12 Best Famous Buildings In Switzerland

famous buildings in switzerland
Alecsandra
Alecsandra  
Contributing Writer
Updated
| 5 min read

A country known for being home to beautiful villages, scenic lakes, and delicious Swiss chocolate, Switzerland is an all-time favorite travel spot for those looking for once-in-a-lifetime journeys, Alpine adventures, and gorgeous culture. Go for the hiking trails and ski resorts in this landlocked country filled with high mountains, discover the thriving society of Switzerland, and visit landmarks such as Bern’s Zytglogge clock tower and Lucerne’s wooden chapel bridge. It also features a wide range of accommodations for travelers, from luxury villas to castle hotels. So, whether you’re looking for total relaxation and calmness or heart-racing, thrill-seeking excursions, you’ll surely find your way in Central Europe. Check out our list of the best famous buildings in Switzerland.

1. Roche Tower, Basel

2015-10-04 Basel Roche Tower 0302
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Noebu used under CC BY 4.0

During its construction, the Roche Tower in Basel, Switzerland, faced opposition due to concerns about its aesthetics and disruptions. However, it defied the critics to stand tall as Switzerland’s highest structure. Over time, the tower transformed into a symbol of biotech progress and a source of immense pride for the community.

Now, guided tours are also offered for the newly completed Building 2, providing Roche employees with a state-of-the-art workspace focused on healthcare innovation and cancer research. To experience these remarkable structures, interested guests can make tour reservations.

Roche Tower

Address: Grenzacherstrasse 124, 4070 Basel, Switzerland

Website: Roche Tower

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 7:30am - 5pm (closed on Sat & Sun)

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2. Predigerkirche, Zürich

Zürich - Predigerkirche-Zähringerplatz IMG 0573 ShiftN
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Roland zh used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Predigerkirche, situated in the heart of Zürich’s old center, boasts a rich heritage dating back to 1231. Originally Romanesque, it underwent a remarkable transformation into a basilica crowned by an imposing bell tower in the fourteenth century. Post the Protestant Reformation, the abbey-choir building was repurposed as a granary and has been under the stewardship of Zürich’s main library since 1914.

Today, Predigerkirche thrives as a modern evangelical-reformed church, deeply committed to hospitality, pastoral care, and spirituality. Their diverse services, including Eucharist, morning meditations, midday prayers, and Friday vespers, cater to the spiritual needs of their congregation. The church also fosters interreligious and cultural exchange by hosting concerts, readings, panel discussions, and other enriching events.

Predigerkirche

Address: Zähringerpl. 6, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland

Website: Predigerkirche

Opening hours: Mon: 12pm - 5pm, Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm

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3. Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum, Hofstetten bei Brienz

Old Swiss house
Source: Photo by Flickr user Tambako The Jaguar used under CC BY-ND 2.0

One famous site in Switzerland is Ballenberg, an open-air museum that showcases over 100 buildings that were moved from their original locations. The museum opened its doors to the public in 1978 and has since been a fundamental resource for cultural research for their unique collection of historical buildings. Ballenberg has different themes every year, and for the year 2020, a focus on the diversity of vegetables and herb gardens can be seen by its visitors. There will be a garden kitchen in the farmhouse where preserves and non-perishable foods are prepared and a garden workshop on the weekends for students who wish to participate on some fun things to do.

Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum

Address: Museumsstrasse 100, 3858 Hofstetten bei Brienz, Switzerland

Website: Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum

Opening hours: 10am - 5pm (daily, re-opens April 9)

Price: 29 USD (1 day pass)

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4. Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern

Le centre Paul Klee (Berne, Suisse)
Source: Photo by Flickr user Jean-Pierre Dalbéra used under CC BY 2.0

A famous architecture in Switzerland is Zentrum Paul Klee, dedicated to German-Swiss artist Paul Klee. It features over 4,000 of his artworks, making it a permanent collection. Situated in Eastern Bern since 2005, the center has been a landmark for locals and tourists as it stands on one side of the highway that gives a distant view of the Swiss Alps. The museum was designed by Renzo Piano, a well-known Italian architect, who drew inspiration from cultivated fields and hills to create the center’s wave-shaped architecture. He called this a “landscape structure” that makes nature visible from the inside with walls made of steel and glass. There are temporary thematic exhibits as well that showcase the works of Sigmar Polke, Wassily Kadinsky, and more artists, that you can visit aside from perusing his masterpieces. What you’ll find interesting is all 18 paths around the building are named after Klee’s works.

Zentrum Paul Klee

Address: Monument im Fruchtland 3, 3000 Bern, Switzerland

Website: Zentrum Paul Klee

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 5pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 20 USD

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Switzerland Tour Guide

Thomas Boeer

Thomas Boeer

Dear travellers, since 1992, when I began my studies as an expert in tourism at the International School of Tourism in Zürich, my life has been completed thanks to representing this wonderful country to people from all over the world. Today we work for the most important companies from this country as a guide and driver. we know every corner of this beautiful paradise made by hand. We know thei... Read more

Tours by Thomas

5. Castle of Tarasp, Scuol

Schloss Tarasp-IMG 8840
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user JoachimKohlerBremen used under CC BY-SA 4.0

The Castle of Tarasp is a heritage site built in 1040 and is a famous place for tourists in Switzerland. It has been open to visitors since 1919 who wish to view the old bedrooms, castle chapel, and the knights’ halls and ballrooms. The castle offers the well-known 2,500-pipe organ concerts, guided tours, and so-called “active vacations,” where the visitor can help with the annual maintenance work around and inside the castle. Put this castle on your must-see list during your stay in Switzerland.

Castle of Tarasp

Address: Sparsels 148, 7553 Scuol, Switzerland

Website: Castle of Tarasp

Price: 15 USD

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6. Einsiedeln Abbey, Einsiedeln

The Monastery of Einsiedeln
Source: Photo by user Kecko used under CC BY 2.0

Einsiedeln Abbey is one of the most famous places in Switzerland and its Baroque architecture and chapel with the Black Madonna are what attract tourists and locals to the monastery. It is a great stop for those on the Way of St. James. You can even sample the water from the Fountain of Our Lady in Klosterplatz, which is traditionally believed to have healing properties to them. The monastery grounds are free of charge and open to the public. There are guided tours as well inside the monastery and the library that lasts up to two hours.

Einsiedeln Abbey

Address: Kloster Einsiedeln, 8840 Einsiedeln, Switzerland

Website: Einsiedeln Abbey

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 6am - 8:30pm; Sun: 7am - 8:30pm

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7. Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre, Luzern

KKL Luzern. Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Luzern
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Photones used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Built between 1995 and 2000, the KKL Luzern is divided into three sections: the Concert Hall, the multi-functional Lucerne Hall, and the Convention Centre, which includes the Museum of Art. KKL is known for its exceptional structure and world-class concert hall that can take in a wide range of events under its roof. It houses temporary exhibitions of national and foreign artists, making it one of the most important museums in Switzerland. Neutral spaces and art priority allow the masterpieces to work their magic and you can see it for yourself on your future visit.

Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre

Address: Europaplatz 1, 6005 Luzern, Switzerland

Website: Lucerne Culture and Congress Centre

Opening hours: Ticket Counters: Mon - Fri: 9am - 6:30pm; Sat: 10am - 4pm (closed on Sun); Museum: Tue, Thu - Sat: 11am - 6pm; Wed: 11am - 8pm (closed on Mon)

Price: 15 USD (Guided Tour)

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8. St. Pierre Cathedral, Genève

St. Pierre Cathedral
Source: Photo by Flickr user Oleg Sidorenko used under CC BY 2.0

Built in the 12th century, St. Pierre Cathedral (or commonly known as St. Peter’s Cathderal among tourists) houses the biggest collection of Gothic and Romanesque capitals in the country and boasts the 157 steps that you’ll take to get to the top of the cathedral. The former Roman Catholic cathedral is now John Calvin’s adopted home church, as it transformed in the 16th century into a Reformed Protestant Church of Geneva. The cathedral is situated at the center of Geneva’s Old Town and combines Gothic and Ancient architectural styles, after being continuously rebuilt as the centuries went on. There is no entrance fee but there is a minimal fee for a complete guided tour if you wish to know the full history of the beautiful cathedral. You can also stay in Geneva from June to September to witness the free carillon and organ concerts, at 5pm and 6pm respectively. As Geneva is also one of the top places for parasailing and paragliding, you might want to sign up for these thrilling activities to make the most of your stay.

St. Pierre Cathedral

Address: Place du Bourg-de-Four 24, 1204 Genève, Switzerland

Website: St. Pierre Cathedral

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5:30pm; Sun: 12pm - 5:30pm

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9. Lausanne Cathedral, Lausanne

Lausanne Cathedral
Source: Photo by Flickr user eGuide Travel used under CC BY 2.0

Regarded as the most beautiful Gothic church in Switzerland, Lausanne Cathedral should be at the top part of your bucket list. It attracts over 450,000 visitors a year and overlooks the amazing city. Experience hearing the cathedral’s night watchman, Renato Häusler, who stands at the top of the bell tower between 10pm to 2am, and shouts each hour to the residents and tourists staying. This has been a 600-year-old tradition that will make your travel to Lausanne even more exciting.

Lausanne Cathedral

Address: Place de la Cathédrale, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland

Website: Lausanne Cathedral

Opening hours: 9am - 5:30pm (daily)

Price: 5 USD

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10. The Cathedral of Bern, Bern

Muenster Bern
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user André P. Holzer, ... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Cathedral of Bern or Bern Münster is a UNESCO Heritage Site with Gothic-style architecture. Located in one of the best places to visit in Switzerland, it houses beautiful stained-glass windows that are perfect to see at any time. The cathedral is the tallest in the country, and tourists and locals can get a glimpse of the Aare River, the Bernese Oberland’s white mountains, the Matte neighborhood, and the gorgeous view of the largest city-state from Münster’s terrace. Visitors can marvel at the seven organs present in the cathedral, such as the 1729 Minster Organ, Gerber chapel’s organ, and the swallow’s nest organ which you can find in the sanctuary.

The Cathedral of Bern

Address: Münsterplatz 1, 3000 Bern, Switzerland

Website: The Cathedral of Bern

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 10am - 5pm; Sun: 11:30am - 5pm

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11. Chillon Castle, Veytaux (from USD 244.0)

Chillon Castle
Source: Photo by Flickr user Becks used under CC BY 2.0

Located on Lake Geneva, Chillon Castle is built on a rocky island and its history goes way back to the 12th century. It is now protected as a strategic location to control the passage between Northern and Southern Europe. They have permanent and temporary displays that reach a broad range of themes. There is the Medieval Factory which exhibits medieval inventions, Magic Mountains which showcase the works of Daniel Frank, and Magical Water which is an exhibit of Rafael Rojas’ photographs.

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Chillon Castle Day Tour from Lausanne

Duration: 8 hours

5 reviews

12. Swiss National Museum, Zurich (from USD 10.0)

160622_5623
Source: Photo by Flickr user Gordon Cheung used under CC BY 2.0

The Swiss National Museum houses flexible exhibition halls and is considered as one of the most outstanding 19th-century architectures of national importance. Opened in 1898, the museum was also decorated with new pieces of artwork such as the DVSAVHELDS by Winterthur-based artist Mario Sala, who combined layered stone strata and rocks to represent the museum’s stone façades. Some of their permanent exhibitions include the “Ideas of Switzerland”, “Simply Zurich”, and “A magic carpet ride through history”. They also showcase temporary exhibitions that change on a quarterly basis.

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Zurich Swiss National Museum Entrance Ticket

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

Be awed by the tall and majestic buildings in Switzerland

If you’re not up to a hiking day at the Alps, marvel at the historical and contemporary architecture and multi-cultural experiences that the country has to offer. From their emerald valleys and charming villages to their world-class accommodations and must-visit cafes, don’t miss exploring Switzerland through its majestic buildings.

Frequently asked questions about the best famous buildings in Switzerland


  • Which are the iconic buidlings of Switzerland?

    Switzerland is home to several iconic buildings that showcase its architectural diversity and rich history. Some of the most renowned structures include Einsiedeln Abbey in Einsiedeln, Castle of Tarasp inScuol, and St. Pierre Cathedral in Genève.

  • Which buildings in Switzerland offer a tour?

    Switzerland boasts numerous buildings that offer guided tours, allowing visitors to explore their architectural marvels and historical significance. Some of these buildings include Roche Tower in Basel, Castle of Tarasp in Scuol and Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Alecs is a coffee-driven, matcha-loving writer and journalist from the Philippines, whose experience roots from business writing to music and pop culture articles. She dreams to be busy travelling...Read more

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