Tucked in among bigger European nations, Switzerland nonetheless commands an important position on the world stage. It’s a country of beautiful cascading mountains packed with snow, glacial lagoons that give into alpine rivers and creeks, and cities that have stood the tests of time and war. Although slightly expensive, Switzerland is a country filled with potential to make the family holiday something especially memorable.
Switzerland is not part of the European Union. It is one of a unique country in the world, for its neutral politics. Its cities are both medieval and modern, and its people are among the most educated on the planet. Taking the family to Switzerland is a lot like taking them into a dreamland.
The country has four official languages: French, German, Italian and Romansh, hinting at the many influences that have shaped its cultural heritages. Between the unique cuisine that you’ll find there and the variety of activities both in rural areas and in its beautiful cities, the family will not be disappointed.
Outdoor Excursions—No matter where you are in Switzerland, you’re not far from something in nature worth the cost and time. Matterhorn is the king of the Swiss Alps, which you can see from Zermatt; the Aletsch Glacier is unique on the continent; In Upper Engadine there are unbelievable lakes; Lake Lucerne is another, Oeschinensee yet another; and, Switzerland is home to Europe’s greatest waterfall, the Rhine Falls.
Accessibility—Since Switzerland is small, the family holiday can encompass a good amount of it, leaving you with the feeling that you’ve really gotten to know the country. Italy, France, Austria and Germany are right there at your fingertips, so you can introduce your kids to multiple nations in one go. Also, getting around the country via train will be one of the most spectacular things you will ever do.
Cities—Switzerland’s cities remained largely untouched during the world wars. As such, their historical merit is well-deserved. Cities like Bern, Geneva and Zurich are eclectic collections of the past and present, with streamlined, sleek modern glass headquarters of multinationals and banks right beside carbon-caked landmarks from ages long past.
Landmarks—Outside of the cities there is plenty to see as well, from the utterly astounding castles of Chillon and Bellinzona to St. Gallen Abbey. Switzerland is also a producer of wine, and the family holiday might take a welcome detour to the Lavaux vineyards.
As a father of two, I know that having a big, bulky DSLR with me whilst trying to carry one of my kids or push the pram isn’t my idea of fun...