Gorge de L’Areuse – Fairytale Walk in Neuchâtel

❖ Length – 11km one-way with return by train

❖ Three hours needed at least plus ten minutes for train return

❖ Toilets at start and end and middle in hotel restaurant

❖ Restaurant in the middle – Champ Du Moulins. Picnic spots throughout and fire places by the river.

❖ Family friendly for older children or young children if they are carried in a proper carrier. Not stroller friendly.

The Areuse Gorge has to be one of the most beautiful riverside walks I have done to date. It’s not as daring or thrilling as some of the gorges we have explored since moving here, but it definitely is one of the most beautiful and tranquil. I particularly like it as no matter how warm it is, the gorge always has a little breeze flowing through it and is mainly shaded, making it a great place for family outings away from the sun. 

The most photographed parts of the walk has to be the famous ‘Saut De Brot’ bridge, which honestly looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. It reminded me of Rivendell and fairy tales. The hike is relatively long, around 11km one-way, but you can return to the start by train and the time passes quickly with all the surroundings to distract you. Plus, it is well signposted, just follow the yellow walking signs dotted about the path. 

At the half way point, at Champ Du Moulin, there’s a little restaurant serving classic Swiss fare, should you prefer a sit down meal to a picnic. If the latter is more appealing, there are plenty of places to stop from traditional benches to little coves by the river where you will see many people making little fire pits and having a lunchtime barbecue en route. 

I highly recommend parking and starting the hike at Noiraigues railway station and ending at Boudry. This way you see the whole route and also get to take the train back easily to where you have parked. Alternatively, we have also started before at Champ Du Moulin, parked there and then walked to Boudry before turning round and heading back to the car. This is a harder route as you have to walk uphill on the return and trust me, there are a lot of steps! Especially when you have a little one strapped to the front of your chest. You will also miss the Saut De Brot bridge by doing this route, but I personally think that the gorges and riverside are the most scenic after Champ Du Moulin anyway. 

There’s little man-made Weirs along the route, to please people who love a little waterfall, and some beautifully designed bridges and crossings. I would recommend arriving early if you want a peaceful wander. We started the walk at 10am and it was relatively deserted on a Sunday. By the time we headed back to the car at 1pm there were plenty of people and lots of waiting to pass on the steps. 

It is an easy hike, which will take you around three hours if you don’t stop. It is family and young children friendly, however at times there are a lot of steps or narrow passes so you want to keep them close and have those not too steady on their feet in a carrier at times. It isn’t stroller friendly. 

There are bathrooms at the stations and the restaurant hotel midway. Parking at the stations was free when we did the walk. If you take the train from Bole back to Noiraigues, it’s direct, takes ten minutes and just means a short walk for you from the end of the trail to the station. If you go from Boudry, you need to make one change. The tickets are around six francs one way per adult. 

Our top tips for the walk:

  1. If the weather has been bad recently, perhaps give it a miss as it can be muddy and slippy.
  2. The route has some steep ladders which when going down can be tricky for little ones.
  3. If you mainly want to see the Saut De Brot bridge, then park at Champ Du Moulins and walk 2km to the bridge, and then return back to your car.
  4. To return without the train will take you around six hours and be a 22km walk
  5. Parking is free, but spaces can be quickly taken up during the day so try to get there early. Also helps with the weather situation!
  6. The easiest route is from Noiraigue down to Boudry, if you do it the other way around the whole hike is uphill.

Download the friendly PDF guide for more details on this hike

Arboretum du Vallon de l’Aubonne – Gentle Walk With Scenic Surprises in Morges

This vast park houses a beautiful collection of trees and plants from all over the world, including a unique and beautiful Japanese garden. There’s also a river that rushes by as you walk, a large pond with bridges to cross it and many landscapes from fields, to forests and flowerbeds. 

When you arrive at the Arboretum there’s a free parking area off the road to the right where you can leave the car. From here, you then follow the path and will quickly come across a route map of the Arboretum where you can choose from four different loops around the nature reserve, depending on how far you want to walk and what you wish to see. For our first visit we chose the Chemin Du Lac route which is around 3KM so a very short walk, however it was our second outing of the day and we also had a three month old with us so we wanted to avoid being out with her in the baby carrier for too long stretches at a time. The great thing about the Arboretum is that you can combine many of the different trails they propose for a longer walk where you get too see more of the variety of trees and plants in the nature park.

Along the walk there’s various signs highlighting the different tree species you see, as well as great sculptures – look out for the giant bugs as you start the path! 

It doesn’t take long at all to complete the Chemin Du Lac route, around an hour, and at the start and end you have public toilets, as well as a shop, restaurant and the Wood Museum. We would have loved to enter the museum but it was closed during our walk. It’s definitely somewhere we will be returning to though in the near future so I will make sure to update this post with what we find and our thoughts after we head back.

There’s plenty of picnic places on your route if you want to extend your stay and enjoy some lunch or dinner while you are relaxing in the tranquil forest or by the pond. 

We found that a lot of the route was shaded, which is good with small children, but obviously on a hot day there’s parts where the sun can’t be avoided and it definitely can get warm on the exposed longer paths. 

Overall, a visit to the Arboretum makes for a peaceful half a day excursion, and has plenty to entertain all the family as they explore this well-kept nature reserve. 

Top Tips for the Walk:

  1. Check online to ensure it is open as it depends on the season
  2. It’s probably not a great place to visit in bad weather, and even in good weather make sure you dress accordingly
  3. Bug protection is a good idea, put on some deet or a gentle repellent before arriving
  4. Pack a picnic and enjoy a rest mid walk on one of the many picnic spots
  5. Combine two of the routes to see a good variety of landscapes. But if you have little ones who can’t walk too far or limited time, the orange route is a great way to visit a lot on offer in a short space of time.
  6. Combine this with a visit to the nearby Signal De Bougy if you have young kids – there’s a free play park, mini petting zoo and facilities here to entertain everyone. We even loved it as adults with a three-month old!

Download the friendly PDF guide for more details on this hike

Gorges Du Dailley – Incredible Hike With Waterfall Views in Valais

❖ Length – 5km if taking the Gorge route return

❖ Two hours needed at least

❖ Toilets at start and end at either the car park or the restaurants

❖ Two restaurants, one at the start and one at the end. Picnic spots in the pine forests after the Gorges.

❖ Family friendly for older children or young children if they are carried in a proper carrier. Although it may be hard to do the walk with the added weight of a young one with all the stairs. Not stroller friendly.

We are big fans of a gorge walk, and I have to say that the Gorges Du Dailley are some of the most spectacular we have hiked through so far. The views take your breath away in places, and the ascent and climb can do the same too thanks to the various different stairs, footbridges and ladders you need to pass to complete the route. 

The construction of these incredible passes will amaze you as you head down deeper following the flow of water and into the forest lined pathway which provides refreshing shelter on a hot summers day. 

Arriving there from Switzerland or France can be quite the drive. The roads at the last 10km are very narrow mountain passes with single track roads through the cliffs. It is a very scenic route but for those unsure on the windy mountain roads, perhaps not the best to take. 

There are several ways to walk this hike, however we primarily were there to see the gorges and therefore wanted to maximise our time there. With this in mind, we parked near the Auberge Du Vallon de Van, and then began our walk through the tree lined pathway following the signs for the ‘Gorges Du Dailley’ and past the welcome sign. 

We navigated through the trees until it opened out to the entrance of the gorge and the first ladder descent began. Then it was around thirty minutes of slowly descending the different contraptions and pathways, taking in the various views of the mountains surrounding us and waterfalls behind us as we hiked. After a short climb down, we again reached forest ground where we walked for a short duration to turn and see the incredible ‘Cascade du Dailley’ from the base. We continued walking until we hit the wooden shelter and then decided to turn around and tackle the gorges and steps but this time from the ground up. We wanted to make the most of the views of the cascade and also push ourselves with the climb up the 600 plus steps to the top! If you fancier an easier route, you can instead walk another fifteen minutes through the pine shaded forest and reach the main road, where you turn right to follow the route back to your car.

Overall, it was around a 5km walk in total but it was exerting thanks to the stairs you had to climb back up. Therefore bear this in mind when visiting with young children that may need to be carried if you do the Gorges both directions. It is definitely not stroller friendly. 

At the end, we rewarded ourselves with a delicious meal at the Auberge Du Vallon de Van. The menu changes with the seasons, and they have great local wines to sample to refresh you at the end of your walk. The service is great, and there’s an outside terrace if the weather is good. 

Our top tips for the walk:

  1. If it is hot, the hike can be both difficult due to the number of steps to climb up (600+) and that it’s often in direct sun. Wear suncream and go early or later in the day.
  2. The route has some steep ladders which when going down can be tricky for little ones.
  3. Good shoes are a necessity.
  4. The drive to the walk can be a little precarious at times, so take it slowly if you are not too familiar with single track mountain roads.
  5. Parking is free, but spaces can be quickly taken up during the day so try to get there early. Also helps with the weather situation!
  6. Those looking for an easier walk should take the Gorges down from the Auberge Du Vallon restaurant and back up via the road, rather than the other way around.

Download the friendly PDF guide for more details on this hike

Lac Du Vernex Hike and Picnic Spot – Hikes in Vaud

❖ Length – 4km loop

❖ 1.5 hours needed at least

❖ Toilets at start and end

❖ Picnic spots around the lake on the banks.

❖ Family friendly and stroller friendly for 90% of the route which is gravel / paved but babies best in carriers.

You’d be hard pressed to find a calmer or gentler walking route for a beautiful Sunday hike than the looped trail from the quiet mountain town of Rossinière to Lac du Vernex.

It is an easy 4km walk suitable for adults, families and those with babies if they are in a suitable carrier. We did it with a three week old baby and it was really enjoyable and a great walk for some gentle exercise.

It should take just a little more than an hour to complete the loop, longer if your hiking group has little ones who prefer a slower pace. 

We started our walk at Rossinière train station, where we also parked our car to return to later thanks to the looped route. If you turn right with your back to the station, you begin the walk on the better paved side but then after around 40 minutes arrive at a beautiful grassy bank on the left where I would recommend you stop for a picnic. It is just past a house, and the slope eases down to the lakefront making it the perfect place to stop and refresh. 

The water is very cold, even in the summer months, so take a dip if you are brave enough (we were not!) but I would advise testing the water temperature first so you are not in for a nasty surprise when you jump in!

Continue the loop around after your lunch, ending right back where you started.

I love this walk as it is so peaceful, there’s great spots to pull out a blanket and read under the sun for a quiet afternoon, and it’s super accessible for all levels of hikers. 

All in all, you can easily spend half a day here if you walk, eat and spend some time on the lake. It’s a beautiful place to explore and especially nice on a warm Spring day.

Download the free PDF version of the guide today

Arnensee Hike and Boat Trip

There are many beautiful lakes in Switzerland, but the Arnensee easily makes it into my top five due to it’s incredible backdrop of mountains and forests, and the icey turquoise of the lake which shimmers in the midday sun at just over 1500m elevation.

It is easily accessed by either car or foot, both taking a trail through the forest and alongside a river until you emerge at the rewarding mountain lake. We drove there from Gstaad until we reached the town of Feutersoey and followed signposts to the lake. From Feutersoey it is around a ten minute drive, or an hour and a half (6KM) walk. With a newborn in the car, we chose the driving option, although one day would like to return for the hike as it was a beautiful path, albeit it mainly uphill. 

If you do drive, be mindful that you need to pay five francs entry in order to open the barrier and access the route to the lake. The machine at the barrier also only accepts coins, so make sure you’re prepared in advance. 

When you reach the lake you have several options after taking in the beautiful scenic view. We chose to first hire a row boat and head out on to the lake before it got too warm from the direct sun. These are easily hired from the restaurant ‘Huus am Arnensee’ on your left of the lake. We paid 15 francs to hire a rowboat for one hour, and you can pay by cash or card, but they also have stand up paddle boards and pedalos. The staff are really friendly and happy to help.

After your lake excursion, you can then walk the path around the water’s perimeter which takes around an hour and has some beautiful picnic spots, fire pits and places to enter the lake for a cold but refreshing swim if you wish to. It is an easy walk but only stroller friendly on the right hand side, so babies are best in carriers. 

Finally, round off your day with a refreshing drink and the delicious spicy tomato soup at the Huus am Arnensee restaurant. The prices are really reasonable and the terrace has great views for a midday or end of hike stop before heading home.

All in all, you can easily spend half a day here if you walk, eat and spend some time on the lake. It’s a beautiful place to explore and especially nice on a warm Spring day where you can row out without worrying about too much sun exposure.

Top Tips for the Walk:

  1. Get there early to avoid crowds and secure a boat. We arrived at 9:30am and it was perfect.
  2. You need 5 francs in coins if you want to drive up to the lake to pass the barrier 
  3. Parking is free at the top however
  4. If you want to swim, remember it’s a high altitude mountain lake and therefore a bit cold!
  5. Only a paved path on one side of the lake

Download the free PDF version of the guide today

Gorges De La Jogne Hike – Scenic River Trail in Gruyeres

This tranquil and scenic hike follows the river over bridges and along carefully carved out footpaths until you reach the impressive Montsalvans Dam and Lac de Montsalvans. 

It’s easy to follow the walk, and takes around an hour and a half to reach the final stop at the Montsalvans Dam where you can pause for a picnic or continue on to Charmey for lunch at one of the towns’ restaurants. We always choose the picnic option as it’s so nice to sit by the blue of Montsalvans lake and refresh before walking the same path back to the car (so it’s 7km in total, taking around 3 hours without a stop).

It is family friendly, and great for kids to explore, however it isn’t stroller suitable and if you have a baby who has yet to find or only recently discovered their feet you will want to take them in a suitable carrier instead. 

If you put the destination ‘Gorges De La Jonge’ into your Sat Nav or phone maps, you will be taken to the start where you can park the car before beginning the walk. The turn off the main road to the entrance of the walk is just around a bend and can be easy to miss so try and take it slow as you approach. 

Begin the walk at the car park, and follow the path along the river until you hit a little cave, just after the waterfall, where you pass through on to a wooden bridge curving around the rock face. Then just keep following the trail until you get to the dam at the end. It’s very easy to find your way and there are places to stop and picnic places along the trail if you want a break or get a little hungry. 

We really love the walk as it’s always so serene and we rarely pass other people when doing it. We have also experienced it in all seasons, such as when we were met with some unseasonal May snow which made for a very different type of walk and views along the way. 

Be warned that they don’t open the gates to the start of the walk until April at the earliest, and it closes again for winter. I would recommend checking out their website online to see if they are open before heading there – https://www.la-gruyere.ch/en/Z10968/gorges-jogne 

Once we didn’t as it was mid-summer and our path was blocked by a fallen tree that had broken one of the bridges crossing the river, so now we always quickly check. 

Top Tips for the Walk:

  1. Check online to ensure it is open as it depends on the season and weather conditions
  2. Pack a picnic as there are not any restaurants or stalls where you can get refreshments along the way
  3. The same goes for toilets, you will need to go ‘au natural’ if you need to along the way
  4. It is kid friendly but not stroller friendly
  5. Wear good shoes as the path can be a little uneven at times
  6. Take a camera, it’s truly beautiful!

Bisse Du Torrent Neuf Hike – Easy and Scenic Trail in Valais

❖ Length – 6km one way, 12km return

❖ Three hours needed at least

❖ Toilets at start and end

❖ Two restaurants, one at the start and one at the end. Picnic spot at the end.

❖ Family friendly if you keep a close eye on young children, but not pram friendly

The Bisse Du Torrent Neuf is an easy but rewarding hike across a 6km path (12km return as it’s one way) that begins through the shaded and gentle forest, opening up to a narrow path at dizzying heights with incredible views across Valais. 

It’s accessible and doable with children, we had our two month old baby in our ErgoBaby carrier and we managed just fine, although be warned, it’s not stroller friendly and you will need to keep an eye and probably a hand on young children in many parts as some of the sheer cliff edges don’t have barriers. That being said, we saw many families with children as young as three enjoying the hike when we were there.

You begin the hike at the parking lot, if you park at the second one as we did, you have a twenty minute walk through the forest to the Chapel St Marguerite and a small local restaurant where the official path begins. It can be a little tricky to initially get from the parking lot to the forest path and then the Bisse trail, so you can either do as we did, and follow people up ahead, or look for the yellow path signs to Chapelle St Marguerite. 

When you begin the trail, you are met with incredible views along the way and it continues with narrow pathways and four different suspension bridges which are not for those afraid of heights. It will take you around two hours to complete it all from the forest to the end if you are stopping for photos and a break on one of the benches. 

Along the way, there are great signposts and plaques educating you on the history of the Bisse as well as some impressive photos showing how it was built and how people used to access it.

At the end of the trail there is another restaurant, ‘Brac Chalet’ and toilets, where you can stop for refreshments before taking the same path back to return to the car park. 

Our top tips for the walk:

  1. It’s best done in good weather, especially considering the steepness of the narrow pathways
  2. It can be hard to initially find the start of the trail in the forest, so make sure you familiarise yourself with the maps at the car parks before setting off.
  3. Good shoes are a necessity.
  4. It can get very busy, we arrived around 8:30am which was ideal as by the time we were on our way back, we had to wait to cross a lot of the bridges as you can only pass one direction at a time. Avoid the lunchtime rush where possible. 
  5. If you want to enjoy a picnic (or feed the baby as we did) there’s a little private hut just before the second bridge, or picnic benches along the way and at the end. You can also put up a picnic mat in the field at Brac when you reach the end of the trail.
  6. Again, it’s not a hike for you if you don’t like heights!

Download the friendly PDF guide for more details on this hike

How We Travel So Often When We Have Pets – Our Top Tips

It’s no secret that we both travel frequently for work and also leisure. Whether it’s a quick weekend away by train or a long haul vacation, there’s a number one priority for us to address when it comes to travelling, even before we book a flight, hotel or plan an itinerary. Making sure our two cats are well taken care of during our absence.

If we couldn’t secure trusted and comfortable care for our pets then the travel wouldn’t happen because for us they are the highest priority. Living abroad also brings a new element of challenge. Sometimes we used to be able to rely on the incredible kindness and support from family and friends for sitting, we no longer have that option now we are more remote.

Thanks to a great recommendation, we have been able to continue adventuring with the peace of mind that our pets and home are well taken care of. These days, for nearly every trip, we use the incredible Trusted Housesitters website. By the way, this isn’t a sponsored post for this service (I doubt they would pay me for my moderate traffic), it’s truly a website I want to shout far and wide about to help others in need of pet care, or free accommodation abroad when travelling.

Trusted Housesitters is a platform that connects people needing pet care with trusted travellers who are looking for accommodation. It’s a simple exchange, free pet care for free accommodation. Everyone wins!

The site allows you to list the dates you are away, along with a profile of your home, pets and their needs. From this, potential sitters apply to come stay and you can message them, explore their profile and read reviews from previous verified sits they have completed to ensure you have the right person for your home and pets. So far, we have hosted five wonderful sitters, and will continue to do so in the future.

The peace of mind of the reviews, third-party platform to communicate through, and the option to Skype chat with them ahead of the stays are really comforting. As people who haven’t put their cats in kennels for personal reasons (not against other’s choosing to do so but it’s not something we would like to do ourselves) this is a way we have managed to maintain our travel goals whilst keeping the furry ones happy.

It costs around £90 a year for membership and then it’s free to list as many stays as you need. For us, that’s the price of an independent sitter for one day, so it’s really worth it.

We were nervous the first time we left but now we are really comfortable and happy with the process. Plus, the reviews on our profile about our two cats having distinct ‘characters’ always make us laugh. It’s refreshing to know you’re not the only ones who think your cats are weirdos.

It’s a service we also hope to use for accommodation too in the near future. The thought of combining a holiday with a friendly household pet to come home to each day sounds too good to be true. There’s listings worldwide, and some of the places look truly incredible.

If you are looking for a cost-neutral and trusted way for your pets to be taken care of during any future trips, or local free accommodation in return for walks and feeds, then I would really recommend checking the site out.

Plus, if you ever want to come and look after Arthur and Margot, we’d love for you to explore Switzerland through our home.