Thun and Lake Thun

Just over 35 miles from the Swiss capital, Bern, the Interlaken holiday region nestles within the Bernese Oberland.Wednesday, May 16, 2018

By National Geographic Traveller The Collection

Just over 35 miles from the Swiss capital, Bern, the Interlaken holiday region nestles within the Bernese Oberland. The largest city in the area is Thun, with a population of around 44,000. It lies on the shores of Lake Thun, overlooked by a medieval castle on a hill and surrounded by a Mediterranean alpine landscape that’s known as the riviera of the Bernese Oberland.

The city is home to shops rich in tradition, cosy restaurants, cultural highlights and historic walls. The heart of the city is the busy shopping island Bälliz, encircled by the two arms of the River Aare. Just a stone’s throw from Bälliz is the Mühleplatz,which pulsates with life on balmy summer evenings. Trendy locales, elegant bars and cosy cafes make the riverbank spot popular with both locals and tourists.

Visitors can enjoy a stroll through Thun’s old town, which is home to a host of traditional and contemporary attractions. A large number of craftsmen, artists and shopkeepers have established themselves in the lower and upper levels of the popular Obere Hauptgasse. Works by local artists are on display at Thun’s Kunstmuseum (Art Museum), which hosts numerous works inspired by the beauty of the surrounding landscape. One of Thun’s most famous artworks is the Thun-Panorama. This 360-degree painting, showing the city and its surrounding areas, was painted in 1814 by Marquard Wocher and is the world’s oldest surviving circular painting. Located in the Schadau Park, guests can easily combine this museum with a visit to Schadau Castle — one of no fewer than five castles on Lake Thun. The museums can be reached by a steamboat trip from Thun with an optional meal on board, plus stunning views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. Wine lovers can continue their boat trip on to the neighbouring town of Spiez (45 minutes by boat, 10 minutes by train) and explore the new vineyard trail with views over the lake.

During the summer months in Thun, the cool, refreshing waters of the lake offer a chance to try windsurfing, sailing, stand-up paddling, water skiing, wakeboarding and canoeing.

Don’t miss

The Thun-Panorama, the world’s oldest surviving circular painting, showing the city and its surroundings

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