The 9 Best Switzerland Cities to Visit in 2024 [The Family Edition]

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Have you been wondering about the best Switzerland cities? I’ve got you covered!

Switzerland is a fantastic destination for your next family vacation. The most famous cities in Switzerland offer something for everyone, from stunning landscapes to plenty of activities to entertain adults and kids!

Whether you’re visiting for the weekend or spending a week or more, the most beautiful cities in Switzerland will leave you with memories to treasure for the rest of your lives!

But with plenty of Switzerland cities to choose from, you might need help planning your trip. For that reason, I’ve rounded up a list of the most family-friendly cities in Switzerland.

switzerland cities

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1. Zurich

Zurich 2023 Population: 1,432,000

our trip to Zurich - lake zurich

As the largest city in Switzerland, Zurich offers many things for families. And despite being the most populous city in Switzerland, it has low crime rates with friendly locals who welcome families with open arms. On our trip to Switzerland, I travelled to Lucerne from Zurich and to Zurich by train from London.

Best of all, it’s well-connected to Switzerland’s other major cities.

When visiting Zurich with kids, the museums are a must-visit, from Zurich’s Art Museum to the FIFA World Football Museum.

If your little ones want to relax, head to Lake Zurich, which has several swimming areas, child-friendly restaurants, and cafes.

Best Things to Do: Head to the trendy district of West Zurich for the Josefwiese park. It has a children’s playground with water sprinklers and sports amenities like volleyball nets.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Zurich with the kids is from June to August, as the city enjoys mild temperatures and makes swimming in the lake more enjoyable. We visited in March and the weather was still very nice – although not for swimming!

Best Family Friendly Hotel: Stay in The Dolder Grand, one of the most family-friendly hotels in Zurich. It has amenities to keep everyone entertained, including an Aqua Zone with a swimming pool.

For a budget friendly option, we chose Hotel Limmanhof which is very close to Zurich central station and the shopping district.

2. Geneva

Geneva 2023 Population: 633,000

arriving in Geneva
Arrived in Geneva!

With its location between the Alpine peaks and some of Europe’s largest lakes, Geneva offers outdoor adventures perfect for active families.

As one of the biggest cities in Switzerland, Geneva is a bustling city with excellent public transportation, and getting around with kids is easy. Here’s how to get from Geneva airport to the city center using different modes of transport.

Begin your day with a scenic walk along the quay to spot boats and check out the rows of shops and cafes.

lake, water jet, port-8245486.jpg

Later, stroll through the cobblestone streets of the Old Town, where you’ll find ancient architecture, including St Peter’s Cathedral. Spend a day of fun adventures at Lac Leman, try the pedalo boat ride, or go wild swimming.

Best Things to Do: Spend the afternoon at Geneva’s Botanical Gardens and Conservatory, which has several playgrounds, merry-go-rounds, and lots of plants and trees to discover.

Best Time to Visit: Summer is the best time to visit Geneva when the weather is mild and breezy. While this is the most crowded season, it’s the perfect time to enjoy fun activities at the lake. During our trip in March, it was quite cold but fine for walking around the city. We could see some lovely snow in the distance topping the French Alps.

Best Family Friendly Hotel: Novotel Genève Centre is the best place to stay for families. Aside from having modern amenities and spacious rooms, it also has an indoor play area, perfect for those with little kids.

3. Basel

Basel 2023 Population: 570,000

basel, rhine, flow-4971623.jpg

Basel is one of the best Switzerland cities for family holidays. It’s rich in culture, history, and fascinating architecture, giving you and your kids plenty to explore. Read more about visiting Basel with kids here.

Because everything is close to each other, getting from one place to another is easy, either by foot, bike, or public transportation.

Visit in December to experience the Basel Christmas Market, one of the best Switzerland Christmas markets.

Regardless of the time of your visit, there will always be something to delight you and your kids in Basel. From discovering wildlife at Basel Zoo to watching a performance at Theater Basel and riding the vintage tram, your family trip to Basel will be a lot of fun.

Best Things to Do: Visit Basels Rathaus, an elegant building from the 1500s that served as the local town hall and houses a museum where your kids can learn about the local history and culture.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Basel is between mid-May and the end of June. Avoid April and early May if you want to explore the outdoors since these are the wettest months.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: Aside from having a swimming pool where kids can cool off after a day of sightseeing, Hotel D – Design Hotel has spacious rooms and suites with modern amenities for a comfortable stay in the middle of the city.

4. Lausanne

Lausanne 2023 Population: 460,000

Lausanne is an exciting Switzerland city along the scenic Lake of Geneva, one of Europe’s largest lakes.

Families will love the city’s rich history, modern vibe, museums, and impressive lake and mountain views.

In addition, Lausanne is home to several universities with a significant student population, fantastic restaurants, and bars.

Lausanne’s excellent infrastructure makes it easy to get around the city with your kids. Take the bus to the town center and walk to top attractions like the Lausanne Cathedral.

Brimming with fascinating cultural sites and boasting panoramic views of Lake Geneva and the Alps, Lausanne is one of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland.

Best Things to Do: Take a boat trip along Lake Geneva starting at Port Lausanne-Ouchy, with stops along picturesque lakeside villages. Some cruises include food experiences, such as breakfast and fondue.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Lausanne is between April and September since the city is most vibrant during this period.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: Located by the lake and has a swimming pool, Angleterre & Résidence is the perfect hotel for families. It offers spacious family rooms and gardens perfect for relaxing and spending time with your little ones.

5. Bern

Bern 2023 Population: 441,000

bern with kids, beautiful cities in switzerland

Bern is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland with kids, especially for families that prefer a slower pace of life.

It has gorgeous historic buildings, fantastic museums, and vast green spaces offering child-friendly outdoor adventures. A walk through the Old Town of Bern will reveal UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the famous Clock Tower.

While in Bern, go on a day trip to Thun Castle, one of the best castles in Switzerland. The castle museum is only a 30-minute drive from the center of Bern. Aside from learning about history, the castle’s tower offers a fantastic vantage point for some of the most breathtaking views of the Bernese Oberland.

Best Things to Do: If you’re heading to Bern in spring or summer, take the kids to the Rose Garden to admire the colorful flowers. Perched high above the city center, it boasts magnificent views of the red-roofed buildings of the city center.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to go to Bern is from April to September. Late spring is ideal for longer days, while August is the best time to enjoy the pleasant summer weather.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: Offering spacious and modern rooms ideal for families with kids, the Kreuz Bern Modern City Hotel is a fantastic place to stay. Its location within the medieval Old Town means you won’t have to walk far to explore Bern’s top attractions.

6. Lucerne

Lucerne 2023 Population: 82,620

lucerne city
My first time in Lucerne

Switzerland is famous for its beautiful lakes, and you’ll find one of these lakes in Lucerne.

A cruise along the scenic Lake Lucerne will delight your kids, taking you through several charming villages with the majestic mountains in the background.

Lucerne is one of the best cities in Switzerland for families with curious kids, as it’s home to Switzerland’s most famous museum, the Swiss Museum of Transport. It’s a highly interactive museum where kids can learn about transport, from rail to road, water, and air.

If you’re flying into Geneva or plan to visit Lucene after your Geneva city break, here’s how to get from Lucerne to Geneva.

Best Things to Do: Spend the day at the Swiss Museum of Transport, an interactive playground that kids and adults will love. Explore the museum’s vast individual halls showcasing every type of transport.

Best Time to Visit: Visit Lucerne between April and October since the weather is perfect for outdoor activities, although there is a chance of rain on some days during these months.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: Stay at the family-run Continental Park, an excellent hotel with family rooms to cater to those traveling with kids. It’s right at the heart of Lucerne, which makes getting around the city so easy.

7. Lugano

Lugano 2023 Population: 62,792

lugano, cities in Switzerland

Lugano is a charming and compact city in Switzerland, home to a scenic lake surrounded by lush palm trees and majestic mountains.

The city center would be an ideal starting point for sightseeing with kids. It has two excellent museums worth a stop, the Museum of Natural History, and the Museo in Erba.

No trip to Lugano is complete without spending a day at the lake. A fun family activity is to rent a pedalo boat and cycle along the lake. Some parts of the lake have a playground with slides, and some beaches are shallow enough for little kids to swim safely.

Best Things to Do: Head to Melide to explore Swissminiatur, Switzerland’s largest open-air miniature museum nestled along the shores of the scenic Lake Lugano.

Best Time to Visit: July to September is the best time to visit Lugano since the humidity is low and temperatures are pleasant enough to explore outdoors.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: Hotel De La Paix is the best place for families visiting Lugano. It’s located close to the lake and has a swimming pool and other amenities for a comfortable and relaxing holiday with the kids.

8. Zermatt

Zermatt 2023 Population: 5,865

white and brown houses on snow covered mountain during daytime

One interesting fact about Switzerland is it has numerous mountains over 3,000 meters high. You’ll find these in Zermatt, a picturesque ski resort town dominated by the famous Matterhorn.

Home to some of the world’s most epic ski resorts, it is the best Switzerland city for a winter holiday.

Refer to our Europe winter packing list to make the most of your family holiday in the cold season.

As one of the most famous cities in Switzerland, Zermatt can get crowded with tourists, especially during the peak season. But if you plan well, you and your kids can have a great time.

Best Things to Do: Take the cable car ride to the Matterhorn Glacier Paradise. At 3,883 meters, it is Europe’s highest-altitude cable car with incredibly scenic views.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Zermatt is from June to September. Sitting at an altitude of 1,600 meters, it enjoys a pleasant climate until autumn.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: Naco Aparthotel offers spacious apartments with balconies, making it a perfect choice for your family holiday in Zermatt.

9. Interlaken

Interlaken 2023 Population: 5,279

interlaken with kids

Interlaken is so pretty that you’ll likely find it as a backdrop of Switzerland quotes and captions. The charming town offers numerous family-friendly activities, from thrilling cable car rides to gentle hikes and fun playgrounds.

Whatever your kids’ interests are, you will find something to enjoy in this beautiful city of Switzerland.

Interlaken looks even more picturesque during the holiday season, with hundreds of partying people gathering to celebrate.

In fact, it’s considered one of the best European cities for New Years. On the eve of December 31st, there is a vast party in the city center, with concerts, music, and fireworks.

Best Things to Do: Spend a day at Jungfrau Park, an amusement park with attractions and entertainment for the whole family.

Best Time to Visit: The best time to visit Interlaken with the kids is during summer, from June to September, as the city enjoys a pleasant temperature hovering between 18°C and 20°C.

Best Family-Friendly Hotel: With a family room to accommodate up to four adults, Hotel Beausite is perfect for your family holiday in Interlaken. It’s in the historical part of the city and is only a five-minute walk to the town center.

Map of Switzerland with Cities

List of All Switzerland Cities

  • Zermatt
  • Interlaken
  • Geneva
  • Lausanne
  • Lucerne
  • Locarno
  • Lugano
  • Montreux
  • St. Moritz
  • Zurich
  • Basel
  • Bern
  • Thun

Final Words: Switzerland Cities

If you are visiting Switzerland for your next family getaway, you are certainly in for a treat! As you can see, the best Switzerland cities offer something for adults and kids, whether you plan to visit in summer or winter.

Many of the cities in Switzerland have incredible landscapes, offering a fantastic setting for fun family adventures. Make sure you read our guide to the best places to visit in Switzerland for more inspiration.

FAQs About Switzerland Cities

What are five major cities in Switzerland?

The five major cities in Switzerland are Zurich, Geneva, Base, Bern, and Lausanne. They are also considered the most famous cities in Switzerland and receive the most visitors.

What is the wealthy city in Switzerland?

Home to over 90,000 millionaires, with assets amounting to more than 100 million francs, Zurich is considered the wealthiest city in Switzerland.

What is the smallest city in Switzerland?

Werdenberg is known as the smallest city in Switzerland, which sits beside Liechtenstein, one of the world’s smallest countries.

What is the largest city in Switzerland?

With a population of 1,432,000 in 2023, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland.

What is the most populous city in Switzerland?

Home to roughly 15 percent of Switzerland’s entire population, Zurich is the most populous city in Switzerland.

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Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.

Carolyn Boston is a digital nomad who has been travelling the world for over six years. In 2017, she quit her 9 to 5 job to discover more of the world without worrying about limited vacation leaves! Her love for discovering incredible places and learning about new cultures has taken her to Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and beyond! Carolyn loves to offer advice and insights about the places she visited and dreams of someday writing a book about her world adventures.

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