Oberhofen Castle: Why You Should Visit & How To Visit

For me, The Alps are the most beautiful place in the world. It’s full of magical scenes, from mystic lakes to otherworldly mountaintops—they can surely make you forget reality! 

Do you know what makes the Alps a more irresistible destination? Castles. Seeing their fairytale appearance with the idyllic natural scenery of the Alps is an unparalleled escape for a peaceful mind and awe-filled moments.

If you are traveling in Switzerland and looking for such a wonderful experience, Oberhofen Castle is a fantastic option. In this post, I’ll share the best reasons why you should visit Oberhofen, how you can visit it, and other tips. Let’s go!

Before anything, let me first briefly introduce you to Oberhofen Castle. So, what exactly is Oberhofen Castle?

Oberhofen Castle is a popular landmark in Switzerland, famous for its tower that stands in the waters of Lake Thun in Bernese Oberland.

Its tower, photographed with the snow-capped mountains of the Bernese alps in the background, has been the inspiration of many travelers wanting to see the most magical side of Switzerland. 

Have a look:

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Oberhofen Castle in front of Bernese Oberland in Thun, Switzerland
Oberhofen Castle in front of Bernese Oberland
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The history of Oberhofen Castle is long, extending to the ruling age of Habsburg in Switzerland in the thirteenth century. It was passed to Bern after some battles which Bern had won. 

For centuries, it was privately owned by different families. That is until the mid-twentieth century when an American lawyer, William Maul Measey, established the Oberhofen foundation. Oberhofen castle became a museum, serving as an outpost of the Historical Museum of Bern. 

Today, Oberhofen Castle is one of the top tourist attractions around Lake Thun, which travelers often want to see when they travel to Bernese Oberland.

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Is Oberhofen Castle Worth Visiting?

It’s not easy to say whether Oberhofen Castle is worth it or not. We all have our own preferences. But if you’re like me, an escapist and a lover of the great outdoors, Oberhofen Castle is a place to be. 

But how about ordinary travelers? Is Oberhofen Castle worth visiting?

Yes, Oberhofen Castle is worth visiting for travelers looking for a unique fairytale experience in Bernese Oberland. It has a lovely park which everyone can enjoy and awe-inspiring aristocratic rooms that are all unmissable! 

Couples planning a Switzerland trip to Bernese Oberland should definitely include Oberhofen Castle in their itinerary. The quaint appearance of the castle and the gorgeous scenery of Lake Thun from Oberhofen Castle are perfect for a romantic moment together.

Are you curious about what the aristocratic rooms look like? Do you want to know what beautiful things you can see in the park? I’ll show you as we go along.

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Reasons Why You Should Visit Oberhofen Castle

As a fan of fantasy medieval movies and shows, I am easily convinced to visit Oberhofen Castle. I grew up in a totally different place, totally opposite an alpine region; Oberhofen Castle is like a fantasy-come-to-life destination for me. 

Oberhofen Castle may only be a destination for some. But whether you’re like me or not, you may still want to visit Oberhofen Castle for a few reasons. 

We start with the most obvious…

Reason 1. Picture Perfect Scenes of the Castle

Let’s admit it… we travel because we want to see awe-inspiring places. Oberhofen Castle? It is undoubtedly one of them! The moment you set your eyes on the castle, you’ll be struck by its picture-perfect beauty.

That’s really the case when the clouds are away, the sun is shining, and you arrive at the castle by boat. The view of Oberhofen Castle from the lake is magical. Immediately, you will be inspired to take photos, especially at the dock, where you can see the most iconic views of Oberhofen Castle. 

Before are the photos of the scene that you can see arriving at Oberhofen Castle by ferry.

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View of the Oberhofen Castle from the boat in Lake Thun, Switzerland
View of the Oberhofen Castle from the boat in Lake Thun
Two sides of the water tower of Oberhofen Castle seen from a boat in Lake Thun, Switzerland
Two sides of the water tower of Oberhofen Castle seen from a boat in Lake Thun
The picture-perfect appearance of Oberhofen Castle from the castle’s dock in Lake Thun, Switzerland
The picture-perfect appearance of Oberhofen Castle from the castle’s dock in Lake Thun
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How Oberhofen looks—it’s almost picture-perfect for me! I just wish the owner would replace the cafeteria’s glass windows with rustic ones. It totally ruined the quaintness of the castle. 

But suppose you want a close-up view of the Oberhofen Castle’s water tower. In that case, you can go to the alfresco seating area of the cafeteria. It’s a fantastic spot for another photo opportunity, with the blooming flowers decorating the surroundings. 

Look.

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Between the outer and inner castle gates to the cafeteria of Oberhofen Castle, Thun, Switzerland
Between the outer and inner castle gates to the cafeteria of Oberhofen Castle
View of the water tower from the cafeteria in Oberhofen Castle, Thun, Switzerland
View of the water tower from the cafeteria in Oberhofen Castle
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As you may see, the crenellations partially block you from seeing the entire tower.

To have a full close-up view of the Oberhofen Castle’s water tower, go within the castle’s inner yard through the second gate. The rightmost part of the inner front yard (overlooking Lake Thun) is the best vantage point for appreciating the tower’s architecture.

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Architecture of Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
Architecture of Oberhofen Castle
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These picturesque scenes I just showed are only the start of the list of the beautiful things you can find in Oberhofen Castle. You’ll discover more as we go along…

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Reason 2. Beautiful Castle Park

Another reason why Oberhofen Castle is a fantastic destination is that it has a beautiful park. What’s even better? You can enter, stroll, and relax in the park for free, as long as you want!

The park of Oberhofen Castles was designed and built by the aristocratic Pourtalès family; you can expect that you can have one of the loveliest and most memorable strolls of your life in it! The landscaping is superb, from the lawns to plants forming geometric shapes and to century-old trees. 

Take a look at this green leafy tunnel!

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Green tunnel inside Oberhofen Castle’s Park in Thun, Switzerland
Green tunnel inside Oberhofen Castle’s Park
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If you’re a dendrophile who loves trees, wandering in Oberhofen Castle’s Park will be fun! Why? Besides that, it is full of giant old trees; you can also learn something about these trees as you walk around the park. 

Trees have their panel boards. By reading the panel boards, you’ll learn their name, what they symbolize, and other special features like healing properties and so on.

For example, I found a tree in Oberhofen Castle’s Park called Giant Sequoia. I learned that it symbolizes strength and balance, and they were used by Native Americans to treat jaundice and blood poisoning.

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Tall trees and the colorful plants inside Oberhofen Castle’s Park in Thun, Switzerland
Tall trees and the colorful plants inside Oberhofen Castle’s Park
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Aside from the beautiful scenery of the garden and castle’s keep shown above, Oberhofen Castle Park has stunning views of Lake Thun, too. The panorama of Lake Thun from the park includes the simply spectacular pyramid mountain of Switzerland—Mount Niesen.

One of the remarkable things you can find in Oberhofen Castle’s Park is the Swiss Cross. It’s a giant garden plant art that depicts the Swiss flag’s cross, consisting of rare plants like Alternanthera, Helichrysum, and Begonia.

The Swiss Cross is located at the edge of the Oberhofen Castle’s Garden, Lake Thun side. 26 square meters wide, it is another noticeable part of the castle grounds if you are on a boat ride in Lake Thun. 

Can you imagine the amount of gardening skill involved in the cultivation of the Swiss Cross? Incredible.

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Oberhofen Castle’s Swiss Cross and views of Lake Thun, Switzerland
Oberhofen Castle’s Swiss Cross and views of Lake Thun
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If you have your kids with you when you visit Oberhofen Castle, you can take them to the playground. You can also take them to the children’s chalet. It contains drawers containing materials about fairytales, legends, and poems. 

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Reason 3. Magnificent Castle Museum

For me, the highlight of a visit to Oberhofen Castle is the castle museum. It is packed with things to marvel at.

Also, when you visit Oberhofen Castle, you will likely be surprised or amazed. Why? Because some exhibits in the castle museum were modernized, but their rustic appearances were kept. 

How? Why?

Digital projections were installed and integrated into objects in the castle. The shape and overall appearance of the exhibits aren’t altered. Still, they show different images like magic, letting you imagine life in the castle in the past.

The last time I checked, the objects exhibited showed vivid animation about the lives of the servants in Oberhofen Castle in the 20th century.

It’s cool to see an interactive castle, though.

Anyhow, if you are a fan of architecture and rustic places, you’ll not regret seeing the castle museum. But whether you’re a fan or not, they are still a reason you should visit Oberhofen Castle.

Let me show you why.

Elegance overflows from Oberhofen Castle’s awe-inspiring interiors. Some of its rooms possess an overwhelming level of elaboration. And the objects, paintings, and simple little things—they’re straight out of medieval movies (which I am a super fan of).

Oberhofen Castle has several rooms, but for me, the two unmissable rooms are the dining room and the Oriental Smoking Room at the top of the castle’s keep.

I love the cozy atmosphere in the dining room—thanks to the stucco elaboration on the ceiling. The boards on the walls of the room look very colorful and interesting. Its letterings are superb, but I wish I could understand what’s written.

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The colorful board and the dining room of Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
The colorful board and the dining room of Oberhofen Castle
Remarkable stucco work on the ceiling (center) of the dining room in Oberhofen Castle, Switzerland
Remarkable stucco work on the ceiling (center) of the dining room in Oberhofen Castle
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Can you imagine yourself eating like an aristocrat surrounded by all this fanciness? It’s probably the “life” way back then.

The real spectacle of Oberhofen Castle lies in the Oriental Smoking Room. It is the “smoking room” of Count Albert de Pourtalès, the owner of Oberhofen Castle in the mid-19th century, the commissioner of the Oriental Smoking Room, and the Prussian ambassador in Istanbul during that time.

Influenced by the culture in the east, he brought Oriental architecture to Oberhofen Castle, his castle during that time. Today, we consider it a unique travel “gem” in Switzerland—an architectural spectacle you should see.

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Intricate furnitures and awe-inspiring elaboration inside Oriental Smoking Room in Oberhofen Castle, Thun, Switzerland
Intricate furnitures and awe-inspiring elaboration inside Oriental Smoking Room in Oberhofen Castle
The mesmerizing ceiling of the Oriental Smoking Room of Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
The mesmerizing ceiling of the Oriental Smoking Room of Oberhofen Castle
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As you may notice, Oriental Smoking Room has impressive woodcraft. But they aren’t only in this spectacular room. They are almost everywhere in the castle!

In fact, there is more to see, as I have mentioned previously. Aside from the woodwork, you can find armor, portraits of the previous owners of Oberhofen Castle, dolls & doll houses, and paintings of the castle from centuries ago.

Below are some of the interesting objects you can also find inside the Oberhofen Castle.

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Impressive woodwork inside Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
Impressive woodwork inside Oberhofen Castle
The mini library_gallery with an old painting of Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
The mini library_gallery with an old painting of Oberhofen Castle
An old painting of Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
An old painting of Oberhofen Castle
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Can you see through the painting above how Oberhofen Castle would look better without the huge glass windows of the castle’s cafeteria?

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Armor and weapons from the middle ages inside Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland (2)
Armor and weapons from the middle ages inside Oberhofen Castle
Armor and weapons from the middle ages inside Oberhofen Castle in Thun, Switzerland
Armor and weapons from the middle ages inside Oberhofen Castle
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Last time I checked, some artworks only had descriptions in German. Although it doesn’t matter if you have Google Translate installed on your smartphone, I still think it would be more enjoyable to learn/discover details about Oberhofen Castle if these descriptions were already printed in English.

Nevertheless, still, it’s magnificent inside the castle, isn’t it?

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Reason 4. Dine With Spectacular Views

Although I think that Oberhofen Castle’s cafeteria or restaurant is an eyesore in the overall appearance of the castle (only my opinion), I still consider it a factor why it is nice to visit Oberhofen castle. 

Usually, visitors spend two to three hours seeing everything in Oberhofen Castle. If you are also spending that long, I’m sure you’ll need some refreshments after. There will be much exploring and walking in the castle’s lovely garden and spectacular rooms.

It’s when Oberhofen Castle’s restaurant comes to the rescue.

Based on Google Maps reviews, many visitors liked the food, atmosphere, and service in Oberhofen Castle’s restaurant. I think you’d like to eat in it, too.

But it’s not only about the food!

The big glass windows of the restaurant will let you enjoy the scenery of Lake Thun as you dine—a heavenly satisfaction for your eyes and tummy! If the weather is fine, you can make the dining moment better with the fresh air from the Alps, touching your skin while you’re at the alfresco seating.

I linked the official website of Oberhofen Castle’s restaurant in the resources section of this post.

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Reason 5. It’s A Part Of A Romantic Getaway

With Oberhofen Castle’s appearance, it’s not hard to understand why it serves as a venue for different events such as weddings. The quaintness of the castle and the idyllic scenery surrounding it make it a perfect place to celebrate memorable events.

Those are the same reasons why I think Oberhofen Castle is also a fabulous place for a romantic trip. Can you imagine you and your partner immersed in the castle’s medieval flair, toasting a wine in front of the glittering water of Lake Thun? 

Isn’t that beautiful? 😀

If you’re a man like me, aside from Oberhofen Castle’s restaurant, bring your girl to the castle grounds and gardens. Take a walk and talk about your dreams with her while taking in the beautiful views of the lake and the mountains. She will like it!

Oh! Actually, Oberhofen Castle has a chapel. It’s an old chapel with ancient-looking murals. You might also want to go there and spend some quiet moments together.

As you sit at the chairs, you can pray and whisper loudly (so she can hear), “God please make this girl beside me my wife!”

She’ll be romantically thrilled!

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Do you need more ideas where to go in Thun? I can help you with that! You can try reading: Is Lake Thun Worth Visiting: 10 Beautiful Places To Visit. (Links open in a new tab)

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How To Get To Oberhofen Castle

If I have convinced you to visit Oberhofen Castle, let me now guide you to reach it.

Before anything, where is Oberhofen Castle?

Oberhofen Castle is situated along the northern shores of Lake Thun in Central Switzerland. It is specifically located in the municipality of Oberhofen am Thunersee (district of Thun), between the towns of Thun and Interlaken.

Getting to Oberhofen Castle is straightforward whether you want to go there by car, bus, or boat. 

It’s a fantastic destination if you’re from Thun, Interlaken, and Spiez. From these towns, you can simply hop on the ferries that connect them and the tourist attractions around Lake Thun. Oberhofen Castle has its own dock located right beside its entrance.

You can get your ferry tickets here. The tickets include unlimited boat rides in Lake Thun and Lake Brienz (non-winter months). You don’t need a ferry ticket if you already have a Swiss Travel Pass.

Alternatively, let’s say you’re now in Thun or Interlaken; you can ride the bus (#21 – Thun/Interlaken; #25 – Thun) and alight at Oberhofen Dorf. The bus stop is within walking distance from the castle.

And if you travel in Switzerland using a private vehicle, you can park your car in front of the castle. If the parking is full, you can go to the parking lot in front of the Museum of Clocks and Mechanical Musical Instruments. It’s a 5-minute walk from Oberhofen Castle’s main entrance.

Alright! That’s all. But…

One more thing, I just want you to know that you can get to Oberhofen Castle quickly from Bern (a 40-minute drive). Here’s what you can see in Bern (the most beautiful city in Switzerland in terms of architecture):

And, previously, I mentioned Lake Brienz and Interlaken. These fantastic destinations are surrounded by breathtaking viewpoints and quaint villages. You must also see them when you visit Switzerland. Learn more about them from the links below.

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Best Time To Visit Oberhofen Castle

The best time to visit Oberhofen Castle is from mid-May to October, when you can access every part of the castle, including the castle museum. The castle museum is the highlight of the castle—a unique experience to have while traveling in Bernese Oberland.

However, don’t forget to set your visit to Oberhofen Castle from Tuesday to Sunday (11:00 am to 5:00 pm), the opening days & hours of the castle museum.

You can come earlier to Oberhofen Castle than the castle museum’s opening hour as you can already access the castle’s park by 9:00 am. Come early at the castle’s park opening hour so you can enjoy the tranquility of both the park like you own the entire place!

Before you go to the Oberhofen Castle or plan a Switzerland trip itinerary, make sure that you check the announcements and latest opening hours of the Oberhofen Castle on their official website. You can find the link to the castle’s website in the resources section at the bottom of this post.

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How Long To Spend Time In Oberhofen Castle

Two to three hours should be enough for both parts of Oberhofen Castle, both the museum and the park. However, this may vary depending on the season you visit. If you visit during the colder months when the museum is closed, your trip will likely be shorter.

Three hours would be ideal if you are visiting Oberhofen Castle from mid-May to October. Take this scenario:

  1. Come at 9:00 am, take photos in the dock/pier, and explore the front yard of the castle.
  2. By 9:30 am, proceed to the castle park. Stroll around, sit on the bench, take photos, learn about the trees, watch the children playing, and have a totally refreshing moment with the views of Lake Thun!
  3. At 11:00 am, the castle museum opens. Enter the castle and explore the interior. Marvel at the beautiful architecture.
  4. End the trip by eating lunch at 12:00 pm in the castle’s cafeteria.

Your visit to Oberhofen Castle may take longer if you want to really savor the fancy lunch in the castle’s restaurant. Also, the park has benches with views of Lake Thun and the Bernese Alps. If you need some refreshing peace and quiet, you would like to spend an “eternity” there. 

The scenery is really beautiful.

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Are you looking for ways to visit Thun? Do you want to know how much time you must spend? My posts below can help.

  1. Thun Switzerland Map: 15 Best Things to Do & Tourist Spots
  2. Lake Thun Itinerary: How To Spend One Day (Detailed Guide)
  3. Best Way To Spend One Day In Thun (Day Trip Itinerary)
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Sources: Oberhofen Castle

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See more tourist attractions in Thun!

Aside from Oberhofen Castle, I think you should also check Thun Castle and Thun Panorama if you are also visiting Bernese Oberland. Learn more about these tourist attractions from the articles I linked.

By the way, make sure you don’t miss seeing two or three of the most beautiful views in Thun Old Town!

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