Winter activities in Switzerland
Switzerland offers a host of family-oriented activities based around the snow and the mountains. When we talk about winter sports we immediately think about the ski resorts in the Valais Canton. The existing resorts all compete to be the biggest (Les Portes du Soleil and les 4 Vallées are the largest) and to offer as many activities as possible.
For children, there are two main original activities. The Les Diablerets resort with its 7 km sledding slope. The best time to try it out is in the evening under a full moon. Indulge in a fondue and then return to the valley by sledge. The Leysin resort gives you the opportunity to try "snowtubing": the idea is to slide down a huge slide built in the snow on an inflatable ring!
The Les Diablerets and Leysin resorts are respectively situated 80 and 25 minutes by train from the Aigle train station where the TGV Lyria des Neiges stops off or from Lausanne (1 hour by car to Les Diablerets and 1 hour by public transport to Leysin).
The museums and visits you won't want to miss out on
There are numerous museums you can visit as a family. The Transport Museum in Lucerne is a must. In fact, it is the most-visited museum in Switzerland. What child doesn't go starry-eyed when he sees a train go past? Young and old will discover the different types of transport through fun, interactive activities.
Another must-see: the Maison Cailler in Broc. It is where Cailler chocolate is made. You will learn about its history and the chocolate-making process through a very poetic audio-visual guide.
You can access the Transport Museum in Lucerne from Olten (where the TGV Lyria Paris-Berne train stops off) or from Zurich, in 50 minutes.
It takes around 1 hour 40 minutes by train from Lausanne to visit Maison Cailler in Broc.
Family activities involving animals
If your kids love animals, there are several activities which will be right up their street. In the winter, think about organising a ride with the huskies which is offered in most regions. It is the perfect opportunity to admire the beautiful landscapes while sitting comfortably on the sledge and experiencing unique sensations. In the summer, let yourself be guided by a legendary St-Bernard avalanche dog, on a walk on the pass with the same name. If you really want a change of scenery visit the Papiliorama in Kerzers, a huge tropical greenhouse filled with exotic butterflies.
Kerzers can be accessed by train from Neuchâtel (15 minutes)
Experience Swiss beauty and nature
Switzerland is a beautiful country and this beauty extends far beyond its lakes and mountains. It is full of hidden treasures that you will enjoy discovering as a family. Start with the St-Léonard underground lake, the biggest in Europe (closed in winter). Navigate through the underground depths on a small boat. Both the sights and the sounds, with the odd acoustics, really are impressive. You can also visit the Creux-du-Van, a rocky cirque in the Neuchâtel region, which is just as spectacular. Get your walking boots on and set out to meet the many hares!
The St-Léonard underground lake is 12 minutes from Sion by public transport, where the seasonal TGV Lyria des Neiges stops off.
Learn as a family!
A number of attractions allow you to combine pleasure and culture. It is the case, for example, of the Alimentarium, the food museum founded by Nestlé. The exhibits based around eating healthily are interactive and require you to use all of your senses: smell, touch, taste... Family workshops are regularly organised, the opportunity to get involved in an activity with your child. Among the other museums, think about visiting the Natural History Museum in Fribourg (40 minutes from Lausanne). Entry is free and it features unique pieces such as a stuffed whale.
Access the Alimentarium from Montreux (15 minutes by public transport). Montreux can be accessed via the TGV Lyria des Neiges.
The Alimentarium can also be accessed from Lausanne (25 minutes by public transport).
The Natural History Museum is situated in Fribourg, 40 minutes from Lausanne.