While Switzerland is mostly known for its beautiful outdoor activities, the country is filled with tons of interesting places to visit that are indoors too, including their many captivating museums. Here are the top ten museums in Switzerland.
1. Geneva Museum of Ethnography
Because of the United Nations Office at Geneva, the city of Geneva is known around the world as a global city, and the people of the city have chosen to wholeheartedly embrace this title. At the Geneva Museum of Ethnography, people and cultures from around the world are highlighted for their distinct qualities and how these unique characteristics came to be. With tens of thousands of items from all around the world, the Geneva Museum of Ethnography truly tries to represent as many cultures around the world as possible.
2. Lucerne Nature Museum
The Lucerne Nature Museum is unlike any of the other museums on this list. In its permanent exhibition, this museum highlights the unique plants and animals found only in Switzerland and its surrounding countries. It also has many temporary exhibitions, which highlight the latest nature discoveries around the world.
3. Kunsthaus Zurich
Kunsthaus Zurich is one of the most renowned art museums in Switzerland, displaying works by famous artists like Picasso, Monet, Chagall, Rothko, and Munch. Housing thousands of breath-taking works, Kunsthaus Zurich is the go-to museum in Switzerland for both those just starting to dabble in the arts and art enthusiasts alike.
4. Art Basel
Art Basel, a famous contemporary art exhibition with other branches in Miami and Hong Kong, is a world-famous exhibition that is only open for a few days each year. The goal of Art Basel is to expose the world to modern, contemporary art, while at the same time helping to support artists that are willing to take creative risks. Basically, if you are looking for the latest and greatest in the art world, head to Art Basel each summer.
5. Swiss Museum of Transport
The Swiss Museum of Transport, Switzerland’s most popular museum, shows guests technological improvements of the transport systems in Switzerland over time, particularly its rail system. The Swiss rail system, known as SBB, CFF, or FFS, depending on the region of Switzerland and the language spoken there, is the most widely used form of transportation in the country. At this museum, the process used to create the efficient and technologically advanced system used until today is explained. In addition, it, of course, shows off the few space journeys Switzerland has undertaken.
6. Zermatlantis Matterhorn Museum
The Matterhorn is undoubtedly the most iconic landmark of Switzerland. At Zermatlantis Matterhorn Museum, guests can learn about the history of this amazing mountain. The exhibit shows pieces of memorabilia from the many attempts to scale the mountain, both successful and unsuccessful. In the multimedia room, guests can actually watch a scene from the movie “The Mountain Calls” which shows the deadly fall of the first attempted ascent of the towering mountain.
7. Swiss National Museum
The Swiss National Museum in Zurich displays the largest collection of items from Swiss history. However, the building itself is worth seeing. While the castle-like structure in which the museum is located is only about 100 years old, it is reminiscent of the fairytale castles, which guests love. Inside the building, the majority of the museum is dedicated to items from the founding of the Swiss Confederation in 1278 to the founding of the Switzerland we know today in 1848. In addition, as a fun little surprise, there is a children’s section with a hidden slide if you can find it.
8. La Maison du Gruyere
Besides chocolate and the Matterhorn, cheese might be the item that Switzerland is most well known for. At La Maison du Gruyere, which translates to “The House of Gruyere Cheese”, guests are able to become immersed in the process of making Gruyere cheese. While this isn’t the cheese filled with large holes that many foreigners picture when they hear “Swiss cheese”, Gruyere cheese is actually very popular in Switzerland, as it is used in many national dishes including raclette and fondue. If you are interested in tasting a few dishes with Gruyere cheese, there is a restaurant on site that serves many delicious cheese-based dishes.
9. The Olympic Museum
The Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland is truly a hidden treasure. It covers all of the greatest moments of the Olympics, from the ancient Olympic games in Greece to the modern Olympic Games. Inside items of memorabilia, including Jesse Owen’s sprinting shoe and Roger Federer’s tennis racket, are displayed among hundreds of other famous items for visitors to look at. At the end, there is even an interactive section where guests can test their own memorization, speed, and reaction times to see how they compare to Olympic athletes.
10. Maison Cailler Museum
Located away from any major city in Switzerland, the Maison Cailler Museum is still a must-see for chocolate-lovers. There are so many chocolate-centric aspects of the museum, from the amazing hot chocolate at the café, to the tasting section at the end of the tour, to the chocolate shop, where everyone undoubtedly buys at least a few bars of the famous Cailler chocolate. And just so you know, Cailler chocolate is only available in Switzerland, so if you are a visitor to the country, buy a few extra bars, because you won’t be able to find some at home!
So which museum are you going to visit first?
Updated: August 16, 2017