While not as synonymous with castles as some surrounding European countries, Swiss castles have existed since at least the 4th century. From fortified churches, palaces, and manor houses to more traditional Medieval battlements, there are plenty of castles in Switzerland to offer castle enthusiasts, provided you know where to look.
Here’s a selection of Swiss castles to choose from, covering all regions, ages, shapes, and styles. So, if you’re planning a Swiss adventure and want to explore a castle or two while you’re away, take your pick of these castles in Switzerland.
- Swiss Castles
- 20 Fairytale Castles In Switzerland
- 1- Aarburg Castle
- 2- Hallwyl Castle
- 3- Rapperswil Castle
- 4- Castles Of Bellinzona
- 5- Tourbillion Castle
- 6- Visconteo Castle
- 7- Aigle Castle
- 8- Burgdorf Castle
- 9- Grandson Castle
- 10- Nidau Castle
- 11- Oberhofen Castle
- 12- Thun Castle
- 13- Wimmis Castle
- 14- Morges Castle
- 15- Gruyéres Castle
- 16- Castelmur Castle
- 17- Marschlins Castle
- 18- Ortenstein Castle
- 19- Tarasp Castle
- 20- Yverdon Castle
- 20 Fairytale Castles In Switzerland
20 Fairytale Castles In Switzerland
1- Aarburg Castle
Aarburg Castle was built in the 12th century around a pre-existing Medieval castle and is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
The beautiful structure sits atop a steep rocky hill, overlooking the town of Aarburg and Aare River, offering some truly stunning views.
The fort consists of a keep, living quarters, a tower house, a stair tower, a cell block, and multiple heavily fortified buildings, built entirely of limestone, while the lower floors are carved directly into the rock.
Aarburg Castle is at Palisadenweg, 4663 Aarburg.
2- Hallwyl Castle
Hallwyl Castle is one of the most iconic and significant castles in Switzerland.
Set to the north of Lake Hallwyl, a wide moat surrounds its towering stone walls.
Built in the late 12th century for the Lords Of Hallwyl, the Canton of Aargau has owned the castle since 1994.
This castle is now open to the public and is part of the Museum Of Aargau.
Join a guided tour to learn about the history of the Hallwyl family, as well as the castle itself.
A gift shop offers unique souvenirs of the experience, while open-air concerts are held here occasionally.
Hallwyl Castle is at Museum Aargau, 5707 Seengen.
3- Rapperswil Castle
The House Of Rapperswil built Rapperswil Castle at the start of the 13th century overlooking the town and dominating the local skyline.
A triangular-shaped fortress, it features exquisite towers at each corner, connected by battlements.
These surround the town’s iconic, five-sided clock tower, a church, and a six-storey palace.
Now the home of the Polish National Museum, both it and the building itself are listed as Class A objects in the Swiss inventory of cultural property of national and regional significance.
Rapperswil Castle is at Lindenhügel 8640 Rapperswil-Jona.
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4- Castles Of Bellinzona
The Castles Of Bellinzona are a collection of three medieval castles, Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro, surrounded by fortified walls, which form a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Castelgrande overlooks the town and valley and is connected directly to both the city’s fortifications and Montebello.
Montebello, known locally by nicknames such as the small, middle, or new castle, is set right in the centre of the town.
Sasso Corbaro is the highest of the three, sitting atop an isolated rocky hill to the southwest of the previous two.
All three are open for tours and contain an array of museums and historical exhibits, making it an experience that offers triple the value compared to anywhere else.
The Castles Of Bellinzona are at Salita Castelgrande 18, 6500 Bellinzona.
5- Tourbillion Castle
Tourbillion Castle was built strategically in the 13th century atop a tall hill.
The fortress was almost impenetrable to outside attacks, only accessible from the east and the west and featuring imposing surrounding walls.
Fires in the 15th and 18th centuries eventually saw the castle fall, although it was completely rebuilt in the 19th and converted into a historical monument.
Visitors can now take guided tours of its church, courtyard, keep, and garrison, to see the stunning murals and historic exhibits located within while enjoying the stunning vistas in the castle’s surroundings.
Tourbillion Castle is at Place Maurice Zermatten, 1950 Sion.
6- Visconteo Castle
Visconteo Castle is in the town of Locarno, not far from the Italian border.
The 13th-century medieval castle has shades of an Italian influence visible in its surroundings.
This is especially noticeable in the neighbouring Renaissance fortification, Leonardo’s Rivellino.
The only fortification designed by Leonardo Da Vinci to remain completely unaltered, these two castles offer a great insight into the changing styles and military tactics in this part of the world.
Visconteo Castle even features a museum, with a previous Roman glass collection among its exhibits.
Visconteo Castle is at Via Al Costello, 6600 Locarno.
7- Aigle Castle
Built in the late 12th century by the Barons Of Aigle, Aigle Castle features beautiful square towers and is surrounded by vineyards, creating a perfect balance of natural and architectural beauty.
The castle served as a jail from the beginning of the 19th century until 1976, when it was opened up to the public.
The castle now features a Wine And Vine museum to educate visitors on the more refined side of its history and perhaps even let them sample some of the vintages.
The Wine Labels Museum is also found within the grounds.
Aigle Castle is at Place Du Chateau 1, 1860 Aigle.
8- Burgdorf Castle
Sitting on the banks of the Emme River, the exact origin of Burgdorf Castle is unknown, although the first mentions of it date to 1080.
Founded by either the Kings of Burgundy or the Dukes of Zahringen, it has a distinctly Bavarian style, not uncommon in this part of Switzerland.
The site features courtyards, gatehouses, halls, and towers, surrounded by walls.
Over the centuries, this castle has served as a military hospital, government offices, and even a school run by noted educator Heinrich Pestalozzi.
You can explore a museum in the Knight’s Hall, as well as the grounds, which include attractions such as a plaque dedicated to Pestalozzi’s school.
Burgdorf Castle is at 3400 Burgdorf.
9- Grandson Castle
Built by the Lords Of Grandson in the mid to late 11th century, Grandson Castle sits on the shore of Lake Neuchatel.
Its rectangular design with pointed towers at each corner provides one of the most iconic images of a Medieval castle in Switzerland.
This Swiss heritage site is of national significance and is one of the best-preserved examples of a medieval fortress anywhere in the country.
Only the dungeon is no longer present from the original design.
As a result, it now operates as a regional museum, displaying exhibits on everything from weapons and armour to architecture and vintage cars.
Grandson Castle is at Place Du Chateau, 1422 Grandson.
10- Nidau Castle
Wooden castles were repeatedly built on the site of Nidau Castle from 1140 onwards, before the stone structure you see today was eventually erected in the 13th century.
While the moat and parts of the original walls no longer exist, iconic towers and buildings like stables, servants’ apartments, and other structures and a fountain remain.
The location of the Jura Water Correction Projects of 1868 to control the level of the nearby lake and river, the castle now features a museum with exhibits explaining what these projects were and why they took place.
Unlike most historic castles, Nidau Castle remains an active and important building, housing all the cantonal administration offices.
Nidau Castle is at Hauptstrasse 6, 2560 Nidau.
For more about Switzerland read:
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- 25 Things to Do In Zurich
- 5 Day Trips From Bern
- 10 Swiss Alps Bucket List Experiences
- Swiss Alps Witches Festival
11- Oberhofen Castle
Oberhofen Castle is a picturesque 13th-century castle on the shore of Lake Thun.
While the original keep was built around 1200, the castle continued to expand throughout the centuries.
The lake-side chapel was built in 1473, while the first evidence of the tower is an illustration from 1680.
The fortress continued to expand until the castle you see today was completed in 1852.
A century later, in 1952, the castle became part of the Historical Museum Of Bern and was opened to the public.
Visitors can now enjoy exhibits on Bernese culture and a smoking room, as well as strolls around the castle’s stunning gardens.
Oberhofen Castle is at Schloss 4, 3653 Oberhofen Am Thunersee.
12- Thun Castle
Thun Castle looks like something straight out of a fairy-tale, a picturesque hilltop castle built in the late 12th century.
Its main square tower is surrounded by four circular spires, while the residential wing added in the 15th century is designed in the late Gothic style.
Having served as both a prison and a courthouse, a museum has operated out of the castle since 1888.
Covering five floors, it hosts cultural and historical displays, covering more than 4,000 years of the region’s history.
On occasion, concerts and plays are hosted in the great hall, while guests enjoy breathtaking views from its lofty location.
Thun Castle is at Schlossberg 1, 3600 Thun.
13- Wimmis Castle
Wimmis Castle was formed from an early Medieval church and fortified estate, strategically located on a hill overlooking Wimmis.
Originally built in the late 12th century, it has been continually renovated and expanded, with the latest changes coming as recently as 1987.
This offers a fantastic opportunity to see the changing styles used in Switzerland through the centuries, as well as a chance to see a castle uniquely situated on the side of a rock face.
Wimmis Castle is at Schlossgasse 6, 3752 Wimmis.
14- Morges Castle
A Swiss heritage site of national importance, Morges Castle is a 12th-century castle with a traditional Medieval style featuring a square design with circular towers at its corners.
Its fortifications and waterfront location made it an important military location, becoming the official cantonal armoury in 1803.
As a result, it was converted into the Vaud Military Museum in 1925.
You can enjoy exhibits on the history of arms through the ages, with everything from Medieval weapons and armour to mortars and mounted guns on display.
Morges Castle is at 1110 Morges.
15- Gruyéres Castle
Gruyéres Castle is one of the most famous castles in Switzerland.
The traditional 13th-century square castle sits high atop a hill, offering sweeping vistas of the area.
The fortress serves as one of the country’s most popular museums, with ornate rooms displaying a combination of both permanent and temporary exhibits.
Three capes of the Order Of The Golden Fleece and a collection of artwork combine with a multimedia history show to make Gruyéres Castle a truly unique, exciting, and educational destination.
Gruyéres Castle is at Rue Du Chateau 8, 1663 Gruyéres.
16- Castelmur Castle
Castelmur Castle, not to be confused with the nearby Palazzo Castelmur, which often goes by the same name, is considered one of the most important valley fortifications in all of Switzerland, dating back to the Roman era.
A square tower and ring wall, built atop a steep outcrop, offered a strategic advantage against invaders to the valley, while a church and second tower were added later.
While much of the complex lies in ruins, it is still an incredible location to visit due to the site’s age, importance, and history.
Castelmur Castle is at 7605 Stampa.
17- Marschlins Castle
Marschlins Castle is an iconic fortification built in the 13th century for the Bishop Of Chur.
Designed in the Savoyard style, it features a traditional square design, with towers at each corner.
Unique in the region during this era, it has long been debated how the plans for the castle were imported.
As opposed to the exhibits found in many old castles, the design and stylings of the building itself are the main attractions at Marschlins Castle.
Walls and ceilings feature beautiful carvings and paintings, while three rooms are decorated with stylish 17th-century furniture.
There is even a cannon from the same era mounted in the courtyard to reinforce that this was a location built for both style and substance.
Marschlins Castle is at 7302 Landquart.
18- Ortenstein Castle
Erected in the mid-13th century for the Bishop Of Chur, the heart of Ortenstein Castle is a seven-storey tower.
Originally built with a traditional Gothic style, the castle was designed as a private residence, with most of the occupants living in the central tower.
Between the 15th and 18th centuries, the castle was extensively expanded and restored, with additions including a chapel and gatehouse and large east and west wings.
Aside from a few sections of the original building, most of the fortress no longer resembles a Gothic castle.
Instead, it’s a demonstration of the ever-changing architectural styles that have existed in Switzerland.
Ortenstein Castle is at Ortenstein 71C, 7418 Tumegl.
19- Tarasp Castle
Constructed in the late 10th century, Tarasp Castle is a stunning structure perched high atop a hill, offering incredible views of the surrounding areas.
Fires caused by lightning and arson damaged the castle but because of its strategic position, the castle was not completely destroyed.
After extensive restoration efforts in the early 20th century, the castle reopened as a museum in 1919.
Its restored interiors and antique furniture paint a vivid picture of how the nobles of the area lived through the centuries.
Tarasp Castle is at Sparsels 148, 7553 Tarasp.
20- Yverdon Castle
Built as a Medieval square castle, Yverdon Castle was designed by James of St. George, who later became the primary castle builder for King Edward I of England.
James of St George is responsible for what historians call the most significant chain of castles that ever existed – a chain that started in Switzerland.
Erected in the 13th century, it features imposing stone walls and circular towers at its corners.
Over the years, Yverdon Castle has been used as everything from a private residence to a public school.
Having been extensively restored throughout the ages, Yverdon Castle is now a multi-purpose cultural centre.
Among its attractions are a museum, theatre, conference rooms, and the oldest public library in the French-speaking region of Switzerland.
Yverdon Castle is at Le Chateau, 1400 Yverdon-Les-Bains.