Described as the gateway to Bernese Oberland, Thun in Switzerland is also one of the biggest cities in Canton Bern. Although there are plenty of interesting things to do and places to visit here, such as touring the historical town, cruising, or visiting the castle, you might still want to take day trips from the town. Below are some suggestions for the best day trips from Thun for those based there.
These day trips are typically one to two hours away from Thun by train.
This article discusses the 10 best day trips from Thun. Among these are well-known cities, mountain resorts, and a gorgeous lake. Let’s go!
With 30 kilometers to cover, Bern is just half an hour away by car from Thun. A day trip to Bern, Switzerland’s de facto capital, is probably one of the most important day trips you can do from Thun.
Nestled along the banks of the Aare River, Bern offers a variety of attractions for all tastes, whether you enjoy history, art, animals, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting. It is the federal city of Switzerland. There is much more to discover when you take the time to explore this charming city.
There is no better place in Bern to start your day than the Old Town, located across the Aare River. The Old Town of Bern, which consists of many well-preserved buildings from the medieval era, was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. A famous symbol of Bern, which dates back to 1218-1220, can be seen right at the entrance to the Old Town: the Zytglogge.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Bern|
|* UNESCO World Heritage Old City of Bern|
* Parliament Building
* Bern Minster Cathedral
* Historic Museum
* Bern Bear Pit (Bärengraben)
* Bern Zoo (Tierpark Dählhölzli)
* Zentrum Paul Klee
* Museum of Communication
If you would like to plan a day in Bern, you can check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Bern, Switzerland.
How do you get from Thun to Bern?
You can take a direct train between Thun and Bern every hour, with travel times varying from 17 to 40 minutes, depending on your preferred train. By car, Bern is about 30 kilometers away from Thun.
Interlaken, with its breathtaking mountain panorama, two stunning lakes, and adventure sports offers a captivating contrast to the beautiful city of Thun.
Interlaken, Switzerland is an incredibly popular tourist hub in the Bernese Oberland. In Interlaken, you will find walking trails along the River Aare, many souvenir shops, a Japanese garden, and the local mountain Harder Kulm for spectacular views. A red funicular takes you from Interlaken to Harder Kulm in 10 minutes, with one departure every half hour.
As one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist spots, Interlaken is also a hot spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts. It is also conveniently located between two beautiful lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
For those who are into fun adventures, below are some of the most popular outdoor activities in Interlaken:
- Tandem Paragliding (GetYourGuide): Experience pure serenity as you float weightlessly alongside an experienced pilot and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Jungfrau region from the sky.
- Adventure Park (GetYourGuide): Conquer 9 thrilling rope courses and zip lines soaring up to 23 meters above the ground, with the assurance of a comprehensive safety briefing and top-notch safety gear.
- Kayak Tour of Lake Brienz (GetYourGuide): Paddle through the crystal-clear waters of Lake Brienz with the guidance of an experienced coach, as you soak in the stunning views, including the picturesque Rinngenberg Castle. You may also book this activity in winter (GetYourGuide).
- Canyoning (GetYourGuide): Dive into the ultimate adrenaline rush with a canyoning expedition in Chli Schilere, featuring challenging rappelling, high jumps, fast slides, and an unforgettable adventure in one of the region’s top canyons.
- Scenic Jetboat Ride (GetYourGuide): Experience an exhilarating 45 to 50-minute jetboat ride on Lake Brienz near Interlaken, culminating at Giessbach Falls.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Interlaken|
|* Harder Kulm|
* Interlaken-Harder Alpine Game Park
* Lake Thun
* Lake Brienz
If you would like to learn more about Interlaken, check out our article Interlaken: 8 Reasons Why You Should Visit.
How do you get from Thun to Interlaken?
You can catch a direct train from Thun to Interlaken every hour, taking approximately 34 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a bus, which is a longer journey, lasting over an hour. Interlaken is about 30 kilometers from Thun by car.
Blausee is worth visiting for its crystal-clear blue waters, tranquil natural surroundings, and picturesque alpine scenery, which together create a magical and unforgettable experience. If you want to see a place that looks like something out of a fairytale, Blausee is the ideal day trip from Thun.
Lake Blausee is worth a visit any time of year. Hiking, picnicking, and boating are a couple of things you can do at Blausee. Blausee is a stunning pearl in Kandergrund, one of the most famous lakes in Switzerland. Anyone who wants to relax will get their money’s worth.
You can visit it at any time of the year since it is open all year long. It is owned by Blausee Corporation, which also owns the hotel, restaurant, organic trout farm, and nearby shop. For dining, there is a Gault Millau restaurant that serves fresh trout. Or you can grill your food.
Guests are provided with a boat ride as part of the fee. There’s no extra charge to ride the boat around the lake.
The area is not suitable for swimming and fishing. Nevertheless, they hold one fishing and one swimming event each year in autumn and winter, respectively.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Blausee|
|* Blausee Lake|
* Boat Trip
* Alpine Trout Farm
If you would like to read more about Blausee, you can check out our article Breathtaking Blausee Lake – A Day Trip In Kandergrund.
How do you get from Thun to Blausee?
In Thun, take the connecting RE train to Frutigen. Take the bus from Frütigen to Blausee BE. The journey from Thun to Blausee by train and bus typically takes 40 minutes in total.
In just under one hour, you can drive 68 kilometers to the lovely town of Fribourg from Thun. It is one of the most interesting day trips that you can do from Thun. In this city, you will see the cultural bridge between the country’s German- and French-speaking regions.
In Switzerland, Fribourg is a bilingual city that serves as a cultural border or bridge between German and French-speaking areas. The city has a picturesque alpine setting, an ancient castle, and many historically significant buildings. The city is also home to Fribourg University, the only bilingual university in Switzerland.
Located on the banks of the Sarine River, the city features both a preserved old town and modern structures. One of Fribourg’s most famous landmarks, St. Nicholas Cathedral is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture.
For fantastic views of the city, you can walk up to Chapelle de Lorette, a Baroque-style building dating back to 1648.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Fribourg|
|* St. Nicholas Cathedral|
* Pont du Milieu
* Old City of Fribourg
* City Fortifications
* Chapelle de Lorette
If you would like to learn more about Fribourg, check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Fribourg, Switzerland.
How do you get from Thun to Fribourg?
You have two direct trains per hour from Thun to Fribourg, which takes 1 hour and 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can take a train to Bern and transfer to a Fribourg-bound train, with travel times ranging from 51 to 59 minutes based on your choice.
Lauterbrunnen, a picturesque Swiss village renowned for its beautiful valley, waterfalls, and outdoor activities, is one of the most picturesque day trips you can take from Thun.
Lauterbrunnen is an idyllic village in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland surrounded by waterfalls. The entire area is best described as a valley with 72 waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen is a great place to start exploring the Jungfrau Region.
Lauterbrunnen village is situated at the valley bottom of this magnificent U-shaped valley in Switzerland. Most of the residents of this valley are actually from Lötschental, the adjacent valley located in Valais. A road was said to have passed between the Eiger and Mönch on the way to Valais. It is said that the heights used to be much milder and more fertile.
By taking the train from Lauterbrunnen, you can reach the sunny car-free terrace of Wengen as well as Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg, you can change trains to go to Jungfraujoch. You may access Mürren through Lauterbrunnen itself or via Stechelberg on the other side of Lauterbrunnen. In addition, if you keep ascending, you’ll reach Piz Gloria – the summit of Schilthorn at 2,971 meters above sea level.
Some of the other highlights of the Lauterbrunnen region include Staubbach Waterfall, Trümmelbach Waterfalls, Mürrenbach Waterfall, and Gimmelwald.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Lauterbrunnen|
|* Trümmelbach Waterfalls|
* Staubbach Waterfall
* Mürrenbach Waterfall
* Kleine Scheidegg
If you would like to plan a day in Lauterbrunnen, you can check out our article How to Spend 1 Day in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland.
How do you get from Thun to Lauterbrunnen?
From Thun, take the Interregio train to Interlaken Ost. In Interlaken Ost, change to the connecting train that will bring you to Lauterbrunnen. It takes approximately one hour to travel from Thun to Lauterbrunnen via Interlaken Ost.
Aletsch region is the home of Switzerland’s largest glacier and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. One of the most panoramic views in Switzerland, it is worth a day trip from Thun.
Riederalp is a car-free village in Aletsch Arena consisting of Goppisberg, Greich, and Ried-Mörel. Greich and Goppisberg are part of the Inventory of Swiss Heritage Sites. It is located 1,925 meters above sea level and offers fantastic views of the Pennine Alps, such as Fletschhorn, Dom, and Matterhorn.
During summer, you can enjoy paragliding, mountain carts, hiking, and biking on Riederalp. In addition, it is home to Golf Riederalp, Europe’s highest-altitude course at 2,000 meters above sea level. In the winter, they have ski touring, skiing, and winter hiking.
From Riederalp, you can head over to the View Point of Moosfluh, 2,333 meters above sea level. A fantastic view of the Great Aletsch Glacier awaits you here. You may also head over to Hohfluh, another viewpoint nearby, 2,227 meters above sea level.
If you are thinking of visiting Riederalp for a day, you can check out this article: How to Spend 1 Day in Riederalp.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Riederalp|
|* Great Aletsch Glacier |
* Moosfluh Viewpoint
* Hohfluh Viewpoint
* Lake Blausee (Riederalp)
* Villa Cassel
How do you get from Thun to Riederalp?
In Thun, take the Intercity train to Brig. In Brig, take the regional train to Mörel. In Mörel, take the cable car to Riederalp. It takes 1 hour and 21 minutes to 1 hour and 25 minutes to get from Thun to Riederalp.
From Riederalp, you can take the aerial cableways to Moosfluh (7 minutes) or Hohfluh (4 minutes).
Grindelwald, an ideal destination for an easy day trip from Thun, offers breathtaking views of the Bernese Alps. It is located approximately fifty minutes away from Thun by car.
Grindelwald is a famous mountain village in the Bernese Oberland, located at the foot of the Eiger (3,970 meters) and Wetterhorn (3,701 meters). Grindelwald is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Bernese Oberland.
The Grindelwald Valley is characterized by soft green meadows and mountain forests on one side, and rocky walls and icy peaks of the Eiger, Schreckhorn, and Wetterhorn on the other. The alpine summer here is short, and as with many other alpine villages, they mow the grass and dry it for use as hay in winter. Due to rainfall, the north-facing slopes have abundant grass.
As recently as 1860, the Grindelwald Glacier reached the outskirts of the village. Between 1860 and 1914, glacier ice was mined and exported commercially. In this way, Grindelwald gained its second name “Glacier Village”. Unfortunately, millions of cubic meters of glacier ice have melted away in Grindelwald.
There are many places to visit in and around Grindelwald. Some of the highlights of the Grindelwald region include Grindelwald First, Bachalpsee Lake, Schynige Platte, Grindelwald Glaciers, Grosse Scheidegg, First Cliff Walk, Männlichen, Eiger Glacier, and Jungfraujoch.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Grindelwald|
|* Grindelwald First|
* First Cliff Walk
* Eiger Glacier
* Bachalpsee Lake
* Grindelwald Glaciers
* Grosse Scheidegg
How do you get from Thun to Grindelwald?
From Thun, take the Interregio train to Interlaken Ost. In Interlaken Ost, change to the connecting train that will bring you to Grindelwald. It takes 1 hour and 17 minutes to travel from Thun to Grindelwald via Interlaken Ost.
Known for its art scene, the Rhine River, and quaint old town, Basel makes a wonderful day trip from Thun. Getting there won’t take more than 2 hours, and there are many activities to enjoy.
The city of Basel, along the Rhine River, is situated in northwest Switzerland, quite close to France and Germany. A highly cultural city, it also enjoys excellent weather year-round. It has also been included time and again in the list of most livable cities in the world.
Basel is also known as Switzerland’s cultural capital. It has more than 40 museums, including the Kunstmuseum, the Fondation Beyeler, and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Additionally, it hosts Art Basel, an international art fair that attracts thousands of artists, art collectors, and art enthusiasts from Europe, the US, and Asia.
One tradition that you might want to observe is the Basel Carnival Festival. Sometime during February and March, the country’s largest festival starts with what’s called the Morgestraich. It lasts a good 72 hours. As a highly anticipated and important tradition, the Basel Carnival was inscribed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage back in 2017.
There’s more to Basel than just culture. Also in Basel are world-renowned institutions, like the University of Basel, the Bank of International Settlements, and FC Basel. Some of the biggest pharma companies are based in Basel, like Roche, Novartis, Lonza, and Actelion.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Basel|
* Fondation Beyeler
* Museum of Contemporary Art
* Art Basel
* Basel Carnival and Morgestraich (UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage)
* Zoo Basel
If you would like to plan a day in Basel, you can read our article How to Spend 1 Day in Basel, Switzerland.
How do you get from Thun to Basel?
Every hour, Thun and Basel are served by two direct trains. It takes 1 hour and 28 minutes to travel from Thun to Basel. Basel is 125 kilometers away from Thun by car.
Lucerne, approximately a hundred kilometers away from Thun, is a great choice for a day trip. A more memorable experience is to take the Golden Pass train via Interlaken Ost and marvel at the five picturesque lakes as you cross the Brünig Pass.
The city of Lucerne is one of the most popular tourist spots in Switzerland. In Lucerne, you’ll find everything you’d want in a typical Swiss city. The beauty of its fjord-like blue lake, charming old town, and mountains are unbeatable. For those who want to spend some time in Lucerne city, there’s so much to see: the Transport Museum, the Lion Monument, the Rosengart Collection, and Chapel Bridge, just to name a few.
You can get around Lake Lucerne with the Lake Lucerne ship company. Various basins and bays provide exhilarating and changing views of the landscape on the lake – Stansstaad, Weggis, Buochs, Gersau, and Uri.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Lucerne|
|* Lion Monument|
* Chapel Bridge
* Transport Museum (Verkehrshaus)
* Rosengart Collection
* Glacier Garden
You can read more about other stunning places to visit near Lucerne such as Bürgenstock, Engelberg, Vitznau, and Weggis in this article 10 Beautiful Places Near Lucerne. And for those who wish to visit the mountains near Lucerne, you can find out about the Closest Mountains To Visit From Lucerne.
How do you get from Thun to Lucerne?
You may choose whether to go from Thun to Lucerne via Bern (faster) or via Interlaken Ost (more scenic). My recommendation would be to take the scenic route from Interlaken. Below is a link to an article that may be of interest to you.
The following article provides a more detailed overview of traveling between Lucerne and Interlaken: Lucerne to Interlaken Train: All You Need To Know.
A lovely mountain resort without cars, Saas-Fee is known for its glaciers and cute marmots. Saas-Fee is an excellent day trip from Thun for experiencing a classic Swiss mountain village and being all around glaciers.
Car-free Saas-Fee offers excellent skiing and a picturesque landscape. The area is surrounded by tall mountains and glaciers.
Saas-Fee can be reached either by bus or car from Brig. There is a parking lot right near the village (Dorfplatz, 3906 Saas-Fee).
Compared to other ski resorts in Switzerland, Saas-Fee opens its ski season in November. Also, there is plenty to do for people of all interests such as brewing beer, trails, bobsleigh runs, glacier trails, gorges, visiting the Mittelallalin station and the Ice Pavilion, rafting, and swimming at Aqua Allalin.
|Don’t miss these attractions in Saas-Fee|
|* Mittelallalin |
* Marmots in Spielboden
* Glaciers in Saas Valley
If you want to visit Saas-Fee for a day, you can check out this article How to Spend 1 Day in Saas-Fee.
How do you get from Thun to Saas-Fee?
In Thun, take the Intercity train to Visp. In Visp, take the bus to Saas-Fee. It takes 1 hour and 42 minutes to get from Thun to Saas-Fee.
Summary: 10 Best Day Trips from Thun
For those who are staying for a couple of days in Thun, Switzerland, and wish to venture out to other places, we hope that this list was helpful.
To summarize, if you are looking for large cities with lots of activities, Bern, Lucerne, Fribourg, and Basel are great choices. Interlaken is a good choice for those seeking outdoor adventures.
Riederalp, Grindelwald, and Saas-Fee are suitable choices for those who want to visit the mountains. Experience Lauterbrunnen and Blausee’s scenic beauty and capture some unforgettable photographs.
Considering all the options at your disposal, I hope you will be able to find something from this list that you will enjoy and have a great day trip from Thun.
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- Lucerne to Interlaken Train: All You Need To Know
- How to Spend 1 Day in Bern, Switzerland
- How to Spend 1 Day in Fribourg, Switzerland
- How to Spend 1 Day in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
- How to Spend 1 Day in Saas-Fee
- How to Spend 1 Day in Basel, Switzerland
- Interlaken: 8 Reasons Why You Should Visit
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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.