Built at the end of the 13th century, in the city Sion, directly south of the capital, Bern, is the medieval Tourbillon Castle, once controlling importing mountain passes into the Rhone Valley. In 1417 AD a large part of the castle was destroyed during a rebellion, only to be reconstructed in the mid 15th century. During the reconstruction the chapel was repaired a painted with beautiful Gothic frescoes still visible to this day. In 1788 AD a huge fire reduced much of the castle to ashes, a state it would remain in for centuries. Excavated and restored in the late 1960's, the castle ruins make a wonderful sight on a rocky hill above the city of Sion. Despite being mostly ruined, the castle is a Swiss heritage site of national importance.
Pictured is Tourbillon Castle facing the Basilique de Valere.
13. Château De Tourbillon
Built in the 13th century in the municipality of Sargans close to the border with Liechtenstein is the medieval Sargans Castle. Once the seat of the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans, this hilltop fortress surrounded by the high mountains of the Alps now houses the Saganserland Museum. It has also been recognised as a Swiss heritage site of national importance.
12. Schloss Sargans
Completed in the 11th century, east of the city of Zurich in the town of Lenzburg is the medieval Lenzburg Castle, ranking among the oldest and most important castles in Switzerland. Standing atop an almost circular hill that rises 100 metres (330 ft) above the surrounding plain, the castle overlooks the old part of Lenzburg. With its many ancient buildings set among ornate gardens within the outer walls, the castle, its historical museum and the castle hill with its Neolithic burial grounds have been declared a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
11. Schloss Lenzburg
Originally built in the 12th century, in the far west of the country just north of Lake Geneva is the large and pretty medieval Lucens Castle. Since its 12th century completion the castle, which held an important strategic position controlling the Broye Valley corridor, was repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt, with much of what stands today dating from around the 16th century. Owned by private individuals, the castle remains a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
10. Château De Lucens
Built in the 12th century in the northern centre of the country, directly west of Zurich, is the medieval Aarburg Castle, overlooking the town of the same name. Built on a steep and narrow elongated rocky hilltop, its position was chosen to control the narrow point of the Aare river. Having been added to and renovated throughout the following centuries, the castle today is a sprawling giant visible for miles around. Used as rehabilitation centre for juvenile offenders, it remains a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
9. Festung Aarburg
Built in the late 11th century, in the extreme west of the country on the southern shores of Lake Neuchâtel is the medieval Grandson Castle. Directly north of Lake Geneva in an area of ancient castles, this classic shaped fortress with four corner towers has survived as one of the best preserved medieval castles in Switzerland, and has such been deemed a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
8. Château De Grandson
Originally built in the 11th century, situated just south of the eastern end of Lake Geneva close to the French border is the medieval Aigle Castle, once controlling important mountain passes into the Rhone Valley. Having seen many sieges throughout the centuries, it was in 1477 AD when the castle was destroyed, only to be rebuilt again the following year. Today operating as a museum, set among rolling hills of vineyards with alpine mountain backdrops, it is regarded a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
7. Château d’Aigle
In the far south of the country, just north of Lake Lugano close to the border with Italy are the Castles Of Bellinzona, a group of fortifications located around the town of the same name. Located in the Alpine foothills, the structures consist of fortified walls connecting three castles, Castelgrande, Montebello and Sasso Corbaro. Castelgrande is located on a rocky peak overlooking the valley, it has a series of walls that protect the old city and connect to Montebello. whereas Sasso Corbaro, the highest of the three castles, is located on an steeper isolated rocky peak. The Castles Of Bellizona and their defensive walls have been inscribed a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
6. Castelgrande, Montebello & Sasso Corbaro
Built in 1425 AD in the far south west of the country, west of Lausanne on the north shore of Lake Geneva is the grand medieval Vufflens Castle. From the original castle, several towers, outbuildings, surrounding wall and gate house remain, as does the large imposing central donjon. Privately owned, this wonderful castle is a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
5. Château De Vufflens
Built in the late 1700's in the south of the country, north east of Zermatt close to the border with Italy is the grand Stockalper Palace, at the time of its construction the largest privately owned building in Switzerland. Set among the Alp Mountains, this grand building is most notable for its three giant towers. Named after the Three Kings, or Wise Men from the Bible, the towers are known as Melchior and Balthazar, the tallest named after Saint Casper, and also Kasper Stockalper, the builder of this amazing castle. Today, operating as a museum surrounded by a beautiful park, Stockalper Palace has been designated a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
Built in the 11th century, in the extreme east of the country, close to where the borders of Switzerland, Austria and Italy meet is Tarasp Castle, overlooking the quaint village of the same name. Built upon a rocky hill, the castle stands 1,499 metres (4,917 ft) above sea level in the Alp Mountains. Surrounded by stunning scenery and the picturesque village of Tarasp, the castle has been designated a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
3. Schloss Tarasp
First appearing in written record in 1005 AD, lying at the eastern end of Lake Geneva is the historic monument of Chillon Castle, one of the most visited castles in Europe. Well known to be the inspiration for the castle in the 1989 animated film, The Little Mermaid, its real life setting is just as picturesque. Standing on the banks of Lake Geneva with a backdrop that includes the Dents Du Midi, otherwise known as the Teeth Of Noon. It is a mountain of seven summits that reaches 3,257 metres (10,686 ft) above sea level. Chillon Castle is one of the most important fortifications in the country, recognised as a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
2. Château De Chillon
First built in the 13th century to south east of the capital, Bern, on the banks of Lake Thun lies probably the most visually striking castle in Switzerland, the majestic Oberhofen Castle. Over the centuries much of the structure has been demolished and rebuilt, with the building today mostly having an 18th century Romantic and Baroque style. Set within wonderful landscape gardens, this beautiful lakeside castle has been declared a Swiss heritage site of national significance.