With so many breathtaking natural attractions, it can be easy to overlook Switzerland’s historical past. But the chance to observe Roman ruins, stout viscount castles and timeless UNESCO heritage sites shouldn’t be passed up. Be sure to fit these unmissable national treasures into your schedule.
t The covered bridge leading to the popular, imposing Château de Chillon
Discover a perfect marriage of history and locale at Château de Chillon, an island castle located south of Veytaux on Lake Geneva. The intriguing stories of the Counts of Savoy who controlled the fort, and its role as arsenal and prison, are rivalled only by the extraordinary natural drama that surrounds it.
The Swiss National Museum in Zürich is the grand dame of Switzerland’s cultural trove. Venture deeper into the galleries and you’ll find some of the museum’s best kept secrets, including sledges. The Swiss Open-Air Museum at Ballenberg has a hundred old buildings and actors to bring it to life.
In a country rich in UNESCO sights, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Belinzona’s magnificent castles and Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower are among the best. The abbey at St Gallen is a perfect example of living history: its library has one of the world’s most stunning book collections.
Switzerland for History Buffs
Avenches Roman Amphitheatre
This amphitheatre hosts an opera festival and regular concerts.
Augusta Raurica, Basel
A Roman archaeological site on the south bank of the Rhine.
Rutli Meadow, Lucerne
The spot on the shores of Lake Lucerne where modern Switzerland was founded.
Sasso San Gottardo, Gotthard Pass
A former secret military bunker built in WW2, now a museum.