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Playing On The Go

Playing On The Go – Trains and Kids in Switzerland

Dear Readers,

On Children and Play, here is an informative piece on Swiss trains and kids by Morgan Hardy. 

Playing On The Go

Playing On The Go – Trains and Kids in Switzerland

Text by Morgan Hardy

Family day trips or vacations are essential for creating memories and strengthening bonds. Nonetheless, travelling with children can be stressful and overwhelming. 

Fortunately, the train system in Switzerland has creatively overcome some difficulties by offering great attractions for children. Taking a train with either “Familienwagen” or “Familienzone” can help make your journey memorable. Your children will be able to use their imaginations and play. 

You only need to know how to search correctly and plan accordingly. 

“Familienwagen” Train Coaches

When I first moved here, I couldn’t believe the rumours that certain Swiss trains come with built-in children’s playgrounds. But it’s true. There are not many, but they exist. And if you are lucky to catch one, you can sit back and relax while your children entertain themselves. 

The playgrounds come in two designs: jungle and dragon-themed. The former is more common than the latter. On our last trip, we found ourselves with a dragon playground for the first time. We were grateful that there was plenty of seating for the parents. 

Take a look at the photos below. But don’t be fooled; many children usually play in these areas. We took the pictures before the other families arrived.

Playing On The Go

The jungle-themed playground has a boat, bridge, cave and slide.


Playing On The Go

The dragon-themed playground has a slide, cave, and hide-out house.

Playing On The Go

Playing On The Go

My kids are ecstatic that they can move and play whenever we find ourselves on these magical trains. Indeed, sometimes the train ride is the highlight for them.

It can take some effort to research which trains have the playgrounds and if they are compatible with your travel route, but I find that it is always worth the effort.

Familienzone Train Coaches

Some trains have Familienzone coaches. These coaches are more similar to the regular passenger coaches but for a few modifications.

First, these coaches have more storage space for strollers and bags.

Second, several seating areas have more table space, perfect for eating meals or working on crafts or games.

Finally, there is no pressure to keep your kids quiet or still. The feel of this coach is generally more relaxed than of other coaches.  

Restaurant Coaches

Many trains have restaurant coaches on them – it comes in handy if you need to feed your kids on the go or if you need to fill some time.

Since the pandemic started, it has become possible to order takeaway. So, you can eat in one of the Familienwagen or Familienzone coaches. The menu caters to kids with a children’s macaroni or crepe dish.

* Note that certain restaurants may be closed when crossing borders, depending on the country’s Covid-19 regulations.

Finding a train with a Familienwagen or Familienzone:

When you search for train routes on the SBB website, you can click on the proposed way to see the amenities of each train.

Any train that lists FA has a playground, and any train that lists FZ have the Familienzone coach.

The routes with a Familienwagen playground are limited. Trains with family coaches run mainly on the following InterCity routes:

  • IC1: St. Gallen–Zurich HB–Bern–Geneva Airport
  • IC8: Romanshorn–Zurich HB–Bern–Brig
  • IC6: Basel SBB–Bern–Brig
  • IC61: Basel SBB–Bern–Interlaken Ost
  • IC3: Basel SBB–Zurich HB–Chur

Once at the station, you can find the children’s coach by checking the markings near the carriage’s doors.

For instance, Familienzone coaches come with a small teddy bear icon. FamilienArea coaches are usually towards the back of the train and possess easy-to-spot illustrations of a jungle or fairy tale land. 

Ticket Prices for Children

Children under six can ride on the Swiss train system for free, while kids between ages 6 and 16 can get an annual Junior Travel Card for only 30 CHF. The Junior Travel Card allows unlimited free travel when there is an accompanying parent. It is also possible to purchase a Children’s Co-travel Card, which will enable children to travel with a non-parent like a grandparent, nanny, etc.  

You can buy these cards in person at the train station. Remember to bring some form of identification (adults and children).

For more information about travelling on the train with children, please see the SBB website.

I wish you a happy summer holiday and plenty of play and fun along the way!