Camping on Pfäffikersee

Camping on the Pfäffikersee isn’t wild camping, but the kids still love it, being able to swim until dark and laugh till late in their tents. The camping spots are rather generic, but you’ll spend most of your time in the adjacent park on the lake, which is beautiful and quiet. There are nice bike paths and walking trails around the lake, good for kids and families. You can easily walk to nearby Jucker Farm for entertainment and a meal. We always have a good time there.

Campingplatz Auslikon is on the Pfäffikersee, just a short drive southeast of Zürich. The campsite is adjacent to Strandbad Auslikon, which is a nice swimming area near Wetzikon. Much of the area around Pfäffikersee is a protected nature reserve. The camping spot is nestled right in the middle of it, so you feel away from it all even though the town is quite close by. It’s not the most amazing thing ever, but it’s a nice & easy getaway from Zürich that gives the kids the thrill of sleeping in a tent.

Most camping in Switzerland is not what I consider camping. To me, camping means setting up a tent in the wild with a roaring campfire and roughing it. In Switzerland, camping means a bunch of caravans crowded in a grass lot near nature but next to a road, with a restaurant, no campfires, clean lit toilets and probably a playground and pool. But whatever. My kids want to sleep in a tent and I will make it happen and we will have fun.

Car: ~30min drive from ZH Trail: trail around lake, 2hr Restaurant: kiosk
Train: station nearby Stroller: yes Grill: bring your own
Cost: low Theme: no Playground: yes

Getting There

Drive to Auslikon and turn on Strandbadstrasse, driving towards the lake. It quickly turns into a one-lane road heading through the marshland. The road ends at a large parking lot. Cross the river and you’ll be at the badi entrance, where you register for camping.

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If you are tent camping, it’s pretty simple and they’ll just direct you to an empty grass spot and you throw your tent up there. The surroundings are lovely, but the actual campsite is still a crowded caravan park, with long rows of caravans and tents side by side, with no privacy between spots.

The badi itself is quite nice, with a view of the surrounding marshlands and across the lake. There’s a good sized playground and large grassy field. My kids happily played until dark, making fast friends with other camp kids. We only stayed one night and my kids were so attached to their new “friends” that they were weeping as we left, begging to stay longer.

I thought it was quite affordable. For one night, we paid 23CHF for 1 tent, 1 adult, and 1 child over 6 (children under 6 free). Your fee include entrance to the badi, which is open 9:00-19:00. Outside these hours, the gates are just open and anyone can go in. I noticed that the camping office was also closed around 19:00, so I’m not sure how you pay if you arrive late. Maybe you just register in the morning.

From the campsite, you can take the Seerundweg trail either direction around the lake. It is a lovely trail that  meanders through the marshland with occasional views of the lake. We rode our bikes on it, which we saw lots of other people do even though it’s not an official bike route. We only rode about 20 minutes in each direction so I don’t know what the trail is like all the way around the lake, but I hope to go back soon and find out.

Jucker Farm is directly across the lake from the campsite. It took us about 20 minutes on our bikes to get to the trail that leads from the lake up to the farm. They often serve dinner at Jucker Farm, which would be a tasty alternative to the campsite kiosk. The kiosk serves the obvious fare like sausages and fries, nothing special. They also offer a very small selection of “grocery” items and fresh bread at breakfast time to help supplement your camping provisions.

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