Tarasp – a hidden gem in the Swiss Alps

I enjoy traveling in Switzerland and together with my husband we go on trips as much as possible, but some places are too far away for a day trip or even for a short weekend. Some time ago, when we were preparing a plan for our visitors, we were sure we would go to the places that we wanted to visit for a long time but they are more than 3 hours drive from our place, and so we did.

Today, I will take you on a trip to a charming village Tarasp. Don’t you worry! It’s not going to be boring 😊 There is a beautiful castle with a long history that we will visit too!

TARASP

Tarasp is a treasure hidden between the far stretching Swiss Alps in the canton Graubünden, close to the border with Austria and Italy. The village has an interesting history as during the Habsburg reign in the 15th century it was an Austrian exclave within the old Swiss Confederacy. All the establishments around the village bought their freedom from the Habsburg reign but Tarasp couldn’t do it as they would have to pay double the price because of the castle situated on top of the hill in the village.

The village was finally included into the Swiss Confederation in 1803.

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Tarasp is so small that it takes you just a few minutes to get to a hill nearby and enjoy the mountains in all their beauty. We had some time to walk around as we came a little too early for our guided tour.

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TARASP CASTLE

The castle Tarasp can only be visited with a guide and during the winter months the tour is only available each Friday at 2 PM. The entrance fee is 15 CHF per person. It is privately owned, and it is not allowed to take any photos inside of the castle.

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We were waiting in front of the gate for our tour guide to arrive. We were so excited to finally get inside..

The guide arrived exactly at 2 PM (The Swiss would never arrive late) and took us up the hill to the castle where we purchased our tickets.

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When I came up I have realized that everyone was waiting for me as I was taking photos on the way 😊

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But how could I just pass by such views without stopping by and taking photos? Those people don’t know what they’re missing 😊

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The castle Tarasp was built around 1040 by the lords of Tarasp. Over the centuries it changed the ownership many times. Family Hesse gave the ownership of the castle to Tarasp in exchange for maintaining it.

Not Vital – current owner

In 2016 the village sold the castle to Not Vital, a contemporary artist born in 1948 in Sent which is located nearby the castle. He enjoys traveling and lives in Beijing, Rio de Janeiro and he spends a few months each year in the castle as well. His artwork is placed everywhere in the castle and this is one of the reasons why it’s not allowed to take photos there. He acquired Tarasp for CHF 7.9 million.

I would call his art provocative and bizarre. He is inspired by nature and mainly by animals. We saw many of his paintings and sculptures. I will unfortunately never forget one of his artworks.

There is a room in the castle where you can see 16 round shaped silver sculptures (I would call them balls, but it somehow doesn’t fit there 😊) placed on the floor. You would think it’s nothing special. Let me tell you that you’re wrong. When he was visiting one of the countries in the Middle East, he was asked to create this artwork. But he didn’t want to create some boring silver ‘balls’. He saw a farmer with a camel. He asked the farmer if he could slaughter the camel. It was not an issue for him as long as he gets money which he got. What do you think happened? Not Vital (maybe not personally) cut the camel in 16 pieces and filled the ‘balls’ with them. I was feeling sick when I heard this story from the guide.

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The castle stands on a huge rock more than 200 meters above the river. There is no access to water and therefore there is no well, just a cistern that is collecting rain water. This is a small price to pay for the views that you can admire when you live there 😊

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Dr. Karl Lingner – former owner

When you walk up the hill you can admire this magnificent construction. The walls are 2 meters thick and you would think that nobody would dare to try and occupy the castle. This is not true. The castle was attacked several times and it also burned twice. Over the years it went through many renovations.

The most extensive renovation happened when the castle was acquired by Dr. Karl Lingner. He bought it for CHF 20,000 and invested amount that is equivalent to CHF 30 billion today for reconstruction.

He wanted to build a beautiful home for him and his lovely Julia Serda. He included all modern features into the reconstruction. The luxury such as flush toilet, electricity, central heating, one tap for hot and cold water could not be missed. His love deserved just the best!

He loved music and placed the biggest privately owned organ in Europe into one of his magnificent rooms decorated with wood panel walls.

Unfortunately, he never got to live in the castle as he unexpectedly died in 1916 before the reconstruction was finished. As he was not married and he didn’t mention his Julia in his testament she didn’t inherit the castle.

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It took us a bit longer than expected but now we are finally at the courtyard and will enter the castle soon 😊

We will visit former knights’ hall, ballrooms, bed chambers, guest rooms and ancient chapel. What we didn’t know at this moment was that we will get to see the kitchen (which is normally not available) as well. Somebody asked a question about size of the kitchen and the guide let us go inside and check it out. She also told us that the castle can be rented out for CHF 6,000 per night. This doesn’t include the food of course 😊

Before we entered the castle we got to see some peaks of the mountains in Sesvenna Range of the Alps.

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I can’t take you with me inside but I can show you the views from the top floor of the castle 😊 I was trying to take some photos inside but we were a small group and our guide was watching us.

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Before we went back to our car we were allowed to walk around the castle and take some pictures. The sun was setting down and I loved the light..

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Last view of the castle before we leave..

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When you go to this region in November you will be surprised that it’s very difficult to find a restaurant or a cafe that is open. All places were closed in Tarasp. Even the hotels! November is between the summer and the winter season and there are not that many people visiting places around here. On one hand it’s great as there was literally nobody just a couple of locals who joined the tour with us. On the other hand it’s not that convenient when you need to use a bathroom (own experience) 😊

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I hope that you have enjoyed the tour even though you actually couldn’t enter the castle with me.

Thank you for reading,

Cheers,
Martina

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