Visitors to Switzerland are likely to hear the names of the most popular cities and towns first, including Lucerne, Zurich, Geneva, and Basel. Yes, all of these spots are both interesting and certainly worth visiting. But there is another town in the Bernese Oberland that may be worth checking out. The town is known as Thun. This town sits on the north shore of Lake Thun, in the Bernese Oberland. So, is Thun worth visiting? Let’s take a closer look.
It is definitely worth paying a visit to Thun if you’re traveling in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland.
You may find, however, that if you are traveling to Thun from a slightly distant region, like say, the Italian-speaking area of Ticino, the mountainous region of Valais, or along the Geneva river, there are more alternatives to choose from than heading to Thun. For example, I would recommend visiting Montreux and Rochers-de-Naye if you are based in Geneva. While the Ticino region has Lugano, Locarno, and Ascona as good options.
Thun lies on the banks of Lake Thun and is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and castles. This is a gorgeous, romantic spot I definitely recommend. It is definitely worth your while to visit Thun, especially if you are exploring the Bernese Oberland area.
Visit Thun quickly for one day, or stay a little longer for two to three days. It is possible to tour the town in a day or two. Also, if you stay longer, you can travel a little further away from the town to see the mountains or other nearby places such as Brienz or Interlaken.
Jungfrau Region – Bernese Oberland
Thun is a part of the Jungfrau Region in the Bernese Oberland, one of the most popular Alpine regions in Europe.
The Jungfrau Region includes (in addition to Thun) Interlaken, Spiez, Brienz, and Meiringen. Additionally, it includes the villages of Wengen, Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Kleine Scheidegg, and Kandersteg. This area is famous for its mountains, such as the Eiger, Jungfrau, and Schilthorn.
Places to Visit in Thun
1. Schadau Castle
The Schadau Castle (Schloss Schadau in German), built between 1846 and 1852, is regarded as a Swiss heritage site of national importance. This former banker’s estate was inspired by the Chateaux of the Loire Valley. It is now a 3-star hotel and restaurant. Known for its fantastic views and gorgeous setting, the restaurant is frequently chosen as a wedding and event venue. This hotel is located right on the beach of Thun-Gwatt.
2. Schadau Park
Right next to the Schadau Castle you will find Schadau Park. The English Garden has stunning views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks. It is also open to everyone 24 hours a day. Enjoy the views, bask in the sun, and relax in the garden.
3. Thun’s Old Town
With its wooden bridges and locks, the medieval old town of Thun is definitely worth a visit. Town Hall Square (Rathausplatz in German) is the town’s historical center. It was built in 1500. You can turn into Obere Hauptgasse from Rathausplatz and find many family-run shops, restaurants, and bars. You can then head to Mühleplatz to relax along the Aare River. It is also possible to do some surfing on the river if you wish.
4. Thun Castle
A landmark of Thun, the Thun Castle (Schloss Thun in German) is one of the best places to visit in this pretty town.
The Thun Castle, owned by the Lords of Thun, fell to Berthold IV of Zähringen in 1152. It is considered a Swiss heritage site of national significance.
From inside the castle, you can climb the tower and enjoy the view of the town below as well as the Swiss Alps in the background. The castle has been turned into a museum that displays historical artifacts from the region and Switzerland.
5. Thun Panorama
Thun Panorama was created in 1814 by Marquard Wocher of Basel and is considered the oldest cyclorama in the world. The cyclorama measures 38 meters long. A painting depicts the town of Thun and the Bernese Oberland Alps in 360-degree perspective inside the building. You’ll be amazed at the attention to detail in case you decide to go.
The Thun Panorama (Wocher Panorama) is open from March until December from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesdays through Sundays.
6. Thun Art Museum
Thun’s Kunstmuseum (German: Kunstmuseum) is located where the Grand Hotel Thunerhof once stood. It is located right on the banks of the Aare River. As a result of its financial difficulties, the former hotel ceased to operate. The hotel now houses the Art Museum. The art museum presents four to five changing exhibitions a year. Almost 7,000 works of art are on display here, including works by Lory, Aberli, Weeker, and Hodler.
More Things to Do in Thun
Let me wrap it up by giving you some fun suggestions for things to do in Thun.
1. Thun lakeside walk
A 75-minute walk takes you from Thun to Gwatt along a very flat, wide, and light path. You can walk along the paths around the lake throughout the year. Thun is the starting point of the trail; it begins at the train station and travels via the Aare Canal to Scherzlingen. After that, you reach the shipyard and the public lido. Next, you will reach a wetland in Gwatt. A lot of birds and insects can be found here that you would not find anywhere else.
2. Swim at Strandbad Thun
Swim at the Thun Lido – it’s a great place to swim. It is one of Switzerland’s largest. Aside from the 50-meter and 10-meter pools, there is also a 25-meter pool used for training, a pool for non-swimmers, a large slide, a 10-meter springboard (also with lower springboards), and a beach volleyball court.
3. Cruise on Lake Thun
Experience Lake Thun, the biggest lake in the Bernese Oberland, onboard a boat. Thun Lake is an alpine lake 17.5 kilometers long and 3.5 kilometers wide. From April to October, passenger boats travel on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the Jungfrau Region. Regular service enables guests to visit some other destinations along the lake by boat. The boats in Lake Thun depart from behind the Interlaken West train station.
The town of Thun is a very pretty place. There are medieval buildings, castles, museums, a lake, rivers, and mountains. It is worth visiting if you are traveling through the Bernese Oberland. It can take you a day or two to tour the town depending on the number of places you wish to see or activities you wish to take part in. Thun has something for everyone.
If you’re in the area, be sure to check it out.
- Most Beautiful Lakes Near Zurich
- How Do I Get From Interlaken to Thun?
- Thuner Wasserzauber Review: Highlights and Impressions
- 10 Best Day Trips from Thun
- 8 Best Things to Do in Lake Thun, Switzerland
- Interlaken, Switzerland: An Excellent Base in Bernese Oberland
- Mountains Close to Interlaken Worth Visiting
- Wengen, Switzerland: 8 Reasons To Love It
- Grindelwald vs. Lauterbrunnen: Which is Better?
- Swiss Alps – The Ultimate Guide
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.