Are you on a holiday near Saint-Raphaёl on the Côte d’Azur and would you like to know which beach to go to? Here’s our selection of 5 best beaches for you to try out!
1. Calanque du Petit Canereit, Antheor
A beautiful, natural spot away from the crowds, without facilities. This beach is located between Agay and Théoule-sur-Mer, just after passing Antheor Plage and the train bridge. You will see a small parking lot on the right side of the scenic road. Come early in the morning to have a parking spot, and if you are really lucky, to have the beach all to yourself like we had one morning. Steep stairs lead you down to the beach, do-able with children, bring water, your water shoes, and your picnic! Snorkeling gear is also really good to bring as it is a beach with stones and a lot of fish can be seen! The second time we were there, at around 13 o’clock, at boat stopped to sell drinks and ice-cream, just in time for our dessert after the picnic! The captain of the boat said he came there every day, so do bring some money just in case. This beach is definitely one of our preferred spots!
2. Plage du Débarquement, Saint-Raphaёl
This beach is our top spot for snorkeling! An amazing amount of fish can be seen, even very close to the beach. It’s certainly because this beach has no sand but big rocks, so bring your water shoes and your snorkeling gear! We had never seen so many fish in one place in the Mediterranean before! You will see a lot of people walk around with the Decathlon snorkeling masks that have become so popular 😊. There are lifeguards on this beach, public toilets, and there is a restaurant. The view on the famous landmark of Saint-Raphaёl, l’Ile d’Or, is best from this beach, and we like to bring our stand-up paddles and paddle around the island. Paddling around the island and back to the beach takes about 35 minutes and my husband has done it with our 10 year old. The island is private property, so you cannot go on the island.
3. Tiki plage, or Plage de Camp Long, Agay
This beach, located between Agay and Saint-Raphaёl, is also known as the ‘Plage de Camp Long’. It is a creek with a nice beach with a mixture of sand and small stones. You can walk around the creek on a small foot path carved into the typical red rocks of the Estérel mountains that end up in the sea. The parking lot is relatively big compared to smaller creeks located along the well-known ‘Route de la Corniche d’Or’. The beach has a restaurant, a snack corner, a small shop, showers, public toilets, and rental of stand-up paddles, kayaks and pedal boats. Children are at ease to swim here as the water does not go steep down immediately. They can of course also search for crabs along the rocks around the creek. Tiki plage is definitely one of our preferred beaches!
4. Calanque des Anglais, Agay
Another beautiful, small beach, with typical red stones from the red rocks of the Estérel mountains. If you go all the way to the ‘official sign’ indicating the ‘Calanque des Anglais’, access to the beach is a bit more difficult then when you park at the stairs just before. From those stairs, the beach is accessible with children as well. Like all the ‘calanques’ beaches, come early and don’t forget water shoes and snorkeling gear!
This wide beach is our best spot for real sand and building sand castles! It is also the perfect beach with small children as the water is very shallow for a long while. There are parking lots along the road on both sides (payed parking). Since it is quite a long beach, there are several different beach bars and restaurants. What we like to do after a couple of hours on the beach, is go to the beach front where there are several restaurants and bars right on the beach. Some have really nice terraces! The little center also has a big shop with everything you would need for the beach, inflatable toys, beach towels, they have everything! Just don’t go to the beach near the center, as it tends to get too crowded at the end of the day. The beach is long enough to pick a spot before the town center.
Would you like to see some of the beaches as seen from above? Check out our drone video of the beautiful coast line:
A walk on the beach in the Netherlands always makes me happy. It clears your head and the surroundings are beautiful. The kids can run in the wind, jump off the dunes and they can play the ‘does the wave wet my shoes or not game’. But still, to make them contribute to a beach cleanup gives them a whole other level of understanding, and if you do a cleanup every once in a while, when you walk in nature, it may just teach them to be responsible themselves later on.
They will transform it into a treasure hunt, and they may oblige you to finally bring a treasure or two home with you (we are the proud owners of a very rusty boat propellor), but it does really teach them something valuable, and they do realize it is ridiculous what people leave in nature… Straws, bottles, plastic bags, bags with dog poo (seriously if you clean up your dog’s poo, and put it in a plastic bag, why do you leave it on the beach afterwards?). We also found a whole box of medicines, and finally, a lost Iphone that we brought back to the beach bar hoping it would then be reunited with its owner.
The children seemed a bit more aware of the trash problem and I think that in summer, when we spend even more time on the beach, they will run after their empty cookie wrapping in case the wind picks it up. Or at least, I hope so!
Switzerland has many beautiful lakes! Some are easy to access because cities are built on their shores, and some require the effort of a hike to get there. But which are the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland? We share our favorite ones with the help of other Swiss based bloggers! From hidden mountain lakes, to the bigger ones, this article will literally take you around Switzerland by its most beautiful lakes!
18 of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland!
Blausee in Berner Oberland is a small lake of an incredible blue color! The water is transparent, and you can take a short boat ride on a glass bottom boat to have a look at what’s underneath. Blausee has a very romantic setting, both for the scenery, as for the legend of the lake. The legend is about a girl who lost her loved one and cried so much that her tears filled the lake. You can see a statue of this girl on the bottom of the lake. You will reach Blausee by a short stroll through a forest. The lake is beautiful in all seasons, but we particularly liked to visit in autumn because of the colors of the trees and the reflection in the lake. Nowadays, there is an organic trout farm, and you will see many trout swimming in Blausee.
Where Oeschinensee was still a hidden gem a few years ago, its beauty as seen from the Panorama hike is now starting to get a certain fame! In winter Oeschinensee is one of the most scenic lakes for ice-skating, and in summer it is a beautiful place for hiking, or for grilling and chilling on the lake side. We loved the Panorama hike around the lake, even though the path is sometimes narrow and steep. The views from this hike are views we will never forget! You can access Oeschinensee by the cable car from Kandersteg.
To read all about Oeschinensee and Blausee, check out our article on the Kander Valley: https://letsexplore.ch/2018/10/22/the-kander-valley-in-bernese-oberland/
3. Lake Thun
By Hana from Our Swiss Experience
17.5 km long and 3.5 km wide, Lake Thun is according to me the most beautiful water reservoir in Switzerland. It is named after the nearby city of Thun, which is located on the northernmost tip of the lake and is at a half-hour drive from the capital Bern.
In summer, Lake Thun is absolutely magnificent and its great atmosphere is completed with five lovely castles scattered around the lake: Hünneg Schloss, Spiez, Oberhofen, Schadau, and Thun.
The BLS company runs boat cruises on the lake, which gives you a unique possibility to get to know the shores from another perspective. While cruising Lake Thun you can enjoy stunning views of the peaks Niesen and Stockhorn on the west side of the lake, forested slopes of Beatenberg (with the peak Niederhorn) in the east, and the snow-capped Bernese Alps in the south. And you just take notes for your future hiking experience since there are many beautiful trails in the neighborhood – e.g. you can hike to Blueme lookout tower, you can experience adrenaline on the suspension bridge in Sigriswil, or visit St. Beatus Caves.
To find our more on cruising Lake Thun, check out Hana’s post with 6 reasons to cruise Lake Thun!
4. Lake Brienz
By Tamara from Part-Time working Hockey Mom
A great starting point to explore the area is Giessbach Falls. After a short hike that allows you to actually walk round the back of the fall, admire the fairytale-like castle / hotel. Better yet, enjoy a cup of coffee on the terrace overlooking the lake and the mountains. Board the historical funicular that is taking you through woods, over bridges and alongside waterfalls down to the lake Brienz.
Many, many water activities are offered at the lake: surfing, stand-up paddling, water skiing, wakeboarding, canoeing, kayaking, and of course good old swimming. If you don’t feel like getting wet, enjoy a scenic cruise to Interlaken Ost from where you may explore a number of exciting sights, the most popular – yet pricey – being a day trip to Jungfraujoch, “Top of Europe”.
More of Tamara’s tips on the region: https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2020/08/day-trip-to-bernese-alps.html
A short hike from the top of Grindelwald’s First mountain will lead you to this beautiful mountain lake! Plenty of space around to find your own quiet picnic spot around the lake to soak up some views and try to catch a perfect photo of a reflection in this beautiful Swiss mountain lake! After the hike, the Grindelwald first mountain offers you some fun alternatives to get back down again, like by Trottibike, mountain kart, or zip lines.
More information about activites on Grindelwald First and Bachalpsee: https://letsexplore.ch/2020/07/31/grindelwald-first-the-tissot-cliff-walk-and-the-bachalpsee-hike/
6. Moiry Lake
By Corina from Packed Again
Deep in Val d’Anniviers in Valais, above the pretty little village of Grimentz you will find the Moiry Valley with its most beautiful mountain lake. As you approach Moiry you can see from far the massive dam wall.
Moiry Lake offers a vast range of mountain activities, whether it be relaxing at the foot of Moiry glacier, hiking around Moiry Lake, pumping some adrenaline on the Via Ferrata or enjoying an ice-cream at the local restaurant whilst observing the lake. We love to visit during the late summer months as the lake has plenty of water due to all the snow melting and therefore the turquoise colour of the water is just out of this world.
Moiry lake definitely belongs on the list of `easily reachable and most beautiful mountain lakes in Switzerland`. Check out our Moiry Guide: https://packedagain.com/moiry-lake-moiry-glacier-hike/
Once visited, you will always come back to Moiry.
7. Stellisee, Zermatt
By Iva Kostadinova
The Stellisee (2.537 m) is among the most famous and idyllic mountain lakes of Zermatt. You can get here by cable car from Sunnegga and hike to Stellisee as a part of the 5 Lakes Hike (Stellisee, Grindjisee, Grünsee, Moosjisee and Leisee).
Stellisee is a 20-minute walk from the Blauherd summit. To get to Blauherd, you take an underground funicular from Zermatt to Sunnegga and then catch a chairlift from Sunnega to Blauherd. If you hike from Blauherd to Stellisee and back, this short hike takes only about an hour. The path to get there has some rocky parts, so wear good shoes. You will be treated by a breathtaking view of the Matterhorn along the hiking path, and its reflection in the Stellisee lake gives you wonderful views and reflections of Switzerland’s most famous mountain in the water. Swimming is only possible at Grünsee and Leisee.
8. Taney Lake
You have to earn it to see it, as to get to the Lac de Taney, the only way is up! A short, but steep hike in the Chablais region of the Valais you will not regret. Once you have passed the Col, be ready for some postcard views and mountain restaurants. In summer, you can swim in the lake, and there are some mountain huts to stay overnight.
More information about a hike to this lake in the Valais: https://letsexplore.ch/2020/05/17/lac-de-taney-hike-valais-switzerland/
The amazing color from above, and the little island in the middle. This lake will surely be able to please even the most spoilt traveler! Caumasee in Flims definitely deserves a place on any Swiss lakes list! Tropical vibes guaranteed in a mountain setting! You can walk down and back up, or use the elevator. In summer, you pay an entrance fee to the lake. There is a restaurant, a snack, a playground, and stand-up paddle renting on-site. Our top tip on visiting this lake: come early, or late afternoon, as it can sometimes get a bit busy in summer.
Caumasee’s little sister, Crestasee, is usually less crowded, but not less beautiful all the same. The water is transparent here as well, and you so you can see the rocks or fallen trees lying on the bottom of this lake. Swimming here is divine, surely, a bit cold sometimes, but divine! You can rent stand up paddles or a glass bottom canoe. The lake is a bit smaller, and a half an hour of renting will be enough to go around the lake. The lake has a nice restaurant on site and a large grass ‘beach’. One of our favorite lakes in Switzerland!
More information about Caumasee and Crestasee: https://letsexplore.ch/2020/08/14/flims-laax-a-swiss-paradise-for-outdoor-loving-families/
By Alison from Museum Travelers
In a region known for majestic mountains, Davosee is a beautiful gem and one of the first places visitors see when visiting Davos. Davosee is great for all ages with a paved 4km walking track, perfect for strollers and wheelchairs. Tame squirrels amuse the little ones and the sculpture park of Resli A. Marugg at the north end is a nice interlude. In summer, wakeboarders, boats and paddle boarders flock to the lake, but be warned the water is not warm, 15C in summer! For more adventurous hikers trails lead up to Seehorn and to Davos Wolfgang, giving spectacular views of the village, lake and alps, as well as seeing flocks of sheep and the famous red Glacier Express train along the way. End your day with a local craft beer or pub meal at Bachi’s Strandbad or play a game of beach volleyball. In winter the lake is frozen, perfect for ice skating and the path becomes a cross-country ski route. Davosee is an easy 10-minute walk from Davos Dorf train station, or bus route 1 passes the lake about every 30 minutes. There’s lots of car parking, for cars and camping cars, at 1 franc an hour.
12. Lai da Palpuogna
By Tanya from Swiss Family Fun
This gorgeous lake was once voted the most beautiful place in Switzerland and for good reason. It feels remote although it’s only a short walk from the road, surrounded by mountain peaks and forest, making lovely reflections in the water. The walk around the lake only takes 20-30 minutes, so plan more for a leisurely stroll and picnic than a demanding hike.
The path is not suitable for strollers, but it’s an easy short walk and small children should be fine. There are several picnic areas around the lake, some with grill pits and firewood, some with benches and tables. But anywhere you choose along the lakeshore will be perfect for soaking in the view.
For more information on this beautiful lake in Graubünden, check out all Tanya’s tips on Swiss Family Fun: https://swissfamilyfun.com/lai-da-palpuogna/
13. Lake Zürich
By Vanda from the The Yogi Wanderer
It’s not an exaggeration to say gorgeous Lake Zurich is the epicenter of Switzerland’s largest city. Almost all social and leisure activities revolve around this huge and splendid body of water, especially during the warmer months.
From the Expovina wine fair to Zurich’s international theater festival, from the city’s triennial festival to the largest techno parade in the world, there’s no shortage of events happening in and around Lake Zurich. All year round the lake is also a popular meeting point for an improvised lunch break, running, or cycling. And in the summer hundreds flock to its pleasant shores for a barbecue or a swim. There are also several places where you can rent stand up paddleboards, pedal boats and even small motorboats (no license needed) and spend a lovely day on the water with spectacular views of the Alps as a backdrop.
But one of my favorite things to do in Zurich is taking a cruise on Lake Zurich and admiring the city and its surroundings from a different perspective. Departing from Bürkliplatz, the short round trip takes around 1,5 hours. Alternatively, you can also take the boat to the picturesque town of Rapperswil, on Lake Zurich’s riviera.
14. Lake Zug
By Kristin from Swiss Family Travel
I may be a little bias as the lake of Zug is the background to my everyday life. It is the first thing I see when I open the curtains in the mornings and accompanies me on my commute and is the scene of many of late summer cooldowns. With the Rigi at one end and the city of Zug at the other, you can not only ride around it on your bike (mostly on the road), but you can also swim in it – year-round if you dare enter with some locals in the winter. For families with small kids, the best place to dip your toes in is at the sandy beach at the Strandbad Zug. But the villages of Oberwil, Cham, Hünenberg, Walchwil, Arth and Immensee are all worthy of a stop. And for those who would prefer to admire from the shores, make sure you don’t miss one of Zug’s famous sunsets. Grab a drink, settle in along the banks in Zug’s old town and bask in the golden hues as the sun sets over the alps.
To read more of Kristin’s articles on the area around Zug: https://swissfamilytravel.com/blog?offset=1512722019006&category=Zug
15. Lake Hallwyl
By Tamara from Part-Time working Hockey Mom
My «home lake» so to speak. Start at Schloss Hallwyl, a water castle built in 1265. If you have six hours, you may hike entirely around the lake. If you want to take it easier, walk 15 – 20 minutes until you’ll arrive at the Seengen jetty, a nature preservation area with lots of ducks, gulls and swans.
Take the cruise boat to Seerose Meisterschwanden, a beautiful resort and spa. It is very popular for weddings but also for offside business meetings, or for a meal in one of the many restaurants.
Just a short walk away there is the less posh “Strandbad” where people swim, enjoy their floating devices and stand-up paddles. You may also rent a pedalo, a rowboat or a motorboat.
When I was in elementary school, one winter was particularly cold, and a good part of the lake was frozen, so we went there to skate – it felt somewhat bizarre!
In summer 2019 there were rumors of several cayman sightings in the lake, and people were worried but also excited and curious to find that creature as well. As it turned out later, it was a 105cm tall wels catfish.
More information about the area around Lake Hallwyl: https://thethreegerbers.blogspot.com/2016/09/top-ten-thursday-hometown.html
Canton Geneva and Vaud
16. Lac Léman
Lac Léman, often referred to as ‘Geneva Lake’ in English, is a very large lake, and stretches from Geneva to beyond Montreux in the Canton Vaud. Lac Léman is partly in Switzerland, and partly in France. It has dreamy castles which overlook the lake, like Chateau Chillon, Chateau de Prangins, or the castles of Morges and Nyon, and the UNESCO world heritage are of the vineyards of Lavaux are located on the shores of this lake as well. Lac Léman is a perfect lake for stand up paddling, for scenic boat rides, and in Geneva, even for boat bus lines ‘les mouettes’ to cross the lake in style for the price of a simple bus ticket. What we love most about Lac Léman is the wide view on the mountains, the Alps with the Mont Blanc on one side, and the Jura mountains on the other side.
If you are visiting Geneva, then check out our article on Things to do in Geneva with kids.
17. Lac de Joux
We really discovered Lac de Joux in the Canton Vaud this summer. One of the advantages of this crazy year, is that we went to find less crowded places. We found that at Lac de Joux, which is a perfect place to chill around the lake on a warm summer day. The lake side is surrounded by nature, with a path in the forest just besides the lake. Just pick your spot to hang out, whether it is a public picnic table, or any spot on the beach where you can grill something on an open fire. We loved to discover this lake, which also has a small sand beach, the Pointe de Sable beach. In winter, the lake sometimes freezes and when it does, people come from far to ice-skate on it!
All about Lac de Joux: https://letsexplore.ch/2020/06/14/lac-de-joux-a-pearl-in-the-jura-vaud/
18. Lago Maggiore
No Swiss lakes tour is complete without a lake in Canton Ticino! The Lago Maggiore is partly in the Ticino in Switzerland, and partly in Italy and is a beautiful and big lake! There are beautiful villages on the lake, like Ascona, and places with incredible views from above like from the Madonna del Sasso sanctuary in Locarno. Another place we loved is a restaurant with stunning views over the lake, called Osteria Borei in Brissago.
To read all our tips on a trip to the Locarno, Ascona, and Valle Verzasca area in Canton Ticino: https://letsexplore.ch/2019/11/07/ticino-ascona-locarno-valle-verzasca/
Of course, there are more beautiful lakes in Switzerland! Lake Lucerne, and Lac Constance for example, just until now not yet discovered enough by us at Let’s Explore. And the lake of Neuchatel, which we have so far just been to on a clouded day. And how about you? What is your favorite lake in Switzerland? Let us know in comments below!
Neuchatel, or Neuenburg in German, is located on the Lake of Neuchatel in Switzerland. Neuchatel is a colorful city! It has narrow streets, colored houses, many frescoes and paintings, a street which makes you think you are in the South of Europe, and cheerful Fisherman’s cabins by the lake. We loved Neuchatel and were surprised we had actually never been here before. Now we know, we will for sure be back soon!
Things to do in Neuchatel
Belle Epoque Scavenger hunt to discover the Old Town of Neuchatel
Discover the beautiful Old Town of Neuchatel through this fun and interactive scavenger hunt suitable for the whole family! The Belle Epoque scavenger hunt is very well done and starts right in the center of town by opening the door of an old tram carriage. After a short movie in that tram which will transport you to the Belle Epoque period in time, off you go for about 2 hours of fun in Neuchatel! You will solve puzzles and search for frescoes which will guide you along the most beautiful places in the town center!
You can get your scavenger hunt kit at the tourism office in Neuchatel. We cannot say more, as you of course will have to discover the rest for yourself.
Where to eat in Neuchatel:
A highly recommended place for lunch in the Old Town of Neuchatel, is the restaurant Brasserie Le Cardinal, which is beautifully decorated in Art Nouveau style. The menu has most things you would find in a Parisian Brasserie, and the staff is super friendly.
Their website: https://www.lecardinal-brasserie.ch
A stroll by the Lake in Neuchatel
At the end of the scavenger hunt, you will be back right where you started, close to the tourism office by the lake. Take a moment to look at all the colorful fisherman’s cabins by the lake. Not one is the same, and we loved their happy colors!
Rue des Chavannes
Make sure you are on the lookout for this street during the scavenger hunt, or your stroll in the old town, because the Rue des Chavannes will transport you to the South of Europe instantly! Colored houses and laundry hanging out, a perfect Instagram spot in Neuchatel!
What to taste in Neuchatel:
Are there any local specialties from Neuchatel we were wondering? Well, several actually! Neuchatel is home to Suchard chocolate. Philippe Suchard opened his first shop in Neuchatel in 1826. What we didn’t know is that Suchard is also behind the candy every Swiss really knows: Sugus. The first 2 letters of Sugus simply come from Suchard. And then there is Absinthe which originates from the Val-de-Travers region in the Canton of Neuchatel. In Neuchatel, you will find several products with Absinthe, like for instance Absinthe chocolates!
Laténium, the biggest archeology museum in Switzerland
Just outside of Neuchatel, in Hauterive, you will find the largest archeology museum of Switzerland, Laténium. The Laténium is located on the lake, in a beautifully designed building. The Laténium takes you through the history of mankind in the region, from the Neanderthaler men, until now. The treasures found in this region are really amazing, and a lot of them were found on the bottom of the lake. The collection of Roman pieces is also impressive, which is not surprising, since Avenches (former Aventicum and Roman capital of Switzerland) is just across the lake. Stones were brought from Neuchatel to Avenches in Roman times to build the city, and some treasures from Avenches also ended up in Neuchatel.
The museum also has a special Menhir stone representing a person, the Menhir has a face, and hands. We had never seen that before!
On the outside of the museum, you can visit reconstructions of pile dwelling settlements, and a small playground for kids.
More information on Laténium: https://latenium.ch/en/
Noiraigue train station, the gateway to hikes and visits in the region of Neuchatel
Noiraigue is in the Val-de-Travers, and is the starting point of many hikes, and cultural visits like museums. At the train station, which also serves as a post office, and as a shop, you will find a great selection of local products to complete your picnic! Cheese, sausages, and chocolate with, or without, Absinthe.
The Pays de Neuchatel is surrounded by beautiful nature. One of the most famous sites is the Creux du Van, which is an impressive cliff. There is also the beautiful hike along the Gorges de l’Areuse. Since we were in Neuchatel on a rainy weekend, we have not done this hike yet, but we will return soon as this hike really seems beautiful.
The region is not only home to natural highlights, but also to many interesting cultural sites. It will be difficult to choose from the many options! Close to Noiraigue, you will find the asphalt mines which you can visit. Our son had been with school and loved it.
More information: https://www.mines-asphalte.ch
We chose to go to the small town Motiers, which has a lot of local museums for a small town! Motiers has the Musée Jean-Jacques Rousseau, the Regional Museum (Musée Régional du Val-de-Travers), and the ones we visited, the Maison de l’Absinthe and the Musée de la Grange.
Maison de l’Absinthe
Maison de l’Absinthe is much more than a museum, and that is one of the things we loved about it. Maison de l’Absinthe is also the local post office (would that not be the most special post office in Switzerland?), a place where you can take cooking classes, and an important regional museum which tells you about the history and culture around Absinthe which has its birthplace in the Val-de-Travers region! I must say before our visit I did not know Absinthe was from Switzerland! What we loved was the sweet smell in the museum, and the Absinthe syrup you can taste and which our children loved.
Musée de la Grange
Just across the street from the Maison de l’Absinthe, you will find another small museum, Musée de la Grange which is specifically dedicated to Aboriginal Art from Australia. You will not need much time for a visit, but it is a beautiful exhibition.
We stopped in the town Gorgier on the Lac de Neuchatel to see the historic ‘Pavillon des Bains’. The pavilion dates from 1907 and has a separate changing room for men and women.
Where to stay in Neuchatel:
We stayed at a Bio Hotel close to Neuchatel. Bio Hotel l’Aubier has an on-site farm with cows and produce and serve their own milk and cheese in their restaurant. The hotel also has a shop with biological products, and their own cheese and dairy products can be bought in the shop. The restaurant is good and a choice is given at dinner between a vegetarian, or meat based menu.
More information on this hotel: https://www.aubier.ch/en/friendly-organic.html
If you prefer to stay in the old town center of Neuchatel, l’Aubier also has a hotel there, at a beautiful location in the historic heart: https://www.aubier.ch/en/organic-cafe-hotel.html
Our trip to Neuchatel was hosted, our reviews and opinions are our own.
If you liked this article, you may also be interested in our article on Murten and Avenches:
Flims – Laax, a paradise for outdoor lovers! Flims and Laax are two villages located in the eastern part of Switzerland, in the Canton Graubünden. What struck us was the diversity of the scenery and activities, this region has something for everyone! Kilometers of hiking paths and biking trails suitable for all levels, and turquoise mountain lakes which make you feel you are in the tropics! Flims – Laax is a very family friendly destination. There are nice mountain restaurants with playgrounds, and there is a hotel resort with a skatepark in front of it!
Family Hikes in Flims – Laax
Conn-Bächli, an easy hike along the historic irrigation channel
There are many irrigation channels in Switzerland. In the Valais they are called Bisses, in Graubünden they are called Bächli. We hiked the Conn-Bächli trail in Flims, which is a cute trail of about 1h30, suitable for the whole family (but too narrow for strollers). Fun for children is to try to float a boat in the small stream. You can either pick up a boat kit at the tourism office or try to make a boat yourself with wat you find in nature.
Starting point of the hike: At the Caumasee Parking. You hike for about 5 minutes in direction of Caumasee and then you will quickly see the sign for the start of the Conn-Bächli hike.
At several crossings, you will be able to leave the hike to get back on the normal footpath towards Conn, where the viewing platform Il Spir on the Rhine Gorge is located. Just before you arrive at this platform, there is a nice restaurant: Restaurant Conn.
Il Spir, the view over the Rhine Gorge and the Swiss Horseshoe Bend
One of the must-sees in Switzerland is the beautiful Rhine Gorge, and particularly this viewpoint where the river makes this beautiful curve. The gorge is often called the Little Swiss Grand Canyon, and the curve reminds most people of the Horseshoe Bend in Arizona. The platform Il Spir is a modern installation, but very impressive should you be afraid of heights. The color of the water depends on the weather. Our photo is on a cloudy day.
Trutg dil Flem Hike, along the river Flem
This was one of the most beautiful hikes we have done in Switzerland, and we are not surprised to hear this is actually an award-winning hike! The Trutg dil Flem hike takes you along the river Flem, with beautiful waterfalls and bridges perfectly designed to fit into the landscape. Bridges, footpaths, stairs, the hike really is beautifully maintained. If you would do the entire hike, it would be a long one, but the good thing about this trail is that you can choose where you start and get off of the chairlift corresponding your chosen starting point. The same goes for the way down. You can either walk all the way down to Flims or decide to go down by chairlift for the last part from Foppa. On the brochure of the Tourism Office in Flims, you will find approximate hiking times, and restaurants for ease of planning this hike which is really helpful. For the hike, please bear in mind that children should stay with their parents. Make sure you wear good hiking shoes and preferably do the hike with good weather.
What we did at Trutg dil Flem:
We took 2 chairlifts up from Flims, to Naraus. From Naraus we hiked towards the Trutg dil Flem hiking trail in about 25 minutes. Then, we hiked along the water for about 1 hour until we got to the mountain restaurant in Startgels for lunch. Then we hiked all the way down to Flims. This took us about 2,5 hours of hiking time. Not counting our time for the delicious lunch at the restaurant.
Caumasee, all you need to know for a visit to this tropical paradise lake!
Caumasee Lake makes you think you have just arrived in the Caribbean! Its amazing turquoise color as seen from above is amazing. Caumasee can have a good temperature in summer and so swimming here really is divine! You can rent stand up paddles, pedal boats, or swim to the island for that adventure feeling. There is an on-site restaurant, a playground and a self-service snack. From the parking lot it is about a 10 minutes walk down to the lake. There is also an elevator going up and down.
A visit to Caumasee has become popular in the past few years, and therefore, here are some tips for your visit:
- Best is to come early as parking is limited. If the parking is full, you may find yourself a bit far away.
- You pay an entrance fee to the lake, and you can get your tickets in advance on the Inside LAAX app. (We will talk about this app later). By purchasing your tickets in advance, you can skip the line and enter through the fast-track line.
- People start to leave the lake by the end of the afternoon, so if you would like to enjoy this beautiful lake without too many people, then make sure you bring your snacks and stay at the lake until the beginning of the evening.
Crestasee, another paradise for swimming
We loved Crestasee! Crestasee has this same amazing color as Caumasee, but is a much smaller lake. We never found it really busy and swimming here was really superb! You will find picnic tables in the shade at Crestasee, you can rent a glass bottom canoe which really is a good thing to do as the water is so clear you will see the rocks and fallen trees on the bottom of the lake. You can also rent a stand up paddle board. Crestasee lake has a nice restaurant on-site.
You pay an entrance fee to Crestasee lake when you arrive.
Family Biking adventures in Flims – Laax
Flims – Laax is a dream for all lovers of mountainbiking, and the perfect area for a family biking adventure! Since we didn’t have much biking experience in the mountains yet, we had the opportunity to enjoy a biking lesson by LAAX School. This lesson helped us to learn about the right techniques, about braking, and when to stand up or sit down. Even though we may have had different skills levels within our family, we really enjoyed to do this activity together as a family! More information on biking lessons with LAAX School: https://laaxschool.com/
Next day, next biking trail
After our lesson, we were ready to go on a trail on our own! We took trail 246 from Flims and cycled towards Crestasee first. For families it is great and good motivation for the kids to have several stops! After a refreshing dip in the lake we continued our biking route towards Trin Mulin. Some parts were steep up, but we had electric bikes for the adults, and at some point our kids grabbed our arm to benefit from the assistance a bit as well. The views along the road are beautiful, and we made several snacks and drinks stops. The trail is a round loop, and gets you back to Flims along Caumasee, where you can of course go for a second dip in the lake! In total this day we cycled for 20 km’s and we really had a blast! If you are only with adults, then you will do this trail easily because the electric bikes really make it effortless. Our kids are 10 and 13, and with them it was really do-able as well!
Flims – Laax has many many more biking trails, and even the most experienced mountain biker will find everything they need here! On a next occasion, I think we may try the Runca trail, which really looked great and adventurous with all its bumps and turns.
What if it rains during my stay in Flims – Laax?
Your kids will be happy when it rains in Laax! Huh? Yes! Because Laax has one of the biggest Indoor Skills Parks of Switzerland, the Freestyle Academy! Trampolines, skatepark, jumps, all is there and our kids absolutely loved going there. Check the weather forecast and make sure you reserve by e-mail in advance! Their website: http://www.freestyleacademy.com/laax/en/welcome/
Inside LAAX app
This app is an absolute must to download before your trip and it really makes your stay in Flims – Laax a lot easier! Once you have arrived, you can upload your guest card in the app, which will give you discounts, for instance at Lake Caumasee! In high season, make sure you use this app to book your restaurant table in advance to avoid all is fully booked, and you can also order take-away food, which is very convenient for restaurants close to where you are staying.
What to eat in the Canton Graubünden?
Switzerland has many great dishes which often differ per Canton. As we love trying out food, and definitely local food, I would like to recommend everyone to try the local dish from Graubünden called Capuns! Capuns have Spätzle dough inside, often with pieces of dried meat and are wrapped in chard leaf. They are boiled in a creamy sauce and are often served with grated cheese on top. Another thing to try is the dessert Bündner Nusstorte, also very delicious, and there even is a special one from Laax! More local is not possible.
Where to eat in Flims – Laax?
There are quite a lot of restaurants in Flims and in Laax, but since we love local dishes, here are a few restaurant recommendations:
- Restaurant Tegia Larnags: this restaurant is located just above the Rocks Resort in Laax. It is a short steep walk going there, and so down on the way back. Very delicious local food, nice decoration and terrace, a playground for the kids, and even an enormous sand pit they can play with. The views from the terrace are peaceful and the Capuns are delicious! Their website: http://www.larnags.ch/en/home.html
- Restaurant Startgels: this is where we ate during our Trutg dil Flem hike. The food was very good, the staff very friendly and the view from the terrace priceless! Their website: https://grandislaax.ch/en/Ustria-Startgels
- Restaurant Stalla Alp Nagens. We had our eye set on this restaurant as we had seen and read good things about this place. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to go this time, but it sure is on our list for next time! Their website: https://www.stalla-alpnagens.ch/en/
Where to stay in Laax?
We stayed in the rocksresort in Laax which is a beautifully designed resort with very modern, fully equipped, and comfortable apartments. Everything you need is on-site: the cable car, a super market, bike rental, shops, a nice coffee place, a cool playground for kids, and most of all….. it has an enormous skatepark and curvy bike track right in front of the resort…. Our kids were super excited when they saw this skate- and bike park! The rocksresort is often in high demand, so make sure to reserve in advance.
Their website: https://www.rocksresort.com/en/
Flims – Laax is a very good choice for a family vacation in Switzerland!
Part of our trip was hosted, our reviews and opinions are our own.
Mürren, a perfect chocolate box village located at 1638m, and above the famous Lauterbrunnen Valley of waterfalls in the Berner Oberland region. Mürren is a small and car free village, surrounded by beautiful nature, and with majestic views on the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger mountains.
The nature of the Lauterbrunnen Valley has been the inspiration for the landscape in the movies Lord of the Rings, with its green fields, high cliffs, and waterfalls.
Things to do in Mürren
Allmendhubel in Mürren, playground with a view and plenty of hikes
Allmendhubel is Mürren’s local mountain and is easily reached from the small town center by a funicular which takes you to the top in only 4 minutes. Allmendhubel offers a beautiful view on the Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger.
At the arrival at Allmendhubel, kids will be happy to see a beautiful playground with a view, and there is a mountain restaurant on site. A short Flower trail is an educational short hike you can take with kids, while plenty of signs will explain them all about the flowers they see.
North Face Trail from Allmendhubel to Mürren
We decided to take the North Face Trail back down to Mürren. A beautiful hike which will take you about 2h30. The trail offers the best panoramas, and signs with explanations about the mountains you are facing are found along the way. There are a few mountain huts on the trail, so you could stop for refreshments. The trail going down to Mürren first takes you through alpine meadows, then you will have a short climb, and the trail continues through a forest a bit, and then the road to Mürren. Really highly recommended hike, as the views really are amazing!
Schilthorn Piz Gloria from Mürren
My name is Bond… James Bond… Yes! Schilthorn Piz Gloria was a famous James Bond film location from the movie ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’. The cable car that goes up to Schilthorn leaves directly from Mürren. It is a steep, and long cable car that first takes you to the intermediate station Birg. At Birg, you can try the thrill walk along the cliff, yikes!
Then up to Schilthorn, another cable car. On top of Schilthorn there is a James Bond exhibition, a helicopter flight simulator, and a turning restaurant. Make sure you reserve your spot by the window in advance, and try out their famous 007 hamburgers.
If you stay in Mürren, take advantage to go up early so you avoid the crowds that come up to Schilthorn from further away.
Other activities in Mürren
Mürren has a Sports Center with an indoor swimming pool. There even is an outdoor jacuzzi with a view, but that is accessible as of 12 years old only. There also is a cool pump track in Mürren in summer, so if you go to Mürren with kids, you may want to bring their scooter bikes.
Where to eat in Mürren
Café Liv is a cute small coffee place on the main street in Mürren with a terrace, trampoline and big chess play for kids. It serves biological and vegan products, banana bread and home made ice-tea.
Hotel Alpenblick: Not everyone will stumble upon Hotel Alpenblick as it is in the opposite direction when you arrive at the train station in Mürren, just 15 meters back, right besides the train line. Someone gave us the tip to eat here and we were not disappointed! We had the roasted chicken and the spicy curry sausage, very good. The staff was also very friendly. Good address for dinner in Mürren!
Where to stay in Mürren
We rented a perfect apartment in the center of Mürren and loved staying here. The evenings in Mürren are quiet since the day visitors will have gone. The apartment has a view on the Jungfrau and had plenty of space. To see this recommendation, you can click on the image.
Excursions from Mürren
Wengen is in easy reach when on a holiday in Mürren. You just go down to Lauterbrunnen, and a scenic train ride takes you to Wengen in less than 15 minutes. The mountain top Männlichen with its beautiful playground with a view is a must-do for families. An easy Panorama Hike or a ready-to-go Cheese fondue backpack for a fondue in the outdoors is highly recommended as well. For all the information on this trip, check out our article on Wengen here: https://letsexplore.ch/2020/07/28/wengen-mannlichen-a-playground-with-a-view-and-a-panorama-hike/
Beautiful scenery and mountain fun! Grindelwald is another fun day trip from Mürren!
Grindelwald has something for everyone! Whether you are looking to hike to a beautiful mountain lake, or you are interesting in thrilling cliff walks or mountain adventures such as big tyroliennes, karting or scooter bike trips down the mountain! Check out our article on Grindelwald to see all there is to do on the beautiful First mountain: https://letsexplore.ch/2020/07/31/grindelwald-first-the-tissot-cliff-walk-and-the-bachalpsee-hike/
Jungfraujoch Top of Europe
One of Switzerland’s highlights is the train ride to the Jungfrau Top of Europe. The Jungfrau train is the highest altitude train in Europe and takes you in 35 minutes from the Kleine Scheidegg station to the top of the Jungfrau. This train is best to reserve online in advance as it can get busy. From Lauterbrunnen you can take the train to Kleine Scheidegg directly. This train ride is definitely already beautiful and gently takes you up the mountain. At Kleine Scheidegg you will then change trains to get on the Jungfraubahn. The Jungfrau train has a first stop at an ice lake, where you can get off the train to see the glacier for a few minutes before the train continues. When you arrive on top, you can get up to the sphynx to take in all the views. The Aletsch Glacier can be very well seen from here. You can also walk in the eternal snow, have lunch, or just buy a sandwich. Recommended time on top: for us 2 hours of time was enough.
At Kleine Scheidegg you can either have a drink at the historical Hotel Bellevue, or go a bit further to one of the mountain restaurants.
Lauterbrunnen, the valley of 72 waterfalls
Beautiful Lauterbrunnen! Lauterbrunnen is most known for its waterfall the Staubbachfall, which makes an impressive drop right off the cliff and which can be seen in almost the whole village. You can walk towards the waterfall, and even go partly up on a rather steep path.
The main street of Lauterbrunnen can sometimes be a bit busy as Lauterbrunnen always attracts many visitors. The best lunch we had in Lauterbrunnen was at the restaurant of Camping Jungfrau. They serve local food, and you still have a view on the waterfall.
We loved visiting the Trummelbachfälle, 10 impressive waterfalls, partly underground, with water running down at 20.000L per second! When you visit Trummelbachfälle, you will first go up inside of the mountain with an elevator, and then you walk down, partly inside and partly outside. We had never seen anything like this site and were very impressed! Do not miss these waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen!
Swimming Pool in Lauterbrunnen
If you visit Lauterbrunnen in summer, make sure you bring your bathing clothes as Lauterbrunnen has a small, but nice public swimming pool with probably one of the best views in the world!
Where to stay in Lauterbrunnen
Hotels in Lauterbrunnen can be a bit expensive. In case you would however like to stay in the town itself we saw this hotel which looked good, centrally located, and less expensive.
How to get from Lauterbrunnen to Mürren
There are 2 cable cars in Lauterbrunnen going up to Mürren. The first one leaves right from the train station and is well indicated. This cable car takes you up in only 4 minutes and after that a short scenic train ride takes you to Mürren.
The second cable car is the Stechelbergbahn, which is a more spectacular cable car as it goes up along the impressive cliff and waterfalls. It takes you to Gimmelwald first, and then you get on a second cable car to Mürren. The Stechelbergbahn arrives in Mürren exactly where you take the cable car to Schilthorn Piz Gloria.
Getting there by car
Mürren is a car-free town, and if you plan on going there by car, you will have to park your car in Lauterbrunnen. Best is to park your car at the parking lot at the train station, but as this region is very popular, you may want to reserve your parking spot in advance! If you don’t reserve, you may end up waiting in line for a while. More information on reserving a parking space: https://www.jungfrau.ch/shop/en/parkticket/. A second parking option would be at the Stechelbergbahn.
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Grindelwald is another beautiful place in the Jungfrau region in Switzerland, and apart from stunning views, it also offers its visitors plenty of activities in summer on the mountain First. A popular hike on top of First is the hike to the Bachalpsee lake, which is one of the many picturesque mountain lakes in Switzerland! For those looking for some fun or thrills, Grindelwald First is a good destination as the Tissot Cliff Walk is located right here, and the First mountain has plenty of alternative suggestions for the way down for you!
We first went to the top of First. It was cloudy when we arrived and so we started with our hike to Bachalpsee. Bachalpsee is a beautiful mountain lake, and it can be reached in about 50 minutes from the top of First. It starts with a steep part though. The total elevation gain was about 110m. We ate our picnic by the lake, and the panorama during the hike, and at the lake, is really beautiful. In summer some people swim in the lake, but it is quite cold though. This hike can be done with children, and we even saw some strollers with big wheels. A carrier would still be easier. See photos below to get an idea of the hiking path.
Tissot Cliff Walk at Grindelwald First
We hiked back to the First cable car, and that’s right where the Tissot Cliff Walk is located. The cliff walk is a footbridge along the cliff, with in the middle a viewing platform. Highly recommended if you are not afraid of heights. The Cliff Walk will take you about 15 minutes.
The cable car to Grindelwald First, and different activities
The cable car to First from Grindelwald is a long cable car, and it is very well organized. There are 3 stops during the 25 minutes ride to the top and the activities at each stop are well indicated, including an eventual waiting time for the activities at the stops. There is the First Flyer (a kind of Tyrolienne), the First Glider (in the Flyer you are seated, in the glider you go head first and fly down like a bird), there is a part where you can go down to the next station by mountain kart, and at the last station, Bort, you can take a Trottibike down. Trottibikes are big mountain scooters which are easy to operate. The Trottibike is the activity we did, because the Flyer was closed on the day we went, and our youngest son didn’t have the weight to do it (you have to weigh at least 35 kilos). The Trottibike activity was an activity we loved to do as a family, riding down the mountain while enjoying the beautiful views and green mountain fields. Highly recommended! Minimum required height for this activity is 125cm.
More information on ticket prices for the cable car and the activities in Grindelwald: https://shop.jungfrauregion.swiss/jrt_jr_en/tickets/bergbahn/angebote/grindelwald-first
The Tissot Cliff Walk is for free.
How to get to Grindelwald
Grindelwald has its train station and therefore can easily be reached. From Lauterbrunnen, we went by train, and that took us about 40 minutes switching trains once.
Grindelwald also has a cable car connection to Männlichen in Wengen from Grindelwald Terminal, so if you are in Grindelwald, check out our article on Wengen as well:
Wengen is a small town in the Jungfrau region in Switzerland and is a popular destination in winter and in summer. When you go in summer, a trip to the Männlichen mountain is perfect for hiking and soaking up the views on some of the most famous Swiss mountain peaks!
The cable car to Männlichen leaves from the small center of Wengen. The cable car gives you the option of traveling inside, or on the roof top of the cable car! The trip up is quite steep, so thrills guaranteed if you deside to travel on the roof.
Once on top of Männlichen (2.225m above sea level), you will immediately be amazed by the view. The Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger on one side, and as far as Lake Thun on the other side!
To the left you will find the Royal Walk, a short but steep hike towards a view point, and to the right, you will find one of the most beautiful playgrounds in the world, and the start of the kids friendly, and quite flat, panorama hike.
You will immediately recognize this playground with its huge cow with a slide and plenty more. This must be one of the most beautiful playgrounds in the world because of its views, and the main problem is getting the kids to leave this playground to start the hike. There is a restaurant with a terrace on site for refreshments.
Hiking on Männlichen
There are plenty of hikes to do on Männlichen. The Royal Walk to the viewpoint, the Lieselotte educational cow trail for kids towards the Holenstein intermediate station (a hike of about 1h30), and the Panorama Hike, which is the one we did. The Panorama hike leads you in the direction of Kleine Scheidegg, and is a mainly flat hike which is very accessible for families. It is also a popular hike, so if you go on a weekend, you may find it a bit crowded. The hike is absolutely breathtaking though. We hiked back and forth for about 2 hours, but we stopped in the middle and found ourselves a spot in the surrounding green meadows to enjoy a cheese fondue with a view!
Cheese fondue with a view in Wengen
You can order a Fondue backpack at the tourism office in Wengen and pick that up before you set off to Männlichen! No matter which hiking trail you choose, it is always easy to find a lonely spot in nature to enjoy a cheese fondue with a view! The backpack contains all you need, you only need to choose and bring your own drinks. The cheese, the fondue pan, cutlery, paper plates, all is in the backpack! The fondue costs CHF 15 per person (or per portion if your kids are not big eaters), and you pay a CHF 50 deposit for the backpack. Highly recommended typical Swiss activity!
More information on where to order your fondue backpack here: https://wengen.swiss/en/summer/product/page/fondue-backpack-2961/
How to get to Wengen, and Männlichen
Wengen can easily be reached by a short scenic train ride from Lauterbrunnen, and Männlichen can be reached by cable car from either Wengen or Grindelwald.
Grimentz is a lovely traditional Swiss village in the Val d’Anniviers region of the Canton Valais. Grimentz is rightfully noted as one of the most beautiful villages of Switzerland, with its main street filled with traditional wooden chalet style houses which are full of Geranium flowers in summer.
Culture and Geraniums in Grimentz
Geranium flowers are important in Grimentz, and it definitely makes the buildings and streets very picturesque. In Grimentz, they even have volunteers who water the flowers to make sure are the plants are blooming beautifully.
Grimentz is a small town and is quickly explored by foot. It has kept its charm and its traditional buildings like a mill, an old house which contains a small museum (la maison de la Grand-Mère), and a sawmill. The fountains of Grimentz are traditionally decorated with wooden statues and small watermills.
Grimentz in summer
Grimentz has a cool pumptrack area where kids will love to ride their scooter or bike, and a playground.
A part from a visit to the village, you can head up the mountains. There are 2 gondolas in Grimentz. A big one which you could use to start a hike towards Lac de Moiry, and a smaller gondola, which takes you up to Bendolla. Up on Bendolla, there are more fun activities for younger kids, but you could also just hike and enjoy a picnic with a view! We hiked towards the waterfall and our kids loved crossing the water while jumping on stones.
Excursion from Grimentz, the Planet Hike in St Luc
Nearby St Luc is a great area for hiking. With kids the Planet Hike, which starts right at the arrival point of the funicular, is a good option as they will be motivated to hike from planet to planet to read, or listen, about the planets as they advance. The audio at each planet’s sign is available in English, French and German. The Planet Trail is a scale model of the solar system with works of art at each planet. In the meanwhile, while walking this trail, you will of course be able to enjoy the beautiful panorama. The hike takes you about 2 hours.
There is a restaurant at the arrival of the funicular for refreshments.
Hotel in Grimentz
We had a lovely hotel in Grimentz, located right between the beautiful main street of the village, and the pumptrack and play area. The hotel is right in front of the gondola. Our kids loved the Spa in the hotel, with the Jacuzzi with a view, and we all enjoyed our dinner at the hotels restaurant.
Our Hotel recommendation:
Murten (or Morat in French), is a beautiful Swiss medieval village on the shores of lake Murtensee in the Fribourg Canton in Switzerland. Murten has a beautiful long town wall you can walk on while you take in the views, either of the brown rooftops of the city, or of the beautiful lake. Close to Murten you will also find the town Avenches, which is located in the Vaud Canton, and which has very well-preserved Roman ruins.
Murten is a picturesque small town, on the border of the German and French speaking parts of Switzerland, which can easily be explored by foot. Murten has beautiful streets with shady arcades which could remind you a bit of the center of Bern, fountains decorated with flowers, and a castle with nice black and white window shutters. There is a small road called ‘Stadtgraben’ which leads you behind houses and along the beautiful gardens. At several points you will also see stairs to access the beautiful medieval city walls. The city walls are quite long and well preserved and walking on the walls is a must-do in Murten.
Murten has a nice local museum which is located in the building of an old water mill. You will find local history in this museum, but also temporary exhibitions.
What to eat in Murten?
Even though Murten is a small town, it even has its own culinary specialty, the Nidelkuchen. Nidelkuchen is a delicious cream pie, with the upper cream layer which has a bit of caramel flavor. Very delicious! Highly recommended to buy a slice at a local bakery and eat it by the lake.
If you visit Murten in summer, you may want to go for a swim in lake Murtensee! There are several beaches on the lake, and there is also a place which combines a swimming pool and the lake. The local swimming pool of Murten has a play area for kids on the lake with a playground, stairs to easily enter the lake, floating platforms to jump in the lake, and a fun zipline.
Excursions close to Murten
Avenches and its Roman ruins
Avenches is very close to Murten and can easily be visited on the same trip. Avenches, which was called Aventicum in Roman times, has a very well-preserved Amphitheater where 16.000 people could watch gladiator fights or shows. Nowadays the Amphitheater normally hosts music festivals in summer. You can visit the Amphitheater, the museum located on-site, or head out a bit further from the town center to visit the old city walls or the Roman baths.
Papillorama in Kerzers
Another easy combination with a visit to Murten, and fun for kids, is a visit to the Papillorama in Kerzers. Papillorama is a big tropical garden where more than 1.000 butterflies fly. Papillorama also has a playground and picknick areas.
More information: https://papiliorama.ch/en
Nyon is a beautiful small town on the shores of Lac Léman, between Geneva and Lausanne, in the Canton Vaud. Nyon has a castle which overlooks the town and the lake, nice museums, cute small streets, and a beach. Tintin comicbook lovers may also recognize some spots from the well-known story ‘The Calculus Affair’.
Here are our favorite things to do in Nyon:
The Castle of Nyon
The Castle of Nyon towers over the city and offers stunning views over the lake. You can just enjoy the view from the castle terrace which is free of access, but it is definitely worth it to visit the castle itself as well! Most intriguing part of the castle to visit are the prison cells on the top floor. There are quite a few cells, writings on the wall, and objects of the guards. The more you go up the castle stairs, the better the view of course.
Nyon was a very important settlement in Roman times. A lot of Roman treasures were found in the city, but not all is accessible to the public. Some objects that were found can now be seen in the small Roman museum in Nyon. It doesn’t take long to visit this museum, but it is very interesting, and a short video will explain you this part of the history of Nyon.
Musée du Léman, a museum about the history and life of the lake
Has there once been a Tsunami on Lake Geneva? What kind of fish live in the lake? All this, and more, can be found in the very cute, and kid friendly Musée du Léman, which was one of our favorite museums when our kids were younger. There are aquariums where the fish can be seen, there are old boats, there is a submarine and a rescue boat simulator that kids will be able to get into for some fun! The top floor is mainly educational for kids to learn about the lake and the environment. The Musée du Léman often has temporary art exhibitions which are usually very good, and they organize a lot of activities for kids in summer.
One ticket for 3 museums:
If you buy your ticket in one of the 3 museums, the other 2 are for free! No need to do them all in the same day though, as the ticket for the other 2 museums will remain valid for 12 months. The first Sunday of the month, all 3 museums are for free.
Tintin in Nyon, the Calculus Affair
In the footsteps of Tintin. If you are a comic book lover, and you have the classic ‘The Calculus Affair’ on your bookshelf, then have a good look at some of the spots which you will recognize in Nyon. The green benches by the lake side, or the ‘Fontaine du Maitre-Jacques’ in Rue de Rive.
Where to eat in Nyon with kids
In the Rue du Rive, which is the old town street just behind the lake front, you will find a pancake restaurant where you could easily enjoy lunch with kids. The street is a limited traffic zone. Tac-oh Creperie, Rue du Rive 54.
Then, just a few steps further, a nice Italian Gelateria called Venezia (Rue du Rive 44) with plenty of choice in flavors, and you can then just enjoy your ice-cream by the lake.
Auberge du Chateau, Italian Restaurant
Behind the castle in Nyon, on the Place du Chateau, there is also a restaurant with a nice big terrace on a wide town square. This is also a limited traffic zone, and so we had our kids play on the square where we could see them when they were smaller.
Plage de Nyon, let’s go to the beach
We like the small public beach in Nyon, but parking close by is very limited. There is a beach restaurant, a small paddling pool, toilets and a public shower.
Playgrounds in Nyon
On both sides of the Musée du Léman there are parks and playgrounds. There is also another one on the side of the lake a bit further down.
Puces de Nyon, the flea market
We used to love walking around on the flea market along the lake in Nyon which is held every last Sunday of the month. In 2020, due to the extraordinary situation, some editions of this monthly market have been cancelled, and normally the next market is held on the last Sunday of the month of September.
Take a boat to Yvoire, France
Right from the center of Nyon, you can take a boat across the lake to the French medieval town Yvoire. The trip to cross takes about 20 minutes.
Parking in Nyon
We usually park in the main parking along the lake in Nyon called Parking de la Duche (rue de Rive 72). The advantage is that you are immediately in the center and the old town. You can walk up to the castle, or take the elevator up, which will almost get you at the level of the castle.
Geneva to Nyon by train
Trains from Geneva to Nyon run frequently (about every half hour) and the trip lasts for about 15 minutes.
Do you like swimming in a Swiss lake, or stand up paddle boarding, but you sometimes feel the Lac Léman near Geneva gets too crowded? The ‘Lac de Joux’ in the Jura in Switzerland makes for a great alternative on a sunny day!
We recently went to the beautiful Lac de Joux, the biggest lake in the Jura mountains. The Lac de Joux is 9 kilometers long and is located at 1004m altitude. The lake is surrounded by nature, a real piece of paradise! A small footpath leads you along the lake, offering plenty of shade and space. Some areas have public grills and picknick tables. Of course, it will have to be a matter of timing and luck to have one available, but a lot of people just grill their lunch on open fire around the lake!
The lake is a known spot for ice-skating in cold winters when the lake freezes up, but in the summer you can of course swim in the lake, and the lake temperature can reach about 24 degrees. This was not yet the case when we went, but our son did take a swim.
The Lac de Joux is in the Canton Vaud in Switzerland, and it takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Geneva to get there. Before you reach the lake, you will pass scenic, curvy mountain roads, and villages with terraces and restaurants on the Col de Marchairuz.
We aimed towards the Parking ‘Pointe de Sable’ as that triangle shaped beach is half rocks and half sand, and we knew there would be picknick tables there. We parked at the small parking lot, and continued by foot, but in the end, we found a perfect place where a grill was available just before reaching the Point de sable beach.
The parking lot of Pointe de Sable is not very big, but we did find a spot easily. It probably will get a bit busier on warm summer days, but we imagine still less crowded than our close by Lac Léman beaches.
Insider tip: just before you arrive, on your right hand side at the fromagerie Les Landes, there is a 24H vending machine with Swiss delicacies like local cheese, fondue, and méringues with Gruyère double cream. Perfect to add to your picknick. Address: Rue du village 1, Solliat. The machine only takes cash, so make sure you have cash at hand!
Other tip: if you have sensitive feet, as most beaches are not only sand, bring your watershoes.
Another lake very close to Lac de Joux is Lac Brenet. We haven’t tested that one yet, but we may do that over summer as well.
If you liked this article, you may also be interested in our article on Summer Holidays in Switzerland: