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Extended stay in Zurich with baby

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Extended stay in Zurich with baby

Hello Zurich Experts!

I'll be traveling with my husband and our 6 month old daughter to Zurich (from Los Angeles, CA) for a month between mid-November to mid-December 2013. This will be our first time in Zurich and our first time traveling with our daughter. I could use your help in a few areas, and welcome any other feedback you feel may be helpful.

1) Any recommendations on extended-stay, child friendly accommodations? Budget around $150/day. Would like to be near ETH Zurich for my husbands work and also in a nice area for my daughter and I to walk around/visit shops during the day. Would like to have a little living space for my daughter to play, and maybe a kitchenette to prepare some of our own meals - perhaps rent a flat instead of a hotel room? (Access to an indoor pool would be a bonus)

2) Getting around Zurich with a baby? Do I need a car seat/stroller system or can we get by wearing her in a baby carrier and using foot and train travel?

3) What to do during the days and weekends? I don't want to be cooped up all day with the baby while my husband is at work, but I wont want to travel far on our own. Also, we'd like to see the area on the weekends when my husband is off work - any must see places within an hour or so of Zurich? We could consider a little further if we did an overnight stay. We typically enjoy seeing where the locals go rather than crowded "tourist" destinations. Would like to visit quaint little villages, mom and pop type restaurants and shops, very scenic places, and also we are adventurists at heart (but the baby does restrict us some).

4) Any tips for staying budget-minded in Zurich?

THANK YOU so much in advance for your input! We just found out that we would be going to Zurich and it is just over a month away, so I have a lot to plan in a short amount of time. Any of your knowledge will be a great help!

Zuerich
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1. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

Hello born2ramble... and welcome to the Zurich forum.

First of all, many of your questions are the same as shorter term travelers to ZH, so for the trip destination suggestions and budget minded advice start by taking a look at the "Top Questions About Zurich" section (top of this page on the right), and do a bit of searching with the Forum search bar above.

For your specific questions:

ETHZ has 2 campuses (Central and Hoenggerberg) you should find out which one your husband will work out of first. Zurich is not a large city and both campuses are very easy to get to by public transport, so being nearby is not a very large issue ...but it would be a place to start.

Public transport (busses, trams, local trains...) is excellent in the city, and you will be able to get around very easily. Most public transport is now the "low floor" type - making entry with a stroller or pram very easy (roll on-roll off), but most people here will also very quickly assist individuals with a stroller to get on and off the older vehicles as well... so you should not worry about being out in the city alone with your child.

You will need a child seat if ever you should want to drive in a car (including taxis). It is the law here. A baby carrier is a good idea, but you cannot travel in a car like this - you must have a baby seat.

Zurich is an expensive city and you will be far better off searching for a short-term apartment rather than staying in a hotel for one month. Take a look at Airbnb.com, as well as the Specialty Lodging section of TA's Zurich Hotels... Swimming pools are extememly rare in Switzerland hotels (away from resorts), but there are many excellent city pools scattered around ZH, so no matter where you end up there will be a pool within a 15min bus/tram ride.

Once you are "on the ground" I am sure that you will build a list of places to visit (both near and far)... ETHZ is very "english" so immediately your husband will have a good source of advice and contacts. Additionally there is an ex-pat focused forum that you might be interested in called http://www.englishforum.ch - it might be a good source of "daily living" info for you.

Welcome to ZH, and good luck with the planning.

Muscat, Oman
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2. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

hi ,

As its already october , nov is a off season so hoepfully u can get a best deal in hotels as the temperature may drop below 20 degree celcuius , as u said ur travelling with a baby i have no clue how to suggest u, look for an apartment that seems best , i stayed with my wife and we felt train is good for a couple we took swiss saverpass for 8 days and its the cheapest in zurich u can do rhine falls trip and u can travel to luzern can do boat trip.Regarding moutain trip i am not sure will it be suitable for the baby as u go higher the temperature might drop to 5 degree or below , so kindly check with ur doctor please . hope it helps . sorry i couldn;t help u as i haven't planned with a baby .

Edited: 11 October 2013, 21:32
seattle
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3. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

With regard to lodging, if your husband is going to ETH as a guest professor or researcher, you might check to see if something is available through the University and the office at the links below. Your husband's academic host should be able to help with this.

http://www.wohnen.ethz.ch/allocation/index_EN

…ethz.ch/allocation/visit_profs/index_EN

The maximum stay stated is four months, so for short term visits like yours.

We did something like this some time ago through the University of Zurich and were offered a nice furnished two-bedroom apartment for our stay (our daughter was with us). This office handles both UZH and ETH.

Edited: 12 October 2013, 07:10
Martigny...
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4. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

I would ignore post #2 if I were you! The temperature here this morning in Martigny (12 October) was 3° so saying the temperatures in Zürich in November "might drop below 20°" is silly. Of course the temperatures will be below 20°!! More likely high for the day in November around 8° or lower.

Canswiss is right about the car seat but there may be some confusion here... small babies can be transported in a car in a proper baby "carrier" which gets strapped into the car with the seat belt. Here is a link to a local baby things shop showing what the "authorised" version is like... I think you might be talking about this? autourdebebe.ch/article-bebe/aton-2-107998-4…

But for getting around town a stroller or pram is a whole lot better since you do not have to carry the baby and also it is practical when you are doing your shopping.

As for day or overnight trips: Yes we have many places that tourists love, but then so do the locals (myself included!!) Luzern, for example, is an easy day trip from Zürich. So are Basel and Bern, both of which are beautiful cities. Going to the mountains in November is not a particularly great idea as most hotels, restaurants etc close for the "inter season" between summer and winter. And - here at least - our pediatricians recommend that we not take children under 24 months up any higher than 2000m. The air is thin up there and their lungs have a hard time coping and they cannot tell you what is wrong either!! There are some beautiful places near many of the lakes which would be worth a visit and in November there aren't many tourists anyway! Look at Thun and Spiez on lake Thun, Brienz on lake Brienz - all in the Oberland - and Rapperswill on the Zürichsee. If you want to venture a little further there is Vevey on the Léman (near Lausanne) which would be about a 2hr 20min train ride from Zürich.

As for train passes - a local Zürich pass for buses, trams and the S-bahn is a must. But a Swiss Pass won't do you much good since you aren't going to have lots of consecutive days of travel. A Swiss Flexi might if you were doing a lot of travel. Most likely a Half Fare Card would be the best! And your child travels free in any case.

Martigny...
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5. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

Further to my post above - you might find a couple of sites that deal with expats' needs useful ...

ww.englishforum.ch www.glocal.ch

seattle
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6. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

I think Hambagahle's suggestion of checking expat organizations is excellent. My wife joined ZIWA (Zurich International Women's Association) and made many lasting friends. Many were Swiss women married to Americans or the other way around, so were embedded in both cultures. I remember her going on a number of excursions with them, both in Zurich and out of the city. It was also a short cut to learning survival skills beyond that which tourists might need.

Martigny...
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7. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

Yes but -- if she is only in ZH for a month is this really worth it? Most of those Expat groups meet monthly. I really don't think that for her this is an option.

Ottawa, Ontario
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8. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

We were in Basel for 5 weeks last summer. I was a bit nervous at first to travel by myself with the children (ages 5, 7 and 10) but after the first few times on the train, it was so simple. While my husband worked, especially during the last few weeks, the kids and I did a train journey almost every day. Zurich is about an hour from Basel so close to each of the areas we visited as day trips as well. We were there in summer so you'll need to check the weather but places the children enjoyed (and me too!) were Rhine Falls, Bern (visit the bear park), Zurich old town, Rapperswill (Knie Zoo... the kids were able to ride elephant, camels, get pictures with a sea lion, etc), Luzern (we visited the explored the city and visited the transportation museum on our own and did a trip to Pilatus with my husband), Augusta Raurica (roman ruins) and many others. And of course, you may like to travel to Basel on your own. Great city with wonderful history. Lots of museums. Fantastic zoo. Don't be afraid to travel on your own :-)

We had a 30 day SBB pass. It covered all trains, city trams, and most boats and cable cars. It also served as a museum pass allowing entry to a multitude of museums during our visit.

For trips on weekends, you may want to consider taking a three night trip to the Bernese Oberland or Lake Geneva. We also visited overnight in Gruyeres and highly recommend it.

Oh, we rented an apartment while in Basel. We found a fantastic flat in a perfect location through AirBnb.com The price was about $100 per night.

HTH

seattle
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9. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

On the various international women's organizations, I think it is a matter of which organization and whether the OP is interested in finding out if socializing in this manner is for her. ZIWA's website (http://www.ziwa.com), for example, lists several activities daily (for October and November , so far), in addition to the monthly events, and a note inviting those interested in participating to email them. They could be a helpful support group. Offered as another piece of information for this upcoming visit.

10. Re: Extended stay in Zurich with baby

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