Best Castles in Switzerland to Visit

BEST SWISS CASTLES FOR YOUR ITINERARY

There are more than 500 castles dotted over Switzerland, each of which has its unique history. Picture-perfect castles in Switzerland of all shapes, sizes, and eras will transport you to another era, if only for a little while. Many of these castles and structures are now open to the public.

Switzerland is home to some beautiful and impressive castles – and yet most of the people who plan their Switzerland itinerary think about the Swiss Alps and lakes, the chocolate and cheese, Swiss watches, and the banking system first. But make no mistake – the Swiss castles are well worth a visit and today I am sharing the best castles in Switzerland to visit with you. 

So, here they are – the best castles to visit in Switzerland.

Chateau de Chillon

Chateau de Chillon is perched on a rock overlooking the blue waters of Lake Geneva on its eastern shore near Montreux. The Alpine Pass links the western and eastern parts of Switzerland, and Chateau de Chillon was formerly used as a Roman garrison to guard it.

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The fortress existed as part of the Roman Empire and was used as such throughout three periods: the Bernese period, the Vaudois period, and the Savoy period. Records going back to 1150 demonstrate how long it has been standing. After serving as a Roman garrison, it was converted into a prison before being abandoned.  Check out my Montreux guide for more travel tips.

  • The castle is open all year.  
  • Adult tickets cost about 13.50 CHF, and children’s tickets are around 7 CHF.

Oberhofen Castle

The magnificent castle known as Oberhofen am Thunersee lies on the lake bed of Lake Thun; when you visit this nostalgic but unique area, you’re in for a medieval feast. 

Beautiful little tower of Oberhofen castle in the Thun lake with mountains on background in Switzerland, near Bern
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When it was controlled by the Habsburgs in the 14th century, this fortress was encircled by a moat and a wall to defend its people from intruders. Following the battle of Sempach, it was captured by Bernese forces and had a variety of uses from the 16th to the 17th centuries. It was later transformed and has remained the private property of the Counts of Pourtalès ever since.

Locals consider it one of the most beautiful castles in Switzerland – the castle was also a main reason why Oberhofen won the title as the „most beautiful village in Switzerland“ in 2018. This piece of history has become recognized as a romantic getaway for couples. Here are travel tips for the region of Interlaken.

  • Tickets are 12 CHF for adults and 5-10 CHF for children and teens.

Thun Castle

This long-standing castle is located in Thun in the Bernese Oberland and was built between the 1180s and 1190s. Thun Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Switzerland – its location, right on the foot of Thun market square, makes it an eye-catcher.

Thun town center at Lake Thun
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@View from Thun Castle, free with a Swiss Travel Pass

Thun Castle was built by Duke Berthold V of Zähringen as part of his strategy to increase authority and influence among the knights’ ranks. The castle was handed over and utilized until it became a castle museum for the public to enjoy, filled with highly awaited antiquities. The courtyard and its wings are also available to the public, so if you want to learn about the peculiarities that followed the Bernese era, come to look at this remarkable, once-used castle. Check out my Thun post for more info.

  • This castle is open daily from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, except for the winter season, when it is only open on Sundays.
  • Adult entrances are 10 CHF and 8 CHF for children and the elderly.

Castle Hunegg

The Castle of Hünegg is located inside the administrative district of Thun, namely that of Hilterfingen. It stands in front of a gushing verdant park with old-natured trees that have grown used to the environment surrounding the castle. 

Hünegg Castle in Switzerland
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The outstanding architectural design of this castle has remained ageless, which is one of the sought-after reasons for tourists to visit. The building was created by locals in 1861 after being commissioned and brought to life by Baron Albert von Parpart of Prussia and his wife, Adelheid von Bonstetten. 

After some time had passed, Gustav Lemke-Schuckert remodeled it into a nouveau-fashioned enclosure to his satisfaction.  The castle’s basement, hallway, and terrace are some of the attractions for tourists visiting the castle grounds.

  • Open from May to October.
  • The entrance is about 10 CHF for adults and 5 – 8 CHF for children and the handicapped.

Castle Tourbillon

In Sion, located in the southern canton of Valais, the hills of Tourbillon and Valère are a noticeable part of the town. One of them is the stunning Castle Tourbillon. 

Château de Tourbillon from Valere Castle
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Shortly before the year 13000 the bishop of Sion, Coniface de Challant, undertook the construction of the castle – though it was completed by its successors – the frescos of the chapel date back to the second quarter of the 14th century (though it took a recent restaurant ion to make it visible).

In 1417 the castle was set on fire – it was restored a few decades later – and then became the summer residence of the bishop though it lost in importance during the 18th century when the castle was definitively ruined during another fire. However, the Saint-Georges and Saint-Grat Chapel are still well preserved. And they are one of the main sights in Sion. 

Castle of Valère

Sion, in the southwestern Swiss canton of Valais, is home to the well-known cathedral of Valeria, also known as the Castle of Valère/Valère Basilica. This castle features bright gothic and Roman decor, a remnant of a once-thriving civilization. 

Valere Castle in Sion
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Bishop Hugo erected the first buildings on this site in the 12th century. Over the years, this church grew in stature to become one of Switzerland’s most revered places of worship. When you visit this site, you should definitely check out the preserved organs, which are remarkable given their advanced age and the fact that they haven’t been used or repaired in a very long time. Here are more travel tips for Sion.

  • From 11 am until 6 pm, tourists may explore the cathedral and its many works of art and historical landmarks.
  • Everyone of any age is welcome to enter the property free of charge.

Schloss Schadau

The Schadau Castle is located on the southern shores of Lake Thun – in Schadau Park just a few minute’s walk from the old town of Thun.

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It is a beautifully designed edifice with a rich history related to its patron, Abraham Denis Alfred de Rougemont, who commissioned its construction between 1846 and 1854. As it is now, it is the result of repairs that began as early as 1925. Not surprisingly, the castle attracts guests from all over the world because of its breathtaking location.

The castle was decorated romantically from top to bottom, with ornate old designs painted on the walls and bricks changed to appear like they were from ancient Greece. 

  • There is a suggested donation of 10 CHF for each tourist

Gruyères Castle

The French-style château is perched on a hill overlooking the picturesque Alpine foothills of Fribourg in the town of Gruyères. The Counts of Gruyères held the castle until the middle of the 16th century. The interiors are decorated with stained glass windows, paintings by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, and elaborate antique furniture.

Grand Tour of Switzerland, Gruyeres
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Gruyères Castle, in the medieval town famous for its manufacture of creamy, nutty cheese, was erected in the late 13th century and is one of the most splendid castles to visit in Switzerland. Head outdoors to stroll in a lush garden and take in the picturesque vistas.

Fascinating guided tours may be given upon request. Throughout these visits, storytellers in period garb will share tales of the castle’s history and local lore.  Check out my Gruyeres post for more.

  • Tickets are 7 CHF for adults and 6 CHF for youngsters and the elderly. 

Schloss Rapperswil

Rapperswil Castle is a Swiss castle that sits on the bank of Lake Zurich in the town of Rapperswil. The castle of Rapperswil was constructed in the Middle Ages. In 1354, construction was completed on the equilateral castle’s spectacular clock tower, which has not one but two clocks, a sundial, and three bells.

 

After being renovated, the castle was left to decay. The local government leased the property to a Count in 1870, and the Count renovated the castle at his own cost. In the same year, the Polish National Museum opened in the castle. Tourists may read about the long-standing friendship and collaboration between Switzerland and Poland. To take in the beautiful scenery of the “City of Roses,” take a walk around the city wall or climb the castle tower. 

  • The castle has always welcomed guests from 11 am-5 pm daily (except December 25th-January 1st).

Spiez Castle

Located in the Swiss canton of Bern, the town of Spiez along its bay is one of the most picture-perfect places in the country, complete with vineyards and a background of the blue Thunersee and the surrounding Alps.

Beautiful Spiez Castle one of the most beautiful castles in Switzerland
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One of the oldest castles in Switzerland, this beautiful keep was built in 933. Many additions and alterations were made to the castle during the following centuries, so it now features many architectural eras and styles. It’s a delightful surprise, a combination of classical Swiss architecture and Baroque concepts, and a gem of Switzerland waiting to be discovered. Check out my Spiez guide for more travel tips.

  • The entrance cost to this castle is 10 CHF for adults and 2 CHF for children.

Schloss Hallwyl

If you want to view one of the few moated castles in Switzerland, you should go to Hallwyl, which is situated on two islands in the Aabach river. The local lords and nobles built the castle in the 11th century as a stronghold. The current castle was constructed through centuries of additions and improvements beginning in the 14th century.

Schloss Hallwyl one of the top Swiss castles to visit
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A beautiful trail loops around the park and provides views of the walls and buildings from every direction. You can virtually smell, feel, and taste the centuries of history that have passed over the land possessed initially by the castle Lords. Compared to other European castles, its small size really works to its advantage.

This is the place to go if you want to learn more about the history of Switzerland. 

  • Adult tickets cost 14 CHF, while children’s tickets cost 8 CHF.

Stockalper Castle

Stockalper Castle is a Swiss castle in the city of Brig-Glis, and it stands out from the crowd thanks to its three tall buildings, which are almost identical in height. Visit this impressive structure, which was built in the 16th century at the behest of the powerful Kaspar Stockalper and later renovated in the 19th century.

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You will enjoy exploring the castle’s arcades, vaults, and halls, followed by a look at the rose bushes in the royal garden. The view over the Old Town of Brig, the monastery, and the Jesuit church from the boundaries of the castle’s three towers is nothing short of breathtaking. You will be amazed by the silk paintings from the 18th century once you enter this castle. 

  • Entry is 10 CHF for adults, 5 CHF for preteens, and free for toddlers and younger kids.

Bellinzona Castles  

The historic castles of Bellinzona may be found in the Ticino region of southern Switzerland, specifically in the city of Bellinzona. It’s important to remember that these defenses were built to prevent an assault on the Alpine Pass, making them exceptional in their class.

The Bellinzona pass, which costs 30 CHF, grants you access to the whole of the castle’s grounds which includes Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro. They are all free to visit with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Below, you’ll find information on the three castles that make up the town: Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro.

Castelgrande

Castelgrande is the largest and most exciting castle of the three castles of Bellinzona. It is situated in Ticino canton. A popular attraction of this castle is its museum and slide display. The museum is called Sala Arsenale and is home to interesting temporary exhibitions and presentations throughout the country and worldwide. 

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A natural sensory path in the backyard is an excellent place for barefoot adventurers of all ages.

Montebello

From Castelgrande, you may visit the castle of Montebello on the other hill by taking the stairs down to Piazza Collegiata and then walking along the lane next to the church of the same name.

During the springtime festival La Spada Nelle Rocca, the castle walls come alive with the presence of women, horsemen, archers, and musicians decked up in splendid costumes. A historical and archaeological museum may also be found inside this castle.

Sasso Corbaro

Sasso Corbaro is nestled in a forest of chestnut trees on a promontory that looks out over the Bellinzona region. Although it is the smallest of Bellinzona’s three castles, at 495 meters in height, it is also the tallest.

The Canton Museum of Art and Folk Culture has relocated to the historic Sasso Corbaro. Short-term exhibits are also held there. From Piazza Collegiata and Piazza Nosetto, it’s a steep 40-minute trek downhill to your destination.

Schloss Wildegg

One of the hidden gems in Switzerland is Schloss Wildegg which is nestled between Aarau and Brugg in north Switzerland.  Wildegg Castle was built by the Habsburgs in the first half of the 13th century.

Wildegg Castle in Aargau
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From 1483 to 1912 the Effinger family were the owners of the property – the castle apartments and rooms are furnished in their original style and they show the aristocratic lifestyle of this family.  The large residence with farmyard, aviary, park, gardens, and forest has essentially been preserved intact and is today a cultural amenity of national importance.

Visible from afar visiting this castle offers a lot to its visitors. The baroque working farm and pleasure gardens are located on a terrace in the middle of vineyards and are home to nearly 300 ancient crop varieties

  • The entrance fee for adults is around 14 CHF

Schloss Laufen 

Schloss Laufen may be found in the Andelfingen neighborhood, specifically in the Laufen-Uhwiesen region. It is believed that it took the Barons of Laufen – who lived there beginning in the year 858 – 1,200 years to build the fortress. Since then, the castle has been the center of numerous wars, and as a result, it has many fascinating tales to tell.

Schloss Laufen one of the top Swiss castles to visit
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The panoramic glass elevator and its vantage point provide the most unique perspectives of this impressive natural wonder. In addition to the “Historama” display, a tour of the castle is recommended so visitors can understand more about the castle’s 1,000-year history. All the magnificent castle rooms and exhibits make this castle a sight to see. 

  • Seeing Schloss Laufen will set you back roughly 5 CHF.

Munot Fortress 

The Munot Fortress in Schaffhausen draws many visitors every year. The city’s round citadel rises above the Rhine River, providing breathtaking views of the waterway and its environs.             

Munot fortress in Schaffhausen
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The fortress was never meant to be a home but rather a stronghold. Around the 16th century, Heinrich Schwarz used forced labor to construct the Fortress of Munot, which was used as a defensive stronghold armed with artillery.

The stone platform at the top is crowned by one massive round tower that looks out over the Rhine and the hills of Emmersberg. The castle’s most striking features are the caponier galleries in the foundation and the winding stone path leading to the turret. 

  • Look no further for an inexpensive destination; here, you can get in for zero CHF.

Aarburg Castle

This specific castle is located inside the city limits of Aarburg, high on a scarped, rocky slope that overlooks the ground. It was built for defensive purposes by the Lords of Büron sometime in the 12th century. 

Aarburg Castle, Arzo Travels
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From the 1400s forward, changing hands many times, it was rebuilt several times until it came under the authority of the present government.

The sturdy limestone walls, the tower house accessible by the tower steps, and the living quarters and cell blocks make this Swiss landmark a must-see for any history buff. 

  • Adults must pay 10 CHG to enter the beautiful grounds, while children 16 and under get in free.
  • Tours are only available on Saturdays from April through September.

Castle Tarasp

Scuol, in the Lower Engadin, Graubünden, is home to Tarasp Castle. Initially constructed in the 11th century, it was owned by the Austrian Empire until 1803. There were several failed efforts to take the castle throughout the years.

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The castle fell into disrepair until 1900 when it was bought by Karl August Lingner (who later invented the mouthwash Odor). For 16 years, it was meticulously restored to its former glory, becoming a place of pilgrimage for all castle enthusiasts.

The castle features several historically furnished rooms and a chapel with a 2,500-pipe organ. It also features an extensive collection of ancient and contemporary works of art.  It has reopened its doors to the public. Concerts and tours are regularly scheduled throughout the year, and visitors are encouraged to pitch in with some light upkeep as part of the fun. 

  • For about 13 CHF guests can explore the palace grounds all year long.

Grandson Castle

The city of Grandson, in the canton of Vaud, is home to Grandson castle, with stunning views of neighboring Lake Neuchâtel. 

Assumptions about the castle’s origins have been based on records from as far back as the 11th century. Records show that the Lords of Grandson lived there. The Burgundy Wars and the Battle of Grandson used it as a hub of operations, eventually becoming a fixture in both wars.

As the second-largest castle in Switzerland, it offers adventurers a great deal of space to discover its many hidden nooks and crannies.

It also has various historical items and displays for visitors, including furniture, vases, outdoor courtyards, and interior exhibitions. 

You won’t have to worry about your stomach grumbling during the trip since there are plenty of cafes and restaurants in the neighborhood to stop at whenever you are hungry. 

  • Tours are available from April to October and November to March.
  • Prices range from 10 CHF for adults to 5 CHF for children and teens, with a discounted family ticket for 20 CHF.

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE BEST SWISS CASTLES TO SEE

Though I personally will always love Switzerland mostly for its mountains and lakes, I love visiting the castles that come in all shapes and sizes. They are not the typical sight in the country but rather underrated – but as you can see, there are some beautiful castles in Switzerland to visit. Great castles to add to your Switzerland itinerary.

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