Here are some new places we’ve discovered this summer and autumn around Switzerland.
Alpabfahrt (Swiss cow parade) in Engelberg
Alpabfahrt is a fantastic age-old Swiss tradition one must witness once in a lifetime. I first heard (literally because of the cow bells) it from our room in the hostel in Interlaken in 2007.
The cows adorned with the biggest fanciest bells around their necks and beautiful decorated floral crown bouquets are paraded walking through the villages as they return down to the valley from the high pastures before winter sets in.
Engelberg itself is a famous alpine town, home of Mount Titlis which offers a lot of fun activities to visitors. The most famous is of course the Titlis Cliff Walk which is Europe’s highest suspension bridge at 3041 meters above sea level. There is also the 150 meter long glacier cave – make sure you’re dressed warm as it is -1.5 Celsius in there. We also had fun going snowtubing the first time we went some years ago and much more.
Together with the alpabfahrt, there was also an autumn market – stalls selling food (melted cheese on bread), drinks and various items like baby clothing, cards, souvenirs, small household items and more.
As with any trip to the mountains, we were rewarded with incredible views along the way.
We recently spent our weekend in Andermatt, a mountain village located in the canton of Uri. It is a really small village with hardly more than the main street – reminding me of Saanen and Gstaad.
We did a quick stop and a walk nearby the famous Devil’s Bridge.
It was FREEZING cold and the wind blew mercilessly. The views of the distant snow-capped mountains however made it all worth it.
We had dinner at the Chedi, a luxury hotel chain we visited 3 times whilst in Oman in 2014.
Kürbisfest in Mathishof, Bottmingen
We finally made it to the annual pumpkin festival in Basel this autumn.
With over 250 types of pumpkins on sale, this fun weekend offered lots of activities for young and old: pumpkin carving, alp horns, line dancing, straw castle, choir performances and more.
Raiffeisen Sky Walk
One of Europe’s longest suspension bridges with a length of 374 meters hanging 58 meters high above the Lauitobel valley, the Raiffeisen Sky Walk is situated very close to the Stuckli Rondo gondola (world’s first rotating gondola) station on Mostelberg.
What made the morning so much fun was the toboggan run. I would recommend getting the Adventure Combo Run for CHF 26 (CHF 18 with GA/Halbtax) which covers your return gondola ride and 3 toboggan runs (as a single toboggan run costs CHF 4.50 and you will want to go more than once). We had 13 month old Noah in the Ergobaby and 2+ year old Ilyas with us on every toboggan run.
Famous for its monastery, the Benedictine Einsiedeln Abbey was established in the 10th century. I found out from a Portuguese friend that the Shrine of Our Lady of Einsiedeln is an important Catholic Shrine equal to the likes of the Lourdes in France and Santiago in Spain.
Swiss Yodeling Festival, Brig
We attended the final day of the 30th Swiss Yodeling Festival in Brig in July this year. You can read more at this link.
Roman Fest, Augusta Raurica
We visited the largest Roman festival in Switzerland in August this year. There were lots on offer: gladiator fights, chariot racing for families, music and dance performances, exhibitions of how the Romans actually lived in the past and more.
I see us going again when the kids are older as most of the activities on offer (for the kids) like bread making, wood chopping, mosaic painting, dance workshops and more, looked geared towards older children.
There were interesting food and drinks on sale. It was very well organised and truly a perfect excursion destination for families. Entrance was CHF 18 per adult. Parking was free.
Omega Watch Museum
This free museum in Biel featured some 4000 watches showing some incredible historic watches with a history of more than 160 years.
We finally went to this unique public pool here in Basel where they abandoned the conventional pool concept with its mechanical and chemical water treatment systems in favour of a pool closer to a natural condition with biological filtration.
It felt just like swimming in a lake. The floor of the pool was covered with pebbles and moss.
I felt transported back to the medieval ages when we arrived in St Ursanne. Located on the banks of the river Doubs, this charming medieval town was a fun day trip to do from Basel.
Celebrated in Alpnach, this festival which celebrates the Swiss alpine culture was filled with dancing, alphorn music, Swiss yodeling and the flag throwers.
The participants were all dressed up and I especially loved the women’s hair braids.
We did a little walk around the area which was surrounded with the famous alpine mountains. The below picture is of my husband and the kids with Stanserhorn.
I read somewhere that the autumn fair in Basel is the second largest in Europe and it is more than 500 years old (546 years old according to the picture below). It is a great time to visit the city as it is transformed into a giant funfair scattered across 9 different locations.
At 12 pm on the first day, all rides are free for the first 15 minutes and we managed to get on the giant slides at Münsterplatz twice! The kids then had lots of fun getting on the swan ride and more.
If you want more tips on things to do in Switzerland, click here!