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Switzerland for 16 days with 5 little kids!

I booked our plane tickets for hubby + me + five kids (ages 9 7 4 and 1 year old twins) for this September. Yes, I’m probably absolutely crazy for doing this haha but I’m excited. As I’m trying to plan the trip I’m super overwhelmed! I love the RS itinerary guide, but I think with kids I probably need to move around less, like stay in the same Airbnb for more # of days. And I fly into Geneva and out of Zurich so I need to change the order of things. Any advice or input for me on what the itinerary should be as I plan this?

What I love: the more adventurous things, although we probably can’t hike much with the littles sadly. But what I love most is beautiful nature! So I want to be in the prettiest spots. What cities or towns would you stay in?

We might try to do travel by train. The boys love trains and I hear it’s easy to get around in Switzerland by them. But tempted to rent a car because that may be easier with all the kids. Not sure!

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409 posts

Are you going to attempt to move about via train with them or are you renting a car? Normally I always recommend train, but I could see it may be difficult with more small children than adults. I think it’s not impossible if the other kids are able to help you, but would understand if it felt overwhelming.

In general if it were me I’d probably pick 1 or 2 bases max and just do day trips from there because moving your family with luggage and little ones probably isn’t that fun :)

I won’t attempt to give an itinerary until I know the things above, but I will say that Murren would be a great option with little kids for a few reasons. It’s a car free village, so you can let the little ones run around without constantly worrying about traffic, the playground up at Allmendhubel is awesome and has great views for you to enjoy while the kids play, there is a Sportzentrum in town that has a pool, basketball court, outdoor fenced in soccer field, playground across the “street”, etc. The village has a grocery store and apartment chalet rentals with kitchens, there is a cable car down to Gimmelwald which also has a playground and a little kids tree house at the Pension for while you eat there, there is an easy flat paved strolled friendly walk in between Winteregg and Murren with another great playground with a view. You can go over to Wengen and up to Mannlichen for another great alpine playground with amazing views plus another great stroller friendly walk from there to Kleine Scheidegg. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is a flat stroller friendly walk or you can rent e-bikes with burleys on the back for the kids and bike it. I could keep going, but you get the gist :)

In terms of getting there, down at Lauterbrunnen you give your luggage to the workers there and they transfer it for you up to the Murren where you retrieve it, so you won’t have to carry it onto the cable car or small train for that portion.

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One money saving tip: Get the Half Fare Card. With it comes the free Family Card. With it the adults pay 50% on all transporation (and that includes mountain transports like cable cars) and the kids go for free.

Many IC trains have a special family compartment with a small playground for kids. Your kids will love it.
Trains are also nowadays low floor, so just rolling a buggy on board is not a huge issue. Even a twin one. If you choose to use our excellent public transport have the older two of your kids handle their own luggage.

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@wanderweg I was tempted to rent a car because of the ease of that with all the little kids. But I’m leaning toward trains instead. We’re packing super light (each of us just wearing a backpack and my husband rolling one suitcase) so that we don’t have to deal with much luggage. Which I think will make the trains easier at least
Okay this information is SO helpful because I’ve been wondering which town would make the best home base for us. And this one sounds absolutely perfect! Thank you thank you for this information! Do you have any advice for a second or possibly third spot to stay if we decide we want to stay in more than one spot?

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@wengenk that’s awesome! I was trying to figure out whether it’d make more sense to get the half fare card or the Swiss travel pass. Do you think the half fare would be best?

Sorry just in the beginning stages of planning this trip so I don’t know a whole lot about anything yet haha

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409 posts

Ok, sounds like you can handle the trains then! It will be a fun and memorable adventure and the good thing is that if you miss a train connection for some reason, you’ll catch the next one. No big deal :) We spend our summers living in Murren and my young nephews came to visit us last summer for 2 weeks (ages 3 & 1) and we had the best time exploring the Berner Oberland with them. There are fun open air historic train rides to do that kids love (Schynigge Platte, Brienzer Rothorn) and so many family activities that you could spend your whole time there and not run out of activities to do.

For September I’d definitely prioritize getting lodging ASAP. Especially for popular places like Murren. As I said, we live there for the summer and have family coming to visit us this September so I’ve already seen that stuff is getting pretty booked up.

For lodging in Murren look at e-Domizil, Airbnb, VRBO & https://chalet.myswitzerland.com/holiday-rentals/ or if you have a decent budget I know of a larger penthouse apartments that would be great for a family and is right next door to the soccer field, pool and Allmendhubel funicular up to the playground.

I can help you more with specifics/logistics of Murren if you decide on that specifically. There is also some train passes for the area that would be of help to you depending on how long you stay.

Other places to look into as an additional base - Lake Luzern (Luzern or we like the quieter/prettier side over by Fluelen, etc), Lake Geneva (we’ve stayed in a small family friendly village called St.Prex where we had a waterfront house next to a little beach where kids can swim and was a 5 minute walk to the train station to visit places like Montreux, etc) — other car free villages to look into - Bettmeralp, Zermatt….

I think you’d really love doing the car free villages with kids. It’s a unique experience and makes for an overall relaxed experience with kids. With the train system you could still do longer day trips to some of the other places of interest, but I think staying in car free villages as your “home” is perfect for a young family and will be a really special experience for you.

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4675 posts

I think it would be very expensive to rent that many car seats, and you would need a larger vehicle for seven people. Take the train.
I agree, stay in a car-free village like Murren. You can enjoy the view by just being there.
Are you traveling with grandparents or a nanny -type babysitter? You really are outnumbered. Hopefully three of the kids can carry everything they need to entertain themselves on the long oversees flights.
How much have you traveled with five children? Perhaps take a practice overnight trip more locally, just to see what it really takes.
Good luck and safe travels!

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@pat Thanks for your concern but we’ve traveled a lot locally and I’m actually confident it will be a fun trip. Five kids feels like a lot whether you’re at home on a couch or out on an adventure - so might as well be on an adventure haha. And I’ve found actually while traveling and giving our full attention to them and having fun with them it ends up being an easier time than regular days when I’m trying to get other things done while at home 🙃

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@wanderweg Ah you have been unbelievably helpful, thank you!!! Kay I’m going to go look for lodging there and get this figured out. I’d love more info on Mürren I’m sure - once I get lodging and know how long I’ll be there. Stand by! Haha and THANKS again!

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16190 posts

We took our twin grandchildren (and their parents) to Switzerland when they were 6, renting apartments in Mürren and Bettmeralp (a car-free village off the Rick Steves radar but well worth a visit). The playgrounds in these places are wonderful.

https://www.maennlichen.ch/en/summer/experiences/alpine-herdsmans-playground.html

https://schilthorn.ch/26/en/Adventure_playground_Flower_Park

https://www.aletscharena.ch/en/aletsch-arena/poi/rope-park-baschweri

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@wanderweg quick question if you have the time to answer (if not don’t worry about it!) but I don’t know anything about the area of Saulcy or what kind of day trips to do from there - but this place seems like my kids would love it (see attached link) Would this area be a good second place to stay in? 🤔

https://abnb.me/Db8hztun8Gb

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409 posts

That looks like a fun place for kids for sure. I've never been to the Saulcy area, it's definitely an off the radar type of place and not really in the mountains, but could be a unique local cultural experience. It seems if you wanted to use it as a base for day trips you'd want a car because it requires a bus (TBD how far of a walk to the house?) However, potentially it could be a great place to get over jet lag with simple activities for the kids right at the house that allow a lot of rest for you guys? You could fly into Geneva or Zurich with that location, go there for 2-4 days to rest on a farm and then head to Murren for your more adventurous portion of your trip? Not a bad plan to have a house with a lot of kid amenities right there for you while you acclimate.

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I sent you a private message with some more info @hellolittlesycamore

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Note that the farmstay place in Saulcy says “5 guests” and they are usually pretty firm about that. It has a double bed for parents and one set of bunks plus a crib for children. You need to ask the host if it will accommodate more people, or you could end up disappointed when you arrive.

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@Lola I had contacted them earlier and they said they don't mind the couple extra babies coming one bit actually! They said they have to have things set like that for airbnb but they don't personally mind so I would be good to book!

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For a rain day, the is a children activity center in Interlaken