Question

Suggestions for "interesting" train rides through Switzerland for young children?

We are looking to travel to Switzerland with 2 young (6 and 9) boys that love trains. My wife and I have traveled there on two occasions but never by train and never with children. A few questions based on this: 1. Can you recommend some fun/interesting train routes originating in Zurich that go through cities that are interesting for children? For example, once such route that I have heard of is the Albula and Ruinaulta train. Can this be included in a trip around Switzerland on trains? 2. Is any season preferable for this type of travel? 3. Can you recommend interesting local attractions for children in the various cities? Travel would originate and terminate in Zurich. Thank you! -Frank

Location

Country: Switzerland

Answers

Hello,

Traveling by train in Switzerland with or without children is the best way to go (or so I think). If you are traveling at busier times (weekends, on the more touristy mountain trains), you may want to book seats just to ensure you can all sit together.

One interesting line that could be done is in the Kanton of Grabunden. The train runs from Tiefencatsle to St. Moritz (I think it's called the Albula Express) and as of mid-September the train line has been marked as a UNESCO Heritage Site. Because the train goes over a mountain pass it has to make several spirals up and over the mountain. If it's a clear day it's really fun because you can see the progression up the mountain.

If you wished to continue on from St. Moritz and make a tour of Switzerland the Glacier Express (should make reservation for this train), continues on to Zermatt, which is in south-central Switzerland.

I have only gone on the Albula Express (don't think it takes longer than 2hr), though if you want to do both in the same day the Glacier Express is 7.5hr long and if you want to go back to Zurich at night thats another 3-4hr from Zermatt (you could stay in Zermatt but that could be very costly).

If you wanted to do both lines I think the Glacier Express train stops in Lugano (about half way from St. Moritz to Zermatt) and from there you could either stay and experience the Swiss-Italian region or take the train back to Zurich (which goes over a mountain or two so again this train does several loops and spirals on the way up and down).

As for child friendly activities I'm sorry but I can't really name that many. I do not know the name of this 'village' but close to Interlaken there is a Swiss village which is a life sized village of the history of housing in Switzerland. I'm not sure if your children would find it boring, though I believe there are other child friendly activities to do there as well.

I think the season of travel should depend on what your family likes. I arrived here last Christmas and spent a few weeks in the mountains by Tiefencastle and if your concerned at all about the cold I've never experienced weather colder than -10 centigrade.

One really fun thing you could do in winter with your children is between the villages of Tiefencastle and Filisur there is an outdoor skating path that runs about 2km along the river. You can also take the Albula Express up to Preda or Bever and toboggan down the mountain pass.





Hope I was of some help, and that you enjoy your eventual stay in Switzerland!!
Unfortunately I'm in the wrong region to help with Zurich - however if you want to take the train from Zurich to Montreux or to Luzern there is the golden pass line and from Montreux the ''chocolate train''. Have a look at If you book early you can save a lot of money on ticket prices.

Enjoy!

Kirsty
Kristy -- My family is going to travel to your Lausanna in July. We are looking for any suggestions since our time is limited.
Thanks!
Denille
Hi Frank!

I read your question, and my first thought was, "THE CHOCOLATE TRAIN!" This is supposed to be really fun for children (and adults) as you take an old fashioned, very cool train from Montreux to Gruyeres, and ultimately end up in Broc. You can either Google for more information "Callier chocolate train" OR check out this website:


You wanted to know about trains that originate in Zurich. I cannot advise you about other journeys in that area, but Switzerland is so small... Perhaps take the train from Zurich to Montreux, or drive there for the journey :-)

In terms of season, I would recommend you go now, or wait until spring when the country begins to thaw out again. Perhaps May?

If you're interested in children's activities for Geneva, I have tons of recommendations for you. Let me know.

Best!

Regina
Regina --
You mentioned in your email reply that you have a lot of ideas for Geneva for children. Can you please share the ideas? We are traveling through Switzerland in July. We have 3 days. I was looking into a train from Paris to Luasanna - travel to Geneva one day - travel to Bern another day. Any thoughts??
Thanks!!
Denille
If your kids love trains then you should not skip on two important things:

1. A steam train ride up the Brienzer Rothorn. At some parts you'll feel as if riding a train in the Andes ! The old steam engines chug up the mountain, helped by a kogwheel in the middle of the track.

Runs from May 21 to October 25.

The other train-related venue to see is the old Heimwehfluh Bahn up on a little hill at the edge of Interlaken. The train ride down to Interlaken is wonderful too!
The Heimwehfluh is a very old model railway and to modern-day technology may not be so special anymore.. but it has been there for ages and when I was a kid (owwww, some 45 years ago) we just LOVED to go there a few times every holiday!



Their web site is not great, but it is worth a visit !

Oh, and while we're at it, don't miss the 'Verkehrshaus Schweiz in Luzern. It is the national 'traffic museum'


They have an extensive part with trains and you can get up close to them !

The best Railway Pass to get is the Swiss Pass, a cheaper option is the Swiss Flexi Pass.
You will need to buy these passes OUTSIDE of the country, at the Swiss Tourist offices in your country.

I personally like best to travel in May/June and September, both for temperatures/weather and for missing out on the touristy crowds.

Hope this helps!

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