Over the weekend we discovered one of our new favorite places: Zürich, Switzerland.
Here’s a glimpse of some of the things we saw, via Instagram photos. More photos and details to come.
*Note: The prices below are listed in Swiss Francs. The exchange rate between that and the USD is roughly the same. If something is say, 10 Swiss Francs, it’s about $11.
Who doesn’t like waterfalls? I love them.
Rheinfalls are Europe’s largest. The area is extremely family friendly, and isn’t a touristy or cheesy place like Niagara Falls is often accused of being. The huge playground was a welcomed site for my son after our long road trip. He also loved the falls. I don’t know if it was because of the clear water (my son does love bath time) or that he’s only two (and a bit of a daredevil), but the little guy just wanted to climb over the railing and jump into the water.
Travel Tip: Switzerland is expensive. Germany is right across the border (10 minutes in traffic), eat there. Oh, we paid 5 Swiss francs to park for 2 hours.
Short Boat Trip on Lake Zürich
The Zürich channel at the hotel told us that Lake Zürich is clean enough to drink from. I believe it. Our trip took us around the lake where we got to see Zürich at its best. It’s tough sitting on a boat watching people having fun in the water. There were other boaters, kids on the lake-side beaches, and people playing water sports. Again, my son wanted to jump into the water. This time, though, I probably would have been happy to jump in after him. It was hot.
Travel Tip: It’s only 8.50 Swiss Francs to take the 1.5 hour trip around the lake. Once on the boat, you can order a meal, snack, and a drink.
One of the world’s 25 least visited countries is only 1.5 hours away from Zürich by car. We had to go. As we drove to Liechtenstein, my husband shared some of the things he learned about L-stein: it’s in a valley, there are 5000 residents, there is no official army and the police force is less than 80 people. We talked about how, with such a small police force, did this country keep its sovereignty? Oh, the huge, beautiful mountains surrounding it. My kids weren’t so interested in dad’s facts so they slept.
We arrived in Vaduz with over-tired kids and over-hungry parents. My son whined his way past every shop. I’m sure he was disappointed that there wasn’t a river or lake to try to jump into. Ironically, this was the only time on the trip that he got wet. It rained. A nice heavy rain. We ended up dining at the fine, reliable establishment that is extremely whiny-toddler friendly: McDonald’s. Afterwards, we made our way back to Zürich.
Travel Tip: Liechtenstein might be more expensive than Switzerland, plan accordingly.
The drive between Zürich and Vaduz
If you have no interest in checking Liechtenstein off of your list, it’s still worth a visit. The drive between Zürich and Vaduz is beautiful. As I mentioned earlier, Liechtenstein is in the valley. That means that it’s surrounded by mountains and those are the mountains you’ll drive through to get there. The Alps, Caribbean-like water, and typical Swiss villages made every turn picture worthy. There are many tunnels on the way to Liechtenstein. As we exited each one it was like a little surprise to see how Switzerland could top its previous view. The best happened on the way back, after the rain: a double rainbow.
Travel Tip: The drive is only 1.5 hours, but could easily take all day because you’ll want to either drive slow to take in the view, or stop frequently.
I really enjoyed the city of Zürich, but I wanted more mountains. I mean, seriously, the Alps? How could we resist? We searched for ski-lifts/winter sports on our GPS. Sattel-Hochstucki, 45 minutes away, popped up and we crossed our fingers that the end destination would be worth it. We were happy to see the panoramic gondola cable-car when we arrived and bought ticket to the top just expecting to have nice views. We were wrong. The top was filled with fun activities for the family. There was a place with bouncy castles and trampolines, a very steep and twisty sledge run, and Europe’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. There were also paths and trails for hikes. I’m sad to admit that my fear of heights won out and I did not cross the bridge. My husband took our daughter while I watched my son jump and bounce on the trampolines. I wish we could have spent all day there, but we had to leave after a few hours.
Travel Tip: The gondola ride is only 19 Swiss Francs round trip for adults, the bouncy castle and trampolines are 7 Swiss Francs for kids, the sledge run is 4 Euros per run, and the suspension bridge is free.
Overall travel tip: Switzerland is expensive. Coming from Germany, I was shocked at how much we spent on food and drinks. For example, a small bottle of coke could easily be around 4 Swiss Francs, and a medium cold drink at Starbucks was more than 7 Swiss Francs. Keep this in mind when budgeting and consider packing small picnics instead.
Have you been to the area? What should I see on my next visit?
This post is part of the new Instagram Travel Thursday linky hosted by Skimbaco Lifestyle, Destination Unknown, Child Mode, Hines Sight Blog, Live.Do.Grow., House of Anaïs, Luxury Travel Mom. Click on any of those links to access all Instagram travel posts.