What are the best places to visit in Bali?
The traditional choice for many is a hotel and Italy has choices in all shapes and sizes - but consider that most Italian hotels are small, family-owned enterprises and relatively few belong to hotel chains like Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood.
We typically recommend professionally managed B&Bs for an authentic local experience as owners are usually very hands-on and generally live on-site. But, thats changing fast where locals have moved out with the Tourist rush and would rather not live in the city e.g. Venice.
Renting a villa or apartment is probably the best way to truly “live like an Italian” and is a great choice for travelers who are a bit more independent and / or happy being supported by Catterfly local experts as they are exploring the country in their personal unique style. It can also be a very affordable option, especially if you are traveling with a larger group.
In recent times, Agriturismo concept has truly picked up in Italy and is being managed very professionally as well. It is typically a working farm that rents rooms or apartments and/or serves meals made from local and fresh products. These are typically not rustic places (while of course you can choose from those options as well) and generally nicely furnished, and often include many amenities available at hotels.
For visiting mountains, you would likely need to take the cable car or the mountain trains, and these are mostly discounted on Swiss travel pass (and some of these mountains can be accessed free of charge as well). Likewise, the boat cruises are very popular among tourists to explore the regions aronund the popular lakes in Lucerne, Interlaken and Geneva.
Self-drive car - Driving around is a great option for travelers, who would like to go off the beaten track. While most places in Switzerland are very well connected by public transport, it may be faster or more convenient to explore if one is driving around. Especially in the mountain passses in the central Switzerland. However, one must consider that the fuel cost and parking cost is reasonably high as compared to other Western countries.
Traveling by Taxi / Chaffeur driven cars - This is easily available in most of the big cities and for intercity transits as well. However, it is mostly a very expensive option unless the cost is shared by a larger group of people traveling together.
Travel within Switzerland: Cost typically around CHF 50-60 per day, if one is using the Swiss travel pass to go around. However, the mountain cable cars and trains typically cost extra, unless its already covered by Swiss travel pass.
Meals: one can easily toss up their own meals if staying in a hostel or a place with fully equipped kitchen (in chalet / apartments / holiday homes). The cost of eating out in Switzerland can be quite substantial in a regular restaurant - average of CHF 30-40 per person per meal. However, there are options available in CHF 10-20 range with the takeout pizzas, sandwiches and Turkish Kebab shops - which offer good choices for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. One can also shop around in the regular stores like Migros and CooP for pre-cooked meals at reasonable budget range.
The optimal time for Paris (a must have for the first timers) itself depends a lot on your personal interest, but most find three days is enough for covering the highlights of Paris along with Versailles. But, if you would like to visit Disneyland and are into museums or shopping, then you'll need around 4-5 days.
With less time and especially for first timers, a well-rounded trip including Paris and one of the regions is still possible in a week-long trip. However, with some stretch you might be able to visit two regions along with Paris - especially if you're willing to forego time in Paris to see more of the country. And of course, if you really want to understand why France is one of the most visited country in the world - then keep two weeks or more and you will have no shortage of things to see and do.
However, the best time to visit really depends on the choice of places and of course the nature of experiences you prefer. In general, sprind time (April-May) and autumn (September-October) is a great time to be in southern part of France - especially around French Riviera and the Bordeaux region unless you really like to tan yourself in the beachside during summer months. Christmas is a wonderful time to visit Alsace region as some of the best Christmas markets in Europe are at Colmar and Strasbourg. As always, a city like Paris is always a good idea irrespective of the time of the year.
It is always a great idea to consult locals while planning your trip as they can help you choose the right experience and feel free to take advise from Catterfly destination experts to customize your trip to France.
We recommend trying out a stay in the countryside for an authentic local French experience as well, and one can choose from staying in vineyards to the small villages adjoining the main cities, or even some boutique luxury properties bit removed from the rush of the big towns. However, it is easier to consider staying in these properties if one is driving around as the local transport network in the countryside may not be very frequent to visit all the places in your itinerary.
Typically one doesn't need to rent a car to drive around within the city as the local and tourism transport network is quite well established in most places, however for traveling around the base locations like Bordeaux, Nice - its recommended to drive around as the public transport network may not be that easy to manage for many travelers who are visiting from outside of Europe.
Daily expense budget is a difficult one to answer as every traveler has their own unique style and depends on the overall itinerary, choices around accommodation, sightseeing and logistic. It also depends on how many people are traveling together - but for two people traveling together (and sharing the accommodation), an average budget of 125-150 euros per day per person is normal to cover the cost of accommodation, sightseeing and internal transits. It will typically cost around 20-30 euros in meals per person per day unless you plan to splurge in fine dining restaurants.