It is possible to book a room in a Swiss castle or other well-preserved old buildings. Many have been converted from fortresses into youth hostels.This content was published on July 13, 2002 - 10:37
In his first novel "Rosshalde", Hermann Hesse described the old "Belair" villa perched above the Rhine Falls as "a dilapidated old manor house with overgrown garden walks, moss-covered seats, crumbling steps and an impenetrable jungle of a park".
Much has changed since the novel was published in 1914. Since Hesse's less-than-flattering description, the 16th century villa - located outside the northern city of Schaffhausen - has undergone restoration and been turned into a youth hostel.
It is one of many buildings listed by the Swiss Heritage Society that either serves as a hotel, hostel or group accommodation.
The 13th century "Mariastein" castle is only 15 kilometres outside of Basel near the border with France. It has 84 beds either in dormitory accommodation or double rooms. Once a ruin, the building was rebuilt in the 1930s.
The youth hostel "am land" forms part of the old town walls of the baroque city of Solothurn. It served many functions through the ages until it was renovated in 1994 and converted for its present purpose. Today, it is a blend of ancient and modern styles.
The railway company, Südostbahn, offers the most unusual accommodation of the lot. It hires out 44 beds in old railway carriages. The train, which dates from the 1960s, can either be found in the town of Sattel in canton Schwyz or Rapperswil on Lake Zurich.
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