Switzerland

Best Castles in Switzerland

When most people think of Switzerland, banks, chocolate, or watches are the first things to come to their mind. However, in a country with such stunning nature and rich history, there’s surely a lot more to discover. Switzerland is home to some of the most beautiful castles in Europe, which dot the picturesque alpine valleys and the shores of its many lakes.

If you want to know which castles in Switzerland to visit, this is a comprehensive list that can help you out.

 

33 Famous Swiss Castles to visit

1. Aarburg Castle

Castles in Switzerland Aarburg-Castle

Aarburg Castle is a medieval construction, first mentioned in a chronicle from the 13th-century. Although the story of the castle’s origins is unknown, the place certainly had an important strategic value. After a siege in 1415, the castle was finally renovated in the 16th-century, with new elements added throughout the years. Located on an elevated rock above the Aare River, Aarburg Castle is a beautiful sight. Today the castle serves as a juvenile rehabilitation center.

Where: Aarburg, Canton of Aarburg

When: 12th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Only on Saturdays from April to September.

2. Bottmingen Castle

Best castles in Switzerland Bottmingen-Castle

Dating back to the 13th-century, Bottmingen Castle is one of the most romantic castles in Switzerland and one of the few landmarks of its type left intact. This moated castle was owned by the Kammerer family for three centuries, before being passed to Johaness Deucher in 1720. The new owner transformed the medieval structure into a Baroque country house based on the popular French style. Both the original medieval structure and the later additions are visible today.

Where: Bottmingen, Canton of Basel-Land

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval/Baroque

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday to Sunday from 11.30 am to 3.00 pm and 6.30 pm to 11.00 pm.

3. Castelgrande (Castles of Bellinzona)

Swiss Castles Castelgrande

Castelgrande is the oldest and most impressive castle of the trio known as the Castles of Bellinzona. A fortification existed in the same place as early as the 4th-century, but the current construction dates back to medieval times. Built on a hill near the city center, the castle stands apart with its imposing towers. A recent restoration brought it to an excellent condition, and visitors can use an elevator to access the grounds of the castle.

Where: Bellinzona, Canton of Ticino

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes, daily. 5th November to 15th March from 10.30 am and 17th March to 4th November from 10.00 am.

4. Sasso Corbaro Castle (Castles of Bellinzona)

Famous Castles in Switzerland Castles-of-Bellinzona

Located at the foothills of the Alps, the city of Bellinzona is famous for being the home of three stunning castles. While Castelgrande is the oldest and the one that attracts the most attention, Castello Montebello and Castello Sasso Corbaro are also beautiful medieval structures of great historical and cultural value. Built to protect the Ticino Valley and Bellinzona, the castles are now part of UNESCO World Heritage. All three castles are incredibly well-preserved. From the castles’ grounds, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the city.

Where: Bellinzona, Canton of Ticino

When: 13th- to 15th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Daily, from 10.00 am from 17th March to 4th November.

5. Chillon Castle

Best Swiss Castles Chillon-Castle

One of the best castles in Switzerland, Chillon Castle is the quintessential castle located in a dreamlike location. Built on a small rocky stretch of land on the shore of Lake Geneva, the castle is a spectacular sight that leaves visitors breathless. In fact, Chillon Castle is the most visited historic building in the entire country.

The castle has immense historical importance and is first mentioned in writing as early as 1150, although it was built much earlier. In the 13th-century, the original fortification underwent extensive renovations and became a residence for the Counts of Savoy. It later served as a fortress and prison under the Bernese rule. In the 19th-century, intense renovation brought the courtyards, halls, and interiors to their original glory.

Where: Veytaux, Canton of Vaud

When: 10th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Daily, April to September from 9.00 am, October from 9.30 am, November to February from 10.00 am, March from 9.30 am.

6. Lenzburg Castle

Castles in Switzerland Lenzburg-Castle

One of the oldest castles in Switzerland, Lenzburg Castle is an important part of the country’s historic heritage. A legend says that the castle was built by two knights, Guntram and Wolfram. Its position atop a hill suggests that the castle had strategic value for the Counts of Lenzburg. Over the centuries, the castle served as a royal residence, being passed among different ruling families. Today it belongs to the City of Lenzburg.

Where: Lenzburg

When: Unknown

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Tuesday to Sunday from 30th March to 31st October from 10.00 am.

7. Marschlins Castle

Best castles in Switzerland Marschlins-Castle

Located in the village of Igis, in the Canton of Graubunden, Marschlins Castle was built in the 13th-century, although earlier structures existed on the site for at least two centuries. The goal of the castle was to serve as a principal residence for the Bishop of Chur. Today the castle is a heritage site of great value and a popular sight.

Where: Igis, Graubunden

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: No restrictions.

8. Oberhofen Castle

Swiss Castles Oberhofen-Castle

Nothing holds more charm than a castle on the water. The combination of old architecture and breathtaking scenery is what attracts people to Switzerland, and Oberhofen Castle does not disappoint. Located on the shore of Lake Thun, the castle is considered a national treasure. The construction began as early as 13th-century, but numerous additions were made over the centuries, which led to a mix of architectural elements. The present appearance dates back to the 19th-century when the castle was acquired by the Pourtàles family, who restored it. Today Oberhofen Castle is a museum.

Where: Oberhofen am Thunersee, Canton of Bern

When: 13th-century

Style: Baroque

Open for visit: Yes. Museum: May to October, Tuesday to Sunday from 11.00 am. Park: 31st March to 22nd December daily from 9.00 am.

9. Tarasp Castle

Famous Castles in Switzerland Tarasp-Castle

Tarasp Castle is an impressive medieval castle built in an alpine area in eastern Switzerland, on a hilltop with sweeping views of the landscape. Important parts of the structure, such as a ring wall and chapel, were built in the 11th-century, but the largest part of the castle was built in the 13th-century. The castle served an important role in the protection of the area, but was also repeatedly attacked, especially in the 16th- and 17th- century. Tarasp Castle belonged to Austria until 1803. Today it is private property, but the chapel and several restored rooms are open for visits.

Where: Tarasp, Canton of Graubünden

When: 11th- to 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Only scheduled tours.

10. Valere Basilica

Best Swiss Castles Valere-Basilica

Although not technically a castle, the Valere Basilica is an immense medieval structure and a heritage site of great significance for the Swiss. This fortified church was built in the 13th-century in the town of Sion and has been active ever since as a church under the administration of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sion. Over the centuries, the construction was gradually expanded and in the 15th-century, an outstanding cathedral organ was brought in. The same organ can be heard today in the church.

Where: Sion, Canton of Valais

When: 13th-century

Style: Romanesque & Gothic

Open for visit: Yes. Daily, from 11.00 am.

11. Vufflens Castle

Best Swiss Castles Vufflens-Castle

Vufflens Castle took the place of an earlier medieval castle built at the beginning of the 15th-century by the Lords of Vufflens. After a hundred years of existence, this earlier castle was burned down by a Bernese army. However, several features of the original structure, including towers, walls, and outbuildings, remained intact and the castle was rebuilt. Today it is regarded as an exquisite example of the late Middle Ages Vaud fortresses. Located a short distance away from Lake Geneva and surrounded by vineyards, the castle is worth a visit just for its gorgeous architecture and charming location, even though the main structure is privately owned and not open to the public.

Where: Vufflens-le-Château, Canton of Vaud

When: 15th-century

Style: Romandy

Open for visit: No.

12. Aarwangen Castle

Castles in Switzerland Αarwangen

Aarwangen Castle was built in the 13th-century as a residence for the governors of Kyburg. Due to its location, the castle provided protection against enemies who used the nearby river to cross into the region. For over six centuries, Aarwangen Castle maintained a significant political power as the seat of the Bernese authorities. Architecturally, the castle combines the Gothic elements of its main tower with the Baroque features of its halls and interiors.

Where: Aarwangen, Canton of Bern

When: 13th-century

Style: Baroque & Gothic

Open for visit: No.

13. Aigle Castle

Best castles in Switzerland Aigle-Castle

Aigle Castle is a beautiful castle built at the end of the 12th-century to serve as a residence for the Knights of Aigle. In the following centuries, the castle underwent extensive construction work to include a massive circular wall and other important elements. At the end of the 18th-century, it was acquired by the local municipality. Surrounded by endless rows of vineyards, Aigle Castle has been transformed into the Vine and Wine Museum in the 1970s.

Where: Aigle, Canton of Vaud

When: 12th-century

Style: Gothic

Open to visit: Yes. All year-round, from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am.

14. Aile Castle

Swiss Castles Aile-Castle

Aile Castle can be found in the municipality of Vevey, Canton of Vaud. The construction of this gorgeous Neo-Gothic structure began in 1840 and ended four years later. The new castle covered the site of an earlier 17th-century castle. For several decades, Aile Castle served as the private residence of Paul Morand, famous literary figure and traveler. Although still privately owned, the castle is perfectly preserved and is considered part of Switzerland’s historic heritage.

Where: Vevey, Canton of Vaud

When: 19th-century

Style: Neo-Gothic

Open for visit: No.

 15.Angenstein Castle

Famous Castles in Switzerland Angenstein-Castle

Located in the municipality of Duggingen, Angenstein Castle is a medieval castle perched on a rocky hill. Regarded as an important outpost of Basel, the castle ensured the control of the Jura region due to its strategic position. Since the region was prone to conflicts, the castle suffered consistent damage over the centuries. Additional fires and change of ownership led to severe neglect. After a tumultuous history, the castle was acquired by the city of Basel and went through extensive renovation work.

Where: Duggingen, Canton of Basel-Land

When: mid-13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: No restrictions.

 16. Bipp Castle

Best Swiss Castles Bipp-Castle

Bipp Castle is first mentioned in a document from 1268, which suggests that the castle dates back earlier than the 13th-century. According to historians, the castle changed ownership frequently, although it is unsure how many times it was sold or captured. Many noble families resided in the Bipp Castle over the centuries. At the end of the 18th-century, the castle had been so neglected that it was no longer habitable. The ruins were bought by a family from Basel who built a private residence on the site.

Where: Oberbipp, Canton of Bern

When: 12th- or 13th- century

Style: Medieval.

Open for visit:  No restrictions.

17. Birseck Castle

Castles in Switzerland Birseck-Castle

Located in Arlesheim, Birseck Castle was built around the 1240s, and it is one of the four castles on a slope above the River Birs. Although an important landmark, the castle was neglected for centuries. In 1785, it was completely dilapidated, and in the 19th-century the ruins were integrated into a landscape garden. The circular tower, along with a small chapel and the courtyard were restored. Today Birseck Castle is a popular attraction.

Where: Alersheim, Canton of Basel

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes, Wednesday and Sunday from 2.00 pm.

18. Castle of Montebello

Best castles in Switzerland Castle-of-Montebello

Montebello Castle is one of the three beautiful fortresses that once protected the city of Bellinzona. Built in the 14th-century, the castle suffered numerous attacks over the centuries and was brought to its original state at the beginning of the 20th-century. Today, the castle is home to the Civic Museum, housing important archaeological exhibitions. Perched atop a hill, the castle also offers great panoramic views of the city and the surrounding landscape, including Lake Maggiore.

Where: Bellinzona, Canton of Ticino

When: 13th- to 14th- centuries

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Inner Court: daily, from 8.00 am. Museum:  17th March to 4th November, daily from 10.00 am.

19. Colombier Castle

Swiss Castles Colombier-Castle

Originally a fortified tower built in the 11th-century, Colombier Castle was further expanded in the 13th-century. Additions were also made in the following centuries. The present appearance has remained intact since the 16th-century. This beautiful castle served as a military hospital in 1806 and was later used as barracks and arsenal by the militia. Today Colombier Castle is an infantry training center.

Where: Colombier, Canton of Neuchâtel

When: 11th- to 16th- centuries

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes.  Guided Tours. Daily from 8.00 am.

20. Grandson Castle

Famous Castles in Switzerland Grandson-Castle

The second-largest castle in the country, Grandson Castle is an impressive medieval structure that overlooks Lake Neuchâtel. The origins of the castle are the 11th-century fortress, but construction work continued over the next three centuries. Otto I of Grandson requested the expansion of the castle as an attempt to enforce his political authority. This transformed the Grandson Castle is an important political hotspot. In the 15th-century, the castle was involved in the Battle of Grandson and several other wars.

Where: Grandson, Canton of Vaud

When: 11th- to 14th century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Daily from 8.00 am.

21. Gruyeres Castle

Best Swiss Castles Gruyeres-Castle

One of the most popular castles to visit in Switzerland, Gruyeres Castle was built at the end of the 13th-century by the Counts of Gruyeres. In 1544, a bankruptcy forced the Gruyeres family to sell the castle to two other noble families. In 1938, the castle entered the possession of the Canton of Fribourg. Today it is considered the most important historic building in the region and houses a museum. Although not as imposing as other medieval fortifications, the castle has charming architecture, including towers, courtyards, and beautiful gardens.

Where: Fribourg

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Daily, April to October from 9.00 and November to March from 10.00 am.

22. Hallwyl Castle

Castles in Switzerland Hallwyl-Castle

A simple, but captivating place, Hallwyl Castle was built in the 13th-century as a residence for the Lords of Hallwyl. The castle is located on an island on the River Aabach, north of Lake Hallwil. Although neglected for centuries, the castle was finally renovated in the 19th-century according to the original architecture. Today the castle is part of the historic heritage of the Canton of Aargau.

Where: Seengen, Canton of Aargau

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: April to October, Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays from 10.00 am.

23. Hunegg Castle

Best castles in Switzerland Hunegg-Castle

Hunegg Castle is an important historical landmark built as a private residence for the family of the Prussian Baron Albert Otto von Parpart. The construction began in 1861 and took only two years.  The gorgeous construction was built in the Renaissance style prevalent at the time. After the death of the Baron in 1869, the castle changed owners several times. Due to its importance as a site of historic interest, the castle houses today the Renaissance Revival and Art Nouveau Museum.

Where: Hilterfingen, Canton of Bern

When: 19th-century

Style: Renaissance

Open for visit: Yes. May to October: Tuesday to Saturday from 2.00 pm, Sunday from 11.00 am.

24. Meggenhorn Castle

Swiss Castles Meggenhorn-Castle

Located on a hilly peninsula south of Lucerne, Meggenhorn Castle was built in 1868/1870 following a design inspired by the Chambord Castle in France. Overlooking the lake and vineyards, the castle is a grandiose construction whose goal was to serve as a personal residence for wealthy industrialist Edouard Hofer-Grosjean. After two other different owners, the castle was acquired by the municipality in 1974. The grounds are open to the public ever since.

Where: Lucerne, Canton of Bern

When: 19th-century

Style: Neo-Gothic

Open for visit: Yes. Daily, May to September from 9.00 am.

25. Mesocco Castle

Famous Castles in Switzerland Mesocco-Castle

Mesocco Castle is located in southern Mesolcina Valley, in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. Built in the 13th-century, it had a central role in the region in the following two centuries, serving as the seat of the noble family von Sax. In the 15th-century, it was acquired by the Mesocco family. The castle is still one of the most impressive fortifications in the country and it was never conquered, but fell into ruin for many centuries. Parts of the castle were excavated and restored in the 20th-century.

Where: Mesocco, Canton of Graubunden

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: No restrictions.

26. Morges Castle

Best Swiss Castles Morges-Castle

Morges Castle is a medieval fortress from the 13th-century, built by Louis de Savoy, the first ruler of Vaud. The castle has maintained its original medieval appearance over the years, with its impressive round towers intact. It is one of the most gorgeous sights on Lake Geneva, and it is the home of four fascinating history museums on tin figures, military, police, and artillery.

Where: Morges, Canton of Vaud

When: 13th-century

Style: Savoyan

Open for visit: Yes. March to December: Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am. Saturday and Sunday from 1.30 pm.

27. Munot Fortress

Castles in Switzerland Munot

Located in northern Switzerland, in the city of Schaffhausen, Munot is a circular medieval fortress dating back to the 16th-century. Rising above the city, the castle offers beautiful views of the Old Town and the Rhine River. This panoramic location was an important strategic advantage over the centuries and helped ensure the protection of the city. Guards would notice from within the fortress any dangers that would threaten the city, not just foreign enemies but also fires. Munot Castle is still intact and has suffered little modifications during its long history.

Where: Schaffhausen, Canton of Schaffhausen

When: 16th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. Daily, from 8.00 am.

28. Spiez Castle

Best castles in Switzerland Spiez-Castle

Built-in 933 by the King of Burgundy, Spiez Castle is definitely one of the oldest castles on this list. In fact, at that time, a large part of the area was under Italian rule. Over the centuries, Spiez Castle was expanded and many new elements were added gradually. As a consequence, the castle features different architectural styles.

The courtrooms are an exquisite example of the Renaissance style while the southern part has been redecorated with Baroque elements. Throughout its long history, the castle was owned by many royal and noble families. In recent times, the castle was acquired by a foundation which opened the gardens to the public.

Where: Spiez, Canton of Bern

When: 10th-century

Style: Early Romanesque/Baroque/Renaissance

Open for visit: Yes. Daily from mid-April to mid-October. Monday from 2.00 pm. Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am.

29. Rapperswil Castle

Swiss Castles Rapperswil-Castle

Rapperswil Castle is located on the shores of beautiful Lake Zurich, in the old town of Rapperswil. Built in the 13th-century on a rocky hilltop, the castle was meant to provide a vantage point for the control of passing ships. For many centuries, the castle was in dire conditions due to neglect. In 1870, Polish Count Wladyslaw Broel-Plater purchased the property and restored the medieval look of the castle. After renovation, it was opened to the public as the Polish National Museum.

Where: Rapperswil

When: 13th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: No restrictions for the castle grounds. Inner castle: Wednesday to Friday from 2.00 pm. Saturday and Sunday from 11.00 am. Polish Museum: daily from 11.00 am.

30. Tourbillon Castle

Famous Castles in Switzerland Tourbillon-Castle

Now in ruins, Tourbillon Castle has had a long and tumultuous history, starting from its construction in the 13th-century. It was built by the Bishop of Sion, Boniface de Challant, to serve as his residence and it ended up as a principal residence for many bishops from the Diocese of Sion.

Due to its political importance, the castle underwent many attacks and sieges. A large part was destroyed in 1417. Although it was immediately renovated, in 1788 a fire that affected the city of Sion completely destroyed the castle. Only a chapel survived.  Reconstruction work ensued in the second half of the 20th-century. The castle is located atop a hill on the opposite side from the Valere Basilica in the city of Sion.

Where: Sion, Canton of Valais

When: 13th-century

Style: Gothic

Open for visit: No restrictions.

31. Thun Castle

Best Swiss Castles Thun-Castle

One of the most famous castles in Switzerland, Thun Castle has an imposing architecture, which combined with the beautiful scenery around it, makes it seem taken straight out of a storybook. Offering gorgeous views of the city of Thun, Lake Thun and the surrounding mountains, the castle is considered a top tourist attraction. Built-in the 12th-century, the castle was owned by various noble families who added a personal touch to the design, making various improvements. Today visitors can explore the donjon and the corner towers.

Where: Thun, Canton of Bern

When: 12th-century

Style: Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. April to October: daily from 10.00 am. November to January: only Sunday from 1.00 pm. February and March: daily from 1.00 pm.

32. Stockalper Palace

Castles in Switzerland Stockalper-Palace

Stockalper Palace was built in the 17th-century by a wealthy Swiss politician and businessman named Kaspar Stockalper. Due to its original design, the castle is regarded as one of the most unique buildings in the country. The imposing towers are the first element that stands out, but the entire complex is interesting to explore.

Where: Brig-Gils

When: 17th-century

Style: Gothic

Open for visit: Only with guided tours. May to October: Tuesday to Sunday from 9.30 am.

33. Blonay Castle

Best castles in Switzerland Blonay-Castle

Blonay Castle is a medieval construction in southwestern Switzerland. Built-in the 12th-century as a private residence for the Blonay family, the castle is still owned by the same family and has been in their ownership for all its history except a brief period in the 18th-century. Throughout the centuries, the original construction suffered numerous changes. Only two of the four original towers can be seen today.

Where: Blonay, Canton of Vaud

When: 12th-century

Style: Early Medieval

Open for visit: Yes. May to October: Saturday and Sunday. Hours vary.

Although Switzerland is not as famous as France or Germany when it comes to castles, Swiss castles have a particular charm of their own. Usually set in scenic locations with views over the Alps or crystal-clear lakes, they can immediately draw you into a world of beauty, history, and charm.