Switzerland for families – Outdoor activities

by Karen Bianchi, Aug. 20, 2019

Switzerland offers plenty of options for family activities and excursions. With good weather the best is definitely to take advantage of the vast outdoor possibilities. However, when it’s raining or just grey and cold, there are also many indoor options appealing to kids of every age.

Let’s start with some outdoor and mountain activities for the warmer seasons in this blog post.

One of the best summer activities in Switzerland is swimming in crystal clear lakes and rivers. And even better: It’s for free! If taking a bath in a natural pool in Lauterbrunnen valley including a „shower“ under a waterfall, going for a swim in Lake Geneva or floating down the Rhine river in Basel like the locals do, the water is very clean and refreshing everywhere. Another option is going to a so-called „Badi“, a public bathing facility (on a lake, river or with swimming pools) where you pay an entrance fee but have all the infrastructure, often including pools or splash-pads for the little ones. Also, in various cities there are some beautiful historic wooden baths in the lake or river. Of course, Switzerland’s waters can be enjoyed as well by doing some kind of water sports: renting a kayak, SUP or pedal boat or simply float down a river in a rubber boat.

In most mountain resorts there are themed family hiking trails and playgrounds to engage kids while the adults get to enjoy the stunning scenery. For example, in Pontresina in Engadin it’s all about ibexes which live in the area. In summer even free guided excursions to see ibexes and marmots are offered. In Zermatt you can explore the area together with a cute sheep named «Wolli» and the climate detectives and resolve many mysteries. From Grindelwald or Wengen in Bernese Oberland you take a ride up to Männlichen and then join cow «Lieselotte» and her friends on their mountain adventure with 13 different attractions along the hiking trail. Entertained like this, children don’t even realize they’re actually hiking but are thrilled about the adventures to come.

More adventurous outdoor activities for families include rope parks which you can find all over Switzerland or toboggan runs. For example, there’s a rope park in a very convenient location right next to the Rhine falls, the biggest waterfalls in Europe. This means a visit to the rope park can easily be combined with some sightseeing, hence makes the entire family happy. Also, at Fräkmüntegg, the middle station on Mt Pilatus, you can test your agility and climb with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and Lake Lucerne. There you also encounter the longest summer toboggan run in Switzerland, a fun attraction for every age! Another good spot combining an adventure rope park with a coaster bob, is Monte Tamaro in Ticino. For older kids a downhill flight on a zip line or Tamaro Jumping are exciting options as well. Monte Tamaro makes for a good day trip from Lugano, including cableway ride.

A unique attraction for kids and adults is the Open-Air Museum Ballenberg next to Brienz in Bernese Oberland. With almost 100 century-old buildings from all over Switzerland, “historical” gardens and fields, demonstrations of typical crafts, many special events, and 250 native farm animals, Ballenberg creates a vivid impression of rural life in bygone days. Hands-on activities involve butter making or weaving. Ballenberg is a paradise for families. This excursion can be combined perfectly with a cruise on turquoise Lake Brienz.

Are you already planning your next Swiss family vacation? We will be happy to assist you. Contact our Switzerland experts today by visiting our Switzerland Trip Planner!