Exploring the Swiss Wonders of Thun and Brienz Lake.
Nestled amidst the Bernese Alps, with their crystal-clear waters reflecting the surrounding peaks, Thun and Brienz Lakes are heavens of tranquility and natural wonders.
The lake’s history dates back to the Ice Age, when glaciers carved out its basin, resulting in its distinctive shape. Human habitation in the region can be traced to prehistoric times, as evidenced by archaeological discoveries. Over the centuries, Thunersee has played a significant role in the region’s economy, serving as a vital waterway for trade and transportation. Surrounded by charming towns and villages, such as Thun, Spiez, and Interlaken, Thunersee offers a glimpse into Switzerland’s rich cultural heritage.
Among many of the remarkable attractions scattered throughout this region, we would like to draw attention to a special route that we have personally tested and recommend.
Stop one – Sigriswil
Begin your adventure from Thun to Sigriswil, a quaint village perched on the hills overlooking Lake Thun. The biggest attraction here is the Sigriswil Bridge, which stretches across the Sigriswil ravine, connecting the towns of Sigriswil and Aeschlen. It measures approximately 340 meters in length and stands at a heigh of around 180 meters above the ravine floor. It features a suspension system supported by steel cables and towers. The deck is composed of metal grating, allowing visitors to have a transparent view beneath their feet. But the view is not for the faint-hearted.
As you step onto the bridge, be prepared for an unexpected dance party! With each step, you will feel the bridge playfully grooving beneath your feet. It’s like joining a spontaneous boogie session with steel cables as your funky dance partners. Don’t worry, though – the bridge’s wiggles are completely safe and engineered to withstand the joyful jitters.
Stop two – St. Beatus-Höhlen
Legend has it has St. Beatus, an Irish monk, lived in these caves during the 6th century, using them as a hermitage.
Today, visitors can venture deep into the underground labyrinth, delving into the fascinating world. As you step into the caves, you will be awestruck by the intricate stalactite formations hanging from the ceilings and the stalagmites rising from the cave floor. Walking though the dimly lit passages, you’ll encounter underground lakes, winding tunnels, and awe-inspiring chambers that echo with the whispers of the past. The St. Beatus-Höhlen complex also features a visitor center where you can learn about the geology, history, and legends associated with the caves. After exploring the depths of the chilly wonders of St. Beatus-Höhlen, emerge into the sunlight and the welcoming warmth of the outside world. Spend some time in a café, offering panoramic views of the lake and the Swiss Alps.
Stop three – Interlaken
Interlaken is renowned as one of the world’s best paragliding destinations. The town’s location between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, surrounded by towering mountains, created optimal wind conditions. The local paragliding companies offer a range of options, including tandem flights and courses for beginners. The most popular takeoff points for paragliding are Beatenberg-Niederhorn and Harder Kulm. From these locations you can enjoy breathtaking views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks, as well as the lakes and valleys below. The paragliding season typically runs from April to October, with summer months offering the most favorable weather conditions.
However, it’s important to note that the weather can be unpredictable in this region and flights may be subject of cancellation or rescheduling due to safety reasons. In addition to paragliding, Interlaken offers a range of outdoor activities and attractions, including hiking trails, skydiving, and boat cruises on the lakes. The town itself provides a vibrant atmosphere with charming Swiss chalets, local shops, and cozy restaurants serving traditional Swiss cuisine.
Stop four – Iseltwalt on Brienzzersee
Take a leisurely boat cruise on Brienzzersee, and let the gentle waves and fresh alpine breeze transport you to a state of tranquility. For the adventure seekers, dive into the water sports opportunities that the region has to offer. Go paddleboarding, kayaking, or even try your hand at windsurfing.
Iseltwalt, a charming village on the shore of lake, has a claim to fame as a filming location for the South Korean hit series “Crash Landing on You”. Yes, this picturesque little village played a role in bringing K-drama magic to life! The story of this TV drama revolves around a woman named Yoon Se-ri (played by Son Ye-jin) from South Korea who accidentally crash-lands in North Korea, while paragliding. The North Korean army officer Lee Jeong-hyeok (played by Hyun Bin) who finds her, instead of punishing her, falls in love with her. As both discover that they had previously encountered each other in the Switzerland, the series regularly includes flashbacks to their time there. In the third episode the drama, Jeong-hyeok reminisces about this time as a pianist. He plays a song he composed for his brother at the ship pier in Iseltwald. This ship pier is just a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, Chalet Du Lac. A once peaceful nature oasis has become a tourist magnet due to the series. Taking a selfie at the filming location is highly desired, but now it comes with a fee.
Stop five – town of Thun
From Iseltwalt, return to Thun by boat, treating yourself to stunning views of picturesque surroundings. Upon arriving in Thun, consider making a stop in the charming town of Spiez, located to the southern shore of Lake Thun. Explore the historic Spiez Castle, stroll along the promenade, and savor a delicious meal at one of the lakeside restaurants.
With a history dating back to prehistoric times, Thun has evolved into a vibrant town that beautifully blends its medieval heritage with modern amenities. The town’s historic Altstadt (old town), showcases well-preserved architecture, including the iconic Thun Castle (Schloss Thun), which dates back to the 12th century. Thun is also known for its charming Rathaus (Town Hall), a striking building adorned with frescoes that depict the town’s history. Exploring the narrow streets of the Altstadt reveals quaint shops, cafés, and restaurants that exude a welcoming atmosphere.
The Aare River, flowing through the town, adds to Thun’s allure. Take a stroll along the river’s promenade and admire the picturesque views or embark on a boat cruise to enjoy the scenic beauty from the water. The town’s cultural scene thrives with numerous museums and galleries, including the Thun Art Museum and the Thun Panorama.