Interlaken’s daredevil reputation garners a great deal of attention from visitors to the region, but the five beautiful preserved castles that ring Lake Thun (the one to the west of Interlaken) are definitely worth exploring, especially by boat from Interlaken West. Entry to the castles is CHF10 per adult, per castle, and children under 6 are admitted free of charge.
Schloss Thun (Thun Castle) is the stuff of Instagram dreams: atop a hill, overlooking a startlingly blue lake and with solid white turrets. The Dukes of Zähringen built the castle in the late 12th century, and it now houses a museum whose highlight is its Knights’ Hall, which will transport you back to medieval times. It’s open daily Feb-Oct, Sunday only Nov-Jan.
Hünegg Castle (daily mid-May to mid-Oct) in Hilterfingen is a 19th-century confection in the historicist style, set amid manicured gardens. Nowadays it’s a house-museum open in the busy summer months, providing a fascinating glimpse into the decorating style of the time. There’s a nice sunny terrace on-site, attached to the cafeteria.
Beautiful Oberhofen Castle provides quite an eyeful in terms of decoration and gardening styles of the past. The castle’s keep dates from the 13th century, and from the 14th to mid-17th century it was ruled by various dynasties before becoming a bailiwick and then a museum showcasing local interior decor styles from the 16th to the 19th century. The 6-acre gardens are great for strolling. The castle opens from mid-May to mid-Oct.
Located in Spiez, this castle is a fine example of medieval solidity and strength — the perfect place for a medieval museum, with views over the lake that will make you swoon. It opens daily
late-Mar to mid-Oct.
Mid-19th century Schadau Castle is a romantic wedding cake of a place, with a fine-dining restaurant, great views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, and lovely landscaped gardens that are at their best in spring. It closes every February and Monday throughout the year.
To get around the lake, take BLS boats from Interlaken West. Buses also connect Interlaken with the sights mentioned above.