Swiss Architecture at a Glance

Switzerland travel ideasMike 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.
Switzerland-Engelberg
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!

16 Comments

  1. Adrian said:

    This looks ridiculous. I’m sending this to Kristine, I smell a wedding anniversary trip coming up!

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
    • Love it! We spent our fourth year anniversary there-the whole country is total romance!

      October 14, 2010
      Reply
  2. Mike Howard said:

    OMG, Switzerland was amazing, and every single site you see above was accessed via train. So efficient, and reasonably priced (assuming you get the “half-fare” card, which costs $99, and gets you have price on every train, cog-train, cable car, tram, etc). What an amazing country. English is everywhere, however do not be late or out of line, the Swiss are like clockwork, and they take that very seriously. lol.

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
  3. Mike Howard said:

    I forgot to mention, did anyone see that wood stacking ridiculousness? It was everywhere, they are the master wood stackers…..i was so jealous!

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
  4. Tifany Ness said:

    Breathtaking – I want to book a flight NOW.

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
  5. They really know how to keep their country clean. I wish US citizens had the same respect for their country and each other.

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
  6. The views are breathtaking!!! It looks so clean, crisp, and peaceful. It will be on my very long list of places I dream of going but will probably never end up. ha ha lol

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
  7. Anonymous said:

    Wow. absolutely stunning. great pictures. it makes me want to pack up and travel. Gorgeous!!!!

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
    • Mike Howard said:

      Why dont we ever see your profile photo? What are you logging in with? Hmmm…thanks for helping me debug KB

      October 14, 2010
      Reply
      • Anonymous said:

        I dunno?
        I log in with my gmail address and password but don’t select FB or
        anything

        Kate

        October 14, 2010
        Reply
  8. I think I have that same picture from Interlaken. So green, right?? Looks like you had a fabulous time :) So happy!

    October 14, 2010
    Reply
  9. Maya N said:

    Just landed here via Elle Decor. I grew up in Zurich then relocated to the USA for marriage. The Engadin is awesome… with chic St. Moritz…, or the italian speaking part also with lakes and palm trees!!!

    Maya @ Completely Coastal

    November 13, 2010
    Reply
  10. Anonymous said:

    Tres beau Mlle Anne et Mon Michel

    December 30, 2010
    Reply
  11. Anonymous said:

    fabulous!

    December 30, 2010
    Reply
  12. Anonymous said:

    Switzerland is an adorable place to visit. Its like a dream destination. One get amazed after seeing its architecture. Its cleanliness makes it more beautiful. These photos are so amazing that i am going to book my tickets for Switzerland now and planning my next holidays to Switzerland. Thanks for sharing such a nice post.
    Travel

    August 8, 2011
    Reply

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