Switzerland w/day trip to Italy

Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 03:50 PM
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Switzerland w/day trip to Italy

We (mom, dad, 2 kids) are planning a summer trip to Switzerland and France. We'd like to do a side trip to Italy, either a day trip or possible overnight. We're hoping to stay in Wengen for 3-4 nights, then take the train to Paris to spend 3-4 nights. Is it possible to do a short trip to Italy, maybe 1 or 2 days? If so, what area? We'd love to do more of Italy, but that will have to be another trip since we only have 12-13 days including travel. I've never been to Italy, but everyone raves about it so I'd like to see what I'm missing....and then plan a future trip to go back and really see the country.
Thanks.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 04:31 PM
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IMO, no. You'd spend too much time getting anywhere charming and be much farther from Paris than you were before.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2010, 04:41 PM
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This just doesn;t make sense. In the very limited time you have seeing much of Switz and France will be a challenge. Spending 2 of your days to cross the border to see a very little of northern Italy (the lakes in the Swiss Alps are just as beautiful - makes no sense - esp if you have smaller kids (you don;t mention their ages).
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 02:21 AM
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Thanks for the advice. It sounds like it might not be worth it. We've been to France a couple of times, so are actually just going to Paris for 2-3 days, and won't be traveling around France. We are also only spending our time in Wengen, and not traveling around the rest of Switzerland. I didn't know if Como or any of the northern towns in Italy would be worth a trip. Kids are 14 and 10 and this will be their third trip to Europe...other than my husband, we've never been to Italy. I was hoping we could take the train from Switzerland and do an overnight or 2 somewhere in Italy, but it sounds like that might be best left for a future trip.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 03:08 AM
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You CAN do it, depending on where in Switzerland you are staying but if you are staying and remaining in the Berner Oberland it may not be worth it.

Depends on you, frankly....
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 08:03 AM
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All said above, especially where you will be staying in Switzelrand.

Use the following site to check train timetable.

http://fahrplan.sbb.ch/bin/query.exe/en?

From Interlaken (near Wengen) to Milano is 3 - 3.5hrs depending on the connections so the lake side towns before Milano, like Stresa, etc are closer.

I could do that because I like train travel, like watching landscape from the window, eat and drink wine on the train. As said above again, it largely depends on you.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 08:30 AM
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As for Switzerland it is hard to beat the 4-consecutive-day Swiss Railpass that would cover all your travels in Switzerland, even 100% to Wengen - plus city trams, buses, lake boats, etc. And if you wanted to take a day and do the trip to Italy kappa1 outlines the pass would cover most of the journey each way. For lots on Swiss trains i always highlight www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com; www.ricksteves.com; www.seat61.com
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 09:28 AM
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Let's say you want to fit this in between Wengen and Paris (without taking any time from Wengen, please!)

Wengen to Como (the town) is 5.5 to 7 hours, either way you go (via Milan or Lugano).

A better choice would be someplace like Stresa (suggested above by kappa1) on Lago Maggiore. That is only 3.5 hours from Wengen, and right on the train line to make an easy trip to Paris (only one change in either Geneva or Basel to catch the TGV to Paris, around 7 hours from Stresa).

I was planning a stop at Stresa for our upcoming family trip to italy this summer, specifically staying on a nearby island at Albergo Belvedere:

http://stresasights.blogspot.com/201...pescatore.html

It looks beautiful and peaceful, and I had a pleasant e-mail correspondence with Roberto regarding a reservation. But then we had to change our plans to go in a different direction. It might meet your needs, however, if you are determined to make a brief visit to Italy without spending too much time on the trains.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2010, 01:44 PM
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Great suggestions and links to train info. Thanks. I'll check them all out.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 09:39 AM
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playing on enzian's suggestion about fitting a wee bit of Italy into your trip- and if so you need not go back thru Switzerland to catch a TGV to paris but could go to Milan and hop the Artesia Day Trains to Paris from there - an alternate route that would take about the same time and let you see some of France en route - like when the train slices thru pastoral vineyard-splashed Burgundy.
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Old Feb 4th, 2010, 11:19 AM
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Hello Kathysa,
In October 2007 my sister and I (seniors) did a trip to Switzerland, stopping first in Paris for 2 days (we've been to Paris several times)and continuing on to Montreux by train. We stayed there a couple of days and then took the scenic train to the Oberland basing in Lauterbrunen for 3 days. Your children would enjoy that train ride. We reserved VIP seats and sat at the very front of the train looking out of the panoramic window. From Lauterbrunen we took the train to Lugano and spent a few days there with a day trip to Lake Como (bus from Lugano to Menaggio and then boat to Bellagio.) We returned home from Zurich. This may seem rushed to some, but we enjoyed the trip immensely. You might want to do Paris first, then Oberland and Lugano with day trip to Lugano. We used BETS for train and other information and they were very, very helpful. We used the 3 day Swiss train pass and in between the 3 travel days, we used it as a half-fare pass on boats and trains. Our overall trip was 13 days. I didn't mean to give you a travelogue, I just wanted to show you how we fit in Lake Como. Happy travels, Gladys
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 04:31 AM
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Thanks for all the advice and websites. I now need to start doing a little research. It does make sense to start in Paris for a few days of the hustle-and-bustle of the city, and then on to Switzerland for some great scenery, hiking, and a little more relaxation. I'm re-thinking trying to go to Italy due to time constraints and the fact that by the end of the trip, the kids may start getting grumpy. At least I now have some idea of the towns we could possibly go to for a day or two.
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Old Feb 6th, 2010, 05:48 AM
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Kathy,

Why not just see Milan? My girls (15 and 18) loved it. We climbed all over the Duomo, saw the Last Supper (surely your kids have studied Leonardo da Vinci and will enjoy this), hung out at a cafe people watching, ate great food, and they shopped while took in some more art. You only need a day or two to fit this all in and it is just a few hours from Bern...I have even done it twice as a day trip from Zurich. I love Milan as it is a fun spot for a short visit yet you feel you are really amongst the fashionable Italians.

You will love Wengen if you love nature. Try to get over to Murren one day and take the kids up to Schilthorn - or, if in the mood, you can hike up and ride down. My lazy 15-year-old actually surprised us by doing this. (She later had to write a graphic novel for school and used a tombstone about a young woman hit by lightening there in the turn of the century as her premise....)

If your teens are like mine, they will just sleep through every train ride. The earbuds go in and the eyes start to close...

I have done another little trip that I love where we take the Bernina Express from Pontresina to Ticino and then the train from there on to Milan. It's a fun and beautiful trip but only if your family really cares about scenery. I did this with a friend as my family gets yawny after 15 minutes or so...

But, I think you could definitely see a touch of Paris, then the BO, then a trip to Milan in your 13 days and not wear everyone out too much. In fact, I like this itinerary!

Have a great trip!

gruezi
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 06:09 AM
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I've had some time to check out the above mentioned websites and, based on the above posts, am thinking Italy is going to have to be another trip. Here's what I'm now leaning toward (this is why I start planning early): Fly into Zurich, train to Wengen. Wengen as home base for 4 nights. Train to Montreaux and Montreaux for 3 nights. Train to Lyon and Lyon for 3 nights. Train to Paris and Paris for 4 nights, Fly home. From Paris we may take some side trips. We do not want to have to rent a car, so will be relying on trains. Any thoughts on this one?
Thanks.
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Old Feb 7th, 2010, 06:20 AM
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Kathy, I think that sounds very doable and like a trip I would enjoy a lot. You've picked some great destinations.
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 09:17 AM
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From Paris we may take some side trips. We do not want to have to rent a car, so will be relying on trains. Any thoughts on this one?>

Well yes -in Switzerland IMO the train is the way to go if you are going to Alpine areas - for reasons said -cars are off-limits in many Alpine areas like the Jungfrau Region-and in Paris a car is a hassle-finding parking, driving, etc. The public transit system is so so fantastic- and the TGV train you will take to Paris is amongst the most modern and fastest in the world-nearly up to 200mph.

Stick with the train for your plans!IMO
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Old Feb 9th, 2010, 10:27 AM
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Kathy,

I live in Switzerland and use the train for everything but trips to the grocery. I always take the train to Paris and other nearby cities as it is so convenient and relaxing. I frequently head to Wengen area and always take the train.

gruezi
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