This was a very interesting and fun trip to arrange. A family of 6 – the parents, 3 young kids and their older teenage niece (coming as a nanny), were spending a full year traveling around the world, blogging, taking photos (the father is a professional photographer), and generally having an epic adventure. This is not how my childhood went, but I love it! This around-the-world trip included 64 nights in Europe, and 25 nights in Switzerland and Austria, which is what we arranged. The family had done their homework, and the initial request was actually quite detailed, with specific hotels they were looking into, specific sights the wanted to see… the Olympic museum, Chillon castle, Trummelbach falls, a walk to a hut, Gornergrat, the Glacier Express, Swiss National Park, Innsbruck, Salzburg, just for starters.
It was a good plan to begin with, but we made a number of suggestions, like swapping out his chosen hut (Monchsjoch) for a rustic mountain inn more family-friendly and accessible (Tschingelhorn), and streamlining a few of their stops to slow the pace a bit. We added a stop in Hallstatt (picture above) because he’s a photographer and it’s so incredibly scenic. We added an extra day in St Moritz, to visit the nearby Swiss National Park, rather than a separate stop at the park for a night. We added a guide for the hiking portion or their trip in the Bernese Oberland, included a family pass on their rail passes to give them discounts on the mountain trains and cable cars, found some more family-friendly hotels than in their original list of ideas and upgraded hotels at a couple places where really good moderate options were not available. At the time, my own kids were 4 and 8, and I had spent many summers in the Alps with them, so I had quite ideas about what hotels and activities they might enjoy, and thoughts on creating opportunities to see and do a lot, with the flexibility to slow down and take it easy if weather or mood required that.
This was a very specialized tour for an unusual and lengthy family trip. It’s not part of our regular collection of tours, but a great example of how we can take a very specific set of needs and create a tour that made sense for this family.
Lausanne (3 nights) – Activities from this small lakeside city included the Olympic Museum and Chillon castle, both very fun family destinations.
Grindelwald to Murren (7 nights) – The Bernese Oberland is one of the most stunning mountain regions in the Alps. Highlights included the train to Jungfraujoch and a private guided inn-to-inn tour with a night at the Tschingelhorn inn.
Zermatt (3 nights) – They had 3 nights of relative luxury in a 4-star hotel here with opportunities to take high mountain trains cable cars to viewpoints at Gornergrat and ice caves at Klein Matterhorn. I was also able to catch up with the family here, meet them, and chat about their trip.
St. Moritz (3 nights) – They took the Glacier Express train across Switzerland to St Moritz in eastern Switzerland, a region of mountains and lakes, beautiful, whimsical architecture, and home of the Swiss National Park. They stayed in a family-friendly hotel on the outskirts of town.
Innsbruck (3 nights) – Next was a train to Austria, to Innsbruck, where their interests included the Schloss Ambras castle and Nordketten cable car. We arranged a van rental from here for the remaining Austrian portion of their trip.
Salzburg (2 nights) – a beautiful old city with many attractions, including Mozart’s home and museum, plus catacombs and the Hohensalzburg fortress.
Hallstatt (2 nights) – This might be my favorite stop in Austria, and one of the prettiest villages you’ll find. Hallstatt is a tiny village tucked against steep cliffs on an incredibly picturesque lake. A salt-mining region, it’s a great place for an underground salt mine tour, but also has nearby ice caves, and great walks in the mountains.
Lienz (2 nights) – Gateway to the Hohe Tauern National Park with the Grossglockner (the highest mountain in Austria), and the famous scenic drive along the 48 km Grossglockner road.
depart -for Venice, southern Italy, and the rest of their around-the-world trip!