Switzerland is known for a lot – but not necessarily for its museums. And if you do look for a museum in Switzerland, you will quickly find classics such as the Landesmuseum, the Verkehrshaus or the Technorama.
Rightly so, of course, because these museums are definitely worth a trip. Still, I asked myself which museums have amazed and surprised me on my travels in recent years (and which ones may not be on the typical lists).
The result is this list of 9 Swiss museums that you shouldn’t miss: from museums in the city of Zurich to museum gems in the mountains.
1. Take an interactive look into the past and future in the Museum for Communication
In Bern’s Museum Quarter, you are spoiled for choice. You can’t go wrong with the Museum for Communication in Bern. Here, visitors get a glimpse into the past and the future of communication – also with reference to Switzerland.
What I particularly liked are the countless interactive elements: There is hardly a topic that cannot be discovered interactively. For example, visitors can repeat famous Hollywood scenes or playfully try their hand at hacking.
Bonus tip: If you have enough time and like to solve puzzles, you should ask the staff about the trail (more is not revealed at this point).
You can find more information on the Website of the Museum of Communication. In my blog post “Tips for a weekend in Bern” you will find more ideas for activities in Bern.
2. Franz Gertsch Museum: In close contact with one of the most famous Swiss contemporary artists
My second Swiss museum tip is also in the canton of Bern: that Museum Franz Gertsch in Burgdorf. Gertsch is one of the most famous contemporary artists in Switzerland. On the one hand his work is shown in the museum, on the other hand a wide range of contemporary art can be found in a temporary exhibition.
Gertsch’s “Four Seasons Cycle” is particularly impressive. The four pictures could be mistaken for a photograph, they are drawn with such great detail.
The museum is located in an imposing concrete building on the centrally located area of the former Milka Käserei AG. In the blog post about my trip to Burgdorf you will find ideas for what you can do after visiting the museum.
3. Fondation Beyeler – the most popular art museum in Switzerland
An absolute must for this list is the Fondation Beyeler. The museum is one of the best-known and most frequently visited museums in Switzerland. No wonder the world’s most renowned artists are exhibited at the Fondation Beyeler: from Rodin to Monet to Picasso.
The Fondation Beyeler can also be seen architecturally. The Fondation describes itself as “one of the most beautiful” art museums in the world. Art and architecture fans get their money’s worth here.
If you have energy for other museums after visiting the Fondation Beyeler, you will find the right tips in the blog post about museum hopping in Basel. Information on the current exhibition is available directly on the Website of the Fondation Beyeler.
4. MoMö – the museum tip for the whole family
MoMö might sound almost like MoMa – but MoMö is not an art museum (at least not in the classical sense). At MoMö in Arbon you can immerse yourself in the art of cider making and distillery.
Young and old can discover the history of the Möhl cider factory here, as well as many exciting facts about the processing of local fruit. And in the “juice shop”, the museum’s bar, there is also plenty of juice to try.
You can read how to get to MoMö and when the museum is open on the MoMö website. You can find more excursion destinations in the apple canton in the blog post «10 great excursion destinations and special experiences in Thurgau».
5. Time travel through Swiss building culture in the Ballenberg open-air museum
Even as a child, the Ballenberg was one of my favorites among the excursion destinations. Nothing about that has changed in adulthood. That is why the open-air museum Ballenberg should not be missing on this list.
Appenzell farmhouses, Valais mountain huts, Ticino block buildings – in the Ballenberg open-air museum, Swiss culture can be explored on over 66 hectares. Every time I visit, I am fascinated by the way of life of earlier times. History can be touched and experienced in Ballenberg. That makes the open-air museum an absolute must-see for young and old.
The open-air museum is closed over the winter months and opens its gates each spring. You can find more information about the opening times on the Website of the Ballenberg Open Air Museum.
6. Museum in Zurich? My tip: the Rietberg Museum
If you search for “Museum Zurich” on TripAdvisor, you will find Museum Rietberg in second place among the most popular museums. In my opinion, rightly so.
Art from the cultures of America, Africa, Asia and Oceania awaits you in the Rietberg Museum. This includes, for example, exhibitions on mangas or photographs from distant cultures. I also found the interactive access to Buddhism via a web application called “next click Nirvana” interesting.
And if you visit the museum in the Zurich Enge quarter, you should also take time for a walk in the Rieterpak. The park is undoubtedly one of the most impressive landscape gardens in the city of Zurich.
You can find even more leisure time tips in and around Zurich in the blog post “Leisure time activities around Zurich”. Everything about the current exhibitions and opening times of the Museum Rietberg is available their website.
7. The modern mountain world museum: World Nature Forum
Anyone who hears or reads the Swiss Museum quickly thinks of the big cities like Zurich or Basel. And yes, there are great museums to discover there. But a trip or a weekend in the mountains can also be combined with a visit to a museum. For example with a visit to the World Nature Forum in Naters.
A modern and interactive museum awaits the visitors. Young and old can go on a voyage of discovery here and learn exciting things about the flora and fauna around the Aletsch Glacier.
You can also immerse yourself in the history of the Jungfrau Railways in the museum – including a virtual approach to the south of the Jungfraujoch.
The delicious homemade ice cream in the museum restaurant is an absolute must for all museum visitors. In the blog post about my mountain weekend in Blatten-Belalp you will find more ideas for excursions in the region. For the most important information about the World Nature Forum, it’s best to visit your website.
8. Historic and fascinating: the Muzeum Susch
The Muzeum Susch is an absolute gem of a museum. It was opened in 2019 in the small, tranquil mountain village of Susch. The “Muzeum” for contemporary art is part of a historical ensemble of buildings. Both the exhibits and the architecture are eye-catching – so much so that at this point I prefer to let pictures speak rather than words.
You can find information about the Muzeum Susch on the Museumswebsite. For more excursion tips around Scuol, I recommend my blog post.
9. Immerse yourself in bygone times at Chaplin’s World
After a long time I recently visited the Charlie Chaplin Museum in Vevey again. And the fascination of “Chaplin” grabbed me again after all these years.
Charlie Chaplin spent the last part of his life on this estate (with a view of the lake and the Alps). Visitors can expect a mix of film sets and insights into the artist’s private life.
The museum is by no means just for fans and film buffs – children will also get their money’s worth here. And after the visit at the latest, the name “Charlie Chaplin” will not be forgotten so quickly. on the website of the museum you will find information on ticket prices, directions and opening times.
Looking for tips for a bad weather trip? Here is the article with tips for a bad weather program.
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9 Swiss museums that you should visit at least once