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10 Best Things to Do in Lake Murten, Switzerland

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Darla Uhl

Lake Murten is a picturesque lake located near Lac de Neuchâtel and Lake Biel in the western part of Switzerland. Surrounded by vineyards, lush green hills, and the picturesque town of Murten, Lake Murten offers a perfect getaway for people of all ages. Regardless of whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just want to see something beautiful, this charming town has something to offer everyone.

Image of Lake Murten by TouringSwitzerland.com

For history enthusiasts, Lake Murten has a rich and fascinating past. The town Murten itself was established by Duke Berchthold the Fourth or the Fifth from the house of Zähringen in the 12th century.1 There are well-preserved city walls and towers, which offer breathtaking views of the old town, the lake, and surrounding countryside.

If you’re looking for things to do in Lake Murten, you won’t be disappointed. From discovering the picturesque towns, to water sports, and cycling, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy.


The History of Lake Murten

Lake Murten, also known as Lac de Morat in French or Murtensee in German, is a freshwater lake located in the cantons of Fribourg and Vaud, Switzerland. The lake is named after the nearby town of Murten, which is situated on its southern shore. North of Lake Murten lies the Lac de Neuchâtel and Bielersee. As a whole, these three lakes form the Three Lakes Region.

The main tributary of Lake Murten is the Broye, an 89-kilometer-long river from the Fribourg Prealps. In terms of size, it covers only 22.8 km2 with a length of 8.2 kilometers and a width of 2.8 kilometers. Today, Lake Murten is a peaceful lake enjoyed by both locals and tourists.


10 Best Things to Do in Lake Murten, Switzerland

Switzerland’s Lake Murten is a beautiful destination with a wide range of activities for visitors. Here are the 10 best things to do in Lake Murten:

Image of Lake Murten by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lake Murten is a popular destination for boating and sailing. So one of the best things to do in Lake Murten is to rent a boat or sailboat and explore the lake on your own. Alternatively, you may also join a cruise or go aboard one of the ships.

You can choose from the following options to cruise around Lake Murten:

  • LNM can take you around Lake Murten in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the ship to Neuchâtel.
  • MS Murten can be chartered throughout the year and can accommodate 60 passengers.
  • Attlia Boutique Boatel offers its passengers a luxurious cruise. Their boat travels through Broye Canal and Zihl Canal to visit the region’s three lakes. Guests can hike, swim, and visit St. Peter’s Island and Estavayer-le-Lac.

One of the best things to do in Lake Murten is to discover the Old Town of Murten. As a well-preserved medieval town, I can vouch that it is worth exploring.

With three long streets and a narrow lane crossing them, it has the typical Zähringer city layout. A castle, restaurants and shops built from yellow Jura limestone, the town hall, and fountains decorate the old town, including the Bern Gate from the second half of the 18th century.

Once you are done, you may also visit the Murten Museum to learn about the 6,000-year history and culture of the region. The museum, located in the former mill outside the city walls, features exhibits on the town’s history. There is also information about the Battle of Murten here.

Guided tours are available on Murten Tourism for those interested.


Image of the Ramparts of Murten by TouringSwitzerland.com

One of the best things to do in Lake Murten is to walk along the ramparts inside the walled city of Murten and enjoy the beautiful views of the old town. As a protective wall, the ramparts were designed to keep out invaders. It was built in several stages over time. The ramparts are free to access.

From the ramparts, you can enjoy breathtaking panoramic views. On one side, you’ll be treated to a picturesque sight of the medieval walled city, while Lake Murten stretches out beyond it. On the opposite side, your gaze will extend beyond the walls of Murten, offering a view of the surrounding villages and the enchanting Galm Forest.


Image of the Countryside beyond Murten by TouringSwitzerland.com

One of the best things to do in this region is to hike around Lake Murten and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Several trails offer stunning views of the lake and the surrounding countryside. The vineyards in Vully are worth visiting.

Here are some hiking trails that you might want to consider:

Hiking RouteEstimated Distance (kilometers)Description
Mont Vully Hike11 kmTake the vineyard path from Sugiez, Praz, or Môtier that will lead you to Mont Vully.
Murten to Môtier11 kmCircular route from Murten leading to the vineyards of Sugiez, Praz, and Môtier
Lake Murten Path30 kmCircular route around Lake Murten
Galmelin’s Adventure Trail1.9 kmAn oak path in the Galm forest
Lake Murten to Lake Neuchâtel8 kmWalk from Sugiez station to the Broye Canal and the Birdlife Nature Center
Murten to Avenches9 kmAn easy route from Murten to Avenches

Image of Lake Murten by TouringSwitzerland.com

Swimming and water sports are popular activities in Lake Murten. Among the activities you can expect are sailing, windsurfing, stand-up paddling, swimming, and sunbathing.

Here are some of the recommended beaches in the region:

  • Plage Salavaux (Salavaux, Vully-les-Lacs) – the longest freshwater sandy beach in Europe located in Salavaux. It has picnic areas and showers.
  • Murten Pool and Beach (Lausannestrasse 2, 3280 Murten) – this beach with lake access also has an indoor pool and a swimming pool.
  • Badeplatz Muntelier (3286 Muntelier) – this beach has showers, toilets, two grill areas, a playground, and fantastic views of Mont Vully. Hopefully, you’ll be lucky enough to catch a beautiful sunset as well.
  • Pantschau (Murten) – a large meadow near the lake that is ideal for sunbathing, stand-up paddling, surfing, pedalo riding, and swimming.

Avenches, Switzerland
Image of Avenches by TouringSwitzerland.com

One of the most interesting places to visit in the Lake Murten region is the historic town of Avenches.

Avenches is a beautiful, medieval town in the canton of Vaud, in the district of Broye-Vully. The town sits on top of a hill in Broye Valley. 

Once an important Roman settlement, Avenches is a municipality that used to be a Roman Colony called Aventicum. It was, in fact, the capital of the province. Both the Romans and their predecessors, the Helvetians, made Avenches their capital. Evidence of its ancient past can still be seen today with its famous landmarks.

Many structures in Avenches are listed as Swiss Heritage Sites of National Significance. These include the Avenches Castle, the Roman Museum, the Amphitheater, and more.

If you would like to learn more about Avenches, you can check out this article: Avenches: A Fascinating, Ancient Roman Site in Switzerland.

There is a campsite and a boat launch at Camping Port Plage d’Avenches.


Image of the Mont Vully Caves by TouringSwitzerland.com

Vully is a lovely wine region between Lake Murten and Lac de Neuchâtel. Chasselas, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Freiburger, and Traminer are among the grape varieties grown on Vully.2 You can try the local food either on your own or with a guided tour. Visiting Vully is one of the best things to do in the Lake Murten region.

You can go hiking on its nature trails to and around Vully. What might be worthwhile to visit are the Mont Vully Caves. Known as Les Grottes des Roches Grises La Lamberta, these Lamberta caves are man-made tunnels that were excavated in sandstone. These caves were first built for soldiers, but now kids love to play in them instead of using them for defense.

Similar to Vully is the Vully-les-Lacs region. A land of vineyards, it is known for its excellent wines and is also worth a visit.


Image of Papiliorama by TouringSwitzerland.com

Kerzers is a charming municipality renowned for its Grand Marais fields, the Althuus Museum, and Papiliorama, a butterfly and insect park. While Kerzers boasts a variety of attractions, my top recommendation among them is Papiliorama.

Papiliorama, in particular, is a captivating natural sanctuary that combines the elements of a zoo and a botanical garden, creating a unique experience. It is divided into three main sections and supplemented by other animal enclosures offering a diverse experience for visitors:

  • the Butterfly House – This is a large, enclosed space filled with tons of trees, plants, a tiny pond, and more to replicate the natural habitat of butterflies.
  • the Nocturama – This area is dedicated to showcasing the fascinating world of nocturnal animals.
  • the Jungle Trek – This area is a recreated rainforest environment, similar to what you will find in parts of Asia and South America.

If you would like to learn more about Papiliorama, you can check out this article: Papiliorama: A Fascinating Look into the World of Butterflies and Insects.


Image of Avenches by TouringSwitzerland.com

Several cycling routes around the lake offer beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Visitors can also cycle to nearby towns and villages.

Here are some biking trails that you might want to consider:

Biking RouteEstimated Distance (kilometers)Description
Lake Murten Tour28 kmTrail 480 around Murten and Mont Vully
Avenches – Murten – Chabrey – Avenches41 kmCircular bike trail from Avenches to Murten and back.
Vegetable Path 25 km (green) or 45 km (red)Two bike trails from Kerzers go through the vegetable garden of the region.

Rent a Bike Murten offers bikes for rent directly at Murten Train Station. You can reserve it online at www.rentabike.ch.


Lake Murten hosts a wide range of events throughout the year, which are interesting to visit. Here are some of the most popular events in the Lake Murten region:

  • Festival of Lights Morat – Every January, Murten lights up for twelve days.
  • Music Festivals – Diverse music festivals take place in the region in summer, from big festivals to the Rock the Lakes Festival. Those who prefer orchestra music will enjoy the Murten Classics Festival.
  • Slow Up Lake Murten – slowUp is an enjoyable event held all across Switzerland. During slowUp, the roads are temporarily closed to cars, making way for cyclists and roller skaters to leisurely explore the area. In Lake Murten, this event usually takes place on the last Sunday of April.

More Things to Do in Lake Murten, Switzerland

In case you would like to learn more about other activities in the Lake Murten region, here is an additional list:

  • Montmagny Water Tower – The Montmagny Water Tower offers fantastic views of the region. It is typically open from April to October. Please check opening hours before heading there.
  • Salavaux Castle – The Salavaux Castle is a hotel with 17 nicely decorated rooms and a restaurant with seasonal cuisine.
  • Münchenwiler Castle – The castle was built as a Cluniac priory and is now used as a hotel, park, and garden.
  • Althuus Museum – Built in 1703, this farm museum is an authentic glimpse into the lives of a typical farming family.
  • Swiss National Stud Farm – Located near Avenches, the Swiss National Stud Farm is a center for horse breeding and research. A special focus of the stud farm is the Franches-Montagnes breed.
  • Grand Cariçaie Nature Reserve – The reserve on the southern shore of Lake Neuchâtel is a Natural Reserve in Cheseaux-Noréaz. The Grande Cariçaie nature reserve is Switzerland’s largest lakeside wetland. This area contains a quarter of Switzerland’s fauna and flora.

How to Get to Lake Murten

Lake Murten is easily accessible by car, train, and bus. The closest major airport is in Bern, which is about a 40-minute drive away. From there, visitors can rent a car or take public transportation to reach Lake Murten.

Train– Murten/Morat
– Kerzers
– Avenches
Boat– Murten/Morat (Schiff/bateau)
– Môtier (Vully)

Final Thoughts: Best Things to Do in Lake Murten

Image of the Berntor in Murten by TouringSwitzerland.com

Lake Murten is an underrated but beautiful tourist destination in Switzerland. Visitors can enjoy swimming and boating in the lake. The surrounding area also offers several hiking and cycling trails, as well as vineyards, historical villages, and family-friendly attractions to explore.

The best time to visit Lake Murten will depend on the weather, crowd size, and activities you wish to take part in.

Generally, I believe that the best time to visit Lake Murten is during the summer months, from June to August when it is warm and sunny. This will allow you to enjoy the lake as much as you can. Nonetheless, this is also the most crowded time of year, so expect higher prices and larger crowds.

On the other hand, if you prefer the quieter shoulder season, you can visit Lake Murten in early spring or late autumn.

Lake Murten is a fantastic destination in the Three Lakes Region and one that I can highly recommend that you check out.


Resources

  • 1 Region Murtensee. History. Murten Tourismus.
  • 2 Region Murtensee. The Winemakers of the Vully, Infoguide 2023. Murten Tourismus.

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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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