5 Summer Hiking Destinations for Families in the Alps

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Your family doesn’t need to be experienced hikers to enjoy a summer vacation combining hiking in the Alps. This beautiful mountainous region offers a plethora of hiking trails suitable for all levels of hiking experience. Even young adventurers can immerse themselves in the wilderness and enjoy various activities such as high-speed tobogganing or playing with non-humped camels. Take a deep breath of fresh mountain air and explore the top family-friendly hiking destinations in the Alps.

Oeschinensee, Switzerland

Surrounded by numerous hiking trails, Oeschinensee is Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain lake.

Many hiking trails hug the shores of Oeschinensee, which is considered Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain lake. As you stroll along peaceful hiking trails under the summer sun, you will enjoy the famous Swiss landscapes and the clear, sparkling water of the lake, which originates from the Fründen glacier river. Many hiking trails are mapped on the Oeschinen website, so hikers of all levels can choose the most suitable route for them.

To reach the starting point of the trails, take the cable car from the small town of Kandersteg to the lake. Then, walk along the trail for about 25 minutes to reach the lake. Don’t forget to bring your camera because the blue-green water nestled between the Doldenhorn mountain range is a memorable sight you’ll want to capture. Swimming in the lake can be very cold even in summer, but it doesn’t stop the locals from jumping into the water. If swimming is not in your itinerary, try exploring the lush green meadowsmountain passes, waterfalls, and beautiful streams in the area, which are perfect for water sports.

Return to the cable car to continue your journey and experience the highlight of the day – the Oeschinensee Rodelbahn toboggan run. Summer tobogganing promises to bring an exhilarating experience for both children and adults as the track winds 750 meters down the mountain slope. Hold on tight as the sled bends through tight curves and glides past the beautiful lake scenery, but rest assured that you are always in control of your speed. At the end of the trip, you can relax at Landgasthof Ruedihus in Kandersteg, a traditional Alpine wooden house with a sun terrace and neat garden.

Chamonix, France

Stroll through flower-strewn meadows with the backdrop of Mont Blanc in Chamonix.

This is a destination for families who love hiking and have a relatively high level of experience. There are many hiking trails around Mont Blanc that start from the village of Chamonix, located in the French Alps. Hidden under the shadow of the majestic Mont Blanc, the challenging trails here not only offer unparalleled views of the famous mountain range but also promise to make you work hard. If your family is experienced in hiking and camping, consider trekking the 105-mile (nearly 170 km) Chamonix-Mont-Blanc trail for 11 days. This famous trail will take you on a journey around the highest mountain peaks in Western Europe and immerse you in the warm summer sunshine.

You can also experience the trail by dividing your journey into multiple smaller sections that are suitable for your family’s abilities. For example, you can spend a few days on the first two sections of the trail or just one day on the first section from Chamonix to Les Houches, stopping at a family-friendly accommodation along the way. You’ll have the opportunity to relive scenes from “The Sound of Music” as you walk through flower-filled meadows and fragrant pine forests. Don’t forget to say hello to the mountain goats you’ll encounter on the way! This area has many beautiful campsites, but if you prefer a comfortable place to rest, consider staying at a French-style mountain refuge like Refuge du Montenvers. Here, you’ll experience a complete vacation in the Alps.

Engelberg, Switzerland

The Engelberg Trübsee Lake Walk trail has an interactive map designed for children.

Located at an altitude of 1,050 meters above Lake Lucerne, the town of Engelberg in Switzerland is surrounded by family-friendly hiking trails. Lace up your shoes and take a leisurely walk around Engelberg’s Trübsee Lake, which takes about an hour and a half. As you start your journey on this famous trail, you’ll be lifted into the air by a cable car. In an instant, the peaceful scenery of the lake below and the beautiful mountain forests surrounding it will be within sight. When you arrive at the cable car station, you’ll find a playground where kids can warm up before embarking on the next part of the hike.

If you’re up for a more challenging trail, pick up a Four Lakes trail map from the Luzern Tourist Office. This winding trail starts at Trübsee Lake, with its greenish-blue water, passes through the picturesque Engstlensee lake, then continues on to the deep and quiet Tannensee lake, and finally ends at the largest of the four lakes, Melchsee.

Lasting about 7 hours, this adventure is sure to tire even the most energetic young hikers. However, you can speed up your journey by hopping on a few cable cars with stops near the small and beautiful towns where you can rest and recharge. At an altitude of 1,800 meters above sea level, you can choose to stay at Berghotel Trübsee by the lake or Hotel Garni Hostatt nestled in the majestic snow-covered mountain peaks of Engelberg.

Lugano, Switzerland

Take a stroll with cute and cuddly camels near the beautiful town of Lugano.

The beautiful town of Lugano is situated on the shores of Lake Lugano in the Italian-speaking Ticino region of Switzerland. It is a popular and attractive summer destination with a variety of adventure activities, from water sports to countless hiking trails, not to mention many shops in town for you to indulge in some shopping.

Lugano is the perfect destination for families who want a luxurious vacation but still want to experience the wild Alps. When you arrive, don’t forget to join a guided tour of the town or take the rare opportunity to go trekking with cute and cuddly camels. These gentle and well-cared-for camels will carry your luggage and be led by a guide, while the kids can walk alongside and stroke their soft and fluffy fur. The little ones can take turns leading the camels on easy paths under the supervision of the guide – the real challenge is saying goodbye to their four-legged friends at the end of the trip.

Although located in the Alps, the area has many similarities to the Mediterranean with similar scenery to the Lombardy region of northern Italy, with lakes, palm trees, citrus trees, and cypress trees. The climate here is also mild, so be sure to dress appropriately! Here, you can choose to go trekking for half a day, a full day, or several days, and you can also combine overnight stays at camel farms on longer trips. From May to October, these trekking trips start at Monte Comino in Centovalli, and from October onwards, they start at Monte Novella. You can experience a little bit of the remaining historical atmosphere in Lugano by booking a room at Guesthouse Castagnola, which was built in the 16th century and is located right on Lake Lugano.

Zernez, Switzerland

Hiking with interactive and digital guidance on the Champlönch Children’s Trail.

If this is your first time planning a family hiking holiday and you want to have fun safely, the Champlönch Children’s Trail is the perfect choice for you. Located on the eastern edge of Switzerland, close to the Italian border, the climate here is as pleasant as the hiking trails.

The website of the Swiss National Park provides you with all the necessary information to start your trip, including instructions on how to rent a digital guide with GPS at the Swiss National Park Center in Zernez. This device includes an interactive map with animated animal avatars that appear when you reach certain locations. These cute creatures will explain the geography of each area in an interesting and understandable way, making your family trip to the Alps truly educational.

The entire route is only 5 km long, so you can easily complete it in just a few hours at a moderate pace, suitable for even young travelers. You can continue your forest adventure by staying in a wooden-clad suite at Hotel Crusch Alba Swiss Lodge Zernez, or enjoy a spa treatment at Hotel Baer & Post Zernez with its beautiful pink cherry blossom decor – both are just a five-minute walk from the Swiss National Park Center.

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