You can start the virtual stroll at the place of your choice by selecting a key location from the list below.
Along the northern wall
At the time of our shooting (end of August 2022), the renovation work had apparently not been completed and a metal enclosure was blocking the view of the esplanade and of the entrance to the collegiate church. Our view is directed towards the crenellations of the wall, and if we continue to the right we will arrive at the chemin de ronde that goes around the castle.
Along the western wall
A few surprises await visitors in the wooded area above the esplanade of the collegiate church, along the battlements of the western wall: three wolf sculptures by the Italian artist Davide Rivalta stand guard over two very old stone benches.
Castle courtyard
The castle of Neuchâtel is perched on a ridge overlooking the heart of the town. The residence of the lords, then of the counts of Neuchâtel from the end of the 12th century, it was occupied from the 16th century by governors and then, for the last two centuries, by the cantonal administration. Most of the buildings date back to the 15th century and the 12th century collegiate church is just a few steps away.
Castle door
A fun experiment: whisper in front of one of the grooves around the door while someone else sticks his/her ear to the same groove on the other side. You will discover a little-known acoustic feature of the castle entrance!
Cenotaph of the Counts of Neuchâtel
This group of statues dedicated to the memory of Count Louis of Neuchâtel and his family is a cenotaph, i.e. a tomb that does not contain a body. Count Louis himself had this monument built in 1372, a year before his death. If you walk behind the cenotaph, you will find a door that leads directly to the cloister.
Chemin de ronde (1)
Here we are at the beginning of the walkway, which runs around the castle and ends at the foot of its lake-side façade. The facades of the castle have recently been renovated and work is underway to restore the terraced gardens on the hillside, which were built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Only the pedestrian passage linking the chemin de rue to Rue de l'Ecluse at the foot of the hill remains inaccessible.
Chemin de ronde (10)
Here we are at the southern entrance to the chemin de ronde (sentry walk), the entrance gate to which is located on Rue de la Collégiale. Our virtual stroll takes you all around the castle, starting here or on the other side, north of the collegiate church esplanade.
Chemin de ronde (2)
The view of the city to the mountain side is not very picturesque, but the walkway goes all the way around the castle and offers impressive views of the walls and towers in some places.
Chemin de ronde (3)
Guided tours of the castle (duration approx. 45 min) are given at 2 pm, 3 pm, 4 pm and 5 pm (1 April - 31 May: weekends and public holidays; 1 June - 30 September: Tuesday to Sunday). The guides wait for the visitors at the porch of the castle. Price: CHF 5.00 per person from 16 years of age (cash only). The 5 p.m. tour continues with a visit to the Prison Tower below the castle.
Chemin de ronde (4)
Here we are at the north-east corner of the castle, where a wall runs down to Rue de l'Ecluse below. In 2022 the path down the wall was still closed, as the renovation work had not yet been completed. Let's go through the wall to discover the eastern façade of the castle.
Chemin de ronde (5)
On the east side of the castle, the view from the parapet walk is much more interesting than on the north side. The roofs of the town centre can be seen, with the top and clock face of the Tower of Diesse. On the horizon, Mount Vully forms a hump on the other side of the lake, masking Lake Murten, which lies just behind.
Chemin de ronde (6)
The castle is very impressive when viewed from the walkway that runs along the foot of its walls. Until 1843, the Seyon, a river that rises in the Val-de-Ruz, flowed around the north and east of the rocky spur where it stands, making it an almost impregnable citadel.
Chemin de ronde (7)
This small passage, which runs under one of the castle's towers, will lead us to the watchtower which we see protruding slightly to the left of the wall. To its left, we see the top of the Tower of Diesse, built in the 10th century and rebuilt around 1250, which was once part of the medieval fortifications.
Chemin de ronde (8)
The sentry walk runs all around the castle, offering some fine views over the town, for example from the openings in this watchtower. The large red clock protruding from the roofs is that of the Diesse Tower, a landmark building in the old town.
Chemin de ronde (9)
On the south side of the castle, you can see the flags of the twelve cantons that made up the Helvetic Confederation in 1512... although Neuchâtel only became a canton in 1814. The county of Neuchâtel was occupied from 1512 to 1529 by the Swiss cantons during the Italian wars, as a preventive measure, to protect the Confederation against the French.
Collegiate church door
The collegiate church of Neuchâtel, like many of the city's buildings, is built of yellow Hauterive stone, a solid limestone with beautiful light qualities when bathed in sunlight. The entrance on the west side is Gothic in style and dates from the 13th century. At the other end of the collegiate church, three Romanesque apses in Rhenish style form the oldest part, dating back to the 12th century.
Collegiate church esplanade (1)
In front of the entrance to the collegiate church, the statue of the reformer Guillaume Farel has been holding the Bible at arm's length since 1875, in a rather peremptory manner. In the past, it was facing the faithful coming out of Sunday worship, who were no doubt impressed. Nowadays, he holds it up to a small tourist train loaded with indifferent visitors...
Collegiate church esplanade (2)
In front of the entrance to the collegiate church is a large paved esplanade in the middle of which stands a statue of Guillaume Farel (1489-1565), the French preacher who was one of the pioneers of the Protestant reformation and played an important role in the expansion of Protestantism in French-speaking Switzerland.
Dungeon and castle walls
We are here facing the western wall of the castle, on the footbridge linking the enclosure to the Prince's Garden, a wooded park whose history we will tell you about another time, when we have shot a new series of panoramas in Neuchâtel...
Entrance of cloister
When we shot the panoramas in 2022, the cloister housed an interesting exhibition of photographs illustrating the major renovation of recent years. The passages to the chemin de ronde and to the entrance of the castle had been definitely closed, but the small door leading behind the cenotaph of the Counts of Neuchâtel, inside the collegiate church, still existed.
In the collegiate church
The construction of the collegiate church began around 1190 and was completed around 1270-1280, evolving over the decades: the older parts are in the Rhenish Romanesque style, the roof covered with glazed tiles is close to the Burgundian style, the upper parts and the cloister are in the Gothic style. It was beautifully restored from 2009 to 2022.
North door
At the corner of the cloister, this small door leads directly into the collegiate church. It leads behind the Cenotaph of the Counts of Neuchâtel, the large multicoloured 14th century monument in the transept.
Rue de la Collégiale
From the top of Rue de la Collégiale, go straight on to the castle gate. Continue to the left to reach the esplanade of the collegiate church. Go down a little and take the gate on the right to walk around the castle along the chemin de ronde.
South esplanade
The southern part of the esplanade overlooks Rue de la Collégiale. A fountain in the Louis XVI style, dating from 1770-1800, the period of Prussian rule, stands at the point where Rue du Château (left) merges with Rue Jeanne-de-Hochberg (right).
Statue of Guillaume Farel
The monumental statue of Guillaume Farel in front of the Collegiate Church, created in 1875, shows an almost terrifying preacher, brandishing the Bible and crushing a haloed head with his foot, probably symbolising Catholicism. Rather than exalting faith, the statue emphasises religious intolerance...
The cloister
The magnificent cloister on the northern façade is much more recent than the collegiate church. It was actually built in the 19th century in a neo-Gothic style. Only a few remains of the old Romanesque cloister remain, which can be admired against the wall of the collegiate church, on the south side.
The dungeon
We are here near the passageway that leads to the dungeon sentry walk. Behind us, a few steps away, is the staircase going down to the footbridge that spans the ditch dug in the rock, protecting the western wall of the castle.
View over city and lake
At the eastern end of the esplanade of the collegiate church, you will have a beautiful view of the town and the lake, with the Vully mountain in the background, and an orientation table will allow you to learn more.
The Pictorial Guides

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