An alpine paradise for lovers of the outdoors and home to some of Europe’s glitziest ski resorts, Switzerland is like an all-natural adventure playground for children and the perfect destination for an action packed family holiday. Here are some of the best places to go in Switzerland with kids.
If you’ve got energetic children in tow, few places provide more opportunities than Interlaken, renowned as one of Europe’s premier adventure sport hotspots. Swimming, rowing, wakeboarding and windsurfing are all on offer at the region’s lakes, or else hiking and mountain biking are great family-friendly ways to explore. Teenage daredevils will find plenty to keep them amused too, with horse riding, canyoning, bungee jumping, hand gliding and skydiving providing thrills for all adrenaline levels. Wintertime offers plenty of alternatives to skiing, too – ice skating, snowshoeing, tobogganing and night sledding all make fun family activities.
With a backdrop of the Swiss Riveria and the nearby Lauvaux Vineyards, Montreux makes a romantic destination for couples, but don’t rule out a visit with kids as there’s plenty to do. Explore the fairytale Chillon Castle, take a boat trip across the picturesque Lake Geneva or hop on the cogwheel railway from Montreux up to Rochers de Naye at 2,042 meters, where you can spot adorable Marmot squirrels at the Marmot’s Paradise animal park and even camp out in mountaintop Mongolian yurts. Better yet, head there in winter, when the lakeside promenade is crammed Christmas market stalls and Rochers de Naye hosts a mountaintop Santa’s grotto.
The medieval town of Schaffhausen is not only an undeniably pretty stopover, but is home to the Rhine Falls – the largest waterfalls in Europe. The perfect backdrop for a picnic and sure to impress even the most indifferent youngsters, the dramatic falls tumble from heights of 75 feet, cascading along a 450-foot stretch of rock. Combine it with a boat trip along the Rhine River and a tour of the medieval castle of Schoss Laufen, or visit on Swiss National Day, (1st August) to witness the spectacular annual fireworks extravaganza lighting up the falls.
The iconic 4,478 meter high Matterhorn is Zermatt’s most impressive sight and a visit wouldn’t be complete without a ride on Europe’s highest cable car to the ‘Glacier Paradise’, a 360-degree observation deck located at a breathtaking 3,883 meters. Alternatively, hiking, mountain biking, tobogganing, zip-lining and downhill trail scootering are all popular pastimes, while taking a horse and carriage ride makes the perfect end to the evening.
5. Chocolate Factories
Kids with a love of the sweet stuff will be in heaven in Switzerland, the country famed for its deliciously creamy chocolate. A number of chocolate-themed destinations are dotted around Switzerland but two of the most popular are the Cailler Chocolate Factory in Broc and the Lindt & Sprungli Chocolate Factory near Zurich. On a factory tour, you’ll get to see the famous chocolatiers at work, learn about the making process, sample some of the different varieties and, of course, pick up plenty of choccies to take home with you.