15 Best Castles In Switzerland To Visit

castles in Switzerland

The castles in Switzerland are some of the most beautiful in Europe and these are the best ones to visit when there.

Although there are a lot more castles to see, you will be happy choosing one of the ones mentioned here.

Important: There are links under each castle mentioned that go to the website of that castle and if you plan to visit you should check there to make sure they are open and for additional information.


Chillon Castle

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Chillon Castle is one of the most iconic castles in Switzerland you can visit and one of the most photographed, and for good reason.

The picturesque setting on Lake Geneva on a small island near Montreux in Veytaux is stunning and in the past, the strategic location to the access of the Rhone Valley and northwards to France and Germany gave whoever controlled the castle power to levy a toll on people passing through on the road.

The castle itself dates to the 11th-century.

It was home to the Counts of Savoy during medieval times, and later in the 16th-century onwards was used as a prison during the Bernese rule. Since the late 18th-century writers came to be inspired there and by the early 20th-century it was, and still is, a popular tourist attraction.

Inside the castle, there are 14th-century murals to see in one room, and four halls and three courtyards. The castle is also famous for the wine produced in its cellars.

It’s open for visitors.

Tip: Head to the nearby Café Byron for a bite to eat or a drink with views of the castle.

Out of all the castles in Switzerland be sure to try and visit Chillon Castle.

Aigle Castle

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Aigle Castle is scenically located amongst vineyards on a small hill with the Alps in the distance and it is a Swiss heritage site. The castle dates back to the mid-12th-century and strategically controlled access to the Rhone Valley.

Many different lords and barons have controlled the castle over the centuries, such as the Barons of Aigle and the Lords of Compey.

It was used as a jail for around two centuries until 1976 when it was turned into a museum.

As it’s surrounded by vineyards, there is a museum there now about wine called the Musée de la Vigne et du Vin, so if you like castles and wine you are in for a treat.

It’s open for visitors.

Vufflens Castle

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The present Vufflens Castle is a medieval castle that was built in 1425. It was constructed on the site of a previous castle where some of the remains were incorporated into the current design.

It is a Swiss heritage site and has some excellent towers to see and there are vineyards around it that make for some good walking to get views from the outside.

It’s not open for visitors as it is privately owned, but you can walk around it si if you’re in the area go check it out.

Castelgrande

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Castelgrande is set in a stunning position on a rocky outcrop on the foothills of the Alps and dates to roughly the 11th-century, although more defences were added over time.

It is one of the three Castles of Bellinzona that were built to fortify the town of the same name. Its defensive walls cover the old medieval town and extend to the other two castles making for a great defence of the area.

The whole area of the walls and adjoining defences makes it one of the grandest looking castles in Switzerland.

It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is open for visitors.

Lenzburg Castle

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Lenzburg Castle is one of the oldest castles in Switzerland with the oldest structures dating to the 11th-century and it’s located above the old town of Lenzburg.

It was an excellent fortress in its time and was home to many dukes and counts over the centuries.

It’s open for visitors and there are often cultural events held in this Swiss castle.

Gruyeres Castle

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Gruyeres Castle is located in the town of the same name and is a medieval castle dating to the 13th-century with eight centuries of history behind it.

It is one of the most famous castles in Switzerland to visit and has amazing views across the valley.

The Counts of Gruyères held the property for the first 300 years until they ran out of money and it was then taken over by prefects from Fribourg. The French Garden there is small but spectacular.

Today it’s a museum and is open for visitors.

Tarasp Castle

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Perched on top of a rocky crop on a hill, Tarasp Castle makes for one of the most scenically located castles in Switzerland to see and dates back to the 11th-century.

In its history, the castle has been besieged several times and in that time it was never taken by enemy forces.

Today you can see knights’ halls and other rooms, including an epic 2500 pipe organ in the chapel.

The castle is located in the eastern part of Switzerland and is open for visitors.

Spiez Castle

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Spiez Castle is a very old castle dating back to the 11th-century and overlooks the town of Spiez, surrounded by vineyards, and an excellent view of Lake Thun.

Various parts of the history of the castle are told through exhibitions inside, including the story of the famed knight Adrian von Bubenberg. The ceremonial hall of Spiez Castle is particularly impressive.

It’s open for visitors from May to October and also hosts weddings and children’s birthdays.

Thun Castle

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Thun Castle is located in the city of Thun and looms over the city. It dates to the late 12th-century and early 13th-century when the Dukes of Zährigen built it.

The castle passed hands to various families over the centuries, such as the House of Kyburg, and the castle was expanded during this time. From the 17th-century the castle was used as a prison

Today there is a museum inside where you can discover the history of the castle and the region and the great hall is sometimes used for local concerts.

It’s open for visitors and makes for one of the more picturesque Swiss castles.

Tourbillon Castle

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Tourbillon Castle is in the background behind the Basilique de Valère.

Tourbillon Castle dates to the late 13th-century having been built under the observation of Bishop Boniface de Challant to serve as the residence of the bishops of Sion.

It sits in a very good defensive position high on a rocky hill and overlooks the Basilique de Valère opposite it. It has suffered through various conflicts during its time, such as the Raron affair, and has been burnt down on purpose, and also by natural fire, over the centuries.

In the 19th and 20th centuries, various conservation work has been done on the castle to preserve it.

It’s open for visitors and is one of the best hilltop castles in Switzerland.

Tip: Be sure to check out the Witches Tower in the medieval Old Town when there.

Rapperswil Castle

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Rapperswil Castle is located on a long hill called the Lindenhof that towers over the town of the same name, on the shores of Lake Zurich. In 1422 the castle was handed to the people of Rapperswil.

The castle dates to the late 12th-century and was built by the House of Rapperswil. There is a vineyard by the castle which is one of the oldest on Lake Zurich. There is a deer park there that children, in particular, are sure to love.

There is a Polish museum in the castle, although this has nothing to do with the castle itself, other than the fact that a Polish Count who leased and restored the castle in the late 19th-century, built it there.

It’s open for visitors to some parts of the castle. One of the best things about the area is to actually go out and explore the old medieval town of Rapperswil itself.

Oberhofen Castle

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Oberhofen Castle is an early 13th-century castle and gardens located on the shores of Lake Thun, making it one of the more scenic castles in Switzerland.

In the 14th-century the castle became owned by the House of Habsburg but by the 15th-century it came under the control of the Bernese, after defeating the Hapsburg’s.

It’s open for visitors between May and October and there is an excellent restaurant there to have a meal at when visiting. It’s closed on Mondays.

Aarwangen Castle

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Aarwangen Castle dates to the late 13th-century and is located in the canton of Bern. Like many of the castles in Switzerland mentioned here, it is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.

It started as the lords of Aarwangen castle until being taken over by the Grünenberg family after the Aarwangen nobles died out.

The Grünenberg family then sold it to the city of Bern in the mid-15th-century where it went to the Bernese bailiffs.

It’s open for visitors.

Munot Castle

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Munot Castle is a fortress built in the 16th-century and is surrounded by vineyards overlooking the city of Schaffhausen.

During its history, it was captured only one time by the enemy and was designed to provide defence for the residents of the city.

It’s open for visitors.

Aarburg Castle

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Aarburg Castle is situated on a rocky hillside overlooking the town of Aarburg and dates to the early 13th-century having been built by the Lords of Büron.

There were many add-ons to the castle over the centuries, particularly in the 17th-century, which made the baroque elements you see today.

It’s open for visitors only on Saturdays between April and September on a guided tour.


Map of the castles in Switzerland mentioned here:


Castles In Switzerland

Those are some of the best castles in Switzerland to choose from. If you are short on time then try and see Chillon Castle for sure if by Lake Geneva.

If you are in other areas looking for castles in Switzerland then try and get to Tarasp Castle for the epic scenery.

For more castles in Europe take a look at the best castles in the Netherlands to visit.


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