Switzerland’s 10 Best Historical Museums

The Museums listed below are not your typical museum.  As they are subject specific, they are filled with opportunities to learn, explore and participate in fun activities. Here is a list of 10 museums that you must visit while visiting Switzerland.

  • Dinosaur Museum in the Zurich Oberland – Aathal


A museum where you can learn everything there is to know about dinosaurs, a place where you can even watch a movie about them and when you get tired you can grab a lunch in the restaurant. This place offers a lot of recreational activities and many fun things to see and do.

  • Fossil Museum Monte San Giorgio – Mendrisio


This museum exhibits a section of fossilized animals and plants from the unique UNESCO World Heritage Site of Monte San Giorgio. Here you can see the 2.5 meter long reconstruction of the saurian Ticinosachus, so if you want to see the fossils and learn more about them, this should be your destination.

  • Albula Railway Museum – Bergün


If you are a fan of the trains, locomotives and railways, this is the museum where you have to go. This museum exhibits locomotives and tells a perfect story about the railway lines in Switzerland. Your children will be left breathless by all the trains exhibited there and you will want to come back to this museum.

  • Textile Museum – St. Gallen


A museum where you can see how people dressed since the 14th century and be mesmerized by all the textiles and clothes. See fabrics from the Egyptian grave sites, costumes from all over the world and take a guided tour that will help you learn about the different countries with the help of their traditional outfits.

  • Gruyères – Castle and Small Town – Gruyères


A perfect medieval town where three museums are situated. Here you can see the amazing 800 year old castle where history and culture meet. In the  H. R. Giger you can see the art of the Oscar winner and in the Tibet museum you can see sculptures, pictures and ritual works that are from different Himalayan regions.

  • Basel Paper Mill – Basel


This one of a kind paper mill museum is located in a medieval paper mill. Here you can see the workshop and you can be a part of the demonstrations where you can learn a lot about the historic techniques in the workshops.

  • Natural History Museum – Bern


This museum is one of the most important museums in Switzerland. Its main focus are the animals depicted in their natural environment. The main attraction in this museum is the Saint Bernard dog, Barry who died in 1814. Here you can also see the extremely clear quartz crystals.

  • The Swiss National Museum – Zürich


As one of the most interesting museums, this museum exhibits a variety of different arts, crafts and even ordinary objects. Learn about the history of Switzerland, discover the gardens, be part of the battle. Everything in this museum will amaze you.

  • Chillon Castle – Montreux


One of the most beautiful fortress and definitely, one of the most famous castles in Switzerland, the Chillon Castle with over a 1000 years of history will inspire you by its look, location and history. If you and your family want to go back in time, feel like a part of the royal family, you should definitely visit this castle museum.

  • Switzerland’s museum of transportation – Luzern


In the museum of transportation you can see exhibits of a variety modes of transportation, starting from road transportation, rail transportation and aviation. Here you can also find film theatres, the planetarium and you can even learn and try the famous Swiss chocolate in the chocolate adventure theme world.

So, if you find yourself in Switzerland, don’t forget to visit at least one of these museums, you will be amazed by everything in these museums and your time will be well spent.

For assistance with a trip to Switzerland, give us a call.  Distinctive Travel and Tours  888-843-7914

Celebrating El Greco’s Art in Toledo

2014 marks the 4th centenary of El Greco’s death. Several exhibitions and an extensive cultural programme this year will recall the work of Domenikos Theotokopoulos and its subsequent influence on art. Toledo, the city where El Greco enjoyed his greatest creative period, will be the main centre for the celebrations.

Four hundred years later, El Greco returns to Toledo. The commemoration of the fourth centenary of his death in 2014 will offer the public a chance to see great masterpieces by the painter from Crete from leading national and international collections, all on display together in the city of the Tagus. In addition, there is a programme of activities featuring everything from music concerts, theatre and dance, through to talks and gastronomic tasting events.

Major exhibitions

This year of exhibitions in Toledo kicks off in February with the show‘Contemporary Toledo’, featuring images of the city taken by thirteen prestigious international photographers throughout 2013. March sees the start of an exhibition that should on no account be missed: ‘The Greek from Toledo’. On the one hand, in the Museum of Santa Cruz visitors can see paintings by El Greco from the National Gallery in London, the Musée du Louvre and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among other important collections. The exhibition will also include works by the painter in what are known as the Espacios Greco, or the ‘El Greco Spaces’, conserved in the places for which they were originally made: the cathedral, the chapel of San José, the convent of Santo Domingo el Antiguo, the Tavera Hospital and the church of Santo Tomé.

In September the Santa Cruz Museum will also serve as the venue for ‘El Greco: Art and Skill’ which will make it possible for the first time to compare different versions of paintings such as ‘The Disrobing of Christ’ or ‘The Crucifixion’, and bring together the four apostles of El Greco in the same city. And of course there is always the chance to admire the collection in the El Greco Museum the whole year round.


El Greco 2014 outside Toledo

The commemoration of the fourth centenary also takes the art of El Greco to other Spanish cities. The Prado Museum will offer two exhibitions: one in March, entitled ‘El Greco’s Library’, and the other in June: ‘El Greco and Modern Painting’, describing the influence the artist had on the development of painting in the 19th and 20th centuries.

In addition, the touring exhibition ‘Between Heaven and Earth. Twelve views of El Greco 400 years on’ on the presence of El Greco in art today, will take place between April and July at the National Sculpture Museum in Valladolid, and then in September come to the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Madrid.

Music, performing arts and more

In addition to this commemorative year of exhibitions, there is also a parallel programme of cultural activities. For example, the Festival Greco 2014 PaseArte will fill the streets and squares of Toledo with theatre, dance and performing arts shows. The monuments in the city will also serve as the stage for the concert series entitled Centenary Music; and the programme Saborea Greco (Tasting El Greco) will feature food and wine tasting events and special set menus in restaurants and hotels in Toledo for all visitors.

There will also be lectures, symposia, special events… The official El Greco 2014 website (www.elgreco2014.com) provides comprehensive information as well as the possibility of purchasing tickets for the exhibitions in the programme. This year, there’s no excuse not to discover El Greco in Spain.

Tour Miniature Switzerland by Miniature Train


Mini train SwissVapeur Tour Miniature Switzerland by Miniature Train

One of the mini trains at the Swiss Vapeur featuring miniatures of Switzerland land marks


If you would like to take a tour of Switzerland but only have a day, then go to Lake Geneva, where you can enjoy a tour of Switzerland at the The Swiss Vapeur Parc, which is  located near the Rhone River and Lake Geneva, south of Montreux.

The park  has  about 16 miniature train engines.   Half of the locomotives are steam engines while the others work with gas or petroleum.  There are  2,000 m of railway track and only 1,200 m of walkways and paths. The trains are guided by  signals and  switches on a 12-minute circular journey through f tunnels and across  bridges and six level crossings. Travelers can embark at different stations with the cog-wheel mountain trains only departing from La Prairie station.

The  Parc has  miniature copies of  original trains. The station signs are copies of smaller Swiss Railway signs. Some of the  Swiss buildings were reproduced in about one quarter size as are the train engines.

The  trains are a must stop for visitors on a family vacation.  Allow about three hours to experience the parc.

Miniature railway enthusiasts may operate their own personal single-seater trains on the tracks too but general visitors have to ride the normal ones. Visitors may sail hand-made boats on the lake.  Handicap and persons in wheelchairs can be accommodated so they can enjoy the parc.  If it is raining there are covered trains to allow the rides to continue.

Click on the link below for videos and more details on Swiss Vapeur Parc:


The Parc is open from May 19 – Nov 2,  2014.  With opening times between 10am – 6pm.  From June 14 – 21 and July 31 – August 16, the Parc is open till 11:30pm for night train rides