๐Ÿ† The 19 Attractions With a European or Worldwide Record

Many activities in French-speaking Switzerland have unique characteristics in Europe or even in the world. They are listed below with a short description.

Legend:
๐Ÿ† European or world record
๐Ÿ“ Record value
๐Ÿ“ Location
๐Ÿ”— Link to attraction

Wordwide Records(8)


Valรจre Basilica organ


  • ๐Ÿ† Oldest playable organ in the world
  • ๐Ÿ“ Year 1437
  • ๐Ÿ“ Sion (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Basilica of Valรจre

The organ of the Valรจre Basilica in Sion is the oldest playable organ in the world. Relatively simple, it is located at the back of the church opposite the heart. The church was elevated to the rank of a basilica by John Paul II in the 1980s. It is located opposite the hill on which the Tourbillon Castle is built.

The organ of the Basilica of Valรจre.
The organ of the Basilica of Valรจre.

A video on the basilica of Valรจre and the functioning of its organ.

Fribourg funicular


  • ๐Ÿ† Only funicular in the world to work with wastewater.
  • ๐Ÿ“ –
  • ๐Ÿ“ Fribourg (FR)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Fribourg funicular.

The Fribourg funicular is the only funicular in the world to use waste water to move. The principle is simple, the dirty water is injected into the wagon in the upper station, this wagon becomes heavier than the one at the lower station and thus begins to descend while the lower one begins to rise. Each vehicle has a driver whose job is mainly to adjust the speed and lock the cars in the stations using the brake.

 

The Fribourg funicular is not automated, it is driven by a driver here adjusting the speed.
The Fribourg funicular is not automated, it is driven by a driver here adjusting the speed.

A video about the Fribourg funicular.

Grande-Dixence dam


  • ๐Ÿ† World’s highest weight dam
  • ๐Ÿ“ 285 meters
  • ๐Ÿ“ Hรฉrรฉmance – Val d’Hรฉrens (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Grande-Dixence dam

The Grande-Dixence dam is a particularly impressive concrete dam. At nearly 300 metres high and built in the 1950s, it remained for a long time the highest in the world before being overtaken by arch-type dams that use less concrete for their construction. However, it remains the highest in the world in the weight type where the dam alone can handle the water pressure. Nowadays, with the awakening of the dragon, China has the largest and highest dams in the world.

The very impressive Grande-Dixence dam.
The very impressive Grande-Dixence dam.

A video in drone of the Grande-Dixence dam.

Alimentarium of Vevey


  • ๐Ÿ† First museum in the world entirely dedicated to food
  • ๐Ÿ“ 1985
  • ๐Ÿ“ Vevey (VD)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Alimentarium of Vevey

The Alimentarium is built in a building that housed Nestlรฉ‘s headquarters at the beginning of the 20th century. Since the 1980s, he has been assigned to a museum on the theme of food in all its aspects. It is currently still owned by Nestlรฉ, but the museum is managed on a tripartite basis by the Swiss Confederation, the Canton of Vaud and Nestlรฉ, which avoids becoming a temple to Nestlรฉ’s glory.

The Alimentarium with the statue in memory of Charlie Chaplin.
The Alimentarium with the statue in memory of Charlie Chaplin.

The famous fork planted in Lake Geneva just next to the Alimentarium.
The famous fork planted in Lake Geneva just next to the Alimentarium.

A video about the Vevey Alimentarium.

Labyrinthe Aventure


  • ๐Ÿ† Plus grand labyrinthe permanent du monde
  • ๐Ÿ“ About 5’000 mยฒ
  • ๐Ÿ“ Evionnaz (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about Labyrinthe Aventure

Labyrinthe Aventure is the largest permanent labyrinth in the world. The labyrinth consists of cedar trees and the visitor must look for ten hidden treasures inside. It is also a park for children up to 12-15 years old with a slide tower clearly visible from the motorway leading to the Valais and many games such as bouncy castles, games tables, a buoy descent, etc…..

The cedar labyrinth.
The cedar labyrinth.

A video on the Labyrinthe Aventure.

Cathedral of Lausanne


  • ๐Ÿ† Unique organ in the world
  • ๐Ÿ“ –
  • ๐Ÿ“ Lausanne (VD)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the cathedral of Lausanne

Lausanne Cathedral is the most beautiful religious building in French-speaking Switzerland. Its organ, with its design and technical characteristics, is unique in the world. Built in 2003, it has no less than 7,000 pipes.

One will not fail to climb to the top of the belfry, the tower with the bells, to enjoy a pretty view of the city of Lausanne and the Lake Geneva basin.

The organ of Lausanne Cathedral is unique in the world.
The organ of Lausanne Cathedral is unique in the world.

A presentation video of the organ of the Lausanne cathedral.

Aquaparc


  • ๐Ÿ† World’s largest looping slide
  • ๐Ÿ“ 21 metres high
  • ๐Ÿ“ Le Bouveret (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about Aquaparc

The Booster Loop is a unique attraction in the world within the Aquaparc water park. From a height of 21 metres, it offers a looping system in which the visitor reaches speeds of more than 80 km/h.

Aquaparc’s Booster Loop (in orange) with the glass airlock at the top right. Picture: Aquaparc
Aquaparc's Booster Loop (in orange) with the glass airlock at the top right.

A video of the Booster Loop using an on-board camera.

Chรขtelard – les Montuires funicular


  • ๐Ÿ† Steepest two-car funicular railway in the world
  • ๐Ÿ“ 87%
  • ๐Ÿ“ Chรขtelard-Frontiรจre (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about Verticalp

The funicular linking Chรขtelard-Frontiรจre to Montuires is the steepest funicular in the world with two cars. It is part of the VerticAlp tourist attraction, which includes two funiculars and a small train. The top of the attraction is located at the Emosson dam. The visitor will enjoy a beautiful view of the Mont-Blanc massif.

The Verticalp funicular at the Montuires upper station.
The Verticalp funicular at the Montuires upper station.

A promotional video of VerticAlp.

European records (11)


Saint-Lรฉonard Underground Lake


  • ๐Ÿ† Europe’s largest natural and navigable underground lake
  • ๐Ÿ“ 300 meters
  • ๐Ÿ“ Saint-Lรฉonard – Sierre region (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about Saint-Lรฉonard Underground Lake

The underground lake of Saint-Lรฉonard is created in the middle of the 20th century following an earthquake in the central Valais that caused cracks in the cave that contains it. The water that filled the cave begins to flow down and reveals a lake that is the largest natural and navigable underground lake in Europe.

The visit is done with a large boat and a guide that he led it slowly with the help of oars. Information is provided on the history of the cave and its geological composition..

A boat carrying visitors on the underground lake of Saint-Lรฉonard.
A boat carrying visitors on the underground lake of Saint-Lรฉonard.

A video about the largest natural and navigable underground lake in Europe.

Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular


  • ๐Ÿ† Europe’s longest open-air funicular railway
  • ๐Ÿ“ 4191 meters
  • ๐Ÿ“ Sierre (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular.

With its more than four kilometres in length, the Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular is the longest in Europe. It connects the city of Sierre in the Rhรดne Valley with the well-known winter sports resort of Crans-Montana. When it was built in 1911, it consisted of two parts and it was only in 1997 that a single segment was built, reducing the journey time to around 12 minutes.

Near the Montana top station is the Swiss Model Rail Foundation, which may be of interest to children or enthusiasts.

The Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular railway (SMC) near Sierre station.
The Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular railway (SMC) near Sierre station.

A video of the Sierre-Montana-Crans funicular.

Aquatis


  • ๐Ÿ† Largest freshwater aquarium in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ About 1,000 mยณ
  • ๐Ÿ“ Lausanne VD
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about Aquatis Vivarium and Aquarium

Aquatis is the largest freshwater aquarium in Europe. It has several basins for a total volume of about 1,000 m3, which is equivalent to a water cube of 10 metres on each side. Aquatis also has a vivarium with animals such as monitor lizards (varans), snakes or insects, some of which come from the former Lausanne vivarium.

The most impressive place in Aquatis with the tunnel in an aquarium.
The most impressive place in Aquatis with the tunnel in an aquarium.

A presentation video of Aquatis in Lausanne.

Col-des-Roches Undergroud Mills


The underground mills of Col-des-Roches are located in the commune of Le Locle very close to the border with France, they are unique in Europe. The mills operated from the 16th to the 19th century with water from an underground river. At the beginning of the 20th century, they serve as a landfill and then are rehabilitated in 1987.

The visitor travels through a loop inside the rock, allowing him/her to see different types of reconstructed mills. The millers had enlarged the cave by cutting passages in the rock to facilitate access to the mills.

The path on footbridges allowing to see the mills.
The path on footbridges allowing to see the mills.

A video on the underground mills of Col-des-Roches.

Asphalte Mines of Presta


  • ๐Ÿ† Largest asphalt mines during the production period in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ –
  • ๐Ÿ“ Travers (NE)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Asphalt mines

The Travers asphalt mines in the canton of Neuchรขtel were the largest asphalt mines during their production period between the beginning of the 19th century and the end of the 20th century. The asphalt extracted from the rock was melted and transformed into “breads” to be shipped all over the world for road construction. Thus, some roads in Australia, Brazil or New York were built with Travers asphalt. Mining disappears with the appearance of synthetic asphalt produced from the residues of petroleum distillation for the production of gasoline for example.

The guided tour begins with a commented review of a small museum retracing the history of the mines and then continues with a walk inside the mines themselves.

An old bulldozer used at the mines in the 20th century.
An old bulldozer used at the mines in the 20th century.

A video on the guided tour of the Presta asphalt mines.

Montsalvens Dam


  • ๐Ÿ† First double arch dam in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ 1921
  • ๐Ÿ“ Broc (FR)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Montsalvens Dam

The Montsalvens Dam is the first large concrete dam in French-speaking Switzerland. It is the first arch dam in Europe with a double horizontal and vertical curvature.

The Montsalvens dam can be reached by a pleasant loop through the Jogne Gorges and the ruins of the Montsalvens castle with a pretty view of the Gruyรจre region.

The Montsalvens Dam between Broc and Charmey.
The Montsalvens Dam between Broc and Charmey.

A video about the Montsalvens Dam.

Niouc Suspended Bridge


  • ๐Ÿ† Highest suspension bridge in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ 190 meters
  • ๐Ÿ“ Anniviers (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Niouc bridge

The Niouc suspension bridge is the highest suspension bridge in Europe with a height of nearly 200 metres on the bed of the Navisence River in the Ricard Gorges. The bridge, sometimes also called the spider bridge, is known to offer bungee jumping from its middle.

The Niouc bridge sometimes called the spider bridge.
The Niouc bridge sometimes called the spider bridge.

A video on the Niouc bridge.

Great St Bernard Hospice


  • ๐Ÿ† Longest series of meteorological measurements in the entire Alpine region.
  • ๐Ÿ“ Since the middle of the 19th century
  • ๐Ÿ“ Bourg-Saint-Pierre (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Great St Bernard Hospice

The hospice of Great St Bernard (Grand-Saint-Bernard) is a very old religious institution inhabited by canons (chanoines). For more than 150 years, the latter have constituted the longest series of meteorological measurements in the entire Alpine region. The hospice is located right on the Great St Bernard pass.

Some curiosities can be visited here such as the treasure of the hospice, the museum, the kennel where the famous Saint-Bernard dogs are kept in summer or the statue of Bernard de Menthon on the Italian side. The latter was the creator of the first hospice in the 1000’s and it was he who gave his name to the pass.

The site of the hospice on the very spot of the Great St Bernard pass.
The site of the hospice on the very spot of the Great St Bernard pass.

Vufflens Dam


  • ๐Ÿ† Highest keep in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ 60 meters
  • ๐Ÿ“ Vufflens-le-Chรขteau (VD)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Vufflens Castle

Vufflens Castle is a very impressive and beautiful castle located on the heights of Morges in the canton of Vaud. Its keep surrounded by four smaller towers is the highest in Europe. Built in the 15th century, the castle has the particularity of being built entirely of brick. Unfortunately, it is not open to visitors because it is in private hands.

The imposing keep of the castle of Vufflens entirely in brick.
The imposing keep of the castle of Vufflens entirely in brick.

A video about Vufflens Castle from a drone.

Swiss Game Museum


  • ๐Ÿ† Unique museum dedicated exclusively to games in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ –
  • ๐Ÿ“ La Tour-de-Peilz (VD)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Swiss Game Museum

The Swiss Game Museum is located in the main building of the Tour-de-Peilz Castle on the shores of Lake Geneva. It is the only museum dedicated exclusively to gambling in Europe. In particular, it presents the history of the games.

Showcases from the Swiss Game Museum.
Showcases from the Swiss Game Museum.

Tour-de-Peilz Castle.
Tour-de-Peilz Castle.

Mauvoisin Dam


  • ๐Ÿ† Highest arch dam in Europe
  • ๐Ÿ“ 250 meters
  • ๐Ÿ“ Bagnes (VS)
  • ๐Ÿ”— All the details about the Mauvoisin Dam

The Mauvoisin dam is the highest arch dam in Europe with a height of 250 metres. It is built in the 1950s and raised by 13 metres in 1991 to increase the volume of water in the reservoir and thus produce more electricity.

The Mauvoisin dam with its reservoir.
The Mauvoisin dam with its reservoir.

A video of the Mauvoisin dam.