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14 days in Italy and Switzerland that's fun for a kid?

14 days in Italy and Switzerland that's fun for a kid?

Old Nov 19th, 2023, 12:06 AM
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14 days in Italy and Switzerland that's fun for a kid?

My husband and I and our 11-year-old son are hoping to get to Switzerland and Italy this summer (last 2 weeks of June). My son likes sports, swimming, food, and hanging with other kids, he's not really into hiking or museums (briefly is fine, but not all day). My husband and I love art and history and hiking and local experiences. But mainly what I want is just to experience another culture while having a fun family vacation. If we don't see every point of interest, that is fine. Was thinking we do Rome (fly in, spend 3 nights), Florence/Tuscany (4 nights), Lake Como (2 nights), Lucerne/Bernese Oberland (4 nights), and 1 night in Zurich and then fly home. Would those areas be fun for a kid? Other spots I was considering were Cinque Terre, but that sounds like it will be terribly crowded, and Venice, but that seems out of the way if we're heading north to Switzerland. Maybe Bologna/Parma or Pisa? Are there other areas we should add or skip? The top places I want to see are the Bernese Oberland and Tuscany. Please let me know if you have any suggestions, am just starting to plan so am open to all ideas!
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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 04:12 AM
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What about places like
Swiss Vapeur Park https://swissvapeur.ch/en/
or nearby Aquapark https://www.aquaparc.ch/en/discover-the-attractions
Chillon Castle https://www.chillon.ch/en/and
all on lake Geneva with it's famous more than 100 years old paddle wheel steamboats?


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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 04:27 AM
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I'd look on agriturismo.it for a farm stay which is designed for multiple families, has a pool, horses and walks. If you chose one near somewhere like Padova, St Gimigniano, Siena, Lucca or anywhere you adults will like to visit and is likely to be on a railway line to you can get elsewhere you'll have a great time.

Somewhere like this may be good, never been https://www.agriturismo.it/it/agritu...914/index.html but you can always email them to see when would be good

June, maybe a bit early in the school season for this

Last edited by bilboburgler; Nov 19th, 2023 at 04:30 AM.
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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 04:34 AM
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Or waht about the Rhine Falls adventure park https://ap-rheinfall.ch/#
or the Swiss Museum of Transportation https://www.myswitzerland.com/en-ch/...ransportation/
or the dripstone caverns in Baar nearby https://www.hoellgrotten.ch/en/visitors.html
or a cableway ride to Glacier 3000 in the heart of the Alps?


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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 09:14 AM
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You might check to see if there are any interesting festivals that appeal to your son in the time you are there. We were in San Gimignano when they had their Ferie Messum, with jousting and archery.

https://www.discovertuscany.com/tusc...lle-messi.html

I would definitely skip Cinque Terre if your son is not interested in hiking. You don't have much time in Rome--have you been there before? There is so much to do. You could take a day trip to Ostia Antica (the ruins of an ancient city) or explore underground Rome in the Catacombs, St. Peter's Tomb, or in one of the churches built atop earlier churches or temples.
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Old Nov 19th, 2023, 10:21 AM
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The proposed itinerary is fairly fast-paced IMO.

Have you traveled internationally with your son? If so, does he (and the parents for that matter) adjust easily to the time change? If jet-lagged, three nights (two days) in Rome at the beginning could feel like a drive-by.

Would you rent a car to explore Tuscany? Will you spend any time in Florence?

Two nights (one day) at Lake Como is pretty much not worth the logistics unless you're just looking at it as a stop to break the long journey between Florence and BO/Luzern. If that's the case, Lake Maggiore would probably make more sense.
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 02:02 AM
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"Lake Maggiore would probably make more sense"
There are direct trains from Milan to LOCARNO and from Locarno to Lucerne, indeed.
Stresa wouldn't be a good idea, however, as the railway line Milan - Stresa - Domodossola will be closed for works next July.
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 07:38 AM
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I have 4 children and we travel every year for holidays. At the age of 11, they enjoy mostly in the amusement parks.
Gardaland is a possibility in north Italy.
Since you have 14 days, spend 1 or 2 days in such a park.
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 10:59 AM
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While you are in Florence, a visit to Pisa and a climb up the Leaning Tower could be fun.

My trip report has other things in Pisa but for adults:
In Defense of Pisa
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 12:25 PM
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Okay, so for a couple like us who have never been to Italy or Switzerland and are traveling with a tween, then what itinerary would you suggest? I feel as if everyone is saying that what I proposed is too ambitious for 2 weeks. My hope is to see some of Italy and some of Switzerland, is that even too much? I mentioned Rome because the most flights land there coming from San Francisco, but I am open to flying to other airports. Should we fly into Florence and then hit Venice, Verona, Milan to Switzerland? I don't know the best city for trains to the Bernese Oberland area of Switzerland. Lake Como seems like it's on the way on the map, but maybe it's out of the way if we're taking trains. I have not yet looked into any of the logistics of car/train/plane travel. I was hoping to lock down our itinerary first, but seems like travel logistics might need to be prioritized to figure out our itinerary instead of the other way around. I want some museums, some nature, some cities, some countryside, really a mix of everything to get a taste of Italy in case we never make it back. It is very far from where we live and flights are really expensive, so I am trying to maximize what we see but know that it's not possible to see everything. Maybe we just stick to Italy? The Bernese Oberland region looks so beautiful and like it would be fun for a kid, but maybe we see the Dolomites instead or just save big mountains for another trip?
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 02:03 PM
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These are just my opinions, and others here may disagree.

I think most kids would find Rome a lot of fun. The history is mostly relatable and really in your face at every turn. There are lots of museums, but I don't think they're mandatory to understanding or appreciating Rome itself. The Colosseum and the Castello are museums that don't feel like museums. If Rome is first on the itinerary, I'd stay 4 nights absolute minimum. If Rome is a given, I wouldn't include the Berner Oberland on this trip.

Climbing the Leaning Tower in Pisa is something your son would remember forever... but perhaps the only thing he'd care about in the city. I'd skip it.

I love Florence, but I doubt it would be particularly memorable for an 11 y.o. (especially if it's hot as Hades). Venice, on the other hand, is so unique and almost unimaginable until you see and experience it. Another 4 nights absolute minimum.

In the remaining days/night, you could rent a car and explore either Umbria or Tuscany between Rome and Venice (stay somewhere with a pool) or rent a car in Venice to explore the Dolomites. Unless you find some specific things your son would enjoy doing in Umbria and Tuscany (and there are likely many), he might enjoy the Dolomites a little more. If possible, stop in Bolzano to visit the Ice Man Museum.

https://www.iceman.it/en/the-iceman/
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Old Nov 20th, 2023, 04:14 PM
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It sounds like a wonderful trip!
You have done a good job of thinking things through and adjusting.
Your flights and transportation are key at this point. Prices and times will adjust your itinerary.

I would say no to Cinque Terre. Lake Como only if it is on the way to Switzerland.
The Tuscan countryside is beautiful but I think a car is necessary and I would stay in a larger city for more to do.
Jean has many good points(as usual) I agree that Rome would be a perfect location, skip Florence, and consider Venice. I think Lucerne is very pretty, we loved the combo excursion of a boat ride, cog train up to Mt. Pilatus and the cable car down. It would have cooler temperatures to enjoy as a break from Italy's heat.

I think you have to decide what to eliminate, either Rome, Venice or Switzerland. But follow your heart. It sounds like you are taking your son's interests into account but make sure you check off some of your dreams, too!
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Old Nov 26th, 2023, 05:46 AM
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You might do a search on this site of trip reports , Italy with kids or Italy with teens(you'll get some good ideas).
We were surprised that our kids weren't needing to be entertained in the same way they might at home. Being in a different country and seeing things they'd never experienced was entertainment enough. I also asked my boys to do a little research and come up with a couple of ideas. We ended up at the Ferrari factory/museum in Modena which we all loved.
I also learned that less moving around is better than more. Moving locations takes a lot of time and energy so keep that in mind.
My boys loved Rome and Sienna in Italy and some of the smaller walled towns as well. It really captured their imaginations!
Have fun planning!
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Old Nov 27th, 2023, 04:16 AM
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Crawling around ruins can be a ton of fun for a kid. Something he probably has no experience with, so it will be completely new to him. Plus it does not fit neatly into any of the categories you mentioned.
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Old Nov 27th, 2023, 08:08 AM
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If you go to Rome but don't want to travel as far south as Pompeii, you can always visit Ostia Antica, ruins that are west of Rome. I agree about the Colosseum and visiting the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The Vatican is of course a pretty impressive site.
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Old Nov 27th, 2023, 11:50 AM
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As you settle on destinations and pace of your travels, keep in mind that daily temps in late June 2023 and 2022 in every city mentioned reached the upper 80s to upper 90s. Add humidity, and it can get pretty uncomfortable. You may want to plan some quiet or slower things in the middle of most days. A few days in Tuscany or Umbria with access to a pool could be a nice respite.
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Old Nov 27th, 2023, 11:53 AM
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Kids usually like Venice.
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Old Nov 28th, 2023, 11:26 AM
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Having traveled to that area with kids, I think that itinerary would be rough for everyone involved. You will definitely see a lot, but you will not have much time to actually slow down and experience any of the culture you are looking for.

I've spent 7 nights in Lauterbrunnen with my wife and two daughters who were 7 and 9 at the time and we could have easily spent more time there. Lauterbrunnen makes a great home base, search for "Alpenspielplatz" and "Allmendhubel" for some ideas.

Here's my initial thoughts.
First and foremost, bring a friend. If he likes to be around his peers, just bring one with you. Even better if you can get the friends parents to cover airfare.
If possible, I'd fly into Milan. MXP is a bit out of town so take the trains into the city and spend 3 nights there giving you 2 full days. From there, take the train to Como and enjoy the lake and all it has to offer. Take the water taxis to other towns for day trips. 2 to 4 nights there would be enough. Train to Lucerne for 2 nights then off to Lauterbrunnen. From Lauterbrunnen, Thun, Spiez, Grindelwald, Murren, Wengen, and Interlaken are all easily accessed and would be entertaining to most. Mind the weather and stay near the water whenever it's going to be hot. Being able to let your son swim with a friend for a few hours will go a long way in making the trip memorable.

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