Help with planning Itinerary

Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:35 PM
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Help with planning Itinerary

My family of 6 (2 adults and 4 children ages 5,6,13,14) will be traveling to Switzerland in July from Paris by train.

We will be in Europe for a total of 15 nights. We were planning 4-5 nights in the Paris area then to Switzerland for 6 nights and then we will need to eventually get to Austria to fly out of Vienna.

I am overwhelmed right now with all the possibilities of where to go. I was thinking since we will be traveling with young children we would pick 1 or maybe 2 locations to stay that would be convenient to other areas we could get to by train during the day.

I am looking for suggestions on where to go, hotels to stay in and sights to see in the area.

I have been looking at hotels and having trouble finding space for all 6 of use. At least inexpensive rooms. Most hotels are offering connecting rooms but that is ending up being quite expensive $400-700 in swiss francs. I was hoping to sending $150-250 a night in US dollars. I know we are coming at high season but its the only time our children aren't in school.

Another option is to say in a vacation apartment which I hear is called a Fenwohnung. However I haven't had much luck locating these and the ones I locate still seems to be expensive and require 1 week stay.

Some cities I have heared good things about at:

Luzern
Bern
Interlaken (sounds too touristy for us)
Zermatt

I was thinking maybe 3 nights in Luzern since it seems to be a nice size city but not too large and seems to be easy to take trains to surrounding areas. Then I was maybe hoping to stay in a smaller town in the mountains were we could experience the alps.

We are from Florida and don't get to see mountains and snow very often (my little girls have never actually seen snow). Is there snow anywhere that we can see in the summer?

Finally we need to take a train from Switzerland to Vienna, Austria for our flight out and last part of our trip. Is there a suggested route for this. Scenic would be nice but it seems like everything is beautiful in this area. We would be open to breaking the trip up to Vienna as well with 1-2 night stopover on the way.

THANK YOU!

We want to go places that are beautiful and have things to do but generally perfer places that aren't too touristy.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Rather than a hotel, you may want to look for an apartment. Years ago we stopped near but not in Interlaken and saw a zimmer sign. Because we were not staying the weekend (it was reserved by a Zürich family as a weekend place over the summer), we were able to stay in the room which actually was a studio apartment over a garage. It was very cheap, and while the price is definitely invalid, such a possibility might be more affordable than a hotel.
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 04:02 AM
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Hi divindaze,

Yes, it will be very hard to accommodate six people under $250/night; that's 41 chf per person per night, which is astoundingly cheap for Switzerland.

You have a few options, though. One is to look into youth hostels, which have dormitories (for the kids) and also twin or double rooms (for the parents). One is in Wengen, the Old Lodge www.old-lodge.ch. You can find others at www.hostel.ch.

Another option would be to get two rooms in a b&b, which you can find with a map search at www.bnb.ch. A room in a b&b typically runs 50-90 chf.

I think you have a good start with your itinerary; staying in either Luzern, Bern, or Interlaken would be great for a mountain experience as well as convenience. Zermatt is a bit out of the way, and you won't be able to see much else easily.

Oh, by the way, one reason you may be having trouble finding rental apartments is that you're spelling it wrong; it's "ferienwohnungen." Usually, though, they only let for one week.

Good luck!

s
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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 04:29 AM
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In Lauterbrunnen, near Interlaken - an excellent town for a stay in the Bernese Oberland, IMO - we found a Ferienwohnung that might work for you too - right in the middle of town across from the Hotel Staubbach, 85 CHF per night, as I recall, but that was 4 years ago. Very simple rooms but with a nice enclosed porch that looks out onto the main street. There were 2 bedrooms and beds for 4, but perhaps there's a couch-set-up or some other possible arrangement too.

Zurschmiede Rolf und Fränzi
Beim alten Schulhaus
3822 Lauterbrunnen BE
Phone 0041 33 855 32 70

No e-mail address that I know of, not listed with the tourist office. I'm not sure whether the couple speaks enough English for a phone call - snail mail if a call doesn't work? We rented for just 3 nights. Maybe this place would be worth the effort.

You could also try this place in Lauterbrunnen where I saw a lot of families staying - it's a little further out - they rent bungalows, camping trailers, and have facilities for kids:

www.camping-jungfrau.ch/willko_e.htm

The youth hostel in Brienz, near Interlaken with good train connections, is a nice one - right on the lake. There are two 6-bed rooms. Prices:

"Prices for members in dormitory from CHF 26.40 (breakfast and bed linen incl.)
Children 0-2 years : free of charge, Children from 2-6 years : 50%"

Go to www.sjh.ch and click on "English" at the top.

Good Luck!

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Old Feb 4th, 2007, 05:31 AM
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I see you have two threads going.

If you go to Salzburg, you might want to try the Salzburg hostel. It's well located, though a healthy walk from the train station. There are private family rooms here:

http://www.jfgh.at/salzburg-e.php

Hostels have changed a lot over the years - no longer the 20-bunk-per-room backpackers-only facilities they once were. Families and school groups on outings have become their primary clients in many countries, and things are much more hotel-like now, as a rule. We (family of 3) use them often, along with apartment and B&B lodgings, in our own travels. We just returned from a catle-hostel stay in Diez, Germany - what a marvelous place - and also spent 2 nights in the Mainz hostel. We had our castle nearly to ourselves. 4-bed Room w/ private bath was comfortable and spotless; breakfast buffet and dining hall were terrific, nice cafe/bar on site for evenings. Mainz' hostel - overlooking the Rhine - was great too. Most hostels have a lawn and/or play area of some kind for kids too. Kids have a chance to people-watch and mingle with others in a way they probably wouldn't at a hotel.

Without a HI (Hostelling International) membership, you will need to pay an extra 2-3 Euros per person for "Welcome stamps" - 6 of which constitute a one-year membership.

Anyway, hostels are generally a viable, comfortable option for families on a budget that you shouldn't be afraid to try.
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Old Feb 6th, 2007, 06:21 PM
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I still need help deciding on one to two cities to stay in Switzerland. We were thinking Lucern then maybe something more rural in the mountains. What are some favorite cities that someone could suggest. I appreciate the help. I keep looking and everything looks lovely. I'm having a very hard time making my mind up. If you have suggestions on hotels in your favorite cities that would be appreciated as well.
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Any suggestions on hotels in Vienna, Austria?
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 10:06 AM
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With only 14 nights, and remembering jet-lag and that you lose a day every time you move, I would opt for just three stops - Paris [add a day for jet-lag]
- Lauterbrunnen [a great centre for trips]
- Salzburg -ditto.

My kids have always enjoyed not moving around too much and staying in towns- gives you something to do in the evening.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 10th, 2007, 10:48 AM
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If seeing snow and a beautiful mountain area would be exciting for your children, consider staying near or in Wengen (previously mentioned), where you can enjoy a small Alpine village, beautiful views and a great rail ride to the Jungfrau- top of Europe- where you can see a glacier, walk through ice sculptures and have a meal. The scenery is spectacular and while there will be flowers in bloom below, you will see snow everywhere on the top. I believe there is a public swimming pool in Wengen and playgrounds also. If you can't locate the right accommodations in Wengen (which is only accessible by train-easy parking in town below), it is possible to stay nearby and access train to the Jungfrau. There is also a place where you can visit an underground waterfall where several sources of water come together. Most interesting and fun for kids to explore-can't remember the name of it right now but it is in Wengen area. From Wengen, there are some smaller hills that can be accessed via a funicular type of system and kids love it. We found Switzerland fun and easy to navigate with younger kids. Enjoy!
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 03:44 PM
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So it seems that the Wengen area is preferable over Luzern? Any hotel recommendations?

How far away is Zurich from Wengen as my husband wants to go there for one day visit?
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Old Feb 13th, 2007, 05:23 PM
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Few more questions...

We are coming from Paris to Switzerland. Is it most convenient to take a train from Paris to Zurich? Since we want to visit Zurich for a day I'm wondering if it would be best to stay there for one night they move onto Lucern - thought?

Then we are thinking 2-3 nights in Lucern then onto somewhere in the Bern Oberland for another 2-3 nights.

We can't decide between Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Muerren. What is the big differences between the three. I know that Wengen and Muerren are car free which I think is nice. Are they about the same size? We will be taking day trips out into the mountains to see the sights is one preferrable over the other for that? I have found hotels/hostels that I like in all three but any suggestions/recommendations would be helpful.

Or am I completely in the wrong directions and should consider somewhere else?
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Old Feb 14th, 2007, 03:12 AM
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Hi divindaze,

Some thoughts --

No need to stay overnight in Zurich. Luzern & Zurich are only about an hour apart by direct train, so it's only a two-hour day-trip. It'll take longer than that to check into a hotel & unpack, then the next day pack up & check out. It'll be quicker to make Zurich a day-trip.

Muerren is the smallest of the villages you mention, the highest in altitude, and to my mind more remote; Wengen is the next largest and a bit easier to get to. Lauterbrunnen is actually on the valley floor next to the sheer cliffs of the mountains.

Just fyi, here are some figures:

Wengen 1274m pop 1,050
Muerren 1650m, pop 450
Grindelwald 1034m, pop 3,733
Lauterbrunnen 796m, pop 2,663

Finally, here is a link to a map you can click to get an idea of where each is located:

http://www.wengen-muerren.ch/index.p...00&lang=en&L=1

Have fun!

s
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Old Feb 27th, 2007, 05:39 PM
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We now have our itinerary set.
Day 1 - Paris
Day 2 - Paris
Day 3 - Paris
Day 4 - Paris
Day 5 - Wengen, Switzerland
Day 6 - Wengen
Day 7 - Wengen
Day 8 - Luzern
Day 9 - Luzern
Day 10 - Luzern
Day 11 - Vienna, Austria
Day 12 - Vienna
Day 13 - Vienna
Day 14 - Vienna

What I now have questions on are the trains.
1) What is the most economical way to take the train with a family of 6?
2) How do we get to Wengen, Switzerland from Paris? Do we have to go thru Zurick?
3) I hear that children's train tickets are very inexpensive and sometimes free. What is the scoop on this?
4) When we leave Luzern to head to Vienna what route should we take?
5) Since the train ride from Switzerland to Vienna will be quite long should we take a night train if availble? Do they have sleeper cars?

Does anyone have any advice or guidance on this?

Thanks you!
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Old Feb 28th, 2007, 03:10 PM
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Hi divindaze,

You can find out all the answers to the train questions at the Swiss rail site, www.rail.ch.

I think if you buy a pass, you can get a free Family Pass for your children under 16 to travel free in Switzerland. If you don't buy a pass, I think you can buy a special pass for the children for 20 chf and then all travel is free. Great deal!

Good luck!

s
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Old Mar 1st, 2007, 03:43 AM
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The Tourist Hotel along the Reuss River in Luzern might be your best bet. they have a six person suite for around 300-360 chf per night, breakfas and all taxes included.
they have a wash machine and dryer for your use and an internet space. Great views, modest accommodations, and cheap for expensive Luzern. Here is the web address: http://www.touristhotel.ch/English/English_index.htm

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Old Mar 6th, 2007, 10:41 AM
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We were throughout Switzerland in the Fall. I highly recommend Lucerns; The kids (and you) would love taking the gondola up to Mt. Pilatus which is fantastic. I would also highly recommend taking the boat trip all around Lake Lucerne (a good day) as you can stop and have lunch in a little town along teh way and catch another boat. It is spectacular!
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