speakers! At least going by the websites and reviews...any suggested place to stay around there would be welcome. It seems all the bed and breakfast style places in Fussen are serious tourist traps...
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  17. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    8k's from Fuessen, VERY scenic location with incredible views out the back, very cozy...and Euro 35-40 single rooms/ about US$50/ night incl. a gigantic breakfast.
    http://www.weisser-hirsch.com/

    http://goo.gl/maps/06fyg

    They speak English, no booking needed, 10k's to the best vantage points for happy snaps (point B on map), magnificent food (try their game specialties!!) and drink ( the Koenig Ludwig Dunkel, omm, omm), GREAT hosts.
    Tell 'em G'day from the Aussies :D


    Not that you've got the time, I guess....but this place is just a few km's down the road and a far better palce to actually visit.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hohenschwangau_Castle
    #17
  18. XSoCal

    XSoCal Been here awhile

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    Looks great, I have emailed them and hope to set up a stay there!

    Down to the wire now...flying to Germany in two days. Yikes!
    #18
  19. MichaelJ

    MichaelJ Long timer

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    The Cinque Terre will eat up a complete day by themselves - especially considering that you have to park some distance out and walk down into the towns.

    Lovely, but save them for when you can give them the time they need.
    #19
  20. glitch_oz

    glitch_oz ...

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    This is one of those places that don't really work by tech/ net and all that...forget WIFI and all the gizmos. It's Old School and that's one of the key attractions. :clap
    #20