Switzerland may not be top of mind when thinking about family travel, but it should be. This European country has something for everyone—and families are no exception.
Whether you’re coming from somewhere in Europe or from farther afield, travel—both to Switzerland and within the country—is exceptionally easy. Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, has a bustling international airport that serves as a transit hub as well. In addition to the international flights, there are 350 train, 400 tram, and 7,000 bus connections each day. Transit in Switzerland is so good that it’s quite easy to get around without renting a car—even with kids.
If your clients are thinking about a Swiss vacation with kids, this sample itinerary will be a great starting point.
Day 1 – Lugano
We spent the day at Monte Tamaro, which has something for everyone in the family. The morning was spent at the Adventure Park, where we rode the Coaster Bob, a double bobsled-style open coaster; went ziplining; and enjoyed a beautifully situated playground. There are also trails and rope courses for kids and adults, as well as Tamaro jumping, a bungee jump from 49 ft.
Monte Tamaro has an excellent restaurant, Alpine Foppa, that sits 5,000 ft. above sea level. The Ticino region is close to the Italian border and the cuisine is amazing.
After lunch we went to Splash e Spa Tamaro, offering a great waterpark/spa combination. They have a no-photography policy, which is ideal, not only because it protects people’s privacy but allows families to be in the moment. The kids loved the five water slides, outdoor pool, wave pool, and children’s pool, while my husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the pool bar and hamman water ritual.
Day 2 – Melide and Bellinzona
We visited two towns on day 2—Melide in the morning and Bellinzona in the afternoon. Melide is home to Swissminiatur, in itself a wonderful park and gardens, but known for hosting a model village—except the subject is all of Switzerland instead of just a village. There are over 120 models of important Swiss buildings, landmarks, and means of transportation done at 1:25 scale.
In the afternoon, we went to the capital of the Ticino region, Bellinzona, and explored Castelgrande, one of the three UNESCO World Heritage site castles the city boasts.
After supper we traveled by train to the Aletsch Arena: It’s a 4-hour trip but the scenery is so enchanting that the journey flies by.
Day 3 – Aletsch Arena
We started the day hiking between the villages—it’s about two miles and took us two hours, but could be done in less. The hiking trail is along the Aletsch glacier, the Alps’ largest glacier, and the views are absolutely stunning. We then rode the mountain carts, 3-wheeled carts where the rider controls the speed. Everyone in the family loved them!
After another amazing lunch, we took part in some of the Switzerland National Day festivities. After that, we visited the Alpine Museum, which is a great way to learn some of the region’s history.
Day 4 – Blatten
We took a cable car down the mountain, and then caught a train that took us to a bus to get to Blatten. Everyone loved the cable car, and the transit system made the journey easy. When we got to Blatten, the weather had turned a bit and was threatening rain so we decided to postpone our trip to the adventure park and instead go to a museum and a waterpark and spa in Brigerbad. The kids love water parks and Swiss waterparks have activities for the adults as well, which is great for families.
Day 5 – Blatten
We split up on our last day in Switzerland. My husband wanted to do another hike that consisted of a cable car ride to Belalp, followed by chairlift to Hohbiel, and then do an uphill hike to view the glacier from the other direction. The kids and I wanted to try out the Seilpark rope park. We ended up doing the hardest course and my 8- and 12-year-olds were fine doing it. Then we played a round of mini-golf, which is just one of the many things for families to do at the Witches’ Cauldron, a witch-themed park. The kids loved it because of the magical feeling.
We met back up with my husband, had lunch, and journeyed back to Zurich by train for the last night of our Swiss vacation.
We could have easily done a week or 10 days in Switzerland and still not have seen or done all the amazing things that Switzerland has to offer for families.
For more information, visit myswitzerland.com.
Recommend magazine has partnered with the Family Travel Association to bring you monthly columns to help travel advisors sell family travel. This column was written by Claire Kerr-Zlobin, a travel writer, founder of lifewithababy.com, and Family Travel Association Media Center member.