Thun Castle is one of the most popular landmarks in Switzerland's Bernese Oberland

Thun Castle: Your complete guide to visiting (2023)

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You can’t visit Thun without making a stop at the castle (also known as Schloss Thun), a medieval landmark in the heart of the city. Thun Castle is one of the best-preserved pieces of architecture in Switzerland that has survived many historic events and offers spectacular panoramic views of the city from the hill.

If you are planning to visit Thun and want to find out how to visit one of Switzerland’s most beautiful landmarks, this guide is for you.

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Where’s Thun?

Thun is located in the canton of Bern, in the central part of Switzerland. The city is known for its picturesque setting on the northern shore of Lake Thun and its fairytale-like old town. It’s a popular tourist destination with medieval architecture and the famous castle that offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lake.

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Where is Thun castle located?

The castle sits on a hill overlooking the town of Thun and the Aare River. You can get to the castle by taking one of the small side streets and going to the top of the hill. 

Thun is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland

Thun Castle history

Thun Castle was at the end of the 12th century by the Dukes of Zähringen and was used as a residence for the noble families and rulers of Thun, including the Zähringen and Kyburg families. it played a strategic role in controlling the trade routes and protecting the region.

The castle has witnessed numerous historical events and changes. In the 14th century, the city of Thun gained more independence from the castle’s rulers, and the castle began to lose its strategic importance.

The Bernese built an impressive roof in the 15th century. The five floors of the castle now house a historical museum highlighting the region’s history, as well as host temporary exhibitions on a variety of cultural, historical, and current issues. 

Over the centuries, the castle underwent various renovations and expansions, which added different architectural styles. It consists of several towers, walls, and courtyards. One of the prominent features is a tall, cylindrical tower that offers panoramic views of the town and the surrounding area.

Thun Castle (or Thun Schloss in German) is one of the most popular landmarks in Bernese region

What’s inside Thun castle?

The castle is a well-preserved historical site and museum. You can explore its medieval architecture, climb the towers for stunning views, and learn about the castle’s history through exhibitions and displays. The museum inside the castle provides insights into the local history, culture, and development of Thun as a town.

Thun Schloss remains a popular tourist attraction and a symbol of the town’s heritage with its rich history and picturesque location. Many tourists come to the area from places like Bern and Interlaken to visit this popular landmark. 

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Many travelers visit the castle because of the spectacular views that you can enjoy from its towers. If you plan on visiting early morning, be aware that it can be cloudy, and you won’t get as gorgeous of a photo as when it’s sunny. 

When I visited, I was after the good photo and had to pay twice, because the sun showed up right after I exited, so I had to pay for another ticket just to get a nice sunny shot of Thun’s famous panorama. Don’t make my mistake, and visit later in the afternoon if you care about a good panoramic shot. 

Thun Castle is one of the most beautiufl landmarks in Switzerland

Thun Castle prices

A standard ticket price to Thun costs 10 Swiss Franks. Many hotels in Thun, like The Lab Hotel and Apartments provide a pass (Panorama Card Thunesee) that offers a discount for the castle (I paid 8 Swiss Franks after the discount was applied), and also offers a free ride on local buses, which you can use to get to Interlaken.

How to use Panoramal Card Thunersee

To use Panorama Card Thunersee, you need to open the link on your phone. Once you open the link, you will see a QR code that you can use on buses, museums, and other points of interest in Thun.

Schloss Thun address

Schloss Thun, Schlossberg 1, 3600 Thun, Switzerland

Open hours:

  • November through January.: Sun. 13.00 – 16.00 (25.12.-1.1. open daily)
  • February through March: 13.00 – 16.00
  • April through October: 10.00 – 17.00

Please note that opening hours could vary depending on the season and current events. It’s always a good idea to check the schedule ahead of time, and better yet, make a reservation for your visit.

Thun Castle Parking

If you are visiting Thun by car, you will need to find a parking space, since you can’t park in Old Town Thun. One of the closest parking spaces to the castle is City Ost Schlossberg which has an elevator that brings you to the castle. Other public parking in the area is City Nord /Grabengut and City West. 

Thun Schloss is one of the most beautiufl landmarks in the Bernese region.

What to do after visiting the castle?

After you are done with a tour, head to one of the restaurants along Hauptgasse or take a cruise on Lake Thun to appreciate the stunning Alpine scenery and the town’s picturesque setting. Alternatively, you can also visit one of the museums in Thun, rent a bicycle to get some exercise, or try your hand at paddle boarding or kayaking on Lake Thun. 

Lake Thun Boat Tour

Lake Thun cruise tickets

You can get Lake Thun cruise tickets on the spot at ticket offices in Thun, Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost, Brienz, and Spiez, You can also book your tickets online ahead of time, so you don’t have to spend any time in line. 

I also recommend Private sightseeing tour on Lake Thun, especially if you are visiting Thun in summer when it can be very busy, so you don’t have to be on a ferry with hundreds of other people, and can enjoy a customzed experience instead.

Popular tours of Lake Thun and Lauterbrunnen

Best things to do in Thun:

  • Thun Old Town: Stroll through the cobbled streets of the old town, lined with beautifully preserved medieval buildings. You’ll find quaint shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a perfect place for a leisurely walk.
  • Lake Thun: The town is situated on the shores of Lake Thun, offering opportunities for boat cruises, kayaking, swimming, or simply enjoying a relaxing lakeside stroll.
  • Thun Panorama: The Thun Panorama is a circular painting that provides a 360-degree view of Thun and the surrounding landscape as it appeared in the 19th century. It’s a unique and immersive historical experience.
  • Thun Art Museum: If you’re interested in art, visit the Thun Art Museum (Kunstmuseum Thun), which features a diverse collection of modern and contemporary art.
  • Swiss Gastronomy: Enjoy Swiss cuisine at local restaurants. Fondue, raclette, and other Swiss specialties are a must-try while in Thun. There are plenty of great restaurants around Thun where you can try typical Swiss dishes. 
  • St. Beatus Caves: A short drive from Thun, these caves are a natural wonder with stalactites, stalagmites, and an underground waterfall. It’s a unique experience to explore this subterranean world.
  • Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Thun is surrounded by beautiful hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the Alps. Lauterbrunnen, Niederhorn and Stockhorn are popular destinations for hikers.
  • Thun-Panorama Trail: This trail offers a scenic hike around the town and the lake, providing you with panoramic views of both the town and the mountains.
  • Thunfest: This is Thun’s annual town festival, featuring live music, food stalls, and various activities. It’s a great opportunity to experience the local culture and mingle with the residents.
Thun is one of the most popular destinations in Switzerland known for its medieval castle

Where to stay in Thun

Thun is not a cheap place to visit. While the town offers a variety of accommodations, it’s best to book them ahead of time, because if you are visiting on short notice, you will likely pay the top dollar (or frank). I visited Thun in August, which is the high season, and could hardly find any accommodations, as everything was booked up and the few available hotels cost hundreds of dollars. 

Here are great options in Thun for every type of traveler:

  • Budget: The Lab Hotel and Apartments: One of the best budget hotels in Thun, Lab Hotel is a capsule hotel that also offers private rooms. 
  • Mid-budget: Hotel Restaurant Krone Thun: located smack in the middle of the Old Town of Thun, this cozy hotel is a few steps from the Aare River and Thun Town Hall. You can also have a delicious meal at an on-site restaurant and enjoy walking distance to top spots in Thun. 
  • Luxury: Hotel Seepark Thun: One of the best hotels in Thun, Seepark boasts a prime location along Lake Thun where you can enjoy superb views, a gourmet restaurant, and a wellness and fitness center. Also available are paddle boards, bicycles, and an airport shuttle. 
Thun is a picturesuqe town along Lake Thun is Switzerland

How to get to Thun, Switzerland

By car

If you want more flexibility and a bigger budget, renting a car is a great idea for visiting Thun and surrounding areas. Parking is generally pricey in Switzerland, so are prepared to pay extra, however, having your own vehicle gives you more flexibility to visit small villages and hidden gems in the Bernese Oberland without depending on public transportation.

Where to rent a car in Switzerland?

Most travelers start their Swiss itinerary in Zurich, the largest city in the country. You can rent a car in Zurich Airport (ZRH) after you land, so you can begin your adventure right away.

Check available options for car rentals in Zurich through DiscoverCars, my favorite platform for finding car rentals in Switzerland. I frequently use DiscoverCars for renting cars during my trips and have used it for renting a car in Switzerland. 

DiscoverCars has available cars and prices online, so all you need to do is type in your travel dates and look for the vehicle that you want. All you need to do is select your vehicle, pay the price and voila! 


By train 

The train is the most popular way to get around Switzerland. The country has a well-developed transportation network, and as a traveler, you can use it to get to most places. 

The Swiss Pass allows you to save tons of money on transportation such as buses, trains, and tour boats. It also provides free admission into many museums in Switzerland and discounts on many cable cars and funiculars. 

And the best part is: It also offers discounts for boat cruises on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, as well as Thun Schloss. Download the SBB app on your phone to check train schedules, platforms, and connections. You can even book your train tickets on the app.

By bus 

Aside from taking a train, you can also use a bus to get around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz by a local bus. Go to the main bus station in Thun, and catch bus 21 to Interlaken. Take a bus from Interlaken Ost to Iseltwald, Brienz, and other towns around the lake as well as Bern and Lauterbrunnen.

Best things to do in Thun

Visiting Thun: FAQ’s

Is Thun Castle worth it?

The castle of Thun is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Switzerland that provides a break-taking panoramic view of the city and surrounding Lake Thun. 

How do you get to Thun Castle?

You can get to the castle from Thun Townhall Square. Take a walk on Hautpgasse and find the uphill stairs, which will bring you to the entrance of the famous landmark. 

If you are coming from another destination in Switzerland, you can reach the castle from Thun railway station (Thun Hauptbahnhof) or Thun bus station. 

How to get from Thun Station to Thun Castle?

If you arrive at Thun by train, exit the train station and make a left turn and walk along Bahnhofplatz until you cross the bridge across the Acre River. Walk north on Obere Hauptgasse until you reach Thun Townhall Square where you can find the stairs leading from the town hall square.

How old is Thun Castle?

The castle in Thun is at least 8 centuries old. It was built by the Dukes of Zährigen in 1200. 

How long to spend in Thun?

You can easily see most of Thun in a day. Plan more time if you want to visit nearby Lauterbrunnen and explore small villages around Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, by taking a boat cruise. Regardless of how much time you plan to spend in Thun, spare at least a few days for your visit to Bernese Oberland, home to the snow-powdered Swiss Alps and one of the most impressive regions in the country. 

Visiting Thun: final word

Thun is one of the best destinations in Switzerland that offers a perfect retreat from busy destinations in the region, like Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen. Explore the Old Town, check out the medieval castle, and enjoy the quiet atmosphere of this quaint town.