The Rapperswil castle sits proudly on Lindenhof hill keeping watch over the town of Rapperswil. Any visit to the castle grounds comes with commanding views of the nearby Lake Zurich and the Alps, including the famous Säntis as well as many of the Glarner Alps.
Although this is not the most famous of Swiss castles, it sits in a stunning location towering over Lake Zurich.
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History Of Rapperswil Castle
The Rapperswil castle dates back to somewhere in the early 13th century when it was built by Counts Rudolf II and III of Rapperswil. The counts used nearby sandstone from Lützelau island, which is in the center of the Obersee area of Lake Zurich.
The castle later changed hands to the Habsburg-Laufenburg line until 1442 when it was then given to the people of Rapperswil itself. Soon after, the Swiss Confederation controlled the castle from 1458 to 1798 using it as both a military base and prison.
In 1870 an interesting thing happened. A 99-year lease for the castle was given to a local Polish emigre who then spent his own money restoring the castle, as it had since fallen into disrepair.
He also established the Polish Museum in the castle walls to highlight the strong Polish presence and heritage in Switzerland. The museum still exists in Rapperswil to this day.
Architectural Highlights Of The Castle
The Rapperswil castle has imposing walls and three very prominent towers. The first is the Gügeliturm, the highest of the front two towers. It was used as a place to watch out for nearby fires.
On the eastern side is the five-sided Zeitturm (time tower). This is a very interesting clock tower that houses three bells, has a sundial on its side, as well as two other large clock faces.
Sitting between these two towers is the castle palace or palais, which is six stories, high.
The third tower is called the Pulverturm (powder tower).
The castle grounds are definitely worth a visit, even if you do not enter the Polish museum. Not only do you get a great view of the surroundings from the Rosegarten (Rose Garden), you also get to enjoy the stunning garden itself.
There is also a small animal park on the grounds with deer, and you can do a complete circuit around the castle itself.
Don’t forget to take a stroll around the old town of Rapperswil and along the harbor area as well. There is nothing more enjoyable than having a beer or a coffee on the lake shore on a warm summers day!
Price: Free of Charge
Address: Rapperswil Castle, Lindenhügel, 8640 Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland
Website: Schloss Rapperswil
Opening times: The Rapperswil castle is currently closed for renovations until summer 2024.
The following are the prices for entrance to the Polish Museum
- Adults: 5 CHF
- Children (7 – 16 years): 3 CHF
- Students: 4 CHF
- Groups of 11 or more: 4 CHF per person
- Free entrance: Rapperswil residents, children under 7, Museum Pass
Opening times: Temporarily closed
How do you get from Zurich to Rapperswil?
There are a number of ways to get from Zurich to Rapperswil. The most scenic is to take the boat from Bürkliplatz to Rapperswil directly.
Publish transport is relatively easy by taking any of the following S-Bahns – S5, S7, S15. The trip takes approximately 40 minutes. There are also regional trains down lake Zurich where you can change in Pfäffikon to a local train to Rapperswil.
You can also drive on the highway and then take the bridge across to the town.