Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Europe
Reload this Page >

Italian and Swiss Alps with a one year old

Italian and Swiss Alps with a one year old

Old Jan 7th, 2023, 10:38 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2023
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Italian and Swiss Alps with a one year old

Hi everyone,

My husband and I booked flights for early July flying into Zurich and out of Milan with our then 16 month old baby. We're realizing we may have bit off more than we could chew with the travel between places but we booked them due to flight price and duration. We want to go from Zurich to Lauterbrunnen and spend 3-4 days there then somehow head to the Dolomites for 4-5 days from there. We'd prefer not to drive until we are close to the Dolomites, so we could possibly rent a car in Bolzano or possibly Venice if that's easier. We're wondering how difficult it is to travel by train/bus with the baby and her gear and also just generally how difficult it is to travel via public transportation there. Most importantly, how would we get from Lauterbrunnen to the Dolomites? The train options seem overwhelming with a baby.

We have a total of 11 days so maybe we should just focus on one place or the other? If we did that, could we fit in another relaxing spot, maybe on a lake or beach? We can still change our flights to fly into and out of Milan or into and out of Zurich if it's better to just stick with one or the other. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
akaufman47 is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2023, 05:29 PM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,829
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you tell the hotels / apartments where you will be staying that you are travelling with a baby they will have a lot of the equipment. We never used to take any of the big stuff, and had suitcases and backpacks to keep hands free. We travelled with a lightweight foldable stroller, but we were in cities, you might find it easier with a backpack or a Baby Björn-type thing (although 16 mo. is getting a bit big for one of those). When our daughter was 16 months we travelled with a car, but on later trips when she was still a toddler we went by train or other public transport. We also never had a car seat in the plane, it's not common in Australia to do this, although you might get a few people here with different experiences to us. At 16 months you may just still be able to book a bassinette in the plane, depends on how big bub is - your airline will have a height/weight limit. The flight attendants will also give you a seat belt for baby to attach to yours, for takeoff and landing.

I don't have experience in the areas you mention, but don't be daunted by trains, many European families travel with them regularly. In some countries trains even have special cars that are dedicated to families (Austria?). If you can, book seats in one of the 6-seater compartments, I think that could work well for you. One person gets on the train and the other person passes up the luggage to the one on the train. Someone will always help you, maybe even railway staff.


lavandula is offline  
Old Jan 7th, 2023, 08:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 23,987
Received 4 Likes on 3 Posts
IMO, Lauterbrunnen and Bolzano/Dolomites is not a realistic combination, esp. with a toddler.

The fastest train with the fewest connections between Lauterbrunnen and Bolzano takes 9 hours, involves 5 connections. That means one day stuck in trains and having to haul everything on and off trains every hour or two. I'd want to break up that journey somewhere mid-way, but I would probably just pick a different destination and leave the Dolomites for another trip. Perhaps Lake Maggiore or Lake Lugano.
Jean is online now  
Old Jan 8th, 2023, 12:50 AM
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 203
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Lauterbrunnen and Lake Maggiore sounds like a lovely option.
nonconformist2 is offline  
Old Jan 8th, 2023, 02:50 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 7,672
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Skip either the Bernese Oberland or the Dolomites. You would loose a whole day with a train ride from Lauterbrunnen to any place in the Dolomites (via Zurich for the Northern Dolomites, via Milan for the Southern Dolomites, at least 4 train changes).
You would then waste almost another day for your travel from the Dolomites back to a intercontinental airport:
about 4 hrs to Venice airport, 5 hrs to Milan Malpensa airport and 7 hrs to Zurich airport.
You can easily combine Lauterbrunnen with Saas Grund, Riederalp/Bettmeralp or any place in the Canton of Valais, if you want to spend your last days in the Alps or with Lugano or Locarno/Ascona, if you prefer the Lakes of Southern Switzerland. The train ride from Lugano to Malpensa airport takes 1 1/2 hrs and to Zurich airport 2 1/4 hrs.
If the Dolomites are a must, it might make more sense to visit the glaciers of South Eastern Switzerland (around Pontresina) and to proceed from there to Merano - Bolzano (by local trains and bus).
journey times:
Zurich airport - Pontresina/St. Moritz etc. 3 3/4 hrs, 2-3 train changes
Pontresina - Merano: 4 hrs, but very scenic itinerary, 3 changes at very small stations where the bus waits just in front of the train or vice versa.
neckervd is online now  
Old Jan 17th, 2023, 09:25 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 336
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi - as noted, Dolomites and Berner Oberland are not the easiest to travel between. I don't have much experience with Dolomites but when we lived in London, we used to go every summer to Switzerland with our little ones (starting around 1 yr old) and our tried and true combination was Berner Oberland and Lake Geneva. Train travel was very easy in Switzerland once you understand the schedule and get half fare cards, etc. We usually took a small fold up stroller and/or kid backpack and we just tag teamed getting the kids and our gear on the trains. We would fly in and out of Zurich (or sometimes into Zurich and out Geneva). Starting in Zurich, it was very easy to walk across the street from the airport to the train station. We would get a train from Zurich to Interlaken and then onto whichever village we stayed (our favorites were Wengen or Murren which are above Lauterbrunnen). The whole area is perfect for kids - lots of playgrounds and activities so could easily fill 5 days to a week. After our mountain time, we would then take the train from Interlaken to either Vevey or Montreux on Lake Geneva and stay there 3-4 days and enjoy the lake. The lake promenade in Montreux is fun with a toddler and they have little train rides and things for kids. Also the "Swiss Vapor Parc" across the lake (take a ferry) makes for a fun day out for kids (and adults) as it is a small scale train park where you ride little trains around.
NorCal_Jo is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Sep 12th, 2008 03:05 PM
Jan 11th, 2003 10:49 AM
Jan 8th, 2003 08:31 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -