Bern Weekend Getaway

Traveling with small children can be challenging, and throwing our son’s food allergies into the mix has introduced a whole new level of planning, as we’re finding out. Our recent weekend trip to the Swiss capital of Bern served as a test run for our family, as we’re eager to plan more excursions and explore our new home country. At the same time, I don’t want to introduce unnecessary risk by traveling, so we’re learning how to balance our wanderlust with our need to be practical and safe for the sake of our son.

Finding Allergy-Friendly Restaurants

When traveling, we prefer having our own kitchen to prepare our allergy-friendly meals, but I had difficulty finding an affordable and available option for just two nights in Bern. Instead, we found a great hotel within walking distance of some of the city’s major attractions, such as the BearPark, the Clock Tower, and the House of Parliament. In advance of our arrival, I exchanged emails with the hotel to make sure their restaurant could accommodate my son’s multiple food allergies. They assured me he would have options in their restaurant, so we felt confident having at least one place to eat. I also looked up the nearest grocery stores, so we could find soy milk and fresh fruit, just in case.

We ended up eating all of our meals at the hotel restaurant, except for one, which we had at a restaurant we researched beforehand. My husband had read about a restaurant with a great selection of beers near the BearPark, so we sought shelter from the rain there and had a pleasant lunch. At both restaurants, the staff were all very helpful and understanding. We heard about another vegetarian fast-food restaurant in Bern, but we didn’t get a chance to stop there. This looks like another great allergy-friendly option.

In general, I find it incredibly hard to trust a restaurant to prepare a safe, allergy-friendly meal for my son. Further, I’m talking about allergies with restaurant staff that may not fully understand what I’m saying—either because my French is so poor or their English is limited. That’s why cards describing food allergies in multiple languages can be extremely helpful, especially while traveling in a place like Switzerland with four official languages. If you haven’t seen this already, check out Allerglobal, which develops free translated allergy cards. I ran across this recently, and a thoughtful Dairy-Free Switzerland reader just reminded me of it again.

Overall, we had a great trip to Bern, despite the rainy weather, and we look forward to our next weekend adventure with the kids. All the advanced preparation we did to find restaurants, the nearest grocery stores, etc. helped make the trip a safe and successful one. We still have a lot to learn when it comes to traveling with food allergies in Switzerland, but we’re feeling more confident having at least taken this first trip.

How do you find allergy-friendly restaurants in Switzerland? Do you have any recommendations for allergy-friendly restaurants or hotels? Please leave a comment below if you have advice or suggestions to share or send an email to dairyfreeswitzerland@gmail.com. Thanks!

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2 thoughts on “Bern Weekend Getaway

  1. Gratefulfoodie says:

    You are tugging at my heart strings! My son’s food allergies grounded us as I am unsure about overseas travel (I’m in the US). I visited Bern in College (now 20 years later). I went to a summer session at Ecole Hoteliere in Lausanne! Oh, I adore your blog! I voted for you! I’m Gratefulfoodie, so please vote for me too. Please keep posting, you are true pleasure for me!

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