With its remarkable combination of history, setting, and culture, Thun is one of our favorite cities in Switzerland.
Thun Castle overlooks the city and offers a wonderful view. As you walk the arcaded sidewalks of the old city, you’re constantly reminded of Thun’s medieval past.
In its present, Thun offers regular open-air concerts on the Rathausplatz, one of Europe’s most beautiful town squares. Thun is a transportation hub, with connections to lake ships, rail, postal and regional buses. And it has numerous memorable sights.
Here are a few of our favorites.
Located in the old section of the city, this 12th century castle is one of the larger and more interesting castles of the area. Its wooden roof is original, right down to the wooden nails still holding it on. Five floors of museum present the cultural development of the area starting about 4000 years ago, including ceramics, toys, and a military collection from the 19th century. The museum doesn’t detract from the structure of the castle itself; you can still climb the turrets and let your hair hang out their little windows. Open daily. Free with Swiss Pass.
Visit the Wocherpanorama museum, to see a huge mural of early 19th century Thun – the oldest preserved panoramic painting in the world. Dine in the castle restaurant on the point of the peninsula, overlooking the length of Lake Thun at the high snow-covered peaks of the Bernese Oberland mountains. Then visit Scherzingen Church, the area’s oldest (built in 762 AD). Visit any Saturday and you will likely see a wedding in process.
Thun’s city church is in a wonderfully landscaped abbey-like area. There is no trouble finding this church, which, with the castle of Thun, sits on a hill dominating the city’s horizon. The church, worth a visit in its own right, is often the site of summer evening concerts.
The Kunstmuseum Thun presents mainly contemporary art in five to six large exhibitions per year, with an emphasis on artists from the region. It is free with Swiss Pass.
Near the castle, this small and charming museum is dedicated to old toys, mostly dolls. It is free with Swiss Pass that is included in the Swiss Untour.
The old main street, the Hauptgasse, was once filled with stables; today it is filled with boutiques and specialty stores. The shopping area, with shops, department stores, restaurants, and sidewalk cafés, is on an island called the “Bälliz” formed by the canalization of part of the Aare River. There are open-air markets in the Bälliz and a produce market on Saturday mornings on the town hall square (Rathausplatz).