Knowledge & culture

Discover Thun

Culture, nature and urban life by Lake Thun

The River Aare wends its way through the late-medieval historic centre of Thun, with its wooden bridges and locks. The castle towers high above the historic buildings and the famous 4,000-metre-plus-high mountain peaks draw the gaze off into the distance. The town of Thun lies approximately one kilometre from the shore of Lake Thun and is regarded as the gateway to the Bernese Oberland.

In Thun – the Alpine city with a distinctive flair – there’s always something going on. Traditional businesses and trendy bars, cultural highlights and historic buildings shape this town by the water’s edge.

You can explore the town in a variety of ways.

Sights

Thun offers other interesting sights in addition to the well-known castle that characterises the cityscape.

The castles of Lake Thun

Thun Castle

The 12th century Thun Castle overlooks the town in imposing style. Between 1180 and 1190, Thun Castle was built by the Dukes of Zähringen on the town’s Schlossberg. The castle overlooks the whole town of Thun, giving a unique panorama of the Bernese Alps and Lake Thun.

Over five storeys, the museum showcases the cultural development of the region over the last 4,000 years. The Thun Castle Museum is one of the most visited historical museums in Switzerland. The Knights’ Hall and all four corner towers are accessible to visitors. In addition, there is always something new to discover in the annually changing special exhibition.

 

Schadau Castle

The beautiful Schadau Park is situated right on the shore of Lake Thun. The park is worth a visit in summer and winter – both for its views over the lake and those of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. In the centre of the park stands Schadau Castle, a remarkable example of historicism built in 1850 in the style of the Loire châteaux.

Since June 2019, Schadau Castle has been reopened after 1.5-year renovation period and presents itself in new splendour. Nine wonderful hotel rooms and suites have been added, together with a bar featuring a large selection of sherry and port as well as a restaurant serving modern interpretations of classic dishes. 
In truly castle-like fashion, the culinary offering of course also includes Sunday brunch and afternoon tea, while guests can select the contents of their picnic basket for an aperitif or meal in Schadau Park.

 

The castles of Lake Thun

Five splendid castles, each surrounded by extensive parkland, lie directly on the lakeside, offering incomparable panoramas of the Bernese Alps. The castles of Spiez, Hünegg, Oberhofen, Schadau and Thun will spirit you away into the historic world of the Swiss nobility. All of the locations can be easily reached by boat or bus from Thun.

Thun Panorama

The centre of Schadau Park is home to the oldest preserved circular panoramic painting in the world. This impressive painting was created around 200 years ago by artist Marquard Wocher. The Basel-born artist was so fascinated by the Bernese Oberland that he created the first Swiss panoramic painting in about 1814. This richly detailed artwork provides a fascinating insight into life in Thun during that era.

Children and adults alike are captivated by the countless stories depicted in this work of art so teeming with life.

Please observe the opening times. The Thun Panorama is open seasonally.

Art Museum Thun

The former Grandhotel Thunerhof is situated directly by the Aare and offers views of the Alps. Its historic walls have been home to Thun’s art collection since 1949. The Kunstmuseum Thun presents mainly contemporary art during four to five temporary exhibitions every year. Alongside the themed special exhibitions, the museum hosts an annual exhibition in which pieces from its collection are presented with a particular focus.

After visiting the museum, you can enjoy coffee and cake on the terrace of the Café Artikum. A unique view of the green waters of the Aare and the mountains awaits you.

The museum is closed between exhibitions. Please observe the opening times.

Lake Thun

Escape from everyday life, let your mind wander for a few hours, and relax. The cruises on lakes Thun and Brienz are perfect for this. Enjoy the wonderful views of the impressive mountains, historic castles and romantic shoreside villages, and combine your cruise with a delicious lunch on board.

Guided tours

Thun’s tour guides will show you the town’s hidden treasures, secret corners and culinary highlights during exceptional tours of Thun.

Registration is required for the public tours, all tours can also be booked as group tours.

Tour of the historic centre

On the classic tour of the historic town centre and castle hill, you will learn about the diversity, culture and history of Thun. The town guides will tell you how Thun’s high pavements were created and why the town’s shopping precinct, Bälliz, is situated amidst two arms of the Aare.
An interesting tour with interesting background information on the town’s richly traditional culture.

Thun’s bridges

The bridges of Thun, the city on the water. A special kind of city walk over the bridges of the city centre. How many bridges can you walk over? What are they all called, and when and why were they built? Over an hour and a half, you’ll discover fascinating facts about the various bridges of Thun, accompanied throughout by the rushing of the River Aare.

Anna Maria Wocher and the Thun Panorama

Learn from Anna Maria Wocher how her husband created the first circular painting in Switzerland. On a walk through the Schadaupark, Anna Maria Wocher will tell you about her husband and how he came to create the 38-metre-long panorama of the small city of Thun and its surroundings between 1809 and 1814. At the end of the tour, you can accompany her to the world’s oldest preserved circular painting – the Thun Panorama – which was created by her husband. As you do so, you’ll discover other interesting details about the painting.

«Spooky Thun» guided town tour

Accompany the night watchman on an approximately 1.5-hour round tour of night-time Thun. He will take you on a journey through the centuries and explain the significance of the former defensive walls, fire brigade and guilds. Along the way he will reveal hair-raising secrets to send shivers down your spine. He will tell of foul deeds, licentious living and prostitution. Let yourself be captivated by his tales, especially those based on historical fact. 

Guided group tour: Get to know the culinary side of Thun

A guided city tour and fine dining all in one – the culinary tour of Thun-
Take some traditional establishments and some trendy bars. Add canapés, appetisers, a main course and a dessert. Season with local wines and regional products. Then add a sprinkling of stories about the town of Thun. The result: the culinary tour. The ample time provided and the short walk between the various “courses” make this a very enjoyable dining adventure.

Eating & Drinking

Time for a break? Around Mühleplatz you will find a lively gastro scene with restaurants, bars and cafés directly by the water – the Thun Riviera.

Restaurant tips

Shopping and dining

Bälliz is the town’s popular shopping precinct, where you will find everything from department stores to specialised boutiques. The town-hall square is the historic centre of Thun. This is where the weekly Saturday market with regional products is held. Immediately adjacent is the beginning of the Obere Hauptgasse, with its famous high pavements. The split-level construction of Thun’s historic centre is unique. Family-run businesses, trendy shops, elegant stores and hip bars await you on the town’s two levels.

Thun, the attractive shopping city in the Bernese Oberland

Shopping tips

How to get there

Travel comfortably by train to Thun.

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