Saturday, September 5, 2009

The Swiss Chalets of Ballenberg

One of the highlights of our trip to Switzerland was the day we spent at the Ballenberg Museum. This Open Air museum is situated on over 160 acres, in the Haslital Brienz-Meiringen-Hasliberg region and nestled in a valley surrounded by mountains.

Over 100 buildings are separated into 13 building groups representing the various regions of Switzerland. The different construction techniques of the farmhouses, barns, cheese making and storage sheds, outbuilding, and even operating mills are represented for each region. The buildings, some as old as the 1500's, reflect the daily lives of both the wealthy and poorer day laborers of the periods. These buildings have been moved to the museum and preserved in natural settings that gives you the feeling of actually being able to step back into that time.

Museum workers also dress in period clothes, perform the daily chores of the farmers, craftsmen, and artisans of their respective era. We saw cooking over an open fire, lace making, and workers tending to the many farm animals and gardens on the property. The Apothecary above was a beautiful building surrounded by an amazing herbal garden.
Inside were rooms filled with herb and areas where medicines would have been prepared.
One of several thatched roof houses.
I was impressed with the iron detailing on this door. What incredible craftsmanship.
A poorer laborer's home with grain storage under the living area.
A wealthy land owner's home - notice the carved wood detailing on this building.
The inside of this home - the lovely furniture suggests that this family was very well off.
The diversity of the architecture was amazing. Another area of Ballenberg that had a Hansel and Gretel feeling.
Here is a close up of the window boxes and the fruit trees.

The interior with traditional furnishings - Notice the corner cupboard shelf. Charming!

Yet another area of Ballenberg - the building detail and the window boxes were beautiful. My children especially loved this house. It had many floors and an attic bunk-room. A traditional built in bed. Though hard to see, this one was built in a small alcove by the stove to keep the family warm during the winter months. This building was extraordinary. The detailed carving all over this structure made this a unique architecural treasure. How lucky this is preserved this for all to see.
To be honest, I was a bit nervous that my children and husband would be bored and begging to leave. Just the opposite happened - it was my feet that wore out as they excitedly explored each and every building.

Ballenberg Museum is a place to visit if you are ever in that area; an incredible Swiss treasure and a wonderful day for us!! For more information check out their website.


  1. how fun!!
    i have never been, only ridden through the country on a train.

    the flat trees, slapped on the side of the homes are far-out.i love 'em.

    ps thanks for your comments

  2. Very nice, thanks for the treat!


  3. I have enjoyed the images !!!! Beautiful !
    The thatched roofs are beautiful isn't it?

    Gina, thanks for your comment on my post the other day!

    Have a nice weekend,

  4. In as few as words as possible (most difficult for me to do) -- THANK YOU FOR THE MARVELOUS TOUR! Enjoyed it immensely. -Brenda-

  5. Lovely pictures Gina. We visited Lugano, Switzerland in July and I wish we'd had more time to visit other areas and see some true Swiss Chalets. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!

  6. I have not been to Switzerland in years and your lovely photos have encouraged me to cross the border the next time I am in France. Wonderful thatched roof and the bed alcove is oh so charming. Looks like you had a wonderful time.

  7. Wow what beautiful photos! If we ever make it to Switzerland, Ballenberg Museum will be the first place we stop! I'm so glad you shared these!

  8. What great pictures of Switzerland. It makes me want to go back in a bad way. I hope you had a great time on your trip.

  9. Incredible pictures - Switzerland is high on my list of places to visit! It looks like you had a wonderful trip.

  10. Ab-sol-utely beautiful pictures~! Just love the house style and thatched rooves.

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed that post.....I really want to go there now. I have been to a similar place in Wales but it wasn't anything like this one in Switzerland. These beautiful buildings and the interiors are lovely. Many thanks for showing us.I feel as if I've been round with you. XXXX

  12. Half-timber homes, gorgeous window boxes filled with cascading blooms, seen all over Europe are wonderful to have a look at. Love the espaliered trees on the wall in the first picture.

  13. These homes are so beautiful, even the poor laborer's house. Thank you for taking us along with your photos, such a treat! There is nothing in today's homebuilding that compares to these beauties, is there? So much craftsmanship and soul in old homes.

    Blessings ~ Eileen @ Star's Fault

  14. Absolutely beautiful....I felt like singing...the hills are alive lalalalal
    Can't even believe how much I love that first photo of the espalier...also can't believe you came home!
    Thanks Gina for sharing!

  15. Wow, I can't believe all that is in one place. I am putting down on my list of places to visit.

  16. Beautiful....I have been to Switzerland but Geneve only...thanks for this fabulous tour Gina. I love seeing places like this.

  17. I love the espaliered fruit trees. The architecture is so charming. And I am impressed with your husband and kids - mine would have been in open rebellion!

  18. Those are lovely pictures! I've visited the Ballenberg museum last year. I highly recommend it.


Please leave comments! I love to hear from you!

But since we have had a recent influx of Anonymous comments, I will not post comments which do not have an email account listed with them. This will cut down on spam.

If you are inquiring about a paint color, finish, etc, please take a moment to read through all the comments. More often than not it has been identified. If not, please send me a direct email.

Finally, please no advertisers. Thanks so much for reading!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.