Castles of Switzerland

 

Storm a Castle on Your Swiss Vacation

Medieval castles offer a glimpse into the past with ancient architecture and fortresses that captivates visitors. Switzerland claims to have hundreds of castles and mdany of them are listed with the Swiss Heritage Sites of National Significance.  Here are few of the top castles to visit when you travel in Switzerland.  Most Alpenwild tours allow guests to experience some of these incredible castles!

Chillon Castle located on shores of Lake Geneva  

Chillon Castle 

Located between the shores of Lake Geneva and the Alps, Château de Chillon is Switzerland’s most visited historic monument. The castle consists of 100 independent buildings that were gradually connected and now form a single whole. From the mid 12th century, the castle was home to the Counts of Savoy, and it was greatly expanded in the 13th century. Visitors are able to go underground to tour the castle area where prisoners were kept. There are also four large halls in the castle, where the Savoys, and other residents throughout history, held balls and feasts. Chillon Castle is set against the stunning Swiss Alps and Lake Geneva creating an amazing sight. You can see this castle on our Scenic Alps by Rail and Christmas Markets tours.

     
Gruyeres Castle  

Gruyères Castle

This hilltop castle is one of the most prestigious in Switzerland and towers majestically above the medieval town of Gruyères. The tour of the castle offers a walk through 8 centuries of architecture, history, and culture. The castle was bought by the canton of Fribourg in 1938 and made into a museum. While visiting the castle be sure to watch the film, "Gruyères." It is 18 minutes long and available in 8 languages giving visitors the wonderful history of the castle. You can see this castle on our Swiss Bliss, Scenic Alps by Rail, and Cheese, Chocolate and the Scenic Alps tours.

     
Neuchâtel Castle  

Neuchâtel Castle

Located in the canton of Neuchatel in Switzerland this castle and the Collegiate church date back to the 12th century and are so close together that they seem to be one. The castle is used for government and parliament for the Canton. Between 1st April and 30th September, the castle is open to visitors at no charge.    

 
 

Sion Castles

Sion is the capital of Valais and is located on the banks of the Rhone River in southwestern Switzerland. It is a tourist destination known for its historic hilltop castles (Tourbillon, Basilique de Valère, and Montorge) .

 

Basilique de Valère

Basilique de Valère is more a fortified village than a castle and is located across from the Castle of Tourbillon on the other prominent hill overlooking the town of Sion. It was a walled complex and residence for the local chapter's canons. After it was abandoned in 1798, portions of the property were used as a seminary from 1817 to 1874. Today, it is managed by the Museum District, and it includes the Cantonal Museum of the History of Valère and a church that houses the oldest working organ dating back to the late 14th century. It also offers guided tours of the site and includes an on-site cafeteria. The Majorie and the Vidomnat: was built in the 13th century and takes its name from two individuals, the Major and the Vidomne, who were the bishop's officers who lived in them. Since 1947 it has housed the Art Museum and the buildings were fully renovated in 2007.

     

Tourbillon Castle located in Sion

 

Tourbillon Castle 

Tourbillon Castle is situated on the taller of the two most prominent hills in Sion and faces the Basilique de Valère, located on the opposite hill. The castle was ruined in a fire in 1788. The castle ruins are located on a rocky spire above the city of Sion. Reaching the site requires climbing steep stairs that wind around the hill. Admission is free, and its opening hours are seasonal beginning in mid-March.

     
Montorge Castle  

Montorge Castle

Montorg Castle is symbolic of the unremitting battles between the bishop of Sion and the Counts of Savoy throughout the middle ages. It was built in 1233 by Aymon de Chablais, son of the Count of Savoy, and the purpose of it was to control the Rhone Valley and the road to High Valais. Today you can only see the ruins. The beautiful view you can enjoy from this vantage point are worth seeing.

     
Aigle Castle  

Aigle Castle

Located in the Rhone Valley at the foothills of the Vaudois Alps, Aigle Castle is situated in the middle of vineyards that have been productive since the12th century and is just minutes away from Lake Geneva. Today the castle is home to Musée de la Vigne et du Vin (Vine and wine museum). Next to the castle gates is the Maison de la Dîme, which houses the Musée de l’Étiquette (Wine-Labels Museum). The castle has medieval roots and is breathtaking with its thick walls, towers, and turrets. You'll be able to visit Aigle Castle on Alpenwild's Cheese, Chocolate, and the Scenic Alps tour.

     
Tarasp Castle  

Tarasp Castle

Tarasp Castle dates back to the 11th century and is located in the Upper Engadine. The castle belonged until 1803 to Austria and was laid siege to and fought over several times, but was never captured. Since 1919, Castle Tarasp is open to  all visitors, who can view knights' halls and ballrooms, old bedrooms, the castle chapel and the organ with its 2,500 pipes. The castle offers public organ concerts, tours as well as "active vacations, " vacations during which the visitor can help with the annual maintenance work. It's a popular stop on Alpenwild's Engadine tour.

     
Oberhofen Castle on the lake  

Oberhofen Castle

This is a very romantic castle with its medieval and picturesque turrets. It is located on the shores of Lake Thun near Interlaken. While strolling through the various historic rooms, you get the impression of the noble Bernese lifestyle from the 16-19th century. The castle has 6 acres of beautiful English style gardens with spectacular views of the Bernese Alps. This castle park is one of the most magnificent in the Alps region. The castle is only open from May through October. 

     
     
Murten Castle is set in the Fribourg Region by a gorgeous lake.   

Murten Castle 

This castle is located above Lake Murten in the Fribourg Canton and dates to the time of Count Peter of Savoy II who ordered its construction  in 1255.Following the reign of the Savoy,  the castle served as a residence to the bailiffs from Bern and Fribourg. Throughout history, it also served as a hospital, prison and barracks. Today it houses the Canton of Fribourg’s Prefecture of the Lake District. You can enter the courtyard for free and enjoy the vistas of the lake and the Jura foothills.

 

Bellinzona Castles 

These fortresses are near Ticino and are a great example of medieval fortification and architecture in the alpine region. They were undertaken by the Dukes of Milan in the 15th century. These battlements, towers, and gateway were included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2000, and are still a source of wonder today. You can see these castles (Castlegrande, Montebello, Sasso Corbaro) on our Christmas Markets tour.

     
Castlegrande in Bellinzona  

Castelgrande 

Castelgrande stands 50 meters above the town and can be reached on foot in a matter of minutes taking the steep foot paths which climb up from Piazza Collegiata and Piazza Nosetto, or the gently winding road leading up from Via Orico which skirts the San Michele hill. There is also an elevator with access from Piazzetta Della Valle. Castelgrande is open all year.

     
 

Montebello

Named after the hill on which the castle stands, 90 meters above Castelgrande. The defensive walls of the old town originate here and join up with those  from San Michele hill. The view from the castle is spectacular and on a clear day it is possible to see Lake Maggiore in the distance. The castle can be reached on foot from Piazza Collegiata or from the residential area called "Nocca" and by bus taking a road up from Viale Stazione.

     
Sasso Corbaro  

Sasso Corbaro

The Sforzas built the third castle, called Sasso Corbaro named after the hill on which it stands, in 1479.The castle can be easily reached, by road either from Castello di Montebello or by Via Ospedale. The castle is situated on a wooded hillside in a peaceful setting with magnificent views taking in the Riviera Valley and the Pizzo di Claro to the north and Lago Maggiore to the south.

     
Schlössli Wörth Castle  

Schlössli Wörth Castle  

Until the middle of the 19th century Wörth was an important transshipping and reloading area for the east-west trading route, which led from Lake Constance to Basel and was interrupted by the Rhine Falls. Today you can find an excellent gourmet restaurant, souvenir shop and snack bar there. On the first floor there are some banquet rooms with a terrace and a magnificent view of the Rhine Falls, for both party groups and seminars.