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pls help a newbie plan a trip to italy and switzerland

pls help a newbie plan a trip to italy and switzerland

Jan 18th, 2016, 06:35 AM
  #1  
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pls help a newbie plan a trip to italy and switzerland

I have never traveled outside US and on our 10th wedding anniversary in sep of this year, I really wish to go to ital and Switzerland. We have a 2 year old and a 4.5 year old so we have to plan our trip based on their comfort. I was thinking about staying a couple days in tuscany area and then maybe 2 days in lake como and a few days in Switzerland. We are not into museums, night life, expensive hotels or food. We just like to see the natural beauty so a trip in the swiss train to soak in the beauty of swiss villages and alps would work too. Does this sound doable with kids? how do i get started with my research on combing these towns? Has anyone does something similar? ANY advice and tips will be very helpful.
I originally wanted to do amalfi coast but folks here recommended to not do that with toddlers so I am hoping to get more insight with this itinerary.
thanks!
reb77 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 06:40 AM
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What is it about Tuscany that most appeals to you? Have you already picked out a specific area of Tuscany you want to see? Tuscany is a very large region, so people will give you better advice if they know what made you put Tuscany on the itinerary. They might even be able to suggest an area of Italy closer to Switzerland/lakes that will give you what you want without traveling extra miles just to be Tuscany.

Also, are you restricted by what airports in Europe offer you affordable flights? Given that you are going in September, it would probably be best to go to Switzerland and the lakes first.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 06:42 AM
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I did not travel with children, however, when we went to the Interlaken/Bernese Oberland area several years ago it seemed to be fairly child friendly, and you could see a lot of the scenery with children/without a big hiking effort.

The trains taking you to the top of the mountains often had paved paths at the top that you could easily take a stroller on and several had playgrounds or child play areas as well. We saw a lot of people with small children/strollers doing this.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 06:45 AM
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To me tuscany area means wide rolling hills, calm serene farms. beautiful quiet setting (maybe i am wrong). This is just a preliminary question. I havent set my mind to any specific area, just looking for an itinerary advice for 2 weeks where we can see beautiful county-sides with kids.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 06:50 AM
  #5  
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if you ask me, i want to do amafi coast but i am afraid that going up and down all day with kids might not be possible.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 07:10 AM
  #6  
 
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I did Switzerland last September and the weather was not good. It rained and was very cold. The Swiss travel pass is very expensive, as everything in Switzerland is very expensive. I have been to Italy, but you would need to decide what area you want to see. Traveling in Europe is easy if you pack light to be able to off and on the trains quickly. You can read my blog to get ideas of how we get around and the different places we went in Italy.

http://winenchocolate.com/choosing-t...s-travel-pass/

Hope this helps.
vacationlady is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 07:17 AM
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great! thanks so much! off to reading your blog now.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 07:27 AM
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With two munchkins I'd do just one area, take an appartment and go out walking with them, visit nearby cities etc. Tuscany would do well for that. I'd check the climate graphs for Sept, but I've never had a problem at that time of year.

You could go to the Ticino area and so avoid swiss prices but with their views but Sept at those heights will be colder.
bilboburgler is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 07:57 AM
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For me, the difficulty having toddlers in the Amalfi coast would be the bus rides. They are often crowded and nauseating. If you were okay with not doing a lot of sightseeing -- staying "home" most days in a village -- or paying for the occasional very expensive taxi ride to go sightseeing, there are areas of the Amalfi coast that are more toddler-friendly than others. I would pick Atrani if you want to swim in the sea or a villa in Ravello if you want lots of peace and quiet and airplane-like views. There are also very family friendly seaside towns closer to Salerno, like Maiori or Cetara, where you would have lower prices, better food -- but you would need to take a ferry from Salerno to see the most spectacular scenery in either Capri or Positano.

You can also bring toddlers to beautiful flat towns on the Italian Riviera (like Camogli, Sestri Levante, look up pictures) and go for boat rides and have a nice time. You can combine visiting the Riviera with a trip to the lakes, or a trip to Tuscany. (Fly into Pisa airport). For part of Tuscany it is good to rent a car.

There is spectacular mountain scenery all across the upper tier of Italy, on the borders with France, Switzlerand and Austria. High up in the mountains it starts to turn cool fairly early in September, however, most years. So it depends on how early in September you are visiting. But there is also wine country with rolling hills not far from these places in Italy (in Piemonte, or Friuli-Venezia-Guilia, and in some places in the Veneto), so if you want Alps/lake + wine country, you can get all of that in Italy -- but better to start first week in September.

Finally there are also pretty beaches and islands that are part of Tuscany, so if you would like a Tuscan island/beach and a Tuscan vineyard, that is also possible (with a car) and usually the weather in September is very nice.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 08:07 AM
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sandralist this sounds exactly like what i have been dreaming of.Thanks for the pointers, I will look into all of this. Any other guidance on ANYTHING like inexpensive places to stay, must visit sites would be helpful.
reb77 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 08:07 AM
  #11  
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how expensive is taxi ride in amalfi?
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Jan 18th, 2016, 11:35 AM
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Sandralist based on your recommendations I think I would like to do sestre levente-asti-lake maggiore. What do u you think? doable with kids in 2 weeks? We will initially fly into rome and maybe spend 2 days there (will have a free hotel since husband will be on business trip in rome). Maybe to fly into genova and train to sestre levente? Hotel helvetia there looks ahamazing!! Not sure we can afford it but will try to spend 2-3 nights there. Maybe rent a car and drive to Asti and enjoy stay for 2 nights there and then drive to lake maggiore for 2-3 night. Perhaps drive back to milan and fly out of there to US. what do you think?
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Jan 18th, 2016, 12:07 PM
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If you are committed to starting your trip in Rome in September, then instead of going to Sestri Levante, how about going to Sperlonga? It's just as toddler friendly and much closer to Rome.

http://www.italymagazine.com/feature...town-sperlonga

http://www.revealedrome.com/2010/07/...ide-town-.html

http://www.elizabethminchilliinrome....way-from-rome/

And then, if you want vineyards, you can go to the nearby Sabine hills:

http://lamiasabina.blogspot.it/2012/...ndow-onto.html

(just showing you this for the pictures, don't know anything about the lodgings)

http://www.latorrettabandb.com/details_casperia.html

http://hiddenlazio.com/places/sabine-hills/

and then if you want a lake before you fly out of Rome, you could visit Lago di Bracciano

http://www.italyheaven.co.uk/lazio/bracciano.html

(just for the pictures)

http://www.albergodellaposta.it/eng/...-bracciano.asp

or there are other lakes

http://www.visitlazio.com/en/laghi-e...41DC092C134214

But you might just want to split your time between Sperlonga and the wine country.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 12:42 PM
  #14  
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ok wow these are interesting and easier for sure. So you would not recommend sestre levente-asti-lake maggiore itinerary? These places look stunning in pictures.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 12:45 PM
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and many many thanks for your help!
reb77 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 12:46 PM
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Just correcting the information above. Salerno is not the only place you can take ferries in season along the Amalfi Coast in September.

You can take ferries from Positano to Amalfi, Positano to Capri and Positano to Sorrento.

There are ferries from Amalfi to Salerno and to and from Positano and to Capri.

It is 8 euro one way from Positano to Amalfi, as an example of the fares. Really easy way to travel especially with kids.

An alternative to the bus is the Coast to Coast service which also runs in September. There are always seats available, it is air conditioned and runs similar to a Hop On Hop Off service.

Don't be put off taking children to the Amalfi Coast by thinking your only transport option is taxis and buses. That's definitely not the case.
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Jan 18th, 2016, 12:58 PM
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http://www.positano.com/

http://www.city-sightseeing.com/documents/tours/961.pdf
(HoHo bus route - the also do a service from Amalfi to Ravello)

http://cupofjo.com/2013/07/family-va...idea-positano/
(a lovely blog about travel to Positano with little kids - she mentions stairs but it is possible to avoid them by staying on the flat near the water or on Via Cristofer Colombo/Via Pasitea, the sloping roads that heads up to the highway).

Happy planning
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Jan 18th, 2016, 01:32 PM
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thanks Blueeuedcod! I do want to visit amalfi but I feel i wont get the best out of it with kids so maybe in some years.thanks for the tips.love how helpful all you guys are.
reb77 is offline  
Jan 18th, 2016, 03:08 PM
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reb77,

It is not really an exaggeration to say all of Italy is beautiful. Of course there are places where there are airports and power plants and ugly buildings that replaced ones that were bombed away or cheap housing or factories. But so much of it is really stunning, I was just thinking that since you have to go to Rome, you might find it much easier to just fly in and out of Rome, not travel long distances or be changing trains and planes with luggage + toddlers.

Were it me, I would spend some time in Rome to make sure you are over jet leg, then get a taxi/car service to take you to Rome airport to rent a car. Then it is a 2 hour drive south to Sperlonga. With a car, you can visit little towns like Itri, or stop by Nemi for a lakeside lunch on your way to the wine country. There is just a lot of charm to this area and you could relax. Once you leave the beach, you could stay on a farm with animals. (This is just an example, you'd need to look up reviews, but do a google search for Sant'Ilario sul Farfa.

It's really a lot of fun to be in Italy and not be a busy tourist because even when you don't plan to go sightseeing, there are always beautiful towns and history all around you. And with kids, if you just need to hang out and not do anything, it's very safe and Italians are very sweet to small children so you that's even nicer than sightseeing.
sandralist is offline  
Jan 21st, 2016, 05:12 AM
  #20  
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thanks so much! Yes italy looks stunning. I just happened to see the gran paradiso pictures and I am dying to go there someday...maybe when kids are off to college...there is so much to see and time is slipping away What you are saying makes total sense. I will do my research on these recommendations and come back for more question. God bless you for being so helpful and kind.
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