Hi friends! I’m so excited to share with you about our recent trip to Switzerland! We spent eight days in the Swiss Alps/Zurich area and it was such a special time as a family!
OUR 8 DAY ITINERARY IN SWITZERLAND
Here’s a pretty detailed look at how we spent our time in Switzerland! Plus, TONS of photos from each day!💫
Day 1 (Friday)
We landed at the Zurich Airport, picked up our rental car, and hit the road! It was a two-hour drive from the airport to our first apartment in Grindelwald, and we had some time before we could check-in. I had heard great things about Lucerne, a cute town along Lake Lucerne and about an hour from Zurich. We stopped there for coffee, breakfast, and some exploring. We fed the ducks along the water, walked over the adorable, flower box-lined Chapel Bridge, and visited a playground (Spielplatz Musegg). From there, we drove to Grindelwald. We checked into our apartment (Grindelhomes – booked via a hotel – not Airbnb). We were all pretty exhausted, but we went to a playground downtown and then had an early dinner at Hotel Glacier.
Day 2 (Saturday)
After a delightful night’s sleep, we were ready to adventure! I knew I wanted to take the kids to Allmendhubel Flower Park and so we decided to do that right away. It’s quite an adventure to get there, but well worth it. We parked at Stechelberg (Lengwald 300B, 3824 Stechelberg) and then rode cable cars (2 total) to the adorable, car-free village of Mürren. We grabbed a coffee in Mürren and then did a quick walk to the Allmendhubel funicular. That was a quick ride up the mountain and landed us at Allmendhubel Flower Park! We spent HOURS here. If you have kids and are going to Switzerland, this is an absolute must. here’s a zip line, slides + swings, tons of climbing structures and ropes, water play, an underground tunnel, a ‘flower labyrinth’ water maze, easy hiking trails, and more, right in the mountains! Plus there’s a restaurant where parents can hang out on the patio while kids play! We enjoyed a drink while the girls happily played and it was just delightful. 🌼 (More here: 6 Alpine Playgrounds in the Swiss Alps).
After several hours at Allmendhubel, we came back down the funicular and wandered around Mürren a bit more before taking the cable cars back to our car at Stechelberg. On the way back to our hotel, we drove to the charming town of Lauterbrunnen and did a short hike to Staubbach Falls. The walk was totally doable with kids and you can either stop at an overlook point or keep going through a tunnel and up some stairs to walk BEHIND the waterfall. That’s what we did and it was so cool! There was also a cute playground and food trunks near the waterfall. We didn’t really explore or bop around Lauterbrunnen but it looked like such a cute town!
Day 3 (Sunday)
We parked our car in downtown Grindelwald and took the cable car to the top of Grindelwald First. At the top, there’s so much you can do! You can walk to Lake Bachalpsee (about a two-hour roundtrip walk), go on other larger and longer hikes, take bikes and scooters down the mountain, go on a zipline or flyer ride (looked so fun), and more. Our girls were too young for some of the more adventurous activities and weren’t feeling up for a big walk. We opted instead to do the First Cliff Walk. This only takes about 20 minutes, but it’s really cool! It’s a suspension bridge circular trail along the cliff of a mountain peak with epic views. There are a few different overlooks for photo opps, and a cafe where we took a little cappuccino break.
We then took the cable car down one top to the Bort station. There was a gorgeous alpine playground there, right off of the cable car station. We spent hours playing at this playground – there’s tons of climbing + ropes, swings + slides, trampoline, sand pit, a creek to play in and MORE all overlooking the mountains.✨ There are also lounge chairs, and picnic tables, plus a restaurant and a cafe stand so you can eat or have a drink while the kids play. More about the playground here: 6 Alpine Playgrounds in the Swiss Alps.
A few hours later, we took the cable car down one more stop to Grindelwald and had some lounge time at the hotel. We knew we wanted fondue and discovered a very local spot off the beaten path, Stallbeizli Heubode. The restaurant was tucked away up the mountain with incredible views and it was such a core food memory eating (delicious) fondue overlooking the mountains!
After dinner, we went to the downtown Grindelwald playground – again!
Day 4 (Monday)
We decided to do something a little different and admire the Swiss Alps from a boat! We drove into Interlaken and booked tickets for a boat cruise on Lake Brienz. Like most activities in Switzerland, the kids were free on the boat ride! Interlaken is a great home base in this region, especially if you don’t have a car, because there are a ton of transit options (bus, boat, train) to different smaller towns and mountains in the area. The boat makes a few different stops and you can decide when you want to get off / back on. The towns where the boat stops are also accessible by car, FYI!
We first got off in the town of Lake Brienz. We stayed here for two hours, walking along the beautiful promenade along the lake. There were so many playgrounds and play equipment along the walk – including an epic ‘water playground’ along the water. There are waterwheels, pumps, nozzles, gutters, and water bowls. Kids can pump water directly from the lake into the different water channels – it’s really cool! (More here: 6 Alpine Playgrounds in the Swiss Alps). We stopped for lunch a Pizza Aroma which was delicious! We got back on the boat and made our second stop at Giessbach. You can hike or take a little mountain train up to Giessbach Falls / Grand Hotel Giessbach. We opted to take the train up and then hike/walk down the mountain back to the boat landing. Grand Hotel Giessbach was STUNNING and would have been a beautiful spot for lunch or a drink. The nearby waterfall and hiking trails were also beautiful. We wish we had more time here!
Like most days in Grindelwald, we ended our day at the Grindelwald playground near our hotel – this time with gelato!
Day 5 (Tuesday)
After four days and nights in Grindelwald, we were moving to our next stop – Zermatt! Our drive was about 2 and a half hours and we broke it up by stopping at Lake Blausee. This magical place was really special! The lake itself is actually an organic trout farm, and the water is so clear you can see so many fish swimming! There’s a bunch of nature trails you can walk on, plus a paved path around the lake with a restaurant and hotel. The nature playground has a giant curvy slide, mini treehouses to play in, swings, and a ton of climbing equipment.
Zermatt is a car-free village, so we parked our car in a parking garage near the Täsch railway station and grabbed tickets for the short train ride into Zermatt. Once we arrived in Zermatt, someone from our hotel (Hotel Firefly) picked us up in a little trolley cart (these are allowed in Zermatt!) to drive us to the hotel. After freshening up and taking the girls swimming (their favorite!), we went on a big walk around Zermatt to explore. We stopped at Petit Royal, a quaint chocolate shop downtown, for hot chocolate and dessert, visited a nearby playground, and then ended up at Old Zermatt for dinner. From the patio, we could see a view of the Matterhorn and we had fondue…again!
Day 6 (Wednesday)
This was our big Zermatt exploring day! We woke up early and walked to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise – Schwarzsee lift station and took that up the mountain! We went all the way up, made a few transfers, and got off at the last stop! Lots of people were going up to ski or snowboard also. At the top, there’s a cafe, hiking trails, and the Glacier Palace. We walked inside the Glacier Palace — literally, an ice tunnel filled with ice sculptures and an ice slide that the kids loved! It was really cool – and COLD. We also took an elevator to an overlook to see the Matterhorn, which was super cool!
We then rode back down two lifts and stopped at the Furi station. From there, we did a 20-minute hike to the Hängebrüke suspension bridge and nearby Waldspielpatz Furi playground. The wooden play space was simple but charming – tons of tables for picnicking, a zipline, a climbing boulder, a xylophone, swings, and more (see here: 6 Alpine Playgrounds in the Swiss Alps). After an hour or so, we walked back to Furi, where we grabbed a drink and watched the girls play. Like many places in Switzerland, the restaurant had a little playground area for the kids. We definitely could have walked/hiked down, but the girls were tired, so we took one last lift ride back into Zermatt.
After a quick swimming break and some downtime at our hotel, we walked to dinner, stumbling upon The North Wall Bar and Restaurant. It was a super local spot and DELICIOUS! The ambiance was cozy and the pizza (and garlic bread, salad, and brownie!) was absolutely delicious.
Day 7 and 8 (Thursday and Friday)
We only had two days in Zermatt, and then our last remaining days in Zurich. On day 7, we did the long 4ish hour drive from Zermatt to Zurich. The drive itself was really pretty, though! We checked into our hotel (Hotel Alex Lake Zurich) which was about ~15 minutes outside of Zurich. We didn’t really have a huge desire to explore Zurich, and this hotel looked super beautiful, right along the lake! There were several playgrounds within walking distance of our hotel, including Spielplatz Farb (that playground with the boat structure!). After our long drive, we really just wanted to decompress and relax so after a little walk and playground time, we hung out in our room and just ate (delicious!) dinner at the hotel.
The next day, we had our Lindt Home of Chocolate tour! Y’all…Vacation Winnie NEEDED a chocolate tour after all of the adventuring we’d been doing! Tickets were ~$15 USD per adult and kids were free! There’s an audio tour and interactive rooms to walk through and learn about the history of chocolate, how it’s made, etc. But really…we were just there for the unlimited chocolate tasting! There were a few different ways to enjoy free chocolate – there were fountains where you could try three types of melted chocolate with a spoon. Then, there was this area with 8 machines that dropped individual chocolate bars and you were supposed to guess the flavor. Then, you can walk to another area and choose from several different types of individually wrapped Lindt chocolate balls — we tucked a few into my small purse to bring home. Lastly, on the way out, there was an interactive wall where you press a button, and an individually wrapped piece of chocolate ‘comes’ to you. Needless to say, the girls loved it here!
That afternoon, we stopped to get souvenirs and then went to Rieterpark for some walking around and visiting (several) playgrounds. We had dinner at a yummy Persian restaurant close to our hotel and went to bed early, as our flight back home was the next morning!
We flew in on United from Nashville to Zurich, with one short layover each way. We prefer to travel carry-on only, and for this trip, brought three carry-on suitcases, two backpacks, a tote bag, plus the stroller and two Ride Safer Travel Vests (instead of our travel car seats).
While the train and bus system in Switzerland is AMAZING, we opted to rent a car to have maximum flexibility timing-wise. You absolutely can do this entire trip without renting a car – it would just entail more planning and logistics looking at different trains/schedules. I think if our girls were a little older, we would have considered NOT renting a car and traveling by train only, but given they are 3 and 5, we wanted to have a car to have a bit more control over when and where we explored on a given day.
One extra awesome thing about visiting Switzerland with kids is that so many things are free, specifically for little kids. While we had to buy adult tickets, the gondolas, cable cars, ski lifts, the train to Zermatt, and the boat ride were all completely free for kids. 🙌🏼 We brought our stroller on the trip, but honestly, didn’t really use it outside of the airport/travel days. Given we were bopping around a lot and taking ski lifts, gondolas, etc. we decided to just carry Winnie instead (if she wasn’t up for walking).
You can shop my kids’ travel gear HERE.
Where We Stayed
4 nights in Grindelwald
In Grindelwald, we stayed in an apartment rental called Grindelhomes (a part of the nearby Hotel Glacier). This was a perfect, centrally located spot for us! There was garage parking for our rental car, two bedrooms (🙌🏼), a large living room and kitchen, washer/dryer access, a bathroom (with a tub – so rare in Europe!), and best of all, a HUGE patio for enjoying the view. We could walk into downtown Grindelwald or easily jump on the road for day trips. It was so nice to have so much space (and a separate area to sleep away from the kids). We ended up actually making a lot of meals or doing snack dinners at the house because it was just easier and the view/space was really enjoyable!
2 nights in Zermatt
In Zermatt, we stayed at Hotel Firefly. It was a small, 16-room hotel and a great spot for us. We stayed in a Deluxe Room, which had a large living space, kitchen, balcony, bathroom (again with tub!), and separate bedroom for us. They arranged two twin beds in the living room for the kids – which was perfect for us! The location was great (super close to the Matterhorn lift and many restaurants and shops) and the room was really comfortable. The hotel had a bar and a spa/gym, but when we were in the hotel, we were mostly in our room or at the indoor pool (a huge hit for the kids!) and sauna/steam rooms (without kids). Another perk of Hotel Firefly was that breakfast was included, and served in the room. We filled out a little menu form each night and each morning, someone from the hotel brought our breakfast to us and arranged the dining table. It was honestly so nice, especially with the kids!
2 nights in the Zurich area
We opted to end our trip closer to the airport and stayed at Hotel Alex Lake Zurich for our last two nights. This was technically ~ 15 minutes outside of Zurich. This is a luxury hotel right along Lake Zurich – the views of the lake were so pretty! The hotel was beautiful. I wouldn’t say the entire hotel was overly kid-friendly, but our room came equipped with a Nuna pack-and-play crib, a small basket of toys for the kids, and a small gift (kid bath soap and body wash) which was thoughtful and cute. Breakfast was included in our stay and so delicious! There was a buffet, plus you could also order off the menu, and we loved that each morning. One night we had dinner at the hotel restaurant during sunset and that was also delicious — we got a huge bowl of mussels!
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