Thun Walking Tour: Do It Yourself (With Route And Map)

In today’s world of concrete and steel, it’s refreshing to come across cities like Thun in Switzerland. Walking on its unique cobblestone streets and seeing scenic views and time-transporting landmarks are no less than enriching, refreshing, and nostalgic experiences.

Going on a local tour is a fantastic idea if you want to discover the hidden gems of Thun, but don’t worry; even exploring Thun’s highlights by yourself is a breeze! Thun is a cute and compact city, particularly Thun Old Town. It’s great to explore on foot. 

And today, I’ll show you how you can conduct a walking tour in Thun Old Town. You’ll get an itinerary and a walking route on a map, which includes the city’s landmarks, picture-perfect spots, famous streets, and squares. Sounds great? Yes, let’s go!

As a city with a long history and is situated in the Bernese Oberland, Thun offers its visitors a mixed experience: history, culture, and of course, nature. Thun sits on the northern shores of its own lake, Lake Thun, and you can start a trip to Lake Thun’s tourist attractions anytime you want once you arrive in the city. 

Even though this Thun Walking Tour is focused on Thun Old Town, you can expect that you can still be touched by nature during the trip. The walking tour includes the vantage points of Lake Thun and the Bernese Alps, which I think is one of its best parts.

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Thun Walking Tour Map

For your convenience, here’s a map of my Thun Walking Tour—a visual overview to easily define the overall expectation. 

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Thun Walking Tour map with tourist attractions and route - Thun, Switzerland
Thun Walking Tour map with tourist attractions and route
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Looking for different ways to travel in Switzerland? Check my itineraries below.

4 Days Switzerland Itinerary: Visit Lucerne and Bern

6 Days In Switzerland Itinerary: Bern, Interlaken, and Thun

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Thun Walking Tour Itinerary

Because most travelers visiting Switzerland go around the country by train, I decided to start the walking tour from Thun Train Station. 

However, if you’re looking to start your Thun Walking Tour in another part of Thun Old Town, you’ve got options. When you step out of the train station, you’ll find buses ready to take you to different areas of the city.

So don’t worry; you can still make the most of your visit.

Also, as you may have noticed from the map, this walking tour has a roundtrip path. You can begin at any point and finish the walking tour at the same place where you started. The tour goes counterclockwise, but you can also go clockwise.

If you arrive in Thun by car, you can park in the parking lot below Thun Castle. It makes Thun Castle your first destination instead of Obere Schleuse.

Let’s begin.

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Arrival in Thun

Of course, we can only start the walking tour in Thun after getting to the city first.

There are several ways you can reach Thun. You can do it by car or by train. It all depends on your preferences.

But if you plan a week-long Switzerland trip, it might be better to use public transportation with a Swiss Travel Pass.

Thun has two neighboring cities. Bern — northwest; Interlaken — southeast. From Bern, Thun is only a 20-minute train ride. On the other hand, traveling from Interlaken to Thun is the same—only one train ride but a 30- to 35-minute travel time.

Discover: Beautiful Places To Visit In Interlaken And Jungfrau Region

Most tourists arrive in Switzerland by flying to Zurich. If you are one of them and want to go to Thun straight from Zurich, moving between these cities would only involve one train ride, 1 hour and 30 minutes long.

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1st Destination: Obere Schleuse

Kicking off the Thun Walking Tour at the train station, the first place you must see is a landmark that can immediately tell you that you’re visiting a Swiss town beside an alpine lake. It’s no other than Obere Schleuse Brücke or Scherzlig lock.

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Thun Walking Tour Destination no. 1 Obere Schleuse Brücke, Switzerland
Thun Walking Tour Destination no. 1 Obere Schleuse Brücke
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It is one of the wooden covered bridges connecting the tiny island of Thun called Bälliz, separated by the Aare River, to the rest of the city. 

If you walk around Bälliz, you will find 12 bridges. Among the 12, it’s Obere Schleuse Brücke which you’ll find one of the most beautiful. 

The bridge’s rustic brown color and red roof tiles eye-pleasingly contrast with the turquoise water of the Aare River. It’ll automatically inspire you to pull the camera out of your pockets and shoot the bridge!

During warmer months, and if there is a considerable water flow through the lock, you may find some locals surfing on the current. If they are in the river, stay for a while in the quay. You may see the surfers perform a trick.

Obere Schleuse Brücke is the closest landmark to the train station, so it’s reasonable for you to make it your first destination in your Thun Walking Tour.

You can get to Obere Schleuse Brücke in about 5 minutes from the train station via Aarefeldstrasse. If you want, you can use the alternative way, which is a longer yet more scenic route. From the train station, proceed to Panoramastrasse, then Scherzligweg (a riverside path).

Below is the map showing you the 2 pathways to Obere Schleuse Brücke from Thun train station.

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Thun Train Station to Obere Schleuse Brücke (yellow = shortest path, red = scenic route) - Thun Walking Tour, Switzerland
Thun Train Station to Obere Schleuse Brücke (yellow = shortest path, red = scenic route)
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2nd Destination: Göttibachsteg (Photospot)

Although Thun Old Town is tucked further inland from Lake Thun, visitors can still behold wondrous views of Bernese Oberland from it. It’s one of the things which I think it’s nice to wander around in Thun Old Town.

Starting your Thun Walking Tour from the train station, Göttibachsteg is the first viewpoint of the Bernese Oberland you can reach. It is literally a few steps from the Obere Schleuse Brücke!

Göttibachsteg is also one of the bridges that link Bälliz to central Thun Old Town, which we can also consider a beautiful vantage point of the elegant Kunstmuseum Thun. From this bridge, you can photograph Kunstmuseum Thun with the snowy peaks of the Bernese Oberland in the background.

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View of Kunstmuseum Thun and Bernese Alps from Göttibachsteg in Thun, Switzerland
View of Kunstmuseum Thun and Bernese Alps from Göttibachsteg
View of Obere Schleuse Brücke from Göttibachsteg bridge in Thun, Switzerland
View of Obere Schleuse Brücke from Göttibachsteg bridge
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I suggest spending a few moments on the Göttibachsteg bridge. Take time to feel nature; hear the flowing Aare River; breathe the fresh air from the Alps. 

You may also want to go to Aarequai (at the north end of the Göttihacksteg bridge) towards the Kunstmuseum Thun. You can view a better angle of Obere Schleuse Brücke from there. I recommend it if you want to photograph the wooden bridge when it is decorated with flowers.

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Obere Schleuse Brücke to Göttibachsteg bridge (yellow = shortest path; red = Aarequai)
Obere Schleuse Brücke to Göttibachsteg bridge (yellow = shortest path; red = Aarequai)
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3rd Destination: Kirchtreppe

Looking around on Göttibachsteg bridge, you can see more landmarks in Thun. Can you guess? 

They are Thun Castle and Stadtkirche Thun (or the Central Church of Thun), northwest of Göttibachsteg. They are the two most recognizable landmarks in Thun, situated on a hill (Schlossberg), which you’ll also visit during this Thun Walking Tour. 

There are a few ways to get to Schlossberg (Thun Castle or Stadtkirche Thun) from Göttibachsteg. However, the best I can recommend is Kirchtreppe or the “Church Stairs.” 

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Kirchtreppe and the art pavilion near Thun Castle in Thun, Switzerland
Kirchtreppe and the art pavilion near Thun Castle
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Kirchtreppe is a 19th-century stairway that links Thun Old Town’s main street (Obere Hauptgasse) and Schlossberg. Its wooden roof makes a repetitive pattern irresistible to photograph—a little hidden gem in Thun Old Town! 

And as its name suggests, it was the path that churchgoers used to take to Stadtkirche Thun quickly from Obere Hauptgasse. You can imagine you are back in the 19th century, mixed with other churchgoers heading to Stadtkirche to pray.

A pavilion awaits you at the top of Kirchtreppe, welcoming you to Schlossberg.

The pavilion has modern artwork on its ceiling. I think it depicts the history and religious culture of the people of Thun. And yes, it is another little hidden gem in the city.

Going to Kirchtreppe from Göttibachsteg takes about 5 minutes on foot. I recommend taking a scenic walking route along Aarequai. Then, turn right in Freienhofgasse, and turn left in Obere Hauptgasse. The first small path you can find to your right is Kirchtreppe.

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Göttibachsteg bridge to Kirchtreppe (yellow = scenic route; red = alternative route)
Göttibachsteg bridge to Kirchtreppe (yellow = scenic route; red = alternative route)
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4th Destination: Stadtkirche Thun

I admire cities that have preserved their culture and heritage throughout the ages. They make the world a better place to travel to. As you might have also thought, Thun is one of them.

What’s the most obvious proof? The skyline of Thun—you can immediately see it from the first two parts of this Thun Walking Tour. Thun still has 14th-century landmarks that dominate Thun’s skyline. One of these landmarks is Stadtkirche Thun.

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View of Stadtkirche Thun from the churchyard in Thun, Switzerland
View of Stadtkirche Thun from the churchyard
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Let’s say you are now in Kirchtreppe’s pavilion. Then, you are literally a few steps and one more staircase away from Stadtkirche Thun. 

Reaching Stadtkirche Thun’s churchyard, you’ll immediately see its octagonal clock tower overlooking you. Believe it or not, this tower dates back as early as 1330! The faded murals under the arched openings of the church are proof.

Exploring Schlossberg, I learned that Stadtkirche is on the side of the hill facing the Bernese Alps. 

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View from the windows inside Stadtkirche Thun, Switzerland
View from the windows inside Stadtkirche Thun
Things to see in Stadtkirche Thun in Thun, Switzerland
Things to see in Stadtkirche Thun
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Near the back of the Stadtkirche Thun, you can find more pavilions and benches where you can rest with relaxing views of the Swiss Alps—the perfect thing to do after climbing Kirchtreppe from Obere Hauptgasse.

Below is the map and route showing you the path from Kirchtreppe to Stadtkirche Thun. I also highlighted the way to the benches and pavilion. 

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Kirchtreppe to Stadtkirche Thun (yellow = shortest path; red = path to see the pavilion beside Stadtkirche Thun)
Kirchtreppe to Stadtkirche Thun (yellow = shortest path; red = path to see the pavilion beside Stadtkirche Thun)
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5th Destination: Thun Castle 

Northwest of Stadtkirche lies Thun Castle, the primary landmark of Thun.

Thun castle dates back as far as the 12th century. Now, it is a Swiss heritage site of national significance that immortalizes the presence in the region of the Zähringens, Kyburgs, and Habsburg—the builder and once owner of Thun Castle. 

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The formidable facade of Thun Castle in Thun, Switzerlandormat For Landscape
The formidable facade of Thun Castle in Thun, Switzerlandormat For Landscape
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I only suggest checking the castle grounds and appreciating its military architecture on this Thun Walking Tour. You can take photographs of the rustic parts of Thun Castle, like the observation tower behind it.

Actually, a part of the castle may surprise you as it was transformed into a Modern design. One wall of the castle’s courtyard can be interesting for minimalist photographers. It has rectangular glass windows, which I think are a part of the castle’s hotel.

Thun Castle has a cafeteria and a museum that you can explore if you have extra time. But here’s why I think you should come to Thun Castle and visit its museum: the view from its towers is the best in town.

If you want to know what you can expect inside the castle museum, you can check my article, What To Expect In Thun Castle & How To Visit.

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The view of Thun Central Church and the snowy peaks of Bernese Oberland from Thun Castle in Thun, Switzerland
The view of Thun Central Church and the snowy peaks of Bernese Oberland from Thun Castle
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Getting to Thun Castle from Stadtkirche Thun is straightforward. Thun Castle and Stadtkirche are linked by the Schlossberg cobblestone path, which is only a 3-minute walk short. Along this path, you can also find the entrance to the under-the-hill parking lot of Thun Castle.

By the way, don’t forget to look back at Stadtkirche Thun midway to the Thun Castle or before you enter the castle’s courtyard from Schlossberg. I think the view of Stadtkirche Thun with the cobblestone pathway in front of the KITA Gampiross daycare center is a picturesque scene.

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View of Stadtkirche Thun from Schlossberg in Thun, Switzerland
View of Stadtkirche Thun from Schlossberg
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Below is the map showing the Schlossberg path.

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Stadtkirche Thun to Thun Castle (yellow = shortest path; red = stops and routes for castle exploration)
Stadtkirche Thun to Thun Castle (yellow = shortest path; red = stops and routes for castle exploration)
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6th Destination: Rathausplatz

Like almost all European towns established in the Middle Ages, Thun also has town squares which were the center of political and social life back in the day. The most famous square in Thun is Rathausplatz, and it’s the next place to visit in this Thun Walking Tour.

Built to impress and manifest the city’s affluence, you must see Rathausplatz during the Thun Walking Tour. The square has cobblestone flooring and is surrounded by the city’s notable buildings. You can expect nostalgic scenes anywhere you look.

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Thun City Hall in Rathausplatz in Thun, Switzerland
Thun City Hall in Rathausplatz
Elegant beautiful buildings in Rathausplatz in Thun, Switzerland
Elegant beautiful buildings in Rathausplatz
View of the Thun Castle overlooking the Old Town, seen from Rathausplatz in Thun, Switzerland
View of the Thun Castle overlooking the Old Town, seen from Rathausplatz
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It is in Rathausplatz that you can also see some of the oldest structures in the city, like the 15th-century town hall, 14th-century Hotel Rathaus, and the 18th-century Burgerhaus Thun. 

You can sit on the beside the fountain in the middle of the square if you like. There, you can have a tranquil moment while appreciating the architecture of the buildings surrounding the square.

Also, in the middle of the square, you shall see Thun Castle overlooking Thun Old Town. 

When you see it, I bet you’ll also think it is a scene straight out of a movie set in the Middle Ages. It’ll spark your imagination to picture the rulers of the Thun, watching over the heart of the city from the castle’s breathtaking towers.

To go down from Thun Castle and visit Rathausplatz, use other staircases that link Schlossberg and Thun Old Town (not Kirchtreppe). If you’re in Schlossberg, you can find the entrance to these staircases along the Holi Maz pathway.

Where’s the Holi Maz pathway?

Let’s say you just stepped out of the castle’s courtyard through its main entrance, turn right, and the footpath you’ll see perpendicular to you is Holi Maz. When you reach the junction, turn right again.

After a few steps, you shall see two staircase entrances to your left. You can choose either of them; they’ll lead you to Rathausplatz.

Here’s the map as a visual guide:

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Thun Castle to Rathausplatz
Thun Castle to Rathausplatz
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7th Destination: Obere Hauptgasse

After seeing the most notable square in Thun, we proceed to Obere Hauptgasse, the pedestrianized street famous for its raised pavement. Its unique street architecture is like no other in Switzerland (as far as I know) and is a must-visit for a unique wandering experience.

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Scenes from Obere Hauptgasse in Thun, Switzerland
Scenes from Obere Hauptgasse
A beautiful tower seen from Obere Hauptgasse in Thun, Switzerland
A beautiful tower seen from Obere Hauptgasse
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Obere Hauptgasse, or Upper Main Street, starts at one corner of Rathausplatz. Let’s say you’re currently in Rathausplatz. If you are facing Thun Castle, Obere Hauptgasse is the street you’ll find to your right. 

And, of course, Obere Hauptgasse is worth wondering about not only because of its raised pavements. This cobblestone street is flanked by rows of quaint pastel townhouses reminiscent of Bern. Have your camera prepared to capture quaint little details of the city!

Strolling along Obere Hauptgasse, you can find many restaurants, boutiques, and stores. Yes, shopping opportunity!

If you like, you can go to the balconies of the raised pavement. There, you get to observe how daily life in Thun happens. 

Indeed, you’ll love hanging out there, especially during warmer months when the railings of the raised pavements are decorated with colorful flowers. 

While strolling along Obere Hauptgasse away from Rathausplatz, watch out for a pedestrian underpass to Untere Schleuse Brücke or Mühle Lock on the right side of the street. You can use it as a shortcut to the places of interest along the Aare River, like Mühleplatz, Aarequai, and Bälliz from Obere Hauptgasse.

Below is the route of the Thun Walking Tour in Obere Hauptgasse.

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From Rathausplatz to Mühle Lock in Obere Hauptgasse (yellow = short stroll in Obere Hauptgasse; red = route to see all parts of Obere Hauptgasse)
From Rathausplatz to Mühle Lock in Obere Hauptgasse (yellow = short stroll in Obere Hauptgasse; red = route to see all parts of Obere Hauptgasse)
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8th Destination: Bällizbrücke (Photospot)

Throughout this Thun Walking Tour, you’ll encounter several picturesque scenes that will inspire you to take pictures. However, if you are looking for a fantastic place to capture an Instagrammable shot of yourself in Thun, one of the best I can recommend is Bällizbrücke.

So, what and where is Bällizbrücke?

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Picturesque views of Thun Castle from Bällizbrücke and Rathausquai in Thun, Switzerland
Picturesque views of Thun Castle from Bällizbrücke and Rathausquai
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Bällizbrücke is a pedestrian bridge that links Rathausquai and Bälliz. Among the 12 bridges, it’s the one that has a length that perfectly aligns and points to Thun Castle.

If you stand in the middle of the bridge, you can see and take a photo of the beautiful buildings beside the River with Thun Castle on the center top. You’ll also see Bällizbrücke’s railings acting like leading lines to Thun Castle. 

Leading lines—a compositional technique used to make a beautiful photo.

There are a few ways to get to Bällizbrücke from Obere Hauptgasse. The first one is going back to Rathausplatz and walking towards Bälliz (southwest). Another is using the underpass to Mühle Lock to get to Mühleplatz, then to Rathausquai, and finally to Bällizbrücke.

I recommend the latter so you can have a chance to explore the beautiful Mühleplatz.

This park sits by the river, and you can expect beautiful views and lively scenes in many directions. You can already check and visit Untere Schleuse Brücke from Mühleplatz, but I suggest doing it later.

Since you’ll be passing by Rathausquai, take the opportunity to capture beautiful scenes there, too!

Below is the map showing you the route from Obere Hauptgasse to Bällizbrücke.

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Obere Hauptgasse to Bällizbrücke (yellow = direct path; red = with a side visit to Rathausquai)
Obere Hauptgasse to Bällizbrücke (yellow = direct path; red = with a side visit to Rathausquai)
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9th Destination: Bälliz (shopping)

Of course, the Thun Walking Tour isn’t complete without checking for local merchandise, shopping for souvenirs, and rejuvenating meals. Where to go?

Well, there’s no better place to find a wide range of options other than Bälliz—the island in the middle of the Aare River.

Bälliz is a 500-meter-long shopping district packed with different establishments. From supermarkets to department stores, fast food to high-end restaurants, boutiques to jewelry stores, and more!

Heads up, using Bällizbrücke to get to Bälliz from Rathausquai, you’ll arrive at the middle of the island.

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Bällizbrücke to Bälliz (yellow = path if you are not interested in shopping; red = “let’s explore and buy souvenir path”)
Bällizbrücke to Bälliz (yellow = path if you are not interested in shopping; red = “let’s explore and buy souvenir path”)
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10th Destination: Untere Schleuse

Last but definitely not the least for this Thun Walking Tour is Untere Schleuse Brücke, also known as Mühle Lock.

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View of Untere Schleuse Brucke from Waisenhausplatz in Thun, Switzerland
View of Untere Schleuse Brucke from Waisenhausplatz
The calm, reflective water of the River Aare on the other side of Untere Schleuse Brucke in Thun, Switzerland
The calm, reflective water of the River Aare on the other side of Untere Schleuse Brucke
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It is another wooden covered bridge in Thun that connects Mühleplatz and Waisenhausplatz across the Aare River. Together with Obere Schleuse Brücke, they regulate the flow of water downstream in the Aare River.

Untere Schleuse Brücke is pretty much the same, quaint as its counterpart on the other side of Bälliz. But unlike the latter, this bridge bends sharply across the River. 

You can go behind Restaurant Waisenhaus for lovely views of Thun Old Town with Untere Schleuse Brücke included in the picture.

If you like, you can dine at the alfresco seating and pick the seats at the back of the restaurant. It can be a romantic spot where you and your partner (if you travel with him or her) can satisfy both your tummies and eyes for a memorable moment in Thun. 

You might also want to see the other side of Untere Schleuse Brücke along Aarequai. The water there is calmer compared to the opposite side of the bridge. Often, you can see the reflection of the bridge from there, and it’s an opportunity for you to take another beautiful photo in Thun. 

Here’s the map and route you can follow in visiting Untere Schleuse Brücke during your Thun Walking Tour.

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Bälliz shopping district to Schleuse Brücke (yellow = spots for watching the surfers; red = route for some photo opportunities)
Bälliz shopping district to Schleuse Brücke (yellow = spots for watching the surfers; red = route for some photo opportunities)
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Done With Thun Walking Tour—Where To Go Next?

Thun Old Town is only one of the places you can see during a trip to Thun. You can check my article about the tourist attractions around Lake Thun. In that post, I discussed the worth of a trip destination like Oberhofen Castle and simple yet notable attractions like Thun Panorama.

Related: Complete 15 Things To Do In Thun (with map)

I’m sure you’ll also like to visit Bern and Lucerne. Check these travel inspiration posts for these cities to spark your wanderlust:

  1. 10 Unique Things To Do In Lucerne
  2. 10 Beautiful Things In Lucerne That You Must See
  3. 10 Free Things To Do In Lucerne
  4. 10 Beautiful Landmarks In Bern
  5. 10 Most Charming Fountains In Bern
  6. 7 Stunning Views In Bern
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Find ways to visit and explore Thun!

Walking Thun Old Town walking tour is a part of my Thun itineraries: Lake Thun Itinerary: How To Spend One Day (Detailed Guide) or Best Way To Spend One Day In Thun (Day Trip Itinerary)

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Sources: Thun Walking Tour

So, that’s my Thun Walking Tour. I hope you find it helpful and you enjoy your trip to this wonderful city in Switzerland! 😀

If you want to see more places in Thun Old Town, check the Thun City Guide brochure linked below. It has a list of hotels, camping sites, museums, historic sites, parks, and public spaces you can add to the itinerary of this walking tour.

Lastly, if you plan to stay in the Bernese Oberland Region, you may use this link to see the list of hotels in the area. On the other hand, here’s the link where you can find guides, tours, and day trips for your visit to the Bernese Oberland Region.

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