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Four Places You Must Visit

The Four Places You Must Visit

Four Places You Must Visit – in and close to Basel.

Text contributed by a long time supporter of the BCT, Melinda Taylor Schoutens.


Over the years, I have learned a precious lesson. One that has saved me, moulded our family and brought tremendous joy. That is, whenever life becomes claustrophobic, too loud, or ripe with agitation, we can do best by taking life outdoors. Undoubtedly, time outside resets our family, and nature connects us to something more and allows us to move slower. We can place our worries on hold, free our minds and awaken our senses.

Children witness nature through a lens of exploration and discovery, so the destination is not essential to them. Accordingly, being in “nature” can take many forms. It can be spending time in a playground or a park, hiking through the woods or visiting a local farm. Alternatively, you can even consider the setting of a balcony or a backyard, where wildlife may be abundant.

Here are four suggestions to help you and your family spend more time in nature in and around Basel. 

(1) Visit Merian Gärten in Basel.
Four Places You Must Visit

Our family adores Merian Gärten.

It is an oasis tucked away from the city of Basel and relatively easy to access. Here you can find a newly constructed playground and a villa with a gorgeous koi pond. And vegetable gardens and animals.

There are plenty of activities for the family. We enjoy strolling through the gardens on the weekend, relaxing as our two children discover growing vegetables, grazing sheep and blooming flowers.

Merian Gärten seems to be committed to encouraging children to form a profound connection to nature. To illustrate, it regularly offers unique programs for children, such as summer and autumn camps (run by RobiSpiel, the playgroup association). In fact, it is planning to host an adventure evening for children on the 26th of May of 2022, encouraging them to spend the night in the garden tracking nocturnal animals. What a fantastic experience!

You can visit their website to learn more about this event and find other information.


(2) Hike the Elf & Gnome Wolfwil Trail.

Four Places You Must Visit

This theme trail is sweet for children ages two through ten.

It is stroller-friendly and an easy route involving about 3.3km or 2hours. Ideal for families looking to explore and play, there are multiple interactive stations along the way, which will motivate the younger ones to continue walking. The course also offers a grilling area with a couple of swings, a small pond and a toilet halfway through.

You can access the path from May through October. The starting point is a 40-minute drive from Basel, and there is a parking lot.

Visit PlayBasel’s website or the official Elfen and Wichtelweg website for more details.


(3) Stay in a house in the mountains: Like the Berghaus Bort in Grindelwald.

Four Places You Must Visit

Pack your bag and head to Grindelwald when you feel like escaping.

We stumbled upon the mountain house called “Berghaus Bort” long before becoming parents. It sits above the tourists in the village, and arriving there is straightforward. First, you take the lift to Bort and then you exit. Magic!

You will be overcome with happiness once you step off the gondola.

The views are remarkable on a clear day. The impressive Eiger Mountain stands right in front of you from the hotel’s terrace. And if that doesn’t make you giddy with delight, then prepare yourself for the fantastic playground adjacent to the hotel.

Sip a coffee, enjoy the view and breathe the fresh alpine air as your children play.

Want more adventure?

Then, take the gondola up to “First” and hike to “Bachalpsee”. (Fresh Air Kids Switzerland – 52 Inspiring Hikes That Will Make Kids and Parents Happy has more details about this hike).


(4) Spend a night at Berggasthaus First.

Four Places You Must Visit

Consider an overnight stay at “Berggasthaus First”.

You can access this mountain inn by gondola. It offers stunning views, incredible sunsets and sunrises, plus the First Cliff Walk.


Staying overnight is a pleasure as the evenings are calmer without the day-trippers.


While parenting can be challenging, nature is always easy on the soul. Prioritise nature and observe its impacts on your family witnesses the magic. So, go outside next time your family feels like it can use a break. Seek peace in a local botanical garden, walk to a park, or spend a night in the mountains.


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Editor’s note: Thank you to Melinda Taylor Schoutens for her continuous support. We have edited this piece for the blog. It appeared previously in Parenting – October 2021.

Melinda, together with Robert Schoutens, are the authors of the following three books:

All three books are available at and other significant bookshops and come in English, French and German.




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