How to go around Switzerland in one hour

August 18, 2021, 7 Comments

It sounds like the coach tour from hell: seeing a whole country in one hour. Even for a place as small as Switzerland, that’s impossible, except when Switzerland itself has been shrunk. Yes, I’m talking about SwissMiniatur, where you can be a giant for a day.

The miniature version of Switzerland hasn’t been around for quite as long as the real one. It was created in the 1950s by Pierre Vuigner, a grocer from Valais who was more than a little obsessed with realising this mini-Switzerland. He sold his shop and moved to Melide, all to make his dream come true. On 6 June 1959, SwissMiniatur opened.

All the models are built on site to a scale of 1:25. I was lucky enough to get a peek inside the workshops, where trains and buildings were being created by hands far steadier than mine. It was fascinating to watch so do go inside if you get a chance – the workshops are occasionally open to the public, so check the website for details.

When I told friends that I was going to SwissMiniatur, some asked if it was still open as they remembered going as a child. True, a few models need a little TLC but I didn’t mind the faded grandeur as it reflects many of the real buildings . And I enjoyed spotting Swiss landmarks like Chillon Castle or Federal Parliament (and tried to ignore the convoluted geography).

This article is one of a series about Ticino. You can read about Lugano & Locarno here, and about Cardada Cimetta here.

7 Comments on "How to go around Switzerland in one hour"

  1. Ma. Tiffany Orapa Wednesday August 18th, 2021 at 01:22 PM · Reply

    It was opened on June 6, 1959

  2. Claire Wednesday August 18th, 2021 at 04:33 PM · Reply

    6 June 1959
    We hoped to visit this summer holidays but ran out of time, next time we visit Ticino, I hope soon.

  3. Martin Thursday August 19th, 2021 at 07:39 AM · Reply

    That was on June 6th 1959

  4. Joy Friday August 20th, 2021 at 08:18 PM · Reply

    Opened the 6th of June 1959

  5. Briony Sunday August 22nd, 2021 at 06:55 AM · Reply

    It opened on 6th June 1959

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