Top Things to do in Switzerland this Winter at Engelberg & Mount Titlis
We spent the first weekend of 2016 in one of Central Switzerland’s hidden gems. The Swiss Alpine village of Engelberg and the Mount Titlis glacier were an easy day trip from the major cities of Zurich and Lucerne. Known as the “mountain of angels,” this area was a winter wonderland filled with many attractions and memorable experiences. Check out our 6 favorite things to do with kids in Switzerland in the Engelberg and Mount Titlis region.
1. Snow Fun at Mt. Titlis
At 10,000 feet (3,020 m) above sea level, Titlis is Central Switzerland’s highest glacier and also the area’s only publicly accessible glacier. Going up to the summit was quite an adventure that involved two gondola stops and a transfer on the Rotair. The Titlis Rotair was the world’s first revolving gondola and rotated 360° during the five-minute trip to the summit. We were lucky enough to stand by the windows to enjoy the breathtaking panorama.
The summit area had some of the most incredible views we’ve ever seen. We were at eye level with the snow-covered Swiss Alps, high above the clouds, and felt like we were on top of the world. It was sunny and clear which gave us the chance to see far and wide despite the freezing 20°F (-7 °C) temperatures.
There were quite a few things to do up here besides enjoying the landscape and playing in the snow. It was thrilling to cross the Titlis Cliff Walk which is Europe’s highest hanging bridge. Supported by steel cables and barely seeing the bottom of the mountain, this wasn’t for the faint hearted or those with fear of heights. Yes, it sways! But, it was worth crossing for the views and was quite an experience.
The kids’ favorite area was the Glacier Cave. We were 66 feet (20 m) below the glacier’s surface and almost felt like we were entering the enchanting world of Disney’s Frozen. The natural blue color, due to the light’s refraction, illuminated the 492-foot (150 m) walkway of frozen ice. Walking here was slippery and felt like ice skating. The kids loved exploring and crawling in the many corners and crevices.
Glacier Cave and the bridge were included with the gondola price. The Ice Flyer chair lift, which was a soaring ride above the ice fields, had a separate fee. We also saw many people hiking, skiing and snowboarding from up here. These particular trails looked steep, and it seemed to be a long way down to the bottom. There were stores including a Swiss chocolate shop and a couple of restaurants up here too with some of the best mealtime views of the Alps.
2. Visit an Igloo Village
We were excited to visit an authentic igloo village located on the first gondola stop up Mount Titlus at Trübsee. It’s free to stroll and peek inside. This village made of snow and ice is newly built every winter with multiple rooms. It’s possible to stay in one of these rooms for a hefty price. Guests crawl into cozy sleeping bags and furry blankets at night to stay warm. We settled on admiring the rooms where artists created large ice sculptures on the walls. Lawn chairs were available outside to enjoy the views or while sipping a hot drink from the bar.
3. Snowmobile and Tubing at Trübsee
Families can rent electric powered snowmobiles at snowXpark next to the igloo village. This looked fun! The terrain was flat and wide open which makes it easier to learn. This was restricted to kids ages 12 and above. It operates in a slower mode for kids under 16 years old.
The nearby snow park by Trübsee Alpine Lodge offers free snowtubing for the whole family. Unfortunately, it was closed during our visit. We also saw plenty of trails for walking and snowshoeing near here which made me wish we had more time.
4. Hit the slopes
Engelberg is one of the easiest ski areas to reach in Switzerland with 50 miles (80 km) of trails for varying levels and open from October to May. The most family-friendly skiing area was in Brunni which was a few minutes from the town center. Globis Winterland and Snowli Village was the ideal place for kids and beginners to learn skiing or snowboarding. This was also a popular area for sledding.
There wasn’t that much snow during our visit. However, that didn’t stop many families from having fun in Brunni including my son who enjoyed snowboarding. Unfortunately, it was raining and hazy during our visit so we didn’t get the chance to go up to the mountain station. There is also a family-friendly Yeti-Park up there with slides and trails for skiing and sledding. My husband and daughter decided on the Trübsee area for their afternoon at the slopes.
5. Sledding in Fürenalp
The Fürenalp eight-person cable car was a thrilling six-minute ride as we soared 6,000 feet (1,850 m) above sea level to the high Alps with the Engelberg valley below us. We spent most of our time here sledding or sledging (Switzerland’s unique style of sledding). Sleds were free to use. The sled run was over a half-mile of pure thrills. It may have taken some effort to go uphill but sledding down was exciting and fun especially surrounded with the most amazing mountain views. It was hard to leave this place!
There was a restaurant up here where we enjoyed some hot chocolate afterwards with a picturesque Swiss Alps backdrop. There were also several trails here for walking and snowshoeing. Snowshoes can be rented at the cable car’s valley station. Children under 16 years old travel free on the gondola with a paying adult.
6. Try some Swiss cheese
We were in Switzerland after all! We loved the Show Cheese Factory in the Benedictine Monastery. The kids enjoyed watching the cheese makers at work here. The shop had some adorable merchandise and delicious food at the bistro. They also offered free cheese samples. This monastery was founded in 1120 and has been a huge part of this community. There are still about 30 monks that live here. Guided tours of the monastery are available.
For the ultimate Swiss foodie experience, we had a delicious cheese fondue dinner at the Schweizerhof restaurant. Prices were reasonable and they had a wonderful variety of meat, cheese and chocolate fondue.
Have you visited Engelberg and its surrounding areas?
Hilton Zurich Airport makes a great base to explore this area. The Engelberg-Mount Titlis area is a little over an hour drive from Zurich and about a 35-minutes drive from Lucerne. The Lucerne-Engelberg Express train makes daily trips in 43 minutes. Rail travel from Zurich Airport to Engelberg is about two hours.
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Engelberg-Mt. Titlis Tourism provided Mary and her family with complimentary tickets to Mount Titlis, Brunni and Fürenalp. All opinions and photos are her own.