Active Walking Holiday Alps/ Europe with baby and no car
March 29, 2018 7:33 AM   Subscribe

We're looking for walking holidays in Alps/ Europe for one week. Difficulty level: 10 month baby (single center with lots of <5 hour round trip hikes nearby) and no car (so the town must be big enough to have restaurants, groceries, etc).

We're looking for walking holidays in Europe for one week. Here is our criteria:

1) Mountains! Alps or some of the older mountain chains in Europe.

2) Do not need a car to get around for daily hikes or activities or grocery shopping. We are flying in or taking a train from the UK, and will take a taxi or train or bus to said destination, but once we are there, we would like to get around without a car.

3) Single-center holiday. Not looking to backpack every day. We have 10 month old baby and we would like to stay in one spot. Must have lots of hikes nearby easily accessible by public transport or walking.

4) Easy access to restaurants, groceries, etc.

We have been to Lech, Cortina, Chamonix and other French ski resorts before, and we are looking for new recommendations. Switzerland? Other parts of Italian/ French/ Austrian alps?
posted by moiraine to Travel & Transportation (8 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Scharnitz (Austria) at the Austrian-German border might fit your expectations. When I was a kid, we spent several single-center three-week-long hiking holidays there. Hikes vary in length and difficulty -- there's something for every taste. Fly into Innsbruck, take the train toward Mittenwald (Germany). At the time, Scharnitz was less touristy than Mittenwald and less posh and expensive (and boring) than Seefeld, which is halfway from Scharnitz to Innsbruck. Bonus: if you don't feel like hiking one day, you take the train and see something else.
On the other hand there's been some development in the valley of late and I don't know how the vibe is now. There are restaurants, of course.
posted by Namlit at 8:12 AM on March 29, 2018

Best answer: I took a two year old to South Tirol last year - Renon/Ritten Plateau to be exact. We stayed at a specifically family friendly hotel that was great, though that was more for our four years. No need for a car there at all. Cable car up from Bolzano, little railway around the plateau. Lots of hikes via train or bus, although nothing super strenuous that I tried (though I wasn't looking very hard)

MeMail if you want a hotel recc. But there is an entire organization of specifically family friendly hotels in South Tirol.
posted by JPD at 8:39 AM on March 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Interlaken and the Jungfrau region.

1. The best of the Alps.

2. Nearly all of the town of Interlaken, including all of the touristy shopping and hotels, is a short walk from the Interlaken Ost train station.

3. Innumerable day hikes based out of Interlaken, plus quick rail links to other towns like Brienz and Luzern.

4. There's a well-stocked Coop (grocery store) and a convenience store at Ost station plaza. If you stay outside the city, there's a Migros (another grocery store) across the street from the Wilderswil station, which is the first stop on the BOB outside of Interlaken. (A BOB pass may be included in the cost of your hotel.)
posted by kevinbelt at 10:56 AM on March 29, 2018 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Interlaken, Grindelwald or Wengen. Bernese Oberland anyway. Really beautiful, lots of walks, mountain railway, cable car or bus to shorten trips as needed. There are supermarkets in each. Pretty easy to get there from Geneva (EasyJet) then train - consider a Swiss Railpass if you’ll be using the trains.
posted by tinkletown at 11:41 AM on March 29, 2018 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Kevinbelt and tinkletown beat me to it.

The Bernese Oberland/Jungfrau region really is amazing. I was there last year in July (without my own two year old), and there were plenty of families with small children. There's lots of beautiful walks, and staying in Grindelwald will give you access to grocery stores and restaurants. Wengen is a little higher up than Grindelwald, which is more central for all the trains you'll need to take for the various walks/ hikes; but Wengen does have one large grocery store and a couple of smaller convenience stores. (The grocery closes by 6 or 7 pm, if I remember correctly.)

Two recs: Swiss railpass, or things can get pretty expensive. Baby hiking carrier, because even the easiest hikes can be hilly, and strollers will limit your mobility.

Some of the walks you could do with a baby: Mannlichen-Kleine Scheidegg, First-Grosse Scheidegg, First-Bachsee-First, Grustchalp-Murren, Grindelwald-Lauterbrunnen, Stechelberg and Trummelbach Falls. You'll find that there are cable cars and/or trains going back and forth between many of these places, so they don't necessarily have to be round trip (but get the Swiss Railpass or it can get very expensive!)

This website was really helpful in planning my week-long trip.
posted by Everydayville at 11:52 AM on March 29, 2018

Best answer: Yes. Jungfrau region. I have traveled there extensively with small children and the hiking is amazing.
posted by gryphonlover at 6:22 PM on March 29, 2018

Best answer: How about Kleinwalsertal (little Walser valley)? It is part of Austria, but can only be reached from Germany. There are lots of walks in the area of varying lengths and difficulty. There's also a bus system which is free of charge for most tourists since the Walsertal guest card is included with their hotel/B&B. I spent a week in Mittelberg a few years ago and loved it!
posted by amf at 4:01 AM on March 30, 2018

Best answer: I have lots of experience with this! Two recommendations.

The whole Grindelwald/Lauterbrunnen/Wengen area is indeed stunning, but it is just mobbed with tourists and I personally wouldn't go there during high season.

Engelberg in Switzerland is a great village in the Bernese Oberland with plenty of walks at all levels. Three cable cars up to different areas. You could easily bus or train to the Grindelwald area and to the nearby lakes. It seems great for a trip like this with kids and my family will be bringing our 4 year old there in June.

Last year we went to the Stubaital in Tyrol Austria and loved it as well. It's a long valley on a single road with a half dozen villages. Each village has at least one playground/pool/kid's fun thing and a cable car to mid or high level walks of varying difficulties. At the top of each lift is also a playground.

In both places, wherever you stay should give you a free pass for big discounts on the local buses and cable cars. Absolutely no need for a car in either place. I will say that Switzerland is a lot more expensive though, alas.
posted by mkuhnell at 7:51 AM on March 30, 2018

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