We have been blessed to take an annual trip abroad with my parents as a way to celebrate time with their grandkids in conjunction with checking off some of their bucket list destinations. Last year, we had a wonderful time in France. This year, we started our journey with a flight on Swiss Air and then spent a week in Grindelwald, Switzerland in the Jungfrau-Joch region. My dad hiked through the region years ago on his own, and has always dreamed of taking the family back – this year, he was fortunate to do so with my mom, husband, myself and two kids!
What a beautiful place!
From the moment we arrived in the region, it felt like we were entering some sort of magical world in an alternate reality. Switzerland is known for inspiring Walt Disney in his creation of Fantasyland, and wow can I see why! As a true Disney fan, sorry Disneyland, but this knocks you out of the park (we didn’t see the Matterhorn in person, but my in-laws did and their pictures show Disney did a very nice job in their miniature recreation!). There are waterfalls everywhere, and we felt as if we were entering Middle Earth or some other secluded fictional kingdom. The majestic alps surround you at every turn and as we whispered sadly one evening put Yosemite – which we love – to shame (sorry, California!). There is nothing quite like looking out at the Eiger everyday amongst sunny snow capped peaks, with beautiful green hills and waterfalls abound. Not to mention the wood structures and village architecture that is all over the region, or the cows with their bells around their neck and the other farm life nearby as entertainment. Our kids were in absolute heaven, with natural entertainment at every turn.
Switzerland is a place I can’t get enough of!
Grindelwald is a magical place to stay, and we’re so glad we chose to use this as our base camp. We had a fantastic chalet for the 6 of us at Hotel Kirchbuhl in Grindelwald, which was fully furnished and stocked with a kitchen, 3 bedrooms, living area, 2 bathrooms, and a washer. The staff at the hotel was extremely courteous, and even shuttled my mom (who cannot walk long distances) back and forth to the train station or other locations in town at no additional cost. The balconies and decks at Chalet Cervin made for heaven on earth every morning and evening, enjoying refreshments while staring aghast at the base of the Eiger. The village itself is in easy walking distance, and has plenty of restaurants, shops, grocery stores, and of course tons of outdoor activities. I was even able to pick up extra contacts (when you pack for your kids, you seem to forget important things for yourself!) at a local optometrist for a reasonable price! The train station was within easy reach and serves as a launch point to regional trains throughout the region, as well as a starting point for the cogwheel train up to the top of Jungfrau-joch. Gondolas to First and a cable car ride to Pfingstegg are also within easy walking distance – both were great outings and easy to do with kids and grandparents!
From the top of Europe to the quaint village to the kind hotel staff – not to mention local excursions to First and Pfingstegg – Grindelwald is amazing!
One thing amazing about Switzerland as a whole is how family friendly it is – there are playgrounds everywhere! The airports, the towns, the tops of the mountains – they all have playgrounds and/or activities for kids. One of our kids’ favorite things was playing miniature golf right in town – you can’t beat the scenery! At the top of Schilthorn where the 1969 James Bond movie was filmed, there were plenty of kid-sized portholes and viewing areas – something you rarely see in the States at public attractions! On the same note, it’s one of the cleanest and safest places I have ever visited! You never feel threatened or at risk like you do in some of the major cities, and it was easy for the kids to roam with us or run and play. The trains truly run on time down to the minute, most everyone speaks (very good) English (and other languages), and it makes for very comfortable and straight forward travel.
Kid Friendly Activities everywhere!!
We were blessed with very good weather, with sunshine days and temperatures in the high 70s down in town, with pleasantly cool but comfortable temperatures at the peaks of the various mountains we visited. We did a lot of hiking, walking, and of course eating! The food was delicious, and we enjoyed trying the local beer (I’m not typically a beer drinker, but this was good stuff – and it was as cheap if not cheaper than water or soda!) There are so many fun activities you can do in Switzerland from hiking to zip-lines to of course skiing and snow play… we cannot wait to return for a longer visit to other regions of the country with our climbing and hiking gear! I would HIGHLY recommend Switzerland as a travel destination for families, especially if you’re new to international travel and are apprehensive about taking your kids abroad – this clean, safe, friendly destination is the perfect place for adults and kids alike to have fun!
So much yummy food, so many fun places!
If you have questions, feel free to contact me, I’d love to help you plan a visit!