Things to Do in Le Locle (A UNESCO World Heritage Site)

things to do le locle

Le Locle is a municipality in the Jura Mountains, just a few minutes southwest of La Chaux-de-Fonds. It’s Switzerland’s third-smallest city, so there’s something really charming about the place. Along with La Chaux-de-Fonds, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its exceptional urban development defined solely by the industry of watchmaking.

Just because it’s a small city doesn’t mean you’ll be bored there. The watchmaking industry lies at the center of Le Locle, and some even consider it the birthplace of the entire industry. Naturally, the most popular attractions in the city are centered around the watchmaking industry, but there are plenty of other ways to spend your time in Le Locle and you can read all about them right here!

Zenith Watch Manufacture

Zenith Watch Manufacture
Zenith Watch Manufacture – Image courtesy of Wikimedia

Thanks to the partnership of Zenith and the Neuchâtel Tourism Office, anyone who travels to Le Locle has the opportunity to tour the Zenith Watch Manufacture. This is an absolute must for people who are genuinely interested in this industry and fascinated by watches because the tour will allow you to witness the watchmaking process up close.

You will get to learn about the history, present, and future of El Primero calibre, Zenith’s iconic chronograph movement. Visitors will also get access to interactive displays and multimedia exhibits that explore the history of Zenith and the various changes the company underwent over the years. These tours take place at 9 AM every Friday morning, and its 50 CHF per participant. Ouch!

It’s also possible to book a private tour, which will cost you 500 CHF for a group of a maximum of 8 people.

  • Address: Rue des Billodes, Rez de chaussée 34, 2400 Le Locle (Google Maps)
  • Ticket Prices: 50 CHF per person
  • Opening Hours: Friday morning at 09:00 am
    • May-October: Tues-Sun: 10 am – 5 pm
    • Nov-April: Tues-Sun: 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Website: zenith-watches.com

Moulins Souterrains du Col-des-Roches

Image courtesy of GK Sens-Yonn

Visit Moulins Souterrains du Col-des-Roches if you want to tour subterranean mills. The underground factory was set up more than four centuries ago in the karst caves, and today it’s one of the best tourist attractions in Le Locle.

Touring the cave system with the mills is a surreal experience and without a doubt one of the most special experiences you can have in this small city. A museum with an exhibit that explains how the factory operated is included in the tour, and it will help you gain insight into this special place and understand how the underground mills operated for a long time.

What makes this place even better is that tickets are inexpensive. It’s only 7 CHF for an adult ticket, and just 14 CHF if you want an audio guide included with your ticket.

  • Address: Le Col 23, 2400 Le Locle (Google Maps)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults: CHF 15, Seniors, Students & Disabled: CHF 11.5, Children 6-16: CHF 7, Children under 6: free
  • Opening Hours:
    • May-October: Tues-Sun: 10 am – 5 pm
    • Nov-April: Tues-Sun: 2 pm – 5 pm
  • Website: lesmoulins.ch

Château des Monts & The Watch Museum of Le Locle

Château des Monts - watch museum in le locle
Château des Monts – Watch Museum in Le Locle

Château des Monts is home to the Watch Museum of Le Locle, so visiting the elegant manor dating from the 18th century is great because you get to see two special attractions in the city. It’s a two-in-one museum because you get to see rooms decorated with period furnishings, but also rooms that detail the history of watchmaking in Le Locle.

The only downside is that it is way above town so it’s a bit of a hike if you arrive by train. We were walking to Le Locle on a longer hike, so we actually passed the museum on our way down to town. From the train station it is about 20 minutes, 1km uphill. From town it is even further because the town is below the train station!

watch museum le locle info board

The chateau has a very fine collection of watches, and you can see some truly unique pieces. Also, it’s worth noting that the manor grounds warrant a quick tour because you can see some beautiful landscaping and statues. The manor often hosts temporary exhibits in addition to its permanent collection. Tickets for the manor are just 10 CHF for adults, and they also get you a discount for Musée International d’Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds.

  • Address: Rte des Monts 65, 2400 Le Locle (Google Maps)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults: CHF 10, Seniors & Disabled: CHF 8, Students & Children 10-16: CHF 5, Children under 10: free
  • Opening Hours:
    • May-October: Tues-Sun: 10 am – 5pm
    • Nov-April: Tues-Sun: 2pm – 5pm
  • Website: mhl-monts.ch

Musee des Beaux-Art

Musee des Beaux-Art is an absolute must for all art lovers in Le Locle. The museum’s collection includes 500 objects, 400 of which are paintings and around 100 statues. The permanent collection of this art museum mostly promotes Swiss artists, but the museum frequently hosts temporary exhibits that promote international street artists.

The entrance to this museum is only 8 CHF, and it might just be the best money you spend in this city. There’s even a Sunday offer that includes a ticket, a pastry, and a drink for just 12 CHF, which is possibly the best deal for a snack anywhere in Switzerland!

  • Address: Rue Marie-Anne-Calame 6, 2400 Le Locle (Google Maps)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults: CHF 8, Students, Pensioners, Unemployed: CHF 5, Children: free
  • Opening Hours: Weds-Sun: 11 am – 5 pm
  • Website: mbal.ch

Hôtel de Ville Le Locle

Town Hall in Le Locle, Image courtesy of Munea Viajes

Hôtel de Ville Le Locle is the city’s town hall, situated in the western part of the city, close to Le Locle’s most popular restaurants. The town hall is best known for its impressive fresco on its exterior, which can be observed from the park right next to it.

The building is also considered an architectural gem that lies at the center of this charming watchmaking town. Entrance to the city hall is free for everyone, so there’s really no reason not to tour the building. Just make sure to closely examine all the details on the facade and roof before you go inside!

  • Address: Av. de l’Hôtel-de-Ville 1, 2400 Le Locle
  • Ticket Prices: Free
  • Opening Hours:
    • Monday to Friday: 8 am – 11:30 am & 1:45 pm – 4:30 pm
    • Saturday: 9 am – 11:30 am & 1:30 pm to 4 pm
    • Sunday: 9.30 am-11.30 am & 1.30 pm – 3.30 pm
    • Public Holidays: 9 am-11.30 am & 1.30 pm – 4 pm
  • Website: LeLocle.ch

Zoo du Bois du Petit-Château

Zoo du Bois du Petit-Château is situated in La Chaux-de-Fonds, just 20 minutes outside Le Locle. It’s 20 minutes away whether you travel by car, train, or bus. From the main train/bus station in La Chaux-de-Fonds, you can just walk to the zoo or you can take another bus.

At the zoo, you can see many species of mammals, reptiles, and birds native to the European continent. There’s also a playground here, as well as a small pool for children, making this one of the top attractions in the region for anyone who’s traveling in Switzerland with children.

  • Address: Replat du Dahu 1, 2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds (Google Maps)
  • Ticket Prices: Adults: CHF 10, Students, Pensioners, Unemployed: CHF 7, Children 12-16: CHF 5, Children under 12: free
  • Opening Hours: Friday morning at 09:00 am
    • Summer: 8 am – 6 pm
    • Winter: 8 am – 5 pm
  • Website: muzoo.ch

How to Get to Le Locle

If you’re driving through Switzerland, you’ll be glad to know that you can easily drive to Le Locle.

  • Two and a half hours outside Zurich and Lucerne
  • Less than two hours from Interlaken, Basel, and Geneva
  • About an hour from Bern

You can park at the hotels, or one of the several public parking lots in the village. There’s even an SBB Park and Rail lot in the Le Locle, with a daily parking fee of just 4 CHF.

Traveling by train is also possible from all major cities in Switzerland, but it might take a bit longer than driving.

  • From Zurich, it’s only about two and a half hours with train changes in Bern and La Chaux-de-Fonds.
  • From Lucerne, it will take you about two hours and 45 minutes to arrive in Le Locle, with a train change in Olten and then a bus ride from Neuchatel to the watchmaking city.
  • From Geneva, with changes in Neuchatel and La Chaux-de-Fonds. Bern is just an hour and 20 minutes outside Le Locle, and you only need to change trains at La Chaux-de-Fonds.

Courtesy of Wikimedia for the image header.

Map Of Things To Do In Le Locle

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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