Top Things To Do in Neuchâtel
Neuchâtel, is the capital of the French-speaking Canton of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. This charming medieval city is located directly on the northern shore of Lake Neuchâtel. It is just around over 2 hours drive from Zurich and even faster by train, and is definitely worth visiting for a short break.
Charming Old Town
Once you arrive you can see how beautiful this city is, especially the old town. With its cobbled streets, and wonderful lake views it is certainly very captivating. There are plenty of charming squares with street cafes, cute little boutiques and lots of interesting architecture. It’s one of those towns which is lovely to explore and there’s something of interest around every street corner.
The Italian Quarter
One of my favourite places to visit in Neuchâtel was the Italian Quarter. In this part of town some of the streets have been painted bright colours and there are lines of washing hanging from poles. It is certainly very colourful indeed and perfect for Instagram!
Museum of Art and History Neuchâtel
The Château de Neuchâtel sits high above the town ands dates back to the 12th century. Right next to it you will find the Collégiale, which is a Gothic church from the same period.
These city landmarks are definitely worth exploring so do go for a walk around the castle and its grounds. The castle building is actually a working office, so you can’t always visit inside during the week, but you can at the weekend.
You also get some great views at the top and there is a little path which takes you round the whole of the outside and there is a little cafe where you can sit down and take it all in.
You can also book guided tours of the castle – visit the website here.
Stroll Along The Lake
Neuchâtel is situated directly on the lake and in Summer there are many places where you can go swimming. It’s a lovely place to stroll round any time of year.
La Passerelle de L’Utopie
One of the places you will come across as you walk along the esplanade it a pretty little platform called the “Passerelle de L’Utopie” which juts out into the water, a bit like a diving board. Walk the length of it and you can get even better views of the lake. Apparently it is the sole surviving piece of art work from an art installation created around the lake several years ago. A couple of statues are located at the entrance to “passerelle” – an elegant 19th century lady and gentleman.
Scavenger Hunt – Les Chenapans
If you’re visiting with your family, one of most popular things to do is to take part in a scavenger hunt. Called ” Les Chenapans” you can hire all the necessary equipment from the Tourist Office for a fee of CHF 15 and have endless fun following clues and discovering so many hidden parts of the town. It’s also the perfect way to learn all about the key landmarks in the town.
Admire The Street Art
We were struck by the amount of wonderful Street Art we found all over Neuchâtel. Not only is it very colourful but also in so many different styles and very unique. Take a look for yourself when you visit – and you will see what we mean. Here are a couple of examples.
Hiking Near Neuchâtel – Creux du Van
To the west of the Neuchâtel in the Jura mountains you will find the Creux du Van. It is an amphitheatre-like canyon which offers the most amazing panoramic views as well as some really great hiking trails.
Photo copyright Roland Gerth
Papiliorama Swiss Tropical Gardens and Butterflies at Kerzers
Photo by Rhoda Richardson
Another place you might be interested in visiting is the Papiliorama Butterflies and Swiss Tropical Gardens in Kerzers. It’s a great day out for all the family. Papiliorama, Moosmatte 1, 3210 Kerzers. You can read all about Papiliorama here.
The Laténium is the largest archaeological museum in Switzerland. Its exhibits span over 50,000 years of history from the region and there is also a large archaeological park with finds dating back to the La-Tène Epoch. We didn’t have time to visit it but were recommended by friends. You can visit the Laténium website here.
How To Get Around – The Neuchâtel Tourist Card
To make your stay that much better the the Neuchâtel Tourist Card is a fantastic resource. You get the card if you stay one night or more in a hotel, bed and breakfast, holiday apartment or camping site, and it allows you to benefit from an amazing range of offers including:
– FREE use of public transport in the Canton of Neuchâtel (train, funicular and bus)
– FREE entry to 25 museums in the canton
– a cruise on lakes Neuchâtel (South and North shore promenade) and des Brenets
– a 1 day bicycle rental in Neuchâtel or Le Locle
– a ride on the chairlift Buttes-La Robella
You can see all the great offers that come with the Neuchâtel Tourist Card here
Where To Eat
We had a great lunch sitting outdoors at the Brasserie Le Cardinal, a restaurant in the heart of Neuchâtel, in the Italian quarter.
It is a little gem and its Art Nouveau décor inside is really stunning. There has been a restaurant on this site since 1902, but the house was originally built in the 18th century. It is located just below the castle not far from the Seyon river.
Brasserie Le Cardinal, Rue du Seyon 9, 2000 Neuchâtel. Visit the LeCardinal Brasserie website here.
Where To Stay
There are a large number of hotels, apartments and B&Bs to choose from in the Neuchâtel region. You can see a large selection on the Jura 3 Lakes website here.
We stayed at Hôtel Alpes & Lac in Neuchâtel which is located directly in front of the railway station so is ideal if you are travelling by train. It is clean and functional and has everything you need for a comfortable stay with views directly over Lake Neuchâtel.
Restaurant La Fugue
The highlight was the hotel’s Restaurant La Fugue which has 12 Gault Millau points and our dinner was very good indeed.
If you are looking to stay somewhere more luxurious and very unique we would suggest the Hotel Palifitte which is located directly on the Lake and has little “pavilions” on stilts with direct access to the lake so that you can swim, canoe or just dip your toes directly in the water!
Where To Get Further Information
You can find lots of information about the region on the Jura 3 Lakes website here.
In Neuchâtel you can visit the Tourism centre in Neuchâtel at Hôtel des Postes, 2000 Neuchâtel and in Porrentruy the tourism centre is at Rue du 23 Juin 20, 2900 Porrentruy.
We had a wonderful stay in this part of the Jura 3 Lakes Region and will definitely be back! 🙂
Location: Directly on Lake Neuchâtel
Distance from Zurich: Just over 2 hours by car and as fast as 1hour 30mins by train
See Neuchâtel on Google Maps here:
This is a Sponsored Article written in collaboration with Jura 3 Lakes
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