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SOF Jan 27th, 2005 11:20 AM

Switzerland with an (almost) 2-year old child in September
Hi, we're going to be traveling to Switzerland in September with our daughter who will then be 22 months old and an active, walking toddler. We're going to be visiting friends for 3 days who live in Geneva and then we'll have another 7 days of vacation. We haven't started thinking about where to go although I'm inclined to spend some time along the lake (visiting Lausanne and Chateau Chillon) and then go down to Locarno/Lugano. I don't want to do too much moving around because of our daughter, but my husband really likes to move around and he's never been to Switzerland. I've been to Switzerland before (but it was 20 years ago)- to Zurich, Basle,Interlaken/Grindewald, Zermatt. We like cities, exploring little towns, art, lakes, Italy, and hiking but I think real hiking is out because of our daughter. So, any suggestions for an itinerary? We probably want to stay in Switzerland on this trip but could be persuaded to dip down into Italy. Also, we might want to do a day trip to Annecy in France. Any thoughts? Also, we're not that into driving so any thoughts about traveling by train would be welcome.


sglw Jan 27th, 2005 01:03 PM

Hi! I've never been to Switzerland but, I we traveled to Italy with my daughter when she was 2 years old. We were able to do a lot of sightseeing and eating without any trouble, the only thing we had was a great comfy stroller, snacks galore and drinks for her. She pretty much slept and ate all the time. I will also suggest for your to go to BabiesRUs and get the child walking leash, this will enable your child to walk around as she pleases and you will always have her at the end of the leash.
This is what worked for us on our trips to Hawaii and Italy, now we are getting ready to go to Greece and she is almost 4!

constancelloyd Feb 20th, 2005 06:36 PM

We spent 3 weeks in Italy and Switzerland with my son when he was about 22 months old. It's actually really easy to travel with an active toddler as long as you're prepared. Toddlers are notoriously stuborn, so make sure you set the rules ahead of time (you have to hold a grown-ups hand, etc) so she knows what the expectations are.

The best things were - an umbrella stroller and one of the small boppy neck pillows. The umbrella stroller wasn't as nice as the others we have, but it was easy to take on trains, in restraunts, museums, etc. When he'd fall asleep we'd just tip it back on two wheels or put the little boppy pillow around his neck. A car seat - we took ours on the plane. If there's not a seat for it, they'll check it at the door of the plane. Then you have your own for your rental car (unless you'll be going by train). The leash - before that trip I hated the leashes, but we got one and used it often. We called it his "vest" and when we were going to be around a lot of people (train stations, museums, Venice, etc) he had two choices - the stroller or the vest. There's so much to see that you don't want to get distracted for a second in a crowded place and not be hanging onto the toddler. I wished we'd had a backpack to put him in for museums and such. We took his fold-up playpen type bed (we were staying with family part of the time and thought we'd need it). I wouldn't do that again. It was heavy and took up a lot of space. At worst, he could have slept in the bed with us.

We found people in both countries to be very kind to children and restraunts went out of their way to bring something he would like. Plus, in Switzerland a hot dog (bratwurst) is always an option. His favorite things were boat rides, train rides, hiking and fountains. For longer stints, we took the train instead of our car.

Make sure you bring stuff you're used to from home, like sippy cups and toddler tylenol. Take plenty of snacks, sippy cup, change of clothes, lots of zip lock bags and small things to keep her busy. We used small coloring books and big crayons and lacing toys (flat cardboard shapes with shoe laces to lace through). We planned to do the things we really wanted to do during his nap time and he napped in the stroller while we wheeled hiim around the museums. Do plan to stop and spend time watching ducks or staring at the fountain (those toddler things)before she gets cranky. Don't forget tylenol for the grownups! We're going back this year with that toddler (who's now 10) and a 7 and 5 year old. Hope you have fun.

SOF Jun 6th, 2005 12:53 PM

I posted this back in January and only received a few responses (thank you). Now June is here, and we're seriously starting to do some planning for the trip. So,I figured I'd try again - any recommendations for places to visit, stay, explore etc. with a toddler in Switzerland?

Surfergirl Jun 6th, 2005 01:18 PM

Well, my son was 2 years older when we took him to Switzerland and there are two places he liked the best -- Lucerne and Montreux. Lucerne because of the two big covered bridges, the geese in the water that tried to nip at my husband (kids find humans being "attacked" by geese funny), the train museum with lots of hands on things for even the very small and a huge running model train, the dying lion (good spot for toddlers to run around and stick their hands in the pond), and (my kid is probably weird, but he liked it) the big gubelin clock in the train station with stained glass.

He liked Montreux because of the strolling park along the river with lots of mini playgrounds along it. He'd run from one playground to the next and jump on one of those little horses with the springs. He also loved the steamer boat ride to Lausanne and train ride back.

amarino Aug 18th, 2005 02:30 AM

I have usually been to Switzerland without kids. However, I was in Zürich with a 4 yr oldand a 4 month old. It was December, so I don't have many suggestions for you regarding things to do, since we mostly walked around. The transportation is fantastic and the ticket covers travel for 24 hours and is inexpensive, and your child will be free.

If you do find yourself in Zürich, there is a botanical garden there, which I think is free. The cafeteria/self-serve restaurant there has good food for a good price and might be a nice break with a toddler since it is casual.

There also another one across the street from the Swissotel Oerlikon in the mall on the top floor over the grocery store. It was much better than the expensive breakfast at the hotel and the selection was great--especially at lunch.

Absolutely bring Children's Motrin. My son got a high fever on the Saturday night and since I had it with me, it brought the fever down. Unfortunatly I only had one dose and when the fever returned on Sunday monrning, the Tylenol didn't work. We had to struggle to find the only pharmacy that was open on Sunday only to findthat it was prescription only. Since we had a flight later that night and didn't have time to go to the hospital, they actually sold us some. Definatly pack some!

I will be in Switzerland in September as well. If I come across anything, I will post it.

trvlgrl Aug 18th, 2005 03:26 AM

Hi SOF - if you want to go further afield in Switzerland you might consider the Bernese Oberland. It has been a while since we were there (it was before we had our child) but I clearly remember the hike from Kleine Scheidegg to Mannlichen was flat and child/stroller friendly, as we saw a number of families with toddlers and strollers out there. There are a number of fairly easy hikes/walks around that area you could do... especially if you take the lifts/gondolas up and hike down, which would give your little one some easy run-around space and are stroller friendly.

We have gone "hiking" with our little one in England, Germany, Scotland, she is now just over 2, and while we are no longer going for all-day all-terrain mountain hikes, we are able to get out and about for half-day hikes if we choose the hikes/walks wisely. We have taken our Peg Perego stroller on so many walks now... she is sometimes in it, and sometimes running beside/around it. It does fold up, but it's not as small as an umbrella stroller, and I prefer it as it is a bit more robust for taking on hikes. Little tip on taking the stroller - if you can lock the front wheels, it's amazing what you can get over! (also a good tip for cobblestones).

Also, if you and your husband are really keen on hiking, I would suggest getting a toddler backpack. Our friends, who are even more keen hikers than we are, have one and the whole family loves it and it enables them to go outdoors. They let their little boy "hike" until he gets tired then they put him in the pack where he loves being up high and they just go on. They tried a couple until they found a comfortable one. It's probably not worth it to skimp on price for this item...

Lastly, you thought about Lake Annecy... such a beautiful place. Rather than a day trip, you might consider staying there for a few nights. We stayed in Talloires, which is a wonderful little village right on the lake that has a couple of v. expensive hotels and a handful of less expensive hotels... we stayed in one of the less expensive ones that was perfect for little ones. The hotel had family rooms, a little pool, and was a short stroll down to the lake where there was a grassy stretch/beach where loads of kids were playing and swimming. It was a family run hotel, and the people there were so nice and accomodating. Not fancy but very welcoming. Talloires was a good base for some nice day trips and also just staying put and relaxing - which you might want to be doing with a little one on some days rather than going going going every day. Even if you just go for a day trip, Annecy is a nice town with ducks/boat trips around the lake etc. which might be fun for you and your daughter. The tourist office there has a pamphlet that describes a few easy family-friendly hikes in the area if you do decide to stay longer.

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