On a dreary, rainy day in Interlaken, we trudged on to the train and headed down the lake towards Thun, Switzerland. All we were hoping to do was fill our afternoon with some sunshine and some pretty Switzerland scenery. As it turned out, there were a TON of things to do in Thun Switzerland and we had a great day!
As far as Interlaken day trips go, visiting Thun is about as easy as it gets (a quick 30 minute train ride past some beautiful scenery and you are there!) Thun is somewhat off the beaten tourist path, making it an even more captivating spot for a day trip.
Switzerland can be CRAZY expensive, but it is sooo worth it! This coupon book has 2 for 1 offers for many restaurants and attractions around the country. I wish we had known about this when we visited Switzerland…it would have saved us a TON of money!
Once you are done exploring here, check out these other pieces that I wrote about visiting Switzerland!
- Where to See the Best Mountain Views in Switzerland
- Is the Swiss Travel Pass Worth It? Comparing Swiss Train Discounts
- How to Get from Lucerne to Mount Rigi By Boat: An Easy Daytrip from Lucerne Switzerland
Things to do in Thun Switzerland
One could easily spend a whole afternoon just walking around exploring the picturesque alleyways and the medieval looking square. One of my favorite travel pastimes is to walk around places like this, looking for that out of the way, off the beaten path gem!
Old Town is anchored by City Hall Square. This quaint little square is a beautiful photo opportunity and a great place to take a rest at a café!
The Covered Bridges (and surfers!)
Thun is a great place to explore some of those neat Swiss wooden covered bridges. We also saw the wooden bridges in Lucerne, but the bridges in Thun were just as pretty an much less crowded.
The kids really enjoyed watching the surfers below the waterfalls at some of the bridges. This was one of our favorite Thun attractions!
Thun Castle (Schloss Thun)
Thun Castle is a must on your list of things to do in Thun Switzerland. The castle sits up on the hill standing watch over the medieval streets below. It has an engaging museum featuring exhibits exploring the history of the town and region. It is included if you already have a Swiss Travel Pass.
Even if you are not up for the museum (or if you arrive just at closing time as we did) Schloss Thun is still worthwhile as it offers panoramic views of the courtyard below (these are free from the overlook just past the museum entrance). You can also walk along the old city walls once you leave the castle. This is a nice way to explore the city from a different vantage point.
If you are traveling to the area with kids, Thun castle as well as two other castles in the area offer a special program where your kids can train to be knights!
*** Note: Accessing Thun Castle from the old town involves a LOT of stairs and you will have to carry your stroller up. When we came out of the castle, we exited behind the castle onto the Burgstrasse and walked down the street. This was longer but did not involve any stairs.
The Schadaupark and Thun Panaorama
This beautiful park lies at the tip of a peninsula jutting gracefully out into Lake Thun. It is a great place to head for picnic lunch and some amazing views. The park has a picture worthy chateau at its center. If you have kids, they can explore a maze to get to a secret playground (buying you some time enjoy a grappa or a coffee from the restaurant at the chateau!)
If you are an art lover, the Thun Panorama is the worlds oldest surviving panoramic painting. It is located in a separate building in the Schadaupark.
*** Note: For logistical purposes, the Schadaupark is in the opposite direction as the Old Town. If you want to hit both in the same day and have time to explore a little bit without rushing, you will want to schedule most of a day to explore Thun.
The Thun Ferris Wheel
The Thun Ferris wheel is easy to find in its location right on the Aare river as it is visible from almost any part of town. It will give you a chance to rest your feet after climbing up to the top of the castle. A trip up will yield spectacular photo worthy views of the town, Schloss Thun and the Aare River!
Lake Thun itself is a sight to behold. Its cerulean blue waters are unlike anything that I have seen outside of Switzerland. Taking the boat from Interlaken to Thun would be a nice way to get a different perspective and see the other spectacular castles dotted along the lake (some of the evening cruises even offer dinner for a unique experience!)
The Schwabis River Bathing Place
Swimming is a local summer obsession in Switzerland. Are you looking for an adventure and are keen to swim in the beautiful blue water of the Aare river while visiting Thun? You need to add a visit to the Schwabis River bathing place (aka the ‘Schwaber’) to your list! The complex includes changing rooms as well as a kiddie pool and a learners pool (in case you aren’t quite ready to jump into the full current of the river quite yet.) In between cooling off in the river you can enjoy loungers on its’ grassy banks.
A Scenic Day Hike from Thun
This 11km hike from Thun will yield beautiful views of Thun as well as passing through idyllic Swiss towns. It culminates in crossing the hanging bridge in Sigriswil before heading into town to catch the train to get back. The hike is listed as “Easy” – it looks from the map like it continues along a mountain ridge. A great way to get out and soak in some more mountain vistas!
Recommendations for Thun Restaurants on a Budget:
Budget restaurants and Switzerland just don’t go hand in hand. I scoured and I could not find any restaurants in Thun that either fit my idea of ‘budget friendly’. Here are your options:
- Grab Food at the Train Station: The train station in many spots in Switzerland is one of the cheapest places to grab food.
- Takeout at the COOP or Migros Grocery Stores: There are both COOP and Migros stores at different ends of Thun where you can grab some sandwiches and sometimes food from the hot bar.
Take any of the above eats to the Schadaupark for a lovely picnic on the banks of Lake Thun!
- If you are looking for a recommendation for a splurge, head for the Hotel Restaurant Zunfthaus zu Metzgern right on the main square. This award winning restaurant oozes Swiss charm and would be a great way to wrap up your day in Thun!
The Best Resources for Figuring out What to do in Thun:
- This is one of the blog posts that I read in preparing for our trip to Switzerland that convinced me to add Thun to our itinerary as a daytrip from Interlaken!
- Here is a link to guided tours of Thun covering a variety of interests
- A link to the Thun Area tourism page with lots of great info for planning your visit!