Must-knows about Thun

  • Thun is a mid-size town, located on the west of Lake Thun and of the Bernese Oberland.
  • It’s a perfect base for day trips to the Bernese Oberland, Bern, Fribourg, Basel, the three-lakes area around Neuchâtel, and more.
  • Thun’s historic center is very attractive with its ancient buildings and the blue river Aare.
  • On clear days, you can see the Bernese Alps from town.
Recommended season: early April to late October and early December to late December
Altitude: 560 m (1837 ft)
Town size: Medium
This town is on a lake
Local language: German
There is a train station

Sightseeing in and near Thun Copy link to clipboard

Find activities in Thun and the Lake Thun region

Oberhofen Castle along Lake Thun
Boat Lake Thun
Scenic boat tripMin. time required: 2:00
The large Lake Thun in the Bernese Oberland can be explored by boat all year. There are long cruises between Thun and Interlaken, and many …
RegioExpress Lötschberger between Lalden and Brig
Lötschberg Mountain Railway
Scenic train tripMin. time required: 2:00
The Lötschberger trains cross the Swiss Alps and connect Bern in the north to Brig in the south. It's an impressive route with many tunnels …
Eerie Thun city tour
Eerie Thun city tour
City tripGuided day tour
Discover the dark, medieval city of Thun with a night watchman. Learn everything about the profession of the night watchman and hear some hair-raising stories during this tour.

Offered by Swiss Activities: www.swissactivities.com

  • Easy, online, free cancellation in most cases
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Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour
Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour
Independent day tour
Explore Thun in a fun new way with an interactive smartphone app. Using your phone as your guide, walk through the city, and discover landmarks like Rathausplatz while solving puzzles.

Offered by GetYourGuide: www.getyourguide.com

  • Easy, online, free cancellation in most cases
  • Best Price Matching: GetYourGuide will pay the difference if you find a lower price.
  • Extra Support: if you buy here, MySwissAlps can also assist if you have questions about your order.
Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Trip
Thun Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Trip
Guided day tour

Offered by Klook: www.klook.com

  • Best price guarantee: Klook will refund double the difference if you find a lower price.
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More things to see and in town

We recommend seeing the following in Thun:

The famous castles of Lake Thun

The castle in Thun isn't the only one on the lake. There are 5 medieval gems in total. The other 4 are the HĂĽnegg Castle in Hilterfingen, and the castles of Oberhofen, Schadau, and Spiez.

You can explore the castle interiors on your own between April/May and October, with the exception of the Schadau Castle. The admission fee is about CHF 10 per castle. A discounted combination ticket is available too: the "Schlösser-Card". Entrance is free if you have a Swiss Travel Pass.

Alternatively, you join guided tours with all sorts of historic themes. These need to be booked in advance.

Each of the 5 castles offers a restaurant or cafe. The Schadau Castle is specifically used as a high-end restaurant, hotel, and venue for weddings and other events.

Hiking from castle to castle is very inviting too. You can walk a 3-hour path along the castles of Spiez, Thun and Schadau for example.

Mountains near Lake Thun

The below mountaintops near Thun aren't as famous as some of the other Swiss peaks. But we highly recommend them: we love the wide roundabout views over the large blue Lake Thun, the high Alps in the south, and the hilly landscape in the north.

  • The Niesen, to be reached from MĂĽlenen.
  • The Niederhorn above Beatenbucht and Beatenberg, on the mountain ridge north of Lake Thun.
  • The Stockhorn, to be reached from the Simmen Valley.

The Beatus Caves

The Beatus Caves ("Beatushöhlen" in German) are stalactite caves inside the rocky slopes north of the lake. They're just above Beatenbucht, which can be reached by bus, boat, or car.

The caves are accessible year-long. A tour guide will tell you all about the history of these magical caves. We think they're a great bad-weather excursion, and perfect for families.

Travel info and map of Thun Copy link to clipboard

How to reach Thun by train

We recommend traveling to Thun by train. There are efficient connections from the Swiss airports and major towns. Examples:

  • 1h40 from Zurich Airport, 1h20 from Zurich
  • 1h50 from Basel EuroAirport, 1h25 from Basel
  • 2h40 from Geneva Airport, 2h30 from Geneva
  • 0h20 from Bern
  • 0h35 from Interlaken Ost
  • 1h00 from Fribourg
  • 1h15 from Neuchâtel
  • 1h25 from Lucerne

All connections can be found in the timetable.

How to reach Thun by car

You can drive to Thun using Switzerland's motorways: the A1/A6 from Basel, the A3/A1, and A6 from Zurich, or the A1/A6 from Geneva.

How to travel in Thun and the nearby villages

The historic center of Thun is small enough to get by on foot. The rail station of Thun is just minutes away. Many hotels are within walking distance from the train station as well.

If you're located in the outskirts of Thun, or in one of the nearby villages, you can use public transport.

  • There's a regional train to Gwatt south of Thun.
  • A bus gets you along the entire northern shore of Lake Thun, to villages such as Hilterfingen, Oberhofen, and Merligen. It continues all the way to Interlaken east of the lake.

Rail passes for Thun

Our comparison guide helps you choose the right pass.

The town of Thun on a map of Switzerland

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When to visit Thun Copy link to clipboard

We prefer spending time in Thun from early April to late October and early December to late December. But due to its central location and many facilities, we think it's a good base town in other seasons too.

Thun from April to October

The surroundings of Thun and its lake are beautiful from spring to summer. The green hills and deciduous trees take on lovely spring blossoms in April and May, and autumn shades in October.

July and August are the top tourist months, when boats at Lake Thun operate most frequently. You can make all high-altitude excursions as well, such as mountain visits and alpine hikes.

These summer months can be quite warm in Thun. This could be a disadvantage, but the lake and nearby mountain tops provide opportunities to cool down. 

Thun in December

Thun isn't at high elevation, so don't expect snow during the holiday season. Thun is an ideal base town if you're planning a trip that focuses on city visits and Christmas markets though.

Thun during low-season months

We feel that the town and its immediate surroundings look less attractive from December to March. Thun isn't a typical winter sports town. You'll have to travel to reach ski and snow areas.

But if you want to combine snow excursions with cultural activities and city trips, Thun is a good location to base yourself.

Weather in Thun Copy link to clipboard

What is the weather in Thun like?

Thun is in a relatively mild and moist climate zone. Average daytime temperatures are 20°C to 25°C in summer, and 3°C to 7°C in winter.

The rainiest months are May to August. Although late-afternoon showers are more common than continuous rain in summer, long moist spells do occur. It can just as well be perfectly sunny for days or weeks on end though.

Does it snow in Thun?

It can snow in Thun, but this is not likely, not even during the coldest winter months January and February. Thun is too low to have a good chance of snow.

You'll be within reach of ski and snow areas though: day trips to the Simmen Valley, Kandersteg, Adelboden, and the Jungfrau Region are possible.

5-day weather forecast for Thun

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Location and scenery of Thun

The surroundings of Thun

Thun is situated on the western side of Lake Thun. This is an appealing holiday region with pretty villages, medieval castles, and access to mountaintops such as the Niederhorn and the Niesen.

East of town, the lake stretches out toward Interlaken. The hills and mountain ridges get higher toward the east. On clear days, you can view the beautiful Bernese Alps in the south-east directly from town. West and north of Thun is a lower area with gentle hills.

Thun’s central location in Switzerland

Thun is a strategic location to spend your holidays. It’s only half an hour by train from the capital Bern, there are boat trips directly from town, and very good train connections to many destinations. These include the Valais, the Simmen Valley, and the Jungfrau Region.

If you want to explore the Bernese Oberland but also other parts of Switzerland, Thun makes an excellent base.

Pros and cons of Thun

The location of Thun is a big plus. Also, the town is very atmospheric. It has a beautiful old town center with ancient alleyways and wooden bridges. The blue river Aare is a prominent feature.

Thun is big enough to offer shops, hotels, restaurants, museums, and other facilities to have a good time, even if the weather isn’t favorable.

Thun is close to, but not in the mountains. It takes over half an hour to reach Interlaken, from where you can explore the Jungfrau Region. Other mountain areas, such as those around Kandersteg, Zweisimmen, or Adelboden, require a 40- to 60-minute ride by public transport.

Other towns on Lake Thun

Spiez and Faulensee

If you prefer a somewhat smaller town closer to the mountains, consider Spiez. This scenic village is a bit further east on Lake Thun and closer to Interlaken. Spiez too is located very centrally and offers an appealing marina and castle.

Faulensee is further to the east: a nice little village with all the basic facilities and good train connections to both Interlaken in the east and Spiez/Thun in the west.

HĂĽnibach, Hilterfingen and Oberhofen

If you’re looking for smaller villages and don’t mind a less central location, look into Hünibach, Hilterfingen, and Oberhofen. These villages are just east of Thun and directly on the northern shore of Lake Thun.

There are brilliant views of the lake and mountains. There’s no train station in these villages though: you’ll have to use a bus or car.

Beatenberg

A village with an alpine feel and breathtaking panoramic views is Beatenberg. It’s high on the northern slopes that rise from Lake Thun, at a 40-minute bus ride from Interlaken. Beatenberg is a great spot to soak up the views, but it’s not convenient for day trips to other areas.

Mountain villages

If you actually want to stay in the mountains, you may want to look into other areas of the Bernese Oberland, such as the Jungfrau Region. Kandersteg, Adelboden, Zweisimmen, Lenk and Gstaad may interest you as well.

Or consider an entirely different mountain region: the Valais or GraubĂĽnden.

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Other websites of interest

More about the Lake Thun area Copy link to clipboard

Höheweg main street in center of Interlaken

Interlaken

Interlaken is the central town in the Bernese Oberland, and the gate to the famous Jungfrau Region. We share our …

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Annika
Page author: AnnikaSince early childhood I've been visiting Switzerland during my holidays and I just fell in love with the country. I spent many summers in the Bernese Oberland, which still feels like my second home, and then started to explore other areas. Traveling, hiking and photographing in the Swiss Alps are my absolute favorite activities.