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Switzerland

Swiss scenery

Switzerland is small in size, but half the country is the breathtaking Swiss Alps, and as you travel Switzerland with kids you'll hear three different languages spoken – French, German and Italian. Cosmopolitan cities are situated on sparking turquoise lakes, villages nestle on steep slopes above green valleys, and high altitude trains zip up and down the mountains.

    Zurich
    Northeast
    Central - Lucerne
    Bern (Berne)
    Bernese Oberland
 
Interlaken
    Valais - Zermatt
    Lake Geneva Region
    Geneva
   

Ride the trains – Switzerland has some of the most amazing train rides in the world, with panoramic views of glaciers and snow covered peaks. Some trains go where there are no cars, such as the trains to Zermatt or Wengen. There's a variety of trains, from cogwheel railways or steam trains that inch up the mountains, to the Top of Europe – Jungfraujoch railway that runs inside the mountain and arrives at a station high in the Alps.

Hiking trail sign
 

Wanderweg – Hiking with kids in Switzerland is a must do, even if it's just an easy stroll on a green hillside with cows grazing, panoramas of snow covered peaks in the distance. Everywhere in Switzerland are hiking trails, very well marked with yellow "Wanderweg" signs. Wherever you're staying, stop into the tourist office for free detailed Wandern hiking maps.

   

Fun food

     

Sample the Switzerland's most famous dish, cheese fondue. It is a melange of cheeses, usually Gruyere, Appenzeller and Emmentaler. Kids will enjoy dipping bread, or sometimes vegetables, into the hot cheese.

     

The Swiss are famous for their chocolates, and kids will want to sample them at every opportunity, plus hot chocolate is very good, year round.

     

Ice cream. Think of all those cows, and yes, Swiss ice cream is delicious. Kids will want to try the local gelato (part of Switzerland is Italian speaking), as well as one of our favorites, Movenpick.

 

Tip: The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc, and with the exchange rate, hotels and food cost more than other countries in Europe.

family hotels switzerland

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids in Switzerland, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in Switzerland all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

 
Zurich Interlaken
Bern Geneva
family tours switzerland

The scenery of the Alps is so spectacular you'll want to get out and explore, even visit towns where no cars are allowed, but don't think you need to rough it. Here's a family tour where you'll ride the trains and lake steamers, visit a farm (kids can try herding goats), go river rafting, make fondue, and stay in alpine chalets:

    Classic Journeys
kids books switzerland
     
Heidi switzerland childrens books  
Heidi
Johanna Spyri, Maja Dusikova

Best loved story of Switzerland, little Heidi comes to the mountains to live with her grandfather. She runs through alpine meadows with the goats, helps her friend Klara to walk again, and brings joy and love to her grandfather. Glowing watercolor illustrations. (Picture book)

Older kids will enjoy an easy reader Heidi, and also abridged chapter book: Heidi

 

     
Banner in the Sky
James Ramsey Ullman

In the Swiss Alps, a snow-covered mountain is one of the world's most challenging peaks, and no one has made it to the summit. Young Rudi Matt has seen this mountain every day of his life, and now he's going to try to climb it. (Chapter book)

 

 
kids mountain climbing switzerland Banner in the Sky
     
switzerland kids saint bernard Dogs in the Dead of Night easy reader
 
Dogs in the Dead of Night
Mary Pope Osborne

Jack and Annie are whirled back in time to the Great Saint Bernard Pass in the Swiss Alps. Immediately buried by an avalanche, the children are rescued by Saint Bernard dogs and monks in the monastery. They meet Barry, the most heroic dog, and for a time, Jack and Annie find out what it's like to be a Saint Bernard. (Easy reader)

 

     
Asterix in Switzerland
Goscinny and Uderzo

Asterix and Obelix go to Switzerland (Roman Helvetia) to hunt for edelweiss, where they visit Geneva after Julius Caesar burned down the bridge, swim in the lakes, climb mountains, and find out what happens when you lose your bread in fondue. (Cartoon book)

 

 
Asterix in Switzerland
     
childrens books alps switzerland A Bell for Ursli  
A Bell for Ursli
Selina Chonz, Alois Carigiet

High in the Alps, in a sleepy village, each year cowbells are rung to drive away the winter snows. The boy with the biggest cowbell leads the procession. Little Ursli hikes up into the snow covered mountains to find a big bell. This is a classic! (Picture book)

 

     
William Tell
Paul D. Storrie, Thomas Yeates

Action-packed retelling of legendary William Tell, in a graphic novel format. Unfairly arrested by an evil governor, expert bowman William Tell must shoot an apple off his son's head at one hundred paces. (Graphic novel)

 

 
switzerland kids legend William Tell
     
Count Karlstein switzerland kids adventure  
Count Karlstein
Philip Pullman

In a castle deep in the Swiss mountains, Count Karlstein has a devilish idea – to send his nieces to the Demon Huntsman on All Souls' Eve. But he hasn't reckoned on a courageous maidservant, Hildi Kelmar, and the unexpected arrival of a long lost orphan. A delightful adventure filled with escapes over glaciers, scoundrels, and the sound of a hunting horn ... (Illustrated chapter book)

 

     
Bloomability
Sharon Creech

Domenica Doone heads to Switzerland, to an international boarding school in Lugano. At first it's weird to be in Switzerland, palm trees and snow in the same scenery, so many different languages, but after a year of hiking and ski trips, blue lakes, mountains on top of the world, the bloomabilities are endless. (Chapter book)

 

 
     
Dear Alexandra - A Story of Switzerland kids books  

"Now the snow is gone from the village. You would see the Weisshorn shining bright in the early morning light while all the other mountains are hiding in the mist." A charming seasons of the year in an alpine Swiss village. (Picture book)

 

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