Today we are talking about attractions around lake Thun. This article also includes more details about the Lake Thun set among the scenic mountains and meadows of the Bernese Oberland.
Hundreds of sparkling lakes in Switzerland are waiting for tourists to explore. Visiting these lakes, perfected with crystal clear water and the beauty of the surrounding landscape, is an inspiring experience. Thanks to Switzerland’s excellent transport system, all but the most remote bodies of water are easily accessible.
Swimming, fishing or skiing on the frozen lakes as well as sightseeing activities around the lakes are available to you. Boats are available from each lake to tour the lakes. You can also enjoy good hospitality at lakeside resorts. Cultural attractions in the villages and towns around the lakes include medieval castles, individual museums and beautiful public parks. Wherever your travels in Switzerland take you, a visit to the country’s most scenic lakes is a must.
01) Lake Thun
Lake Thun, also known as Lake Thunersee in German, is an alpine lake in the Bernese Oberland of Switzerland. The lake got its name Thun after the town of Thun on its northern shore. Lake Thun covers an area of 48.3 km2 and is the largest Swiss lake located within a canton. Due to its central Swiss location on Lake Thun, Jungfrau provides an excellent base for exploring the region and beyond.
Lake Thun and Lake Bryans are two adjacent lakes. These two lakes are separated by a small area of land and has a very fertile region which is graced with a forest landscape. At the bottom of Lake Thun, the Swiss government has sunk thousands of tons of unused munitions since World War II.
Lake Thun is larger, with wider and gentler surroundings. You’ll see some castles along the way, and if the weather is clear, you’ll be able to see the famous Bernese trio of Eiger, Mönch, and (part of) Jungfrau. Because Lake Brienz is smaller, a full boat ride takes less time.
A boat trip allows you to discover hidden bathing spots and secluded bays on the shores of Lake Thun. These lesser-known pearls can be found all around the lake, inviting you to spend relaxing hours on the shore and in the cool water. Especially during the warmer months, the crystal clear waters of Lake Thun attract water sports enthusiasts and Cruises are always a popular feature.
Attractions around Lake Thun
Lake Thun offers a variety of sightseeing opportunities, ranging from medieval churches and castles to natural wonders. Oberhofen, on the lake’s northeast shore, is dominated by a 13th-century castle. Spiez, on the other hand, is a charming town with its own castle and Romanesque church. The St. Beatus Caves are located near the Beatushohlen-Sundlauenen ferry terminal at the lake’s southern end and feature stalagmites, stalactites, and waterfalls. Now let’s find out more about those attractions around lake Thun.
02) Visit Thun Castle
Since the 12th century, the majestic Thun Castle has been inextricably linked with the town of Thun. The four white towers atop the castle hill can be seen from afar. The views of the surrounding mountains, Lake Thun, and the old town are reason enough to visit.
You will arrive at Thun Castle soon after reaching the top of the steps and taking a walk along a narrow, walled alley. The Castle can be seen from anywhere in town, and a visit here is one of the top attractions around lake Thun.
The castle, built by the Dukes of Zähringen, is a true historical treasure chamber. You can listen to audio guides that recount the castle’s colorful history, or you can take a castle tour to learn more about the history of this Swiss cultural icon. A visit to the museum can be combined with an evening meal at the Restaurant and Hotel Schlossberg.
Allow at least two hours to visit the Castle, which has an exhibition gallery and a well-restored interior, including the Knights’ Hall, as well as numerous interactive displays and information boards.
You can climb each of the four towers after slowly working your way up the various floors of the castle. It’s worth the effort for the breathtaking views of the city and lake, as well as the distant snow-capped mountains.
03) The Thun Panorama
The Thun Panorama, also known as the Wocher Panorama is the world’s oldest surviving circular painting, created by artist Marquard Wocher between 1809 and 1814. It is a panoramic painting of Thun, Switzerland. The incredible painting, which stands 7.5 meters tall and 38 meters long, depicts a 360° panorama of Thun and was first sketched by the artist while sitting on a roof in the heart of the city.
It was the first panorama in Switzerland. Today, the Gottfried Keller Foundation owns it and they displays it in a specially built round building at Schadau Castle. The Panorama is the first cyclorama in the world and it offers an intimate look at life in Thun in the early nineteenth century.
- Address : Schadaupark, 3602-Thun, Switzerland
04) The Oberhofen Castle
The romantic castle complex from around 1200 AD, with its keep, reflects the history of its various owners. Since 1954, the castle has housed a museum dedicated to the history of its previous occupants. The chapel, with its magnificent murals, was built in the fifteenth century.
Albert Graf de Portales, who purchased the Oberhofen estate in 1844, developed Oberhofen Castle and upgraded it into a royal summer residence. In 1926, there was a change of ownership and the new owner of the castle was the American lawyer William Mole Macy.
William Mole Macy transferred the property and garden to a foundation in 1940 and established a living museum in Oberhofen, opening it to the public in 1954. The chapel of the castle contains 15th-century murals, and the English-style gardens overlook the Bernese Alps.
- Address : Schloss-4, 3653-Oberhofen am Thunersee, Switzerland.
05) Old Town of Thun
Thun, known as the gateway to the Bernese Oberland, will undoubtedly enchant you. The medieval old town of Thun reminds a lot of Bern, Switzerland’s capital. The former market town has a laid-back atmosphere and a population of around 40,000 people. A large pedestrian-only shopping center runs alongside the River Aare, and cobblestone streets wind through the Old Town.
Obere Hauptgasse, Thun’s main street, is unusual in that it is divided into two levels. Because the walkway is built on the roofs of the shops below, you must walk downstairs to enter them.
Cafes along the river invite visitors to sit and enjoy a drink or a bite to eat while watching the passing foot traffic. In the summer, there is a ferris wheel and a covered bridge similar to Lucerne’s famous Chapel Bridge. There are several historic buildings in Rathausquai, including the town hall, which dates from around 1500.
06) Spiez Castle and Town
You will be greeted by breathtaking views when you arrive in Spiez. Visitors arriving by car or train will be greeted by views of the lake from the top of town, with Spiez Castle sitting protectively on the shore. Those arriving by boat will be equally as impressed when they dock at Spiez jetty, with views of the Castle towering above and lush vineyards in the background.
Spiez is said to be located in “the most beautiful bay in Europe,” and it’s true with the tranquil turquoise water lapping gently at the shore. There’s a real holiday resort vibe around the lovely jetty area. Hotels and cafes line the waterfront, alongside boats bobbing up and down, and there are numerous watersports opportunities.
Learn about the Spiez Castle
Address : Schlossstrasse-16, 3700-Spiez, Switzerland
Spiez Castle is surrounded by vineyards in the Europe’s most beautiful bay. Visit the castle museum’s permanent exhibition or one of the interesting special exhibitions. From the castle tower, you can enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Thun and the Bernese Oberland.
On the left side of the bay, the imposing tower of Spiez Castle can be seen. Spiez Castle is a cultural asset of national importance, whether celebrating a knighthood or visiting a special exhibition. Spiez Castle has a history of 1,300 years. The historic exhibition rooms tell the story of the knight Adrian von Bubenberg, who once lived at Spiez Castle.
Highlights and important facts
- Mountain views, Lake Thun, the Spiez vineyard & Gardens and grounds of the castle : The castle grounds, which are filled with colorful flowers, are a sight to behold at any time of year. Take a walk or sit on a bench and gaze out at Lake Thun. On the ground floor, there is a cafeteria where you can enjoy some tea, coffee, or a glass of Spiez wine.
- Photographic opportunity: Observation from the castle tower : Climb the Spiez Castle stairs to the tower above the museum, where the 360-degree views are simply breathtaking. Photograph the reputedly most beautiful bay in Europe, the castle church, Lake Thun, and the Oberland peaks.
- Culture and history are brought to life.
- The destination is not affected by the weather.
- There are guided group tours available.
07) Mountain visits
Lake Thun, being surrounded by mountains, allows visitors to breathe in fresh alpine air while taking in attractive views.
The view of the Bernese Alps and lakes from the summit of Niederhorn (1950 meters), reached by funicular from Beatenbucht and gondola from Beatenberg, is unrivaled. A funicular on the opposite side of the lake transports visitors to Mount Niesen’s pyramid-shaped summit (2362 meters). The panoramic views from the summit will take your breath away.
The longest stairway in the world, with 11,674 steps, is located next to the funicular track! The stairway is only open to the public for a stair run event once a year.
Throughout the year, you can join a professional guide to see some of Switzerland’s wildlife in its natural environment. Over 100 one-day packages are available, allowing you to get up close and personal with ibex, beavers, chamois, marmots, and golden eagles. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can rent scooter bikes for the ride back down to the valley.
08) St. Beatus Caves
Address : Staatsstrasse-30, 3800-Sundlauenen, Switzerland
This is a popular day-trip destinations around Lake Thun. So far, approximately 14 kilometers of the extensive cave system have been mapped. So, you can explore the magical world of stone and water of the St. Beatus Caves and also listen to the rushing and dripping of water. Prepare to be mesmerized by the grottos’ incredible shapes and colors.
The entrance to the caves can be reached via a path that leads from the car park through the forest. You’ll cross several bridges over the waterfall as it exits the cave and hear the rushing and dripping of water along the way.
The cave’s pathways are safe and easy to navigate. Take a tour of the massive limestone formations and be enchanted by the grottos’ unique shapes and colors. The mountain is covered in stalagmites and stalactites that have formed over millions of years.
The St. Beatus Caves, with their interior gorges, imposing halls, and effervescent waterfalls, continue to exude a special power to this day. As you walk along, 25 information boards in German and English provide helpful information about the St. Beatus Caves. Finish your tour by visiting the caves museum to learn everything you need to know about cave exploration.
- Magnificent limestone caves with grottos, halls, and chasms.
- Tour on your own through a magical world of stone and water.
- STEIN & SEIN Restaurant serves meals surrounded by nature and with a view of Lake Thun.
- In the winter, enjoy an exclusive candlelight cave raclette.
- On request, group packages are available.