Expat Life

Family & Cities

Geneva

Geneva is certainly Switzerland’s most international city, but also full of adventures and surprises for young and old. We accompany the Geneva blogger Emilie Servettaz and her family for a day in Geneva. Emilie is responsible for the blog “Les petits genevois” with numerous tips for family outings: 

Nose first: In the morning on the pier at the Jet d’eau 

On the Jetée des Eaux-Vives in Geneva, the wind transports fine drops of water to the face, while the tip of the nose is directed towards the sky. Impressively, the Jet d’eau shoots up 140 metres at 200 kilometres per hour. Every second, 500 litres of water – the equivalent of three bathtubs – fly into the air. 

Read more here.

On a course of conquest: setting sail with the pedalo 

The pirates of Lake Geneva plunge into the lake on pedalos to conquer it. If you dive into the lake from the slide, you might even find a treasure or two in the depths. 

Dreams of sand: bathing on the Eaux-Vives beach 

Building castles of sand, rubbing it in your hands until they glisten, and watching wave after wave slowly make your feet disappear into the sand. Eaux-Vives beach could also be by the sea … 

Find out more here.

When the stomach growls: lunch at the beach restaurant 

A day on the water makes you hungry and thirsty, luckily the Restaurant de la Plage is not far away. One of the jetties on the lake has been conquered by the restaurant crew. Whether you’re inside, looking through the glass panes, or outside on the terrace, the view of the lake is expansive. 

In the Caribbean: Afternoon at the Genève-Plage 

The raffia parasols and clear water are reminiscent of the Caribbean. Just behind the Genève-Plage is a spacious park where the numerous trees provide enough shade if the sunshades are all taken. 

Read more here.

Towards the horizon: a boat trip into the sunset 

The evening approaches and the Belle Epoque steamship Savoie picks up speed – off to the next adventure! 

Eine Familie geniesst die letzten Sonnenstrahlen auf dem Dampfschiff Savoie in Genf.

St. Gallen

St.Gallen is not only a business location for young startups, St.Gallen is above all a green city for young families. No one knows this better than the Zingg family from the concept store Stadtlandkind. 

Stadtlandkind is an online store for the whole family with sustainable and fair products. The makers of the store, Roberta and Tobias Zingg, have set up shop on Unterstrasse in the heart of St. Gallen. This is no coincidence, because a young and dynamic startup scene is growing up in St.Gallen. 

At the same time, the city of St.Gallen is a place made for families. Right next to the Stadtlandkind office is the city lounge, the Rote Platz. Switzerland’s first public living room was created by artist Pipilotti Rist and architect Carlos Martinez. Roberta Zingg calls St.Gallen her “harbor”; she grew up in this region and spent her youth here. 

The Abbey District, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is also an area where the Zingg family likes to spend time. This is where they like to take their lunch break – preferably with a St.Gallen bratwurst, the unofficial sanctuary of the entire region. 

With a roar, the Steinach falls down the Mülenschlucht gorge. The narrow gorge goes from the monastery district directly up to the Mühlegg in the quarter of St.Georgen. Often in the shade and always along the river, a wonderful footpath leads from the monastery directly into the greenery. 

From the Mühlegg, the route continues a bit further up to the Drei Weieren. A lovely pond landscape stretches out on a kind of high plateau. This oasis of peace is a popular destination not only in summer. During the warm season, the Art Nouveau bathing house, which is part of the outdoor pool, exudes a very special charm. 

More urban family trips

Winterthur

When you visit Winterthur, you simply must stay the night. The bike-friendly town has plenty to offer and is an ideal destination for families. The historical Sulzerareal, a huge pedestrian zone and the Technorama are all waiting to be explored. The latter now has a gigantic outdoor park where the forces of nature can be experienced in the open air.

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/technorama-outdoor 

Chur 

Fun for the whole family: Cross Golf is a variation of classic golf. However, it is not played on golf courses, but in all possible places that allow a game. The Cross Golf course on Brambrüesch is played on nine holes between the gondola mountain station (material hand-out) and the «Bergbaiz Brambrüesch» (material return). Who can complete the course with the fewest strokes?

Cross Golf Brambruesch

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/crossgolfchur 

Neuchatel 

With exciting challenges galore, the “Les Chenapans” scavenger hunt will bring young and old on a trip around the historic old town area of Neuchâtel as they search for wall paintings inspired by the Belle Époque. After 14 stages full of surprises and fun, the smartest players will find their way to the treasure chest and discover its contents. A fun, educational activity that is ideal for a family outing. 

Eine Familie vor dem Schloss Chillon

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/chenapans

Montreux 

All children like castles and fortresses. And this one is a must-see: The Château de Chillon, perched on a rock just off the shore of Lake Geneva, is Switzerland’s most-visited historical attraction. It has inspired countless artists and writers from JMW Turner and Gustave Courbet to Victor Hugo and Lord Byron; visit the castle today, and hundreds of years of history – from the 12th to the 16th centuries – are as vivid as ever. The lake-and-mountain setting is perhaps the finest in Switzerland. 

More info: www.MySwitzerland.com/chillon 

Urban family trips 

Anyone who thought that city breaks are not for children will be proven wrong in Switzerland – because our metropolises are astonishingly green and compact in size. And they are home to exciting museums and lots of other places that will keep your kids happily occupied. MySwitzerland.com/cities 

Time travel to the Belle Epoque. 

For a family outing, school trip or birthday celebration, come and enjoy a unique Belle Epoque experience in Neuchâtel. Along the way you’ll discover 18 emblematic figures and objects from the period. A series of original animated shows make this a walk to remember. Can you solve the puzzles and find the mystery word? A gift awaits at the end of the trail. 

Read more: MySwitzerland.com/neuchatel 

A hands-on experience. 

The Technorama in Winterthur is one of the largest science centres in Europe, presenting a unique variety of experiments with almost limitless opportunities to experience science in a playful and educational way. Unlike in a museum, visitors are allowed to touch and play with everything at the science centre – because natural phenomena need to be experienced with all the senses. Over 500 discovery stations invite visitors of all ages to find something to lever, crank, observe and marvel at. 

Learn more: MySwitzerland.com/winterthur 

Escape from the black tower

Castelgrande sits atop a hill overlooking Bellinzona. Both its white tower and black tower are visible from afar. If, after visiting the history museum and the elegant restaurant, you’d like a glimpse of what life was like in the harsh 16th century, then be sure to visit the Torre Nera Escape Room. Several men were imprisoned in this tower after their mission went awry. Instead of waiting for their trial, you can help set them free with the aid of some mysterious objects. 

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