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Family with small kids need urgent plan suggestion

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2 posts
new member
Apr 25, 2014 - 9:08 PM

Hi Everyone,

This is my first post and my first query in general and I have high expectation

We are family of four with kids 8 and 1.5 year old and we are planning to visit Switzerland in mid-July. I have gone through almost all of myswissalps.com and just want to say that this site is really great informative source and organized neatly to help outsiders like me understand what I can do in Switzerland really well.

I am in real need of advice as I am unable to decide many things (mainly due to small kids) what would be best for us. We are interested only in nature and would like to avoid big cities, museums as far as possible unless they are really unique. We are thinking of this trip to be relaxing and slow paced as well. Based on available time we have, I thought of following itinerary but I am in definitely need of guidance and suggestions.

Day 1: Reach Zurich international airport by noon, travel to some village like Lauterbrunnen as I heard this is the best bet to live like living in a swiss country side.

Day 2: Check weather and if it is clear go to Jungfrau (top of Europe) and return back to Lauterbrunnen

Day 3: See other villages like Grindelwald and others and if any water fall we can see easily around

Day 4: Go to Montreux from Lauterbrunnen using Golden Pass line and see Chateu De Chilon. Spend some time around the lake Geneva (I think) and return back to Lauterbrunnen using the Golden Pass Line

Day 5: Go to Zermatt from Lauterbrunnen and see Matterhorn (Gornergrat) and come back to Lauterbrunnen

Day 6: Go to Lucrene from Lauterbrunnen, take a boat trip and Rigi and come back to Lauterbrunnen

Day 7: Go to Lucrene, take a boat trip and pilatus and return to Lauterbrunnen

Day 8: Go to Lucrene, boat trip to Lake Thun and see Thun castle and return to Lauterbrunnen

Day 9: From Lauterbrunnen come to Zurich, check into Zurich hotel and see the zurich city and any otherattraction we can see.

Day 10: Return to Los Angeles, USA from Zurich early morning flight.

We are planning to take 8 day Swiss pass (me and wife) and family card for my elder daughter (9th day we will get a day fare ticket to Zurich)

I have many questions in the above trip as I could not finalize any leg/day very clearly. Any help in any day of the trip would be great. Since I have to book the hotels, travel tickets by Monday to get Visa in time for my other country trip, your suggestions are really valuable towards making our trip most memorable trip of life.

Specific Questions I have (please suggest if you would like apart from these questions ):

1. I have read a lot about Glacier Express. Including that in my plan was making it difficult. Is it something I must do or if I do above (could do above), I may not need Glacier Express that much. Any suggestions on squeezing a day of Glacier express?

2. Is my base of Lauterbrunnen right choice as I am there only for a day in Jungfrau region or staying at Lucerne for letter leg and Zermatt for middle part is advisable? Is there a cheaper base for the whole trip even though say takes half an hour more for everything?

3. I heard about Chocolate train? Can I fit it in here somehow without having to really stress the day out or I should skip it or should change something from the plan.

4. I heard about mount Schilthorn? Is it must? Can it replace from any of the mountain in my plan. Already I have included Rigi, Pilatus, Jungfrau, Zermatt and sounds too much.

5. The above plan is based on the fact that weather is good all the time. Any thing I should do on a day when weather is not good?

6. Is choice of Swiss pass good as it costs more than 800$ for us..

Thank you in advance,


15858 posts
expert &
Apr 26, 2014 - 9:39 AM

Hi pradkt,

My compliments for your well prepared plan. It's great to hear that our website has been helpful for your planning. Thanks for sharing that here.

Taking into account your desire to have a slow paced vacation and the fact you're traveling with young children, I would propose some slight modifications: I assume that you intend to visit Thun, not Lucerne, on day 8. I would move that to day 6. Then on day 7, transfer to Lucerne via the Golden Pass route and stay there until day 9 or 10. Lucerne to the airport takes a bit over an hour by train. You can be there as early as 6:15 (see the timetable for details). If that's not early enough, then book an airport hotel with free transfer to the airport. Lucerne is a really nice historical town with plenty of things to do. I wouldn't move to Zurich unless required for the flight. And staying in Lucerne significantly reduces travel time for your plans to visit Pilatus, Rigi and the boat trip. That makes it more slow pace. Your plans for day 4 and 5 already require many hours of traveling.

There is another advantage to this modification too: as you know, with an 8-day Swiss Pass, you don't have free traveling on day 9. You will have to buy full fare tickets. The 1.5 year old travels for free. The 8 year old gets 50% off. Travel costs will be lower if you only have to travel from Lucerne to Zurich.

As for your questions:

1. The Glacier Express is a full day of traveling. The only way to do it in a relaxed way is to stay near the departure town (Zermatt/St. Moritz) the night before and in or near the arrival town the night after. In your case it would be an extremely long day, if possible at all, so I would just keep it in mind for your next visit.

2. Lauterbrunnen is a small village at the valley floor, surrounded by mountains. Wengen would be even better and more relaxed with children, as it is car free, but it does add 20-30 minutes of traveling (each way) if you want to go to Interlaken or beyond. Wilderswil is very nice as well: even closer to Interlaken, so less traveling time in that direction. It's a bit further from the mountains, but you will see mountains, including the Jungfrau, all around. Check the links on our hotel pages for prices. We have manually selected hotels for Lucerne and various other towns. Not all towns are listed but the links will get you to all the hotels in Switzerland.

3. Similar to 1, this takes a full day from Montreux, so not really realistic. You could visit the chocolate factory in Broc instead of Chillon castle though.

4. The Schilthorn is great but if you have already visited the Jungfraujoch it is not a must since you have a lot of other things on your wish list. Note that you should check if it's safe for the 1.5 year old to be taken to such elevations. See this topic.

5. The Swiss Museum of Transport is great for your 8 year old. Perfect for bad weather too. Further tips for bad weather are on the Interlaken page.

6. You will travel a lot, so a Swiss Pass is a good choice, and a convenient one too. No need to buy tickets except for the mountain trips (Rigi is free too by the way). You've probably already seen on the Swiss Pass page that in case of the US you can purchase it from Rail Europe here, or the Swiss Railways website here. Pricewise there isn't much of a difference.

I hope I have met your expectations :-) Please follow the various links I included for more information.

Last modified on Sep 18, 2022 - 1:42 PM by Annika
2 posts
new member
Apr 29, 2014 - 3:25 AM

Hi Arno,

Really thankful for taking out your time and going through all of my long itinerary and answering each and every question so clearly and in detail.

I have already booked accommodations as per your suggestions and modified itinerary and am working on further detailed level planning. I might post few queries if I hit upon a road block or confused :-)

Thanks again for your great help!



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