Welcome to Thun, Switzerland — the gateway to the Bernese Oberland!
The first thing you’ll notice about this charming town in the Jungfrau Region is the Aare River…
1| The Aare River
…which happens to be the longest river in Switzerland. It flows from the Aare Glacier, through Interlaken, Thun, and Bern, until it dumps out into the Rhine River. Which means that Thun is an easy day trip from Interlaken or Bern.
Thun actually has a few little islands that sit on the Aare River too, which are easy to reach with so many bridges. Speaking of bridges…
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2 | Thun’s Covered Wooden Bridges
…there are 2 charming wooden bridges in Thun! Well actually, both of them are 2-in-1 bridges and locks, which are used to control the flow of water.
If you’ve been to Lucerne, then you know how popular the covered wooden bridges are. And for good reason — they’re beautiful and historic! So if you can’t make it to Lucerne on your trip, you can see these in Thun instead…and probably with a lot less tourists too!
And from the covered bridges you might be able to see…
3 | Surfers in the Aare River
…surfers in Thun! Yes, we know that Switzerland is a landlocked country, but you can go surfing here!
Each Swiss canton gets to regulate how their rivers are used. And Thun allows people to go surfing beside both of the covered bridges. Although it’s actually the locks that create enough waves to surf on.
If you’re interested, there’s a surfing association that teaches basic courses and offers info about the water temperature and the equipment you’ll need.
I’m amazed these people can even get onto their boards, much less surf the waves! Which is why we’ll stick with Brett’s favorite hobby…
4 | Traditional Coffee at Rösterei Heer
…coffee. As always, it’s Brett’s goal to find the best coffee in town, and Thun is no exception.
Rösterei Heer uses the traditional drum process to roast small batches of coffee beans which, of course, you can buy here. But their cafe coffee menu serves up just about every type of legit coffee you could want.
If you don’t enjoy coffee, they also have teas, lemonades, and some other drinks. Plus light food and desserts too.
And after your little caffeine kick, you’ll be energized for your walk up…
5 | Kirchtreppe Covered Steps
…a lot of steps.
The Kirchtreppe can be tricky to find, but if you have our 1-Week Guide to the Jungfrau Region, we’ve pinned them for you on the map for Day 7!
Although Thun isn’t technically in the mountains, there is a big hill in the middle of town. And these 157 steps will take you to the top.
(And as I climbed, I had flashbacks to hiking up similar covered steps in Lausanne!)
There’s not a ton to see along the way, but keep climbing up, up, and away to…
6 | Stadtkirche Thun
…Stadtkirche Thun, the central church of Thun. This 14th-century church sits on the side of the hill and gives incredible views of the rooftops below, the Aare River, Lake Thun, and a ton of nearby mountains. And since you’re here, you might as well peek into the church too.
If you walk behind the church, there’s a peaceful greenspace under the trees where we like to sit on a bench and linger.
But once you’ve hiked all those steps to get up here, you have to visit…
7 | Schloss Thun
…Schloss Thun. This impressive castle has dominated the skyline of Thun since it was built in the 1200s. Like most castles, it’s now a museum. You could spend about an hour inside — just don’t forget to climb all the way up the turret! And if you have the Berner Oberland Pass, you’ll get a discount on your admission too.
The medieval history is interesting, but man, after climbing up and down so many stairs I could sure go for…
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Thun is featured as Day 7 in our 1-Week Guide to the Jungfrau Region! Learn more here.
8 | La Favolosa Gelato
…some ice-cold gelato! Brett’s on a mission to find you the best coffee everywhere we go, so I’ve followed his lead to help you discover the best gelato too!
And La Favolosa Gelato isn’t just the best, it’s homemade daily using fresh, natural ingredients and artisanal practices and makes me feel like I’m back in Italy.
They have 3 different locations in Thun, and I tried the strawberry and hazelnut… and totally wish I’d bought a medium so I could have sampled more flavors.
With your gelato in hand, pretend like you’re in Italy by taking an Italian-style passeggiata…
9 | Thun Pedestrian Street (Obere Hauptgasse)
…along Obere Hauptgasse, Thun’s pedestrian and shopping street. This compact area is lined with small family businesses and shops of all kinds.
In the middle of this street you’ll find…
10 | Rathausplatz (Thun Town Hall Square)
…Rathausplatz, or the main square. This historic spot has been the heart of Old Town Thun since the 1500s.
First, it’s just pretty. Second, it gives you a great view of Schloss Thun. And third, if you come here on a Saturday, you can stroll through the weekly market with fresh produce and local specialties.
Speaking of regional products…
11 | Thun Beer
…try a craft beer from Thunbier! They make more than 10 different types of beer from your basic lager to various ales and a porter too. They offer a combo brewery tour and tasting and even have a taproom open on Thursday and Friday nights with snacks and bar games included.
But even if you don’t visit the brewery, you can still enjoy one on the beautiful riverside terrace at…
12 | Eat or Drink along the Aare River
…Grottino Quai 66. In reality, you could enjoy a Thunbier at a ton of different local spots, but something really sets Grottino Quai 66 apart — and it’s not just their Italian-sounding name!
As you can see, it’s right on the Aare River. You can sit outside on the sunny terrace, or inside in the super cool lounge. Not to mention that their menu includes flammkuchen and regional meat and cheese plates, which are perfect for lunch or a pre-dinner apero.
And for dessert…
13 | Thunfischli or Thunerli
…try some Thun fish!
Nah, I’m just kidding. But you can get a tasty Thun dessert from Confiserie Steinmann that looks like fish.
Thunfischli are small fish-shaped almond cakes and thunerli are chocolate and cream biscuits. Both are delicious and both deserve a taste when you’re in Thun.
But after your little sugar fix, hop on bus number 1 and ride for just a couple minutes to…
14 | Schloss Schadau
…Schloss Schadau. This stunning place reminds me way more of a French chateau than a Swiss medieval castle. It’s been transformed into a hotel and restaurant, but even non-guests can enjoy a drink in the swanky bar, dine in the formal dining room, or eat on the terrace outside.
In fact, it’s the outside of Schloss Schadau that really captivates us. There’s a free park for anyone to enjoy, and this might just be the best lakefront picnic spot you’ll find!
But if you’re willing to work hard for your lake views…
15 | Lakefront Walkway and Panorama Trail
…then walk the entire way around Lake Thun! Well, maybe not the whole way. It’s 64 kilometers round trip along Route 26 so you’re unlikely to walk the entire thing — or even most of it.
But start walking along the lakefront promenade until you’re too tired to go any farther. Then you can finish your journey by…
16 | Riding a boat on Lake Thun
…riding a boat on Lake Thun!
We show you how to visit our favorite spot on Lake Thun in our 1-Week Guide to the Jungfrau Region, which includes a minute-by-minute itinerary detailing how to enjoy a day in Thun as well.