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Family holiday in July

Hello all. We are family of 4 with two boys 9&11 y planning to go to Switzerland in July. We like hiking, cycling and discovering culture and traditions, walking around little towns. I just want to make sure this is a good plan as we haven’t been in Switzerland :
Flying to Zurich, train to Gimmelwald ,stay for 3 days-
Train to zermatt, stay for 6days-train to Lugano, stay for 3days-train to Lake Como stay for 5 days and fly out from Milan.Any suggestion, highly appreciated :)

Posted by
7811 posts

I'd skip a stay of 3 days in Lugano (there does not seem much there for 9 and 11 year old) since you are going to the Como area and add more days to the Berner Oberland the area around Gimmelwald.

Posted by
16190 posts

Muerren has more to offer a family than Gimmelwald—-a nice playground above town at the Allmendhubel, an “adventure trail” with slides, tunnels and secret places on the way back down to Mürren, restaurant options, bike shops for rentals, a bakery, and more—-Including a large outdoor chess set if they play that game. You can walk down to Gimmelwald on one of your hikes—-they are only 20 minutes apart. But it would be nice to stay closer to the action.

Posted by
768 posts

Jazz+Travels is right. Add more time to the "Gimmelwald" region. I can speak to this, because I've taken each of my boys to the region.

I'm sure you've heard good things about Gimmelwald from Rick Steves, and for good reason. It's a nice quiet town--perfect for someone like Rick who gets recognized wherever he goes. BUT, you have 2 boys to entertain, and there's nothing to do in Gimmelwald, especially if it rains. MUCH better would be to stay in Murren, where there's more trailheads, more shops, more to see. (If you can't find a place to stay in Murren then I'd also recommend Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, or Grindelwald. Most places are probably filled up by now. You can also check out https://www.campingjungfrau.swiss/ as they rent out trailers for a week.)

If you want to see all the hikes and things to do in Berner Oberland (Murren, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald) check out this website with maps and pictures: https://lauterbrunnenhiking.wordpress.com/

Also check out the "tips" link at the top of that page. You'll find out that your kids ride free on the trains and cable cars, what to do if it rains, where the restrooms are, etc.

Speaking of rain (and clouds), I'd only do 3 days in Zermatt. There's WAY more to do in the Berner Oberland, and in my experience, the Matterhorn is clouded over most of the time, and there's fewer trails. However, I do recommend taking the train up to Gornergrat, then hiking downhill to the small lake called Riffelsee. (Google image: "Riffelsee Matterhorn") Then walk toward the tracks where you can find the next lower station where you can catch the train back.) Map at
https://albinger.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/map-of-summer-hiking-trails-above-zermatt.jpg

Posted by
427 posts

I have not been to Zermatt but I would add more time to the Berner Oberland. We stayed in Murren for 5 nights last summer with kids 6 and 2, and had no trouble filling our time. I also enjoy Gimmelwald but was glad we chose to stay Murren.

We like to hike and we visited many alpine playgrounds. The cow playground at Mannlichen and the flower playground at Allmendhubel were our favorites. Happy travels!

Posted by
4675 posts

If you had the time you could spend a few days un Lucerne, where the boys should like the boat ride and cogwheel train to Mt. Rigi, along with the open air Cabrio cable car to Mt. Stanhope. There's also the Transportation Museum in Lucerne that should interest them.
Safe travels in this beautiful country!.

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks a million everyone for the fast respond. 🙏🏼
Ok plan changed, Murren 7nighys- zermatt 2 nights and if you say Lugano doesn’t have much to offer for kids, where should we stay for couple of nights between Zermatt and Lake Como to break the long journey.

Posted by
1443 posts

Zermatt to Lugano is only 5-6 hours. It would be more hassle and time to add an overnight in between.

Posted by
121 posts

Although I haven’t been there yet, while you’re in the Bernese Oberland I think your boys would enjoy the Ballenberg Folk Museum. It’s outside and they can roam at will. In addition to the traditional Swiss buildings from every region and the live demonstrations, there are farm animals and the ever-popular chocolate shop.

Posted by
16190 posts

Where on Lake Como? West side or east side? The town of Como, or a small town like Varenna or Bellagio, or other?

Take a look at the Swiss railway map and see the route options to get to Lago di Como. If you are going to Varenna or Bellagio, you need to travel to Milan and then to the villages from there. For Como town, you can arrive there via Lugano or Locarno without going to Milan.

https://cdn-doc.myswissalps.com/docs/default-source/rail-network-maps/swisstravelpass.pdf?sfvrsn=7788603a_56

One option from Zermatt would be to take the train to Domodossola (via Brig). Change there to the scenic, old-fashioned CentoValli railway to Locarno for your overnight.

https://www.vigezzinacentovalli.com/en/

And speaking of Zermatt, I think you are shortchanging it by giving only 2 nights. If you are going there at all, it is worth three. The weather is no worse than in the Berner Oberland. Yes, the Matterhorn may be obscured by clouds even on an otherwise nice day. A stand-along mountain like that makes its own weather (like Mt. Rainier and Denali, two mountains I am very familiar with). But that doesn’t mean Zermatt is not a good destination for family fun. And if the Matterhorn does come out from behind the clouds, it is glorious.

Lots of information is available on family activities in Zermatt on Zermatt.ch and Zermatt.com, but start here for things that might interest your boys:

https://www.matterhornparadise.ch/en/Experience/Funventure

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks Lola, will add another night to Zermatt for sure 😊 was thinking to go from Zermatt to Lucerne for a night and then lake Como. Regarding Lake Como, frankly I haven’t studied it yet and has no clue. If you can share your thoughts, would be amazing 🙏🏼