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 heritage) may 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 now boasts a list of 21 impressive buildings that are available to the public to rent.
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 included
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 although the integrity of the properties has been retained, they offer modern amenities that ensure your time spent there is pleasure- and not work-intensive.
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 less trampled 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.
To learn more about the different properties available, including their layout and how many guests they can accomodate, visit here and click on the black text in the right-hand column beneath the property names. To find out what’s available during your vacation period, visit this page and add your preferred arrival and departure dates (please note that the Swiss Heritage reference pages are in German only so if you don’t speak it, you may want to have someone by your side who does.)
Bookings are made by the week, from Saturday to Saturday. There are some short-stay lets (3-to-6 nights) available, but they must be booked a month in advance. A Price List is available here and you will want to read up on this important practical information before going ahead with your booking. I hope you find something just to your liking!
You can read more about Switzerland’s historic properties in the Category: Swiss Heritage’s “Loveliest”.
All photos ©Patrimoine Suisse.