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Activities with children ages 9 and 10 (staying in Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen, and Bern)

We leave next week for a week trip to Switzerland, and was curious what other families with younger children (ours are 9 and 10) found to be big hits with their kids? We can't go on too many long hikes (foot issues so nothing over 2 miles), so did folks do any kayaking or other excursions they would recommend? Also where did you eat that you really liked? Our kids are adventurous eaters.

Thanks Fellow Travelers!
Erika

Posted by
533 posts

I traveled as a solo adult, so I can't comment on kid-friendliness, but one of my favorite things to do in Switzerland was nothing at all. Perch myself on a bench with a good view (these are easy to find), and then just sit and take it all in. Maybe play a game of "I Spy"? Especially with the foot issues, it might be helpful to push back against the idea that you have to be "doing" something all the time.

If you plan on stopping in Wengen at all, right next to the Tourist Information building there's a pen with a couple of adorable rabbits that enthralled all of the kids (and most of the adults) that I saw walk past. Not worth a special trip, but worth knowing about if you're in the area.

Posted by
768 posts

You don't say where you are going in Switz., and that would help people make specific suggestions.
For example, if you are in Geneva, you can rent free bikes or foot scooters (wwww.geneveroule.ch).

If in Wengen, as mentioned earlier, take the cable car up to Mannlichen where there are cows the kids can pet. (Some are more serene than others, just use your common sense.) If you walk from there down to Kleine Scheidegg (quite smooth and level trail, about 1.5 hours) there's a good chance they'll see local goats near Kleine Scheidegg.

At Pfingstegg (just a cable car up from Grindelwald) there is a Rodelbahn, which is basically a luge on wheels. Great for kids of all ages.

http://www.pfingstegg.ch/index.php/en/item/172-toboggan-open

Posted by
5779 posts

I would suggest walking from Murren to Gimmelwald. The views at Murren are spectacular and Gimmelwald is an adorable little town with farms and farm animals.

Posted by
70 posts

Sorry I forgot to mention where....

We will spend a day in Lucerne on our way to Interlaken (3 nights). Then we head to Lauterbrunnen (3 nights) and the last leg is to Bern (1 night). We have a very late departure from Zurich on the last day (9pm).

I did get the RS guide book for Switzerland, but I would love to find some hidden gems that families have really enjoyed. Or even a great swimming area that would be a memorable experience.

Thanks!
Erika

Posted by
8889 posts

Erika, no point is staying in Interlaken AND Lauterbrunnen, they are only 20 minutes apart by train. I would pick Lauterbrunnen for the full time. (or Wengen or Mürren further up the mountains).
Again Bern is 1 hour from Interlaken (1h20 from Lauterbrunnen). Doing that as a day trip would be easier than changing hotels just for 1 night, especially with kids. Pick the day the weather will be cloudy.

But I would spend 2 nights in Luzern. One full day lets you explore the town, and go on a boat THen leave the following morning by train to Interlaken.

The official tourist site for the Jungfrau area (including Lauterbrunnen) has some "family friendly" uggestions: https://jungfrauregion.swiss/en/summer/see-and-do/excursions/family-friendly-trips/

Posted by
31 posts

My kids (9 and 12) loved all the playground we went to - We went to three great ones in the Luaterbrunnen area: Winteregg (between Murren and Grutschalp, can walk or take the train there), Mannlichen (gondola up from Wengen) and Allmendhubel (funicular up from Murren) were really nice. They really liked going up to the Schilthorn and going through the Bond exhibit (lots of interactive parts), and doing the thrill walk at the Birg stop.

From Bern we took trains and went to the Cailler chocolate factory, the Gruyeres cheese factory and visited Gruyeres town. Very nice day!

If the weather is nice - swim wherever you can! We went for a swim in Lake Lucerne which was lovely. Bern has an outdoor public pool.

Posted by
11392 posts

I hope you are buying Berner Oberland Regional Passes so you can ride the trains and lifts without reaching in your pocket every time. Just riding the lifts and mountain trains in’s very entertaining and you can find great meals at the mountain stations.

Posted by
70 posts

It wasn’t the original idea, but the week we travel to Switzerland is an International rowing competition in Lucerne. So finding hotels with family rooms in our budget didn’t work out. Those two towns are close to each other, but we did that on purpose since we really want to see that part without Switzerland, and I was hoping that Interlaken would make a good base for taking the train to other towns. Once we head more into the Alps, we plan to stay local and not travel very far. Our kids can’t really go morning to night for an entire week.

Thanks for the playground recommendations! Will definitely look into those.

We got the Swiss Rail Family Pass, which I know doesn’t cover all the lifts. Just part of the cost of traveling in that area, but I will make sure we get the discounts.

Thanks again!
Erika

Posted by
768 posts

In Lucerne, my kids loved the mirror maze in the Glacier Garden, which is right next to the "Dying Lion" monument:

https://www.gletschergarten.ch/en/mirror-maze/

In Lauterbrunnen, take the Postal Bus down the valley to Trummelbach Falls, which the kids should love (but there are steps involved as you go from one level to the next).

I'll also send you our dozen fav hikes in the area so you can judge for yourself what's doable. Click on your name in the upper right to read your forum mail.

Posted by
1820 posts

It’s in the RS Switzerland guidebook. In Lucerne the Swiss transport museum should be fun for the kids. Many hands on interactive type exhibits. Transit pass that your hotel gives you should cover the bus fare to and fro.

Posted by
451 posts

My 10 year old loved the Allmendhubble park. There is an indoor swimming pool in Murren and an outdoor pool in Wengen. I agree with staying in Lauterbrunnen valley. Interlaken is a waste of time.

Posted by
70 posts

Thanks for the extra information about the pools!

Why is Interlaken “such a waste of time” though? I would think that spending our entire vacation higher up in the Alp mountains to be too long since we are not hiking? We are already spending 4 nights in Lauterbrunnen. My husband has foot issues that prevents much walking more than 45 minutes at a time. Since Lucerne is not an option as a base, why can’t Interlaken be one for taking day trips to other parts of Switzerland? Are there not many trains going through that town???

Posted by
32977 posts

No trains go through Interlaken. Every train to Interlaken terminates there - because the width between the rails (the track gauge) changes between one metre for trains towards Meiringen to the east and standard gauge, 4 feet, 8 and a quarter inches towards Spiez.

If you want to go south towards Italy or west towards Montreux or Geneva you need to change at Spiez for those lines, or you will find the train you boarded in Interlaken will take you to Bern.

So, yes, you can get trains in Interlaken which with the appropriate number of intermediate changes to other trains will take you anywhere in the country and beyond, but because Interlaken is a dead end it isn't exactly what you would call a convenient hub of train travel.

With your husband's foot, allow a bit of extra time climbing up into the trains and stepping down.

Posted by
11294 posts

"I would think that spending our entire vacation higher up in the Alp mountains to be too long since we are not hiking?"

My main activity in the Berner Oberland is not "hiking." It's looking. If you stay in any of the B.O. towns (Lauterbrunnen, Muerren, Gimmelwald, or Wengen), you are IN the mountains, meaning surrounded by them. All you have to do to see them is glance around, up, or down. If you want to change altitude (going up or down), you again don't have to "hike" if you don't want to (or, in your case, can't due to foot problems). You take a lift or cogwheel train up or down, then walk on flat or nearly flat surfaces.

For instance, you can start in Lauterbrunnen, take the cable car up to Grutschalp, take the train to Muerren, walk through Muerren (almost flat, and fully paved - no mud), take the cable car down to Gimmelwald, walk around a bit of Gimmelwald (some of it is up a hill), then take the cable car down to Stechelberg, then walk or take a bus back to Lauterbrunnen (you can walk as far as you like, then take the bus the rest of the way). All of these run at least twice an hour. Note that the walk from Muerren to Gimmelwald is quite downhill; depending on how you do on downhills, you may want to take the cable car instead. At any point on this circuit, all you have to do to have a great time is look around - the natural beauty is all around.

I agree with the play area on top of Allmendhubel, and that area is great for adults too, with great views of the three peaks (Eiger, Moench, and Jungfrau) without the high price of the Schilthorn.

Yes, Interlaken is flat too. And from Interlaken you can certainly take boats on both lakes, or take train and then bus to the Ballenberg Open Air Museum (a top recommendation for kids - you can go into any room in any building that is not specifically barred, although the most fun ones are often up stairs). In the town of Interlaken itself - well, there are lots of restaurants with varied cuisines (especially Asian ones), and a large Coop and large Migros (department stores with supermarkets, which came in handy when I needed to replace a backpack quickly and cheaply). There are also lots of jewelry stores and sex shops, which probably aren't why you are coming to Switzerland.

Posted by
5779 posts

I like to hike, but I also like to sit and admire views. There are lots of charming little places in Wengen, Murren and Gimmelwald to just enjoy a soda, beer or coffee and look and breathe. . . Also lots of waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen valley

Posted by
174 posts

If you take the Allmendhubel, a small incline train, you will come to a Panorama Restaurant. The views were wonderful. It was easy to see the Piz Gloria revolving restaurant at the top of the Schilthorn, and watch the gondolas going up and down. You all, but probably not your husband, can walk on the "Knieppen". You take off your shoes and walk barefoot on s variety of stones, wood chips, sticks, posts and finally end up in icy cold water. Apparently this is all good for your circulation.