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Switzerland with kids: mountains, bears and squirrels in Arosa

rosa alpina

Arosa (Switzerland, Canton Graubünden/Grisons) is the perfect place to spend some amazing days with your kids in the Swiss mountains. The peaks are gentle, everywhere you can see meadows full of wild flowers, you can hike great trails at the sound of cowbells, and you’ll never be far from cows grazing the grass. This is Switzerland as you see it on postcards (according to my italian husband). We’ve fallen in love with Arosa. We spent 4 really incredible days, far away from the crowds of the most “emblazoned” Swiss tourist resorts, but with the same (or greater) organization and respect towards the younger guests.

In this little town, located at an altitude of 1775 meters above sea level, there is no shortage of family-friendly activities – and even if you are in Arosa with very small kids (and a stroller), you can enjoy incredible hikes. Read on and I will tell you which trails are stroller-friendly). Moreover if yoiu decide to stay overnight in a hotel or holiday apartment, you will receive an Arosa Card for free, which will allow you to ride buses, cable cars and gondolas for free, and much more. So let me tell you about 5 “Arosa” activities that kids will love – all tried and tested with my son.

Hike the squirrel trail in Arosa

squirrel Arosa
Come little friend, have some food from my hand

The first thing we did in Arosa was to get the brochure about the Squirrel Trail (in English or German) and head off to the trail straight away. The brochure will allow your kids to take part in a scavenger for children. We Brochures are in German or English – so we picked the English one: it made our hike a lot of fun, except for a clue: could you help us anagram these letters: ITBAUUELF? The highlight of this hike – which can easily be walked with a stroller- was the chance to feed the squirrels, allowing them to eat nuts from your own hands. Do stock up on nuts before hitting the trail, but do not despair if you forget (as we did!) – not all is lost.

We realized we had forgotten to get some nuts when we were already on the trail, which starts in the forest above the village. Darn! What could we do? Well, we decided to “use” what the forest would offer, as well as what other children had lost along the way.Within five minutes our hands full of hazelnuts, two nuts, an almond and some peanuts. So on we went… looking for squirrels, running after them, imitating their call, which is not an easy task when there are so many kids around and the squirrels most likely have a full belly. We finally succeeded in approaching one and our squirrel chose the almond. Do not stop after you’ve fed the squirrels: at the end of the trail, a beautiful playground awaits you!

Greach the summit of the Weisshorn by cable car

in cima al weisshorn
Weisshorn, 2653 meters above sea level

Owe decided to spend one full day discovering the Weisshorn, Arosa’s main mountain – which can be reached comfortably by cable car. Thanks to the Arosa card, the ride was free of charge. The first section of the cable car starts behind the station: in less than 10 minutes you will reach the middle station at 2013 meters above sea level. this is where the Arosa Bear Sanctuary is located. Another cable car will take you to ultra-modern Weisshorn Mountain Hut, located at 2653 meters above sea level. What can I tell you? The 360-degree view will not leave your kids indifferent! Make sure to arrive for lunch: the food inside the restaurant is to die for!!!

Once on top of the Weisshorn, it is time to rest. There are loungers to lie on and relax (only if you are in Arosa with older kids, of course – younger ones may run off and fall off a cliff), binoculars to admire the surrounding snow-capped peaks, some snow to have a snowball fight and a huge bear all covered in blue and yellow ribbons, which are the colours of the Graubünden canton. Buy a ribbon inside the hut, express a wish and tie the ribbon to the bear: be very patient and your wish will surely come true (fact: a year later, we’re still waiting…). You may return to the middle station by cable car or on foot, it should not take longer than 2 hours, but as the trail is steep and occasionally narrow, I recommend it only if your kids are over 6 years old and experienced hikers.

Visit the Arosa Bear Sanctuary

parco degli orsi di arosa
A curious bear, looking for blueberries

Arosa, as a destination, is hoping to attract large nubers of visitors thanks to the Bear Sanctuary, which opened in 2018 in a natural environment , to give a new home to bears rescued from circuses, or held in chains or cages. At the moment the sanctuary is home to 4 bears living inside a large fenced park and can be admired from a special platform. Seeing the bears from up close in Arosa will make your kids extremely happy. To reach the sanctuary take the Weissorn cable car to the middle station. Admission to the sanctuary is discounted with the Arosa Card.

As you stand on the viewing platform, do not despair if you cannot see any bear. Just wait a while, because they will soon be coming. Our wait was short, just 5 minutes long… then a bear arrived: huge but with a mild and peaceful air… and then he stood there, right in front of us, running up and down the meadows, stopping only to eat blueberries . The kids (well, the adults, too) were all excited… the little ones screamed with joy, while the grown-ups shot pictures using their camera as if it was a machine-gun… Definitely an unforgettable experience. In addition to the viewing platform, at the Arosa bear Sanctuary you will find informative panels and a tiny museum which will teach your kids all they need to know about bears.

Mountain lakes with children

Arosa mountain lake with kids
Ober Prachtsee seen from the trail above

The village of Arosa is home to two lakes, an upper lake located just outside the railway station and a lower lake below the Altein area. The upper lake (Obersee) has a small jet d’eau and offers the possibility to rent a 4-seater pedal boat – free with the Arosa Card. Younger kids will have fun and parents will get some exercise while pedaling. The lower lake (Untersee) is suitable for swimming and has a nice little beach and asort of inflatable bouncing castle inside the lake. We dipped our toes in the water and decided that the freezing temperature was not for us!

Not yet completely happy with these two lakes we decided to look for an alpine one: we took the local bus to Pratschi and from there we walked following the signs pointing to the Ober Prachtsee alpine lake. The hiking sign said it would take us 25 minutes, the map we had said 40 minutes… and indeed 40 minutes was the correct time. We were surprised to discover that the path was a dirt road with a well-defined bottom, so you can hike there even if you have a stroller. The landscape is beautiful and the water of the lake is pleasantly cool (as long as you only dip your toes in).

How about some adrenaline? Try the rope park

rope park seilpark arosa
Look mom. I am flying!

Our last morning was definitely cloudy, so we decided to give the rope park (Seilpark) a go… it was great fun… for our son, not for us. We looked up at him, cheered him on each zip-line, and took photos. There are several routes, but only two of those in Arosa are suitable for kids smaller than 140 cm (route K and route L): we were lucky, because to enjoy the other ones kids need to be accompanied by an adult, and we’re not game for that (read: we’re scared bunnies!). With the Arosa Card the rope park is free, so remember to show it.

A very nice lady equipped our son with gloves, harness, carabiner and helmet, then showed him to the two routes he was allowed to “take”, explained how they work and taught him some important tricks, such as bend your legs at the end of the final zipline or you will crash on the floor (done)! Route K is very easy and also suitable for children above 4 years old, while route L is much more challenging, high up in the trees and with challenging ziplines. Adrenaline rush guaranteed!

paesaggio arosa
Mountain landscape around Arosa

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