Thun Castle: A Visitor’s Guide To This Majestic Fortress

thun castle

Thun Castle is a stunning Swiss castle and one of the most iconic buildings in the city of Thun. Perched atop a hill on the right bank of the Aare River, Thun Castle overlooks the city’s old town and dominates its skyline with its massive roof. 

Castle history, ticket prices, parking, and when to visit are all covered in this visitor’s guide. Read on to learn more about Thun Castle, and find out all you need to know to plan your visit to this iconic landmark!

General Information

Here is the most important information you will need on any visit to Thun Castle

LocationSchlossberg 1, 3600 Thun (Google Maps)
Opening HoursApril to October: Daily 10 am – 5 pm
November to January: Sundays 1 pm – 4 pm
December 24th – January 7th: Daily 1 pm – 4 pm
February and March: Daily 1 pm – 4 pm
Ticket PricesAdults: CHF 10
Students/Pensioners/Special Needs: CHF 8
Children (6-16): CHF 3
Children under 6: Free
DiscountsFree with the Swiss Museum Pass, Swiss Travel Pass, Raiffeisen Member Card
Family card (2 kids, 2 adults): CHF 20
Websiteschlossthun.ch
Thun Castle information

History of the Thun Castle

Thun Castle

Thun Castle was originally constructed in the 12th century as a purely administrative castle, but many elements were added in the following centuries. The history of this castle is extremely interesting and quite bloody. It’s connected with the Kyburg family – they inherited the castle in the early 13th century, which was when the levels above Zähringen castle were added. 

There was a row within the House of Kyburg over who would rule the Kyborg lands in the south, which ended up with Eberhard II von Kyburg murdering his brother, Hartmann II.  Eberhard II wanted to further protect his land from the Habsburgs, so he sold it all to Bern and got it back as a fief. 

The Kybugs ruled this land war for nearly two centuries until Burgdorferkrieg started as a result of a failed raid. The Bernese were ultimately victorious, and the Kyburgs were forced to concede. 

Several changes were made to the Thun Castle during the Bernese period, the most notable of which is the massive roof. Also, it’s important to note that the castle was owned by Bern for a very long time. The city of Thun bought it back only in 2006, and the Bernese Oberland regional court was based in this castle until 2009.

How to Get to Thun Castle

Thun Transport

Thun Castle is easily accessible on foot by a set of stairs that lead from the Town Hall Square to the castle grounds. It takes only about five minutes to walk up the stairs, but that’s only if you’re not stopping every other minute to catch your breath. There are a lot of stairs to climb, but it’s all worth it in the end. 

If you’re just visiting Thun for a day, you’ll most likely have to find the castle from the main train station in town. That will take a bit longer because the train station is on the opposite bank of the Aare river, but it still shouldn’t take you more than 15 minutes to walk from the station to the medieval castle. 

You could also ride the bus to a certain point, but that won’t shorten your journey much. Plus, it’s just a 10-minute walk through Thun’s old town, which is definitely worth exploring while you’re already there!

What to Expect When Visiting Thun Castle

Expect a lot of stairs and don’t even think about visiting the castle if you are not capable of climbing lots of flights of stairs. Only the museum exhibit in the castle is wheelchair accessible, and that’s just because it’s on the ground floor. The castle rooms can only be accessed by stairs, and that doesn’t even begin to cover all the stairs you need to climb just to reach the castle hill. 

The castle museum spans five floors, and that’s just for the permanent exhibits – special exhibits are often included in the tour, but they require either a special or a combi ticket. 

The permanent museum exhibits cover all the best parts of the castle, from the cellar to the towers. You get a great castle tour that tells you about the history of the building, its many governors, and the former prison on this grounds, and it all ends with a beautiful view of Lake Thun from the castle towers. It’s definitely worth it to take the time to see the entire exhibit, especially if you are genuinely interested in the history of this iconic landmark. 

Thun Castle Tickets and Opening Hours

Thun Castle Panorama

Thun Castle is open every day for the better part of the year, with the exception of the period between November and January. During this time, the castle is open only on Sundays, so if you happen to visit Thun in the winter and you really want to tour this historical museum, be sure to plan a Sunday visit. 

From April to October, this castle is open every day from 10 AM to 5 PM, so planning a visit should be pretty easy. You can buy tickets on the spot or you can get them online – if you visit during peak tourist season, it’s generally better to buy them in advance to save as much time as possible. 

The entrance fee is 10 CHF for the castle museum and 5 CHF for the special exhibit. A combi ticket is 15 CHF, which makes very little sense considering it offers absolutely no discount. These are prices for adults; there’s a discount for senior citizens, special needs citizens, students, children, groups of 10 or more people, and owners of the culture pass. So, if you can convince the person at the desk that you’re not actually an adult, you might just be able to score a discount!

Also, if you have the Swiss Travel Pass you can tour this museum for free, which is pretty cool.  

Thun Castle Parking

If you want to park as close to the castle as possible, look for Parkhaus Schlossberg. The parking fee at this garage is 2 CHF per hour, and discounts start to apply if you reach the five-hour mark. 

There’s an elevator at the parking garage that allows easy access to this castle. Alternatively, you can leave the garage and go on a quick walk – the longer route takes just some five minutes, and it offers a beautiful view of the castle as you’re approaching it. 

Tips When Visiting Thun Castle

Thun Castle View

The castle areas are not very stroller-friendly, so I would advise against visiting the place with a newborn. There are a lot of stairs to climb, and if you want to visit all five floors of the Thun Castle museum, you won’t have a good time carrying a stroller up those stairs. 

If you’re planning a visit in the winter, be sure to double-check if the castle museum will be open. Although there are periods when the castle is open every day, for a few weeks it’s open only on Sundays – make sure that’s not the case during your visit, especially if you’re heading to Thun on a weekday. 

Dogs aren’t allowed inside the castle, so you’ll have to skip this tour if you’re traveling to Thun with your furry friend. 

Be sure to check the events calendar at the castle before you purchase any tickets. That’s also a great opportunity to visit since most events take place at the intact Knight’s Hall, which is one of the few surviving halls from this period. It’s an incredible place, and it’s even better if you can manage to visit it during an event! 

Is Thun Castle worth visiting?

Yes, it is absolutely worth visiting. This is an iconic landmark in the city of Thun that dates back to the Middle Ages, and if you are even a little bit interested in the history of the city and the castle, you’ll have a great time in the historical museum. Highlighting the castle’s rich and varied history is the purpose of the museum exhibits, and you can easily gain insight into the different periods of the city’s history. 

The panoramic view of the city, lake, and mountains from the castle towers is another reason why Thun Castle is absolutely worth a visit!

Written by Ashley Faulkes
As a twenty-year resident of Switzerland, I am passionate about exploring every nook and cranny of this beautiful country, I spend my days deep in the great Swiss outdoors, and love to share these experiences and insights with fellow travel enthusiasts.

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