Best Places to Explore in Switzerland with Kids
A small country about the size of the state of Colorado, Switzerland packs mountain terrain, city life, and an awesome transportation system into a small package. Just riding on the train through the countryside and catching buses and trolleys in the city were exciting for our kids. We visited Bern and Basel, about an hour apart via train, to get a taste of Swiss life with kids. Here are our favorite experiences:
Explore the city center of Bern, a UNESCO World Heritage site. An uphill walk or an easy bus ride from the center of town, don’t miss the Rose Garden Park to take in the beautiful view of the city. The unique playground and restaurant make for the perfect spot for a picnic.
Bern is best known for BearPark. Since 1513, bears have lived in the city, and the newer enclosure offers great views of the bears and a more natural habitat along the river. The kids will love the modern lift you can take from the top of BearPark down to the river.
To make sure your children are on their best behavior, visit the Child Eater of Bern statue near Bern’s clock tower. Throughout Bern and other cities in Switzerland, you can drink fresh water from historic statues and fountains.
Eat like a local and have lunch at Migros, a local grocery store chain with a restaurant and affordable options. The restaurant has cute kids’ meals with kids plates, trays, and an ice cream.
Ride the trolley in a city planner’s paradise, Basel. In the city center, you’ll see every mode of transportation –a few cars, a couple walking, people traveling on the trolley, a family biking around town, and hipsters sipping beer by the bank of the river.
Basel is home to almost 40 museums, including the Basel Art Museum. Our favorite part of Basel, though, was just exploring the city. Check out the Spalen Gate, the original fortified entrance to the city. Basel has some of the coolest playgrounds we found on our trip. Claramatte has a long continuous structure to explore and even a basket for the kids to pull across part of the structure. Make sure to take a walk along the river Rhine in Basel. Bring cash for the many ice cream and drink vendors.
In the oldest area of Basel near the Rhine, walk the cobblestone streets and alleys and grab a frozen yogurt at Yogurt Now. Top it with marshmallows, chocolate mousse, and lots of fresh fruit. Feel at home with a European twist, by swinging into a McDonald’s in Switzerland for a $15 cheeseburger. Tangy sauces and flavors set them apart from eating at McDonald’s in the United States. Everything but the restaurants close early and are not open on Sundays, so plan accordingly.
Where to Stay
Hotel Stuecki, a 15 minute tram ride from Basel’s city center, has huge rooms with kitchens, bathrooms and suites. An added benefit, the hotel provides cards for free tram use while staying in Basel. There are free drinks and tasty snacks in the lobby. It’s also attached to the mall for convenient shopping.