Must see attractions in Fribourg, Drei-Seen-Land and The Jura

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Creux du Van

    About 14km east of Môtiers, a short walk leads to the enormous abyss known as the Creux du Van (Rocky Hole) – van is a word of Celtic origin meaning 'rock'. Created by glacial erosion, the spectacular crescent-moon wall interrupts the habitually green rolling countryside in startling fashion: imagine an enormous gulf 1km long and 440m deep. The way the vast canyon seemingly appears out of nowhere as you approach it from the field above is mind-blowing. If you're using a GPS (or Google Maps) to find the place, search for 'Ferme Restaurant le Soliat' or 'Le Petites Fauconnières' and you won't get way-laid.

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Musée de l’Horlogerie du Locle

    In Le Locle, 8km west of La Chaux-de-Fonds, grand 18th-century rooms filled with all manner of clocks make this museum tick. The manor house, Château des Monts, was built for an 18th-century watchmaker atop a hill 3km from the town centre. Bus 1 links the train station with the ‘Monts’ stop, 150m from the museum.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Neuchâtel

    Laténium

    This impressive modern museum and adjacent archaeological park, 3km northeast of Neuchâtel on the waterfront in Hauterive, is the largest of its kind in Switzerland. It's an atmospheric trip back in time, from local prehistory to the Renaissance. Its permanent collection is an exploration of human evolution in Europe from Neanderthal to modern times and spans eight rooms or zones filled with artefacts, human skeletons, models and hands-on educational stations. Check the website for details of complementary visiting exhibitions. It's free to wander the grounds of the park surrounding the museum. To get here take bus 1 from Pl Pury to the Musée d’Archéologie stop, or ride the free ferry (limited departures) from Neuchâtel: check the website for links to up-to-date timetables.

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Vue-des-Alpes

    About 8km south of La Chaux-de-Fonds, just off Rte N20, Vue-des-Alpes (1283m) is a mountain pass popular for its two 7.3km and 11km mountain-bike loop trails and for its 700m luge, Toboggan Géant. In winter locals sledge, snowshoe and ski down the gentle slopes (three drag lifts) or along 53km of cross-country trails. Year-round it offers jaw-dropping views of the distant Alps over the thee lakes of Drei-Seen-Land. If you don't have your own wheels, catch bus 370 from La Chaux-de-Fonds station to stop Vue-des-Alps (Sfr4.20, 15 minutes).

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Saut du Doubs

    The River Doubs, which forms part of the Swiss–French border, widens out at the peaceful village of Les Brenets, 15km southwest of La Chaux-de-Fonds. It takes a little over an hour to walk from the village along Lac des Brenets to the Saut du Doubs (no vehicular access), a splendid crashing waterfall where the river cascades 27m into a natural pool. If walking poses challenges, boats operated by Navigation sur le Lac des Brenets will get you there. Le Locle–Les Brenets trains (Sfr3.60, seven minutes) are frequent.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Drei-Seen-Land

    Ligerz Wine Museum

    Learn about the wines of the Bielersee region on a guided tour of this small museum and the delightful 16th-century noble's home in which it is housed. A minimum of ten people are required for the tour to proceed, so be sure to phone in advance to make a reservation. Some French or German language ability is helpful but not essential. Tastings are available, but this should be considered more of a museum tour than a cellar door.

  • Top ChoiceSights in Neuchâtel

    Musée d’Art et d’Histoire

    The museum is notable for three clockwork androids made between 1764 and 1774 by watchmaker Jaquet Droz. The Writer can be programmed to dip his pen in an ink pot and write up to 40 characters, while the Musician plays up to five tunes on a real organ. The Draughtsman is the simplest, with a repertoire of six drawings. The androids are activated on the first Sunday of the month at 2pm, 3pm and 4pm.

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Maison de l'Absinthe

    Learn all about absinthe (and sample the hard stuff in the bar afterwards) in this chic museum that annotates the history of the potent liqueur (with, some say, hallucinogenic properties), its influence on some of the more revolutionary artists and writers of the 18th century and its prohibition around the world.

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Jurassica

    This smart museum occupying a beautiful baroque mansion surrounded by meticulously manicured gardens and a botanic garden features taxidermy, fossils and living botanical descendants of prehistoric times. You can even search for your own fossils on-site: great for kids!

  • Top ChoiceSights in The Jura Mountains

    Musée de l’Hôtel Dieu

    Everything from books and clocks to pharmaceutical objects are displayed in this delightful museum, well placed in Porrentuy’s former hospital – a gorgeous baroque building with cobbled courtyard.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    La Balade de Séprais

    Contemporary art and installation lovers will enjoy this open-air sculpture park about 12km west of Delémont between the villages of Séprais and Boécourt. Accessible any time, the 'gallery' consists of three well-marked paths, the longest being a 3km loop from through the sculpture fields. To reach Boécourt, catch a local train from Delémont to Glovelier (Sfr5.20, 10 minutes) from where it's a pleasant 1.6km walk or taxi ride (Sfr10 to Sfr12, 10 minutes) to the village.

  • Sights in Neuchâtel

    Old Town

    The Old Town streets are peppered with 18th-century mansions and decorative fountains. Heading uphill along Rue du Château, walk through the medieval city gate to the Prison Tower. Scale the tower for views over the town below and its lake and Alpine backdrop. Inside the largely Gothic Église Collégiale, a mix of Romanesque elements (notably the triple apse) looms large.

  • Sights in Drei-Seen-Land

    Abbatiale de Payerne

    The five-apse Romanesque Abbatiale de Payerne has been at the heart of religion and culture in the region since the 11th century, and frequently hosts exhibitions and concerts beneath its fine frescoes and broad sandstone arches. At the time of writing, the abbey was undergoing extensive structural renovations and access was limited. It is expected to re-open fully in 2018.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    Château de Porrentruy

    The Château de Porrentruy, with its 44m-tall Tour de Réfous, dominates the little village. The oldest part of the castle complex began its life in the 13th century. The castle is now occupied by offices, so you can't go in, but you're free to walk around the inner courtyard for a closer look and fine views over the town.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    Centre International de la Mécanique d'Art

    The art of making music boxes is documented in this museum in Sainte-Croix, 13km southwest of Fleurier. Music boxes contain a rotating spiked cylinder that bends and releases metal prongs, causing them to vibrate and hum melodiously. Some of the more elaborate boxes also incorporate miniature drums, bells and accordions.

  • Sights in Neuchâtel

    Mt Chaumont

    Soak up views across the three lakes to the Alps from Mt Chaumont (1160m), a ride on bus 7 from Neuchâtel to La Coudre then a 12-minute funicular ride up the mountain.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    Préhisto Parc

    This well-put-together dinosaur park in Réclère features a 2km-long footpath winding through woods past 45 different life-size prehistoric creatures lurking between trees. Beneath the park lies the caves of Grottes de Réclère. Kids love it, especially when you tack on the opportunity to spend the night in a yurt (Sfr30 plus per adult/child Sfr26/18). A range of other accommodation is available; see the website for details. To get here, take bus 78 from Porrentruy station in the direction of Fahy and get off at stop Chevenez, place la Grangette, where you'll need to change to bus 73, bound for Damvant and alight at stop Réclère, Les Grottes (Sfr13.20, 40 minutes). Otherwise, rent a car and drive.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    Grottes de Réclère

    Beneath the Préhisto Parc, 16km southwest of Porrentruy, lie these stalagmite-filled caves, discovered in 1886 and open to visitors by guided tour; dress warm (the caves are freezing). A combined ticket for the caves and Préhisto Parc costs Sfr15/10 per adult/child. No credit cards. To get here, take bus 78 from Porrentruy station in the direction of Fahy and get off at stop Chevenez, place la Grangette, where you'll need to change to bus 73, bound for Damvant and alight at stop Réclère, Les Grottes (Sfr13.20, 40 minutes). Otherwise, rent a car and drive.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    Parc du Doubs

    This nature park, covering almost 300 sq km of terrain south of the River Doubs to the Franches Montanges, is characterised by undulating hills, deep forests and wooded pastures riddled with walking and cross-country trails (look for the yellow markers). Around 60,000 people live within its bounds. The park includes the village of Les Brenets (and the wonderful Saut du Doubs) and St Ursanne.

  • Sights in The Jura Mountains

    La Maison Blanche

    This neoclassical house with a white facade and shiny roof is prized as Le Corbusier’s first independent piece of work – and a notable break from the regional art nouveau. Architecturally unrecognisable as Le Corbusier to anyone familiar with his later work, it sat derelict in the leafy hilltop neighbourhood above La Chaux until 2004, when the modern-architecture treasure was renovated and refurnished (with some original furnishings).