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Barryland in Martigny, Switzerland: A Quick Guide

Last Updated on November 14, 2023 by Darla Uhl

Barryland (Musée et Chiens du Saint-Bernard) is a museum dedicated to St. Bernard dogs in Martigny, Switzerland. A long-established foundation, the Barry Foundation, manages it. The foundation owns the world’s oldest breeding kennels for the Swiss national dog known as St. Bernard. 

Welcome to Barryland, Martigny by TouringSwitzerland.com

What is the History of the St. Bernard Dog?

Image of a St. Bernard Dog at Barryland, Martigny by TouringSwitzerland.com

As early as the 11th century, Saint Bernard of Aosta established the Great Saint Bernard Pass Hospice for pilgrims and travelers. There have been large dogs kept there since the mid-17th century to protect travelers. 

Assisting those on the way through the Saint Bernard Pass was one of the most critical tasks of the St. Bernard dogs, especially in winter when they were confronted with bad weather and foggy conditions. Dogs like these have saved many lives and prevented many deaths. 

The St. Bernard dog is the national dog of Switzerland. There was one dog that was very well known among the others: Barry. Over 40 people’s lives were saved by Barry. Besides contributing to the stellar reputation of St. Bernards, Barry also likely inspired the foundation’s name.

In today’s world, people can travel more safely than ever before thanks to modern transportation such as trains, cars, and planes. In light of this, the St. Bernard dogs are no longer as needed on the Great Saint Bernard Pass as they used to be. 

The Barry Foundation 

Image of a St. Bernard Puppy at Barryland, Martigny by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Barry Foundation is a registered charity and a member of the Swiss St. Bernard Club.

Modern-day activities like hiking and walking are provided for dogs, in addition to a place to sleep. During the summer, the dogs spend time at their original home in the Saint Bernard Pass.

What are the Barry Foundation’s objectives?

With the St. Bernard dogs taken over by the Barry Foundation in 2005, the following objectives have been established: 

  • The Barry Foundation ensures that dogs are well cared for and trained.
  • The Barry Foundation engages former rescue dogs in activities.
  • The Barry Foundation dogs are brought to homes in schools, camps, long-term programs, and therapy programs to make contact with people who need it. 

What can you expect in Barryland?

Image of St. Bernard Puppies by TouringSwitzerland.com

The Barryland Museum is one of Martigny’s most popular attractions. The museum has everything you need to know about St. Bernards, from their origins to their present day. Here, St. Bernard dogs are cherished for their steadfastness and goodness.

Barryland is home to many St. Bernard dogs. You might even be able to take a picture with them if you are lucky (my kids did)! If you’re lucky, you might even get to see cute little puppies.

The first floor of Barryland contains a souvenir shop, several rooms where dogs can rest, and an area outside for rabbits and other small animals. There is an indoor and outdoor portion to each room, so the dogs can roam freely. 

Temporary exhibits are typically housed on the second floor of Barryland. When we last visited, there was an exhibit about the history of St. Bernard dogs. 

Image of the Children’s Area by TouringSwitzerland.com

On the third floor of Barryland, children can watch films, do crafts, and play with the ball track. 

Despite its multiple floors, Barryland isn’t too large. In two to three hours, you can see everything. You’ll probably be spending half a day if you decide to eat there.

How to Get to Barryland, Martigny

Image of Barryland in Martigny by TouringSwitzerland.com
AddressMusée et Chiens du Saint-Bernard
Rue du Levant 34
1920 Martigny
TrainMartigny Bourg (5 minutes away)
Martigny Expo (7 minutes away)
BusMartigny, Fond. Giannada (7 minutes away)

Final Thoughts: Barryland in Martigny, Switzerland

Martigny’s Barryland is an excellent place for both young and old to spend an hour or two. Also, if you are in Valais, it makes an interesting alternative to hiking or skiing in adverse weather.

Map of the Great Saint Bernard Pass inside Barryland by TouringSwitzerland.com

You can walk with the St. Bernard dogs on the Great Saint Bernard Pass in summer (July, August), in Martigny in spring (April, May), and in Champex-Lac in winter (December, January, February).

Visitors interested in visiting St. Bernard dogs in other locations or learning more about them can visit the Hospice Museum at the Great Saint Bernard Pass from mid-June to September.

Donating, sponsoring dogs, or leaving a legacy are all ways to support the Barry Foundation. Thanks to your generous donation, Switzerland’s national dog can bring comfort and joy to children, the elderly, and the disabled.

The Roman Ruins next door and the Fondation Pierre Gianadda are just a short walk away after you visit Barryland. 

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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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