Mar 5, 2018

Travelling to Zurich with Kids

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Flying into Zurich on Swiss International Airlines (SWISS) meant that we arrived in the city early morning... which also meant that we had a full day to explore the beautiful city.

Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, may be famous for being the banking centre of the world but as the monkies and I found out, there are plenty of fun things to do with kids too!

Unfortunately due to time constraints, we were only able to stay in Zurich for one night. But thanks to the itinerary that Switzerland Tourism had put together for us, we were able to enjoy bite-sized fun while exploring this remarkable city.

First things first... if you are planning to head to Zurich or other parts of Switzerland for that matter, I highly recommend getting the Swiss Travel Pass. This is because in Zurich, it is so easy to take a bus, train or even boat to almost anywhere you need to go.

We were in Switzerland for a total of 5 days (1 night in Zurich and 3 nights in Engelberg - more on the latter in the next post) and the all-in-one ticket Swiss Travel Pass was our most prized possession. Depending on the number of days you plan to spend in Switzerland, the Pass comes in 3, 4, 8 or 15 consecutive days duration and offers unlimited travel by train, bus and boat AND free admission to more than 500 museums too!

The best part for families? Kids between the age of 6 and 16 travel for FREE when accompanied by at least one parent holding a Swiss Travel Pass! Pick up your complimentary Swiss Family Card at most Swiss railway stations by showing your Swiss Travel Pass. For kids who are below 6 years old, they travel free with no strings attached.

One thing that impressed me about the Swiss trains and buses is they are one of the cleanest modes of public transport that I have ever taken. Coupled with the facts that they are almost always on time (yes, that famous Swiss precision!), the stations are well-organized and the signs are clear enough for first-time visitors to easily navigate throughout the city.

Which made the task of reaching our first stop of the day a breeze.

Opened in February 2016, the FIFA World Football Museum is a must-visit place, whether you are a football fan or not. Spread over three floors, the FIFA World Football Museum is massive and covers all aspects of the world of football offering an interactive experience for visitors of all ages.

Even though the monkies are not exactly football fans, they were visibly excited the moment they stepped into the building.

For me, the names of famous footballers on the doors of the lockers meant for public use were already enough to get me all excited!

One key highlight of the museum is the display of the national football shirts of ALL FIFA member associations.

We managed to find Singapore!

The museum celebrates various elements of the beautiful game and its exhibits are more than just about football. The history, culture, design and marketing associated with each major football event are showcased... along with some pretty interesting information that intrigued the monkies!

Do remember to pick up the free activity booklet at the ticketing counter which breaks down the information into simpler terms.

Technology features flashily and prominently throughout the nuseum. On the ground floor, multi-story video screens show towering images of football playing at every level, from World Cup finals to children in the streets of America.

There are plenty of notable exhibits too, like these authentic seats from football stadiums which have hosted the World Cup. In fact, there the museum displays a mind-boggling of over 1,000 items of exclusive memorabilia and apparel!

Interactive features are also abound within the museum which include a booth where visitors can practice being a game commentator and another where they can test their refereeing abilities.

But the highlight for me? Getting real up close with the original World Cup Trophy!

And if you only need ONE reason to visit the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich, this has got to be it.

The second floor of the museum is home to a HUGE play area, which invites visitors to test their own ball skills in a playful manner – guaranteeing plenty of fun, including for non-football fanatics.

Consisting of 6 stations, the area is essentially one life-sized arcade where visitors are tasked to complete using their football skills. It was really pure riotous fun... not only for the monkies but also for me and the wifey. All of us were trying our best to outscore one another! Just watch the video to see all the fun we had.

But if we thought we could rest our legs after our football session at the museum, we thought wrong as we thronged the old streets of Zurich.

The city's historic heart, the atmospheric Zurich Old Town serves as one of the area's major tourist attractions, famed for its well-preserved 19th-century architecture flanked by trendy shops, galleries, and restaurants.

From its pedestrian-only cobblestone streets to the picturesque buildings (some of which have been standing since the Middle Ages!), it is everything I would expect from a historical heart of a city.

An old world charm that even had the monkies in awe... though I think the cold weather made the walking more bearable!

If you are planning a walking tour of the Old Town on your own, begin your walk through medieval Zurich at the Old Town's landmark bridge, which connects two monumental cathedrals situated on opposite sides of the river. From there you can easily reach the nearby shopping streets, packed with hip cafes and quirky boutiques. In the evening the neighborhood's bars and clubs become the center of Zurich's lively nightlife.

If you want to take in the great views of the city, a ride in the UBS Polybahn (funicular) is a must.

The Polybahn is not primarily a tourist attraction as it is heavily used by the students of Zurich University.

It is a short ride but the funicular took us from the old town up to Zurich University area which gave us breathtaking views of the city.

Although I have to say it was so much colder at the top! LOL.

To warm our bodies, we made a pitstop at Max Chocolatier, a cosy Swiss family chocolaterie famed for creating 100% natural and handmade treats with lots of love.

I kid you not when I say these are some of the best chocolates I have ever tasted in my life.

And since it was the Christmas season while we were there, it would be criminal if we did not pay a visit to the many Christmas markets within the city.

And obviously, a hot chocolate always gives the warm fuzzy feels!

That, and an actual Singing Christmas Tree!

Speaking of the festive season, making hand-dipped candles is a time-honored tradition in Zurich, and it's one activity I strongly recommend for kids if you're here during the #Christmas season.

We made our own candle by dipping a wick into the hot and molten wax tubs within the B├╝rkliplatz’s pavilion - a tent filled with the fragrance of beeswax in the air and soft background music.

But making your own candle needs patience as you have to wait until the wax gets cool and prepare for another hot dip. Once you're satisfied with the size of your candle, the staff can help to carve it into a desired design.

And the best part is that you pay according to your candle’s weight and the proceeds go to charity. Definitely a fun activity for the monkies, plus it trains patience! Can you guess who made which candle?

Accomodation-wise, we stayed at Engimatt City-Gardenhotel, a hotel located in the quiet Enge district of Z├╝rich.

What impressed me was the hotel's spacious and modern rooms which came with a balcony... which thrilled the monkies. Reason being it snowed the night before we arrived and the balcony was covered with snow!

Being located in a relaxing park setting surrounded by nature meant that we were blessed with a view like this. So while the hotel is not exactly located right at the doorstep of the main Zurich city centre - it is a about 4 bus stops away - I loved the tranquil vibes that the hotel exudes.

My only gripe was one night was hardly enough to fully enjoy the hotel!

Given that Zurich is home to so many more kid-friendly attractions like the Zurich Zoo, Lake Zurich, Niederdorf and Zurich Toy Museum, one day is definitely not enough to enjoy everything Zurich has to offer to families.

One thing that I really enjoyed about Zurich though was how friendly and helpful the locals are. We felt welcome with our monkies wherever we were in Zurich which is what makes the city a fantastic place to visit with the kids.

Useful Information

Switzerland Tourism:
Z├╝rich Tourism:
Swiss Travel System:
Swiss International Airlines:
FIFA World Football Museum:
ENGIMATT City-Gardenhotel:

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Anonymous said...

Hi, nice trip! Did you travel from Singapore? How did you deal with the jet lag and manage to explore Zurich on your very first day?

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi, thanks for dropping by! We 'forced' the kids to sleep on the plane and I think they managed about 6 hours of sleep. Of course, we were still a little tired throughout the day and had an early night.

See Hua said...

Hi. Can I check if it is walking distance to the Polybahn from old town? If not, can you please let me know how to get there?

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi See Hua, yes it is walking distance. Do check on Google maps for the walking route. Thanks!

Na said...

Hi Kelvin,

Did you take train or plane to from Switzerland to Germany? How many days in total did you spend in Germany?


Kind Regards,

Cheekiemonkies said...

Hi Na,

We took the plane from Zurich to Munich. We spent 5 nights in Munich, 2 nights in Stuttgart and 2 nights in Frankfurt.

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