Fancy holidaying in a former hay barn? Farmhouse or Alpine hut? If so, Swiss Heritage has you in mind

The beautifully restored “Scheune Barn” in Beatenberg, canton Bern.

If this holiday season you’re interested in renting a home that offers something out of the ordinary then the Fondation Vacances au cœur du patrimoine (the Foundation for Holidays at the Heart of Heritagemay have just what you’re looking for.

Founded in 2005 by the Swiss Heritage Society with one goal in mind — to purchase, renovate, and then rent as vacation homes endangered historic properties — the Foundation boasts a constantly growing list of impressive properties.


Top: Die Scheune barn outside; left: before renovation; right: after.


I love the look of the 200-year old “Scheune” barn at Beatenberg in canton Bern. You would never imagine that originally the upper floor served as a hay loft and cows were housed on the ground floor.

It stood empty for 18 years and was in a state of collapse before being transformed into a sleek, spacious 2-person apartment in 2007. Its location makes it ideal for long walks in summer and autumn and for skiing in winter.

I can just picture the fire place roaring and wine glasses clinking after a super day out on the ski slopes.

Heritage with mod-cons

Scattered primarily across Central and Eastern Switzerland the renovated properites also include former farmhouses, Alpine huts, and what were once shared accommodations for manual labourers.

Modern comforts are not sacrificed on the alter of tradition so while the integrity of the properties has been retained, they offer modern amenities that ensure your time spent there is pleasure- and not work-intensive.


Before & after: Huber House in Bellwand, a wood-and-stone Alpine structure


This innovative project allies the preservation of historic monuments with the tourism industry and offers a win-win scenario: saving architecture of significant historial value and offering novel vacation opportunities.

Discovering untrampled parts of Switzerland

These buildings encompass a variety of architectural styles and eras, and the decor varies between traditional rustic charm on the one hand and sleek modernity on the other.

Situated in small villages or set apart on their own patch of hillside, many offer the perfect getaway for bikers, walkers, skiers and explorers who want to revisit or discover an off-the-beaten-track part of Switzerland.


(L) Scheune Hay Barn. BE (C) Casa Döbeli, Russo, TI (R) Stone House, Brusio, GR


To learn about the different properties available by region, type of architecture, arrival and departure date, and number of beds, consult this directory (please note the reference pages are in German and French only so you may want to have someone by your side in case you don’t speak either.)

The Fondation (Ferien im Baudenkmal) is also available on Facebook. ♦

You can read more about Switzerland’s historic properties in the Category: Swiss Heritage’s “Loveliest”.

All photos ©Patrimoine Suisse.

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