Knowledge & culture

Neuchâtel: cultural pearl on the lakeshore

Neuchâtel: cultural pearl on the lakeshore

Its location directly on Lake Neuchâtel makes this charming town interesting for day trippers as well as holidaymakers. Neuchâtel offers something for every taste: whether it's a tour of the historic old town with a visit to the museum or a walk along the lakeshore.

Travel comfortably by train to Neuchâtel. The old town is about a 12-minute walk from the station.

Popular sights

A variety of cultural and architectural highlights await you in Neuchâtel: Enjoy a stroll along the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, get a glimpse of the past at Neuchâtel Castle or visit the weekly market on the Place des Halles.

Lake Neuchâtel

Culture and nature on the shore

Lake Neuchâtel, also known as Lac de Neuchâtel, is one of the largest lakes in Switzerland. It is located in the north-western part of the country, in the region between the Jura Mountains and the Swiss Plateau. The lake covers an area of about 218 square kilometres and is known for its scenic beauty, as well as its importance for recreational activities and tourism. In addition, Lake Neuchâtel is of historical and cultural importance. The region around the lake was already settled in prehistoric times and there are numerous historical buildings, museums and monuments that reflect the history of the area.

Neuenburg Castle

Insight into the past

Neuenburg Castle was built in the 12th century and has undergone various renovations and extensions over the centuries. The castle was once the residence of the Counts of Neuenburg and was later taken over by the Prussian royal family. Today, the castle houses the Neuchâtel History Museum (Musée d'histoire de Neuchâtel), which presents an impressive collection of artefacts relating to the history of the region. Visitors can gain an insight into the past of Neuchâtel and the surrounding area. The architecture of the castle is a fascinating example of different architectural styles that have been added over the centuries. The castle shows the cultural development of the region through medieval towers to Renaissance elements.

Neuchâtel Botanical Garden

Botany up close

Whether you are a botany enthusiast or simply want to enjoy the tranquillity of a garden: the Neuchâtel Botanical Garden is definitely worth a visit. Here you can experience nature in all its glory. The grounds house an impressive collection of plants, including native and exotic species. From botanical rarities to widespread plant species, the garden offers an insight into the fascinating world of plants and their diversity. There are frequent courses, guided tours and events to raise awareness of the importance of plant life.

You can find more information here.

Neuchâtel Collegiate Church

Religious sublimity

The collegiate church of Neuchâtel, built in 1190, is somewhat elevated above the rooftops of the town, right next to Neuchâtel Castle. The church was built in the Gothic style and enhances the silhouette of the city. Its imposing façade, ornate decorations and lofty vaults are impressive examples of the architecture of past centuries. Inside, there are valuable religious works of art, including altars, paintings and sculptures, which underline the spiritual significance of the place. The church has undergone various renovations and additions over the centuries, and continues to serve as an active Catholic church and a place for worship, celebrations and devotions.

Market on the Place des Halles

A day at the market

The Place des Halles market offers a lively and varied shopping experience in the heart of the city. This market is a meeting place for locals and visitors alike, offering fresh food, local specialities and a lively atmosphere. Here you can discover a wide range of products, including fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese, meat, bread, flowers and much more. The stalls are often colourful and attractively designed, and the vendors are happy to offer information about the origin and quality of their products.

Rue de Chavannes

In the old town of Neuchâtel

In the middle of Neuchâtel's old town, you will find a painted alley that is always decorated with exciting motifs. Rue de Chavannes stretches through several neighbourhoods and offers a mix of shops, restaurants, cafés and cultural venues. Here you can shop, enjoy regional food and soak up the atmosphere of the city. The alley is also an ideal place to take great photos.

Museums

In puncto Museen ist Neuenburg bestens ausgestattet: Hier finden Sie das Naturhistorische Museum, das Archäologiemuseum, das Museum für Kunst und Geschichte sowie das Museum des renommierten Schweizer Schriftstellers Friedrich Dürrenmatt. Die Vielfalt und Qualität der Museen machen Neuenburg zu einem wahren Kulturschatz.

Natural History Museum

A museum for nature lovers big and small

The interlinking of science, society and art creates unusual and sometimes surprising exhibitions that are always rich in knowledge and emotion. In the completely renovated historic building, everything revolves around native animals, exotic creatures and geological finds.

Further information on the Neuchâtel Museum of Natural History

Museum of Art and History

A feast for the eyes and an occasion to reflect on the world

The Neuchâtel Museum of Art and History is located on the elegant lake promenade right next to the Neuchâtel harbour. A place of pleasure, beauty and reflection. It combines visual stimuli with an effort to better understand the world around us.

Further information on the Neuchâtel Museum of Art and History

Laténium

Park and Museum of Archaeology

Located in the middle of an idyllic park on the shores of Lake Neuchâtel, the Laténium is the largest archaeological museum in Switzerland. Experience a guided tour through 50,000 years of history - from the Ice Age to the Middle Ages - in a playful and interactive way.

Further information on the Laténium

Centre Dürrenmatt

Painting and writing in dialogue

In the natural Vallon de l'Ermitage, high above Neuchâtel, lies the Centre Dürrenmatt Neuchâtel (CDN), built by Mario Botta, which houses the collection of Friedrich Dürrenmatt's paintings and drawings. A tour of Dürrenmatt's visual work in dialogue with his texts awaits you. Numerous events round off the programme and promise a multi-faceted approach to the work and the person.

Further information on the Centre Dürrenmatt

Activities

Visit Neuchâtel's local mountain Chaumont or stroll across Lake Neuchâtel on the "La Passerelle de l'Utopie" footbridge. Creative minds can construct their own clock in the workshop "Le Centre Horloger".

Chaumont

Neuchâtel's local mountain

The ridge between Lake Neuchâtel and Val-de-Ruz is Neuchâtel's local mountain. It is a mountain of views, a mountain of enjoyment and a mountain of activities, all at the same time. Thanks to the cable railway, you can easily reach the Chaumont from Neuchâtel La Coudre. Here, a breathtaking view of Neuchâtel, the Three-Lakes Region, the Swiss Plateau and the surrounding Alps opens up. For those who want to go higher, the panorama tower awaits. Situated at 1200 m above sea level, it opens up an even wider view into the distance. Adventure seekers and connoisseurs alike get their money's worth on the local mountain. There is a wide range of activities and recreational opportunities, and of course the beautiful view is an added incentive.

More information about Chaumont - Neuchâtel's local mountain

La Passerelle de l'Utopie

Panorama platform above the lake

In the middle of Neuchâtel, next to the Hotel Beau-Rivage, is the Passerelle de l'Utopie, which can be reached via the lake promenade. The pier-like walkway rests on only one support in the middle and consists of a huge see-saw, which is stable thanks to two large counterweights. The Passerelle de l'Utopie is intended to be a place of encounter and reflection. Visitors can stroll along the pier, out over the lake, enjoy the panoramic view of the city and the lake, and immerse themselves in a world of possibilities.

Workshop «Le Centre Horloger»

Create your own clock

A very special experience awaits you at this workshop: Learn the necessary steps to assemble your own pocket watch or wristwatch, and even get to take it home!

More information about the workshop "Le Centre Horloger

Events

Discover Neuchâtel through "Fête de l'Absinthe", the International Film Festival of Fribourg (FIFF) and "Les Pavés Musicaux" – three unique events for enjoyment, film and music.

Fête de l'Absinthe

Delightful festival for absinthe enthusiasts

The "Fête de l'Absinthe" is a festival dedicated to the famous spirit, absinthe. The event attracts absinthe enthusiasts, tourists, and those interested from the entire region. During the festival, you have the opportunity to learn more about the history of absinthe, participate in tastings, visit local absinthe distilleries, and enjoy cultural events, music, and entertainment. It usually takes place in the summer.

Further information about the Fête de l'Absinthe

International Film Festival of Fribourg (FIFF)

FIFF: Bridge for film art and global creativity

The Festival International de Films de Fribourg (FIFF) is dedicated to promoting film art and providing a platform for filmmakers from various parts of the world. During FIFF, a variety of international films of different genres and styles are presented. The festival not only offers an opportunity for filmmakers to showcase their works to a broad audience but also creates space for discussions, workshops, and events addressing current developments in the film industry.

Further information about the Festival International de Films de Fribourg (FIFF)

Les Pavés Musicaux

City symphony: Music festival in Neuchâtel

"Les Pavés Musicaux" is a musical event where various locations in the city become stages for live music of different genres. Artists perform at different places, and visitors can enjoy a variety of musical performances while strolling through the cobblestone streets of Neuchâtel. This festival creates a unique connection between music and urban ambiance, providing an opportunity to discover the local culture and music scene.

Further information about Les Pavés Musicaux

BLS suggestion

Would you like to discover the city of Neuchâtel with your friends or family in a fun way? Then the scavenger hunt "Les Chenapans" is a great option for you. Tricky riddles, unusual discoveries and all kinds of surprises await you along the way.

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How to get there

Travel comfortably by train to Neuchâtel.

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