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A Kid-Friendly Summer Holiday in the Swiss Alps
Posted on November 6, 2014 by MichLestage
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Image above: At our favorite spot in Switzerland – the animal park!
After a little online research, there were several nearby attractions that sealed the deal on this town. I will warn you, they are not the typical tourist attractions per-se. We structured our trip around things our children would enjoy!
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Here are the top highlights of our trip, and why our children liked them!
In Val d’Illiez
1. The Relais Panamorique Animal Parc and Restaurant – Probably the best view out of any animal parc in the world! Our oldest took a scenic pony ride on a little trail in the mountains. We were also able to sit at the restaurant and enjoy a glass of wine while she played down below. We visited at least 4 times!
Amazing views at the animal park and playground!
2. Chez Gaby restaurant, playground, and marmot sanctuary – served dishes with house-made goat cheeses and local meats, beautiful vistas from the balcony and the playground. There was also a neat-looking zip line place next door, but our kids were too young for it.
The playground at Chez Gaby
3. Our Chalet - part of the charm of this trip was the picturesque chalet we stayed in and the wonderful hosts! The apartment was filled with photos and artifacts from their lifetime of family world travels. It was so inspiring! They were also incredibly helpful in suggesting ideas and we were able to visit with them quite a bit. We truly felt like part of their family! The kids loved their new Swiss “Aunt and Uncle” – especially their homemade hot chocolate!
4. The local grocery store - This store had all the essential groceries we needed for ourselves and the kids and it was within walking distance! We especially liked the local wine, cheese, bread, and meats they offered. It was nice to enjoy some quiet adult dinners on our chalet balcony after we put the kids to bed!
1. Chocolate Factory – Maison Callier - I highly recommend the family chocolate making workshop. We all enjoyed it! Such a perfect Swiss experience that we will never forget! They also had a great playground and it was right by the town of Gruyere.
2. Gruyere – Really neat medieval town with awesome cheese, cute shops, and restaurants
3. Chamonix – The drive to Chamonix only took about two hours, and it was a gorgeous drive! Winding mountain paths, hillside vineyards, and cute little towns all along the way. Once you arrive in Chamonix, the Montenvers train station in the town centre (Gare du Montenvers) is easy to find. The train leaves every 20mins, starting at 8am, and there is a cafe at Montenvers with amazing views. From Montenvers, you take the cable car to the nearly 400 steps leading down to the Mer de Glace Glacier and into the ice grotto. It is pretty daunting, especially with two kids, but it was WELL worth it! Our oldest was convinced she was in Elsa’s ice castle ;)
4. Chillon Castle
5. The Montreaux Promenade
6. The St. Bernard Museum and Training Center in Martigny
7. Roman Ruins in Martigny
Other Nearby Attractions
We didn’t get to visit these places because we had to go back to the animal park so many times (my daughter now wants to move there) but we would love to go back and visit them if we ever get the chance!
Swiss Vapeur Train Park - These miniature trains looked so fun! But given the choice between going back to the animal park for the fourth time or going to the train park, our daughter chose the animals! haha.
Thermal Baths – Thermes Parc – This was right below our chalet, but we didn’t get a chance to visit. Looks wonderful and relaxing though!
Aigle Castle – Vine and Wine Museum
Lac Souterrain – Underground Lake
There are also many nearby cities and areas that we did not explore in Switzerland, but we took the “stay close to home” approach and didn’t venture too far from our chalet. Again, we would love to go back and do more someday, but this was a perfect vacation for us this time around!
Things to remember about traveling to Europe in the summer – there is no AC! Although the weather is pretty nice, having no AC indoors takes some getting used to!
Here is my google map with some of the attractions marked!