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4 days in Switzerland with parents - help needed!

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Apr 18th, 2016, 04:44 PM
  #1
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4 days in Switzerland with parents - help needed!

I am planning a trip with my 65+ aged parents to Switzerland. My 9 yr old DS will be with me as well. We have around 4.5 days in Switzerland - I was recommended to go to Zurich vs. Geneva if I were to do only one place. I would appreciate thoughts on what to do for 4 days, keeping in mind that my parents cannot walk as much. I will also be looking into vacation rentals (like Airbnb) - which location in Zurich is recommended for a place to stay so we can explore the city? It will be our first time in Switzerland.
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Apr 18th, 2016, 05:22 PM
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I believe we stayed in Zurich close to the airport as we had only 2 nights beginning of August to catch the plane to USA, we were in all over Europe, in Switzerland; Interloken and Montreaux first.
The train runs from the airport to downtown often and fast, you just hop at any station and the trams are all over. I believe anything close to the river is a nice area. I remember Zurich downtown being very expensive. Love walking all over the city. I also remember the long/hard rainstorm ever,one min blue skies another pouring rain having to run for cover to the stores, everybody run for cover into stores.I usually rent through Booking.com.
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Apr 18th, 2016, 05:24 PM
  #3
kja
 
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What are your interests? Do you want to spend some time in Switzerland's spectacular Alps, or are you looking to enjoy the treasures of its cities? And when (approximately) would you travel? (Time of year can make an enormous difference to planning time in Switzerland.)
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Apr 18th, 2016, 05:36 PM
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Sorry - but there is no way I wold spend all of that time in Zurich which is primarily a (VERY expensive) business city.

If it were me I would head to Lucerne right from the airport (an hour by train from the station below the airport). And form there visit the mountains (Pilatus and Jungfrau if you can fit in both) plus steamers on the gorgeous lakes and quaint villages to explore.
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Apr 18th, 2016, 05:37 PM
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Sory - would also do the Museum of Swiss Life in Ballenberg - great for the whole family - as is the steamer on Lake Brienz with the fantastic waterfalls.
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Apr 19th, 2016, 09:30 AM
  #6
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We will be there in late July - 19-24. The trip is primarily for Mom, who has always dreamed of visiting Switzerland, so I am hoping to make that come true. She loves nature - so would imagine she would enjoy the alps and quaint towns far more than the bustling city - she lived in Mumbai almost all her life so cities dont fascinate her!

So does staying in Lucerne make more sense? I will look into that. Going up Jungfrau is a must - I didnt think I would miss that!! Any specific towns on the must-see list?
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Apr 19th, 2016, 09:48 AM
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To ascend the Jungfrau you will need to spend several days either in Interlaken or in one of the towns on the foothills of the Jungfrau. You must understand that many days the tops of the mountains are wreathed in clouds and there is no point in ascending since you won;t see your hand in front of your face - never mind all of the beauties of nature. You have to check each am - the local train station or online - to see if the mountain top is clear and if it is get started right away - since clouds tend to roll in during the afternoon. So you want to be on a train headed up no later than 9 am to have the best chance of views.

We waited 3 days in Interlaken in June before we got a day clear at the top of the Jungfrau. Not a problem for us since we had a car and toured a bunch of cute towns in the area and drive the roads along the gorgeous lakes (or you could take lake steamers).

Lucerne is too far to do the Jungfrau - but is a good choice if you are willing to do Mt Pilatus or Titlus instead, since these are right near Lucerne.
But they are both much lower mountains - so more likely to be available on a specific day.
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Apr 19th, 2016, 09:52 AM
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No lie - I thought the title to this thread was "4 days in Switzerland with parrots - help needed!" When I realized it said parents I was very disappointed.
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Apr 19th, 2016, 10:57 AM
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Yes Zurich and Geneva are two of the more boring European cities - that does not mean that they are not nice however but will not fulfill the dreamy picture of an Alpine Wonderland perhaps etched in your minds'eyes - the Jungfrau Region will however - take trains easily up to Wengen or Grindelwald and your parents can sit on their hotel balcony and be awed by the glacier-girdled soaring Alpine peaks without moving - but the series of gondolas and mountain trains makes getting around a snap.

I would split time between Lucerne - 2 days and 3 nights in say Wengen or other hill town.

Trains are great - from Zurich airport to Lucerne in not much more than an hour - to Interlaken in a few hours.

For lots of neat info on Swiss trains check www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. If doing both Lucerne and the Jungfrau Region above Interlaken look into the Berner Oberland Pass - valid on trains, buses, gondolas, lake boats - anything that moves except cows - in the Lucerne and Interlaken areas or look at a 4-consecutive-day Swiss Pass - kids under 16 always go free if they get a free Family Pass from any train station in Switzerland - they then go free on anything a parent with them buys.
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Apr 19th, 2016, 05:36 PM
  #10
kja
 
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With 4.5 days and a goal of seeing nature and the Alps, I agree that focusing your attention on the Bernese Oberland (Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Murren) would make sense.

Lucerne can be absolutely lovely, but even in late May / early June, it was so packed with tourists when I was last there (2013) that I found it a bit uncomfortable, and I would think late July would mean even more tourists. SO if you decide to spend any substantial amount of your time in that area, you might look at one of the smaller towns on the lake instead. Just a thought! (For a day or two, I personally would want the convenience of being IN Lucerne itself -- JMO.)

Maybe 3 days (4 nights) in the Bernese Oberland and the rest in / near Lucerne?
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Apr 19th, 2016, 08:02 PM
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We loved Lugano/Locarno Switzerland which is in the Ticino region and is the Lakes area of Switzerland, just beautiful.
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Apr 19th, 2016, 08:10 PM
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http://www.parco-paradiso.com/en
We stayed here for 3 nights in the penthouse suite. The penthouse has two bedrooms and two baths with living room. It was beautiful with a deck that overlooked lake lugano. It was a very nice hotel.
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Apr 19th, 2016, 10:10 PM
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I agree with kja, with the recommendation of the Bernese Oberland (IMO one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.) Even if your parents can't walk much, they will love the drive through the Lauterbrunnen Valley or gazing at the view from Wengen or Murren. If the weather is good, they could take the train up to the Jungfrau or the gondola up to the Schilthorn.
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Apr 20th, 2016, 08:24 AM
  #14
 
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Yup you nary have to lift a foot to enjoy the splendors of the Jungfrau Region - so many mountain trains - aerial gondolas going off in all directions - the Jungfraujoch train, to the highest train station in Europe - however is high enough to have altitude effects amongst those susceptible to effects of 11,000 + feet - but once there you again need not walk much to enjoy the 360 awesome vistas- especially over the top of the Aletsch Glacier, from its tip on down - the longest glacier in the Alps I think.
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Apr 21st, 2016, 03:26 PM
  #15
 
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I like going over one of the alp's longest cable ways from Murren to The Schilthorn/Piz Gloria (the first the spit of mountain and the 2nd the revolving restaurant and buildings built on it.

James Bond's On Her Majesty's Secret Service was largely shot here when the restaurant complex was under construction.

Nice nice day - Lauterbrunnen via cable way to Grutschalp - mountain train to Murren - Schilthorn and back and return to Lauterbrunnen via a thrilling cable car via Gimmelwald (a small farminghamlet that has gained popularity in its own right) that seems to plunge too fast down to the Lauterbrunnen Valley at Stechelberg for postal buses going the few miles back to Lauterbrunnen.
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Apr 22nd, 2016, 11:30 AM
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The Schilthorn - out in the middle of nowhere but ice and snow and Alps - no walking really required:

https://www.google.com/search?q=schi...HQF4BpoQsAQIGw
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Apr 22nd, 2016, 02:21 PM
  #17
 
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No lie - I thought the title to this thread was "4 days in Switzerland with parrots - help needed!">

maybe bring 4 parrots - one that speaks each language in Switzerland with basic words? Well just thinking on the fly...
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Apr 22nd, 2016, 03:31 PM
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As an older traveller (even older than your parents!), I definitely suggest staying either in Lucerne(nice old town, visit Rigi or Pilatus) or Lauterbrunnen (cable car to Schilthorn or take the train to Jungfrau, visit Grindelwald or Interlaken). Both places offer good choices of accommodation and restaurants and beautiful scenery.
Zurich is nice but it is a city and not what your parents want from a visit to Switzerland.
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Apr 22nd, 2016, 07:14 PM
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You just described the BO region to a T. We have been there twice and never tire of the gorgeous scenery. Your parents can do as little walking as possible and still see tons via the trains and gondolas. Unbelievable scenery everywhere you turn.

Stay in Lauterbrunnen (valley) or Wengen (farther up the mt). You can take day trips everywhere on the trains. Especially don't miss the cable car and train combo up to Murren to watch the hang gliders as they soar over the valley below.

The ride up to the Jungfrau is gorgeous, with two stops along the way in the tunnels so the riders can look through the windows out across the mountains. Your parents can hang out in the restaurant with a cup of hot chocolate while you and your son pop outside. The restaurant is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows so they can still enjoy the scenery.
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Jul 7th, 2016, 05:03 PM
  #20
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Thanks all for your help/tips. So finally we are staying 3 nights in Lucerne with the 4th night in Zurich. Is there a train pass that I can buy in advance of my trip there? We will take the train directly from the Zurich airport to Lucerne and then maybe do day trips to a place or two if that works out. So does it make sense to buy train tickets on the go or is there a 3 or 4 day pass that I can buy?
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