Stockalper Palace

A visit to Kaspar Stockalper

Kaspar Stockalper was an ambitious and tenacious businessman in his day. The Stockalper Palace in Brig still bears witness to his wealth today. The large gardens are a lovely place to explore at any time of year. They are divided into several areas, with a sunbathing lawn, benches and a playground for the children available for use. Those who want to discover the castle courtyard can do so by themselves during the day. Guided tours are also offered so that visitors can enter the rooms of the mighty palace.

Stockalper Palace

A landmark of the Upper Valais

Stockalper Palace was built as a merchant’s residence by Kaspar Stockalper vom Thurm (1609–1691) in the middle of the 17th century. The three-towered monument is a landmark of the Upper Valais region and the mightiest secular Baroque building in present-day Switzerland.

The monumental Baroque building, erected after 1649, combines various architectural styles. The block-like main wing and the fort-like granite towers with Baroque onion domes stand impressively next to the magnificent Renaissance courtyard. The three massive granite towers that enclose the elegant-looking arcade square are reminiscent of the original idea of the man behind the building, who called the palace the ‘Houses and Chapel of the Three Kings’.

In 1948, the municipality of Brig acquired the palace, which was extensively restored from 1956 by the Swiss Foundation for Stockalper Palace. Today, Stockalper Palace houses the administration of the municipality of Brig-Glis, the district court, the Stockalper Palace museum with its ‘Passage Simplon’ exhibition, the research institute for the history of the Alpine region and other cultural institutions.

Kaspar Stockalper vom Thurm

Stockalper traded in everything: mercenaries and snails, salt and ores. He bought and sold whatever promised profit and recorded everything in his books in seven languages, including when and how he bribed or cheated his partners. Here is a brief bio and outline of his story.


  • A businessman and politician from the Valais
  • Lived from 1609 to 1691
  • Spoke six languages
  • Also known as the ‘Fugger of the Alps’ or the ‘King of the Simplon Pass’.
  • Was made an Imperial Knight of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Ferdinand III.
  • Had the Stockalper Palace built in Brig old town
  • Was married twice and had 14 children

Do you remember the 17th century? Those were the days! In his 82 years, Kaspar Stockalper held countless titles of nobility and served in the Valais as treasurer, castellan, commander, regional scribe and regional governor. In the end, his enemies and enviers forced him into exile in Domodossola. Nevertheless, he was rightly dubbed the ‘King of the Simplon Pass’ in the Baroque era.

What was the basis of his success? And how was he able to build up a European trade network that was unparalleled in the Alpine region? It was mainly due to his reliable pack-animal track. Having that trail built and managed over the Simplon Pass was an investment that is still paying off to this day. In 1991, the Stockalperweg trail was named after him – and it is still hugely popular now.

Present-day hikers no longer have to carry as heavy a load as the sumpters of that time. But anyone who sets off from Brig and heads towards Gondo these days still sees the same thing as they did back then – the beauty of the high Alpine world and the bustling life down in the cities and towns, the gold in the rivers and the snow on the peaks.

Stockalperweg trail

Trading route between Switzerland and Italy

More than 300 years ago, the Brig merchant Kaspar Stockalper built the pack-animal track over the Simplon Pass and laid the foundations for his trading empire. The trail has long since relinquished its economic significance to the new pass road, but the Stockalperweg has been living on as a cultural trail since 1991.

The stages

It appears that you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer as your web browser to access our site.

For practical and security reasons, we recommend that you use a current web browser such as Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, or Edge. Internet Explorer does not always display the complete content of our website and does not offer all the necessary functions.