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Holidays to Switzerland Travel Podcast Episode 62 Transcript

May 18, 2024 Last Updated on May 18, 2024

Fun things to do in the Jungfrau Region with kids

You can see the full show notes and listen to this episode > here.

Hello, Isabel. Thank you very much for coming onto the podcast. It’s lovely to have you here.

Thank you, Carolyn. Hello. Yes, it’s very lovely to talk to you about Switzerland and one particular region, the Jungfrau region.

Exactly. Now, many of our listeners will be familiar with the Jungfrau region, and today we’re going to talk specifically about things to do with children there. But before we get started, could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role with Jungfrau Region Tourism?

Yes, exactly. So I work in the sales marketing department as a market manager. So I’m doing the international sales mainly far away markets, far, far away from Switzerland. And one of them is actually also Australia, New Zealand. So I’m selling the region. We’re promoting it to all the different markets around the world. And I love my job because it’s so diverse. It’s like the region itself. It’s tasks that I have that I can promote different areas of the region, different activities in the region for all kinds of guests that make it so special, I would say, to work for Jungfrau Region Tourism and the region itself in yourself, you’ve been yourself, it’s so diverse. You can do so much in such little time. And yeah, that’s what makes it really special, I would say, to work for the destination itself.

Yeah, absolutely. And it certainly wouldn’t be a difficult destination to promote because it’s just so beautiful. And as you said, it’s so diverse. There’s something for everyone. As I mentioned, many people will have already heard of the Jungfrau region, and it’s quite famous for a couple of mountain excursions, in particular the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn excursion. And they’re great for kids too, but for families that are coming to the Jungfrau region and would like, you know, some other activities that will suit the kids, what are some of the things that they can do?

Yeah, I mean, as you mentioned already, one of our top mountain excursions are easily doable as a family with kids as well. But of course, you want to do other things too. Then, just going up the mountains, you want to be active maybe a little bit with the kids. So, yeah, there’s so much to do in all the different areas.

So maybe for those that don’t know the Jungfrau region so well, already we’ve got five different mountain villages in the region where you can visit them or you can stay in the villages itself, and from there you are easily in all different mountaintops. Also, when it comes to distances, it’s not far away. Switzerland itself is super small. You get around very easily by train or by car, if you want. And this is the same in the region.

So if you are based in one village, you can still visit the other village in the other valley, basically. So this is good to know as a family as well. Either if you’re there with a car or with public transportation, it’s easy to get around. And yeah, we’ve got these five mountain villages, we’ve got the Grindelwald, Wengen, Murren, which are the two car free villages we have actually on top of the mountain.

And we’ve got the Lauterbrunne and the Haslital. So these are the five destinations and in all of these destinations, I would say there’s certainly a family activity you don’t or you can’t miss you need to do. But it’s also very nice to know as a family that there’s a lot of different playgrounds on top of the mountain. So if you’re coming down, for example, from the top of the mountain station, there’s certainly a playground where the kids can be active and enjoy the views. And there’s one specific playground that we know that is accessible from Grindelwald, one of our biggest mountain village. This is located on Mount Mannlichen. And Mount Mannlichen is accessible in summer and winter so you can go skiing, sledging there in winter, of course, you can go hiking in summer. And on the top there’s a playground with a huge cow, a wooden cow. And this is actually, I think eight and a half meters high, so pretty high. And for the kids it’s just amazing because they can climb up the cow, they can slide it down again. There’s a viewing platform on top of the cow.

And the best thing as a family is also that the parents themselves, you can have a snack in the restaurant just next to that cow or that playground and the kids can play on the playground and you have them in your sight and that’s I guess, always important for the parents. That’s the case basically in every or in all of the villages that you can visit.

I went to Mannlichen for the first time this summer when I was in Switzerland and I’d heard a lot about it before and I know people with families who’d been there and raved about the playground and it was just amazing. The kids there were just having an absolute ball and we weren’t with children but we sat out there and had a drink and a snack and watched them playing. And in the background, the beautiful views. It’s a wonderful setting, definitely, yes. And there’s another one there at Allmendhubel above Murren.

Exactly. Yeah, exactly. So Murren is one of our two car-free villages and it’s actually from Grindelwald, another valley. So you’ve got the Grindelwald Valley and you’ve got the Lauterbrunnen Valley and from the Lauterbrunnen Valley there are two ways to go up to Murren. And actually this is also all if you have Swiss Travel Pass, this is kind of like the way to travel around in Switzerland. It’s always good to know for families as well. If they hold one they can travel for free to Murren because Murren, this is where people live as well. So it’s all in the public transportation network of Switzerland included in the Swiss Travel Pass. So sometimes for families, it might sound a bit difficult to get up to a car free village because it might take long or it’s difficult to get up there, but it’s actually super easy. And yes, in Murren there is the house mountain. It’s called the Allmendhubel. And you can hike up there in summer if you want. But you can also take a funicular that’s like a ride that takes you a few minutes. And once you get up there, there’s as well a restaurant with specialities, like pastries or local meat, local cheese you could try out there.

And just next to the restaurant there’s another beautiful playground. It’s called actually the Flower Park because you can learn more about the alpine flowers that grow there in summer and the kids can learn more about them in a very interactive way. There’s like wooden stages that look like a flower, like playground trampolines or a swing or anything that brings you closer to how the life on a farm or on an old base. Basically.

Lots of water activities that I saw. The kids were loving it and it was a warm day. Now, something else that I’ve seen a lot of in Switzerland that I’m not really that familiar with, I mean, they’re not common in Australia, and that is they’re called the marble runs. Can you tell us a little bit about those?

Yes, definitely. That’s a really cute, fun little activity to do as a family. Definitely. And a marble run is basically a colorful little wooden ball that you roll down a run, basically. And that run is made out of wooden pieces and it’s usually done by local craft companies that do that up on the mountains. And that little run that goes along the hiking trail, basically. So that hiking trail, if you would hike it, it would take you maybe 1 hour or 1 hour and 30 minutes. So it’s really an easy hiking trail.

You can walk along this run and then every step or every stage along that hiking trail, you can roll down these little balls. And especially for the kids, it’s funny to see where the ball rolled through because it goes through tunnels, it goes through funnels or bridges or water courses between trees. That really fun activities do, especially for smaller kids. And within our region, I mean, there’s different places. You can do it in more Switzerland, but in the Jungfrau region, you can do it on the Hasliberg, which is in the Haslital, one of our areas in the region.

And yes, this is definitely something you can do in summer or you should do in summer.

Yeah, great. I’ll talk more about the Haslital in a moment because I know there’s plenty of things there for children to do. But I can remember when we visited Switzerland when our children were small, they used to love going on the rodelbahns or the summer toboggan runs and I’m sure they’d still enjoy it today. But can you tell us a bit about those for the listeners who aren’t familiar with what a rodelbahn is and whereabouts can we find them in the Jungfrau region?

Yeah, definitely. I’m happy to do so. Yeah, as you said, a summer toboggan run as the name it already says it’s kind of like Tobaggoning or sledging in summer, not in winter. And you are basically on a fixed run. You are on your little sledge. I would call it a sledge on a wheel maybe. And then you wheel down this run and this is all fixed so you cannot steer yourself. Basically the run steers you and it’s a lot of fun because you can do it alone.

You can be on a kind of like toboganning run alone or together with a friend or your mom or dad as a kid and it goes up to I think 40 km/hour. So it’s pretty fast too. But of course there are brakes and you can go slow as well if you want. But it’s definitely a fun activity to do in summer.

And in the Jungfrau region we have a mountain that is called The Pfingstegg. And the Pfingstegg is located in Grindelwald or close to Grindelwald. So you can get there by car. There’s a car park, you can get there by bus as well if you are traveling around by public transportation.

And from the Valley Station, basically you take off the pavement to the top of the mountain on Pfingstegg, that’s like a private alp close to Grindelwald. And from there the rodelbahn basically starts right there at the station and then you roll down and you come up again with the cable way. And as well on Pfingstegg, this is really also a family destination in Grindelwald, I would say.

There is also another activity I want to mention. It’s the flyline as kind of like some sort of ziplining, but a rather calmer way of ziplining, I would say. It’s really an activity where you float through the forest basically like a bird. So you pass trees, you pass water courses over bridges, around rock faces and it’s really something that is easy to do as an adult and as a kid. It’s not something that you need to be very brave for. It’s really safe. You can do it if you don’t want to do like harder adventure activities. It’s really soft adventure. So perfect for families, actually.

Yeah, that’s great to know because as you mentioned, the Pfingstegg is just close to Grindelwald or on the edge of Grindelwald, I guess. Whereas many people would be more familiar with Mount First which is sort of Grindelwald’s famous adventure spot. So it’s good to know that there’s an alternative. But what can they do at First?

Yes, First, as I said, they call it the Top of Adventure in our region because it’s really where you can do lots of different soft adventure activities as well. So that is kind of like you go up by cable way to the top of the mountain and from there you can basically do different stages down to Grindelwald again. And on these different stages you can do different activities. So you basically don’t go down by cableway again. So you go down by different means of transport, I would say different kind of activities you can do.

But before I tell you more about that, also on the top of the mountain there is a First Cliff Walk you can do that I would always recommend to do when you’re going up there. It’s a walk where you walk along the cliff, basically. And at the end of the walk there is a platform where you actually also have a glass floor. So it’s something that is a bit thrilling, but it’s beautiful views. You get rewarded with a beautiful panorama. And also if you don’t want to do that, no problem at all. I mean, you don’t have to.

This is just a great add on if you’re up there. There’s also restaurants where you can get lunch, you can get snacks in between in the afternoon or in the morning. And if you want to do the activities, you start on the top. And then there is the First Flyer and the First Glider. They are called the First Flyer is basically ziplining, some very easy going zip lining.

And then the First Glider is kind of like where you get attached to an eagle. They build a kind of like eagle looking statue as well. And then they attach you to that eagle and they pull you backwards first a few meters, I think it’s around 80 or 100, a bit more than 100 meters backwards. And then they let you go down again with great speed. And that’s a lot of fun, I would say.

And you’re a wire, is that right?

Yes, exactly. And as a kid, maybe it’s good you need to have a certain height to be able to go on that activity and also a certain age. But I think the height is around 140 cm around that. And then the age is around 12, 13, 14 years old, depending on also how big you are already. Exactly.

Okay, so if you do the First Flyer or the Glider, where does that take you to? That takes you to one of the intermediate stops on the way back down, is that right?

Exactly. Yes. So you got two intermediate stops on the way up and so you end up on the first one. And then from the first one, you basically can continue with the activities. So the next activity would be the mountain or the mountain cart, it’s called. So for everyone that knows Mario Kart, kind of like Mario Kart to get you where you roll down the mountain in these mountain carts. And that’s a lot of fun too. If you are brave, you can go fast, but if you want to have it slow, you can also go slow.

Yeah. And you probably should tell people too that you’re not just riding down the side of the mountain, it’s actually like on a proper path that’s been made so you’re not just going over grass and through rocks and things. It’s actually on a track.

Yeah, thank you. That’s important to mention that it’s all well prepared for everyone for the mountain car that you can also brake easily enough. Yes. And then as a last activity from the last intermediate stop, you go down by Trotti bike. And that is also fun because there as a family, I mean, you can go on the Trotti bike alone if you are old enough and if you have the height. Or you can also do it with one of the parents, with mom or dad. And you can be like two can stand on a Trotti bike.

And also there is the pathway, it’s really whereas I mean, it’s not allowed by car to go up there, but cars can drive there really like the street where you drive down to Grindelwald and this is all the way down from the top of the First to Grindelwald. And I mean, time wise, I would say it depends on a little bit how long you need to wait. Because sometimes on nicer days there is some waiting time, but usually it doesn’t take long. But in the event it’s like an afternoon you would spend there. Yeah.

Sorry. The Glider and the First Flyer, are they open all year round? Because I know the carts and the Trotti bikes are only operating during the summer months. What about the other two?

Exactly. So the Flyer and the Glider can also do in winter. And the good thing to know about them is that they are included in the ski pack. So if you ski in Grindelwald, you can also ski in Grindelwald First, you can use these two activities as well, free of charge. And also good to know is that you don’t need to bring extra shoes for the activities. I mean, if you have your snowboard shoes on or your ski boots, you can leave them on on the activity. That’s no problem at all. So yes, it is definitely good to mention that you can do them in winter as well.

Great. Okay, that’s good to know. Now, I also believe in Grindelwald, there’s a giant spider web.

Yes, that’s true. So in Grindelwald you can visit the Glacier Gorge. You can learn more about the glacier around Grindelwald and where the water comes from, basically. And in this glacier gorge there is a huge spider web actually along the way. You can walk along the glacier gorge in the middle, kind of like this. The spider web where you can stand on the web itself. And yeah, it’s amazing to stand in the gorge, like above the river. Yeah, it’s adventurous to do so and this is what we call the spider web in Grindelwald.

Something very different. Now, I know on our past family vacations, one activity that we quite often enjoyed was mini golf. And it can get pretty serious when you’ve got the kids who are really keen to beat mom and dad. Are there mini golf courses in the region?

Yes, definitely. So in Grindelwald, for example, to start with, there is one just in the center of the village and that’s open from April to October, so mainly during spring, summer and fall time in Switzerland. And then also in Wengen is our second car free village. I’ve talked about Murren before, so Wengen is actually just across the valley on the other side of Murren. And in Wengen there is the Lauberhorn crazy Golf, it’s called. It’s also a mini golf course where you actually golf along the Lauberhorn downhill race. So they kind of like for every skiier or for every interest, actually follows the international races. We do have an international race happening in Wengen every year in January, and that’s called the Lauberhorn Downhill Race. And this minigolf kind of like has different courses or different runs where you do different stages of the race, of the downhill race. So if you know the race, it’s fun to do because they have specific course, like the Cabin S, for example, that’s where the skiers kind of like go around the mountain in a very high speed and then in the mini golf course, you kind of like can do the same with the golf ball.

They just recreate it kind of like the race. Yeah.

Okay, good. Now, you mentioned earlier about Haslital, that’s one of the places where the marble runs are very popular, but I believe that it’s somewhere I haven’t actually been. I’ve been to Meiringen, but not to the Hasliberg mountain. What sort of activities are there? Because I know that’s sort of known as a very family friendly destination.

Exactly. On the Hasliberg as well, I mentioned a Trotti bike already that you can do in Grindelwald on First. So you can do that on the Hasliberg as well, actually. And what is different to the Trotti bikes on Mount First in Grindelwald is that on the Hasliberg you get the Monster trotti so that means that the tires are thicker and bigger and that allows you to drive down on gravel grounds as well, and not only on the pathway, basically. So you are a bit freer when it comes to the grounds. And it’s a lot of fun too, because you’re also maybe a bit more stable, I would say, because you have a thicker tire and you can do that as a kid as well.

You can do it actually the same as on Grindelwald First, together with a parent, you also need to have a certain age and height. But this is one of the main attractions as well as Hasliberg in summer and then as well, I also want to mention that there is a tradition, a long lasting tradition of dwarfs in the Haslital. There are various stories about dwarfs that lived there once.

And there’s also a dwarf trail you can do as a family. And there is this dwarf that’s called the Muggestutz, that’s the oldest dwarf in the Haslital. And there’s a whole story and way or path or hiking trail basically that tells you the story about this dwarf. And along this path the kids can do interactive stops like there’s a swing or there’s a shield where they tell you more about what it’s worth. It at this place, like how he found his way of living basically there in the hospital and it’s really, really nicely done for the kids.

And that takes you there’s two different trails you can do and each of them takes you roughly 1 hour to maximum 2 hours easy hiking trails. So you can also do just a bit of it and then do a shortcut if you don’t want to do the whole thing. But yeah, this is some of our family activities that most of the families do as well on the Hasliberg.

That sounds great. So to get to Hasliberg, do you take a cable car from Meiringen?

Yes, exactly. So there’s two cable cars actually from Meiringen in the village itself. There’s one goes up to the Alpen Tower at the top. On the top, I mean, in between there are middle stations as well. And you can also switch from one middle station called Reuti. From there you can hike a little bit for 30 minutes easy walking distance. You can go to another cableway station that takes you up to Käserstatt, which is also a point where you start hiking or skiing in winter. So there’s different ways you can go up the Hasliberg.

Okay. Lots of the activities and things that we’ve talked about. So if it was raining or if it’s too cold to be outside, are there any things that kids can do families will enjoy indoors?

Yes, definitely. I mean, I mentioned the Glacier Gorge before. This is an activity that you can also do if it’s just not heavy rain but a little bit of rain. You can easily go to the Glacier Gorge as well because in the gorge itself you have the trees above you, you have the rock faces above you. So you can easily do that if it’s a bit of rain.

If it’s a bit of a harder rain you can also do indoor activities like in Grindelwald itself, for example, there is an indoor rope park you can visit. So if you have kids that want to learn more about climbing or just hanging around the ropes basically along the mountains, that are recreated in this indoor rope park that is a fun thing to do. And then also in Meiringen there is also a climbing hall, an indoor climbing hall for the kids as well. I mean if you are professional or advanced you can of course do the heavier walls but also for the kids, there are easier ones that they can try to learn to climb basically.

And then of course you can always visit the villages, you can do village tours, parts of them are outside as well but definitely includes also going inside to the shops like the local craft shops, local cheese shops or pastry shops.

So that’s always a good thing to do as well if it’s not such nice weather outside.

Yeah, definitely. Well, there’s certainly plenty of activities for the kids there and I think it’s good that because there’s something really for the whole family. Mum and dad obviously might want to go and go up to the mountains and admire the views but there’s also things that the kids can do there too. Playgrounds and the marble runs and all the fun activities. So it’s definitely a family friendly destination, isn’t it?

Definitely is. And you know, also, as I said, it’s so close to each other. I mean if you’re based in Grindelwald, you can still go on the Hasliberg and it looks far away on the map but it’s actually easily reachable and as I said, you can stay numerous days and find always a new activity for each day as a family and that makes it so special.

Absolutely. I’ve been so many times to the Jungfrau Region and there are still so many things that I haven’t done so yes, you never run out of things to do, that’s for sure.

That’s true, yeah.

Is there anything else that you’d like to mention that families might be interested to know?

Yeah, I mean we’ve mostly talked about summer now of course, winter, we are a huge winter destination as well and not only skiing. So if a family wants or if kids want to start skiing, of course that’s possible. In our region as well we’ve got ski schools, skiing instructors in all of the areas you can ski, basically. And then also, of course, a lot of families, they go sledging up on the mountains and there’s so many different runs you can try out even at night. And that’s something that is for families. Also very special, I would say, because I remember when I first went sledging at night, it was so cool. It was from another world.

For me it would be magical.

Yeah, it’s very magical. It’s different as well as if you do it during the day. So for example in Grindelwald you can do it from Thursdays to Sundays during wintertime. On the Hasliberg there’s also night skiing you can do, I believe that’s every Wednesday during wintertime and so there’s some winter activities you can do as well in the region.

A true year round destination for families.

Yes, all year round.

Wonderful. Well, thank you very much, Isabelle, for sharing all that with us. I’ll put some links in the show notes for all the different places that we’ve mentioned so people can find more information if they’re interested in anything we’ve chatted about today.

Thank you very much as well to you, Carolyn. And for everyone that needs more help, I’m available as well. Of course.

Absolutely. And I’ll put the Jungfrau Region Tourism website link in the show notes as well.

Yes, perfect. That sounds so lovely.

Okay. Thanks, Isabelle.

Thank you, Carolyn. And then see you again.

You can see the full show notes and listen to this episode > here.