In addition to its mountainous landscapes and lakes, Switzerland is known for its beautiful cities that combine history and culture. Here is our selection of the best museums to visit in Switzerland.
Did you know that Switzerland has almost as many museums as France? The Federal Statistical Office counts exactly 1,053 museums in Switzerland, compared to just over 1,200 in France. Faced with such an offer, our selection invites you to cross the door of the 10 institutions that stand out the most, for the patrimonial importance of their collection or for the originality of their theme. Expect surprises, from the crazy sculptures by Jean Tinguely to the shirt worn by Zinédine Zidane during the 1998 World Cup.
Swiss Transport Museum in Lucerne: mobility in all its forms
The Swiss Transport Museum stands out as Switzerland’s most visited museum, with over 560,000 admissions in 2019. Traces the epic of transport in Switzerland, from the early days of the railway to the fairings of Swiss-made Ariane rockets, via the automobile and steamboats. Explore the carriages, board the ambulance plane and ride the Convair 990 Coronado from the former Swissair company!
Verkehrshaus der Schweiz, Lidostrasse 5, Lucerne. Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (until 5 pm in winter). Price: 32 CHF (21 CHF for children from 6 to 16 years old).
Chaplin’s World in Vevey: Charlot’s Universe
Opened in 2016, this museum dedicated to Charlie Chaplin occupies its former property on the heights of Vevey. The American star bought this mansion in 1952, fleeing McCarthyism, and lived there until his death in 1977. The course lifts the veil on the family’s life. Just steps away, the Studio immerses visitors in the fascinating world of silent cinema, with film screenings, movie set reconstructions and realistic wax figures.
Chaplin’s World, Route de Fenil 2, Corsier-sur-Vevey. Open daily from 10 am to 7 pm (until 5 pm in winter). Price: 29 CHF (19 CHF for children from 6 to 15 years old).
Lausanne Olympic Museum: Faster, Higher, Stronger!
On the shores of Lake Geneva, the Olympic Museum aims to be the guardian of the tradition inherited from the first games of Ancient Greece. The permanent exhibition carefully preserves the founding text written by Pierre de Coubertin, the medals from every Olympic Games since 1896, the first Olympic flag from 1913 and every torch since 1936. The museum is also intended to be interactive, with a sports area. On your marks!
Olympic Museum, Quai d’Ouchy 1, Lausanne. Open every day except Monday from 9 am to 6 pm. Price: 20 CHF (free for children up to 15 years old).
Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva: watchmaking shows itself
Step back in time by browsing this museum founded in 2001 by the prestigious Geneva watchmaker. The ancient collection brings together more than 500 priceless pieces from the 16th to the 19th centuries, including the first portable mechanical watch in history. Then, relive the evolution of the brand since its creation in 1839. On the ground floor, follow the meticulous gestures of the master watchmaker installed in his workshop.
Patek Philippe Museum, Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 7, Geneva. Open every day except Monday from 2pm to 6pm (from 10am on Saturday). Price: CHF 10 (free for under 18s).
Zurich National Museum: Swiss History
Founded in 1898, the Landesmuseum Zürich surprises with the juxtaposition of an imposing medieval-style building and a modern wing opened in 2016. The main permanent exhibition summarizes the history of Switzerland in more than 1000 m², from the founding pact of 1291 to the current social issues. The museum also displays more than 7,000 objects characteristic of Swiss crafts and decorative arts.
Landesmuseum Zurich, Museumstrasse 2, Zurich. Open every day except Monday from 10:00 to 17:00 (until 19:00 on Thursday). Price: 10 CHF (free for children up to 16 years old).
Fondation Beyeler in Basel: the great names of art
Ernst Beyeler turned his old book business into an art gallery in 1952. The beginning of an adventure that culminated in the creation of his foundation in 1982 as Solomon R. Guggenheim, then the opening of a museum in 1997. The collection has more than 400 works of modern and contemporary art, including 21 paintings by Paul Klee. See also: Claude Monet, Henri Rousseau, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Piet Mondrian, Roy Lichtenstein and the Swiss Alberto Giacometti.
Beyeler Foundation, Baselstrasse 101, Basel. Open every day from 10 am to 6 pm (until 8 pm on Wednesdays). Price: 25 CHF (free for young people up to 26 years old).
Tinguely Museum in Basel: funny machines
Jean Tinguely wasn’t just Niki de Saint Phalle’s husband. This artist, born in Freiburg in 1925, also caused a sensation with his “Méta Matics”, strange animated sculptures. The museum in his name, opened in 1996, brings together 55 creations, bequeathed by his wife, in a setting designed by the famous Swiss architect Mario Botta. A nice nod to the couple: a “Nana” by Niki de Saint Phalle has found its place.
Tinguely Museum, Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, Basel. Open every day except Monday from 11 am to 6 pm (until 9 pm on Thursday). Price: 18 CHF (free for children up to 16 years old).
FIFA Museum in Zurich: the temple of football
Based in Zurich since 1932, the international football federation opened its museum in 2016. The exhibition recalls the birth of the Football World Cup and illustrates the highlights of each edition since 1930 with photos, videos and over 1000 objects and relics. , sweaters, balls and shoes. Not forgetting the original of the famous trophy! At the end of the course, a fun area allows you to practice your kick!
FIFA Museum, Seestrasse 27, Zurich. Open every day, except Monday, from 10 am to 6 pm. Price: 24 CHF (14 CHF for children from 7 to 15 years old).
Einstein Museum in Bern: the cradle of relativity
Albert Einstein moved to Bern in 1902, graduating from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Three years later, at age 26, he formulated his special theory of relativity and the iconic equation E=mc2. A scientific revolution detailed by the Einstein Museum, using over 500 original objects. The exhibition also sheds light on the brilliant physicist’s private life. To top it off with a visit to his house at 49 Kramgasse.
Einstein Museum, Helvetiaplatz 5, Bern. Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Price: 18 CHF (8 CHF for children from 6 to 16 years old).
Paul Klee Center in Bern: the key to the enigma
With its strange wave-shaped architecture, designed by Renzo Piano, the Paul Klee Center stands out in the Swiss capital! The museum is also surprising for the completeness of its collection: in total, more than 4,000 paintings, watercolors and drawings by the prolific German painter. A work described as “enigmatic” by his son! The Center regularly highlights other artists during original temporary exhibitions.
Zentrum Paul Klee, Monument im Fruchtland 3, Bern. Open every day except Monday from 10 am to 5 pm. Price: 20 CHF (7 CHF for children from 6 to 16 years old).