Thun is one of the most original towns in Switzerland. It occupies an admirable site within view of the Bernese Alps and is much overlooked by visitors pressing on to Interlaken. With its picturesque castle and quaint medieval center Thun (pronounced toon) is well worth a visit. Beautiful views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau and, closer at hand, the giant pyramidal Niesen (2362m) and flat-topped Stockhorn (2190m) are a gentle prelude to the Alpine vistas further south.
Lake Thun is one of the loveliest and largest lakes in Switzerland and very much appreciated by tourists and locals alike. Located within green mountains and snowy summits (namely the Jungfrau) Lake Thun presents many opportunities for water-sports and swimming. A well documented network of walking path along the Lake and above the villages in the foothills invite for activities such as hiking and mountain biking.
Attractions and Activities
The city of Thun on the shores of Lake Thun offers a very charming Old Town to stroll around and do shopping. Situated only 30 minutes from Interlaken, it is an economical alternative to Interlaken featuring similar attractions and activities! We are presenting you just a few options, but are confident that you will be fascinated by the beauty of Thun and the Bernese Oberland.
Mountain Excursions in Thun
Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe (3454m/11333ft)
Full-day excursion. Snow and ice 100% guaranteed! The Sphinx observation hall, impressive Ice Palace and hiking plateau – these are the year-round attractions up on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Summer attractions include a skilift, husky-drawn sledging and adventure activities.
Schilthorn – Piz Gloria (2970m/9744ft)
Full-day excursion. The most spectacular 360° panorama in the Alps! Dine-and-wine in the world's first revolving restaurant at an altitude of nearly 3000 metres. Impressive views embrace some 200 snow-capped peaks, ranging from the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc in France and Germany's Black Forest.
Kleine Scheidegg (2061m/6760 ft)
This remarkable round-trip by modern cogwheel railway has long been one of Europe's top holiday attractions. The Kleine Scheidegg Railway Station is situated right at the foot of the notorious Eiger North Face.
Niederhorn (1954 m/6411 ft)
Half-day or full-day excursion. You can get there by railway, by boat, by bus, by funicular and by aerial cableway. The Niederhorn above Beatenberg is one of the most popular vantage points in the Bernese Oberland. Fine panoramic views extend from the Lakes of Thun and Brienz to the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
Schynige Platte with Alpine Garden and "Teddyland"
(1967 m/6454 ft). Half-day or full-day excursion, open May – Sept. Take the cosy cogwheel railway to this superb vantage point, where the views of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau are acclaimed as the finest. Other attractions include extensive hiking trails, the Lowa Hiking Shoe Test Centre and, especially for our little ones, a large Teddy Bear exhibition. The Alpine Garden is a famous botanical attraction that comprises some 500 different flowering plants and ferns grouped in 15 groups of near-natural locations. From mid-June until late September, the Alpine Garden is an ever changing blaze of colour.
Harderkulm (1322 m/4337 ft)
Half-day excursion, open April – October. From Interlaken it is only a matter of minutes to the Harder Kulm. This attractive vantage point offers fine views of the Bernese Oberland "capital" (between the Lakes of Brienz and Thun) as well as the entire Jungfrau Region. Particularly popular with children are the trip to the top by funicular and the Alpine wildlife park at the valley station, near Interlaken Ost railway station.
Heimwehflue (669 m/2195 ft)
Half-day excursion, open April – October. From Interlaken West, by old-timer funicular (built in 1906) to the beautiful Heimwehfluh vantage point above Interlaken. Attractions here include beautiful woodland paths, an open-air model railway, an exciting bob run from the top all the way down to the base station in Interlaken and a spacious play area for children. The summit restaurant serves a choice of snacks.
St. Beatus Caves
Half-day excursion, open April – October. Switzerland's first and only underground cave museum – spectacular but safe. Explore this mysterious maze of stalactites, stalagmites, lakes and waterfalls to a depth of 3000 metres. From Interlaken by ship, car, bus – or on foot along the historic Pilgrims' Path.
City Excursions in Thun
Bern – Switzerland's Captivating Capital
Beautiful Bern is only a one-hour rail trip from Interlaken, and escorted coach tours may be booked from Interlaken Tourism. This is a city of medieval magic, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Attractions include the famous clock tower, the bearpits – home to Berne's heraldic animals – and excellent shopping arcades.
Luzern – City of Lights
One of Switzerland's most popular excursion destinations, lovely Lucerne is only 90 minutes' travelling time from Interlaken. The city is renowned for its attractive townscape, historic Chapel Bridge and excellent shopping facilities.
Take the Brunig-Railway from Interlaken Ost.
Rail Excursions in Thun
Full-day excursion by rail. The journey along the sunny southern flank of the Lötschberg provides a first impression of the breathtaking beauty of the Valais. From Brig, the route climbs through rugged valley landscape to Zermatt and the majestic Matterhorn. This popular excursion can also be combined with a trip by cogwheel railway up to the Gornergrat or with a cableway to the Klein Matterhorn.
Montreux – on Lake Geneva
Full-day excursion by rail. This attractive excursion crosses the "border" between German and French-speaking Switzerland. The trip runs from Interlaken along Lake Thun to Zweisimmen, and then by Crystal Panoramic Express to Montreux on Lake Geneva. Can be combined with wine-tasting in Switzerland's largest wine-growing region.
Other Excursions in Thun
Walk around the old town of Thun and visit its 12th century castle, the Schloss Thun. Apart from containing a museum, the castle has a Romanesque tower that offers spectacular views of the surrounding countryside. If castles pique your interest, why not take one of many boat trips that stop off at castles such as Schloss Oberhofen with its beautiful 19th century landscaped garden or Schloss Hünegg which also has a beach.
Cruises on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz
April - October. (included with some Swiss Rail Passes!)
Half-day or evening excursions. Boats are operated on both of these beautiful lakes. Enjoy a leisurely cruise on a modern motorship or one of the renovated stately steamers. Excellent catering and banquet facilities. Theme events and club, company and family festivities. Paddle steamer with Children's Club. Evening cruises with entertainment. Cruises depart at Interlaken Ost for Lake Brienz or Interlaken West for Lake Thun.
Summer Sports in Thun
Thun is an excellent location for leisure and adventurous hiking. The greater region features more than 500 km (310 miles) of summer Hiking paths. Free brochures with suggestions for walks and various detailed hiking maps are available at the local tourist offices.
Switzerland in general and Interlaken in specific are great places for biking and mountain biking. Getting around on two wheels is made significantly more feasible by the ease of bike access. You can rent a seven-gear country bike or a quality 21-gear mountain bike from Rent-A-Bike, located at 200 SBB-CFF-FFS train stations nationwide.
On the Lütschine River near Interlaken you will find exciting white water rafting on this Class 4 river. Other rivers include Saane, Simme and Aare. Alpin Raft is a local operator from Interlaken and offering several different itineraries.
The Lake of Thun is crystal clear with several public swimming areas inviting you to enjoy the lake. Indoor swimming pools are also available.
Other Summer Sports
By foot, by air, by bike or by water. The options in the Bernese Oberland are endless. Following you may find a list with all kinds of sports activities: Badminton, Beach Volleyball, Billard/Pool, Bowling, Boating/Kayak, Bungy Jumping, Canyoning, Climbing, Diving, Ice Climbing, Fishing, Fitness, Glacier Hiking, Golfing, Horseback Riding, Hydrospeed, Inline-Skating, Minigolf, Mountaineering, Paragliding, Delta Hang-Gliding, Rock-Climbing, Sailing, Sky Diving, Squash, Tennis and Trekking.
Winter Sports in Thun
From Thun are within one hour of three glorious ski areas: "Mürren-Schilthorn", "Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen" and "Grindelwald-First". More than 45 cable cars and lifts, 213 km downhill ski slopes, 100 km scenic hiking trails, 50 km sledging trails, 30 km cross country runs. Valley stations accessible by train, bus and car.
Others Winter Sports
Badminton, Bowling, Hockey, Fitness, Heli Skiing & Boarding, Hiking, Ice Climbing, Indoor Shooting Range, Paragliding, Sky Diving, Sledding, Cross Country Skiing, Swimming, Snowshoe Trekking, Snowtubing, Squash, Tennis.
Entertainment in Thun
Casino Kursaal Interlaken
The Casino Kursaal Interlaken is only about half an hour from Thun. With its spacious rooms, elegant gardens and added conference center, it has yet to find its equal in Switzerland or abroad.
Shopping in Thun
Old Town of Thun
Mostly covered under the "Lauben" similar to Berne, Thun's Old Town offers a different shopping experience including souvenirs, watches and sports equipment. You'll also find all the handicrafts and art objects you could possibly need.
Events in Thun
William Tell Open-Air Theatre, Interlaken
June – September. Schiller's drama, recounting the exploits of Switzerland's legendary national hero, has been performed at the William Tell Open-Air Theatre since 1912. The auditorium provides covered seating for up to 2300 people. German spoken. More information at www.tellspiele.ch
Interlaken Music Festival
Month of August. The Interlaken Music Festival is one of the most important events on the Swiss classical calendar. Performers at this annual summer spectacle always include leading international orchestras and soloists. More information at www.interlaken-classics.ch
Museums in Thun
Tourist Museum, Interlaken
A charming renovated 17th century residence which retraces the development of tourism in the Jungfrau region from the beginning of the last century up to the present day.
Open-Air Museum, Ballenberg
With almost 100 original century-old buildings from all over Switzerland, "historical" gardens and fields, demonstrations of typical crafts, many special events and 250 native farmyard animals Ballenberg creates a vivid impression of rural life in bygone days. Ballenberg is in fact absolutely unique.
SBB Historic Foundation Exhibition
Open daily, May – October. Museum of the Swiss Federal Railways Foundation. Whether you are a railway buff, a rail engineer, a transportation historian or just plain in love with trains, this exhibition will connect you to more than 150 years of Swiss railway history. With extensive model railway exhibition.
Tin Figure Exhibition (Interlaken Castle)
Open April – October. Get a new perspective on world history – visit the Tin Figure Museum in Interlaken. You'll be mesmerised by the multitude of miniature figures on display. This remarkable exhibition is a beautiful blend of art and entertainment, comprising some 150 scenes from world history
Location and Map
Thun is located in Central Switzerland, 157 km / 98 miles from Zurich, the nearest airport. Travel time from Zürich is 90 minutes by car and 2 hours by train. The city is 167 km / 104 miles from Geneva and 37 km / 23 miles from Berne. By train, Thun is easily accessible from Bern and on the way to Interlaken.