A Complete Two Week Austria and Switzerland Itinerary with Kids

A Complete Two Week Austria and Switzerland Itinerary with Kids

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Here is the two week Austria and Switzerland itinerary that we used to explore these amazing countries with our toddlers.  We have discovered that the traditional trip to Europe with lots of cities and stops doesn’t work with kids.

Almost all of the stops on this Switzerland Austria itinerary are for 2-3 nights or more.  I spent MONTHS researching the best places to visit in Switzerland and Austria with kids, and the result is below.

Take advantage of all of my hard work by using this Switzerland Austria itinerary for your trip.  It has already been researched, tested and tweaked!  All you need to do is GO!

If cost is stopping you from putting Switzerland on your bucket list here are our best tips for saving money while traveling in Switzerland. I won’t lie to you, it was still crazy expensive, but so amazing and worth it!

This coupon book has 2 for 1 offers for many restaurants and attractions around the country. I wish we had known about this when we visited Switzerland…it would have saved us a TON of money!

 

Austria Switzerland Itinerary with kids

Our 2 Week Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day One:  Arrive in Munich

Arrival: If you were lucky, your kids slept on your flight to Germany.  They will probably need a place to stretch their legs when they get off the plane.  On your way into Munich from the airport, head to the Munich Airport Visitor Park and Playground.

Hotel: The Meininger Hotel Munich City Center is close to the train station,.  It is a cheap but nice (and clean) spot to collect yourself for the night.   It has a nice lobby area with kids toys, snacks and drinks for purchase, and a plentiful breakfast in the morning.

Afternoon: When they are sufficiently worn out, continue on your way into Munich to check into your hotel.  If you are feeling up to it once you check out the Englischer Garten, a large central park in Munich.  This place is huge, so head to the Chinese Tower.  There is a playground there as well as a casual beer garden where you can indulge a little while the kids play.

Dinner: Eat at the excellent German restaurant across the street from the hotel.

If you were looking for a spot to extend your stay, you could easily add an extra day or two in Munich here.

Munich airport visitors Park - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Two: Train from Munich to Salzburg

Visiting Salzburg Austria with kids is an amazing experience.  Salzburg is one of the best places to visit in Austria with kids. There are a ton of kid friendly things to do and the city is easy to navigate with kids as it is not too large.

 


Morning:  Check out of hotel and head back to the train station.  Take the train from Munich to Salzburg (about a two hour train ride.)

Hotel: Check into Meininger Hotel Salzburg City Center (you can read our full review here).

Afternoon:  Coffee and Strudel at Cafe Wurfel Zucker (strudel is just one of those things that you really should have while in Austria)

Dinner:  Picnic Dinner and play in Mirabell Garden Park (insider tip from a local:  get takeout pizza from L’Osteria Salzburg and take it down to the river or to Mirabell Garden for a picnic).

Mirabell Gardens Salzburg - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Three: Salzburg Fortress

Morning:  Hohensalzburg Castle (the fortress above Salzburg)

Lunch: Go to Grünmarkt for lunch then sit down and eat by the river

Ice Cream Break:  Head for the Eisengrotte Ice Cream Shop in the Old Town when you need to give your kids a bribe to buy a little more time to wander around the cutesy little streets.

Afternoon: Explore Salzburg Old Town.  Stop by the Sacher Hotel for a Sacher Torte to go (this is a famous Austrian dessert).

Dinner: @ hotel (eat the Torte for dessert!).  You can get pizza delivered or head around the corner to the grocery store for hot take out.

Salzburg Fortress - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Four: Bertschgaden, the Eagle’s Nest and the Salzburg Salt Mines

Morning:  Leave Salzburg early to head for the Eagle’s Nest.  Grab a picnic lunch in Berchtesgaden before taking the bus up to the Eagle’s Nest (alternative activity: the Hohenwerfen Fortress and the Ice caves).

Afternoon:  Take the bus back down the valley and stop off at the Salzburg Salt Mines.  Read about our whole day visiting the Eagle’s Nest and the Salzburg Salt Mines here.

Dinner:  Your choice

Optional Evening Activity:  If you are still feeling jetlagged and are up into the evening, check out the Red Bull Hangar 7.  If you have car enthusiasts traveling with you they will love this!  It is free and open until 10:00pm.

Berchtesgaden Eagle's Nest - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Five: Natural History Center and transfer to Innsbruck

Morning:  Check out of hotel.  Ask to leave your bags (or stow them at the train station).  Visit the Haus de Natur, a super kid friendly natural history museum in Salzburg old town.  My son saw a picture of the planet exhibit as I was doing research for the trip and he became obsessed with visiting the “planet museum”.

The museum did not disappoint.  It has a wide variety of exhibits to engage the kids, including dinosaurs, planets, an aquarium and some animals.  The museum is a nice size to tackle with little ones in a morning.

Haus de Natur - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Afternoon:  Retrieve bags.  Train to Innsbruck (once the kids are worn out)

 After careful consideration, our time in Innsbruck got cut short to accommodate more time in Switzerland.  The train ride between Salzburg and Lucerne was too long for the kids not to break up with a stop, hence the overnight in Innsbruck for a quick look around.

 

Evening:  Check into Hotel Tauterman, a clean budget friendly hotel with a great breakfast just a few minutes walk from the Innsbruck Old Town.

Dinner: Picnic dinner in the Imperial Gardens.  Explore Innsbruck Old town in the evening

Day Five: Alpenzoo and Nordkette Cable Car 

Morning: Get up early to head up the Nordkette Cable car.  On the way back down, hit the Alpenzoo to explore a variety of animals in a unique, alpine environment.

Alternate Morning Activity:  If you are already doing a bunch of cable cars in Switzerland, the cost of another one might not be up your alley.  You could use this time to head to the Old Town for more exploration.

Afternoon:  Train from Innsbruck to Lucerne.  This is a longer train ride.  We chose to tackle it in the afternoon to have a chance to wear the kids out first, so they might sleep.

Hotel:  Check into Hotel Alpha in Lucerne, Switzerland

Dinner:  Grab hotbar dinner at the Manor Department Store Cafeteria and enjoy a picnic dinner by the lake.  Snag those prized photos of the Lucerne covered bridges at night while walking back to your hotel.

Innsbruck, Austria - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary
Innsbruck, Austria
Lucerne Switzerland - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary
Covered bridges in Lucerne, Switzerland

Day Six: Mount Rigi

Early Morning:  If you are an early riser (and it is a Tuesday or Saturday) you can catch the Lucerne weekly market down by the waterfront before heading on the boat to Mount Rigi.  The market is not far from the boat dock.  Check out of Hotel Alpha and store your bags in the lockers in the Lucerne Train station (this way, they will be waiting for you when you get back to head towards Interlaken).

Morning into afternoon:  Explore Mount Rigi.  Get up to the top early to get the best photos and avoid the clouds that creep in around lunchtime.  Take one of the many hikes all or part of the way back down the mountain.

Evening:  Retrieve bags.  Catch the train from Lucerne to Interlaken (kids should be tired and sleep on train).  Try to take a train AFTER rush hour (this was one of the most crowded train rides during our time in Switzerland.)

Hotel:  Check into Backpackers Villa Sonnehoff (read about our amazing experience at this hostel here!)

Interlaken was a great place to base our stay in Switzerland with kids!  For us, this was the best of Switzerland vacation spots…Switzerland distilled.   There are lots of folks who chose to stay in slightly more scenic Murren or Grindelwald, or even in Lauterbrunnen.  Any of these would be fine choices, as well.

Mount Rigi - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Seven: Exploring around Interlaken

When we got to Interlaken, our itinerary was a little more fluid.  We planned out activities depending on the weather and which mountains had clear skies.  There is no point in paying for a high mountain lift when the weather at the top is cloudy.  Plan your time in the mountains accordingly.  We could have easily spent a week in Interlaken.  If I was going to add days onto any part of this itinerary, this is where I would have added them.

Activity Options (can be done on any day while staying in Interlaken)

  • The Schilthorn and the Almendhubel Flower Playground: This is a MUST see from Interlaken.  Check the weather forecast before you go – you will want to save this for a sunny day.  Here is a recap of our amazing trip up to the top of the Schilthorn.
  • The Aare Gorge: An easy hike with the kids down a beautiful, scenic gorge (with a playground at the end).

Schilthorn - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Eight: Exploring around Interlaken

Activity Options (can be done on any day while staying in Interlaken)

  • St Beatus Caves: Some neat caves near Interlaken with a fun story behind them (and a playground!)
  • Lauterbrunnen Valley/Trummelbach Falls: A beautiful valley dotted with waterfalls.  Trummelbach Falls is an impressive waterfall that funnels the glacial meltoff from the large glaciers above in the mountains.
  • Harder Kulm: Harder Kulm is the mountain peak closest to Interlaken.  The funicular is accessible from town.  The views from the cantilevered viewing platform at the top of Lake Thun and Lake Brienze are memorable (because of the glacial melt off, the water in these lakes, like most of the rivers and lakes in this part of Switzerland is a spectacular shade of blue).

Harder Kulm - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Nine: Exploring around Interlaken

Activity Options (can be done on any day while staying in Interlaken)

  • Grindelwald Glacier Gorge:  This is a gorge near Grindelwald that has platforms along the edges and a rope net over the river that you can climb on.  The hike took about an hour.  This was a good activity for a rainy day as we were under cover for much of it.  It could also be combined with the Lake Bachalpsee hike below.
  • Grindelwald First / Lake Bachalpsee: This is a relatively easy hike (that can be done with a stroller) that yields some mighty impressive views.
  • Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum:  This outdoor museum showcases a wide variety of Swiss buildings and architecture.  It is a great place to let the kids run around a little AND learn a little interactive history at the same time.
  • *** Rainy day options with kids in Interlaken: Jungfrau Park

Glacier Gorge Grindelwald - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Ten:  Heading to Zurich with a Stop at Thun

Morning:  Take the train from Interlaken to Thun.  Explore the adorable town of Thun.  Eat picnic lunch on the banks of Lake Thun (you can get a decent takeout lunch at the cafeteria at the Manor department store).

Afternoon:  Continue on the train to Zurich.

Hotel:  Check into one of the amazing Swiss Star Apartments (I am sure that they are all great…we stayed at the one on Universitätstrasse and really liked it because it is right on the tram line to the Zurich airport to make our departure easier).  Here is a link to our full review of our Swiss Star Zurich Apartment.

Evening:  Grab some dinner and head down to the Zurich Old Town to explore and take some of those neat, nighttime photos.

Thun Switzerland - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary
Thun, Switzerland

Day Eleven: Your Choice Around Zurich

  • Lenzburg Castle: A super neat castle for kids near Zurich.  The best part of the castle for kids is the kindermuseum which has a play castle with dress up clothes, among other amusements.  The rooms of the castle are great opportunities for the kids to learn about history.
  • Uetliberg Mountain:  This easily accessible mountain from Zurich has spectacular views of the city and surrounding mountains (as well as a playground to amuse the kids).  There is a hike from the top that you can take, or you can just check out the views and head back down.
  • *** Rainy Day Options for Zurich: We unfortunately had couple days of rain at the end of our trip that really changed our plans for Zurich.  A boat cruise around the lake is a good option for a rainy day (you can stay on the interior of the boat and still get great views…and it is included if you have a Swiss Travel Pass).  On the other rainy day, we took a trip to visit the nearby Bodensee Therme (hot springs pool) in nearby Konstanz, Germany.  This was a SUPER kid friendly spot, and a great choice for a rainy day.  Even though it was just barely across the border in Germany, it WAS included in our Swiss Travel Pass.

Bodensee Therme Lake Konstanz - Austria and Switzerland Itinerary

Day Twelve: Rhein Falls and Stein Am Rhein

Morning: Head for the train station to head to Rhein Falls, the largest waterfall in Europe.

Afternoon: Visit Stein Am Rhine, a super cute little village not far from the falls.  Try L’Petit Creperie for lunch (recommended and budget friendly).

Evening:  Enjoy one last evening in Zurich by having a picnic on the banks of the lake.  Try the Blatterwiese playground, a short stroll down the lakeside.

Day Thirteen: Head for Home 🙁

If you are lucky and have a full two weeks, you might be able to add a day onto the itinerary, but thirteen glorious days was all we had.

 

Morning: Check out of Swiss Star Apartments.  Catch the train or streetcar to the airport (whichever is ore convenient from your accommodations).

BONUS: If you get to the airport early enough, check out the Zurich airport observation deck for a neat play area and great views of the planes.

Are you considering including Austria and Switzerland in a 2 week Europe trip?  Are there any questions that I can answer for you about our adventure, to help you in planning you own Austria and Switzerland itinerary?

Shanna Schultz

We are Shanna and Aaron + kiddos. We are a travel addicted family of four who love to escape at every possible opportunity. When we travel, we love to focus on creating meaningful travel experiences that help us all learn about the world together and bring us closer as a family. Shanna also writes about travel in the Midwestern part of the United States at her blog A Midwest Travel Companion

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hello Shanna! I really appreciate your detailed itinerary. It was a fun read and very beneficial for my trip planning as well. Thank you!

    1. Thank you! I am so glad that you have found my information useful. Switzerland was such an amazingly beautiful place. I hope you enjoy your trip. Please let me know if there are any other questions that I can answer for you.

  2. Hello Shanna, I am using your itinerary for a trip to Switzerland and Austria with my husband and two children. It is so useful. Thank you! Can I ask about the train journeys? Innsbruck to Lucerne? How long is that? And then we will head to Interlaken? How long is Lucerne- Interlaken train journey? I just basically don;t want to spend too long on the train. Or is it easier to go from Innsbruck directly to Zurich, and then head to Interlaken from there? I was hoping to take a train directly from Innsbruck to Interlaken? But that seems too long…..

    1. The journey by train from Innsbruck to Lucerne was about 5 hours. I think we had to stop and transfer in Zurich on the way, if I remember correctly (I don’t know that there is any other way to get there). The train from Lucerne to Interlaken was only an hour and a half or so, but going all the way from Innsbruck to Interlaken would have been too long on the train for us for one day also, so we broke it up by staying one night in Lucerne.

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