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Uncovering the Charm of Heidi Village (Heididorf): A Glimpse into an Icon of Swiss Literature

Updated: Apr 14

Heidi-inspired village featuring houses to explore and a goat enclosure for visitors to interact with. Maienfeld (Graubünden, Switzerland).

The "it" factor

Munggeweg Amden hike Amdo Mugg Groundhog

What makes it special:

What needs to be considered:

  • Small village, visit duration is 1-1.5 hours

Don't feel like reading? Watch a video instead!

The fun factor

Before moving to Switzerland, we only had a vague knowledge of Heidi. However, after relocating here, getting to know this iconic Swiss children's book character became a priority.

Heidi is a fictional character from the Swiss novel "Heidi" by Johanna Spyri, first published in 1881. She is a young orphaned girl who goes to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Throughout the story, Heidi embarks on various adventures, discovers the beauty of nature, forms lasting friendships, and learns invaluable life lessons. Heidi's innocent and joyful personality has endeared her to readers of all ages for generations.

Numerous movies and cartoons have been made about Heidi. We've only delved into Heidi's world through the Netflix adaptation and we found it to be a heartwarming tale. It's our modern take on immersing ourselves in Swiss culture!

To further acquaint ourselves with Heidi, we decided to visit Heidi Village (Heididorf), a small village in the town of Maienfeld, Grisons (Graubünden). It is designed to resemble the setting of the Heidi story, offering visitors an immersive experience. Johanna Spyri, the author, visited Maienfeld many times and drew inspiration from its breathtaking landscape, ultimately crafting what would become a worldwide bestseller.

Here are our top 5 Fun Factors of Heidi Village (Heididorf)

1. Explore Heidi's Village (Heididorf)

Heididorf has a cozy, outdoor museum vibe, with six charming buildings waiting to be explored. As you wander around, you'll come across a fountain, cute gardens, some friendly chickens, and playful goats. It's the perfect spot to unwind and soak in the atmosphere, feeling like you've stepped right into Heidi's world! Our little one's favorite spot was by Heidi's alpine hut, where kids had a blast pretending to "milk" a fake cow with fake udders.

Just a heads up - the village is quite small and can be walked in just 5 minutes without entering any buildings. However, a full exploration usually takes 1 to 1.5 hours.

2. Uncover Heidi's Story

The adventure begins in the "S" building, also known as the barn. Here, you'll encounter statues of the goat herd, as well as the iconic horse and carriage that Heidi used for her journey to Maienfeld. Our 4-year-olds couldn't resist climbing on them and pretending to embark on an imaginary adventure. Inside, a mini cinema awaits, screening a movie about Heidi to set the mood for your visit.

Before exploring the other houses, we delved into the Johanna Spyri Heidiwelt exhibition (building #4). Dedicated to the author and the artwork inspired by her books, it offers a deeper insight into the world of Heidi. From the first book to original props from the recent Heidi film, we were amazed by the abundance of Heidi-themed art.

Here you'll also find a souvenir shop (Dorfladen) brimming with Heidi-themed toys and products, featuring her books translated into English, French, Japanese, Spanish, Arabic, Ukrainian, and more. As a strategic move, we kept the kids entertained with other activities while exploring the shop. Additionally, the shop features the smallest Post Office in Switzerland, where you can send a postcard to your friends and family - a nice way to say hello to the grandparents!

3. Step into the Buildings and Journey Back to the 1880s

Armed with Heidi knowledge, we embarked on exploring the houses, which transport you back in time with their original props and decorations from the 1880s.

First up was her winter house (building #1), where she lived while attending school. Johanna Spyri drew inspiration from the people living in this house when writing the story.

The journey continues to the Alp Cottage (building #2) , where Heidi spent her summers and where you can say hello to her grandpa. Finally, you step into the schoolhouse (building #3), where you can sit in a classroom and even write in traditional "notebooks". We were surprised to discover that the teacher's bedroom was just behind the classroom - not the best work-life balance!

We found the houses to be well done, offering opportunities for pretend play - imagine preparing and having dinner at the table with Heidi and her friends, or attending school together.

4. Pet the goats

And for all the animal enthusiasts out there, there are real goats! You can step into their enclosure, pet them, or feed them special food available at the souvenir shop. They're incredibly friendly and love interacting with visitors. In our family, Dad is the biggest fan of the goats. How about yours?

Heididorf also provides a rich array of events that transport visitors into the 19th-century Heidi world, featuring activities such as craft demonstrations, guided tours, and storytelling sessions. Guests can immerse themselves in traditional crafts like wool spinning and wood carving, as well as explore the world of medicinal herbs through workshops and tours. Check out the events calendar here.

The food factor

5. Indulge in Scenic Picnics at the Heidi Village (Heididorf)

In Heidi Village (Heididorf), nestled next to the school, you'll find a delightful picnic spot surrounded by trees, with a swing hanging from one of them. It's the perfect place to relax and soak in the natural beauty. Please note that there are no restaurants available, so be sure to bring your own food for a complete picnic experience! However, in case of a snack emergency, you can purchase some treats and ice cream at the souvenir shop.

5. Enjoy Dining at Hotel Restaurant Heidihof

If you're craving a heartier meal, Hotel Restaurant Heidihof awaits just next to the Heididorf Parking. We popped in for drinks and ice cream, but noticed they offer a variety of options, including a kids' menu. Additionally, there's a playground on the restaurant grounds and you might even spot some deer roaming in the distance.

6. Expand your Heid Adventure with a Barbecue

To extend our Heidi outing, we decided to add a barbecue and picnic to the agenda. Just a 5-minute drive or 30-minute walk away, there's a fantastic barbecue spot with parking available (in Heididorf there are no barbeuce spots). Bring along your food, drinks, and blankets, and relish your time in nature while enjoying delicious meals and taking in the scenic views. We brought bikes and balls for the kids to play with during our meal, but there are plenty of trees and open spaces for them to explore even without toys. Additionally, there's a nearby forest with walking paths, perfect for turning this outing into a full-day adventure. While we haven't explored it yet, we'd love to hear about your experiences if you do!

The views factor

It's no wonder this area inspired Johanna Spyri to pen her famous book. The views here are simply breathtaking. We visited during spring, and everything was in full bloom, but I imagine the scenery is stunning year-round. As you approach, you catch a glimpse of these views from the highway, and as soon as you exit, you're greeted by a postcard-perfect landscape. The charming Maienfeld town, fields, forests, grazing cows, and majestic mountains in the distance – we were in awe.

The fitness factor

Exploring the village itself doesn't demand much in terms of fitness, given its small size. From the parking area, it's just a 5-minute walk along a dirt road to reach the village. The path is slightly uphill but stroller-friendly, making it accessible for all.

For those seeking a challenge, consider embarking on the 6.5 km Heidi Trail (Heidiweg) starting from Maienfeld railway station. This trail winds through historic Maienfeld and vineyards, ending at Heidi's Village. Along the way, you'll pass by Hotel Restaurant Heidihof, the old oak tree offering a panoramic view, and Heidi’s fountain. While we didn't try it this time due to the lack of play stations along the way, it sounds like a great option if your kids are good walkers. Here is more info.

The value factor

Visiting the village and the goats is free of charge. However, you'll need a ticket to enter Heidi's Alp Cottage, Heidi's House, Johanna Spyri's Heidi world, Stable House and the School:

  • Adults: 13.90 CHF

  • Children (5-14 years old): 5.90 CHF

  • Children under 4 year olds: Free

Children up to 10 years only when accompanied by an adult.

Heidi Villag (Heididorf) - practical info

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