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Swiss Family Summer Trip w/ a side of Stuttgart and N. Italy - HELP

Swiss Family Summer Trip w/ a side of Stuttgart and N. Italy - HELP

Jan 4th, 2013, 05:14 AM
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Swiss Family Summer Trip w/ a side of Stuttgart and N. Italy - HELP

Looking for an active and outdoorsy trip - boys will be almost 14 and 11 at trip time. We want to enjoy the scenery, hike, bike, zip, luge, and of course eat!!!

Probably have 2 weeks on the ground not including travel time to and from.
Our latest thoughts are.....

Fly into Frankfurt - go directly to Stuttgart for the Porsche tours.
Then ....
Bernese Oberland
Fly out of Milan

I know its too many stops - what it a must and what should we eliminate??? What are we missing that should be included??

We are Ok with moving around a bunch - We did it last summer in Spain - 2 weeks - 4 different hotels with lots of day trips and train rides. Everyone thought it was too much moving and we were totally fine!!! Since its summer we plan on traveling light!!!! One carry one per person!
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 05:38 AM
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Nice trip, but why not do it in the other direction?
Frankfurt or Munich
Como/Lugano[ via Engadine valley]
Berner Oberland
Fly home from Zurich

Zermatt is the outlier and you will get your fill of cool peaks in the BO. Have fun !
bobthenavigator is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 07:49 AM
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Seems like a great rrip and logically organized - from Zermatt you can take the train via Visp and Brig to Domodossola and hop on the Centovalli railway - one of Switzerland's iconic scenic narrow-gauge railways to Locarno, which is a short way from Lugano by train - a fantastically scenic route between Zermatt and Lugano.

As I think I must of said on your previous older thread do not forget that kids under 15 kids a free Family Pass if you - well a parent that accompanies them buys a Swiss Pass and then the kids always go free - even on trains to mountain tops that Swiss Passes only give 50% off of (like up to the Matterhorn from Zermatt) - and for your travels some kind of Swiss Pass makes dollars and sense IMO.

Great sites for lots of great stuff on Swiss trains, passes, the Jungfrau Region, etc I always spotlight these IMO fantastic sites - www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com. Swiss Passes are also valid on boats on Lake Lugano and postal buses from Lugano up into the hills - I've done both and loved each one.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 4th, 2013, 08:58 AM
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Give the most time to the Berner Oberland in Switzerland.
Food in Switzerland is not great but Italy will make up for it.
HappyTrvlr is offline  
Jan 4th, 2013, 10:01 AM
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Hi MiamiBeachMomma,

I agree with bob above that the logical place to drop would be Zermatt.

I also think that Lugano and Como may be quite a bit alike, and you may be able to drop one of those.

swandav2000 is offline  
Jan 5th, 2013, 08:19 AM
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But I think just seeing the Matterhorn at Zermatt could well be the most memorable thing of the whole trip, especially for kids that age - taking the mountain train up to its glaciers, etc.

But the problem with Zermatt is that the Matterhorn, the world's most famous mountain peak after Everest I'd wager, is that it can be shrouded in fog or clouds on any given day(s) - some that mesmerizing view of the majestic Matterhorn dominating the southern end of the valley Zermatt is in would not be seen.

So Zermatt, if going for the Matterhorn, can be iffy if there for just a day or so.

But the train ride up to Zermatt is IMO one of the most scenic in the Alps - a toy-like mountain train kids will love. The Glacier Express plies this route but so do local trains you can just hop on with a Swiss Pass and pay no supplement.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 7th, 2013, 07:41 AM
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Right now I have tix on hold (using miles) flying into Stuttgart and out of Milan.
We have 15 nights to spend in Europe!!!
I'm still on the fence about Zermatt.
Would possibly add a day to Germany to see Castles.
Any thought on how to allocate our time??
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Jan 7th, 2013, 08:17 AM
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1- Stuttgart
2- Fussen (Mad Ludwig's castles)
3- Innsbruck
4- Innsbruck
5- Lucerne via Zurich
6- Lucerne
7- Scenic Brunig Pass train route to Interlaken Region
10- Zermatt
11- Zermatt
12- Lake Stresa, Stresa
13 Stresa (Borromean Islands!)
14 Milan
15 Milan

an 8-consecutive-day Swiss Pass would fit the Swiss portion very nicely - covering all trains needed, even to Zermatt and back as well as lake boats on Lake Lucerne and the two lakes bookending Interlaken)
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 7th, 2013, 10:58 AM
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Note to get between Fussen and Innsbruck is easy but it ain't! - First take a bus from Fussen thru the river gap to Reutte, Austria and then trains to Garmish-Partenkirchen from there and take trains from there to Innsbruck.

Alternatively go from Fussen to Munich or go to Munich first and day trip to Fussen and from Munich head straight to Zurich, about 4 hours and onto Lucerne or Interlaken.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 7th, 2013, 01:08 PM
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Stresa to me was a fantastic place to stay a few days - take boats around Lake Stresa to so so many neat places - foremost the 3 famous Borromean Islands lying right off Stresa, each island has a different surprise on it - a palace, gardens, an ancient fishing village, etc.

PalenQ is online now  
Jan 9th, 2013, 01:05 PM
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Are there day tours of the Neuschwanstein castle from Stuttgart??? There are a few leaving from Munich (Viatour for example.) I read its easier to come via tour then on your own....
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 07:32 AM
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Well most do come by tour - to wit the parade of tour buses disgorging their mobs at the main tourist-Schlocked plaza far below Neuschwanstein itself - folks still have to either trek up the steep hill or take a horse cart as buses cannot get to the castle entrance I believe- but yes otherwise on your own sans car you have to get from Fussen itself the few miles to the castles area - this can be quickly done by taking a cab. And if you pre-book a tour time then that would be efficient enough and unlike with a tour bus that may leave right after the castle tour you would be able to set your own schedule and poke around the lovely area around the castle - like trekking up to the Marienbrucke bridge high above the castle to the place where Mad Ludwig himself often sat to ponder his fantasy castle being built.

So take a train from Stuttgart to Fussen and cab to the castles would be about as fast as a tour bus and give you your own schedule.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 10th, 2013, 09:45 AM
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Its over 4 hours by train - 2 hours by car.... Should we rent a car when we get to Stuttgart, have it for that area, then drive to Fussen and drive to Zurich and then get rid of it and take train to Lucerne? Or drive to Lucerne??? I have heard about crazy drop off fees.....
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Jan 10th, 2013, 11:15 AM
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If you rent a car yes it may save tons of money to return it in Germany - if going to Zurich from Fussen then just drive the car to Lindau, Germany, which is only a few hours by train, if that, from Zurich - if you have a Swiss Pass start it after the train goes thru a tip of Austria (Bregenz) and enter Switzerland at Buchs, from where a Swiss Pass would pick up - Lindau to Buchs would only be a few euros for that tiny portion.

Lindau is also to me one of the very prettiest cities in Europe - lovingly set on a narrow spit of land jutting out into Lake Constance - very cute old town center - just a sweet sweet place.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 11th, 2013, 09:50 AM
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then drive to Fussen and drive to Zurich and then get rid of it and take train to Lucerne>

Are you planning to do this in one day? If so a long long day - the castle takes a lot of time - you have to walk or take horse carts or carts from the main parking area up to Neuschwanstein (the authentic old medieval castle is right by the parking lot and many people never even bother going in it but I found it also nice and genuinely old unlike the Ersatz medieval fantasy castle Neuschwanstein (which however is a totally amazing awesome place that provides a surprise behind every door and in every room.

In any case be sure to book online a castle entry time or face endless waits in line.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 12th, 2013, 08:14 AM
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If you do find dropping car off in Switzerland would impose a heft drop off fee then yes return it in Germany and take the train to Zurich and Lucerne - if you have a Swiss Pass and are taking a train into Switzerland then you can activate your pass on the train - not having to get off at the first Swiss station to do it - this only applies to trains coming from abroad - ordinarily you have to take a pass up to a train station ticket window if activating in Switzerland - so I do not know if you will have a Swiss Pass or not but if you do it you do not have to get off the train to activate the pass.
PalenQ is online now  
Jan 12th, 2013, 08:22 AM
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A fellow fodorite and personal friend did a somewhat similar trip with her boys, who were ages 12 and 15 at the time. They are also an active outdoorsy family. Here is a link to her trip report which you may find helpful:

jgg is offline  
Jan 15th, 2013, 06:19 AM
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Amazing reference. Very detailed TR! Thanks for the link! B
MiamiBeachMomma is offline  
Jan 15th, 2013, 06:58 AM
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Your husband will love the Porsche museum if like you say he is a Porsche fanatic. If you are planning to do the factory tour then book immediately once you know your dates.Providing the VIN number from your car will increase your chances for getting a spot. Note, at least two years ago, there were no public tours on Fridays. Public transportation from the airport to the city and then to the museum is very easy.

We too choose Stresa on Lake Maggiore over Como when we went and loved it. This was 10 years ago, and at the time it was a much less touristy spot. The islands were fun. I would not devote any nights to Milan, but that is just my opinion.

Have a great trip!
Barblab is offline  
Jan 16th, 2013, 05:26 PM
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We recently had a trip to Sw. and it included a bus ride (Palm Express)from St Moritz, through the Lake Como area, to Lugano. We did not spend a night in either place, but a quick observation is that if one does the BO and Zermatt, then trying to do Lugano and Como is alot to bite off. Agree with the above comment that sticking to Lake Maggiore (stresa/locarno) will be logistically easier, and it is just as lovely as Como.
docdan is offline  

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