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Advice for 6 nights 7 Days in Switzerland

Advice for 6 nights 7 Days in Switzerland

Old Aug 25th, 2014, 08:28 PM
  #1  
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Advice for 6 nights 7 Days in Switzerland

I am planning a 2.5 week vacation to Italy and Switzerland for next July. We are a family of 4 with 2 teen ager boys. We love hiking and outdoor activities. Having been to Italy before, I have already planned out the itinerary for Italy. I am looking to spend 6 nights 7 days in Switzerland and looking for help to build an ideal itinerary. I know 6 nights are not enough, but that is the most I can do for this trip. My family prefers to use one place as the central hub and then do daily trips/excursions if that is a possibility. Considering this criteria, would you be able to help with the below?

1. We will be taking a flight from Venice to Zurich. Should I rent a car or would trains be a better medium of transportation?
2. Is there one area that would be better to use as a central hub for hotel stay (like Lucern) and then do daily trips from there?
3. Or would you recommend splitting the stay in 2 separate areas?
4. What hotels would you recommend for each location since we are family of 4?
4. What are the top activities you would recommend I cover for this trip?
5. We are returning from Zurich, so should I plan to stay the last night in Zurich?

It would be great if some subject matter experts can provide a good recommendation of itinerary, hotel locations and activities, considering that we are there only for a week. Thanks much!
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Old Aug 25th, 2014, 09:09 PM
  #2  
kja
 
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1. Unless you plan to visit the Jura, I would think you would be far better served by trains.

2, 3, & 2nd 4. It really depends on your interests. I recommend that you get some good guidebooks (or spend some time with a few in your local library) to identify the things you most want to see and do.

1st 4. Once you decide where you are going, look at booking.com and tripadvisor.com

5. I generally prefer being near my airport on the night before a flight, but Swiss transportation is so reliable that it really depends on when you flight is, where you will be the night before, your family's ability to relocate efficiently, and your family's tolerance for such things.

Enjoy!
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 01:35 AM
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No one can answer your questions really. It all depends on you, your interests and what time you leave Zürich.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 03:00 AM
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Lauterbrunnen makes a wonderful base for a week's stay, particularly for those who enjoy the outdoors and hiking. It's a transport hub of sorts, and you can access the entire Berner Oberland from Lauterbrunnen.

I also suggest you look into apartment rentals, which generally book from Sat-Sat during high season.

I'm an advocate of train travel, especially in Switzerland, couldn't be easier.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 04:15 AM
  #5  
 
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I've been to Switzerland twice with teenagers and if you like hiking, you couldn't go wrong staying in Lauterbrunnen, as mentioned above. I stayed there with my then 13 year olds for 4 days and it was a great base. The next time I took those 2 kids to Switzerland, they were 17 and we stayed in Grindelwald for 5 days to access different things to do and that was great too.

I could easily stay in the Bernese Oberland area with teenagers the entire time and still never do everything I'd like to do, but if you have other interests and goals, you could split it up between two areas.

More importantly, my kids loved it there!

I wrote trip reports on both trips if you want to read about what we did.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 08:24 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the input. We are not planning to visit Jura, so it sounds like Train is recommended and a car is not really needed. Regarding a good base, I am debating between Lauterbrunnen or Interlaken based on input so far. I did see some Best Westerns in this area. Has anybody stayed at any of Best Western properties and would you recommend it? Still looking for a strong recommendation for accommodation for 2 adults/2 teenagers (16 and 17).

Thanks again!
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 08:31 AM
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>>I am looking to spend 6 nights 7 days in Switzerland
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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We took the train from Switzerland to Italy a couple of years ago and it wasn't a problem. Buy snacks in Italy to keep the kids happy. Try to consider using carry-on luggage it you can. That's what we did and it made changing trains much easier. Some of the stations require using stairs and that's hard with a lot of luggage.

I recommend Lauterbrunnen over Interlaken because most of the best things to do are in the mountains. You will avoid that extra train ride that way. We liked staying in Lauterbrunnen.

I'm wondering if the Best Western is also called hotel Silberhorn? It seems that it might be and if so, that is where I stayed with my two teenagers in 2006. We loved staying in the chalet which is a small house separate from the main hotel. We had a wonderful balcony overlooking the valley and we watched the trains zigzag up the opposite side each evening. It was very relaxing. I have recommended that hotel in the past, of course based on our experience 8 years ago. It's right next to a funicular that goes up to a nice walk. We didn't do that walk, but wanted to. We didn't do it then because the funicular was in the process of being constructed.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 10:26 AM
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Yes the Jungfrau Region around Interlaken, including the picture postcard mountain towns like Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, etc to me and many is the absolute highlight of Switzerland - so many varied things to see and do - lots of physical activities for parents and teens alike - hiking for sall energies - toylike mountain trains and thrilling aerial gondolas heading off in all directions.

Majestic ice-girdled peaks soaring thousands of feet above lush cow-dotted meadows - a Nirvana for outdoors types.

You can walk to and touch glaciers (but stay off them!) - take thrilling train rides to the Jungfraujoch - western Europe's highest train station and a Top of the World panorama of glaciers - things for teens to do like rope rides or to the Shilthorn - and Piz Gloria the revolving restaurant seen in James Bond in On Her Najesty's Service film.

And boat rides on the two lakes bookending Interlaken - the famous Ballenberg Open-Air museum of traditional Swiss life and on and on and on - bungee jumping, white water raft excursions, etc.

I would say spend maybe 4 days there and 2 days in Lucerne - boat rides on Lake Lucerne are great and ascending Mt Rigi or Mt PIlatus are thrill train rides.

Anyway trains are the best way to get around and in the Jungfrau Region cars are actually banned and you have to take trains, cables, etc (or walk!) - check out the Swiss Pass that covers many trains and cables in the area and if your kids are under 16 they get a free Family Pass so they never pay a dime to ride anything - they get free passes too.

Good sources of info on Swiss trains and passes, etc: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

Grindelwald would be my recommended base for a family with teens - a lively town with lots of younger folk and things for families to do and tremendous views of the rugged glacier-bound peaks from your hotel balcony.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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https://www.google.com/search?q=jung...=1600&bih=1075

Ah the wonderful awesome Jungfrau Region!
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 03:33 PM
  #11  
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Kwren - Thanks for pointers. I did check out your detailed report from prior trips and have bookmarked it for my notes as I plan the trip. I checked out Hotel Silbverhorn and that is not a Best Western. Hotel Silberhorn does look very nice, so I will check out their rates for a family of 4.

PalenQ - Thanks much for detailed input above. I think I will split my stay for 4 nights in Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald and 2 nights in Lucerne. Our Flight is at 11am in the morning on the return. Do you think we would be able to catch the train from Lucerne and get Zurich airport for the 11am Flight? Or do you think it would be cutting it too close?
Is it worth spending a day in Zurich?
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 03:42 PM
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It's about an hour from Lucerne to Zurich so it would be an early start to get to the airport by 9 am for your 11 am flight (and bear in mind that some of the departure gates are a long way from the check-in area).
You could check out of your hotel in Lucerne,leave your luggage there, spend the day sightseeing and then get an evening train to Zurich and stay at one of the airport hotels for the night.
I'm sure your family would enjoy a day visiting either Mt Pilatus or Mt Rigi whilst in Lucerne.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 04:41 PM
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I'm always a big fan of being in my departure city the night before - things like train disruptions, strikes (though Switzerland rarely if ever has one), anyway if a non-refundable flight do as marg suggests IMO. I would leave my luggage however in the luggage lockers in Lucerne's train station - never know when a hotel may be closed for a short time - I mean the desk - when you need to retrieve your luggage.
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 05:00 PM
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I'd spend 4 nights in Lauterbrunnen (lots to do) and then leave mid-afternoon for Lucerne (just under 2.5 hours.) That gives one almost 4 full days in the valley. There's an open-air museum in Ballenberg (just over an hour by train) and Trummelbach falls for any rainy days. Pray for good weather on at least one day in the valley.

Then I'd do as Marg suggests and after a night in Lucerne, book a Zurich airport hotel for your last night. Way more relaxing than rushing off early for a flight.

The last day's activities will depend on whether it rains. Not much point in going up Mount Pilatus if it is socked in. So be ready with alternatives (lots of suggestions on tripadvisor.)
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Old Aug 26th, 2014, 05:02 PM
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Actually Palenq's idea for the train station lockers makes even more sense, because you can spend 5 nights in Lauterbrunnen and do Lucerne en route Zurich airport.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 06:23 AM
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And there are three sizes of lockers in Swiss stations so can even stow large bags, etc and there is always a manned left-luggage counter (last time I was there at least).
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 11:58 AM
  #17  
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Wow... There are so many options and your input is so valuable to make a good decision on splitting my stay.

I am looking at train passes that would cover travel from Zurich Airport to Lauterbrunnen, daily trips in the Jungfrau area, as well as return back to Lucerne to Zurich AP. I am having a brain-freeze looking at various types of passes, discounts, coverage etc for adults and kids. I have a 16 and 17 year old who I believe could qualify for discounts. But I am not sure what would be the best option for us.

Any guidance on train passes given the above criteria? Thanks again for all the input so far.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 12:16 PM
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Howq much will you travel from your Wengen base and what kinds of trips - this is needed to make an appropriate judgment on the efficacy of the various passes (Swiss Pass; Swiss Card; Half-Fare CArad; Swiss Transfer Ticket; Berner Oberland Oass or Jungfraubahn Pass) or possibly no pass a'tal.
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Old Aug 27th, 2014, 12:44 PM
  #19  
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Our total trip in Switzerland will be 6 days of which 4 will be in Interlaken/Lauterbrunnen area. I am presuming that we will make at least 1 trip per day to include a day in Jungfrau, 1 day for Interlaken, and possibly 1 day for Bern. I am reading thru various forums on Fodors and TA, but am still in the process of learning about the area. I am not able to make an educated judgment on what exactly the trips will look like, but the above is the current thinking. If you have a suggested routine that compliments and optimizes with specific train passes, I would love to use help.
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Old Aug 28th, 2014, 07:00 AM
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If you will be largely in the Berner Oberland area then check out the Berner Oberland Pass that also covers or gives a discount I believe on trains to and around Interlaken.

http://www.regiopass-berneroberland.ch/offer-2014/

But looking at prices - discounts are for kids under 16 not 16 and over it says - the Swiss Pass may be a cheaper deal and let you go anywhere in Switzerland and also cover boats 100% - city trams and buses and also free entry to 470 Swiss museums like the very very popular one for families in the Interlaken area - Ballenberg Open-Air museum - about $25 entry fee coverd by pass - so it depends on what you are doing too.

One thing for sure you cannot go to wrong with a Swiss Pass if moving around daily as it covers trains in full to Wengen and also to Lauterbrunnen and the cable ways to Murren in full, etc. I'd look at a 3-day Swiss Flexi Saverpass - in between the 1st and 3rd days of unlimited travel to be used anytime over a one-month period you get 50% off everything that moves in Switzerland practically.
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