Visiting Stunning Thunersee – Lake Thun in Switzerland

Amazing Things to Do In Lake Thun, Switzerland

Lake Thun is, for sure, one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland! Yes, Lake Thun is an exceptionally pretty lake! But it is not only about its beauty.

There are many fun things to do around Lake Thun. With the cutest towns and villages, stunning mountain peaks, and beautiful hotels, this is one of my top recommendations for staying in Switzerland. 

Lake Thun, or Thunersee in German, is surely is no hidden gem, and every year, visitors come from all around the world. But if you visit, you will understand the fascination. 

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Travel Tips for Lake Thun

This post is about the beauty of Lake Thun and about things to do around Lake Thun, so here are a few tips.

View from the panorama restaurant in St Beatus Caves
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Views from the restaurant at St. Beatus Caves

Where to Stay in Lake Thun

If you stay in an official accommodation in Thun or the area, you will get the PanoramaCard Thunersee, which will give you discounts on certain activities. But the best part is that you can use public transportation in Thun and its surroundings for free (buses only). You can even take the bus all the way to Interlaken.

AREAS TO STAY AROUND LAKE THUN

  • Thun is a busy town and one of my first picks when staying in the area. Accommodation prices are a bit higher.
  • Spiez is another place I recommend staying when at Lake Thun. This pretty town is a luxurious resort that is centrally located and close to many other tourist attractions – find hotels in Spiez.
  • Interlaken is a good choice if you are short on time and plan to see and do activities around Lake Brienz and Interlaken itself. Click here to read about the best places to stay in Interlaken (for all budgets).
  • I recently stayed in the newly renovated Hotel du Nord. I actually was very positively surprised (the reviews were not great, but since all rooms were renovated lately, it is a great place to stay). The breakfast was also better than in the Hotel Interlaken. Click here to get the best deals.
  • Budget tip: If you need to watch more budget more closely, I recommend staying in places close to the lake, like Aeschi bei Spiezfind hotels and the rates here.
  • If you choose Airbnb accommodation, you will also get the Thun / Interlaken Card if it is an official and registered property (double-check before booking). If you have never used Airbnb before, you can use my link to save $$$

How to Get Around Lake Thun

There are several ways to get around Lake Thun.

It doesn’t really matter if you get around via car, public transportation, cycle, or foot. Each of these modes is fantastic around the lake, and I couldn’t name a favorite.

There is more information on each later in this post, so I will not go into detail now.

Lake Thun Info

Lake Thun is located in the region of Bernese Oberland, in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. 

Situated between Interlaken and Thun, the Alpine lake is primarily fed by the two rivers of Aare and Kander.

  • Max. width: 3.5 km 
  • Average depth: 136 meters
  • Max. depth: 217 meters
  • Surface elevation: 558 meters 

Lake Thun was created after the last glacial period, combined with Lake Brienz (and called Lake Wendel), and then split in the 10th century to become an independent beauty. Yes, in other places we talk about independent countries, in Switzerland we talk about independent lakes.

Its emerald color makes this lake one of the prettiest in Europe – more than 50 kilometers of shoreline offer various attractions and activities to do.

Best things to do around Lake Thun, stroll the hike_
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What to Do In Lake Thun – Places to Visit and Best Activities

Here are some ideas for things to do on Lake Thun, at Lake Thun, and around Lake Thun.

Drive Along Lake Thun by Car

One of the best and most beautiful places I have driven is from Thun to Interlaken via Sigriswil. Use the side streets and avoid motor ways in this area, to have the best views!

This route is also part of the “Grand Tour“ route. This takes you on a 1600 km tour through the most beautiful regions of Switzerland.

Switzerland road trip tips by Arzo Travels, Lake Thun
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There is basically no free parking. You can stop directly at the lakes at some point, but in towns, attractions, etc. parking is more difficult and you have to pay if you do not want to risk a fine. However, it is so worth it!

Hop on a Bus

If using public transportation is fun, you are probably in Thun. Scenic views and pure bliss are what you can expect when using public transportation in Switzerland. 

Switzerland Lake Thun best things to do
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However, buses might be crowded at times, and if you don’t get a window seat, then public transportation isn’t so fun anymore.

But if you get a window view, it is so worth it (yes, the picture was taken out of the bus).

  • Take the bus from Thun to Interlaken and sit on the right side so you have the views of the lake. With your PanoramaCard you can use the bus for free.

Cycle Around Lake Thun

Cycling around Lake Thun is a popular activity. There are quite a number of routes you can choose from.

Views from St Beatus Caves
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I haven’t cycled Lake Thun, but it is actually on my list. Since it is a mountainous area, you have to pedal a bit harder at times, but cycling along the lake actually looks really doable and fun (on my bucket list!).

  • If you plan to cycle around the whole lake, it could take anywhere from 2,5-5 hours without stops (51,5km – 32miles). Cycling aound Lake Thun is classified as an intermediate bike ride and requires good fitness required.

Walking / Hiking At Lake Thun 

Lake Thun is also perfect for beautiful strolls and hikes. 

Lake Thun, hike the lake
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Walking directly along the shores is one of the most fun activities in Lake Thun. Most of the time, cars will drive next to you, but this shouldn’t stop you. Sometimes, you walk along the shores without any vehicle next to you.

  • One of the most scenic walks/hikes includes the walk from Spiez to Faulensee (very easy 30-minute walk).

Walking along the whole lake is probably but I highly recommend planning in some days for it and split the walk into several stages and do it like this:

  • Thun–Sigriswil: 11 km – it takes about 4 hours
  • Sigriswil–Interlaken: 16 km – it takes about 5 hours
  • Interlaken–Spiez: 20 km – it takes about 6 hours
  • Spiez–Thun: 14 km – it takes about 4 hours
    All walks/hikes are quite easy but there is some meters of altitude to conquer, so wear proper shoes.

Go on a Lake Thun Boat Cruise

The best thing to at Lake Thun is: cruising Lake Thun on a boat. 

Best things to see at Lake Thun, boat tour Lake Thun
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I am a boat addict, so I know what I am talking about: a Lake Thun boat cruise is probably one of the prettiest cruises you can take. 

A boat tour will show you the scenery and lake from a totally different perspective. Passing places like Thun, Spiez, St. Beatus Caves, and more makes this a pretty perfect thing to do in Lake Thun.

Getting from Thun to Interlaken by boat takes about 2 hours. You have the chance to hop off at several stations (like Spiez, Beatenberg, or St. Beatus Caves).

The sunsets seen from Lake Thun are some of the most beautiful sunsets in Switzerland. You can even do a sunset boat cruise on Lake Thun. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can go on unlimited boat rides of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can use most boat cruises without any extra charge in Switzerland. Boat cruises on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are included in the Swiss Travel Passes. Check out prices for a 4-day Swiss Travel Pass or an 8-day pass.

If you want a day ticket for Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, buy the day pass which gives you unlimited boat cruises (for a day). Click here for prices.

Enjoy Watersports on Lake Thun

Lake Thun is warmer than Lake Brienz, and, thus, it is more suitable for water lovers. Also, it is popular amongst sailors, windsurfers, and stand-up paddlers. While I don’t do any of those, active people will find their perfect water sports activity at Lake Thun.

Explore the Town of  Thun

Thun is the biggest and busiest town in the area. Find out about Thun´s history while looking at the Thun panorama, enjoying views from Thun Castle, strolling the beautiful market square and old town, resting at the Aare River, having your lunch/dinner, splashing your feet in the river, and resting at Schadau Castle.

Thun, most beautiful town in Interlaken
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View of church from Thun Castle
  • Tip: With a Thun or Interlaken Guest Card, you get a small discount on Schloss Thun. It is free access with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Visit Interlaken

Interlaken is the most famous town on the shores of Lake Thun. The world capital of outdoor activities also offers interesting places for less adrenaline, like the Höhenmatte for resting and chilling and the Aare River.

Switzerland Interlaken at Lake Thun
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The town itself is great for shopping watches, but if you prefer buying something else, Thun is probably the better choice. However, strolling the main street and watch people paragliding is a fantastic experience (or why not paraglide yourself?).

Pay a Visit to St. Beatus Cave

Another beautiful place to visit at Lake Thun is the St. Beatus Caves. The St. Beatus Caves meander through grottos full of stalactites and stalagmites.

A must-see place in Interlaken_St Beatus Cave
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  • There is an entrance fee for the caves – it is an really unique place in Switzerland, so check it out.
  • However, you can also just enjoy the lake’s amazing views for free.
  • There is also a restaurant that comes with amazing views.
  • If you walk from the caves towards the boat station, you have a very, very scenic view.

Enjoy Views from Sigriswil

Sigriswil is another lovely village to visit at Lake Thun. To enjoy beautiful views of Lake Thun, head to the Sigriswil suspension bridge and explore the interesting garden area of Grabenmühle.

Interlaken best activities
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  • The Sigriswil suspension bridge is a bridge that comes with great views of Lake Thun – walking the suspension bridge probably isn’t for the faint-hearted.
  • While you have to pay a fee for the bridge (around 8CHF), it is worth those who enjoy great views and interesting bridges.
  • You can use your Sigriswil bridge ticket to get into the Grabenmühle as well. I cannot classify Grabenmühle but it is a kind of garden which is overly cute. You can visit alpacas, look for gold and do more, let´s say unique, things.

Castle Hunting in Oberhofen

Oberhofen was named the most beautiful town in Switzerland. So, of course, you should have a peak. Oberhofen is most known for the Oberhofen Castle, located right on the shores of Lake Thun.

Best things to see at Lake Thun, stroll the hike_
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  • You can visit the castle museum or its garden. There is also a restaurant you can dine in and enjoy the charming views all around.
  • There is an entrance fee for the museum of about CHF10.

And close by, in Hilterfingen, is another castle. Hünegg Castle, dating back to the 19th century, offers great views and a lot of history just waiting for you to explore.

  • It is only a 10-minute walk from Oberhofen Castle.
  • There is a museumdedicated to the Historicism and Jugendstil movements and a garden.
  • There is an entrance fee for the museum of about CHF10 – it is free with the Swiss Travel Pass.

Stroll Merligen 

Merligen is a tiny village on the northern shores of Lake Thun near the St. Beatus Caves.

However, while it is very small, it offers great views from the church and is extremely charming. It is not likely to be a place you could explore for days, but staying here is probably one of the best ideas in the area of Lake Thun.

Merlingen at Lake Thun
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  • There is also a lido in Merligen. It is an outdoor swimming pool near a beach or lake or even in a city. The lido is perfect for those, who do not want to swim in the open lake. The views of the lake and Mount Niesen – a unique mountain in the pyramid shape – are superb.
  • The lido is open from mid-March to mid-September and the entrance fee is around CHF 7,50 for adults.

Discover Spiez

Spiez, nestled amid hills and vineyards, will give you the most Mediterranean feel in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. It is located close to Thun, at the western/southern shores of the lake. 

best places in Switzerland
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Spiez is one of my favorite places in the area – it is such overly pretty and charming. With its 1000 year old  castle church it even offers something for those interested in culture. On top of all, there are the views from the castle…

  • Visit Spiez Castle, stroll the promenade, take a pleasant and easy 40-minute walk to the Faulensee boat station, play tennis or gold (yup!), do some windsurfing or just enjoy the views of Niesen Mountain in Spiez.

Head to Beatenberg / Niederhorn

Whether you are a hiker or just taking the cable car, enjoy some of the best views from Beatenberg and Niederhorn Mountain (elevation 1950 meters).

Niederhorn Mountain -amazing views from there
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@Interlaken Tourism Board

You can hike up all the way, some parts or just relax and hop on a funicular/cable car to get to the summit. You have, on clear day, views of the Swiss Skyline (which consists of three mountains, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau) and the surroundings.

Also, there is a new ridge trail promising 360-degree views as it leads past spectacularly rugged cliff edges. If you prefer resting, have lunch at the restaurant and just enjoy the views.

I visited on a foggy day and the views were semi-great. However, make sure to add a trip to Niederhorn on clear and sunny days.

  • With a Swiss Travel Pass, you get a discount on cable cars.

Enjoy the Most Beautiful Sunset

The most beautiful sunsets in Switzerland are best watched at Lake Thun. I am already in my hotel most of the time when the sun sets, but when I am in the region of Interlaken, I try to stay out longer and head to Lake Thun because Swiss sunsets are the prettiest there.

Switzerland Lake Thun best sunsets
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  • Best spots for watching the sunset are around Beatenbucht.
  • There is even a sunset boat cruise available on Lake Thun.
  • Either bring your own snacks and enjoy the view from the shores, or enjoy the views from one of the hotels or restaurants that come with a view – or, as mentioned, enjoy the view from the boat.
  • Tip: Buy a day ticket for Lake Brienz and Lake Thun and enjoy cruises at day and then end the day with the sunset cruise. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you can go on unlimited boat rides of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Here are a few more tips activities that you can (should) do when you visit the pretty area of Lake Thun. They are all close by and can be easily visited from Thun or any other town close by (especially easy to visit from Thun or Spiez, though they are located towards the southern/western shores of the lakes.

Go up Niesen Mountain

Get up Niesen Mountain (at 2,362 metres elevation) and enjoy spectacular views of the lake. Niesen Mountain is most famous for its spectacular and distinctive shape – it looks like a pyramid. If you are around Lake Thun, you will quickly notice that mountain. But it is not only pretty to look at – there is quite a lot to do at Niesen Mountain.

Best things to do around Lake Thun, Switzerland_
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Hiking is just one very popular activity as is paragliding but there is even more. Check out more about things to do at the top of Niesen Mountain.

There are several way to get up:

  • You can either hike up and down.
  • You could also get up and down by cable car/funicular railway. With a Swiss Travel Pass, you get a discount.
  • Or you can buy a one-way ticket and then hike up/down one way.

Explore Stockhorn Mountain

Stockhorn Mountain is another mountain close to Lake Thun. It is probably most famous for an activity you can do there – bungy jumping.

Here the cable car is not only a mean of transportation – it is also the place where people jump. Jump out of the cable car at a height of 134 meters.

If you like trying out bungee jumping, why not here? 

Lake Thun best things to do
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But even if you do not jump (I never would!), there are tons of activities besides hiking and bumpy jumping. This includes cave rocks, rock climbing, and more.

  • You can either hike up or get up via cable car.
  • Tip: With a Swiss Travel Pass, you get a discount on the cable car ride.

Hike in Diemtigtal Nature Park

Hiking in Diemtigtal Nature Park – this place is great for hiking with the whole family. It is located close to Stockhorn Mountain so that you could combine a trip.

Easy and moderate hikes make the area great for people of all ages.

These are my personal top tips for things to do at Lake Thun, or Thunersee, and around the area. As you can see, there are quite some Lake Thun attractions as the lake is not a lake like any other.

Click here for more tipsThe best things to do in Interlaken. 

Safe Travels, Arzo
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