Things to do with kids in Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen
Updated: Sep 15, 2020
We have travelled through a lot of Switzerland over the years but there is one place that draws us back time after time, Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen in central Switzerland. Grindelwald for kids is an outdoor playground filled with adventures such as hiking, mountain biking and snow sports. Lauterbrunnen with kids is the perfect place to disconnect from technology and be a part of nature.
Switzerland is the jewel of the European alps with soaring mountains and epic hikes that makes it a fantastic family travel destination. It is a place so crisp and clean that for a short while you can forget all the worries of the world and just be immersed in the beauty.
The Bernese Oberland area encompassing Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen and Interlaken is a popular summer resort area which is a haven for adventure sports and outdoor enthusiasts. In winter, the villages transform into bustling ski resorts. Summer in Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen brings many sunny, clear days and plenty of summer activities in the Swiss mountains.
We have always visited in summer time so here goes my list of the most amazing outdoor things to do with kids in Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen:
Post updated 2020.
10 BEST THINGS TO DO IN GRINDELWALD AND LAUTERBRUNNEN WITH KIDS
As the snow melts and the days warm Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald become a mecca for summer adventures. Here is my top 10 list of family friendly activities for all ages in the Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen area:
1. Grindelwald Day Hike for Families - First, Bachalpsee, Bort
In my humble opinion, the swiss alps have some of the best equipped and most accessible hiking trails that drop you right in the midst of jaw dropping scenery. With the combination of efficient transport options such as gondolas, panoramic trains and buses you can make hiking with kids easy and fun..
First, Bachalpsee, Bort Hike
One of the more popular hikes is the Grindelwald First to Bachalpsee walk, a rewarding day hike that can be tailored to be as easy or hard as you like depending on how much public transport you utilise. Due to the altitude of this walk it is best if you wait for a clear, sunny morning and head off early. The clouds can roll in quickly and obscure your views if you don’t beat them to it.
Starting with a feast-for-the-eyes cable car ride from Grindelwald town centre (pre-purchase your tickets here and scan to ride without joining the cue) all the way to First station you alight for spectacular views before you even take your first steps.
For the brave ones amongst you, a good starting point can involve venturing along the cliff walk, a mesh suspension bridge edging around the cliffside to an unforgettable viewpoint jutting out from First. If you are even braver you can have a go on the First Flyer – no way in hell would you get me on this thing though – a little too far off the ground and some scary speeds!
You begin the climb towards Bachalpsee via a wide, easy gravel trail with plenty of scenic rest stops along the way if the kids need a break. The trail is well marked and easy to follow but is a gradual climb at high altitude so expect to take it a little slowly if heading out with kids.
With little more than approximately a 1 hour walk with a steady gentle climb from First Station this is what you can expect to find on this walk! The views from Bachalpsee Lake rank in my top five favourite places anywhere I have travelled- it is a truly stunning place to visit.
If you are ready to forge your own trail and head into your own patch of paradise then it is worth leaving the other hikers behind at Bachalpsee and choosing one of the narrow tracks back down the hill. Of course, if you have particularly small kids the hike back to First will mean you can catch the gondola all the way back into town after an easier descent back to the station. If you take this out and back route you will cover just under 5.9kms in total on easy wider trails.
To continue hiking further you can veer off the First walk onto the flower trail towards Waldspitz. We followed the interesting hike following the creek beds through the valley towards Waldspitz which was serenely quiet and beautiful. There aren't too many people on this trail so you can take lots of photo breaks and really take in the scenery away from the crowds.
We managed to spot lots of marmots along the way which kept the kids amused as they popped their heads up and scurried about the mounds of grass as we passed.
From Waldspitz you can choose a couple of different trails back to Bort (gondola) or all the way back down to Grindelwald depending on how you are feeling.
Want to add a little more adventure to your day? Work your way down the mountain on mountain carts from Schreckfeld to Bort, then the trottibike scooters from Bort all the way back to Grindelwald – seriously fun ways to make your way down.
2. Grindelwald First Activities
Catching the cable car to Grindelwald First allows the opportunity for kids and parents to try out some of the adventure activities in summer.
Located from the First Station are these favourite options - bookable when you arrive in Grindelwald through the tickets office:
First Cliff Walk
Suspending 43 metres out into the abyss, the single rope cliff walk gives unbeatable views into the Grindelwald valley or surrounding mountains. Free to access if you have a ticket on the First gondola or have made the effort to hike to the top. Photo above.
Fly like a bird at speeds of up to 83km per hour. Accessible to children aged over 10 years old.
Limited to those weighing between 35-125kg this harnessed zip line suspends adventurers 50 metres above the ground and travels up to 84 kmph.
First Mountain Carts
A cross between a go-kart and sled means sledding can be achieved in Grindelwald through Summer. Low based carts zip you down the mountain between Schreckfeld to Bort Stations packing some fun into mountaineering. Kids must be a minimum 135cm and helmets are mandatory.
Located from Bort Station are these options:
To extend the downhill fun after mountain carting you can switch over to a Trottibike at Bort Station to make your way the rest of the way back to Grindelwald. A cross between a bike and scooter there are even mini-trottibikes for kids 125cm and up.
Bort Alpine Playground
Switzerland does playgrounds like no other country and Bort Playground is a great example of infrastructure blending into the natural environment. With a focus on fundamental movement development the playground challenges kids' balance and problem solving to maneuvre through a number of challenging obstacles.
3. Lauterbrunnen to Interlaken Day Hike
If you run into some closed-in weather during your stay or just want an easy downhill walk with the kids then the trail following the river from Lauterbrunnen down to Interlaken is a great option and pram friendly if you have a decent mountain style pram.
You have the option of walking the whole way to Interlaken which is approximately 12 kilometres or can shorten the route at any of the train stations along the way which will return you to your home base. With kids, a good distance is making it to Zweissimen. This walk is pretty in the rain beside the gushing sounds of the river past pretty swiss chalets and forests along the way.
Of course if you venture to this region you should consider a day trip up the Jungfraujoch or the Top of Europe. Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe with the viewing platform at 3454 metres. From the station you get unobstructed views of the Alletsch Glacier, surrounding snow capped mountains as far as the eye can see and entry into the Ice Palace which is a favourite for kids. Pre-purchase and reserve your seats from Lauterbrunnen here.
The trip to Jungfrau is stroller friendly but the high altitude can make you feel a little woozy. Once at the top you can pay additional for snow activities if you want to spend longer or make a full day of fun.
4. Lauterbrunnen Valley Day Hike - Schilthorn
Towards the end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley you will reach Stechelberg which can be reached via local bus or walking (5.2km). The hike between Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg in itself is a beautiful day hike marvelling at the waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnen valley as they plummet to the ground.
Once at Stechelberg take the cable car up the steep cliff-face to Schiltorn. This is another one of my favourite places to hike and explore in the region. Trails along the mountain top with direct views over the Eiger Monch and Jungfrau ranges make for expansive sights and the opportunity to visit quaint villages such as Gimmelwald make for a great day out.
Check the Schilthorn official website for detailed hiking options.
5. Witness the captivating base jumpers at Lauterbrunnen
If the scenery is not enough to keep you loving Lauterbrunnen then watching the base jumpers flinging themselves from the cliff tops and soaring in their wingsuits towards the ground will leave you feeling mighty conflicted somewhere between amazed and horrified. On a clear day, there are loads of these guys jumping in the Lauterbrunnen Valley which is just phenomenal to watch.
As long as they all manage to have successful landings!
6. Bike Riding with kids in Lauterbrunnen Valley
With a plethora of bike trails in the region you can choose between the cruisy terrain around the Lauterbrunnen Valley or along the river or alternately there are plenty of mountain trails to tempt the more daring.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley trail is a kid-friendly bike ride along some flat and scenic roads. If you want to hire a bike I recommend Imboden Bike shop in Lauterbrunnen’s main street. They cater well for families with kid size bikes and trailers as well as all the safety gear.
Heading past the Lauterbrunnen campground this route will give you a birds-eye view of the famous Lauterbrunnen valley waterfalls. In particular Trummelbach where you can take a walk behind the base of the falls.
7. Grindelwald Playground
Grindelwald plays host to two fantastic kids’ playgrounds. Boasting innovative designs and a creative use of natural elements the adventure playgrounds at both Bort Station and Grindelwald town are worth spending some time. They are impressively designed to challenge the most coordinated kids’ balance and strength.
8. Chocolate making in Interlaken
I was pretty disappointed to miss this as it was on my to-do list but there is a chocolate making experience in Interlaken which receives rave reviews – funkychocolateclub.com. It is kid-friendly and looks like loads of fun.
Do me a favour and check this out if you are a lover of all things chocolate…
9. Boat cruise on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun
Included for free with any swiss travel pass (see below for more info) a great way to take in the scenery is on board one of the boats on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun in Interlaken. The striking blue water back-dropped against the mountains is a sight to absorb. Combine this with some sightseeing and shopping for souvenirs in vibrant Interlaken before heading back to the mountains.
10. Sportzentrum Grindelwald
All good holiday places need options in case the weather is bad for a number of days. Sportzentrum Grindelwald is a multi-purpose activity centre which can keep families visiting Grindelwald entertained for days. Boasting no less than an indoor swimming pool, ice rink, bouldering, ropes course and cafe this place is excitement bundled in one convenient location for kids.
ABOUT THE SWISS TRAVEL PASS
If your family is visiting Switzerland for a number of days or weeks I highly recommend purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass which provides unlimited access to trains, boats, buses and premium panorama trains across the country.
Best of all if travelling with kids the Swiss Travel Pass includes complimentary Swiss Family Card providing free access for children aged 6-15 years old as well as 500+ free access to museums and tourist attractions. Plan your itinerary around this to maximise your value without needing to purchase tickets for kids.
You can purchase your Swiss Travel Pass right here. Just select your number of travel days and class of travel to get started. Then simply collect your ticket using the voucher on arrival at your first Swiss entry port.
Make sure you read the full terms and conditions as to which attractions and train lines are included when planning your Swiss itinerary.
Getting from Interlaken to Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen
I have to say that I simply love the trains in Switzerland and I wouldn’t dream of travelling any other way. The trains are efficient, fast, clean and super easy to navigate your way around the whole of Switzerland reaching every corner of the country particularly if you purchase a Swiss Travel Pass.
Both Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen are easily reached by train from Interlaken. When boarding the train at Interlaken Ost make sure you hop on board the carriage that takes you to either Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen. The train splits in half at Zweilutschinen and continues on to either destination. The carriages are marked but if you are unsure just ask for help at the station.
The absolute best part of travelling via train is that you get to kick back and watch the impressive scenery pass by your window. If you are travelling to the Bernese Oberland from Geneva or Lausanne I recommend the slightly longer but far superior trip on the Golden Pass line. The scenery is simply stunning and well worth the extra little bit of time.
If travelling from Zurich then a few days stop at Luzern (Lucerne) is highly recommended and offers plenty for family activities and sightseeing including an awesome day trip to Mount Pilatus.
Should I stay in Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald?
I get asked this question quite a bit and really it depends on your interests. I recommend picking one as both towns are relatively close and easy to travel between via the train so makes things easier to be settled in one spot particularly with kids.
My first choice is Lauterbrunnen as I love the village atmosphere and smaller town feel. The Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of my favourite places on earth and I can spend endless hours walking about looking at the beauty or sitting by the river just mesmerised.
Having said that our last visit we stayed in Grindelwald. Grindelwald provides elevated panoramic views of the mountain ranges so is different to Lauterbrunnen - a little more open and grander in size. If travelling with kids, Grindelwald also has more of the family-friendly attractions and more choice of private holiday rentals allowing families to self cater if needed. It is a bit more commercial with a bigger supermarket and facilities such as the Sportzentrum and some large hotels if this is your preference.
Ultimately you can't go wrong with either choice and I have no doubt you will probably completely love both as I do.
Where to stay in Grindelwald
Travelling with kids, Grindelwald gave us the best of both worlds. Fingertip access to the most amazing scenery and hiking but all the conveniences to make travelling with kids a breeze due its larger town size and access to facilities such as a good supermarket.
Best places to stay with kids in Grindelwald
Stylish and spacious with two bedrooms allowing room for a family this apartment received rave reviews and is in a central location allowing an easy place to get about. Book here.
Roomy and beautifully appointed are these fully self-contained apartments. Highly rated by families and you can check the best price for your date here.
Private holiday rentals are definitely the way to go in this region and I wholeheartedly recommendthe place we stayed - Ferienwohnung Eiger in Grindelwald. The hosts Peter and Margrit welcomed us warmly to their house with the apartment on the bottom floor. The apartment itself was extremely spacious, with two comfortable bedrooms, an updated and lovely bathroom, and a fully equipped kitchen and living room.
Being a ground floor accommodation meant the kids could also run around on the lawn outside our rooms.
We were totally at home here and were in awe each morning as we drew the curtains to be greeted by this…..!
Best places to stay with kids in Lauterbrunnen
Who doesn't want to awaken each morning to a view of a tumbling valley waterfall. This elegant and spacious 3 bedroom apartment is a stunning spot to stay with kids in Lauterbrunnen. Book now.
This apartment in Lauterbrunnen offers a warm, cosy stay with just a touch of modern luxury. With 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms you can spread out in style.
Where to eat in Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald
To be totally honest we had been travelling for a number of weeks by the time we reached Grindelwald and the appeal of staying in a house meant that we were keen to eat in and save some money. Besides the view from our Airbnb was more spectacular than most restaurants could offer so a glass of wine with dinner overlooking the mountains was pure bliss each evening.
Grindelwald offers a fantastic Coop supermarket in the centre of the village which was well stocked to self-cater for your stay and to pick up snacks and supplies before heading out for day hikes.
A little mention for a fantastic lunch spot goes to the Flavours Café in Lauterbrunnen. This place is warm and cozy with some comfy lounges and the food and hot drinks were really delicious. One of the few places we found that serves up barista style drinks and their selection of lunch options and sweet treats was excellent.
I hope this has inspired you to consider a trip to Switzerland for your next family travels. It can be an expensive place to visit but once you are there it is easy to have one of the most beautiful holidays and I 100% guarantee that Switzerland will knock you over with its stunning natural environment - my very favourite country to travel!
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