Rail Europe – 5 Most Charming Villages In Switzerland

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The Grand Tour of Switzerland passes by a multitude of hidden gems – such as many places listed in the Federal Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites (ISOS). We’ve picked a selection of 5 villages to whet your appetite. You can learn more about these fascinating places here.

The former fishing, farming and winegrowing village of Ermatingen is located on the delta of a stream directly on Lower Lake Constance, between Kreuzlingen and Steckborn, and is the first village in the Canton of Thurgau mentioned in a deed that still exists to this day.

The small, historic village centre is comprised of residential houses and inns, most of which are built in the traditional Central Swiss farmhouse style with their gables facing the sea. These buildings surround a small square, which contains a monument dedicated to Alberik Zwyssig, who was born in Bauen and composed the Swiss national anthem, “Trittst im Morgenrot daher”.

The pretty laneways in the village have all the elegance of a city in places, while elsewhere, they are filled with rustic, rural mountain charm. The high street, or Hauptgasse, is lined with tall, sometimes elegant townhouses dating back to the 19th century. Here, you will find small, stone-clad cottages, prominently interspersed with stately buildings of importance, such as the Palazzo à Marca

The village is characterized by a blend of urbanity and village charm, and is closely linked with the history of the Zellweger merchant family. Entire village centre is occupied by classicist buildings with the typical windows, set closely together, which give the village its unique urban appearance

The village features numerous well-preserved single structures from various eras, built in the traditional regional style. In addition to Simmental houses, richly decorated with ornate carvings, these also include the Ründihäuser (with arched, connected tympana and elements of typical Bernese farmhouse architecture) built after a village fire in 1765 in the Grossdorf, the historic inns and the mediaeval church with its rectory and the Pfrundscheune (a barn-like church hall).