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Planning Northern Italy/Switzerland/Austria and/or Germany trip for Active Family

Hi everyone- Thanks in advance for your help. We have 2 (possibly 2 1/2) weeks in August and would like to explore the Alps while gaining exposure to different cultures. Our kids (14 and 16) have never been to Europe. We have not booked flights and would prefer not to fly into/out of the same place to avoid backtracking. We're in the NY area. We'd love to stay in B&Bs to enhance the cultural experience where possible.

I know this is a wide-open question, but does anyone have any suggestions?

Posted by
2648 posts

You could fly into Munich, visit the Berchtesgaden area (and Salzburg, Salzkammergut, etc.). Then head to the Innsbruck or Zillertal area and then to the Italian Dolomites. You could then head to Switzerland and the Berner Oberland and fly home from Zurich.


Our favorite place to stay, esp. since you mention cultural experience, is near Berchtesgaden.

Our favorites in the Dolomites:

In Zillertal:

Innsbruck area:

You could do it in reverse. We have been using Lufthansa, as they have a non stop flight to NJ from Munich that departs Munich at approx. 3:30pm and arrives in NJ approx. 7pm. No need to stay near the airport or very early morning flights. Very nice. Last few times we stayed our last night in Berchtesgaden and Hall in Tirol (Innsbruck).

If departing from Switzerland, you could always spend the last night in Luzern and get to the airport in plenty of time for an early flight home.

Posted by
512 posts

I have not been to N. Italy, Austria, or Germany (yet!). But I have been to the Berner Oberland part of the Swiss Alps that Rick is always going ga-ga over, and it is AH-MAZING. So just saying that Murren and surrounds are well, well worth the trip. We are an active family and really enjoyed hiking there and the scenery. Stayed at Hotel Alpenblick which is a B&B that has a few family 2-room suites that sleep 4, def. recommend.

Posted by
67 posts

Study the itinerary for GAS or My-Way Alpine and you'll have a great head start.

Posted by
698 posts

You can fly into Milan (Cheaper airfare then most Euro cities):

Italy - Milan, Lake Como

Switzerland - Lucerne / Berner Oberland (Based your self in the town of Wengen)

Austria - Innsbruck (Alps) / Vienna

Fly out of Vienna

Posted by
4809 posts

What do you wish in terms of "active"? That is what kinds of activities does your active family participate in?

I visualize an "active holiday" as one structured around one or more activities. For summer active I would visiuze phycsical activities such as hiking, cycling, mountin trekking to climibing (via ferrata ), paraguiding and the like. Northern Italy is famous for its via ferreta Dolomites routes. The Swiss Alps and Austrian Alps known for for mountian walking and hut to hut treks. We did a wonderful bike tour of the Rugen and Baltic German coast. It would be hard to do more than one big activity in a 2 week stay.

Some examples of active holidays:

I should add that hut to hut active travel in Europe is a wonderful multi-cultural experience. Be it overnight stays in mountain huts/lodges or village pubs after a day of walking bring folks together in a spirt of comaraderie.

Posted by
5 posts

Thank you everyone! These are all great ideas and give me a good place to start. I will investigate these ideas then I'm sure I'll have more questions. Thank you again for your insights! Pam