Switzerland for Christmas

Old Nov 16th, 2008, 09:15 AM
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Switzerland for Christmas

We plan for a week in Switzerland (20- 26 dec). 4 Adults and 2 children. Entry point will be Zurich. Pls adv on activities / cities to fit around the week keeping in mind the children. Christmas markets ?
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 09:38 AM
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See if you can find the recent Rudy Maxa program on Christmas in Switzerland--lots of good suggestions, including the fine Christmas markets and chocolate shops. In one city--I think it was Geneva--there are stands where you can dip your own beeswax candles, and of course there are skating rinks.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 09:43 AM
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Montreux (and Vevey) are pretty towns. Montreux has a Christmas market. www.montreux.ch
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Have heard a lot about the Berner Oberland area and the Chateau de Chilon, woould they be a good idea at this time of the year ? Thanks so much for your help. This is my first trip to Europe and frankly, we are depending on suggestions to plan it.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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Please don't say it is this year?
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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It is actually. Unexpected break from work over Christmas, Switzerland because we dont require a visa to visit there (we are an Indian couple living in Ireland), for any other place we need to factor in the visa processing time
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 12:41 PM
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Okay, then. I just noticed it is really the week before Christmas which is good. The week after it is difficult to get rooms in the ski areas and you often need to book the whole week. That was my concern.

What are your interests beyond Christmas markets? How old are the children. Is skiing important?

g.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 03:33 PM
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Children are 5 and 9 (girls). None of us know how to ski, a quick course wouldnt be unwelcome. My friends family coming from India would like to cover as much as possible - mainly the 'touristy' places I would think We were thinking of a couple of nights in Zurich and Geneva and maybe a couple in Interlaken/Lucerne.
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Old Nov 16th, 2008, 04:01 PM
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Zurich, Montreux, and Geneva were all in the Rudy Maxa program, and all had interesting places to visit and things to do. The Chateau de Chillon was feature, bathed in red and white lights at night--quite spectacular. Lausanne looked like a lovely place to stay.
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 12:14 PM
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Hi Debub,

Probably with no experience and such a short trip, I'd skip skiing. You might look into some sledding, although sledding here can be a bit crazy. But your kids could each ride with an adult. There are places within an hour from Zurich. Go to myswitzerland.com and search sledding.

Luzern is a nice daytrip from Zurich (40 minutes by train) and you can visit a glacier museum there that also has a mirror maze modeled on Alhambra.

http://www.gletschergarten.ch/

Another nice trip for your children is the Hergiswil glass factory where they can go through a charming animated museum and then blow their own Christmas ornament. It is also accessible by boat from Luzern as is the Chillon Castle.

Here is a link for Christmas markets:

http://tinyurl.com/6alutb

gruezi

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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 12:22 PM
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Also, you can google this chocolate factory... I'm visiting it on Dec 6th and can let you know how it is...

Maestraniís Schoggi Land in Flawil

gruezi
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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I think Geneva is an extremely boring city, but I love the cities nearby like Gruyeres, Lausanne, Vevey, and Montreux. Much more fun for everyone imo. Chateau Chillon at Montreux is fantastic for kids (and adults alike).

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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 12:53 PM
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I just did some hotel research for some friends who will be coming to Lausanne this summer. They had me run around and check out different hotels to see what I thought of them and the ones I liked that were affordable were www.hotel-du-port.ch
www.elite-lausanne.ch

There are others that are quite lovely like the Beau Rivage, Angleterre, Chateau d'Ouchy and Palace but they are out of my friends' price range and all I can say is that I have eaten at each of these hotels and they are quite nice.
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 12:59 PM
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Even if traveling a few times on the train (if going by train) a Swiss Pass can often be your best bet - esp the 8-straight day pass for you that would cover virtually everything that moves in Switzerland - trains, buses, boats, city trams and buses and gives 50% off every mountain cableway or chairlift, etc. And kids under 15 get a free pass to match what the adults buy - and they never pay a dime even for the 50% off lifts - always free. No queueing to buy tickets, etc. carte blanche to go anywhere you want - on a whim, etc.

And i would certainly head for the mountains for at least a quick look - in the Interlaken-Grindelwald-Wengen area - the essence of Alpine Switzerland - kids will love the mountain trains, etc. three fine sites that talk in depth about Swiss train travel and passes: www.swisstravelsystem.com - links to Swiss Railways web site and scenic trains, etc.; www.ricksteves.com and www.budgeteuropetravel.com - the latter you can download their free European Planning & Rail guide that has a good chapter on Switzerland by train. You can buy Swiss Passes at any train station, including in Zurich airport but passes are, at least in U.S.considerably cheaper if bought abroad for some reason. Pop into any travel agent in Ireland or head to the Eurail Aid office in Dublin's Heuston Station (i believe, where they should sell the passes) - but always can buy on arrival. Even if just going from Zurich Airport to Wengen and back the pass can be the best deal as it is very useful once there, covering for example rail travel to Wengen in full as well as the fantastic aerial cable ways from nearby Lauterbrunnen to Murren in full.
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 05:18 PM
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Another vote for Hergiswil!! This is my favorite glass factory. It not only has gorgeous glass it is also fun and interactive. Even the adults will enjoy it.
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 06:55 PM
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I personaly love Lceren, it's a city where most tourists don't go, however there is so much to do there. Zurich is like NYS, nothing to do there.
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Old Nov 18th, 2008, 11:16 PM
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"I personaly love Lceren, it's a city where most tourists don't go"

Wrong. Many tourists go to Lucerne. Lucerne's old bridge is a symbol of history and a magnet for tourists.

I do agree it's a delightful town but the area around it is just as magnificent.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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Zurich is like NYS, nothing to do there.

What is NYS?

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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 02:34 PM
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Nothing to do? In Zurich or New York City?????????
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 12:55 AM
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Suze -

Do you think "NYS" means New York City?

If so, I think maybe Travelpro is not much of a "pro."

I've spent many long weekends in NYC at Christmastime and there is always too much to do. I lived in NYC for years and never got "to do" half of what I would have liked to.

I also don't get the Zurich-trashing here on Fodor's. It's a nice, small, Swiss city with museums, restaurants, opera, scenery and a charming old town to wander. There is plenty to do. Some prefer Luzern as it's a great starting off spot to see other areas. Fair enough. But we've been living here for 2 years and we love it (as does just about every ex-pat I meet) and there is still a lot "to do" on my list. It's not Paris or Rome, and doesn't pretend to be, but it definitely has its own charms. I often recommend people head elsewhere in Switzerland based on their interests, but I certainly can't understand why some people are so anti-Zurich. Their loss.

It is certainly a wonderful place to live.

gruezi


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