Switzerland Familiy of 4 / August 2024

Old Mar 18th, 2024, 10:21 AM
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Switzerland Familiy of 4 / August 2024

Hello! Please help with this itinerary - we are a family of four (kids 11 and 8); we like nature but are not super outdoors-y and kids probably won't be into long hikes - moderate/easy ok. We like cities but also looking for that 'cowbell' and real Alpine experience, and my kids will enjoy a castle or two (thus Rapperswill and Thun). We will take trains and won't have a car. Tickets into Milan and out of Zurich are already purchased, everything else is flexible. Thanks so much for ideas on the below - any and all insight welcome! Does this make sense? Anything you loved and we should add? Hotels? Other? So many good options .

Day 1 - Depart for Milan
Day 2 - Transit Milan to Lake Como (sleep in Varenna)
Day 3 - Varenna/Lake Como (sleep in Varenna)
Day 4 - Bernina Express to Chur and on to Appezell (sleep in Appenzell)
Day 5- Appenzell (sleep in Appenzell)
Day 6 - Transit to Luzern (sleep in Luzern)
Day 7 - Luzern (sleep in Luzern)
Day 8 - Luzern (sleep in Luzern)
Day 9 - Transit to Berner Oberland region - thinking of staying in Murren
Day 10 - Gimmelward daytrip (sleep in Murren)
Day 11 - Thun daytrip (sleep in Murren)
Day 12 - Transfer to Zurich/Rapperswil day trip in afternoon (sleep in Zurich)
Day 13 - Stein am Rhein day trip (sleep in Zurich)
Day 14 - Zug day trip (sleep in Zurich)
Day 15 - Depart Zurich
Mahsey is offline  
Old Mar 21st, 2024, 06:52 AM
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It's a long train ride from Varennaa to Appenzell, above all if you want to do it by Bernina Express:
Varenna dp 11.25 - Tirano ar 12.52, dp 14.24 - Chur ar 18.22, dp 19.11 - Gossau ar 20.44/dp 20.51 - Appenzell ar 21.30.
Few people would cross some of the most beautiful areas of the Alps (Bernina area/Upper Engadin Valley) without leaving the train and then spend the whole following day at a place like Appenzell.
The direct trains from Herisau (Appenzell) via Rappesrwil to Lucerne will not run before August 12th. But you can of course chose the less scenic detour via Zurich.
Gimmelwald is 1 mile from Muerren. The walk lasts about 1/2 hr/OW. But you may also reach Gimmelwald by gondola.
All trains from Interlaken to Zurich run via Thun (luggage lockers at the railway station).
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Old Mar 21st, 2024, 12:05 PM
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Personally, I would skip Appenzell. I finally got there on my sixth trip to Switzerland. I was very disappointed in the area. Rick Steves touts the area, but I thought it was a bit boring. Without a car, it is difficult to explore the area. The town itself, took us no more than 2 hours to explore. And that was including a short stop for lunch.

We took our son twice to Switzerland as a child. His "Heidi" moments were taking the summer toboggan run as we descended by cable car from Mt. Pilatus to Kriens (past fields of cows) with views of the mountains, visiting Gruyeres/Broc (cheese factory, cows and chocolate factory), the cows/sheep/goats on the hills around the Lauterbrunnen Valley (below Murren) and the train ride to Zermat where he saw blacknose sheep plus the blackneck goats.

I would spend more time in Murren. I prefer Wagen, but that is a personal opinion. Our son loved our trip to Jungfraujock. We even took a short walk on the Aletsch Glacier from the "Top of the World". A short hike to Staubbach Waterfall is fun. The kids can go behind the waterfall. Another day trip from Murren is to the Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum, near Brienz. You can even take a boat on Brienzersee coming back. So much to do in the area.

If you are traveling with the Swiss Pass, many child friendly museums and places are free. Check it out.

Have a wonderful trip.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2024, 08:37 AM
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It' incredibly easy to explore the whole Appenzell area without car. But the area doesn't get nicer because of that.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2024, 11:15 AM
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We've been visiting Switzerland routinely for at least 25 years and we still haven't been to Appenzell! So many better options.
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Old Mar 25th, 2024, 05:31 PM
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Appenzell, in its defense is simply different. More rolling hills and pasture, rather than mountains (Heidiland).
The regional museum in the nearby town of Urnaesch is fantastic.
I'd suggest the easy 'hike' of the Barefoot Hike, along a bubbling brook and cow pasture.
Of course, their regional mountain is Saentis.
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Old Mar 27th, 2024, 05:53 AM
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We've done a similar trip when our daughters were 8 and 10. We spent 10 nights in Lauterbrunnen and 1 night in Luzern with flights in and out of Zurich. While my kids did love the train rides, you have a lot of time moving between locations. I'd recommend skipping Appezell and adding those two nights to Murren and or Luzern.

As far as staying in Murren, you might want to consider staying in the valley. Lauterbrunnen, or a bit further in the valley in Stechelberg. Murren is a wonderful village but it's not the best home base due to logistics of getting to and from there. Especially if you're doing day trips to the surrounding area. Gimmelwald is great but you'll be done in an hour or two so I wouldn't dedicate a whole day there.

Things to do in the BO with kids.
While in Murren, take the funicular up to Allmendhubel. Grab snack and let the kids check out the playground. From there, you can take a nice hike / walk to the Winteregg train station to catch a ride back down to Lauterbrunnen. Mostly downhill so the kids will still enjoy it. The views are amazing.
Head to Grindelwald and spend some time there. Take the gondola up to Alpenspielplatz and enjoy another mountain playground.
In Thun, bring your bathing suits to Flussbad Schwabis. In August, it will probably be warm and most kids enjoy swimming. It's a good spot to let the kids just be kids while the parents take a mental reset.

We had rain jackets and swim suits with us everywhere we went and glad we did. Afternoon showers are common and the mid day sun can be hot. We found the Thun swimming pool by chance and the kids loved having a chance to cool off in the water.

This is from the hike from Allmenhubel to Winteregg.

Last edited by jlm43; Mar 27th, 2024 at 05:56 AM.
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