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Italian/Swiss alps itinerary with a young toddler


We are traveling to the the Dolomites/Berner Oberland (BO) the first two weeks of July. I have a few questions about our itinerary and would highly appreciate any inputs. I’m asking in the Swiss forums because I think the harder parts of our trips are in (a) transportation and (b) getting around BO. Also, we have a 22 months old son and are a bit nervous about how his presence can change/affect these plans.

We arrive/depart from Milan.
1. Get a car in Milan and drive to St Cristina in the Dolomites. Stay there for 3 nights.
2. Leave on day 4. Go back to Milan and drop the car. Take a train to Lucerne.
3. Sleep in Lucerne.
4. Leave Lucerne for Berner Oberland. Arrive in Murren. Stay in Murren for 4 nights.
5. (I feel like this will be crazy day!) Leave Murren for Lake Como (Varenna). A quick check suggests it will take us ~6-7 hrs and 5-6 train changes to get there.
6. Stay in Varenna for 3 nights. Leave for Milan to fly out on day 4.

(a) I’m considering buying the BO regional pass. Seems it’s useful in the mountains, covers our trip from Lucerne, and we can also use it on the way back to Milan through Lucerne too (if we don’t go back via Spiez). Originally I wanted to get the Swiss Pass to ride on the Golden Pass train when traveling to/from Lucerne, but from what I remember, timing on the ferry on lake Lucerne was a bit limiting. What do you guys think about that option? Is the Golden Pass practical on a full day of travel?
(b) I have already made all the reservations for accomodations, but reading more about it, I’m having doubts about choosing Murren with a toddler. Is it going to be too much hassle (going down into the valley everyday for sight-seeing)? I strongly prefer Murren from what I have read (obviously not having seen it). I can cancel and re-book if it's too crazy.
(c) If I get the Swiss Pass, how should I travel to/from Italy? Can I buy tickets on the trains for the sections in Italy? Or should I buy them in advance? The reason for going for the passes is convenience and flexibility (again, baby!)

The reason for leaving Varenna for the end despite almost passing by it multiple times, is that we want to relax and rest a bit after all the (presumed) “work” in the mountains. Neither of us are particularly fit and I will be the one having our son on my back (I’m buying one of those baby carrier backpacks). I’m not overweight, but I haven't lifted weights in a while either. I’ll appreciate any tips that may make our trip more enjoyable!


Posted by
10344 posts

You're probably already aware that altitude in mountainous areas, say roughly above ~6,00 feet above sea level (~1800-2000 meters) will significantly affect the stamina of those not living at altitude and not fairly fit.

Apps like Google Earth will usually give you the altitude of a specific place, but in feet, of course, not meters.

Make sure to allow for the travel time from Varenna to the Milan airport, and know which of the two possible Milan airports you're headed to.