We took the train with our toddlers all across Switzerland. The journey was amazing, but if I had to pick the best spot for where to base yourself in Switzerland with kids, it was the area around Interlaken and the Bernese Oberland Region.
If you enjoy this, please come back up here when you are done reading to check out some of the other useful writing about Switzerland!
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- How to Get to Lucerne to Mount Rigi By Boat: A Beautiful Daytrip from Lucerne, Switzerland
- Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth it? Comparing Swiss Train Discounts
This area really hit the sweet spot for what one is usually looking for in a Swiss travel experience. It is surrounded by beautiful mountains periodically dotted with cerulean blue glacial lakes. It was everything that we had envisioned and dreamed when planning our trip to Switzerland!
The Bernese Oberland Region of Switzerland encompasses some of the most thrilling alpine scenery in Switzerland. It stretches across the middle-western part of Switzerland and includes the main towns of Bern, Thun and Interlaken.
We were immersed with so many choices for what to see and do in this area with the kids that we couldn’t have fit it all into a week (maybe not even two!) Cable cars, beautiful mountain vistas, Swiss mountain cows, hikes for all abilities (even our toddlers), picture perfect mountain villages, alpine playgrounds. The choices seemed endless!
Choosing Where to Base Yourself in Switzerland with Kids
After doing a TON of research about where to base yourself in Switzerland with kids, we chose to base our stay in Interlaken. Because we were traveling with the kids, we wanted easy train connections and the amenities that a larger city can provide.
We really enjoyed our stay in Interlaken. It was admittedly not as picturesque as some of the higher mountain villages, but it was not shabby either. We stayed in a great hostel right across the street from a playground and large open green space. The hostel was a huge factor in our enjoyment of our time here. It was the most family friendly hostel that we have ever stayed in and we would stay here again on a return trip without a second thought.
It was easy and fast to get up into the mountains from Interlaken (Lauterbrunnen was only about 30 minutes by train away, other mountain towns were an equal distance). Interlaken had a very international feeling to it. There were a lot of ethnic restaurants and diversity.
Interlaken was the right answer for us to the question of where to base yourself in Switzerland with kids.
Switzerland can be CRAZY expensive, but it is sooo worth it! This coupon book has 2 for 1 offers for many restaurants and attractions around the country. I wish we had known about this when we visited Switzerland…it would have saved us a TON of money!
Other Choices for Home Bases in the Bernese Oberland
Our second choice for accommodation was Lauterbrunnen. Lauterbrunnen has more of a small village feeling than Interlaken while still being large enough to offer some of the amenities of a small city.
Murren and Grindelwald are two small, car free villages that are often offered as good suggestions for where to base yourself in Switzerland. We did not visit Grindelwald, and we only passed through Murren during the day. Given their location (you have to take a cable car partway up the mountain to get to EITHER) they both have stunning views.
Murren had an awesome alpine playground above it that our toddlers really enjoyed. For this reason, I would suggest Murren over Grindewald if you are looking for the mountain village experience with your toddlers (our kids had SOOOO much fun here!)
Where to Stay in Interlaken with Kids
Hotels in Switzerland are not cheap. Finding a good deal is tough, but here are my top choices for family hotels in Interlaken (if you book your hotel/hostel via your preferred booking method below, I get a small commission. Thanks :-):
Backpackers Villa Sonnehoff: This hostel met all of our needs for family accommodation in Interlaken. The family room that we booked had 2 bunk beds and a balcony with unbelievable views of the mountains. The hostel had a backyard AND was right across the street from the park. The kitchen had a playroom right around the corner for the kids. When we checked in here we thought that we had found hostel nirvana. You can check out my full review of the Backpackers Villa Sonnehoff here.
You really should stay here for your visit to Interlaken if you can. If they are full, here are some other options:
Interlaken Youth Hostel: We passed by this hostel a number of times on our way to and from the train station. This looked like a pretty upscale hostel from casual inspection. The location couldn’t be any better. It was LITERALLY right next to the Intelaken Ost train station, and right across the street from a big grocery/department store. The hostel had a reasonably priced (for Switzerland) restaurant attached. A solid choice for family accommodation in Interlaken.
Arnold’s Bed and Breakfast: This is a SUPER budget friendly option with a great location for families. It is located across the street from the main park at the heart of Interlaken and a great playground. The rooms are basic but clean and get great reviews on Tripadvisor!
Budget Friendly Dining in Interlaken with Kids
I’m sorry if this is starting to sound like a theme, but there is no such thing as cheap dining in Interlaken. For this reason, we ate prepared and ate all of our meals at our hostel. Dining out with 5 of us was just out of the question budget wise.
Here are the restaurants that we came up with that are pretty much as cheap as they get in Interlaken:
Balmers Biergarten: This is the restaurant attached to one of the hostels in Interlaken. It was LITERALLY the cheapest restaurant that I could find. Given that toe food looks reasonably good, this should be at the top of your list.
The restaurant at the Interlaken Youth Hostel: The Interlaken Youth Hostel (as noted above) also had a restaurant attached (the name of the restaurant escapes me right now). We looked at the menu as we were walking by and it was cheap for Switzerland standards.
The COOP grocery store across from Interlaken Ost Train Station: The COOP grocery store has a great casual grab and go restaurant on the upper floor. The prices were good and they had lots of familiar kid foods for my son who ONLY wants to eat chicken nuggets (at least he gets some protein from them 😉
Sorry, that’s all I have for suggestions for cheap restaurant in Interlaken…anybody else have any suggestions? Please leave them in the comments!
Things to do in and near Interlaken with Kids
- Harder Kulm
- Jungfrau Park Interlaken (a great option for a rainy day!)
- Aare Gorge
- Grindelwald First/Backalpsee Lake
- St Beatus Caves
- The Schilthorn / Almendhubel Flower Playground / James Bond Museum
- Titlis Glacier
- Trummelbach Falls
- Glacier Gorge Grindelwald
- Day Trip to Thun
- Farm Visits
- Ballenberg Open Air Museum
- Boat Rides on Lake Thun/Lake Brienz
- Pfinstegg Toboggan Run (Grindelwald)
- Goldau Wildlife Park
Travel Books That You Might Find Useful
What have you come across whilst doing your research about where to base yourself in Switzerland? Which location are you leaning TOWARDS?
Are there any questions that I can answer for you? Please leave them in the comments!