Get to know Neuchâtel and meet new people
Neuchâtel Tourism, local publications and expat groups offer lots of useful information about activities in your area. Neuchatoi (FR) is an organisation that promotes multicultural events with both Swiss and international people. MySwitzerland can also be a great tool for discovering things to do in Neuchâtel and around the country. Use the Around Me feature on the Hello Switzerland app (on iPhone and Android) to locate points of interest in your vicinity.
Things to do in Neuchâtel
Neuchâtel is famous for its historic castle, quaint cobbled streets and numerous cafés. There are also many festivals throughout the year to enjoy. Approximately 40,000 people attend the Wine Harvest Festival (FR) in September. It lasts for three days and its festivities close down the entire city! The Buskers Festival (FR) in August lasts for five days and is a wonderful event for families. The open air Festi'Neuch music festival takes place on the lakeside. At this major cultural event revellers visit different music stands and tents, dance, and enjoy delicious food. In July there is also the Neuchâtel International fantastic film festival.
Cultural activities in Neuchâtel
Neuchâtel has a wide variety of cultural activities such as theatres and museums to visit. Some cinemas also screen new releases in the original language with subtitles. Maison du concert is a small but cosy music venue. Theatre du Passage offers live performances, music and comedy, mostly in French. Theatre de la Poudriere (FR) is another good option, although its shows are also performed only in French. For museums, the Museum of Fine Arts in La Chaux de Fonds is very nice. Other good options are the Museum of Art and History and the Neuchâtel Natural History Museum (DE/FR).
If you feel like being outside, you have plenty of options. Take a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens (FR) at the University of Neuchâtel. Or join one of the free guided tours (offered in English, French, German and Italian for groups) of the Château de Neuchâtel. From April to October you can also tour the old prisons.
Neuchâtel Tourism has wonderful suggestions for exploring the Jura and the three lakes region. For swimmers, Les Sports (FR) has a swimming pool and beach. The Pool Nid-du-Crô Neuchâtel (FR) has indoor and outdoor pools as well as play and sports areas and a restaurant.
Neuchâtel is known for having a vibrant wine culture. The region is famous for producing Oeil de Pirdrix rosé and Mauler sparkling wine. Several wine cellars (FR) in the area offer wine tastings.
Eating out, restaurants & nightlife
Sample local and international cuisine at one of Neuchâtel's local and international restaurants, of which there are many. Or enjoy a meal on one of the lovely farm restaurants in the area. Expats are known to hang out at the Café du Cerf Irish pub to watch televised sport and live music. Whilst café life is very active in the town, after hours nightlife is fairly quiet. Luckily, Bern and Biel/Bienne are a mere 35 minutes away by train, so there is still a wide choice of bars and nightclubs nearby. Check out the Enjoying Bern article for suggestions in that area.
Leisure and day trips in and around Neuchâtel
- Jump aboard one of the river boats run by Navigation and take a ride over to one of the beautiful nearby villages. Estavayer le Lac (FR) is a pretty village on the lake that has a nice beach and medieval castle. Yverdon-les-bains (French) is another nice option. There you can visit the thermal bath as well as a small castle.
- Château de Grandson is a stunning medieval castle with a museum and guided tours. There is also the option to rent the space for events.
- Explore the watch valley and learn about the origins of watchmaking at the watchmaking museums in Le Locle and La Chaux-de-Fonds.
- Sample the local wines at the castle and wine making museum, Chateau de Boudry and the Caves de Chambleau (FR) in Colombier.
- Take the funicular (FR) from La Coudre to Chaumont to experience panoramic views of the Bernese Alps, Montblanc Massif and the three Jura lakes. A good tour for children is the walk to Cressier. It can take about two hours but it is an easy trail and you can take the funicular back. Chaumont is also home to an adventure park (FR).
- If you need time out to rejuvenate, treat yourself to a getaway at one of the wellness centres. One option is the famous Grand Hotel des Bains in Yverdon les bains.
Photo: swiss-image.ch/Christof Sonderegger