Stepping In Heidi’s Shoes – Heidi Land, Maienfeld (CH)

Step in Heidi’s shoes and relive the story by visiting Heidi Land, the place that inspired Johanna Spyri to write her world famous novel!

What

1. A walk through the area where swiss-born Johanna Spyri got inspired to write her world-famous novel Heidi. The walk starts at the Heidi Village (see point 2. and 3.) and leads to “grandfather’s hut” on the Alp. The way up is a so-called “experience trail” for children: 12 experience stations bring the Heidi story to live in relation to the location.
2. A goat farm, where you can feed the goats.
3. Heidi Museum, where you can see how Heidi lived.

When

The Museum and the exhibit on “Johanna Spyri’s Heidiwelt” are open from 15 March to 15 November. I’m still trying to get info on when the route to the hut on the Alp is closed, but I believe it’s accessible till end of October. Best is to check the weather and call ahead to make sure.

Time & Length

Total length is 4.5 km. Officially the walk is set to 1h45m. We did it in little over 2 hours, but we did have to push a pram up, we stopped at every experience to look or play, made our 3yo walk a bit and took our time to take pictures (see below). It is definitely doable in under 1h45m if you walk in a normal tempo.

5 Reasons you should go

1. The book is legendary and when you have kids and are in Switzerland you simply cannot skip this important landmark.
2. You get rewarded with stunning views and an authentic Swiss feel (especially) up at Grandfather’s Hut where you can drink tea with cake, a soup and/or enjoy local cheese and salami with a piece of bread.
3. The walk up is easy, stroller friendly and educative and an alternative, more rustic, route possible for adults and older kids.
4. Getting to the start location is super easy, a 5 minute drive from the main highway A13 and clearly road signed.
5. No time or wish to walk? Alternatives are available:

No wish to walk (much)? Have a drink or lunch at Hotel Restaurant Heidihof, with small playground and nice views and/or walk over to the Heidi Village in 5 minutes. Visit the goat farm and Heidi Museum.

No time to sway of your route whatsoever? Even the Heidi land gas station along the A13 is worth a stop: There is a small goat farm and, for a few franks Heidi and Peter show themselves in the bell tower above the main entrance. The restaurant offers a wide selection of fresh food, a kids menu + surprise and the toilets are really clean.

Stroller

99% of the route is stroller friendly, but the part from the Heidi Village up to the stroller friendly part, 400m, IS NOT SUITABLE for strollers. We solved it by folding the umbrella stroller up and our son walked a bit. If this is not an option for you, There is a way around this by crossing through the village, keeping the goat farm on your right, and keep on walking through the next village. After leaving that village, take the first road left. After 1km you are back on track. The whole detour is 1.6 km and would take about 20 min extra time.

Good to know

– How to get there: Route
– Parking: Free of charge. Near or in front of Hotel Restaurant Heidihof, Bovelweg 16, 7304 Maienfeld.
– Bring cash: Grandfather’s Hut does not accept cards.
– Bring a water bottle as along the path there is a water tap (Experience point #12), but not place to buy anything.
– About half way (#16) there is a picnic spot with a nice view.
– Directions and detailed explanation of the path: http://www.heididorf.ch/ExperiencePath
– Two options to get to the Alp from Heidi Dorf:

1. The stroller friendly road, which is a windy, car wide road up to the alp, primarily covered with gravel. Doable with a sturdy pram, ideally with air tires, however we used a simple and old umbrella stroller (McLarren) and it worked well, especially on the way  down.
2. The non-stroller friendly goat paths, which connect to the main road and are basically shortcuts, all the way up to the Alp.

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