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Advice: Greece vs Austria and Switzerland

Advice: Greece vs Austria and Switzerland

Old Oct 10th, 2022, 04:03 PM
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Advice: Greece vs Switzerland

Hi everyone,
before my oldest goes to college, we’re taking one big trip to Europe.
in addition to London, Paris, and Rome, we want to add on a few more (5 total) days in either Greece or Switzerland.

We've obviously never been to either and I’m sure you’re reading this thinking: they’re nothing alike. I get it.

Qualifiers: our kids love art, history, and mountains.

just looking for a, “for a family of 5 with teenagers,”’ xxxxxx May be better for a once in a lecture family trip because xxxxx”

thanks!

Last edited by warner1108; Oct 10th, 2022 at 04:19 PM.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 05:29 PM
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You can't go wrong but you're just going to have to decide for yourself on this one. Like you said, they're nothing alike. Greece will give you oodles of history and it's less expensive than Switzerland. Rich on classical ruins, beaches, food, and islands. But you would probably have to fly to get there in your time frame.
Switzerland is right on your way from Paris to Rome. Go by train via Zurich or Geneva and get into the Bernese Oberland. Can't beat those mountains. Beautiful and a change from the big cities.
My advice is to pick Switzerland for ease of logistics. You'll have plenty of history and art on the rest of the trip. Have fun and go to Greece another time.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 05:32 PM
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I appreciate the feedback!


Originally Posted by MichGuy View Post
You can't go wrong but you're just going to have to decide for yourself on this one. Like you said, they're nothing alike. Greece will give you oodles of history and it's less expensive than Switzerland. Rich on classical ruins, beaches, food, and islands. But you would probably have to fly to get there in your time frame.
Switzerland is right on your way from Paris to Rome. Go by train via Zurich or Geneva and get into the Bernese Oberland. Can't beat those mountains. Beautiful and a change from the big cities.
My advice is to pick Switzerland for ease of logistics. You'll have plenty of history and art on the rest of the trip. Have fun and go to Greece another time.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 05:34 PM
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Five days isn't long when you're thinking in terms of entire countries rather than cities or specific destinations. Five days is especially not long for a traveling group of 7 people. No matter how enthusiastic and cooperative everyone is, a large group just takes longer to do everything... from restaurant meal service to needing multiple taxis to exploring museums and sights at different speeds.

What would you want to do/see and reasonably could do/see in Greece, Austria and Switzerland in just five days? Which would best fit in the rest of the itinerary and in what order, how would you get there, what gateway, and how much time do you want to spend in transit. You're already losing half days (or longer) traveling between/among the Big 3. Depending on how long you're in the three, you might just want to spread those five days among them and plan some excursions away from the cities.

You put Greece first in both mentions and seemingly dropped Austria after the initial mention in the title. Maybe that's the direction your subconscious mind is headed.

But IMO there's no right or wrong answer, and you'll be skipping some wonderful place or another no matter what you decide. I myself would consider the logistics in deciding whether to make a third transit that might be on the long side. Unless I'm on a scenic train ride, I hate feeling that I'm spending too much time just moving from place to place and not seeing/doing things.

Do the family members have an opinion on this?
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 05:50 PM
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I know we want to do Lucerne for two quick nights, so the other decision is basically between adding 1 night there and 3-4 in Lauterbrunnen or Murren vs one spot in Greece for 4-5 nights to hit to big sights.

Here’s our issue: due to health issues of mine, I don’t know if my wife and I will
be back to go to Greece, so we’d like to squeeze it in, but I also went to Switzerland in HS and want to show my kids.

Im torn. If only we had another week.
Who am I kidding. If only we had another many thousands of dollars.

correction to previous post: total party size is only 5

Originally Posted by Jean View Post
Five days isn't long when you're thinking in terms of entire countries rather than cities or specific destinations. Five days is especially not long for a traveling group of 7 people. No matter how enthusiastic and cooperative everyone is, a large group just takes longer to do everything... from restaurant meal service to needing multiple taxis to exploring museums and sights at different speeds.

What would you want to do/see and reasonably could do/see in Greece, Austria and Switzerland in just five days? Which would best fit in the rest of the itinerary and in what order, how would you get there, what gateway, and how much time do you want to spend in transit. You're already losing half days (or longer) traveling between/among the Big 3. Depending on how long you're in the three, you might just want to spread those five days among them and plan some excursions away from the cities.

You put Greece first in both mentions and seemingly dropped Austria after the initial mention in the title. Maybe that's the direction your subconscious mind is headed.

But IMO there's no right or wrong answer, and you'll be skipping some wonderful place or another no matter what you decide. I myself would consider the logistics in deciding whether to make a third transit that might be on the long side. Unless I'm on a scenic train ride, I hate feeling that I'm spending too much time just moving from place to place and not seeing/doing things.

Do the family members have an opinion on this?
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 07:49 PM
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Here’s where I think I’m stuck:

our kids aren’t swimmers and don’t really care about the beach (neither do their parents).

while, yes, I know there’s more to do in Greece than that, does a lack of desire for beach time make Greece maybe not idea for my family?
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 07:50 PM
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Hmmm? Tough decision. So you don't think you would visit Greece if you don't go this time. Can you extend your trip to an extra 7 days? Instead of 5? Initially I would say stick closer to Italy, so Austria and Switzerland would make sense. But since you don't think you would return to Europe, than I say go to Greece. Would you be happy visiting only Athens? You would get a lot of Greek history and ruins in Athens. The Acropolis, of course. Great Museums. The Athens Central Market with its fascinating meat market and fish market. Or would you prefer an island? Such as Naxos? Since you are already visiting major cities, perhaps skip Athens and visit one of the Greek islands. That would be very different from the large cities. Naxos, Paros, Santorini? People criticize Santorini for being too "touristy" and crowded. But there is a reason for that. It's beautiful and the caldera views are stunning. You can rent a car for a day and visit the rest of the island. Naxos and Paros are quintessential Greek islands. They both have airports. Perhaps you could fly directly to one of these islands from your last destination.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 08:26 PM
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this is kind of what I was thinking before I read your post: yes, we could do 7 if we complete removed Switzerland and Austria.

just a matter of chatting with the family (who will trust me to make the decision anyway).

then the decision just comes down to whether we’d just do Athens and Santorini OR do we add a 3rd location like Thessaloniki or Corfu.

Originally Posted by KarenWoo View Post
Hmmm? Tough decision. So you don't think you would visit Greece if you don't go this time. Can you extend your trip to an extra 7 days? Instead of 5? Initially I would say stick closer to Italy, so Austria and Switzerland would make sense. But since you don't think you would return to Europe, than I say go to Greece. Would you be happy visiting only Athens? You would get a lot of Greek history and ruins in Athens. The Acropolis, of course. Great Museums. The Athens Central Market with its fascinating meat market and fish market. Or would you prefer an island? Such as Naxos? Since you are already visiting major cities, perhaps skip Athens and visit one of the Greek islands. That would be very different from the large cities. Naxos, Paros, Santorini? People criticize Santorini for being too "touristy" and crowded. But there is a reason for that. It's beautiful and the caldera views are stunning. You can rent a car for a day and visit the rest of the island. Naxos and Paros are quintessential Greek islands. They both have airports. Perhaps you could fly directly to one of these islands from your last destination.
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Old Oct 10th, 2022, 11:22 PM
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Given the rest of your itinerary, I'd choose Switzerland. It's stunningly beautiful and fits in much better logistically. Greece takes time.
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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 03:20 AM
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Unless I missed it, the only hint of when you plan to visit is where you wrote: “before my oldest goes to college”, which suggests sometime in the summer. That does make a difference both with Switzerland and Greece.

I’ve been to the Lauterbrunnen area, but that was in the winter for skiing. The sights from Kleine Scheidegg and further up to the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch, are stunning. For summer it might be better to base yourself in Interlaken.

With Greece you don’t have to go there for islands and beaches. Many don’t realise this, but Greece is the most mountainous country in Europe. It goes without saying that Athens is replete with history and ancient ruins. You could combine this with an overnight visit to Delphi, which IMO has the most impressive archeological site in Greece. The site is located at the foot of Mt Parnassus, which has a ski resort at the top. Another possibility would be a couple of nights in Nafplio, which is beautiful, and has several UNESCO rated archaeological sites nearby:

http://www.visitnafplio.com/

Which should you choose? Logistically Switzerland would fit better with the rest of your itinerary, but there are direct flights from Rome to Athens taking only 2hrs. Only you can decide which is the best choice.

Last edited by Heimdall; Oct 11th, 2022 at 03:35 AM. Reason: Correct spelling
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Old Oct 11th, 2022, 06:36 AM
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If you go to Greece, Heimdall makes a good suggestion about combining Athens with either Delphi or Nafplio. We were in Nafplio last May and we loved it. It's a beautiful small city located on the water with many important archaeological sites nearby. We visited Mistras, Epidaurus and Mycenae. Mistras (Byzantine ruins) is my favorite. It's about a 2-hour drive from Nafplio but well worth it, IMO. Mycenae and Epidaurus are very close to Nafplio. There are more ruins nearby but those are the 3 we visited.

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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 04:23 AM
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[QUOTE=Heimdall;17405718]Unless I missed it, the only hint of when you plan to visit is where you wrote: “before my oldest goes to college”, which suggests sometime in the summer. That does make a difference both with Switzerland and Greece.



I’ve been to the Lauterbrunnen area, but that was in the winter for skiing. The sights from Kleine Scheidegg and further up to the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch, are stunning. For summer it might be better to base yourself in Interlaken.

[/uQUOTE]



1) we’re going in June 2023

2) could you elaborate more on why Interlaken?
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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 05:57 AM
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Interlaken is a good sized town between lakes Thun and Brienz. It has a good rail link to Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, and Murren, with more to do than in those smaller villages. I was there five times one winter, staying in an Interlaken hotel and travelling by coach to Grindelwald for skiing. It’s just at the edge of the mountains, so not as picturesque as Wengen.

On one trip I took the rail link to Wengen via Lauterbrunnen instead, and it was very easy to do from Interlaken. I could have gone to Murren, but liked skiing on the run (at leisurely speeds) used for the Lauberhorn downhill race. Interlaken seemed to be a good base for visiting all parts of the Bernese Oberland.

Here is a link I just found listing the pros and cons of Interlaken, so you can read that to help make your decision. One sentence that caught my eye was: “If you are traveling with teenagers that seek some fun, you're better off in Interlaken than in a smaller mountain village with less facilities”

https://www.myswissalps.com/interlaken
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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 07:48 AM
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People do not go to Switzerland for the history.

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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by shelemm View Post
People do not go to Switzerland for the history.
Oh, no, that location would be out of pure selfishness b/c I remembered it from HS.
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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 11:46 AM
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If you choose Switzerland, stay in the mountains in Grindelwald rather than down in the valley in Interlaken.
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Old Oct 12th, 2022, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HappyTrvlr View Post
If you choose Switzerland, stay in the mountains in Grindelwald rather than down in the valley in Interlaken.
I’ll look into that as well.
Can I ask a Q?

one of my memories of Luzern from HS was taking a boat right at night onto the lake and seeing the Alps behind us. Is something like that possible from Grindelwald?
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 12:24 AM
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It may be possible to do that on lakes Thun or Brienz, but you would have to return from Grindelwald to Interlaken.
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 12:35 AM
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Oh jeeze -- -- I didn't realize you are also trying to fit in Austria and Switzerland (or Greece) in the same trip as Rome, Venice, Paris, and London plus all the various side/day/overnight trips in each location.

Because you have (at least) 4 different threads going, no one has the full picture of what all you are trying to do and it is a LOT.
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Old Oct 13th, 2022, 01:09 AM
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Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Oh jeeze -- -- I didn't realize you are also trying to fit in Austria and Switzerland (or Greece) in the same trip as Rome, Venice, Paris, and London plus all the various side/day/overnight trips in each location.

Because you have (at least) 4 different threads going, no one has the full picture of what all you are trying to do and it is a LOT.
I thought the OP had given up the idea of Greece or Switzerland and added Venice. I suggested they put all of the discussion for this trip on one thread so the process, including changes would be easy to follow. Maybe they can have mods do that.
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