Going on a family bike holiday with kids in Switzerland can be a fun experience for the whole family but it needs some planning and a bit of know-how.
With this guide – I have put together some important points to consider, answered questions you may have and given you some suggestions which will help you plan your perfect first family bike vacation in Switzerland.
Whether your plan is to go on a multiple stage bike tour where you change accommodation and areas daily, or if you choose a main area to stay and cycle from, the planning and considerations are pretty much the same.
In this Article you will find the following
- Why go on a biking holiday with the kids?
- What you need to know when travelling with your bike on a Swiss Train!
- How much does it cost to bring your bike on a Swiss Train?
- Do you need to pay for children’s bikes on the train in Switzerland?
- How do you find a family bike route in Switzerland?
- Some regions with great family friendly bike rides.
- From what age is it possible to take a bike vacation with the kids?
- How to handle your luggage when on a bike holiday in Switzerland.
- Where to overnight when on a family bike tour in Switzerland?
- Start planning your family bike holiday in Switzerland.
Why go on a Biking Holiday with your Family?
- Biking holidays bring different aspects for a family holiday and can give a change from the norm.
- It also offers the freedom to quickly go somewhere within your holiday destination without always having to walk or take the car.
- Plus, it teaches the kids in a fun way about biking and being safe on the road
What you Need to Know when Travelling With Your Bike on the Train in Switzerland.
For all inter-city trains you normally need to have a reservation for your bikes.
Just keep in mind that there is no way you can just turn up with your family and 4 bikes and hope there will be space on the train.
Some trains may only offer 6 places for bikes, so just keep this in mind.
When planning your trip the train timetable shows when bike reservation is compulsory or ask at the ticket office.
On shorter train journeys (local trains) you can purchase a day pass for your bike or just pay for the actual trip and normally no need to make a reservation.
Although note that in some cities like Zürich for example I have heard that bikes are not allowed on the trains at certain times. These are normally the busy times like 6am-9am and again between 5pm-7pm during the evening rush hours.
But in any case, bikes do not travel free of charge!
Load your Bike.
You can load your own bicycles on most public transport although it is quite restricted on busses. If you know a bike route in Switzerland you would like to do, but it involves taking the bikes on a bus, check first with the SBB if on that particular stretch you can actually load your bikes on to a Swiss Bus.
On any train look out for the large BIKE sticker on the train door. This indicates that in this wagon is space for your bikes. On a reserved ticket, the wagon number is normally written on your train ticket and is normally located at either end of the train.
How Much Does it Cost to bring Your Bike on a Swiss Train?
There are all kinds of different prices to bring your bike on a Swiss train.
If you are self-loading your bike on a Swiss train these are the options.
Day bike passes
Annual bike pass
Pay just for your actual trip
But there is also the option of bringing your bike to a train station 2-3 days before your departure and handing it to the staff there. They will then transport it to your final destination for you.
Here you find lots more information and prices on bike rates on any Swiss train.
Do You Need to Pay for your Children’s Bike on a Swiss Train?
No, children under the age of 6 and their bikes are travelling free of charge on any train in Switzerland. Children with a Junior Travel Card can also bring their bikes for free as long as the accompanying adult has the appropriate ticket for the journey and for their bike.
How Do You Find a Family Bike Route in Switzerland?
For us, a kid friendly bike route in Switzerland is wherever possible – no main roads! And if it has to be for a short distance then I prefer if there is a dedicated lane for the bikes or even better, a footpath.
Yes, you will not always be popular when cycling with kids on a footpath, but most of the people when they see you’re cycling with little kids are happy to step aside. And if you adjust your speed to “walking pace” it is totally ok to be on a footpath with your bike.
NEW in Switzerland, children under the age of 12 are allowed to cycle on any footpath.
Key Points for a Suitable Bike Route in Switzerland
Keep the age of your children in mind! I am talking here more for a 1st family bike holiday adventure with kids that have just started riding their BIG bikes.
It is important to adapt the route to their ability; on the other hand, they need variety in-between. As far as possible, the route should have no or only slight inclines and be with as little traffic as possible. These are our main criteria.
If we do have some inclines which we just have to overcome, if road conditions allow I often push the kids up the hill with my e-bike. 🙂
Check on the internet if other bloggers have already written about a specific area that covers some family friendly bike routes in Switzerland.
If not the local Tourism Office may also have some suggestions but they are not always correct. Or what the office person finds family friendly is not really what you are looking for.
Bike routes around a lake are most of the time a success with not much incline.
Some Regions with Great Family Friendly Bike Routes.
- The Greifensee in the Zürcher Oberland area or along the Limat in the Zürich area
- Jura & 3 Lakes region is very well known for its family friendly bike routes. Here is our suggestion.
- Also, our home area The Valais has great bike routes adapted for families with new riders. This one here, is one of our favourites – Gampel to Leuk
Here you will find our Biking with Kids in Switzerland Guide for more information and bike routes.
From What Age is it possible to take a Bike Vacation with the Kids in Switzerland?
This is obviously a question you can answer best. Whether it makes sense to go on a bike holiday in Switzerland with a child depends primarily on your child’s abilities and enthusiasm.
But if you are not sure here are some guidelines to ensure a perfect bike holiday with the family.
If your children are too small to ride their own bike, you can take them in a trailer, but this guide is more for families where the kids are already big enough to ride their own bike.
Children who cycle safely and react correctly in unforeseen situations can ride themselves.
It is obviously recommended, that before your bike holiday in Switzerland, to take the kids on some local bike rides and explain some scenarios that may happen.
Also explain some road rules they have to respect.
Best Luggage when on a Bike Holiday in Switzerland with Your Family.
Since everything is transported by bike, space is limited and luggage shouldn’t be too heavy. So, it is important to limit yourself to what is really necessary.
We still have our old bike trailer and this is one of the best things to actually transport your luggage when on a bike holiday.
Its prevents having it all on your back, plus it affords an extended lifespan for the trailer. To actually use it for this purpose also gives a better value for the price. So make sure you are keeping your trailer.
We do not have special bike luggage, but if you need them you can buy them in any bike shop.
What I would like though is to have a front bike pocket. This would allow me to have small snacks, a bike map and even our 1staid bag in there for quick access. I also love my Phone holder which serves also as a tripod.
Where to Overnight when on a Family Bike Tour in Switzerland ?
If you decide to spend the night on campsites, you need to bring a whole load more equipment with you, i.e sleeping bags, mattresses, cooking facilities etc.
Yes, biking holidays in Switzerland and campsites goes well together, but in my opinion it is maybe not the best solution if you thinking about trying to travel light.
But why not stay on a campsite in Switzerland which has chalets, huts or already made up tents to rent? Great family resorts are also a good option.
This gives you the camping facilities you are looking for and your kids will love, without all the different extras that come with it.
Start Planning your Family Bike Holiday in Switzerland.
Once you have decided where you want to go, you can start with the specific planning.
Whether you are using a hub, or overnighting in different places along your bike route, it is important that the distances are not too great.
Ideally, there is something exciting to see and experience here and there along the way. It makes the whole bike trip also much more fun when you can tell the kids a specific thing you will go to see on the way.
Include a lot of breaks within your daily bike route.
Check out where you might find a playground, a stream or other interesting things in-between.
Or what always works is if you tell the kids that a big ice cream will be waiting at the next break.
To know the route you are cycling on is important for all the above mentioned points.
I often use Google maps on the satellite setting. Many times we have found playgrounds, hidden beaches and other interesting things along the route which were not mentioned.
And don’t forget it is also ok to have a day’s break from cycling to enjoy the area you’re in.
You May Also Like These Related Posts
- Lugano Bike Routes for Families
- Biking in Switzerland with Kids – How to Best
- Easy Family Bike Route in Valais – Gampel – Leuk
- Evolène – Ferpècle – Bike ride to the Mont- Mine Glacier, Val D’Hérens
- Pays d’Enhaut – Bike Ride over Pont Turrian and along to Cascade du Ramaclé
I hope that the information provided here on “How to Plan a Family Bike Holiday in Switzerland. FAQ & Answers.” will prove itself useful.
If I have left anything out, please ask your questions in the comments below and share your experience, so that other readers can join in the conversation and benefit from your queries and stories as well.