At Melide's Swissminiatur, close to Lugano, you can visit Switzerland... in an hour. In the short while, enough for a walk in a blossoming park with over 1500 plants, you can admire the Swiss Confederation's most representative monuments and places: castles, historic buildings, churches, cathedrals, squares, rustic houses, railways, mountains and lakes. Everything rigorously rebuilt in a 1:25 scale. The biggest outdoor museum of miniatures in Switzerand, on a 14,000 square meter surface, offers 129 miniature models and a dense railway network with 18 trains and over 3,500 meters of tracks.
It's truly fascinating to enter the miniature world of Swiss railway history: a network of 3,560 meters of miniature railways winds through the park and 18 trains run on the tracks. You can watch the boats floating on the lakes; admire the cable cars and funiculars ascending and descending the mountains; glimpse at the cars rushing by on the freeways; while planes are preparing to take off at Zurich airport!
In Melide there are 129 models, in the rare 1:25 scale, of the most famous buildings, monuments and means of transport in Switzerland. The miniatures, faithfully reproduced in detail, include the Rapperswil Castle, the Chillon Castle and the Bellinzona Castles, the Parliament Building of Bern and the Piazza Grande of Locarno.
Every year tourists from around the world visit this park located on the banks of Lake Ceresio (from Lugano it is also easily accessible by boat or by train) and surrounded by mountains including Monte Generoso, San Salvatore and San Giorgio (the latter is a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
"Ours is a family business - explains Director Joël Vuigner -. It was the idea of my grandfather, inspired by the Madurodam a similar park in Holland. To choose the location of the park he went all over Switzerland in search of the perfect match. In the end, their attention was brought to Melide, also thanks to the extraordinary landscape between lake and mountains. At the beginning, in 1959 - continues Vuigner - there were 10-12 models and the visitors were mostly Italian tourists coming to Switzerland to shop. Little by little, the offer grew and by the 1980s there were already around 100 models. Today, we are equipped with 129 miniature modes, a thick railway network, lakes, bridges, freeways, cable cars and funiculars. A precision manual work, faithful to the original and carried out with great passion in the Swissminiatur laboratories."