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Castles & palaces Destination Experience Families Friends For who In the city Summer

Discover the three secrets of Burgdorf Castle

Unique journey

At Burgdorf Castle you don’t just stay overnight, you experience something unique every time. On the way up to one of the largest castle complexes in Switzerland, audio stations take you on a journey back in time to the Middle Ages. When you enter your room, you’ll find a surprise that will get you in the mood for your museum visit; the entrance fee is already included in the price of your overnight stay. The food is not from the Middle Ages, it’s local and fresh, and is served within the ancient walls or in the sunny castle courtyard with a view of the Emmental and the Alps.

Restaurant mit Personen

Here you can enjoy local and fresh food in a chivalrous setting

Each room is unique

When you stay overnight at Burgdorf Castle, you always discover a new room. This is not only because each one fits into the historic walls, but also because a small re-enactment awaits you in each room: On laundry day, for example, you can discover how time-consuming washing clothes used to be, or at the ski school you can learn about long and unusual routes to school. We won’t tell you what’s behind Fixpunkt and Hochdruck. You can be sure that the double rooms all have a shower and WC

The most diverse museum

I’m not saying that, our visitors are. Burgdorf Castle is a large cabinet of curiosities and in the museum you can discover countless cabinets of curiosities – be it for travelling or for ringing memories. What response do the played sounds evoke in you? That can remain your secret. Depending on whether you are interested in the Dukes of Zähringen, panning for gold on the Napf, the cheese trade or the stories of comings and goings in the area, you choose your own tour.

With the multimedia shows, you can immerse yourself in past legal cases in the former courtroom or follow the development of the city and region in time lapse on a large-scale model. And for those who prefer to explore with their hands, there are numerous hands-on stations in our museum (don’t forget to disinfect).

Schaukasten mit Bildern und Figuren

There is so much to discover in the museum

The castle for all

There is always something going on at Burgdorf Castle. For example, the castle courtyard is a place for children to play or, on special occasions to see the medieval figures of the Zähringen people. After Covid-19, culture is bringing people together again in the castle with a concert, a reading or a film screening. On public castle tours you can learn new stories or you can book a group workshop on beer brewing. You can even hire the Assisensaal for your own celebration at the castle or say “I do” to your sweetheart in the Schiltensaal. We look forward to you becoming part of life at Burgdorf Castle and discovering the next secret of this fascinating castle complex.

Menschengruppe auf Schloss Rundgang

Discovery tour of Burgdorf Castle

A report by Daniel Furter, Museum Director of Burgdorf Castle. 

Portraitbild von Daniel Furter

Daniel is the museum director at Burgdorf Castle. He really enjoys the unique combination of museum, youth hostel and restaurant, which always makes for exciting encounters. To keep the museum alive, he is always on the lookout for new stories and collaborations. Among the youth hostels, he is particularly fond of the two wellness hostels.

You now know how chivalrous it is at Burgdorf Castle. But how princely is it in our beautiful neighbouring country of Lichtenstein? We have something for you to make you feel like a prince.

Discover castles&palaces

Jugendherberge Sils im D.

Would you like to spend a chivalrous night in a castle and walk through old walls in the footsteps of the Romans and Habsburgs? The Swiss Youth Hostels offer you the opportunity to stay in very unique accommodation. By the way: A knight’s castle is ideal for an event or an excursion with the school class.

Categories
Action & adventure Destination Experience For who Friends In the mountains Stories Summer

Crans-Montana: from the hiking boot to dancing shoes

Get out of the rain!

We quickly left the wet start of summer behind us on the train from Bern to Crans-Montana. With a small aperitif and great expectations, we chugged comfortably to Valais. I mean it literally: From Sierre to Crans-Montana we changed to the funicular. The locals call the cable car «Funiculaire» – it takes you to 1200 metres in 12 minutes: Record time!

Our «Funiculaire»: It travels 8 metres per second. Plus: Free bike transport! Picture ©Crans-Montana Tourisme & Congrès / Olivier Maire

Rebooked: two nights in the youth hostel

Once we arrived at the Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, we were provided with all the information, terrycloth towels and free mountain railway tickets – more about that later. At reception, we spontaneously booked a second night. We canceled our planned tour to the Wildstrubelhütte: At almost 3000 metres, unfortunately, there was too much snow.

Wildstrubelhütte bei Sonnenuntergang

Wildstrubelhütte: still on our to-do list for late summer! Picture ©Crans-Montana Tourisme & Congrès

Bisses hike: «Qu’est-ce que cela ?»

After a leisurely breakfast at the youth hostel, we chose a lower hiking route. We were recommended one of the many bisses hikes. Bisses are ancient water furrows carved into the stone. The historic canals meander through the mountain panorama, still guiding water into the valley and hikers up the mountain today. Our destination was at «the source» of this bisse: the Tseuzier reservoir. This route is only suitable if you’ve got a head for heights. The suspension bridge «Bisse du Ro» wobbles from time to time.
Ru-Suone suspension bridge for those with a head for heights: At a height of 70 metres, it takes your breath away.

Ru-Suone suspension bridge for those with a head for heights: At a height of 70 metres, it takes your breath away.

Suone in Crans Montana

This is what a bisse looks like. The hike takes about three hours. Picture ©Crans-Montana Tourisme & Congrès / Photosolutions

Free mountain ascent to the dance

If you stay at the Crans-Montana Youth Hostel, you get free access to all mountain railroads of the destination. We used the free «explorer card» that same evening, taking a leisurely train ride up the Cry d’Er. Small festivals are held there throughout the summer. Until the end of August, the «Sunset Vibes» regularly attract locals and guests to the dance floor.

On the Côte d’Azur for a moment

At 2220 metres it’s easy to enjoy to electronic music. The event appeals to many locals – as a German-speaking Swiss, this francophone flair gives off holiday vibes. At 10 p.m. the train takes all the dancers back to the valley.

Exhilarated by the panorama and the little «trip to the Côte d’Azur», we chatted with some locals on the way back. They assured us that our broken-in hiking boots were hardly noticeable on the dance floor. Besides, this choice meant we were sure not to have any blisters on our feet.

One final dive as a farewell

On Sunday we took it a little easier. Before leaving, we were drawn to Lake Moubra. The walk takes about 20 minutes: For the «lazybones», there’s an hourly bus running between the village and the lake. In this swimming pool you swim for free and have a nice view of the surrounding peaks. If you forgot your swimsuit or bikini at home, you can have fun at the climbing park next door. Restaurant La Plage is located between the climbing park and the swimming pool. Lunch costs a good 50 francs. Before leaving, we thought to ourselves, «you only live once!»

Restaurantterasse dirket am See

At Lake Moubra in Montana, you catch the last rays of sun in the evening. Picture © Restaurant la Plage

After our «farewell swim» we took the Funiculaire back to Sierre. In Crans-Montana we got away from hectic everyday life for a moment. On the train to Bern, we were already making plans for our return: «Crans-Montana, we’ll be back!»

Adrian Reber has written a personal report for us about his stay at Crans-Montana Youth Hostel – thank you very much!

junger Mann sitz auf Stein in Crans Montana

About me:
Adrian here – I’m 28 and appreciate the little escapes from my everyday life. Especially on weekends, I want to get out of the house and experience life besides work. On my trips, the Swiss Youth Hostels appeal to me with central locations, new acquaintances and let’s be honest: reasonable prices ;-)!

Mountain railway inclusive

Standseilbahn in Crans Motntana in mitten Rebberge

Regional mountain railway ticket included

Regional mountain railway ticket and public transport included.
Also this summer, the Grisons and Valais mountain railways will take you up at no charge to the dizzy heights. Ideal for families, groups and individual travelers. The offer is valid from 1 May 2021 to 31 October 2021 at the following youth hostels: Crans-Montana, Davos, Gstaad Saanenland, Pontresina, Saas-Fee wellnessHostel4000 or St. Moritz

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Action & adventure Action & adventure Experience Experience Families Families For who For who Presenting... Summer Stories Stories Summer Presenting...

Swiss Youth Hostels as partner of the MS Sports overnight camps

This year MS Sports is organising 377 camps at 241 locations across Switzerland for 16,000 kids aged 6-15, 27 of which include overnight stays. There’s a wide range of different sports options available: Football, biking, horseback riding, chess, tennis, snow sports as well as polysports.

As the largest Swiss camp provider, MS Sports has put together a versatile programme. The focus is on kids’ favourite sports, boosting their immune systems and socialising. In this interview, founder and CEO Mario Sager talks about the recipe for success in the now 14-year history of the MS Sports Camps, the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the collaboration with the Swiss Youth Hostels as a new accommodation partner.

Kinder spielen Fussball

Action is the order of the day at football camp Picture ©MS Sports

What is special about MS Sports?

Sports are our passion. We offer children and young people aged 6 to 15 inexpensive, meaningful and high-quality holiday activities and enable them to have fun and exercise during their school holidays. Another plus: this also eases the burden on parents. It is important to us that no social or financial barriers stand in the way of the children.

Together with our partner association VFKS we want to make it possible for every child to have an unforgettable camp experience. Thanks to VFKS, socially disadvantaged kids receive a discount of up to 80%. With 14 years of experience, a high level professionalism and a lot of heart and soul, we create spaces for the athletic, social and personal development of children and young people.

zwei Jungs spielen Tennis

Team spirit and fun go hand in hand Picture ©MS Sports

What kind of camps does MS Sports organise?

There’s a wide variety of sports, ranging from football, biking, horseback riding, dancing, tennis, chess & sports to polysports and snow sports. What’s special about polysports camps is that kids can try out two new sports such as floorball, athletics, trampoline, artistic gymnastics, flag football, badminton, etc. every day. Thanks to this variety, we have quite the range to offer.

Gruppe von tanzenden Mädchen

In the polysports camps the kids can try two new sports every day Picture ©MS Sports

Why are youth hostels suitable as accommodation partners?

Out of 348 camps, 37 are offered with accommodation and a comprehensive all-inclusive package, allowing us to provide children with a very special experience. The Swiss Youth Hostels offer the kids everything they need for a real camp experience, making them the ideal accommodation partner for us. The kids share bunk beds, spend a lot of time together, are served varied and healthy meals and can enjoy a variety of games in and around the youth hostels. These are perfect conditions for a special kind of camp experience.

Children make a pillow fight

Special offer

Special offer of the Swiss Youth Hostels

Parents accompany their children and stay overnight at the youth hostels for 20% less

Thanks to the cooperation with the Swiss Youth Hostels, there is a special offer for the whole family this year: Parents who want to visit their children and spend time as a family can get a 20% discount on overnight stays (2 nights or more) at a nearby hostel by using the promo code MSSPORTS.

The pandemic has also presented you with challenges. Now camps can take place again. What are you looking forward to most?

Yes, the pandemic was quite challenging for us. After losing some orders last year and suffering a big financial loss, we are now even more grateful to be able to pursue our passion again. We are highly motivated and are already in the middle of the 190 summer camps.

We look forward to seeing all the happy kids who can finally let off steam and play their favourite sports with their friends again. Exercise is more important now than ever. It’s a great joy for the whole MS Sports team to see the lightheartedness, energy and gratitude of the kids. If the children go home at the end of the week with beaming faces, we have achieved our goal.

Mädchen spielt Schach

At chess camp, kids learn what a smart chess move is

For the summer holidays, there are still some open spaces in the camps. What is the best way to register and who can attend the camps?

For the summer, there are still a few spaces available. If you still want to secure a spot for one of our camps, you can find all the information you need and register on our website. Thanks to the cancellation insurance we offer, there’s no risk, even if your plans should change.

Overnight camps with available places

Footballcamp
Youth Hostel Interlaken 02.08 – 06.08

Chesscamp
Youth Hostel Rapperwil-Jona 09.08 – 13.08

Footballcamp
Youth Hostel Solothurn 09.08 – 13.08

Polysportcamp
Youth Hostek Lausanne 16.08 – 20.08

Dancecamp
Youth Hostel Lucerne 04.10 – 08.10

Youth Hostel Schaan-Vaduz 04.10 – 08.10

Bikecamp
Youth Hostel Engelberg 11.10 – 15.10

An interview with Mario Sager, CEO / Owner MS Sports AG

Portraitbild von Mario Sager

Mario Sager, whose company is named after his initials, founded MS Sports in 2007. The former professional soccer player overcame numerous hurdles in favor of families being able to offer kids a meaningful and inexpensive vacation activity. MS Sports now organizes 348 camps at 227 locations throughout Switzerland.

Categories
Action & adventure Destination Experience For who Friends On the water Summer

Why the Bernese Oberland instead of the Baltic Sea

Flug gecancelt – what now

Last June, my colleague’s and my holiday plans were thrown out of whack – due to COVID-19, of course. Our flight to the Baltic Sea was canceled. So we had to find an alternative in Switzerland. Planning was clearly my job, since I work at the Swiss Youth Hostels. The weather is supposed to be quite nice, warm and sunny – perfect for hiking and swimming. Both are possible in the Bernese Oberland!

Ice cream on Lake Brienz

Off we went! Our first stop: Brienz. After checking in at the hostel, we decided to take a walk along the lake. Brienz is incredibly charming with its many quaint wooden chalets. The promenade right on the lake invites you to linger and enjoy some ice cream.

Chalet in Brienz

Chalet in the village of Brienz ©Katrin

Hike with a wet ending

For the next day, we planned a hike. In itself, the Brienzer Rothorn is close for an excursion. Since we had already planned another difficult hike for the next few days, we opted for the panoramic trail. The highlight of the hike is definitely crossing the Unterweidligraben suspension bridge to Interlaken. Ready to go thanks to our simple but good breakfast, we started our hike from the hostel. By the way, we still rave about the great bread today.

After a long ascent, we enjoyed the most gorgeous view over the turquoise lake. Unfortunately, the sky was getting cloudier with every step – so much for the beautiful weather. After 1.5 hours we were soaking wet and returned to Brienz by train. Lunch at Interlaken Youth Hostel was literally rained off. Instead of lunch, we took a hot shower and afterwards we enjoyed the afternoon. We finally decided to go to Interlaken, as neither of us was a fan of the menu of the day in Brienz. Without further ado, we opted for the à la carte restaurant 3a, which has something for everyone.

Thaicurry und Pasta

Dinner at Restaurant 3a in Interlaken ©Katrin

Prosecco in the hot tub

The next day we checked out and left for Lake Thun. From Därligen, we were recommended a hike towards Morgenberghorn. But the horn wasn’t our goal. We were looking to aim high elsewhere. So, we took on the 90-minute sweat-inducing hike. Our destination: a swing with a breathtaking view.

The way back down was much easier for us. With the plan in mind to stop at Leissigen Youth Hostel for a dip in the lake, time flew by. This was actually a great idea – hiking boots off and straight into the cool water! After taking the plunge, we continued to Grindelwald. There we could look forward to a barbecue followed by prosecco in the hot tub. We booked this additional service on the spur of the moment. Luck was on our side and it was still available. Relaxing in the garden of the youth hostel with a view of the north face of the Eiger is quite the experience!

Woman on swing over lake Brienz

Swing above Därlingen picture by Katrin Lippik

Proseccogläser vor Berner Bergkette

Prosecco in the hot tube at Grindelwald Youth Hostel picture by Katrin Lippik

Happy End

The next day we took the gondola from Grindelwald up to the First for a short round to Bachalpsee. The ride on the gondola took about 25 minutes and costs CHF 65 per adult round trip.

Wanderer am Bachalpsee

Bachalpssee in the Bernese Oberland

Bachalpsee is one of the most popular destinations in the region. For the hike there and back to the gondola station you have to plan about 2 hours. This leaves plenty of time for a few photo stops, which are a must in this idyllic landscape. There are lots of opportunities to take longer tours in peace, too. For us, however, this was just the right option. The trail is very wide and well developed, making it suitable for families with strollers. The view of the jagged peaks of Wetterhorn, Schreckhorn and Finsteraarhorn on the opposite side of the valley is also second to none.

The next day, after breakfast, we were already on our way back to Zurich – totally happy about these fantastic impressions and not at all melancholy about the cancelled trip to the Baltic Sea.

By the way, you can find more excursion tips around the water and how you can discover the most beautiful waters in Switzerland by bike in the article leave the rat race behind and hop on your bike: off to the water!

Frau schaut in die Ferne

View from Grindelwald First to the mountains ©Katrin

Katrin is our sports enthusiast department manager of the Swiss Youth Hostel Booking Center. When she’s not in the office, you’ll find her in a hostel or on hiking trails. Fascinated by traveling, she explored Switzerland last summer and shared her unique experience with us.

Categories
Action & adventure Action & adventure Experience Experience Friends Friends In the mountains In the mountains Winter Winter

Light Ride in Lenzerheide: Pure action and fun

Recently, my long-time childhood friend sent me a cool Instagram video of an interactive night sledging run. We both could hardly believe that the adventure was only two hours away in Lenzerheide. For two adrenaline junkies like us, that meant: don’t think twice, just go!

Off to the Swiss mountains

That same evening, we secured ourselves the limited and coveted tickets: A sledging ticket for young adults costs CHF 24. If you need a sledge, you can hire one for another CHF 12. At CHF 36, the adventure costs about the same as going to a club or a concert, so we’re curious to see if it can compete with a night out in Zurich.

It was clear to us that we wanted to combine this outing with an overnight stay, as the sledging run is open from 6 pm to 10 pm. My friends are doing their vocational baccalaureate and I’m a student, so we’re traveling more budget-friendly at the moment. Valbella-Lenzerheide Youth Hostel seems to meet our needs: inexpensive, clean and at a central location.

Our travels are not only budget-friendly, but also spontaneous: Only 4 days after booking, the time had come! We set off for the beautiful Swiss mountains. After arriving and a smooth check-in, we had a delicious dinner in the hostel and chatted about our upcoming adventure. We could hardly wait and were excited to see what was in store for us.

Saturday evening in a ski suit

Equipped with a ski suit and helmet, we’re ready for our Saturday evening adventure. From the hostel, it’s 20 minutes by public transport or 5 minutes by car to the Rothorn gondola. Once we reached the top, we were a little surprised to find that the race didn’t start at the very top, but at the bottom part of the sledging run. Perhaps that wasn’t so bad, since it allowed us to test our sledging technique and race strategy a bit first. After all, the loser has to buy the winner a drink and for 3 students, there’s a lot at stake!

Selfie vor
Light Ride Lenzerheide route illuminated

Here we go, here we go

Further down, we are greeted by light and music. Here we go:

The Light Ride is no ordinary sledging run. When I saw the video, it reminded me of the video game Mario Kart from the very first second: Up to 4 riders start side by side, all aiming to reach the home stretch first. But it’s not just speed that counts, you have to avoid obstacles and light beams, to collect points by clapping hands and high-fiving and not to lose your bearings in the tunnel. And all this is accompanied by just the right Mario Kart-like 8-bit music. Your time is measured with a transponder and the results are sent directly to your mobile phone by e-mail.

Light Ride Lenzerheide Start
Light Ride LenzerheideStart

Unfortunately, it turns out I’m not very skilled at Mario Kart. Last to cross the finish line, my friends were already waiting for me at the bar. Nevertheless, we can all highly recommend the Light Ride! Definitely try it out, as it’s a unique experience, a lot of fun and more adventurous than playing Mario Kart at home. The CHF 36 for a really fun girls’ night out, where we could escape the stress of studying, was well invested. And of course I was happy to buy my friends a drink.

Luckily we had booked the youth hostel, after that evening nobody wanted to drive the two hours home. Instead, we were able to have a nice breakfast together the next morning and the outing turned into a mini-vacation, which we all desperately needed.

Categories
Destination Stories Sustainability

Maximum travel experience with a minimum carbon footprint

Conscious travel with regard for the climate and the environment is becoming increasingly popular. However, many of us ask ourselves whether and how climate-conscious travel is possible at all. What can we do to minimise our carbon footprint and not lose our appetite for adventure? How can we estimate and lessen the ecological impact of our favourite trip? The new wellnessHostel3000 in Laax (Grisons) which just recently opened in December 2020 is a good example of how wellness and sustainability can be successfully combined.

Sustainability begins with the journey

If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll probably choose to travel by public transport – by bus and train during the cold season, and maybe by bike in the spring.

The Swiss Youth Hostels generally make sure there are good public transport connections nearby and work together with Rent a Bike at many locations. As with many other youth hostels, the journey to wellnessHostel3000 isn’t an energy-guzzling long-distance trip. It’s also easy to reach by public transport – and your bike will find its own place to rest in the lockable bike room in Laax.

What exactly makes accommodations sustainable?

When choosing accommodation that is as sustainable as possible, you can focus on different areas. On the one hand, it is important for your stay not to consume too much energy or generate too much waste – for the sake of the environment. On the other hand, the host should have a local focus, e.g. cook regionally and seasonally. In addition, socially sustainable businesses are characterised by the fact that they are accessible to all: barrier-free and with fair prices. And finally, an environmentally friendly hotel or hostel offers the possibility to offset your carbon, the proceeds of which usually go towards a climate project or are used to design new building projects according to ecological standards.

Avoid – reduce – offset emissions

In terms of energy efficiency, the wellness oasis on Lake Laax can benefit from a well thought-out and proven environmental concept of the Swiss Youth Hostels. According to the 2019 Annual Report, the network of a total of 50 hostels achieves a very high level of environmental sustainability by focusing on these three basic principles: Avoid, reduce and offset emissions. This is done through sustainable construction of new buildings (applying Minergie and ECO standards), optimal building insulation, use of solar energy or wood heating, intelligent water-saving measures, regional sourcing of fresh food, recycling and proper waste disposal.

Guests can voluntarily offset their emissions: In 2019, participation was a pleasing 58%. This amount, together with the returns from the photovoltaic systems (Bern, Fällanden, Saas-Fee and St. Moritz youth hostels), flows into the Swiss Youth Hostels’ climate fund.

Sustainable and trendy relaxation

If you look at it this way, it’s not that difficult to choose a sustainable travel destination in this country. Even in the wellness area, where you would actually expect increased water and heat consumption, you can travel with a good climate conscience. After all: While the first modern wellness hotel in Saas-Fee (wellnessHostel4000) is powered by solar district heating, which is also available in winter thanks to an underground storage tank, the newly opened wellnessHostel3000 in Laax, Grisons, is heated with wood from the surrounding forest – totally climate-free. The new Pardanal wood-fired heating plant in Laax helps save 175 tonnes of carbon each year. This entire project was realised together with the complete renovation of the local indoor swimming pool, allowing us to streamline operations and provide a special combination of hostel, indoor swimming pool and wellness area (Aua Grava) on top of that.

Not only is the design of the complex trendy – at the restaurant Biblau (Rhaeto-Romanic for “beautiful blue”), you can also order numerous vegetarian or vegan dishes. The unique concept is inspired by the regional nature and culture, especially by the Rhaeto-Romanic language, which you will encounter all over in the most diverse ways.

Also good to know: 16 rooms are accessible, and the Aua Grava with indoor pool, wellness and fitness is also barrier-free since the renovation.

Check out Travelita’s travel blog for a look at the rooms with large panoramic windows, the spacious spa area and many insider tips for enjoying your stay on Lake Laax.

Categories
Behind the scenes Destination In the mountains Presenting... Stories

Who works at wellnessHostel3000?

Simone

  • Job: Masseuse
  • Hobbies: Snowboarding, skating, hiking with my dog and bouldering
  • Favourite après-ski drink: a good mulled wine!
  • Do you dare to go skiing/snowboarding on the black slope? No, I only ski in the snow park or freeride 😉

Jarek  

  • Job: Kitchen all-rounder
  • Hobbies: Hiking, computers, new technology
  • Favourite après-ski drink: A Feldschlösschen beer
  • Do you dare to go skiing/snowboarding on the black slope? I can’t ski. 🙁
  • Why Laax is a great location for holidays/excursions: Laax is a beautiful place and the ski area is extremely diverse.

Meret 

  • Job: Reception
  • Hobbies: Snowboarding, hiking, swimming
  • Favourite après-ski drink: Holdrio
  • Do you dare to go skiing/snowboarding on the black slope? Sure do! 😉
  • Why Laax is a great location for holidays/excursions:
    Excellent slopes for snowboarding, winter hiking trails and cool people. Laax offers something for everyone who likes to be outdoors.

Reto 

  • Job: General manager
  • Hobbies: Motorcycling, hiking, skiing, photography
  • Favourite après-ski drink: Muggapfupf
  • Do you dare to go skiing/snowboarding on the black slope?
    Of course. Black slopes are my thing.
  • Why Laax is a great location for holidays/excursions:
    Because Laax is a great starting point for activities throughout the year. From skiing at 3000 metres to river rafting in the Rhine Gorge, it’s all possible here.

Kayla 

  • Job: Head of housekeeping
  • Hobbies:
    Horseback riding, snowboarding, hiking, eating out, swimming, ice skating.
  • Favourite après-ski drink: Punch, hot chocolate, pint
  • Do you dare to go skiing/snowboarding on the black slope?
    Depends on how extreme the black slope is! But actually I like to take the black slope from time to time 😊 Especially when it’s the only way to get to my favourite après-ski bar!
  • Why Laax is a great location for holidays/excursions:
    Great slopes + snowboard park (even if I don’t dare to ride in the park myself, I love watching the pros! 😊 ) Beautiful hiking trails and ice skating rink on the lake! Normally, without the pandemic, there are also great bars and restaurants here.
Categories
Destination Families For who On the water Summer

7 excursion recommendations for family holidays in Rapperswil

For small and large captains and sailors, a boat trip on Lake Zurich is of course an absolute must.

You can find timetables here

1. Children’s zoo

From the ship to the ship of the desert. Riding a camel, watching the elephants bathe and counting the stripes on the zebra. Make sure not to miss Knie’s Children’s Zoo.

By the way, Thisiam is a male Asian elephant and the heaviest animal in the children’s zoo. Guess how heavy he is. You can find the solution at the end of the article

Off to the Zoo

2. Grosser Mythen

Now it’s time to get athletic: Experienced summiteers have the opportunity to climb a Swiss classic among the mountains. With its 360° panorama, the Grosser Mythen belongs on every alpinist’s bucket list. From Brunni, it’s a 500 metre ascent. Surefootedness and sufficient snacks are essential. The trail is only suitable for experienced hikers and is usually accessible from mid-May.

Challenge accepted

3. Alpamare

After sport comes fun: on a rainy day, the Alpamare water park is the perfect destination for the entire family. Kids burn off energy on the slides, while parents might prefer to try the spa. To round the day off, everyone joins up to go on the Thriller, the most spectacular ride at Alpamare. As a member of the Swiss Youth Hostels, you benefit from a 15% discount on the entrance fee.

Alpamare

Fun in Alpamare

4. Atzmännig

Is the weather too nice for Alpamare? Then we recommend a trip to the Atzmännig instead. The leisure paradise for families is only 30 minutes away from the youth hostel: With a toboggan run, rope course, leisure park and an adventure trail – there’s bound to be something for everyone.

Fun and games

5. Rapperswil food trail

So much action calls for a somewhat quieter follow-up programme: You can discover Rapperswil on a culinary scavenger hunt. With puzzles and local specialities, you learn more about the history of the city on the food trail.

Nibble

6. Dinosaur Museum

A trip to the dinosaur museum in Aathal (about 45 minutes by public transport) is both impressive and educational. A collection of real dinosaur skeletons, the only of its kind around the world, takes you on a journey 150 million years into the past. Marvel at small dinosaur skeletons, less than two metres long, but also at the massive Brachiosaurus, measuring 23 metres from head to tail.

Learn and marvel

7. Lindt Home of Chocolate

Whether young or old, anyone who has read Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” or seen one of the film adaptations dreams of setting foot in the fantastic world of the Oompa Loompas and being guided through the chocolate factory by Willy Wonka. The Lindt Home of Chocolate comes incredibly close to making this a reality.
Kilchberg can also be reached by boat with some extra time on hand, 2.5 hours to be exact. Attention: after this excursion, you may very well experience a sugar rush, so unfortunately we can’t guarantee a good night’s sleep.

For everyone with a sweet tooth

Rapperswil is a paradise for family excursions and the youth hostel is the perfect starting point: Converted family rooms, breakfast included, no-fuss stay together with an optional dinner, so parents can relax too. Strong as an elephant!

So, how much did you guess? The male elephant Thisiam weighs in at a staggering 6800 kg.

Categories
Destination For who Friends Spring Hostel tips In the city

10 things you should experience in Liechtenstein

Here, it’s one highlight after the other. Speaking of hunting, let’s get started with a trip to Malbun:

1. Hunting birds

It only takes 30 minutes from Schaan to Malbun, where a unique experience awaits you at the Galina falconry: Falconer Norman Vögeli (did we mention that Vögel is German for “birds”?) not only offers spectacular bird-of-prey flight shows, but also private free flight adventure walks. Here, a hawk accompanies you, settles down on your arm time and again, only to circle above you once more a short time later.

To the birds

2. «More than a little dough with a hole»

After this kind of experience, you need some energy. That’s why it’s worth stopping in Vaduz on the way back: at the American Bagel & Coffee Co. it’s easy to linger with coffee made from 100% Arabica Fairtrade beans from Latin America, comfortable armchairs and a stuffed bagel. “More than a little dough with a hole in the middle” is the company’s claim.

American Bagel & Coffee Co.
Städtle 28
9490 Vaduz

3. Pub crawl in Schaan

With 6,000 residents, Schaan has quite a few pubs to offer. After dinner at the youth hostel, a small pub crawl awaits you: 4 stops spread over 2.4 km. From the youth hostel, it’s off to the Long John Bar, followed by stops at the Black Pearl and the Central Garage before the tour ends at UNIKUM My Local Pub. Bonus tip: If you still feel like it or are hungry, you can stop by the Long John Bar on the way back. Snacks are available here until late at night.

4. Fürstensteig – Three Sisters mountain hike

Now it’s time to get down to business: The Fürstensteig and the Three Sisters track are considered to be magnificently constructed mountain trails. The ridge paths require a head for heights and surefootedness. On a 12.3 km journey you look down on the neighbouring countries of Switzerland and Austria.

Set off on a hike

5. Heads up, foodies – part 1: Käseknöpfle

Only 18 minutes by car from the youth hostel, Wirtschaft zum Löwen offers what may be the best cheese spaetzle in all of Liechtenstein. From there it is a 650-metre walk to Austria. Turn your trip abroad into a tour through several countries in just a few minutes.

Cheese spaetzle

6. Heads up, foodies – part 2: On the lookout for Ribel

This cornmeal-based dish is eaten with applesauce and coffee and used to be a staple for the poor in the principality. Keep a lookout for a restaurant that serves Ribel.

Tip 1:

This speciality can be found at Restaurant Specki as a vegan alternative. With its small menu, take-away offer and social concept, the restaurant is worth a visit even without Ribel.

Specki

Tip 2:

Unable to find Ribel? In addition to many other regional specialities, the Hoi shop in Vaduz offers the perfect Ribel starter set with a cooking spoon, Ribel cornmeal and recipe booklet. Try it at home.

Hoi Laden

7. Five Castles Tour by bike or e-bike

What would a stay in Liechtenstein be without castles? Coming in at around 45 km, this circuit tour leads past Werdenberg Castle, to the castle ruins of Wartau, down to Sargans Castle, where you will be able to see Gutenberg Castle in Balzers, and back to Schaan via Vaduz, where Vaduz Castle has towered above the small town as the landmark of Liechtenstein for about 700 years.

The route is also ideal as an e-bike tour, for example if you need something light on your agenda after the pub crawl or the mountain hike.

InstaSpot: Stop at the old Rhine bridge below Vaduz. This wooden construction is extremely photogenic.

Get biking

8. Llama and alpaca trekking

Another tip for animal lovers: a llama or alpaca trek will definitely put you in a good mood. On the road with such an animal, you almost feel like you’ve been transported straight to the South American Andes. Like we said, a tour through several countries. #ivetravelledtheworldandthesevenseas

It’s llama time

9. Nendeln kart track

We’re big fans of the kart track in Nendeln: The karts are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which in turn are charged with electricity from the solar panels on the hall roof. Karting is always fun, but especially in Liechtenstein!

Time to kart

10. Been there, done that: Souvenir stamp

Last but not least: Grab your passport, venture into town again and get proof of your trip with the official country stamp before heading back to faraway Switzerland and telling everyone about your experiences.

Been there, done that

As you can see, Liechtenstein is always worth a visit. And if all the tips haven’t blown you away, the newly renovated youth hostel that opens its doors in April certainly will. By the way, you can find many more tips here or get inspired by the Outdooractive tours if one hike isn’t enough for you. We look forward to your visit.

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Destination Friends In the city Spring

From Lake Constance to Liechtenstein

We arrived in Schaan shortly before Christmas, moved into a flat and could hardly wait to visit the construction site. After all, quite some time had already passed since the topping-out ceremony in August 2020. I can tell you it was the perfect Christmas present: Just before sunset we reached the construction site and the “Three Sisters” mountain range was glowing in the evening sky behind the youth hostel. Whew, everything felt right. But now it was time to explore the surroundings and the culture.

AROUND SCHAAN-VADUZ

I prefer to go exploring on foot. And within a few days I had already gathered some tips:

From the youth hostel to Schaan Forest

The Schaan Forest lies at the foot of the Three Sisters. Here you can take the Fürstenweg, which leads from Schaan to Vaduz. If you continue to follow the Fürstenweg from Schaan to Vaduz, you will arrive at Vaduz Castle, where the princely family still lives today. While I would have liked to visit the prince, my children wanted to go to the Fuchs auf Dux – an educational forest trail with a forest playground and barbecue area.

Vaduz forest adventure trail

On the next excursion we checked out the Vaduz forest adventure trail Vaduz (tourismus.li). The beautifully designed trail is fun for the entire family, featuring exciting information panels. For Len, the highlight was the beehive display, Nora and I were fascinated by the newly built viewing platform. Heads up: You will only pass by it if you take the longer route.

Au

The Letzi viewing platform, image from Isabelle Meister

The Liechtenstein Trail

There is no way around it. Whether you like it or not. This is because the 75-km-long trail leads through Liechtenstein and all 11 municipalities of the country from the north to the south. We have already walked a few kilometres and as soon as the youth hostel is open, we will be there to keep you energised. Click here for the offer: The Liechtenstein Trail | Swiss Youth Hostels (youthhostel.ch)

Along the Rhine

Just cross the farm road from the youth hostel and you’re at the Rhine. Of course, this is ideal for bicycle and inline skate tours. But there are also beautiful trails for hikers. Or how about taking a run before breakfast? We’ll be waiting for you with coffee and muesli.

Ruine Schalun Liechtenstein Weg

Wildschloss castle ruin, image from Isabelle Meister

ADDITIONAL EXCURSION RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FAMILIES

Pump track in Balzers

Nora (7) was particularly enthusiastic about the pump track in Balzers. Len (3) was happy about the playground right next door and I was able to walk up to Gutenberg Castle from there.

Time Travel with Wurz and Zirp

Time Travel with Wurz and Zirp  is a loop trail on Schellenberg. However, we didn’t complete the entire route with the children because they were so impressed by the Upper Schellenberg Castle that we stuck around.

Grossabünt leisure centre in Gamprin

The centrepiece of the beautiful grounds is the swimming lake. But the leisure centre also has lots to offer on colder days: A sports facility, playground, pump track, sports equipment. A great destination if you are cycling the Rhine route.

Malbun

Liechtenstein’s charming ski resort is located 1600 m above sea level. Our skiing trip was a complete success. We are already looking forward to exploring the area in spring as well: Experiences include the birds of prey demonstration at the Galina falconry, archery, a detective trail and an explorer trail.

ON FIRST-NAME TERMS IN MY NEW HOME

As you can see, I am already totally thrilled with my new home. Visiting the capital Vaduz is yet another must-do. There is always something going on here. A wide selection of museums, and even shopping fans will get their money’s worth. And you can find really special, sustainable products in the Hoi Shop.  Speaking of “Hoi”. We haven’t noticed that many big differences from Switzerland yet, but one is substantial: The Liechtensteiners are on a first-name basis. I had my reservations at first, especially with older people, but when a stranger greets you on the street with a friendly “Hoi”, you can’t help but reciprocate. We feel super comfortable and find it simply wonderful here!

THE NEW SCHAAN-VADUZ YOUTH HOSTEL

What can you look forward to? A new, modern youth hostel in a quiet location. With a magnificent view of the Swiss Alps. Double room with shower/WC, family room with shower/WC and the multi-bed rooms are 4-6-bed rooms each with a washbasin. On the ground floor the spacious entrance area with reception and the restaurant are located. From here you have direct access to the terrace. There is a library and a games room for younger guests. We already have some ideas in mind for these rooms, so there is no chance of the kids getting bored.

Dogs are also welcome. Hiking trails are right on our doorstep and anyone cycling the Rhine route can stop by. To get you energised for the next day, there is always an extensive breakfast buffet, and in the evening my husband Adrian conjures up a three-course menu for you. Of course, this is also accompanied by a glass of Liechtenstein wine or some Schaan beer. We can’t wait to see you here.

Spielplatz Jugendherberge Schaan-Vaduz