Switzerland Architecture

Mike and I just had the privilege of visiting Switzerland (on our way to an amazing five-day wine tour through Burgundy, France–to be explained next blog; stay tuned) and were just completely charmed by the architecture. As an American, old European structures always seem impressive but set their old-world charm against some of the world’s biggest mountains and they elevate to breathtaking.

Here are some of the villages, cabins, flats, and chalets that had us wanting to employ a Swiss realtor.

swiss architecture

The Lucerne is the biggest city in central Switzerland but that didn’t detract from its utter charm.

architecture in lucerne

These gorgeous fresco-clad buildings were all over Lucerne. (I just learned that these stair-like roofs are called crow-stepped gables—love the name and the look!)

swiss cottage architecture

Once you get into the alps these cute rustic homes are the standard. Rough-cut lumber, vibrant shutters, and flower boxes at every window! (If anyone knows how the Swiss get their flowers to flourish in snowy conditions, please chime in!)

swiss cottage architecture

Little cottages and sheds like this would appear throughout mountainside, usually complete with their own waterfall.

Swiss wood-pile facades

When a woodshed won’t cut it, many of Alpine folk use the façade of their home as an all-encompassing lumber storage unit. Here, tightly packed logs become graphic ornamentation and the mark of an OCD resident.

As far as landscaping goes…we saw a farmer walk this herd through the streets of Mürren and just drop these brown cows off at the front yard of this house. Communal lawn mowers?

swiss town near-interlaken

Take the train anywhere near Interlaken and this will be your view: pristine towns, thick turquoise glacial lakes, and snow-capped mountains.


To get an even bigger taste of the mountains, we ascended Mount Titlus. Here is view from the gondola looking down to the town of Engelberg.

snowy swiss lake

A third of the way up to Mount Titlus we took a break to walk around Lake Trübsee. I’m not exactly sure what this dark wooden structure is for, but it added to the beautiful desolation of this odd way station.

Montreaux architecture

We spent most our time in mountain towns but we concluded our Swiss journey with a bit of pampering in Montreux. Set on Lake Geneva, this small city is said to be the heart of the Swiss Rivera with luxe hotels, cliff-side vacation homes, and vineyard chateaus.

Has anyone else been someplace amazing in Switzerland? I’m already dying to go back!

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  1. Switzerland offers an abundance of awe-inspiring destinations, but if I had to narrow it down to my top three, they would be:

    1. The enchanting Lauterbrunnen Valley is renowned for its 72 cascading waterfalls and awe-inspiring backdrop of towering cliffs. It’s a paradise for hikers, climbers, or anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the splendour of nature. Undoubtedly, one of the most exquisite locations in Switzerland.

    2. Appenzellerland, a region steeped in tradition, presents visitors with picturesque villages and breathtaking landscapes. Delve into the local culture, savour the renowned Appenzell cheese, and embark on invigorating hikes amidst the stunning natural surroundings.

    3. Nestled along the banks of the Rhine, the medieval town of Stein am Rhein captivates with its immaculately preserved half-timbered houses and historic old town. Its timeless charm bewitches all who wander its streets, making it an absolute gem to explore.

    Titlis also left a lasting impression on me. It truly stands out as the pinnacle of the region. Not only is it the sole developed glacier in the area, but it also offers an unparalleled experience.

    I hope you guys return to Switzerland soon, as there is still so much more to explore and discover 🙂

    1. Wow, thanks for the detailed reply Nicholas….we did get to experience Lauterbrunnen Valley (amazing!)….but haven’t done the other two things you mentioned. We have been trying to get back for some time now….hopefully it’s in the cards for 2024!

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