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Holiday Cheer in the region around Geneva with Children

Holiday Cheer in the region around Geneva with Children

Old Oct 22nd, 2022, 07:07 PM
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Holiday Cheer in the region around Geneva with Children

We have 9 full days in the Geneva (fly in and out of Geneva) area the 20th -29th with our children - ages 11, 13. we’re thinking of seeing Geneva, Montreux, Zermatt, and Chamonix. However, we are open to suggestions of other towns instead. For example, should we travel up to Colmar ? (Christmas markets last until the 29th there).We love the Christmas markets, food tasting tours, light snow activities, holiday shows (kid friendly), hands-on museums, indoor amusements, and cooking/baking classes. We have a car rental booked. I am seeking recommendations for:
1) are there other cities nearby that you recommend either to add or substitute?
2) how many days in each place?
3) specific recommendations for attractions, tours, Christmas markets, winter activities, and kid-friendly cooking classes?
4) hotel recommendations? Bonus if they are Hilton or Marriott, as we have status and might get upgrades
5) navigation advice

moonininjuly is offline  
Old Oct 25th, 2022, 08:43 AM
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that's a lot of places, I wouldn't go to that many. I also wouldn't rent a car, Switzerland has some of the best public transportation systems n Europe. And it's winter. Do you routinely drive in places like that in winter and so think it's easy? It's just that it could be snowy and there are mountains in those areas. Why are you going to Chamonix? If you have a reason, fine, I just wondered as it seems fairly complicated, and you don't mention skiing. Of course you wouldn't want to ski anyway probably at that time of year, it will be so crowded, and you need so much special gear to lug around on your trip if you do that (and I don't mean the equipment, I mean the clothes). Of course you added Zermatt, also, was that for skiing?

I don't know what kind of cooking/baking classes you want in Switzerland (what dish do you wnt to learn how to make, I can't think of any special baked goods). But I don't think that is going to happen around the holidays, and there aren't many anyway for children ever. But they won't be taking place around the holidays.Also, you don't mention what languages you all speak which would be important for classes. I imagine the ones in Vevey would be in French but maybe German or English translation.

I'd add Vevey in-between Geneva and Montreux. They have a food museum and do have kid's food/cooking classes there at times, but won't during the holidays. They also have a Christmas market and some kid activities, and a big light tunnel. They have some kids workshops on Wed but it isn't clear to me what it actually is. I read Montreux is the best CHristmas market in that area. Vevey's isn't as good, but Geneva's is not special. I wouldn't spend time there at all probably. You could add Lausanne, they do have a Christmas market and it lasts until 12/31, in fact.

some info
https://www.veveynoel.ch/
https://www.swissromande.ch/Swissrom...quais-de-noel/
https://chocolatour.net/swiss-chocol...avel-to-vevey/

this is the food museum in Vevey
https://www.alimentarium.org/en

If you wanted another place, there is Basel. It's one of the best Christmas markets supposedly. And of course, there is Lausanne also.

https://www.helloswitzerland.ch/en/g...ts-switzerland

https://www.basel.com/en/events/chri...ristmas-market

Basel is only until Christmas though and is farther away so maybe doesn't work in your itinerary. But it's not as far as Colmar.
You can't easily get from Geneva to Zermatt either by train. Or Chamonix. But you can get to Chamonix with only two trains and about 3 hours.
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Old Oct 27th, 2022, 09:16 AM
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Unfortunately, we speak English only. On second thought, we decided to skip Geneva and head straight to Bern. There seem to be a couple of interesting museums there and we can visit the Christmas market there. From there, we may head on to Basel or Colmar or maybe back south to Montreaux. Either way, we will definitely visit Montreaux. We were considering also a couple nights in Scion and from there do some winter activities of skating or sledding in Verbier. We will likely skip Zermatt and Chamonix.

Will restaurants be open montreaux on the 24th and 25th?
moonininjuly is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2022, 12:40 AM
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In most places Christmas markets are over on 23rd December. Bern does have a "New Years market" for a couple of days Dec 27-29 or so. Check on www.bern.com. If you are planning on staying in Bern for a few nights book the hotel now. it gets very crowded.

Vevey OR Montreux are good places to stay. Use www.montreuxriviera.com to search accommodation for both.

24th December - shops, restaurants etc are open all day and close around 1700. Many restaurants won't open that evening. 24th December is when we celebrate Christmas here in Switzerland so it is family time. However all restaurants in hotels will be open throughout so be sure to book a hotel with a decent restaurant. If you like brunches the Montreux Palace Hotel has a huge Brunch Christmas Day - not cheap at 125frs or so (under 12 is less) and does need to be booked now.

The Alimentarium children's cooking classes don't happen in school holidays but they might have some "events" for children though I doubt it since most people are in the mountains at this time...check on their website. No matter what ALL their childrens' events/classes etc are in French. And need advance booking.

if the reason you plan to stay in Sion is to go to Verbier - that doesn't make a lot of sense. Stay in Martigny instead. It is closer, one less change of trains to do AND has more hotels than Sion anyway plus Martigny has a lot on offer - not the least of which for children is Barryland which is a museum about St Bernard dogs and the St Bernard pass WITH live dogs and often puppies on hand. There are Roman ruins, a world class art museum and scultpure garden with vintage car museum as well. And a castle...

Verbier - you can sled at les Esserts and there is a "carpet" that moves beginners and sledders up the piste a bit. Buses leave from the Médran lift station for les Esserts (Take the bus going to "Hameau") every 10-15mns or so and are free. You need to buy a sledding pass to use the carpet and you can get that when you arrive at Médran on the télécabine from le Châble. (Train every 30mns from Martigny connects to the télécabine station in le Châble. One ticket Martigny/Verbier for the parents is all you need and you buy that from a machine in the Martigny station).

Above all - do NOT drive. Roads are likely to be a mess AND parking is always a zoo everywhere at Christmas. Since you will be doing a reasonable amount of train travel get Half Fare cards for the parents (120frs). They come with a Family card which gives free travel wherever you go for the two children. And will get you up to Verbier but not any higher. For that you will have to buy a lift ticket.

if you want to do a day trip to Chamonix that is easy from Martigny. Trains leave every hour for Vallorcine in France where you change for Chamonix. it is a VERY scenic train ride and takes 90 mins. Your Half Fare card will get you and the children as far as Vallorcine and from there on you need tickets... Better get those before leaving Martigny from the MTR ticket office opposite the Martigny station.

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