Heidi is one of the most popular characters in Switzerland based on a book by Johanna Spyri.
The children’s book, published in 1881, is named after the character Heidi. The story follows Heidi, a 5-year-old girl who lived with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps.
In fact, Maienfeld in Switzerland was named by Johanna Spyri as the location of Heidi’s life. Nowadays, Maienfeld does have a Heidi village, a Heidi house, a Heidi trail, and a Heidi Alp.
We will be looking closely at Heidi Village located in Maienfeld, in addition to its surroundings, in the following article.
Heidi and Her Popularity
Heidi is a work of children’s fiction. It is one of the most well-known books in the world. The book Heidi is estimated to have sold at least 50 million copies. Furthermore, the book has been translated into English at least thirteen times, as well as French and many other languages (over 50!). Heidi has also been adapted to more than 20 film or television productions. It has also been made as Japanese cartoons (known as anime) – Heidi, Girl of the Alps.
The book’s author, Johanna Spyri, was a Swiss-born author of children’s stories. She was born in Hirzel, a beautiful hilly rural area in Zurich Canton.
Heidi is quite possibly the most famous Swiss child. She embodies the perfect Swiss child who loves nature and the mountains. Heidi is popular because she shows happiness and contentment in the mountains despite her circumstances. She is an orphan who first lived with her grandfather in the Alps. Then her Aunt Dete took her to live in Frankfurt. Although she enjoyed the company of Clara, an upper-class German girl, Heidi kept on yearning to go back to the mountains. Eventually, she found her way back to the mountains. The book has been a hit among readers since it has been released.
Heididorf is located in the Heidiland region of Switzerland. Heidiland covers the following areas:
- Bündner Herrschaft
- Bad Ragaz
- Tamina Valley
- Lake Walen (Walensee)
The region is not only known for Heidi but also for mountains, valleys, lakes, and vineyards. Through its spa resort Bad Ragaz, it offers not only active holidays but also relaxation. A number of gourmet restaurants are located in the area. This region also offers skiing in winter, with resorts like Flumserberg and Pizol.
What are the Things To Do In Heidiland?
As mentioned earlier, Heidi Village (or Heididorf) is located in the tourist region called Heidiland.
Heidiland covers the Bündner Herrschaft, Bad Ragaz, Taminatal, Pizol, Flumserberg, and Walensee.
Here are some other interesting Heidi-related things that you can do in this region:
- Hike the Heidi Trail in Pizol – a circular trail for families in Pizol. It goes from the mountain station Pardiel to the Alp Schwarzbüel and back. It is 4 kilometers long and takes 2.5 hours to finish. The trail has a Kneipp pool, a barefoot path, a goat jump, and the hammock forest.
- Accompany Heidi and Peter on the Legendary Adventure Trail in Flumserberg. The trail goes from Prodkamm until Prodalp. It is 3 kilometers long and takes 2 hours to finish.
Otherwise, the region offers other interesting things to do. Here are some of my favorites:
- Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Tectonic Arena Sardona
- Enjoy a day out with the family on Flumserberg – playgrounds, a climbing station in Prodalp with more than 100 climbing stations laid out on 3 levels, mini-golf, and a toboggan run over 250 meters long.
- Pamper yourself at Tamina Therme in Bad Ragaz
- Trace the source of the Bad Ragaz springs by visiting the Tamina Gorge (or Taminaschlucht in German)
- Discover the well-kept secret that is Älpli in Malans – Älpli provides majestic views of the Grisons Rhine Valley and Alps
Where is Maienfeld located?
Maienfeld is a beautiful little town in the principality of Landquart in Canton Graubünden. It lies in the key route through the Rhine Valley and is surrounded by vineyards, charming little houses, trees, and mountains. It is surrounded by Jenins, Malans, and the Rätikon range of the Alps. The mountains Glegghorn and Vilan overlook Maienfeld. Across the Rhine River is another tourist destination famous for its natural spring and spa centers – Bad Ragaz.
To get to Maienfeld from Zurich, take the train to Sargans. From Sargans, change to the connecting train to Maienfeld. Total travel time from Zurich is 1 hour 5 minutes.
If you would like to go from Zurich to Maienfeld with a tour group and a guide, you can buy a ticket from GetYourGuide – From Zurich: Bus Day Trip to Heidiland and Liechtenstein. Please take note that Heidi’s Village is closed during the winter months, so during the time that it is not accessible, you will be visiting the village of Werdenberg instead.
What are the Things To Do in Maienfeld?
- Visit the Brandis Castle or Maienfeld Castle – it is a castle that belongs to the Swiss heritage site of national significance. Right now, it has a restaurant run by 1Xanders GmbH.
- Visit the Salenegg Castle – like the Brandis Castle, Salenegg Castle is also a Swiss heritage site of national significance. It has a panoramic location and a picturesque tower blending within the vineyards of Maienfeld. Unlike Brandis, Salenegg is currently a winery and offers visits to tour the vineyard, learn about wines and grapes, and sample wine from different barrels. The winery is open from Mondays to Fridays, 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM and 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM.
- Walk the Heidi Trail up to Heidorf – the Heidi Trail (or Heidiweg in German) is a circular trail that starts in the Maienfeld Train Station and goes through the town of Maienfeld, along the vineyards, and up to the Heidi Village. From the Heidi Village, it goes up to the Heidihof Restaurant with its awesome panoramic views. From there, it goes back down the vineyards, the town, until the train station. The total trail is 6.5 kilometers long and roughly 80 minutes to complete. Lots of families brought children’s strollers.
Where is Heididorf located?
Heidi Village or Heididorf is located in Bovelweg 16, Maienfeld. You can reach it with the train to Maienfeld via Sargans, and then either taking the Bus to Maienfeld, Post. It is a 20-minute walk from Maienfeld, Post to Heididorf.
For those with cars, there is a parking lot 5 minutes away from Heididorf. The parking lot is at Bovelweg 12, 7304 Maienfeld.
Additional parking lots are available during the weekend a few meters away from this place in case it is full. On busy days, the parking lot gets full quite easily.
What are the Things To Do in Heididorf?
The Heididorf is the authentic Heidi Village that Johanna Spyri described in her world-renowned book Heidi. As it is located in Maienfeld, it is surrounded by vineyards, green and open spaces, as well as mountains.
Visit the Heidi House (or Heidihaus in German). It is the birthplace of Heidi, the character. It has been transformed into a museum.
Feed the Goats
Feed the goats – In the village, there is a small stall with goats and chickens. You can buy food for the goats in the Heidi Shop directly beside it. When we were there, it only cost CHF 1 per bag.
Otherwise, the goats are there perfectly happy to be petted by their young and old visitors
Shop for Souvenirs in the Dorfladen
Shop in the Dorfladen. This visitor’s center provides various Heidi souvenirs such as puzzles, plates, bags, stuffed animals, and many more.
Visit Heidi’s Alp Cottage
Visit Heidi’s summer house, the Alp cottage – Heidi lives in the alp cottage (or Alphütte in German) during summer. In here, she enjoys nature with her grandfather and goes out daily with Peter to take care of the goats.
Have a meal at Heidihof Restaurant
Have a meal at Heidihof Restaurant – After spending time in the Heidi village, the restaurant provides meals, a wonderful panorama, and for children – a playground. It is an idyllic place a few minutes by foot from the Heidi House. They serve regional delicacies inside the restaurant or on the large terrace. They also host family events, weddings, and private celebrations.
Hike to the Heidi Alp
Walk up the hill to the Heidi Alp – from the Heidi Village (or Heididorf in German), the trail goes through a narrow trail up the street with 12 stations to tell the story of Heidi. It is estimated to take 1 hour 40 minutes from Heidi Village (Heididorf) to Ochsenalp, Heidihütte. This trail passes by Heidi’s House, Geissenpeter’s House, and Alpöhi’s place. The goal of this trail is to reach Heidi’s original house.
Heididorf is open from the 15th of March to the 15th of November, every day from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Other places to visit or things to enjoy in Heidi Village can be found here.
We had a great time in Heididorf. We came on a beautiful, sunny, Sunday morning. We were able to get a parking spot, though the parking lot was already quite full when we arrived. There was another parking lot nearby which was also starting to fill up as we left our car.
We walked to the sign that said Heididorf and took some souvenir photos. Then we followed the path that would lead to Heidi Village. As there were also already a lot of other families, we simply followed the crowd!
The Heidi village was really charming. It felt like we were on a television or movie set. Or transported to the past via time travel. Although there were trappings of tourism everywhere, it still felt like a perfect depiction of Heidi. We visited the shops and the houses. The kids played with the animals. Some people fed the goats with food bought from the Heidi shop.
Some older children or couples went with the trail to the Heidi Alp. As we did not have enough time and were not wearing hiking shoes, we decided against it. It is definitely a place we would want to return to. Next time with proper hiking gear.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.