Why You Should Visit Rapperswil Castle in Switzerland
Come rain or shine, I can't resist a walk through the medieval town of Rapperswil. With its cobblestone streets and high castle walls, it's like taking a walk back in time.
Rapperswil Castle sits atop Lindenhof hill, which belongs to the canton of St. Gallen. It was formed by glacial debris during the last glacial period in Switzerland.
After a steep hike up Lindenhof hill, I stop to enjoy the view. Through silver skies and winter boughs, I glimpse a view of Rapperswil Castle. A layer of fog obscures the castle, giving it a ghostly glow.
As we approach the castle, a lifesize chess board appears. I can't resist playing a short game. Giant chess boards are quite popular in Switzerland, and you can find them in almost every major Swiss city.
Down below is the lovely Deer Park which is maintained by the Rapperswil-Jona Tourism Association. Roughly a dozen deer graze here with plenty of room and fresh grass.
The castle doors are closed today, but I prefer them this way—their crimson red stripes are striking against the pale sandstone.
Inside the castle is a beautiful courtyard and Polish museum, which seems out of place at first, but it actually has important historical context and represents friendly relations between Poland and Switzerland.
Unfortunately, the museum will not be open much longer. Towards the end 2014, it was announced that the Polish Museum would be removed from Rapperswil Castle.
What will remain is the Polish freedom pillar, pictured here beside Powder Tower.
Around the castle, an archway appears, and I come face to face with St. John's parish church (Stadtpfarrkirche St. Johann) and St. Mary's Chapel (Liebfrauenkapelle).
St. Mary's Chapel is a cemetery chapel that was built alongside St. John's parish church. The cemetary nearby is one of the most beautiful and well-kempt I have ever seen.
Finally, we make our way down Lindenhof hill and back to the city square.
Since Rapperswil Castle is at the highest point in the city of Rapperswil, it boasts a fantastic view of Lake Zurich. There are so many beautiful cities along Lake Zurich, and Rapperswil is definitely one of them.
If you're looking for a quiet and beautiful escape for the day, Rapperswil Castle is the perfect place to visit.
I know it won't be long before I return.
Ready to Visit?
For anyone staying in the city of Zurich, Rapperswil Castle is easily accessible by boat or train. It takes less than an hour to get to Rapperswil city from Zurich's main train station and about an hour from the main station of St. Gallen.
It can be expensive to travel within Switzerland, so Rapperswil is the perfect compromise. Located in the east end of Lake Zurich, it costs less than CHF 20.- to get to by train.
While the boat ride to Rapperswil can take a couple hours, you can combine it with a Cheese Fondue Cruise or Brunch Cruise, so you will be well-fed by the time you arrive.