We know it for snow-capped mountains and glorious ski fields but when the snow melts to reveal the lush green alpine fields in all their Heidiesque glory, the region around Central Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne transforms into a picture-perfect playground for families.
Lucerne, the pretty gateway to Central Switzerland is situated on Lake Lucerne and nestled near the picturesque mountains of the Swiss Alps. One of the loveliest towns in Switzerland, it’s a fabulous base for families visiting the region thanks to its beautiful lakeside setting and proximity to mountains of fun.
Lake Lucerne itself is stunningly pretty and many leisurely hours can be lost exploring its beauty by paddlewheel steamer or motor boat. There are also several beautiful parks and gardens near the lakeshore where children can frolic freely.
Although historic Lucerne boasts an impressive number of museums and monuments that may be of more appeal to mum and dad, notably the stunning Lion Monument, carved out of natural rock in honour of the Swiss Guards who fell during the French Revolution and the Picasso Museum, there is still plenty for kids to enjoy.
Chapel Bridge, a footbridge spanning the Reuss River is one of Europe’s oldest wooden bridges, and when they are not busily tossing bread crumbs to the ever-present white swans, the not to be missed landmark will have children fantasising of princes, knights and fairytale trolls.
The Swiss Museum of Transport – one of the most diverse museums in Europe for transport and communication – will also be a big hit with kids who love things with wheels or engines (which is most of them right?)
Best of all, this is one town where you won’t get any complaints from the kids come meal time. What kid, or adult for that matter, could not love a town where whipped cream and molten cheese are a way of life? And that’s before we even begin to talk about the chocolate. Oh, the chocolate!
An historic high valley village an hour by train from Lucerne, Engelberg boasts an action-packed summer of free activities for families. There’s the Rope Park, pony riding, bob sledding, kayaking on Lake Trübsee and more, and for overnight guests, they’re all free!
Brunni is known as the sunny side of Engleberg and is quite possibly the most family-friendly mountain in Central Switzerland. Ride the aerial cable car and chair lift to the top of the mountain for a world of pristine climbing paths, awesome playscapes, a summer bob-sled run, and Härzlisee – a man-made lake with a great view of Mount Titlis.
Take a ride to the top of Mount Titlis (which at a massive 3020 metres is something to behold) on the Titlis Rotair, the first revolving aerial cable car in the world. A spectacular 360° panorama awaits at the top of icy peak and once there, take the Ice Flyer chairlift over deep crevices to Titlis Glacier Park, where families can enjoy all sorts of sliding fun.
Pack a picnic and take the cableway to Lake Trübsee where you take a hike along the Knorrli Path or check out what’s blooming along the Alpine Flower Path. After all that walking mum and dad can take can take a breather as the kids enjoy the fabulous playground or a spot of rowing on the glacial lake.
An unexpected bonus of travel in Switzerland is the sheer diversity of transport. Not only does the Swiss Transport network run like clockwork, but there are so many cool options from the perfectly punctual Swiss Rail network to paddle steamers, cable cars and cogwheel trains. If your family is feeling fit why not get a deal with a Hike & Bike Pass which includes bike transport and is good for rides on all of Engelberg’s mountain cable lifts (excluding the Titlis-Trübsee cable car).
For something completely unforgettable, the Jungfraujoch is a spectacular daytrip departing from Lucerne that takes you on a cogwheel train railway from Grindelwald, to the top of one of the Alps’ most scenic peaks and a world of ice and snow.
More information: Switzerland Tourism www.MySwitzerland.com