Swiss Travel Pass museums are your golden key to over 500 sanctuaries of history, art, and innovation. What a way to learn more about Switzerland while traveling by train, bus, and boat!
This Swiss Travel Pass isn't just a public transportation ticket. It holds the power of a Swiss Museum Pass key that unlocks the vaults of 500 museums.
Join us on a journey through the corridors of history and the galleries of modern art. As you will see, the free museums with Swiss Travel Pass are as diverse as this little country.
Top Museums Included in the Swiss Travel Pass
With so many to choose from, why not knock the best museums covered by the Swiss Travel Pass off your bucket list first? Whether you're interested in art, history, science, or even chocolate, there's something for every holder of the Swiss Travel Pass.
The Swiss National Museum in Zurich is a must-visit for history buffs. It showcases Switzerland's rich history and cultural heritage through a vast collection of artifacts, artworks, and historical exhibitions. This museum offers a comprehensive overview of Swiss history, from ancient artifacts to medieval weaponry and traditional costumes.
The Museum of Art in Basel is a true gem if you love art. It houses an extensive collection of artworks from various periods, including pieces by renowned artists such as Picasso, Monet, and Van Gogh.
We also recommend the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, where adult admission costs 25 francs. With the Swiss Travel Pass, you will enter for free to see amazing art inside an architectural masterpiece. Focusing on modern art, the permanent collection includes works by artists like Picasso, Warhol, and Rothko.
For sports enthusiasts, the Olympic Museum in Lausanne is a must-see. This is especially true in 2024, the year of the Summer Olympics. This museum celebrates the history and spirit of the Olympic Games through interactive exhibits, memorabilia, and multimedia presentations.
Other Must-See Museums in Switzerland
The Swiss Travel Pass doesn't just cover the well-known museums. It also grants you access to some hidden gems that are worth exploring.
Swiss Museums for Chocoholics
We love Maestrani's Chocolarium, a haven for chocoholics and fans of Willy Wonka. Once you enter through the magical doors, you are invited to embark on an interactive journey that brings the chocolate narrative to life. At the end of the tour, you will pass an 80-meter-long glass gallery. From there, you will overlook the live production lines of the Munz and Minor brands. (There will be plenty of free chocolate to taste…)
Maison Cailler in Broc is one of those places any chocoholic should visit, be they Swiss Travel Pass tourists or internationals who live in Switzerland. Since 1898, Cailler chocolate has been a hallmark brand in the Gruyères region. The chocolate factory tour begins with an engaging historical exploration. Then, after gaining insights into the chocolate-making process, you can witness the creation of Cailler's renowned chocolate. The tour concludes with a tasting of the brand's signature treats.
For Swiss Travel Pass holders, these experiences are even sweeter as you can eat unlimited free chocolate! How cool is that?
The Best Swiss Travel Pass Castles
The Swiss Travel Pass quite literally is a key to unlocking the gates of some of the most majestic castles. At last count, nearly 45 castles offered free admission. For history enthusiasts, there's no greater adventure than climbing the ruins of medieval fortresses!
I recommend Chillon Castle as the ultimate Swiss castle to visit. Perched on the edge of Lake Geneva, it's a place where history breathes through the stones. Walking through its grand halls and secret passageways, I always feel transported to a medieval era. Save yourself the 12-franc admission and visit the castle with the Swiss Travel Pass.
Nestled in the Fribourg foothills, the Château de Gruyères commands the landscape with its fairy-tale appearance. This castle maintains its medieval structure and houses impressive art and history collections. Don't miss the views of the Saane Valley from the castle's ramparts!
The Habsburg Castle and Schloss Hallwyl are gems hidden in the Swiss countryside. The Habsburg Castle, the ancestral seat of the House of Habsburg, symbolizes the dynasty's early power. Its austere walls and historical exhibitions represent the powerful lineage that once ruled much of Europe. Schloss Hallwyl, surrounded by water, is one of Switzerland's most important moated castles. Its rooms, filled with centuries of history, offer an intimate glimpse into the lives of the nobility.
Schloss Wildegg and Schloss Kyburg are steeped in nobility. Schloss Wildegg, perched on a terraced hillside, overlooks the Aare Valley and presents a beautifully maintained estate with a baroque garden. Schloss Kyburg, towering above the Töss river, has a museum and many medieval artifacts. As a child, I was always scared to death by the iron maiden...
The Castles of Bellinzona, a UNESCO World Heritage site, are a trio of fortifications that stand as sentinels over the town. These castles - Castelgrande, Montebello, and Sasso Corbaro - are interconnected by walls that once served as a defense system. Each castle offers a unique vantage point, so visit each if you have time.
Swiss Museums About Roman History
Suppose the Swiss Travel Pass were to be named in Latin; it might be called the Peregrinatio Helvetica Passus. This translated to Swiss Journey Pass!
Switzerland offers a lot of well-preserved Roman history. Numerous Roman museums, most of which are nestled in the French-speaking part of the country, underscore the extent of Roman influence and the sophistication of Roman society in the Alpine region.
Augusta Raurica in Augst is a testament to this bygone era, inviting us to wander through the ruins of a Roman settlement. The amphitheater, temple, and myriad unearthed artifacts offer a tangible connection to ancient times.
In Avenches, Musée Romain sits amidst the remnants of Aventicum, the capital of Roman Helvetia. The museum not only displays significant archaeological finds but also offers a view of the grandeur of a Roman city through its ruins and reconstructions.
Moving on to Vallon, where the Musée Romain brings to life the everyday aspects of Roman civilization. The museum's exhibits, from domestic items to tools, paint a vivid picture of daily life in Helvetia.
The Musée Romain de Lausanne-Vidy reveals the story of Lousonna, a Roman trading post. The museum's location by the lake shore where the settlement once thrived allows us to step directly onto an archaeological site, blending education with the atmosphere of antiquity.
Nyon's Musée Romain showcases the history of the Roman town of Noviodunum with a collection that includes stunning mosaics, everyday utensils, and remnants of the town's structures, providing insights into the urban life of the Romans in Switzerland.
In Orbe, the Musée d'Orbe et Mosaïques Romaines offers a unique experience focusing on mosaics. The beautifully preserved mosaics provide a colorful glimpse into Roman artistic expression and interior decoration.
For a comprehensive guide to the Roman history of Turicum, check out our ultimate guide to Roman history in Zurich.
Swiss Museums for Art Lovers
Switzerland's art scene is a vibrant palette of history and innovation, where each museum is a world unto itself. Here are some highlights, but please consult our dedicated post about Swiss Travel Pass art museums:
Kunsthaus Zürich is the largest art museum in Switzerland, where modern and contemporary masterpieces converse across time. Art aficionados will enjoy the collection of paintings and sculptures ranging from medieval times to the pulsating present.
The Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau is a beacon of Swiss artistry, its collection a testament to the nation's creative journey. Meanwhile, Museum Langmatt, in a historic mansion in Baden, has one of Europe's most significant private collections of French Impressionism.
Appenzell's Kunsthalle Ziegelhütte and Bern's Kunstmuseum stand as custodians of heritage and innovation, where the echoes of Carl Liner's legacy meet the bold strokes of Gothic to contemporary artists.
Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern unfurls as an architectural wave, cradling the essence of Klee's genius in its fluid lines.
Basel offers a trio of curious art museums: the satirical Cartoonmuseum, the historic Kunstmuseum, and the kinetic Museum Tinguely. Each space is a lens into different realms of creativity, from the power of a single line to the dance of dynamic sculptures.
The Bourbaki Panorama Luzern transports us through time and emotion, from the fervor of German Expressionism to the immersive 360-degree battlefield of history.
Luzern's Sammlung Rosengart and St. Gallen's Textilmuseum weave a narrative of personal collection and textile mastery, while Lugano's MASI and Lausanne's MUDAC challenge the boundaries between art forms.
Finally, Zürich's Museum Rietberg opens a portal to the world, celebrating mostly Asian (and Japanese) art. We always keep a close eye on their new exhibits...
Most Unique Museums Covered by the Swiss Travel Pass
The Swiss Travel Pass unlocks some rather unusual museum doors, too. Here are some of the unique museums in Switzerland you won't want to miss:
Tik-Tok: Patek Philippe Museum
The Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva is a paradise for watch enthusiasts. Discover the fascinating history of Swiss watchmaking from the 16th century to today. And admire a stunning collection of timepieces, including rare and intricate watches.
Science Fiction and Fantasy: Maison d'Ailleurs in Yverdon-les-Bains
In charming Yverdon-les-Bains, Maison d'Ailleurs opens a portal to the limitless realms of science fiction and utopia. It’s a tiny museum, yet there is a treasure trove of science fiction and fantasy, from groundbreaking literature to visionary art, charting the genres' influence on culture.
Surrealism: H.R. Giger Museum in Gruyères
Nestled in the medieval town of Gruyères, the H.R. Giger Museum presents a unique collection of the Swiss artist's works. Inside the Château St. Germain, you'll find the largest assembly of Giger's creations, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and iconic movie sets. For fans of Alien, it's like stepping onto the Nostromo…
Explore twenty rooms of Giger’s visionary and modern art, significantly influencing the film, music, and tattoo scenes. And don’t miss the surreal, skeletal architecture of the H.R. Giger Bar next door.
Magic of Music: Museum of Music Automatons in Seewen
Stop by the Museum of Music Automatons if you wind up in Seewen (no pun intended). Through a stunning collection of self-playing musical instruments, you can appreciate the intricate craftsmanship of each piece. Each piece is an homage to the region’s innovation and artistry, from ornate music boxes to grand self-playing pianos.
World of Money: Money Museum in Zurich
At Zurich's Money Museum near the financial hub of Switzerland, you can learn everything from ancient barter techniques to the modern blockchain. Interactive exhibits reveal the evolution of currency, demystifying finance's complexities. You can touch a real gold bar, symbolizing wealth's allure across ages.
Swiss Travel Pass Museum List
You have probably already planned out your Switzerland trip by public transportation. To help you maximize the value of your Swiss Travel Pass, here are the main museums in each canton and category you can visit for free.
Download the Swiss Museum Pass Museum List from the official source for a full list of included museums.
Exploring Swiss Museums by Canton
Basel's vibrant cultural scene is anchored by its world-class museums, celebrating contemporary art, ingenious mechanical sculptures, and the traditional art of papermaking.
- Museum of Contemporary Art: Basel's hub for modern creativity, featuring cutting-edge works from global contemporary artists.
- Museum Tinguely: An interactive homage to Jean Tinguely's kinetic art, blending motion and sound into a dynamic artistic experience.
- Basel Paper Mill Museum: A tribute to the ancient craft of papermaking, nestled within a historic mill, inviting hands-on exploration.
Bern's status as the capital is mirrored in its rich museum offerings, including the extensive collections at the Bern Historical Museum and the artistic focus at the Zentrum Paul Klee.
- Bern Historical Museum: Historical artifacts that narrate Switzerland's storied past. Take a selfie with the Albert Einstein statue in front of the entrance.
- Zentrum Paul Klee: A tribute to Paul Klee's artistic legacy, offering insight into his life and body of work. The building itself is worth a visit!
Grisons offers a cultural journey amidst its alpine landscapes, with the Rhaetian Museum in Chur providing a deep dive into regional history and culture.
- Albula Railway Museum (Bergün): A showcase of the engineering marvels and historical significance of the Rhaetian Railway.
- Kirchner Museum (Davos): Home to the largest collection of Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's expressionist masterpieces, reflecting the artist's profound impact on modern art.
- Rhaetian Museum (Chur): This cultural institution serves up the historical and cultural essence of the Grisons area.
Ticino marries Italianata charm with Swiss precision, with institutions like the MASI Lugano showcasing modern artwork inside the stunning architecture.
- Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana (Lugano): A collection highlighting the intersection of Swiss and Italian artistic endeavors.
Valais boasts museums that reflect its rich historical tapestry and alpine heritage, such as the Valais Art Museum in Sion.
- Matterhorn Museum - Zermatlantis (Zermatt): An underground exhibition that chronicles the captivating history of Zermatt and the epic tales surrounding the Matterhorn. It’s great to visit on bad weather days.
- Valais Art Museum (Sion): An exhibition space that brings the history and culture of the Valais region to life through art.
Vaud is recognized for its extensive array of museums, with the Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts in Lausanne presenting a notable collection of Swiss and international art spanning several centuries.
- Cantonal Museum of Fine Arts (Lausanne): A repository of artistic works ranging from medieval masterpieces to contemporary creations.
- Olympic Museum (Lausanne): An exhibition space dedicated to the legacy and ongoing story of the Olympic movement.
Zurich's museum landscape merges the old with the new, exemplified by the Swiss National Museum's historical journey and the Kunsthaus Zurich's artistic innovations.
- Swiss National Museum (Zurich): Switzerland's largest museum boasts a collection of over 870’000 objects that span Swiss history from prehistoric times to the present day. See Swiss artifacts such as traditional costumes, furniture, tools, and works of art.
- Kunsthaus Zürich: Switzerland's largest art museum has a significant collection of classic and contemporary art, including works by renowned Swiss artists such as Alberto Giacometti.