Thun is the Swiss city called the “gateway to the Bernese Oberland,” and the views from Thun Castle best explain why. Its towers are an excellent vantage point of Lake Thun and Bernese Oberland—one of the best natural scenery of the Swiss Alps.
Thun Castle has a long history, dating back to the 12th century. Since then, it has been the tallest and mightiest structure in Thun, which never fails to catch any visitor’s eyes as they stroll Old Town Thun.
For this post, you’ll know what it is like inside Thun Castle and the views from the windows of its towers. Also, I’ll guide you on how you can get to Thun Castle and give my opinion on whether it is worth it. Sounds great? Let’s get started!
Compared to other cities in Switzerland like Bern (One Day In Bern Itinerary: Landmarks & Scenic Spots Tour) or Lucerne (How To Spend One Day In Lucerne), Thun is relatively smaller and has fewer tourist attractions.
However, Thun has a landmark in the heart of its old town, which Bern and Lucerne don’t have: a castle. And for me, it’s one of the reasons why some travelers should include Thun in their Switzerland Trip.
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Located near a lake and mountains, Thun Castle can be one of the ultimate destinations for travelers seeking to satisfy their wanderlust and escapist desires. The tranquility and quaintness of the setting will transport them to a different time and place, allowing them to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Look at the panorama of Thun below, with its castle dominating the city’s skyline.
These, and the scenes of the castle from the streets of the Old Town Thun, the picture-perfect views from its windows, and the things exhibited inside the castle are the “ticket” to that escape.
How To Get To Thun Castle
Before we talk about the interesting things inside Thun Castle, let me first show you the way to the castle.
Getting to Thun Castle is pretty simple, and you don’t need to ride any public transit or drive far away if you’re already in the city. It is located very close to the city center, on the hill northeast of Thun Old Town. You can get to the castle on foot within 15 minutes from the train station.
Visit Thun Castle With A Car (Parking Lot)
If you have your car, you can park it in the castle’s parking lot. The parking lot is located on Burgstrasse (street) near Krankenhausstrasse junction/runabout. It’s pay parking, and they accept credit cards for payment (2 CHF per hour during the morning).
The last time I checked, the Thun Castle’s parking lot was very clean, well-lit, and could accommodate 300-plus vehicles. You can find e-chargers for electric cars; elevators that can bring you straight to the castle grounds.
The parking lot’s exact location is linked at the end of this post (sources section).
Reach Thun Castle On Foot (Best Route)
For travelers arriving in Thun by train, getting to Thun Castle on foot requires a little cardio workout. As Thun Castle was built on a hilltop overlooking Old Town, climbing the stairs (approximately 7 floors equivalent) would be part of your journey to the castle grounds.
Exploring Thun Old Town, you can find a few pathways to get to the castle. There is one in the Town Hall Square, and there are three in Obere Hauptgasse—the main street of Thun Old Town that runs along its length.
You can use any of them to get to Thun Old Town, but make sure you pass by Kirchtreppe when either climbing up or going down from Thun Castle.
Kirchtreppe is an old wooden covered staircase from the 19th century with picturesque gables. It ends on a small art-embellished pavilion, painted with modern art that depicts Thun’s history (I guess) with angels and demons.
I’m not sure what’s the title of the artwork, though. But using this path, you may forget that you’re climbing stairs as the staircase is so pleasant to the eyes. Watch your steps!
Kirchtreppe is the closest staircase you can use to get to Thun Castle if you are from the train station.
And let’s say you’re really from the train station, cross the River to get to the island and then cross again to the Old Town through Sinnebrücke (bridge). Continue until you reach Obere Hauptgasse and turn left. After a few steps proceed to the first pathway to your right—it is Kirchtreppe.
If you make it to the pavilion, continue climbing the stairs opposite Kirchtreppe.
It’s the last staircase and will lead you to Schlossberg’s cobblestone pathway, which links Thun Castle and Stadtkirche. The entrance to the castle will just be a few steps away from the last part of the stairs.
Must know: Schlossberg means Castle’s Hill (direct translation)
Along this cobblestone pathway, you’ll also find the entry down to the parking lot below the castle.
Inside Thun Castle
The flair of a fairytale will immediately surround you right after you arrive at the castle.
I think you’ll like the first impression of Thun Castle more if you use Kirchteppe to get to the castle. The pathway in Schlossberg is one of the most picturesque places on the castle grounds—the charming Stadtkirche, mighty Thun Castle, and panoramic views of the Old City and Alps will all be yours to see.
Schlossberg’s pathway ends at the entrance of Thun Castle, and here’s what it looks like:
Upon entering the gate, you’ll arrive at the castle’s courtyard, where the cafeteria is. You can also find a few things that are straight out of medieval ages, like the cannon and well.
However, I was surprised to see that one wall of the castle was already modernized when I checked the courtyard. I think that part of the castle was already converted into a hotel, that’s why. The modern, minimal windows look fine, but in my opinion, they should not have altered the castle’s original design.
Anyhow, if you’re an architecture enthusiast like me, it’s nice to know the history of Thun Castle. It can set your expectations about the interiors of the castle.
Since Thun Castle was used primarily as a government facility (local court and prison) in the past and not a residence, you can’t expect to see lavish rooms and richly ornamented halls.
Nevertheless, it’s a rustic place with interesting exhibits and which can be fun if you’re into discovering different pieces of history. The castle was converted into a museum, though. And some parts of it can already be rented as an event place.
Overall, aside from the courtyard, Thun Castle has seven more parts you can explore: the cellar, the castle’s 5 upper floors, and the towers. Each has a different purpose and kind of exhibit. Below are some of the things inside Thun Castle I find most interesting.
According to the official website of Thun Castle, they have thousands of collections, but only 600 are exhibited to the public.
Generally, these types of items are the ones that you can expect to see in Thun Castle (particularly on the 1st-3rd floors). They highlight the region’s history, culture, and art. I think you’ll like the exhibits if you’re into medieval art and weapons.
And if you’re also a fan of watching movies set in the middle ages, I believe these items will make your fantasies a reality! By the way, you can also find ceramics, antique toys, and hunting tools that depict the hunting culture of the residents.
Fun fact, despite being in Switzerland, you can find a Burgundian Heraldic tapestry in Thun Castle.
I’m unsure if the archivist and curators occasionally shuffle the castle’s collection. If so, what you might find in Thun Castle may differ from what is shown in the photos.
Also, if you are interested in discovering Thun’s 900 years of urban development, you won’t like to miss the castle’s cellar. In the basement, a modern diorama of the city awaits you. It’ll show you the notable buildings in the town, which you can see next after Thun Castle.
Views From Thun Castle
For me, another unmissable part of the Thun Castle experience is the views from the windows of the castle’s towers.
Based on the height of the tower’s windows that you’ll see while you’re on the castle grounds, I think you’ll immediately realize that to see some epic views, you will definitely do some legwork.
However, don’t let the height discourage you, especially when the sun is shining above you! The view from the top is absolutely rewarding. Here’s a sample:
Is Thun Castle Worth Visiting?
Thun Castle is Thun’s primary landmark, like the Chapel Bridge in Lucerne or Zytglogge in Bern. Although it’s not as famous as the two other Swiss landmarks, it’s still a great place to visit to discover the region’s heritage and see some time-transporting scenes while in Switzerland.
Ultimately, Thun Castle is the best tourist attraction you can find in Thun, considering the value you can have from it. The castle museum offers new learnings, and its tower is a fantastic vantage point for some unique views of Bernese Oberland. These are the reasons why I think Thun Castle is worth visiting.
I highly recommend Thun Castle for history enthusiasts like me. I believe you saw the beautiful sword and the tapestries in the photos. Like, aren’t they fascinating!?
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)
Visiting Information About Thun Castle
If I have convinced you to visit Thun Castle, make sure to come only during its opening hours. The last time I checked, Thun Castle is open:
- Every day from April to October – from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
- Sundays from November to January – from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
- Every day from February to March – from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm
The admission fee starts at 10 CHF/adult.
A trip to Thun Castle usually lasts for an hour or two. That includes simple activities like strolling in the castle grounds, sightseeing & taking pictures and exploring the castle up to the viewpoints in the tower. It can be longer if you plan to eat in the cafeteria or relax on the benches with the views of the city and mountains in the castle’s garden.
If you like to maximize your stay in Thun and you want to visit Thun Castle, you can purchase the “kombi-ticket,” which also lets you enter Thun Panorama for only 5 CHF additional to the regular price.
Important: Thun Castle and Thun Panorama (as well as Thun Art Museum) are free to enter if you have a Swiss Travel Pass.
What’s nice: You can utilize the free-to-use-lockers in the entry room of Thun Castle if you have bags (i.e., normal-size backpacks). They are really helpful for a relaxing tour of the castle, especially if you want to climb to the top of the tower for epic views.
If you are staying in Thun for a day or more and don’t have a hotel to stay yet, you will find the best hotel deals in Thun through this link.
Please check the official website of Thun Castle for news and announcements.
Are you looking for ways to visit Thun? Do you want to know how much time you must spend? My posts below can help.
Sources: Thun Castle
You can learn more about Thun and check some latest information from the links below.
- City Ost Schlossberg — Thun Castle parking lot (Google Maps)
- Thun Castle Official Website (Visiting information)
See more tourist attractions in Thun!
A while ago, I mentioned Thun Panorama. It’s the oldest panorama in the world, a preserved image of Thun way back early 19th century. Learn more about it here: Thun Panorama: Why You Must See It & How to Visit
Aside from Thun Castle, I think you’d also like visiting Oberhofen Castle. It’s another castle in Thun and way more beautiful than Thun Castle. You can discover it here: Oberhofen Castle: Why You Should Visit & How To Visit
Lastly, here’s the article of what you should not miss when exploring Thun Old Town: Old Town Thun: 5 Picturesque Places Worth Seeing
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