Seeking creative inspiration in the Alps

Photographers, artists, and writers can find creative inspiration in theLauterbrunnen Valley.

If your well of creative inspiration has dried up, it’s time for a trip to Switzerland. Between its scenery, villages, and fresh air, this little country has inspired photographers, artists, and writers for centuries.

You’ll leave Switzerland with big ideas and renewed motivation. So why wait? Let’s get the creative juices flowing!

Photographers can find plenty of creative inspiration in the Alps.
There’s no shortage of beautiful scenery — or incredible photo ops — in the Alps. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

Creative inspiration for photographers

This won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but Switzerland is picture-perfect. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer, an Instagram enthusiast, or an aspiring shutterbug, you’ll find fantastic subject matter in the Alps.

From waterfalls to wildflowers, there’s something worth snapping around every bend of every trail. But the mountains aren’t the only place where you’ll find photographic inspiration! Switzerland’s cities offer up castles, cottages, and churches, so you can snap your own postcards on this vacation.

You can also use the trip to brush up on photography fundamentals, like composition, depth, and lighting. So pack your camera bag, and get ready to take your best photos yet.

After all, Switzerland has already inspired generations of photographers, as evidenced by a few gorgeous vintage postcards. And famous Swiss photographers include Michael von Graffenried, Boris Baldringer, and Georg Gerster. Gerster was an early aerial photographer, and a Swiss airline used his sky-high photos in their marketing campaigns for years.

Dreaming of photographing Switzerland? Regardless of your skill level, we’d love to see you on our Alps Photo Workshop. A professional photographer will be on hand to mentor you, making this workshop the perfect learning experience. 

Painters might find creative inspiration in the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
The Lauterbrunnen Valley is yet another Swiss region known for its inspiring beauty. Photo by Tom Dempsey.

Creative inspiration for artists

No matter your medium of choice, you’ll feel a creative itch in the Alps. And since sketching and painting require few materials, we think they’re great options for artists heading to Switzerland. Plus, plein air painting will make you feel like a bona fide Impressionist!

In Switzerland, it would be impossible to run out of subject matter. Try your hand at drawing or painting things like farmhouses, meadows, lakes, or even trains. You’ll be amazed to see your own improvement!

Of course, no vacation can last forever, so you won’t have time to paint or draw everything you see. We suggest taking photos of your surroundings while you’re still in Switzerland, then referring to the photos to create a few masterpieces after you return home. This will keep your mind on Switzerland and help you retain the creative inspiration you drew from the country.

Tolkien found creative inspiration in the Alps, later basing Middle Earth on the Swiss landscape.
Silberhorn at sunset. J.R.R. Tolkien called this mountain the “Silvertine (Celebdil) of my dreams.” Photo by Tom Dempsey.

Creative inspiration for writers

Struggling to overcome a bad bout of writer’s block? It happens to everyone. Often, a change of scenery is a good antidote, and there’s no better cure than a trip to Switzerland.

Of course, Switzerland is also an ideal destination for writers searching for the setting for their next projects. Here’s an example.

In 1911, a 19-year-old traveler visited Switzerland for the first time. He hiked across the Bernese Oberland, marveled at the summer snow on the Jungfrau and Silberhorn, and explored mountain passes. A few decades later, he immortalized those places by basing an entire world on them.

That traveler’s name was J.R.R. Tolkien. And his fantasy realm was called Middle Earth.

Need a few more examples of writers who were inspired in Switzerland? We’re happy to help!

Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein on the shores of Lake Geneva. Her friend Lord Byron kept a detailed journal about his time in Switzerland and wrote a 392-line poem called “The Prisoner of Chillon.” Mark Twain visited the country and later wrote a semi-autobiographical satire called A Tramp Abroad. And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle sent Sherlock Holmes to the Alps for a final showdown with Professor Moriarty.

Ready to come up with your own story? We know you’ll find inspiration in the Alps, so join us in Switzerland!

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