Barn Hotel: Sleeping on Straw in Switzerland (Schlafen im Stroh)
In the past, sleeping in the barn was reserved for stable hands. Or for those unlucky kids (or husbands) who were punished for misbehaving. But these days, people actually pay for the experience.
I was one of those people. (You shouldn’t be surprised though — I’ve even paid to stay in a prison cell!)
Schlafen im Stroh (sleeping on straw) is actually a thing in Switzerland. It’s commonly done by hikers who want a cheap place to crash for the night, shower, and have something to eat before or after a hike. And Switzerland — being a well-known hiking paradise — has these ‘barn hotels’ in almost every part of the country.
But you don’t actually have to be a hiker to stay there. There are people who travel all the way across the globe just for the experience of sleeping in a barn. Like this Malaysian girl, for example.
In September 2019, my travel partner and I had the privilege of staying with the Signers’ family on their farm in Wasserauen.
How to Book the "Sleeping on Straw" Experience
You can make a booking by contacting them directly on their website. Stefan, the person in charge of online bookings and enquiries, is very responsive. Alternatively, you can book via Airbnb. If it’s your first time on the platform, use this link to get $40 off your first stay.
Rooms at the Barn Hotel
- Room 1 for 12 people (new guesthouse)
- Room 2 for 6 people (barn)
- Room 3 for 8 people (upper floor, beside hay room)
- Room 4 for 6 people (barn, for guests with pets)
Children (up to 3 years)
Children (3 – 12 years)
Children (12 – 16 years)
Adults (16 years and above)
Dinner is available with advance booking:
- Spaghetti with salad (CHF 10)
- Pasta with cheese, special sausage, and apple sauce (CHF 15)
- Appenzell cheesecake with salad (CHF 12)
What to Expect at the Barn Hotel
The farm wasn’t that hard to find, despite my non-existent sense of direction. Trying to enter was a little confusing though. There was a small gate that led to the barn but it was blocked by what I assumed to be an electric fence to keep the goats in.
Now I had no idea what an electric fence was supposed to look like, but I wasn’t going to take the chance. There was a house in the other direction, so I decided to check there instead.
The problem was that to get to the house, I had to walk across the field, but the grass was so green and pretty I wasn’t sure if I should step on it. So, I had to go round to the main gate, from which there was a cleared path leading to the house. Silly, I know.
There was no one in the house. It was only a few minutes later that someone emerged from the barn. He introduced himself as Klaus, Stefan’s father. Klaus spoke very little English but it was enough to relay to us everything we should know.
The barn had two floors. We got the smaller room on the ground floor, which could fit up to 6 persons. Since there was no other guest during our arrival, we got the whole place to ourselves. Adjacent to our room was the shared bathroom.
What impressed me the most was how clean the place was. Despite there being a bed full of loose straw, the floor was clear of any stray pieces. And despite there being a cowshed just next door, there was no unpleasant smell.
The bathroom was spotless. It came with a proper toilet, a sink, and a hot shower. In fact, it was much better than my bathroom back home! I don’t know why, but I had been expecting something more primitive — like a pit latrine, or a bucket of water for showering with. Then I remembered I wasn’t in Asia anymore.
On the wall of our barn, there was a poster with pictures of the Signers. They’re quite a big family.
But during our stay, Klaus was the only one who was there to attend to us. His wife Ruth lived on another farm about 10 kilometers away, which she managed on her own.
Their “Schlafen im Stroh” farmstay is only available in the warmer months. Once it starts to grow colder, Klaus (and the animals) will move to the other farm, where it is warmer.
The couple has 5 kids — Stefan being the oldest among them. It was his idea to turn their summer residence into a farmstay business.
The goats on the Signers farm were some of the cutest I’ve seen. They liked to nibble on everything, including my jacket, my hair, and my hands. In the stable next door, there were around 10 cows being milked.
This would be stating the obvious, but the farm would be paradise for those who love animals and hell for those who don’t because you’ll practically be living among them. In the morning, the sound of cowbells is going to wake you up and keep you awake for the rest of the day.
Then there will be other sounds and antics that you’ll have to deal with. At one point, we heard a strange scratching sound on the wall of our barn. Soon enough, we found out who the culprit was.
What It’s Like to Sleep on Straw
It was only mid-September and we had several layers of clothes on. Yet, we were still freezing. They did provide wool blankets, but we thought we were only allowed to take one per person, so that was what we did.
But the next day at breakfast, when we met the other guests and they told us they had slept under SIX layers of blankets, we wished we had taken more.
The breakfast was the highlight and the perfect ending of our stay. There was an extensive spread of breads, cheeses, meatloaves, yogurt, muesli, and jams, all of which were homemade. The eggs, yogurt, milk, butter, and cheeses were all sourced from the farm. I don’t mind having that kind of breakfast everyday. What a wholesome way to live!
Additional Info on the Barn Hotel
- The farmstay is only available in the warmer months. Please check their availability before planning your trip.
- Not recommended for infants (under 2 years old).
- Not recommended for people with allergies.
- No smoking! The whole place is made of wood and straw.
- No parties or events.
- Moderate alcohol consumption is allowed.
- Please be considerate to other guests. Click here to get tips for staying in a shared accommodation.
- Pets are allowed, but must be supervised at all times.
- The rooms do not have heaters. Bring warm clothes.
- Bring your own towels and toiletries.
- If you have super-sensitive skin, bring a sleeping bag. There are also sleeping bags for rent at CHF 3 each.
- A barbecue and simple kitchen are available for shared use, free of charge.
- There are electric sockets but no Wi-Fi.
Final Thoughts on Sleeping on Straw in Switzerland
Is it good value for money? Yes, I think it is great value for money. Knowing how expensive Switzerland can get, CHF 30 is a steal. Especially with the kind of breakfast we got.
Is it worth traveling across the world for? Absolutely!
I had always dreamed of living a simple and self-sustaining lifestyle on a farm (if only I knew how to keep a plant alive for more than a week!), and this farmstay gave me the opportunity to experience that even if it was just for a day.
What was the most unusual hotel/guesthouse/homestay you’ve ever stayed at? Share your experience in the comment section below.
WOW! I had never heard of this type of experience/accommodation. I’m not sure I’m adventurous enough to try it out, but I’ll live vicariously through you!
It was a really cool experience though, Jac. The breakfast was to die for!
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I know the area well as I done quite a bit of hiking here and love checking out the farm animals when I walk across some fields before hitting up further into the mountains. However as a former farmer in my younger days, I have tried sleeping on straw. For me, it was not nice and very itchy. I still can’t believe they do this in Switzerland and sell it as an experience to tourists (they do in other parts like Bernese Oberland region). I seriously wouldn’t do it again, I rather pitch up the tent outside. 😀 Did you get bitten by any bugs whilst doing this? I know I did. 😛
No, I didn’t get bitten by any bugs. It was much cleaner and tidier than I expected, to be honest. A little itchy perhaps, but I should have put more blankets.
I think it’s a great business idea. As a city girl, I had never been in a farm, and I was really looking forward to this experience. I must say I wasn’t disappointed. It was one of the major highlights of my trip 😄. I would do it again.
This is so cool! I didn’t know that this was an option when traveling through Switzerland, and with this country being high on my bucket list I’ll definitely have to give it a try. I love how it depicts a minimalistic lifestyle and gives you a true new experience, which is something I always look for when traveling. Thanks for sharing!
I totally agree, Chloe! Like you, I always seek new experiences when I travel, and I’m especially attracted to things that are a bit unusual, quirky, or downright bizarre. And I’m also a big fan of minimalistic, self-sustaining lifestyle. I was so excited when I first found out about this barn hotel. You should definitely give it a try if you go to Switzerland. 😊
Incredible! I had never heard about this kind of experience before while traveling in Switzerland, so it was very fascinating to read about it here. The photos really brought it to life – before I saw the one of your room I was imagining a literal barn but this is a solid structure that just happens to have straw beds! Good shout on bringing a sleeping bag, I think the itchiness would be a problem.
Hey Jamie, I suppose different farmstays are different, but here it’s really clean and organized. And like you said, this is a solid structure that happens to have straw beds — although I probably wouldn’t have minded if it had been a real barn either. If your skin is prone to itchiness, definitely bring a sleeping bag. Otherwise, just pile on the blankets. Have fun! 🙂
I remember when, as a child, I slept on straw in my grandparents’ barn. But I had no idea that it is possible and available as cheap accommodation in Switzerland. It’s a great idea for cheap and exciting overnight. The farm looks fabulous.
Oh, lucky you, Agnes! I had never stepped foot on a farm until I was 30. Good thing somebody came up with this brilliant idea. Apart from providing cheap accommodation for hikers and budget travelers, it’s also perfect for city people who wouldn’t have had the chance to experience it otherwise. I had a fabulous time!
Wow! This is really a cool experience! First time I heard about it, and I want to experience it myself. The most unusual homestay I’ve ever experienced was when we went to Wae Rebo village in Flores, Indonesia. We slept on a floor on a lampit mat in a traditional house, together with other visitors. Of course, we tried not to eat a lot and touched the chilli paste because, you know, the bathroom condition. Haha…
Hahaha, I went to Wae Rebo too, Umiko. I saw the communal sleeping area and had lunch there, but I didn’t spend the night and I didn’t check out the bathroom. But that sounds like a cool experience! I think you would really love this barn hotel concept in Switzerland. And most importantly, everything’s very clean, even the bathroom.
Wow! This is so interesting and novel for me. I had not even heard of sleeping on the straw and to do so in Switzerland sounds like an adventure. I would love to try this out sometime for sure. And with that heavenly breakfast and low price, it sure sounds like a deal.
It was a great adventure for us indeed, Soumya, especially since we had never been on a farm before. It was our dream to experience the greenery of the Swiss countryside that we previously only saw in pictures. And you’re right, it was an amazing deal, with that heavenly breakfast. One of our best travel memories ever. 🙂
When I visited Switzerland, I always felt that the best way to experience it would be to stay in one of the meadows. Your post proves me right. Sleeping on the hay, with farm animals and experiencing the day to day life of the farm is definitely amazing. One that allows you to experience the true culture of the place. I so envy you
It was an amazing experience, Ami — one that I would highly recommend to anyone. I had always wanted to stay in one of the meadows in Switzerland, and my dream came true. I hope you’ll get to experience it too someday 🙂
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Gone are the days, when only luxury experiences sell, these days its all about experiences and Sleeping in a barn on straws ! It cant get any more rustic than this. It’s like back to basics.
I feel these kind of experiences are required, for people to take a step back and see where they have come, but still to learn to be content with the basics.
Very nicely put, Arnav. I’m glad those days are gone. And I’m glad travel is no longer reserved for the rich. Now, there are cheaper options for everything, this barn hotel being one example. I think this concept of eschewing luxury and going back to basics is not really new. For a long time, people have gone hiking in the wilderness, slept in tents, and hunted their own food. This barn hotel is quite a luxury in comparison.
Wah.. satu pengalaman yg menarik tentu seronok dapat travel hingga ke sana dan mengenali budaya org2 di sana
Ya, kak Halimah. Memang satu pengalaman berharga bila dapat merasai sendiri cara hidup orang di sana.
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Actually I am not surprised that one would pay to sleep in a barn (or that you paid to sleep in a prison cell) because I’d do it too! Just for the experience…and it seems like I won’t regret it! I know its probably not as glamourous as some may think but the idea to experience a certain type of lifestyle and I’m totally in for it! Its pretty cheap too.
Oh, Medha, you’re my type of traveler! I dig this sort of experience where you get to live a certain type of lifestyle for one day. And you’re right — it’s pretty cheap, so that’s a major plus!
Oh wow I didn’t know sleeping on straw is actually a thing! I grew up next to a farmer and we went there really often as kids. We never slept on straw tho but it was always fun playing in it! Awesome experience Ummi 🙂
Thank you, Lina! Yes, it’s actually a thing, not only in Switzerland, but if I’m not mistaken, also in Austria, Germany, and the Netherlands. And I’m glad it is, otherwise I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience sleeping on straw. But I suppose if you grew up in this kind of environment, it probably wouldn’t excite you anymore.
Hah! What a fun experience. Switzerland is so expensive so this is a great alternative!
Yes, Rowena. I was astounded at the hotel rates in Switzerland. Glad I found this alternative. I guess you could call it a travel hack in Switzerland. 😄
Love this whole idea! A barn in the Swiss mountains sounds like such an unusual adventure. With good bathrooms and breakfast I am so tempted to give it ago despite the lumpy mattress floors. I’d just have to take a double dose of hayfever tablets!
Oh I hadn’t thought of that! It must be hard for people with allergies. But I agree with you — it is an awesome idea for an unusual adventure!
this is absolutely brilliant! what an experience! I don’t hike myself, (although i walk for hours when i travel) but id visit a barn just for the experience! thanks for sharing this i never knew there was such a thing!
You’re welcome, Tia! Happy to share my experience. I hope you’ll get to try this too when you go to Switzerland. 🙂
I really love how they’ve turned this into an experience that people are paying for, whereas in the past this was reserved for the workers! I love trying out unique sleeping arrangements so this is going on my list!
Yes, I love how they saw this opportunity and grabbed it. And we certainly don’t mind paying for this kind of experience. It’s a win-win situation for everybody. Do put it in your list, Krista. Hope you’ll get to experience this too. 🙂
This is such a fun post! I have lived in Switzerland but never came across something like this! I want to go there asap now. Just to sleep on straw bed! 🙂
Thank you, Nisha! I’m surprised you had never heard of it. I thought it would be pretty well known among the locals since there are many such establishments around Switzerland. Ya, I think you should go and try one of them soon 😉
Wow! This seems like a wild experience!
It was and I had tremendous fun! Thanks, Curls 🙂
Wow. What a unique and amazing experience! I would love to try this myself. It sounds so cool. Thanks for sharing!
You’re welcome, Kelly. It was an amazing experience indeed. Do save the info for your future trip to Switzerland 🙂
This is such a fun and unique experience. I would love to do this for a night, but I’m not sure I could handle more than that! haha
Hahaha, I think I might be able to handle two! 😆
Sounds like such a fun experience!
It was, Meghan! Thank you for dropping by 🙂
I really enjoyed reading this. Not something I’ve heard of before but I can see the appeal. Especially after the mess that is 2020, I think this kind of simple and rustic experience is going to get more popular – we’re all a bit more connected with nature now after going for walks is all we’ve been allowed to do for so long! I have horses so spend a lot of time covered in straw so I’m not sure I’d want to sleep on it too, haha. But I love staying on farms and being around animals 🙂
Thank you, Caroline. Haha, I suppose this doesn’t have the same kind of appeal for people who are used to playing with straw 😄. But you’re right — it’s still fun to stay on farms and be around animals. I do hope people have started to connect more with nature and make better lifestyle choices in 2020. At least something good has come out of it 🙂
Wow……what a cool experience. I don’t know something so torturing can now be an experience. Thank you for sharing your experience with me. You make me want to try it too.
You’re welcome, Fadima! The next time you’re in Switzerland, you should definitely try it. I think they also have it in Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands, although not as many. I wouldn’t call it torturing. Haha. It was actually pretty cool and comfortable.
Macam-macam pengalamanm yang you ada yee Ummi, sangat istimewanya you dapat round the world.. ini antara satu wislist negara yang Sis nak pergi..one day..
Lagi satu, terus teringat cerita P Ramlee 3 Andul yang dia kena tidur kandang kuda tu heheee
Hahaha ya tak ya jugak. Saya tak teringat pulak cerita P. Ramlee tu.
Apa pun, terima kasih kerana sudi membaca perkongsian kisah travel saya, sis. Semoga sis pun berpeluang untuk bercuti ke sana juga nanti.
Ok park dulu artikel ni so that utk hari2 yang mendatang tanpa covid boleh buka dan dijadikan rujukan hehe..thanks tau selalu sharing
Terima kasih, Min kerana sudi membaca. Sila la park dulu ya, dan share la juga kepada kawan-kawan yang mungkin berminat. 🙂
Serius. I baru tahu tempat dan tentang ni. Bestnya pengalaman yg menarik.. and pg sana mmg worth it
Terima kasih, Ayu. Sleeping on straw ni memang pengalaman yang best, dengan harga yang berpatutan.
Would love to try this unique sleeping experience. Who wouldn’t right? Then wake up to beautiful scenery that will remain in your memories for a lifetime. Priceless.
True, Tekkaus! Waking up to that scenery is priceless. I’m sure it would impress anyone, unless you’ve already spent your entire life living in this kind of environment.
Aaaaa bestnya! Tengok semua penulisan dan gambar tu. Buat rindu la kakkkk. One of negara yang aman dan saya suka suasana di sana.
Ruby pun dah pernah sampai Switzerland, ya? Memang cantik kan, negara ni? Bila kita dah menjelajah banyak negara, kadang-kadang kita susah nak rasa ‘impressed’ bila sampai ke tempat baru. Tapi Switzerland ni antara negara yang berjaya menimbulkan rasa takjub. Sebab memang cantik sangat.
Ohhhh what an interesting experience traveling at Switzerland.. I will go for this too… 🙂 an experience that we wont get elsewhere especially here in Malaysia, right?
That’s true, Kitkat. When I was young, I used to read a lot of storybooks about horses, so staying on a farm and playing with straw were things that had intrigued me since young. Finally I got to experience it in my thirties 😁
wow, this seems like such a cool experience. cant wait to do this myself when i visit the country!
Thanks, Grace! It was a cool experience. Do pin this post for your future reference 🙂
Menariklah entri ni… Rasa teruja bila u tido dlm straw??? Seriously… Seems so fun & menarik sangat.. Suka baca yg mengenai travel2 ni…
Thank you, Wawa! Memang best barn hotel ni. I rasa kalau ada budak2, mesti suka main atas katil straw tu. Pastu main dengan lembu & kambing. 😁
I love Switzerland! The scenery the air and everything! This is such a new and interesting experience
Me too, Rane! Switzerland is one of my favorite countries in Europe. Like you said, the air, the scenery and everything feels better there. Perhaps you could try this type of accommodation on your next visit.
That’s pretty nice experience! Love your travel sharing, very details.
Thank you, Kathy. I hope you found them useful 🙂
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