Requesting input on our Switzerland/Italy itinerary

Hello travel folks!

My family (husband, 6 year old daughter, and myself) are traveling for about 5-6 weeks in Europe this June. Yes, that is just around the corner, I know!! Right now we are narrowing it down to Switzerland/Italy and France or Greece (not sure on the latter). France makes more sense logistically, but Greece is calling!

Here is our itinerary so far:

Could you please chime in on this if you see something you would nix or think we should add more or less time to? We will be travelling by train/public transport with the exception of having a car for four days while staying at an Agriturismo outside of Siena.

Fly into Geneva (frequent flyer miles to here)
Stay 2 nights in Geneva to recover from long flight from Kauai
4 nights in Murren, Switzerland
3 nights Varenna (Lake Como) we will have a pool here
2 nights Vernazza (Cinque Terre)
2 nights Florence
4 nights Rome
3 nights Agriturismo Marciano outside of Siena (Tuscany region)--day trip to Siena and possibly to Assisi

We had to jump from Florence to Rome and loop back to Siena/Tuscany because the Agriturismo we want to stay in was full due to my poor planning. I am very much behind the 8 ball here, I realize.

Is the Italy portion too much for just a tad over 2 weeks?
For all you parents of younger children, are there any suggestions of things to do or 'must see' with our super fun 6 year old daughter in mind?

I would greatly appreciate any input.


Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
4082 posts

I think it is basically a good plan, but two night stays in the CT and Florence are skimpy. Frankly I'd drop the Cinque Terre unless you have 3 nights to make the travel there worthwhile. Add one or two nights to Florence. If you only up Florence by one night add the other to Rome or the Agriturismo.

Posted by Ed
9110 posts

One night is enough to recover from anything.

Depending upon you Geneva arrival time, you might want to grit your teeth and press on to Murren and recover there.

Four nights is a tad long for Murren.

Two nights is short for the CT since it doesn't give you much daylight in the area.

What's after Rome?

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
4082 posts

The number of nights in Murren strikes me as right, especially if you like hiking, mountain trains, and cable lifts. You'll have 3 full days to enjoy a beautiful area where you can be very active if you are so-inclined. Coming from Hawaii, it might be day 3 or 4 of your trip before you are mostly adjusted anyway, and I think being outdoors helps with that adjustment. Be sure to ask at the TI in Interlachen about a pass. We found there was a pass that covered the train from Interlachen to Lauterbrunnen and then most of the trains and lifts throughout the Lauterbrunnen Valley. It's pricey but we ended up using 160% of the value riding trains and lifts for 3 days. You also get a discount on the Jungfrau lift and also to Piz Gloria.

Posted by Sam
Green Bay
5982 posts

Agree with Ed, Its 3 hours 45 minutes to Muerren from Geneva airport. The first 1 hour and 50 minutes is on the train from the airport to Bern. You can relax, walk around, sip coffee in the snack car. The trains leave hourly (at the very least). If the weather is clear, the scenery will start getting you pumped the rest of the way.

Posted by ncsmith3
14 posts

Thank you all for your comments and insight!!

Ok, we're changing it up a bit...
My husbands only request so far is to spend one night to Geneva so we can rest and enjoy our train ride to Interaken. I'll reduce Geneva by a night and add it to Vernazza. While in Murren we intend to hike, ride the cable cars, and explore other mountain towns. I will definitely inquire about the pass for the trains and lifts while in Interlaken.

We are looking at staying at La Rosa dei Venti while in Vernazza. Rates seem reasonable and they have availability, makes me kind of question if the place is decent. Has anyone stayed here? There are only 2 reviews on Trip Advisor.

From Vernazza, we have 5 nights until we check into Agriturismo Marciano just outside Siena. I was initially thinking to divide the time between Rome and Florence, but now thinking we should hunker down in one spot.

I could either:

  1. add another night in Vernazza. Is four nights in Vernazza too much? Spend the other 4 nights in either Florence or Rome (having a very hard time deciding);

  2. keep Vernazza at three nights, and split our 5 nights between Florence and Rome. Seems kind of like a loss of time with check in/out of rentals;

  3. keep Vernazza at three nights and spend the other other 5 nights in either Rome or Florence. 5 nights too much in either place?

  4. or do something completely different based on some brilliant input I receive here.

It does seems weird to go to Italy without seeing some of Rome. I'd have a hard time not seeing the Coliseum. However, coming from living on a smaller island for the past 2 years a large city seems a little overwhelming especially with a 6 year old.

Florence is appealing because of the walkability and what appears to be a little slower paced. But do we spend our time there and miss Rome? After reading many forum posts, I'll likely get an 'only you can decide based on what you want to see'. I get that, but still hoping someone has some little nugget of information that will tip the scale--especially keeping a 6 year old in mind?

Aside from the big hitters, I have this vision of outdoor puppet shows for the little one, outdoor music on a street corner, street markets, maybe a stroll on some bicycles? Could I get any of that (along with the big hitting museums, duomos) in Florence or Rome?

I really appreciate any input!
Mahalo, Thank you, Grazie!!

Posted by Laurel
Rome, Italy
4082 posts

Your new plan makes sense. I do think 3 nights in Vernazza will be fine for you. We love the CT, but with a child I think there is only so much you can do. I expect the longer hikes are out of the picture, for example. DO be sure to ride the boat between the 5 towns.

I like Florence a lot but I think Rome is going to be more memorable for you and your child. Florence is primarily about the art in museums. Spend 5 nights in Rome, day trip to Ostia Antica, spend time riding in a bici in Villa Borghese (a pedal cart), go to the Zoo, see the Colosseum. You can certainly spend a day in Florence while at your agriturismo.

Here are some ideas for Rome with kids and here are a few more.

Posted by ncsmith3
14 posts

Rome it is.
Thank you, Thank you Laurel!

I remember happening upon a puppet show in a park while in Italy in my early 20's. Then I thought, if I ever have children I would love for them to experience this as the Italian children were mesmerized by it. It's now 20 some years later--Yay!!