We are so excited to share these ideas from Mini Me Explorer of favorite places to visit with children in Switzerland. Their awesome blog written out of Ticino is packed with family-fun ideas.
We were lucky to chat with founders Jenny and Augusta, who not only provided us with sunny greetings from Ticino (the only Swiss canton where Italian is spoken as its “only” language), they also shared these great tips!
Cheese Paradise! Stein, Appenzell
Appenzell is the smallest canton in Switzerland and it is truly a unique and special place thanks to its rolling hills in the foothills of the Alps, its dark (ever) green meadows – even in winter, its unique traditions and ancient customs. And do not forget the cheese, the Appenzell cheese, possibly Switzerland’s tastiest and smelliest cheese. A visit to its factory/museum will allow you to see how it is made and reveal you some of its secrets, including the special mix of herbs used. We bet some of you do not know what lovage is used for…
The Inside Scoop on Cheese Paradise from Mini Me Explorer
Tinquely Museum in Basel
Wheels, sounds and noise, recycled materials, moving objects. These are some of the elements of the renowned kinetic machines created by the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely; the best of them can be admired inside this museum in Basel, his hometown. There’s a little bit of Ticino in the Tinguely Museum in Basel , as it is housed in a stunning building designed by the Ticinese archistar Mario Botta – the very same architect behind the MoMa in San Francisco.
The Inside Scoop on Tinquely Museum from Mini Me Explorer
Chaplin’s World in Vevy
Corsier-sur-Vevey is a municipality in canton Vaud, in the French speaking area of Switzerland. The landscape is spectacular: gentle hills and the Lavaux vineyards, classified world heritage by UNESCO. Chaplin’s World is located in the park of a manor house on the banks of Lake Geneva, the Manoir de Ban, where “Charlot” spent the last 25 years of his life. This ancient home dates back to 1840 and it is surrounded by a 14-hectare estate. The museum, however, is located in a newly built exhibition hall, where one can see the “studios”, which include a movie theatre and dedicated rooms where you can learn all about the “man with the bowler hat”.
The Inside Scoop on Chaplin’s World from Mini Me Explorer
Is there a better Swiss experience than assembling your own Swiss army knife? Everyone can do it, even kids… all you need to do is to phone the Victorinox Visitor Center in Brunnen, and make a booking. You choose the day and they give you a time slot: you won’t believe how easy it is to assemble this legendary knife. It takes no longer than 2 minutes, personalized engraving included. The Victorinox Visitor Center is just steps away from the lake, where the boats land. We found it easily, but were baffled by the two doors: take the left one! If you have some spare time, the Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Center next door is worth a quick visit.
The Inside Scoop on Victorinox Visitor Center from Mini Me Explorer
Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium in Lausanne
Has anyone ever told how amazingly colourful a freshwater environment can be? And have you ever believed it? If you have doubts, you really should go and see it for yourself. We are talking about the Aquatis Aquarium-Vivarium Lausanne, which happens to be the largest fresh water aquarium in Europe. Expect to see over 10,000 fish and 100 reptiles and amphibians – in a futuristic building covered in tiny glittering tiles, which look like fish scales.
The Inside Scoop of Aquatis Aquarium from Mini Me Explorer
Glass Making at Glasi in Hergiswil
Glass making is a true form of art, one that is relatively unknown despite being very old – some say as old as some of the oldest civilizations of humanity. How can sand be turned into glass? Head to the Glasi in Hergiswil (about 15 minutes from Lucerne) to learn the answer. Visit the museum, see the furnace, get lost in the glass labyrinth, blow your own glass ornament. You heard us right, at the Glasi adults and children can have a try at glass-blowing – which is much simpler than you would ever guess.
3 UNESCO Castles in Bellinzona
Mini Me Explorer’s regional capital is an old market town which comes complete with three medieval castles – one of which is right in the center. It is called Castelgrande and should be visited first: see the walls, the ramparts, the two towers and the small museum, then take off your shoes and enjoy the new sensory path finishing with lunch in the castle. The restaurant is run by the local hotel school. The second castle is called Montebello and is the most authentic: if you have to visit one with children – look no further: a functioning drawbridge, the village within the walls, the watchtowers and a small room with some ancient weapons… oh, and you can book a salami-making session!
Scavanger Hunt on Brissago Island
How to get your kids excited about visiting a botanic garden? The answer is simple: a scavenger hunt. We are talking about Isola Grande, the largest of the two Brissago Islands – albeit the only one open to the public and it is quite a unique place to spend an afternoon with your family. This unexpected gem offers you well-paved paths that lead you to admire over 1,700 plants from subtropical areas of the 5 continents. It can be reached by boat from most lakeshore municipalities near Locarno.
The Inside Scoop on Brissago Islands from Mini Me Explorer
Monte Bré and Monte San Salvatore in Lugano
To best way to enjoy breathtaking views over the city of Lugano, is from the top of one of its peaks: Monte Bré and Monte San Salvatore. Both can be reached by funicular but this is where the similarities end. The most compelling lake views are from Monte San Salvatore but if you want to find out why some call Lugano the Rio de Janeiro of Switzerland, then you need to go to Monte Bré. The crescent-shaped bay, the mountain in the background… it really looks like a miniature Rio.
Maitre Chocolatier for a Day in Flahwill
Who wouldn’t like to become a maitre chocolatier, even if only for an afternoon? It’s the dream of every glutton, and well – we are guilty of this capital sin. The Maestrani Chocolarium is a 15 minutes drive from the city of St. Gallen and the place to learn how to make (and decorate!) your own chocolate bar. Do book the activity in advance and come early, as you really want to visit the museum before your chocolate-making class.
They share a passion for travel and love discovering new countries (near and far) with their families… because Mini Me Explorer it is not only the three of them – it is also their eight children aged 2-9 years old and three husbands. When they are not out and about traveling, they like to discover their own country – its rich culture and varied landscape.
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