Castles and churches dot the landscape all across Switzerland.
Let’s start with castles, which appeared on the scene during the Middle Ages. Did you know that the Chillon Castle, on the banks of Lake Geneva, is Switzerland’s most visited fortress? Have you ever been there? I have to admit, I’ve lived in Switzerland for 5 years and still haven’t gone inside…
If I had to make a list of my own favorites, I would put Bellinzona at the top and Grandson shortly after. In preparation for this post, I also asked some friends for their recommendations. They said the sites in Gruyères, Morges (French-only website), Sion, and Schaffhausen are all worth a stop.
Churches are even more abundant in Switzerland than castles.
Most villages have their own church. An interesting fact about religion in Switzerland is that the country is divided; some cantons are traditionally Protestant while others are traditionally Catholic. Now, although religion doesn’t seem very important to Swiss daily life, these historic ties mean Protestant cantons celebrate different holidays and have different days off than Catholic cantons.
If you’re looking for ideas of churches to visit, my number-one recommendation is the Fraumünster in Zürich (German-only website). I could sit (and, indeed, have sat) in front of the Chagall stained glass windows for hours. From there, you can also cross the bridge to the impressive Grossmünster (also German-only website). If you’re in the French-speaking region, I would recommend visiting Romainmôtier’s Abbey (I once had the honor of playing for a wedding there!) and Neuchatel’s Collegiale and Red Catholic Church (French-only website).