Things to do in Murten, Switzerland in 1 Day

WHAT TO DO IN MURTEN + TRAVEL TIPS

One of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland, if not THE most beautiful, is Murten. This medieval town, sitting on a hill above Lake Murten, is just stunning. Seriously, Murten is the definition of stunning.

I have seen my fair share of towns and villages in Switzerland – Murten is in my top 3 of gorgeous towns in the country.

And if you are wondering about the best things to do in Murten, then this post is for you. Though Murten is not rich in attractions or sights in itself, it is definitely worth a visit.

Thus, I am sharing my tips on what to do in Murten plus some quick travel tips.

Wall of Murten
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MURTEN TRAVEL TIPS

Here are some quick travel tips for your trip.

  • Murten is located in the west of Switzerland – on the language border between French and German, in the canton of Fribourg.
  • This is also why it is known as Morat in French – while Murten is the German name. However, German is the main language (76%) and so I will keep calling it Murten.
  • Murten is easily accessible via car or train. It takes only about 30 minutes by train or car to get there from Bern and less than 2 hours from Zurich or Lucerne. Thus, it is also a perfect day trip from any one of these cities.
  • From the Murten train station, it is a five-minute walk to the old town.
  • To see the main sights you will need comfy shoes. Medieval towns often come with cobbled-stoned streets  – and so does Murten. With the right shoes, you can explore the town on foot. The town center is small and even if you walk along the shores of Lake Murten you will not need a bus/car.
  • To see the places/activities mentioned here, you will need about half a day – if you do a boat cruise (especially the 3-lake cruise) you should plan for a full day in Murten.

THINGS TO DO IN MURTEN

Okay, let´s start with what to do in Murten.

Rampart Walls

The very best thing to do in Murten is to walk the town’s rampart walls.

Murten Tower views
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They were built in several stages and from a variety of materials such as gravel, tuff, and sandstone. The lower 15 layers of stone date from before the town’s construction (12th century).

Documents state, that King Conrad IV requested his citizens to build a wall around the city. In return, King Conrad issued a 4-year tax exemption to all citizens.

Murten views when walking wall
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Murten city walls
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The views from there of LakeMurten and the old town are splendid.

You have to climb a few steps but it is nothing strenuous.

      • Free to visit
      • Open daily from sunrise to sunset
      • Closed during the carnival season (3 days in March/April) and during Youth Festival “Solennität“ in June

Murten Castle + Tower / Schloss Murten / Château de Morat

You might be surprised, or maybe not, to find out about a castle in Murten. Actually, it will be the first attraction you come across when you get from the train station to the old town.

Murten Castle and tower
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The Murten Castle dates back to the 13th century, though today’s castle is from the 18th century. 

It served as a residence to the bailiffs from Bern and Fribourg. Throughout history, it also served as a hospital, prison, and barracks. Today it houses the Canton of Fribourg’s Prefecture of the Lake District.
      • Opening hours: The tower castle is open from late June to the end of October, from 9 am to 7 pm.

Old Town

Ahhhh, the beautiful buildings in the old town are a feast for the eye! You might be familiar with this kind of buildings if you have visited Biel e.g. I would not say they are extremely unique but they are extremely picturesque.

Murten in one day
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Traditional and colorful – this is what you get with these buildings. The flower pots are just the icing on the cake.

Pretty houses in Murten in Switzerland
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Buildings in Hauptgasse in Murten
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Founded eight centuries ago by the Dukes of Zähringen, some buildings date back to the 16th century.

The main street (Hauptgasse / Grand Rue) is full of these charming buildings, but you will find many more in the little side streets, along with cute cafes and boutique shops. Also, keep an eye out for the vaulted arcades.

Murten old town and Hauptgasse, main street
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Murten fountain and building
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You will notice many unique fountains throughout the town – they are not only pretty, but you can also refill your water bottles with fresh water.

Fountains and flower pots in Murten
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Historic buildings in Murten
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Murten houses
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Look at this police station (Polizeiposten) – is it not pretty?

Police station in Murten
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Though there are many buildings that will attract your attention, also look out for the town hall (Rathaus). It was rebuilt after the city fire in the 15th century and later it was renovated and enlarged. But the baroque tower and clock were added only in 1816.

Town Hall Murten, Rathaus
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The ground floor was formerly used as a storage area and arsenal and these days it is used as a reception hall.

Fun fact: Neon-lit signs are not allowed – this way, the charm of this gorgeous old town can be preserved.

Bern Gate / Berntor

Another attraction is the Berntor. It was first mentioned in history in the 13th-century and was completely destroyed in the 15th century.

Berntor in Murten
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Over the years, it had been rebuilt several times and today’s Berntor dates from the second half of the 18th century. If you have been to Bern you might see the resemblance to the “Zytglogge” Tower in Bern – that is because they were built by the same architect, Niklaus Hebler.

Hauptgasse in Murten
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The clock, high above on the Bern Gate, dates back to the 18th century and is still wound every day.

Three heavily weighted stones, probably cannonballs from the Battle of Murten, are raised by hand cranking every 24 hours.

Lake Murten / Murtensee / Lac de Morat

Murten is located on the south-eastern shores of Lake Murten, which is also known as Murtensee in German or Lac de Morat in French.

Lake Murten
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As you might know, I am a lake chaser. And the unofficial reason I adore Switzerland are the many, many breathtaking lakes. And guess what? Murten has also its own pretty lake. Yes, it is not as big in size as Lake Geneva, nor does it have a unique color like Lake Brienz, but rest assured: Lake Murten is a wonderful place to visit.

Lake Murten promenade
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Because of its shallow depth, Lake Murten warms up quickly by the sun which makes it perfect for swimming (you do not want to jump into the cold glacier lakes you have in other parts of Switzerland).

However, it is not only for the water sport enthusiasts: You can also do a boat cruise on Lake Murten which takes about an hour. There is even the option to get to Neuchatel through the Broye canal which takes just under two hours.

But apart from all that: you can also just look at it and walk along its shores or rest at the meadow in front of the lake.

Boat cruises are free with a Swiss Travel Pass

Murten Museum

The Murten Museum is one of the oldest in the canton of Fribourg. Since 1978, it is located in the former mill, just outside the rampart walls.

Museum Murten free with Swiss Travel Pass
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The permanent collection illustrates 6,000 years of Murten’s history, as well as that of the surrounding area. There are also temporary exhibitions on display each year.

  • Free with your Swiss Travel Pass
  • Open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 2 pm to 5 pm, Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm

Churches in Murten

I would not call the churches in Murten, must-see attractions but you might still want to check them out. Also, you will come across them almost naturally, as they are conveniently located in the old town.

From the rampart walls, you will see the German Church.

German church in Murten
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According to records, a chapel existed here since the last 14th century and was rebuilt in the 18th century in the Baroque style. The old chapel has been preserved in the choir section.

Another church you might want to visit is the French Church which was built in the late- Gothic style in the 15th century. It replaced the earlier chapel dedicated to St. Catherine.

French Church in Murten
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FINAL THOUGHTS ON VISITING MURTEN

Murten is an exceptionally pretty town – maybe the prettiest of all towns in Switzerland.

If you were still wondering if it is worth visiting, hopefully, these pictures and images have a) convinced you it is well worth it, and b) informed you about the best things to do and see.
Enjoy your trip to this wonderful little place!

P.S. Since I mentioned that the unofficial reason for my Switzerland-obsession are the lakes, you might be wondering about the official reason. Well, of course, it is the mountains. The mountains! You might have guessed already! Check out some of my favorite mountain peaks in Switzerland here.

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Safe Travels, Arzo
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