Fairy Travels

48 Hours in Zurich: A Family-Friendly Adventure

48 Hours in Zurich: A Family-Friendly Adventure

Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and family-friendly activities. Staying at the Novotel Zurich City West, you’re ideally positioned to explore the city’s diverse attractions. Enhance your experience with the Zurich Card, which provides numerous benefits such as free public transport, discounts on admissions, and more. Here’s a detailed guide to making the most of your 48 hours in Zurich with your family.

Getting there

We flew direct with Swiss Air from Dublin to Zurich. It was our first time flying Swiss Air and we were all seriously impressed, on time, spotless plane, great legroom and the complimentary bottled water and Swiss Chocolate were a lovely touch. The airport is located very close to the city so we used our Zurich Card to avail of the train to our hotel which took 9 minutes and a further 10 minutes walk. The transport system is very easy to navigate and the free transport included with the Zurich Card is a huge bonus. We have used them in many cities and its not often transport from the airport is included.

Where we stayed 

Outside view of Novotel Zurich City West

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

The Novotel Zurich City West is a modern, family-friendly hotel located in the trendy Zurich-West district, an area known for its vibrant culture and dynamic business environment. Conveniently situated near public transportation, the hotel provides easy access to the city centre and major attractions such as the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street, Lake Zurich, and the FIFA World Football Museum. The hotel boasts a range of facilities designed for both comfort and convenience, including spacious rooms equipped with modern amenities, an on-site restaurant serving international cuisine, a fitness centre, an indoor pool, and dedicated play areas for children. With its blend of comfort, excellent service, and strategic location, Novotel Zurich City West is an ideal choice for both business travellers and families. We had a family room with a sofa bed and a double which was perfect for our needs.

Breakfast was included each day and really was a great selection. The staff at this hotel are really a huge asset to the hotel, from the moment we checked in we felt special and well looked after. A shout out to our lovely host at breakfast, I wish I got his name but you were so kind to us. Also the young waiter who served us each evening and for “Burger Thursday” thank you for your kindness, the kids are still talking about how well you looked after them.

When we checked in the kids received a little surprise and the adults a drink at the bar. The bar is located really centrally before reception. The kids could play  in the outdoor area while we chilled and chatted. Its a lovely set up and you can really see and feel that family is at the heart of the hotels ethos. The hotel is really well served by public transport with tram and train stops just minutes from the hotel. We travelled as a multi-generational party of grandparents, my kids and ourselves so our party ranged from 60s down to aged 9. This hotel really met all of our needs, the setting, the food, the atmosphere, we were all made feel so welcome.  The hotel kindly allocated our rooms next to each other and the kids loved being able to pop in to say good night and good morning to their grandparents.

The kids loved the interactive games table and also we all appreciated the umbrella hire as it was really wet the first evening we arrived.

Zurich Card

The Zurich Card is an excellent value for families visiting Zurich, offering unlimited public transportation, free or discounted entry to numerous attractions, and various other perks. It comes in two options: a 24-hour card costing CHF 29 for adults and CHF 19 for children, and a 72-hour card costing CHF 56 for adults and CHF 37 for children. With the Zurich Card, families can enjoy free public transport, including trams, buses, and even short lake cruises, as well as discounts on family-friendly attractions such as the FIFA World Football Museum and the Zurich Zoo.

What we did

FIFA Museum

We started our Zurich adventure with a visit to the FIFA Museum, a short tram ride from our hotel. The Zurich Card covers public transportation, making it easy and cost-effective to get around. The museum is a paradise for football fans of all ages. The interactive exhibits, memorabilia, and multimedia presentations bring the history of football to life. Kids will especially enjoy the activity zones where they can test their football skills. Show your Zurich Card for discounted entry (30% off).

From the moment you step inside, you are greeted by an impressive array of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and multimedia presentations that bring the story of football to life. The museum is spread over multiple floors, each dedicated to different aspects of the game. The ground floor features the stunning “Planet Football” area, where you can explore the global impact of football through artefacts and exhibits from all FIFA member associations. One of the highlights is the original FIFA World Cup Trophy, displayed in a dazzling setting that captures the magic and prestige of the tournament. Definitely one of the highlights for my football fanatics.

Interactive exhibits are a key feature of the museum, making it a hit with visitors of all ages. Kids and adults can test their skills in various football-related challenges, such as penalty shootouts and dribbling drills. The museum also includes a 180-degree cinema that showcases iconic moments and matches from World Cup history, providing a thrilling cinematic experience.

The FIFA Museum does an excellent job of blending education with entertainment. The exhibits are engaging and informative, offering deep dives into both well-known and obscure aspects of football history. After your visit you can head  for lunch at the museum’s Bistro 1904, which offers a range of delicious and healthy meals. The kid-friendly menu ensures even the pickiest eaters find something to enjoy. Alternatively, Zurich’s many street food stalls and cafes provide numerous options for a quick and tasty meal.

Lake Zurich Cruise 

The short lake cruise on Lake Zurich, included free with the Zurich Card, is a delightful way to experience the city’s scenic beauty from a unique perspective. This relaxing excursion offers visitors a chance to unwind and take in the stunning natural landscapes and architectural marvels that line the shores of Lake Zurich.

Departing from Bürkliplatz, a short walk from the FIFA Museum the cruise takes you on a serene journey across the tranquil waters of the lake. The well-maintained boats are comfortable and provide ample seating, both indoors and on the open deck.  The boats stop at various places around the lake and we are all in agreement that we would love to have spent more time stopping off at the quaint little villages. We stayed on board for the duration of the cruise lasting 80 minutes. Its a wonderful free attraction included with the Zurich pass and well worth taking the time to see this city from the water.

Maag Halle Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibition

We also spent a wonderful evening on our visit to the Light Halle Maag for the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition. This immersive experience allows visitors to explore the genius of Da Vinci through interactive displays and life-sized reproductions of his inventions. It’s an educational and engaging way to introduce children to art and science. This was located a mere minutes from our hotel so an ideal evening attraction for us after day of exploring the city.  It is running until 20 October and taking a break from 15 July to 13 August. We were a party of 3 adults and 2 kids and ages 60’s down to 9 and every one of us really enjoyed it. The light show really captivates you and draws you in.  Adult tickets cost CHF 27 and kids CHF 18. Absolutely worth it in our opinion.

Stroll along Bahnhofstrasse

Conclude your day with a stroll along Bahnhofstrasse, Zurich’s famous shopping street. While the luxury boutiques might not appeal directly to kids, the bustling atmosphere and occasional street performances will keep everyone entertained. For dinner, consider one of the many family-friendly restaurants along the street. Haus Hiltl, the world’s oldest vegetarian restaurant, offers a buffet with a wide variety of dishes that will satisfy both adults and children.

Zurich’s Playgrounds

 One of the things our kids loved about Zurich was how family orientated the city is, its full of really cool playgrounds. The Josefwiese park, close to our hotel, features expansive play areas and is perfect for a family afternoon. The kids spent hours playing and having fun and afterwards we had hot dogs and a few drinks at the onsite kiosk. It was a holiday day when we were there and the park was bustling with young kids and their families it was lovely to see. If you are in the park it is well worth popping in to the Novotel Zurich City West for their lunch pasta special. Food is expensive by Irish prices in Zurich and this was a good value lunch for kids. 

Zurich Airport Observation desk

Included with the Zurich Card is complimentary admission to Observation Desk B Zurich Airport this is a really cool interesting experience for kids and adults. You are so close to the runway as the planes take off, there is also a airport themed playground and an observation walkway allows visitors to watch the pilots in the cockpit.  My pair really enjoyed this and it was a great way to pass the time while waiting for our flight home. It appears to be a really popular attraction, was very busy when we were there with school/ creche day trips.


Zurich is definitely a city I want to see more of, I really loved the trendy area around the hotel and the cool little bars and restaurants. Transport links are really excellent around the city so you can get around very easily.


The kids view: We loved the hotels breakfast and we loved being able to explode the city from the hotel. We loved the Fifa Museum and adored the Leonarda Da Vinci interactive exhibition

The grandparents view: Hotel was ideally located for exploring the city. The staff were helpful and kind and made the stay feel like home from home. The Lake boat trip was very memorable and relaxing. Enjoyed experiencing the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition with the grandkids and seeing the wonder in their faces.

For lots more coverage pop over to our Instagram page where we have saved the highlights from our Zurich trip.

Note: Thanks to Novotel Zurich City West and Visit Zurich for the kindness and assistance as part of this trip. All views are my own and the kid where appropriate. We were not asked nor expected to write this review.

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