A few years ago, my mum moved back to her home town Lucerne. The small Swiss town really does live up to the picture postcard image of mountains, lakes, cows and chocolate. Visiting my Swiss family often, it gives me the chance to see Lucerne as the locals see it, especially as my wonderful mum goes out of her way to organise great days out for me and her new granddaughter. Here are my three top recommendations for things to do with kids in Lucerne, you’ll certainly won’t find them on the tourist circuit!
- Buggy friendly stroll to Sonnenberg (‘Sun Mountain). You’ll find a playground playground with an amazing view over the lakes & mountains and the opportunity to pet lots of animals on the way (takes an adult 30 min).
- Directions: Take bus number 10 from the train station to ‘Oberguetsch’ (10 minutes). From the last stop, turn into the field and follow the gravel road past the first farm. After that, stay on the right and join a small asphalt road for about 150 meters. After the second farm turn right again and follow the road up the hill to the start of the forest and you’ll find Hotel Sonnenberg.
- The best bits: You’ll pass a small playground with a view over mountains. They have a huge swing which my aunt and mum regularly go on with my nephew, the three of them swing higher than I’d ever dare! Your kids will love the second farm: a cute house decorated with flowers and lots of horses and calves poking their heads out of the stable, ready to be petted. At Hotel Sonnenberg you can have a coffee with an amazing view, and your little ones can pet the mini Shetland Ponies or you can have fun as a family playing Minigolf on the Hotel grounds. Sonnenberg is also an ideal place to have a picnic and your little ones will love roaming the woods.
- Swim in Lake Lucerne’s 150 year old Swimming Pool on Stilts, the ‘Seebad‘. It is called the 45er by locals because it cost 45p. These days are long gone but it is still reasonably priced with an entrance of just 6 CHF, free for under 6s. It is made entirely of wood and is situated on the lake, a bit like a stilt house. For non swimming children, there is a pool made of wood lattice lowered into the lake, and as adult you can swim out in the open lake directly. The atmosphere is relaxed and serene, it is a place where everyone comes together from old ladies to hip university students.
- Making the most out of it: best time to go is just before lunch, so that you can enjoy the reasonably priced delicious salads in the restaurant. In the morning, the pool is usually so quiet that ducks and fish swim through it so take some bread to feed them. Obviously you’ll need to watch your kids carefully, do go with another adult so you can take turns looking after the kids while you go for a swim in the lake.
- Directions: The swimming pool is close to Hotel National just off the lakeside, about 15 min walk from the train station.
- Have fun with mirrors in the glacier garden: If you have older children, you will love ‘Glacier garden’. It’s glacier mills are sure to fascinate older kids and will be a great opportunity to learn how glaciers shaped the mountains. There are also lots of small fossils to explore and a few other unique features such as live marmots and mirrors that will make you look long and tall. You are guaranteed giggles in the mirror labyrinth, just make sure you keep the little ones close by. On the way, you’ll see the Lion Memorial which is a huge lion carved into the rockface, which no doubt will fascinate your little ones.
Baby Friendliness: **** Lucerne is a very baby friendly destination, most buses have ramps for buggies and the locals are very friendly and welcoming of babies and breastfeeding mums. Lucerne is a 1h15 min train ride from Zurich which I found easy after my first solo flight with baby.