Product Manager Elizabeth Frels outlines the best regions and tours for a perfect family holiday in Switzerland.


A lot goes into making the perfect family vacation truly perfect. 

Depending on the family, this could mean identifying the best all-inclusive resort for a long weekend together or setting out on an epic road trip through national parks, with nothing but a map and the open road ahead of them. For others, it might be discovering and immersing themselves in a different country and culture, or witnessing nature in its rawest form, without cages, windows, or screens. 

No matter what the “perfect family vacation” might mean to you, the very best family trips often involve a precise recipe of four simple ingredients: Relaxation, Exploration, Education, and Adventure. 

And while it might be possible to extract these ingredients from most destinations, very few offer an abundance of them like Switzerland. 

Between its idyllic lakes and cobblestone towns, epic mountain summits, historic and efficient railways, iconic cheese and chocolate, and museums galore, Switzerland has enough Relaxation, Exploration, Education, and Adventure to create a truly unforgettable family holiday recipe. 

Here are five unmissable Swiss regions and how to ensure a perfect family experience in each.


Switzerland Lindt Chocolate Factory


The country’s financial and commercial hub, Zurich might be Switzerland’s main metropolis, but it’s also compact and a delight to explore with its cobbled streets and peaceful lakeside setting. It’s a must on any greater Switzerland trip. 

Education: Visit a local chocolatier for a chocolate workshop to learn all about Swiss chocolate: the origins of cocoa, the ingredients used, and the production. Taste different types of chocolate then create your own Swiss sweets. Afterwards, keep the sugar rush going with tea and chocolate cake at Café Sprüngli of Lindt family fame.


Relaxation: Swim in one of the bathing clubs in the Limmat River in the center of Old Town. These open-air baths, affectionately called “Badi”, are an integral part of daily life and offer a chance to relax amid the stunning scenery. 

Exploration: Take a day trip to Bern—Switzerland’s capital—to visit the Museum of Communication where children and adults can discover new worlds of communication together. Or, perhaps stop into the Paul Klee Museum with its unique children’s painting atelier. While here, don’t miss the atmospheric Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lined with arcades with the soundtrack of the hourly chimes coming from the medieval clock tower.  

Adventure: Explore Zurich by E-tuk tuk together. The three wheeled vehicle is a little like a posh golf cart (but much more comfortable), so it’s perfect for navigating both the narrow-cobbled streets of the Old Town and the wide shopping mile of Bahnhofstrasse. 

Where to Stay: Baur au Lac | Set in its own park—a rare gem in the heart of the city—this elegant icon provides a tranquil oasis with the lake's azure waters and the Alps as a backdrop.  

Switzerland Family Travel Lake Lucerne


The veritable heart and gateway to central Switzerland, Lucerne is a cute and compact city known for its colorful Old Town, snowcapped mountain panoramas, beautiful lakeside setting, and many squares and churches. While its medieval heritage still shines bright (it houses the oldest covered wooden bridge in Europe), its modern amenities and sensibilities sit comfortably side by side with its tradition. 

Relaxation: Embark on a quiet cruise on Lake Lucerne. Board either a magnificently restored one-hundred-year-old Belle Epoque Steamship for an authentic experience or opt for a luxurious motor cruiser with covered deck for a completely private one.  

Exploration: Venture up Mount Rigi via cogwheel train from Vitznau. Opened in 1871, the Rigibahn was Europe's first mountain railway and still holds its bygone allure. The train climbs from the palm trees along the lake to the Rigi Kulm summit—“The Queen of the Mountains”—at 5,895 feet in just under an hour. After a bit of hiking or mountaintop playground hopping, descend back to Vitznau like locals in a four-seater coin-operated private gondola. 

Education: Explore the Swiss Museum of Transport, an interactive facility highlighting the history of road, rail, water, air, and space travel. Documentaries are shown in XXL format on the biggest screen in Switzerland, the planetarium offers a 360-degree flight to the stars, the Media World delves into communication trends, and the Swiss Chocolate Adventure shows the journey from cocoa bean to Swiss chocolate. Plus, Swiss Travel Pass holders receive a 50% discount on their visit. 

Adventure: Go rafting on a day trip to Interlaken. The Lütschine River offers some of the best whitewater rafting in the Swiss Alps, with continuous Class III-IV rapids surging down from the mountains and out into the Interlaken Valley and the Lake of Brienz. Adventurous families will love the exhilarating rush from start to finish. 

Where to Stay: Park Hotel Vitznau | Tranquil, relaxing, and award-winning, this exclusive guest house offers private access to Lake Lucerne, delicious cuisine, and all the indulgent amenities. 

Switzerland Cows

Lausanne – Lake Geneva Region

Lovingly called "little San Francisco" for its hills, climate, and nearby wine region, Lausanne is a university city with ancient Roman Empire roots that resides along the largest lake in Western Europe. Here you will find a Mediterranean take on the Swiss quality of life in the westernmost corner of the country. 

Education: Enjoy an authentic cheese making demonstration and tasting at a small alpine dairy outside town. Here, farmers produce cheese over a wood fire, with milk from the local cows that graze on grass and wildflowers surrounding the Col de Jaman pass, once an important cheese trail in the 17th and 18th centuries.  

Relaxation: Indulge in cheese fondue or a gourmet dinner in a private hot air balloon, discovering the region from the air with the majestic Alps as background. 

Exploration: Take time to visit two icons in the region: Château de Chillon and Chaplin’s World by Grévin. The former is an island castle located on Lake Geneva that dates from the Bronze Age and was used as an arsenal, prison, and temporary residence of the House of Savoy. The latter is a museum dedicated entirely to the legendary life and work of Charlie Chaplin that resides in the famous house where the artist lived the last 25 years of his life. 

Adventure: Brave the Glacier 3000, the highest walk in the world and home to the world's first suspension bridge that spans the top of two mountain peaks. It also features the highest alpine roller coaster in all of Europe.

Where to Stay: Beau-Rivage Palace | Enviably situated near the center of Lausanne in the Ouchy district, Beau-Rivage Palace boasts a winter garden, splendid terrace, and traditional aesthetic designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon. 

Switzerland Zermatt Matterhorn


Located in Switzerland’s southwest corner, Zermatt lies at the foot of the one of the world’s most famous mountains—the Matterhorn. Car-free, full of character, and an adventurer’s playground, the possibilities for play are endless in this mountain resort town. 

Exploration: Climb the Klein Matterhorn in the highest lift in Europe. Once on the top, the views stretch from France to Italy and back to Switzerland, with the imposing Matterhorn at eye level. The glacier connecting the Klein Matterhorn and the Breithorn also accommodates a Glacier Palace, where you can safely explore the inside of a glacier, 50 feet under the surface. 

Relaxation: Dine at Zum See. Housed in a three-story wooden house dating back to the 16th century, Zum See is one of the best mountain restaurants out there. The snug dining room with low ceilings features a display of fruit tarts and rare local wines, while the outside stone patio sprawls into a tiered plaza amid the barns.  And the food? Simple perfection with local ingredients. 

Education: Hike through the traditional farming hamlets of Zermatt. Sip on coffee at a mountain hotel, walk past grazing blacknose-sheep through the Alp Hubel, obtain the best views of the Matterhorn from the Hubelwäng, descend to Zmutt, the earliest settled village in the Mattertal, and learn about the Maiensäss farming traditions in Blatten.  

Adventure: Take to the air on a fun paragliding excursion. Travel by funicular and the Rothorn cable car to the launch site. Then your paragliding pilot will equip you with all the skills you need to take off and soar above the mountains, landing safely back in Zermatt.  

Where to Stay: Mount Cervin Palace | Located on the Bahnhofstrasse, the “MCP” has been entertaining visitors for more than 150 years. Families will especially love the many swimming pool options, including the children's pool with water slide. 

Switzerland Family Travel Andermatt Adventure


Andermatt stands at a crucial crossroads in the heart of Switzerland and Europe, where the north-south route over the Gotthard massif meets the east-west route through the mountains. For centuries it has served as a watering hole for merchants, travelers, and soldiers. And today seems to be no different. The only difference? Travelers now come to the south-central hub to relax and enjoy the splendid scenery and top-notch facilities. 

Adventure: Undertake a family adventure along the Via Ferrata. Unlike climbing, a Via Ferrata—a mountain route equipped with fixed cables and ladders—requires less technical skills and can be adapted for all ages and abilities. With an expert mountaineering guide at your side, this exciting “Iron Way” offers the thrill of traversing cliffs and mountains without threat or fear.  

Relaxation: Escape to the spa at The Chedi Andermatt. The indulgent bathing and sauna area is open to both guests and visitors alike and allows comfort seekers to swim in the private pools and read in the cozy loungers with the view of the Swiss Alps always in sight.  

Education: Stop for a Swiss farm experience in the canton of Uri. Meet the resident cows and talk to the local farmers about their life and work in the mountains. Perhaps even make your own cheese with them, just as the alpine dairymen did hundreds of years ago.  

Exploration: Go goat trekking through the countryside around Andermatt. Goats are trustworthy and affectionate animal companions and love being on the move—they even enjoy carrying your bags! Follow rivers and streams through the valleys and stop for an inviting picnic along the way.

Where to Stay: The Chedi | Nestled in the heart of the Swiss Alps, The Chedi Andermatt combines both luxury and Alpine charm, setting the stage for an unforgettable mountain retreat.  

Did You Know?

Pro Tips

  • Several airlines, including Swiss Air, offer direct flights to either Geneva or Zurich. Flight time from the East Coast to Switzerland is generally around 7 hours and 30 minutes. 
  • Kids ages 16 and younger can travel for free by public transportation around Switzerland with the Swiss Family Card. 


Switzerland with Ker & Downey

Your family trip to Switzerland is just around the corner. To start customizing your own journey to Switzerland with your family, contact a Ker & Downey designer. For more travel inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe to our weekly newsletter or follow us on Instagram

Images courtesy of Switzerland Tourism, Daniel Cox on Unsplash

Spring 2024 Family Travelog
The Travelog

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