How a Quirky Photography Ban Made a Small Swiss Town Famous

The mayor did not want non-residents to feel jealous of his beautiful town.
IMAGE Joachim Kohler Bremen / Wikimedia Commons

For a long time, the small town of Bergün lived in the shadow of popular cousins Geneva and Zurich. Not anymore. Its hidden gem status has given way to Internet stardom.

On May 31, the Bergün mayor came out on video pleading with NASA to blur satellite images of the town to stop non-residents from feeling bad. A day later, the town announced a photography ban for visitors. "Photographs of our picturesque landscape, shared on social media, can make others unhappy because they themselves cannot be here," say the signboards strewn all over town.

It’s easy to see why Bergün is declared too pretty for pictures. Houses in the sgraffito style are tucked between luscious green mountains. Resplendent flower beds rival Maria’s favorite singing spot in the Sound of Music. From afar, the roads look like ribbons neatly curved for cinematic effect. All convincing reasons to contemplate a ticket to Switzerland.


Far from discouraging interest in Bergün, the photography ban has in fact made it a desirable destination. Many lifestyle websites have picked up the story, giving the town more social media coverage. The consensus is that Bergün is indeed a beautiful town built for wanderlust, and that this ban is a calculated and effective PR stunt.

On June 1, the mayor announced that visitors may secure permits that will allow them to take photos of the town—at the risk of making other people jealous that they are not in Bergün.

h/t Country Living

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