Have an upcoming Swiss holiday and want to get the family excited? Living in Switzerland and want something to look forward to in the new year? Have I got the list for you!
“Experience over things” is my motto when it comes to gift giving and if that experience cultivates quality time together as a family, all the better. So why not use this gift giving season as a great excuse to explore more of what Switzerland has to offer?
Not visiting Switzerland? Check out my gift guides for kids; big people as well as for the whole family.
A couple of things to note
Give the gift of: something different
Good for: animal lovers and kids who want to know what it’s like to live on a farm
All About: Have you ever head about farms offering the option to sleep on straw? When the cows are in the alps for the summer, the barns are cleaned out and straw beds are put in their place. Bring your sleeping bag and enjoy a unique experience. The company Agrotourismus Schweiz website has lots of options but I have my eye on the one in Appenzell.
Price: around 30chf per adult and with a discount for kids depending on which farm. This usually includes breakfast with products from the farm.
Give the gift of: team building
Good for: families and groups
All About: Your object is not to lose track of the fox while exploring cities in an unique way. “Participants chase the Fox on foot and by various means of public transport. His path is marked by finicky tasks, secret messages and hidden tracks which are to be solved or followed respectively, in order to get to the next clue.” You will not only discover highlights of the cities but also unexplored corners that you would have missed if you stayed on the tourist track.
All you need is a smart phone, tickets, and the documents provided and you are ready to explore. There are Foxtrails in different locations throughout Switzerland and are ideal for families with older kids as some of the clues can be tricky. But don’t worry, if you lose your way, there is a helpline you can call to get you back on track. My kids recently took part in Luzern and they loved it.
Use the filters on their website to choose your language (always in German, but sometimes also in English, French and/or Italian) and the duration of your activity. Each tour has a description of who would be suited for each tour. Even in the cold winter months, trails like the Zürich Main Station Trail looks like a lot of fun. They also offer gift vouchers.
Price: The price for 2 adults and 2 kids including a family discount is 79 CHF for the Zürich Main Station Tour.
Give the gift of: romance
Good for: couples as well as families
All About: Imagine wrapping up under warm blankets and sitting in the back of a horse drawn sleigh through a winter wonderland. In many alpine areas you can find horse drawn sleigh rides. I have fond memories of a sleigh ride with my then new husband 14 years ago in Pontresina. We walked along the winter hiking paths to Hotel Roseg Gletcher and then took the horse drawn sleigh back to town. It was a stunning day and I still fondly look back on it.
Price: 20 CHF per adult one way and kids are half price. Kids under 4 are free of charge.
Give the gift of: active sightseeing
Good for: active friends who want to see something along the way
All About: Why not get outdoors and see more of what Switzerland has to offer on a hiking tour. Create your own hiking tour with information from Tanya from Mom Tot Zurich’s and her fabulous hiking information guide. Or leave it to someone else to organise and take a tour with a company like Echo Trails.
I like the looks of the winter guided William Tell Swiss Path hike which includes a boat cruise along the lake of Lucerne as well. The benefit of having a tour guide is the rich detail you will from your guide as you hike.
Prices: DIY with the help of Mom Tots Zürich is free. Prices for the tour from Echo Trails start from 295 chf per person, with kids half price and under 6's free.
Give the gift of: culture
Good for: families
All about: A gift that keeps on giving throughout the entire year is a gift that many parents would just love to receive. There are many museums throughout Switzerland that offer annual memberships, such as the Verkehrshaus in Luzern. The Verhershaus offers family memberships which entitle families’ admission to the transport museum, documentary centre, and Hans Erni Museum for 1 calendar year, as well as discount rates for other offerings including an invite to the exclusive members’ day.
Another option: if you do not want to by tied down to one museum is purchasing a Swiss Museum Pass which allows admission to around 500 museums in the whole of Switzerland, and you will get a 50% discount on the price of the Verkehrshaus admission. This gift is great for those who want to see more of Switzerland in 2018.
Price: Family membership to the Verkehrshaus 140chf and the Family Museums Pass: 288chf
Give the gift of: knowledge
Good for: everyone
All About: Books are a great way to experience a country before visiting, or for reliving it after leaving. Check out these books for ways to get inspired for your next visit to Switzerland:
For travel information: Lonely Planet Switzerland
For Cooks: Helvetic Kitchen
For More about CH: The Naked Swiss: A nation behind 10 myths
Give the gift of: memories
Good for: travelers who want to document their trip to Switzerland with a professional photographer
All about: Traveling around Switzerland and want to get out from behind the camera and be in some of your family photos? As our designated family photographer I know that feeling all too well. Although I am not a big fan of having my photo taken I really need to get in front of the camera more so my kids will have photos with me in them too (more about that project in 2018). Using a company like Flytographer when traveling is a great way to get the entire family in the scene.
Photo shoots are booked through the Flytographer website with photographers on location and you can choose sessions from 30 minutes for 1 location and up to 2 hours for multiple locations in the city of your choice. You can find a Flytographer all over the world and in Swiss cities like Bern, Zurich, Geneva, and around Lago Maggiore in Ticino. The price includes the digital files!
Price: starting at $250 US for a 30 minute session in 1 location with 15 images.
Give the gift of: creativity
Good for: the photography buff or the aspiring photographer
All About: Do you have someone on your list who is obsessed with photography? Or someone who wants to improve their landscape photography skills? Then this gift is for them!
There are many different options when it comes to photography tours in Switzerland but one I stumbled across is "Passenger Diaries" based out of Luzern.
They offer a variety of different options like the Mount Rigi Day Photo Tour where up to 6 people can enjoy a day out on the Rigi as well as expand their landscape photography skills. There are other companies around that offer overnight trips as well.
Prices: this specific tour cost 490 CHF for up to 6 people.
Give the gift of: flight
Good for: Those wanting to see Switzerland from above.
All about: Jump on board one of three Junker Ju-52 planes and enjoy a sightseeing flight over the alps. Affectionately known as Tante Ju (Aunty Ju), three engine propeller planes were retired from the Swiss Military in 1981 due to their high running cost but have been regularly flying sightseeing tours since 1983. Based out the of the airfield in Dübendorf and and run by Ju-Air, you can take 40 or 60 minute sightseeing flights flown by experienced military and airline pilots. Flights are also possible from Gstaad/Saanen and Thun.
Prices: start from 210 CHF per person for a 40 minute flight from Dübendorf. Children up to the age of 16 pay 20 CHF less.
Give the gift of: freedom
Good for: the brave
All About: Follow in the steps of the famous Swiss Balloonist Family The Piccard's (you can learn more about them at the Verkehrshaus in Luzern) and go up up and away in a hot air balloon. I can assure you that if you’re looking for me, you won’t ever find me in a hot air balloon, but maybe someone on your list would love it. Ballon Reisen is one company offering hot air ballon flights with around 50 locations throughout Switzerland. Choose your location and enjoy a 1 1/2 - 2 hour flight.
Price: starts at 290 CHF per person from Wolfwil or 390 CHF per person in any of their other 50 locations.