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Travel with kids (6 & 8 yrs) to Germany/Switzerland/Liechtenstein

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Jan 29th, 2015, 02:22 PM
  #1
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Travel with kids (6 & 8 yrs) to Germany/Switzerland/Liechtenstein

Hi there, we are travelling to Europe this July with our two children to visit family in the Netherlands. While there, we have decided to fly to Crete for a week and then thought of flying to Germany and touring around there a bit.
My challenge is finding a good base location (or two) that will give us maximum benefit for the time spent preferably in the South part of Germany. We should have around 8 or 9 days. We plan to travel by train as well.

My husband and I have been to Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen and thought it would be nice to take the kids there but we also like to experience new places and thought maybe Liechtenstein would be a good idea. Also thought Colmar, France would be a nice side trip along the way back to Holland.

Seeing a castle would be nice but fancier is not always better so open to ideas there. Don't really want to fight the crowds at Neuschwanstein. We would like to find some culturally interesting activities suitable for the kid's ages. We prefer not to stay in the large urban areas if we can help it. Although, it does appear that Munich has a lot to offer if we were to go there.
We are totally open to different ideas/options of where to stay for a few days and manage some day trips without having to drag the kids on the train for 4+ hours every second day.

Thanks!
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Jan 29th, 2015, 04:00 PM
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There is very little to see and to do in Liechtenstein. If you are just passing by, you can add L. to your country count, but it does not deserve a trip on its own. The Heidi park at Maienfeld or the old library at St. Gallen, just to tell the two first nearby things coming to my mind, are better way to spend your time.
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Jan 29th, 2015, 05:26 PM
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In Switz there are a ton of things for kids to do - esp if you stay in the Berner Oberland, Sevreal lakes with steamers kids will love - esp Thun and Brienz. Thun is a charming town with double decker shops and a wonderful old castle to explore. Nearby Gruyere also has a good castle, cute town and a cheesery if they want to see it made. And if you drive along Lake Bienz there are a couple of great waterfalls - and nearby is the Ballenberg Museum of Switz life - which has a lot of original buildings and docents showing how things were done in earlier times in Switz as well as farms/animals.
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Jan 29th, 2015, 09:52 PM
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The castles that are going to be interesting for kids of that age are located along the Rhine. Castles like Burg Rheinfels, or the Marksburg. Burg Rheinfels has great tunnels to explore, towers to climb, and one of the best views of the Rhein. Taking a chairlift up above the vineyards in Rüdesheim, or riding a ship along the river are all fun activities for kids.

Perhaps an open air museum, like Hessen Park, would be good, or the Saalburg, a reconstructed Roman fort near Bad Homburg.
http://www.hessenpark.de/index.php?id=english
http://www.saalburgmuseum.de/english/sb_en_home.html
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Jan 30th, 2015, 06:48 PM
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Thanks all! Very helpful!
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Jan 31st, 2015, 06:09 AM
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"Seeing a castle would be nice but fancier is not always better so open to ideas there. Don't really want to fight the crowds at Neuschwanstein."

Wise decision. It's a huge detour. And it's not a castle anyway.

The Rhine castles and villages and would nicely break up your trip back to the Netherlands. Go with Mainhattengirl's suggestions. There is a terrific open-air museum RIGHT NEAR Bingen (at the southern end of the Rhine's most scenic section) in the town of Bad Sobernheim - no need to travel over to Hessenpark - and you can get to it by train (+ a walk.) I loved the place. Ask for a pamphlet in English when you visit.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attractio...neland_Pa.html

Frequent trains move up and down the Rhine Valley on both sides of the river. A ferry in St. Goar crosses the river to St. Goarshausen all day long. The St. G'hausen station is an easy walk from the dock there for trips north to Braubach (Marksburg Castle) or south to Rüdesheim. This advantage plus having Rheinfels right in town makes St. Goar makes a good base town. Boppard, Oberwesel, and Bacharach are nearby on the same side of the river and would work alright too; you'll need to take a short train ride first to reach the St. Goar ferry, however, if you want to cross the river.

A Rheinland-Pfalz Ticket (day pass) is a good bet for getting to ALL these villages, including Bad Sobernheim. It's also valid on the St. Goar ferry:

http://www.vrminfo.de/en/tickets-and...-pfalz-ticket/

Bingen is to the south on the same side of the river as St. Goar and has a ferry too and though not as attractive as the other villages might also be a good place to stay with kids. (Ferry there is not covered by RLP ticket. It takes you straight across the Rhine to Rüdesheim and you can board trains there for Marksburg in Braubach.)

Park am Mäuseturm with play area and skate park:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...192-95-fah.jpg
http://mw2.google.com/mw-panoramio/p...m/22160537.jpg

Mouse tower and Ehrenfels castle ruins:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ngen_Rhein.jpg

Bingen Waterfront and promenade: http://fischerco.de/fc/upload/objekt...interrasse.jpg
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Jan 31st, 2015, 10:22 AM
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Wow!! So much great information! Thank you! I definitely think the Moselle Valley is the way to go!
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Jan 31st, 2015, 10:46 AM
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In Switzerland be sure to get the kids a Free Family Pass, at any station, all you have to do is buy some kind of adult ticket or pass and it comes free and the kids never pay nuthing for any form of transport - even ones adults only get a discount on. A no-brainer no matter how you travel. If just in the Jungfru Region check out the Jungfraubahn Pass - worth it if only doing Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn and of course covers tons of other things - more than a Swiss Pass or Berner Oberland Pass (another option) would I believe.

For lots of great stuff about Swiss trains and stuff check out these superb IMO sites: www.swisstravelsystem.com; www.budgeteuropetravel.com and www.ricksteves.com.

http://shop.jungfrau.ch/en/jungfraubahnen-pass - details about the Jungfraubahn Pass - bought locally at any Jungfraubahn station and probably any other station, not sure.
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Jan 31st, 2015, 10:57 AM
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Wow!! So much great information! Thank you! I definitely think the Moselle Valley is the way to go!>

fuss is on about the Rhine not the Mosel - he strongly advocates for the Rhine over the Mosel but me and manhy others advocate the Mosel over the Rhine - Cochem on the Mosel can't be beat for picture postcard beauty and lots for kids to do there - a German and Dutch family haven and the castle of your dreams sticks right out of the town center - it is easy to day gtrip from the Mosel for a day on The Rhine - take the K-D boats (www.k-d.com) for a day - get off at Marksburg Castle - the only Rhine castle not destroyed and laid to ruins thru the ages.

You can't go wrong but many previous posters have said the same - if you have to chose do the Mosel - a much much prettier and quieter river valley than the Rhine, where two loud rail lines and roads hug each bank of the river in the narrow Rhine Gorge.

From cochem you can visit Burg Eltz - nearby and one of Germany's most famous castles and an intact one to boot and also take a boat ride up river to Beilstein - lovely lovely gorge the whole way.

The Mosel also feagtures many vineyards and wine towns - cochem is surrounded by a sea of vineyards and there is wine tasting in town and tours of the caves - kids may like the caves adults the wine!

You can't go wrong Rhine or Mosel - try to see both from one base.

Kids will love the K-D boats but it will get a little tedious to do the whole Rudesheim/Bingen to Koblenz ride so just take the boat to St Goar or Boppard and then take a train back to your base.

Mosel Valley pix: https://www.google.com/search?q=mose...=1600&bih=1075

Cochem Valley pix:https://www.google.com/search?q=coch...=1600&bih=1075
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Jan 31st, 2015, 12:56 PM
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"fuss is on about the Rhine not the Mosel - he strongly advocates for the Rhine over the Mosel"

Not true at all.

I like the Mosel enormously.

The OP wanted castles, so Mainhattengirl suggested the Rhine. I seconded the suggestion. After all, the Rhine is full of castles, which are on the OP's wish list, and it's on the route to Amsterdam, where the OP is heading. The Mosel has fewer castles and is not on the route.

No one on this thread even mentioned the Mosel at all until the OP somehow concluded that we had all recommended the Mosel!!!!!!! So much for communication!!

Please, let's not destroy the communication any further... I did not recommend the Rhine over the Mosel. I just didn't suggest the Mosel... It doesn't fit the OP's trip as well, that's all!!

IF the OP wants to make a little detour up the Mosel instead, that sounds like a good suggestion too!!

My only small quibble would be with PalenQ's suggestion that from Cochem you take a cruise boat to see Marksburg Castle...
"...it is easy to day gtrip from the Mosel for a day on The Rhine - take the K-D boats (www.k-d.com) for a day - get off at Marksburg Castle..."

This would be a nasty long day on the boat. A cruise of at least 5 1/2 hours. And you would miss out on the best cruise scenery. Take the train instead.
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Jan 31st, 2015, 02:39 PM
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I meant to take a train to some Rhine K-D dock and get off at Braubach or whatever the dock and train station there are called - go up to the castle and then take the train back to Cochem.

that entails a 3.25 hour cruise thru the best of the Rhine Gorge - I do not see how this misses out on the best cruise scenery - between Rudesheim/bingen and Boppard? Yes communication porblems. Yes take the train to Rudesheim, the best place IME to board the boats because Rudesheim is tour-bus central for this part of Germany and groups swarm aboard - get at the dock before they do and nab the suiperb front top open deck seats at the bow so you can see both sides of the river.

I apologize for not reading the previous posts but just saw you make no mention of the Mosel at all - and I was not going to either until voila, ironically, the OP thought you were talking about the Moselle! You are a treasure trove of knowledge about that area in general and other parts of Germany like Bavaria - very impressive and you gladly take the time to lay it all out.

That said the Mosel trumps the Rhine for the vast majority of folks and what they expect of a romantic river - the Rhine is a workaday river - the valley with trains on each side and busy roads - the Mosel is churchmouse quiet compared to that - and I've said personally I found Cochem and the Mosel a bit boring and preferred the Rhine because of all the rail traffic (I'm a rail nut) and freighter boats, passenger boats tooting horns all times of day and into the night - the rumble of trains music to my ears - but like I said before I took in a past lifetime over 1,000 folks thru each area on bicycles and nearly all loved Cochem - the liked the Rhine but really loved the Mosel (which to me if you bike up and down it becomes a little same ole same ole but for first-timers they loved it - in part becaause they could put away their maps and not worry about getting lost - a wrong turn and you're facing a steep slope off the river valley - winds however can blow down the valley and we were going up it!

Ideally stay on both for a few days - the Rhine has more varied things of interests - yes more castles in dense area though I find realtively few of them inviting.

But Cochem is just a gem - the town many folks dream about staying in but never do - they will not find such a cool place along the busy Rhine.

And yes do not neglect Koblenz and Deutsches Eck and going up to the Ehrenbreitsen Fort which are tour folks really enjoyed - that is if spending a few days in the area.

Many do treat the Rhine as a one-day boat cruise which I think is so missing so so much - ideally get off and on - clambor up to a ruined castle - have lunch in a riverside wine tavern - maybe break it up into 2-3 days - Fuss has outlined all the varied sights.

Whatever you do you can't go wrong!
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Jan 31st, 2015, 06:48 PM
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"...it is easy to day gtrip from the Mosel for a day on The Rhine - take the K-D boats (www.k-d.com) for a day - get off at Marksburg Castle..."

Sorry, PalenQ. I assumed when you wrote the above line that you meant it... from the Mosel, take the KD boats and get off at Marksburg Castle. If you meant "take the train to Rüdesheim" first, well, I just didn't see those words anywhere. And that's why I said cmsteer would use up more than 5 hours on lesser scenery.
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Feb 1st, 2015, 10:30 AM
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Yes - to go by boat from Cochem to Marksburg would be impossible if you wnated to see the castle as the only K-D boat leaves Cochem in early afternoon and won't get to Koblenz until not sure when but yes a long long haul - not feasible and the part of the Mosel ner Koblenz is not really that scenic.

I see how my wording was confusing for sure!
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Feb 1st, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Even 3.25 hours on the boats would probably be too much for the kiddos - unless of course they have I phones and video games, etc.
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