Switzerland day trips: Lakeside lunch and play at Blausee outside Bern
Temperatures in Bern, Switzerland topped the 90s this summer, so we planned mini-escape to cooler climates – a lunch and afternoon at a mountain lake called Blausee about an hour outside the city.
I must admit, I was a little wary when we arrived in the parking lot and saw Blausee’s giant entry sign, access to the towering pine covered mountains segregated by a gift shop and entrance gate.
Blausee (“Blau” rhymes with “how” – “see” sounds like “say.” It means blue lake.) isn’t a quiet mountain lake tucked off the beaten path. It is a tourist spot. But after we paid our 10 Francs, I immediately felt the trip was worth the time and money.
Once you pass through the gift shop, you walk down a paved path, a hallway, really, with walls of stone and trees. Exposed roots seem to grasp the rocks for dear life.
Just a few minutes walk into the park there it is, a shimmering aquamarine lake. My Midwestern eyes are accustomed to lakes and rivers of brown or green, maybe dark blue. So these crystal waters took my breath away. More the size of a large pond, these small alpine lakes get me every time.
Our toddler made quick work scaling the jungle gym of exposed tree roots. That is, before she laid eyes on the S-shaped slide that extracts children from the top of the hill and deposits them at the bottom, into the play ground.
This playground, by the way, has a little something for kids of all ages – swings, slides, a running creek for splashing or keeping your beverages cool, a log cabin, a balance disc. It’s a fairly large play area.
Blausee at its deepest is about 30 feet, more than 8 meters, but it looks like you could jump in and walk across to the other side. Still, people don’t swim in this lake. Look, don’t touch. You can admire the view from the banks or from a glass-bottom row boat. If the light is just right, you can catch a glimpse of the silver and red specks on the lake’s plentiful trout.
The trout are one of the main features at Blausee; the fish’s meat is the central dish at the waterside restaurant, which has a large outdoor dining patio. Fear not, there are meat and vegetarian dishes as well. You can also tour an organic trout farm on site, but we passed on this. Pick up a number of trout-centric gifts from the shop on the way out, including packaged fish. Grilling out, anyone?
We skipped the restaurant and opted to bring a lunch. Service in Europe is notorious for, well, to put it nicely, its leisurely pace. This style has its place, for sure. I love a relaxed dining experience where I don’t feel rushed out the door for the next party of four. Still, for an afternoon away with the kids, we wanted to eat on our timeline and let the little ones play for as long as possible.
We packed cold sandwiches, but there are several barbeque stations and picnic tables. Wood is supplied, so feel free to stake out a grill for yourself and bring whatever your heart desires.
The nice part is the picnic area surrounds the playground, so you can turn your burgers with one eye on the young ones. If you want to escape the raucous, there are benches on the walking path all around the lake. Pick your style.
Our afternoon at Blausee felt like spending a day at the family cottage, minus *insert crazy cousin’s name here.
If you take a peek at the website, you will see that Blausee isn’t just a place to lunch. If you’ve got older kids or can leave young ones with a sitter, mom and dad would do well to take advantage of the lake’s holiday weekends and spa packages. Blausee even boasts a romantic feel at night – it’s lit from beneath. Wonder how the fish feel about this.
Know before you go:
- Blausee, about one hour outside of Bern, Switzerland
- Getting there: click here for transportation information
- Hours: opens at 9am in summer, 10am in winter
- Admission fee: Adults CHF 5, Children 6 years old and under free, older children CHF 2
- Stroller friendly? yes
walking on travels: keep traveling, keep moving forward;
take your kids walking on life’s path to adventure