SPIEZ TRAVEL INFO – WHAT TO DO + MORE INFO
If you thought Switzerland is all tiny villages of wooden houses perched on mountain tops the town of Spiez will surprise you!
Located on the shores of Lake Thun, the atmosphere in Spiez is very unique and almost Mediterranean. Though I have traveled extensively in Switzerland and been to all parts and areas of the country, I have not seen any place like Spiez. Here you have a French Riviera atmosphere nestled amongst the Swiss Alps. What a beautiful combination.
Besides the natural scenery of lush hills and vineyards, this small town of 12000 inhabitants boasts some gorgeous landmarks.
No surprise, I highly recommend adding Spiez to your Switzerland itinerary.
Also, Spiez makes a perfect base for day trips. Due to its location, trains normally pass Spiez in the direction of Zermatt, Kandersteg, Montreux, and more. Basing yourself in this pretty village makes getting around very easy.
Keep reading to find out more about one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland: the best things to do in Spiez, and some useful travel tips.
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SPIEZ TRAVEL INFORMATION
Spiez is located in the German-speaking canton of the Bernese Oberland region, which is more or less in central Switzerland.
It sits on the southern shores of emerald-green Lake Thun, approximately halfway between the towns of Thun and Interlaken, at 558 meters (1,830 feet) above sea level. At a short distance to the south, the impressive Alps are a magnificent panorama.
HOW TO GET TO SPIEZ
Spiez is easily reachable via boat, trains, buses, and cars.
SPIEZ TRAIN STATION
- Though there are many trains running through Spiez train station, it is a small train station that you can easily navigate through.
- Trains from Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost as well as from Lake Geneva (Montreux), Bern, and many other Swiss destinations stop here.
- The train station stands at 628 meters above sea level – if you get out of the train station you have a beautiful view of Spiez Castle, Spiez, and Lake Thun.
- You have to walk about 10 minutes downhill until you reach the main attractions at the lake.
SPIEZ BUS STATION
- Alternatively, you can take a bus to Spiez. They stop at the Spiez train station but if you do not want to walk all the way down to the promenade, then take another bus.
SPIEZ BOAT STATION
- Another scenic way to reach Spiez (yes, buses and trains offer nice window views) is via boat. Located on the shores of Lake Thun, the boat station is just at the promenade.
- Boats run more often in the summer months but also in the winter months (1-3 times a day). By boat, you can get to Thun, Interlaken, St.Beatus Caves, or many other villages on the shores of Lake Thun.
- Driving along the shores of northern shores of Lake Thun is a highlight. So getting to Spiez by car is another option to get to Thun. Parking – especially on busy days – might be tricky but there are (paid) parking spots near the promenade if you get there by car.
If you use public transportation, I recommend getting a Swiss Travel Pass. I visit Switzerland often, and most of the time I get one – even if it’s a road trip. It is only for non-Swiss residents though.
- It allows you to use trains and buses without any extra costs.
- You can also do boat cruises without additional costs – and you can cruise Lake Thun with regular boats to get around.
- It also gives you a 50% discount on most mountain rides (you can get up via cable car/funicular for half of the price, and if you follow my tips, you will need it twice).
The initial prices for a Swiss Travel Pass are quite high – but it pays for itself if you get around via public transportation and are active in Switzerland for more than three or four days. So, check out prices for boats and trains and then calculate if it is a good option for you.
For me, it usually makes sense as I am very active and use public transportation/mountain rides often (even if I road trip Switzerland). I also love boat rides – which means many, many boat cruises for me whenever I have a Swiss Travel Pass. Check out prices for a Swiss Travel Pass here.
If you stay overnight in Spiez, you will get a Guest Card that allows you to use the buses in Spiez for free. However, if you plan to do day trips and a Lake Thun boat cruise, a Swiss Travel Pass might be the better option that helps you save money.
WHERE TO STAY IN SPIEZ
Spiez is rather small but given its perfect location, quite busy. If you want to visit in the main season (summer) I suggest booking quite early before hotels are fully booked.
- La belle vue Boutique Hotel & Cafe is located uphill, close to the train station, and offers great views of Lake Thun and Spiez Castle. It just takes a few minutes to get to the harbor area and its proximity to the train station is great if you plan some day trips from Spiez. Find out more and check out rates here.
- Hotel Restaurant Seegarten-Marina is situated right on the shore of Lake Thun. Most rooms offer panoramic lake and mountain views – plus, it has a lakeside restaurant which is perfect for enjoying more great views! Check out rates here.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN SPIEZ
Spiez is small so you will not find an endless list of things to do in Spiez, but believe me, you will get to see some beautiful spots!
VISIT SPIEZ CASTLE
Switzerland might be famous for its mountains and lakes, but it is also home to some pretty historic castles. The beautiful Spiez Castle is built right by the lakeside. With its imposing tower, it really looks like a castle from a fairy tale.
The view from the top is just amazing! You have to climb some stairs, but it’s definitely worth it. From there you also have some stunning views of the pyramid-shaped Niesen Mountain.
Then you can also enjoy the beautiful garden in front of the castle – a perfect place to relax and soak in the beauty of the surroundings.
You can visit the castle which houses furnished rooms dating between the 13th and the 18th century, including a wood-paneled Renaissance room and an early Baroque banquet room. The exhibitions showcase the history of the location and the castle owners.
The castle church nearby is open to the public – this early Romanesque church was built around the year 1000! Lots of events take place there, including concerts. The garden with roses and fountains makes this place even prettier.
- Open only in spring and summer. Check out more here.
- Calculate a couple of hours to explore and enjoy the area
Wherever you are in Spiez, make sure to walk towards the “harbor“. The promenade here is one of the prettiest in Switzerland and here you will experience some Mediterranean vibes (especially in the warmer months) with all the palms, flowers, and sailing boats while you are in central Switzerland.
A couple of benches invite you to enjoy a day at the lake – alternatively, bring your own drink and something to eat and snatch one of the benches.
The view: priceless. Especially the view of Niesen Mountain is just superb!
At the promenade, you also have the boat stop station.
The bay of Spiez has so much more to offer apart from the promenade and the fantastic, fantastic views.
Play some beach volleyball, handball (playground free to use), or some Pétanque, or enjoy some minigolf.
It is a perfect place for active people – however, I admit, this is not for the rainy days in Spiez.
- Some of the activities can only be done from April to October.
Like almost any town in Switzerland, Spiez has its own lido. You might be wondering what a lido is?!
A lido is a public outdoor swimming pool and surrounding facilities, or part of a beach where people can swim. In Switzerland, a landlocked country, lidos are often right on the shores of a lake which allows swimming at the lake but some have pool areas as well.
The Spiez Lido, with its lakeside lawn and sun loungers, comes with great views of Spiez Bay, the castle, and the surrounding mountains.
You can choose whether you want to swim in Lake Thun or in the heated pool which also has several diving boards and the longest water slide in the Bernese Oberland (86 meters long).
- The lido is open daily from May to September – tickets for adults are about 6,60 CHF.
LAKE THUN BOAT CRUISE
- Free with a Swiss Travel Pass
A boat tour on Lake Thun is a must-do activity in Spiez. As I have probably mentioned before (because I keep saying it); Lake Thun is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland. And hopping on a boat will allow you to experience its beauty from a different angle.
Lake Thun is located between Interlaken and Thun, with Spiez in between. With more than 48 square kilometers, it is the largest of Swiss lakes located within a single canton (Bernese Oberland).
Lake Thun has some stunning scenery and gorgeous towns & villages to offer.
If you do a Lake Thun boat tour (complete tours take about 1,5 hours even if you do not get off, as the lake is so huge), you will get to see these along the shores of Lake Thun.
You could get out in Interlaken (though there are many great spots to get out) and then do a Lake Brienz boat tour or explore Lake Brienz.
SPIEZ VINEYARD SENSORY ADVENTURE TRAIL
One of the hikes you can easily do from Spiez includes a vineyard hike. You will see the vineyards which surrender Spiez Castle but there is more.
You can find out about wine production at the Spiez vineyard when you follow the themed trail with 12 information boards which gives visitors information about the wine production while enjoying breathtaking views across Lake Thun and the castle.
It is a quite easy hike that comes with a fantastic panorama – do not miss out on this hike that takes about 1,5/2 hours with little downhill or uphill hiking.
- Starting point: At Spiez Castle, just before the Rebbaugenossenschaft cooperative on Schlossstrasse, turn left into Rebbergweg.The Unteres Räbhüsli is located on the left-hand side at the start of the vineyard.
WALK TO FAULENSEE
From the harbor, a path leads along Lake Thun in the direction of Interlaken. It is a beautiful walk between the lake and the woods, sometimes with a small pebble beach, until the neighborhood of Faulensee.
If you are looking for some relaxation, this is the perfect place: just sit at one of the numerous benches and admire the wonderful scenery.
While I have never visited myself, the Toy Museum is a popular place to visit in Spiez near Thun. Twelve rooms feature many children’s games from 1850 to 1960 – a place where visitors can embark on a journey into the world of childhood from times gone by.
Since 2005, you will find dolls, teddy bears, construction sets, play shops and kitchens, trains, model cars, tin soldiers, children’s books, social games, and much more at this museum.
This is probably not only interesting for kids (to see what previous generations, including grandparents, played with) but also for people of all ages.
- Ticket prices are around CHF 8 for adults. There is a discount if you have a Swiss Travel Pass.
- Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday from 2 pm to 5 pm, from October to the end of March from 2 pm to 4:30 pm. Closed on Mondays and from 21st – 24th of Juni
- Check out the website for more information.
If you have such a stunning lake just in front of you, you will miss out if you do not spend time on Lake Thun. While I have recommended a Lake Thun boat cruise already, there are many more options to enjoy Lake Thun – water sports activities are big here.
If you don’t have your own equipment, you can rent canoes, SUP, motor- and sailing boats, pedalos, or Zealanders.
Yes, that is quite a lot – especially the Zealanders are quite unique and can be described as electrical boats in a shape of a little van. Yes, Spiez is not your regular Swiss town.
One of the most distinctive mountains at the shores of Lake Thun is the Niesen Mountain at almost 2400 meters above sea level. The pyramid-shaped mountain is actually one of my favorite mountains in all of Switzerland and when you are in Spiez you will actually always see it.
And the best: You can get on top of Niesen Mountain without much effort.
Yes, like many other mountain summits, Niesen is also quite accessible by cable car/funicular. So, my tip – look at it first but then get up via cable car or hike up all the way.
On top is tons to do and see: including some nice hiking trails and paragliding. You will see the many paragliders from there, but it is also very family-friendly and has a restaurant on top, making it a great place to spend a few hours.
From Spiez, you can – and you should – also visit Thun for at least a few hours.
Thun is a town on the western shores of Lake Thun – and name giver for the lake. It is more lively and bigger than Thun – actually, it is the biggest town in the area (and bigger than Interlaken).
You can get to Thun by bus, train, or boat – so head to Thun and explore different castles (like Schloss Schadau or Thun Castle) and the Old Town. My highlight was the view from Thun Castle – it is just very, very pretty!
Thun is very lovely and totally different than Spiez and one of my top tips for Spiez excursions.
The famous, famous town of Interlaken is the town, everybody, flocks to. And rightfully so. The town itself is not the most spectacular as it has not a very charming old town (sorry Interlaken – I still love you) but the landscapes and choices of outdoor adventures are spectacular. Thus it is often called the capital of adventure.
If you plan to spend time in Interlaken, get to Interlaken West by boat. Just at the boat station is the Harder Kulm funicular station. Harder Kulm is a mountain standing at 1322 meters above sea level. From there you have a fantastic panorama of Lake Thun AND Lake Brienz. Alternatively, you can also hike up – it is one of the easier hikes but it is quite a steep uphill hike.
After these amazing views, you can then head to Höhenmatte – a beautiful park area with fantastic views of the famous Jungfraujoch Mountain.
There you will – on sunny days even more so – see all the many paragliders who seem to have an amazing eye bird’s view!
Interlaken is located on the northeastern shores of Lake Thun and you can easily visit by boat, but also by train or bus.
- Check out my Interlaken post for more travel inspiration.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SPIEZ ACTIVITIES
Spiez Castle. the lake promenade, together with its picturesque harbor with small boats and sailboats – the many sports activities like hiking and windsurfing or visiting nearby places, or a cruise on Lake Thun – there are tons of things to do in Spiez!
Spiez makes a great base for fun day trips but also is a pretty village by itself, well worth visiting and exploring.