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Itinerary Sanity Check... Switzerland, Austria, Germany

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Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:22 AM
  #1
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Itinerary Sanity Check... Switzerland, Austria, Germany

Hello! I am planning an active trip for a family of 4 to include hiking in Switzerland, Austria and Germany and would like to know if it will work, if it is too ambitious, too much time on trains, or will be an amazing adventure! Here's an overview:

Day 1 to 3 - Arrive in Zurich from the US in the a.m. Take take to Lauterbrunnen. Stay for 3 nights in Grindlewald to recover from jet lag, hike, see Jungfrau area, etc.

Day 4 - 6- Train to Zermatt, hiking hut to hut (haven't worked out the details on the huts yet!) for 3 nights.

Day 7 - Train/bus to Innsbruck

Day 8 - 9 - Hike Tirol area

Day 10 - Train to Munich

Day 11 - 12 - Explore Munich, day trips to castles and Dachau

Day 13 - Depart Munich

We are a busy family and appreciate an active vacation. Our kids are age 8 and 10 so sitting at a cafe and enjoying the view doesn't happen for long... Would love your thoughts on whether this will work! Thank you so much for your time!
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 05:51 AM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
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Day 7 will be very long, the fastest itinerary, through Zurich, will be 7 hours and half with two transfers. If you children can stand it, it would be very scenic.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 06:29 AM
  #3
 
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Why don't you skip the travel to Zermat and split the time between the Jungfrau, Innsbruck and Munich? You are going to three mountain areas to accomplish the same activity. I think the Matterhorn is wonderful but you have much less travel time when you could be enjoying some activity with your children outside of a train seat.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 07:27 AM
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I have to agree with the Zermatt-Innsbruck portion. Now, if you are absolutely CONVINCED that you need to spend those three days hiking to the huts around Zermatt then so be it. And in terms of Munich you are going to be there for two days so you are going to have basically ONE day to do a day trip to somewhere such as Neuschwanstein; you can do the Dachau thing by local transport/S-Bahn in a half day easy. In stead of Neuschwanstein (yes, I know the location is iconic but believe me, the inside isn't all that great; Herrenchiemsee would be better IMO but that's subjective). Closer to Munich would be the in-town Nymphenburg Palace.

I like Zermatt and the view further up of the Matterhorn is wonderful but spending more time in the Berner Oberland might be more productive given your time constraints.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 08:18 AM
  #5
 
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You are doing enough train travel to take a look at a Swiss Pass - especially since kids under 16 get a free pass to match the adults' pass and never ever pay a dime to ride anything - even things Swiss Passes normally only get a discount on (like the Jungfraujoch trains) - passes cover travel to Grindelwald and Zermat 100% and give you 50% off aerial cable ways once in those areas - they are also good on lake boats like on the two lakes bookending Ingterlaken - kids that age would love to ride those steamers IME.

Anyway for lots of great stuff on Swiss trains and passes and alternatives like the Half-Fare Card check out these IMO fantastic sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgerteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

If you had a pass you could use it to get to the last Swiss border station - Buchs - then buying a ticket from there to your Austrian destination (buy that ticket in Zermatt so you do not have to get off the train at Buchs)

There is a Eurail Select Pass - 3 country pass that would be valid in Switzerland, Austria and Germany but it does not cover trains from Brig/Visp to Zermatt and back nor in full to Grindelwald so is not practical for you.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:00 PM
  #6
 
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Hi,

We're not hikers, but I think the Berner Oberland and Zermatt may be redundant (except for viewing the Matterhorn) and the Berner Oberland is so worth more than the 2.5 days that you have there. IF you eliminated Zermatt, add 2 days to Grindelwald and 1 to either Tirol or Munich. With the time and the day trips planned from it, you'll probably never really see Munich.
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Feb 23rd, 2013, 04:52 PM
  #7
kja
 
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> Day 10 - Train to Munich
Day 11 - 12 - Explore Munich, day trips to castles and Dachau
Day 13 - Depart Munich

Do you arrival and departure times allow an opportunity to visit Munich itself, or is that not a priority for you?
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Feb 24th, 2013, 04:43 PM
  #8
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Wow - thank you everyone! You've convinced me to skip the Matterhorn this time around. Munich is least important to us - we're more about hiking, so we may detour to Salzburg Land as well - thank you all so much for your time and advice! Much appreciated!!
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Feb 25th, 2013, 12:50 PM
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I have hiked in both Zermatt area and Interlaken/Junggfrua Region and have found the hikes - the main ones most folks take to be very different - I enjoyed them both and the Jungfrau offers a much more wide variety of hiking for all levels and energies - Zermatt's tend to be a bit more demanding but to me also more interesting.
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