Scenes From Thun, Switzerland
Freiburg is located less than an hour from the Swiss border, so there are several cities in Switzerland that are close enough for a day trip. One of those cities is Thun, located in the Bernese Oberland region. In the 19th century, Thun was the main center for foreign visitors to the Bernese Alps. Due to this booming tourism, there were tons of guesthouses, restaurants and souvenir shops contributing to the local economy. The Swiss army also had (and still has) a big presence in Thun, furthering development.
Andy and I often like to just wander when we travel, and we did just that. Our friend Gigi and her adorable dog Luna, who live in nearby Lauterbrunnen, showed us around the gorgeous town of Thun. We could see mountains not so far away, we were never far from the river that winds through town to the Thunersee (Lake Thun), and I just loved the Alpine Swiss vibe.
My favorite part was the castle. I love castles, and they often end up being my favorite thing about a city or a reason to visit in the first place. I think they’re just such a huge reminder of how much history there is to be explored in Europe. Though I didn’t find the inside of this one to be all that exciting, the views from up top were fantastic and totally made up for it. Tickets to get in were 8 Swiss Francs (about US$9) per adult.
Thun is a popular town to visit due to its location on the Thunersee (Lake Thun) in the Bernese Oberland region. It’s the perfect place for people looking to spend some time enjoying Switzerland’s outdoor activities while still having the comforts of a small city.
It took us about two hours and 20 minutes by train to get to Thun from Freiburg. It’s only an hour and 20 minutes from Zurich, or 30 minutes to an hour from Interlaken.
June 19, 2014 @ 9:39 AM
Love love LOVE how the photos came out. Especially the surfer one. Really excellent.
June 19, 2014 @ 1:29 PM
Thanks Gigi! Funny, the surfer one is the only one here I took with my iPhone!
June 19, 2014 @ 12:28 PM
What a beautiful small little town. I love the architecture, the lake and the cute little dogie in one of the pics.
As somebody who has never been to Europe at all and is aware that Germany is in the EU and that Switzerland is not but has some sort of special agreement with the EU, are there still borders that you need to cross to get to Thun from Freiburg? And does being somebody from outside the EU complicate things?
I’m curious to go there and find out what Thun is well known for. Here in Australia most places are known for something special. For example outside of Melbourne, the second largest capital city in Australia, there is a town called Daylesford that is known as a resort town. Byron Bay in New South Wales is known as the spiritual center of Australia…well at least it is with me 🙂 But what is Thun famous for? That I would like to know.
June 19, 2014 @ 1:38 PM
Thanks Matthew! Thun seems to be famous for having the largest garrison in Switzerland, and for tourism and its great location on the Thunersee.
As far as I can tell, Australians don’t need a visa to visit Switzerland. Certain countries would have to apply for a visa ahead of time, but not Australia, US, Canada, and a handful of others. You’re right, they are not part of the EU, but they are part of the Schengen agreement, which mostly deals with borders. There are 25 countries in the Schengen zone, so once you’re inside the zone, you don’t deal with border crossings from one Schengen country to another. If you’re coming to Europe for vacation, you have 90 days within a 180 day period to travel around those countries. So if you fly to Germany, then go to Switzerland, then Italy, you have 90 days and the clock does not reset for each of those countries. You can almost think of it as visiting one country and traveling to various states. So no, when we go from Freiburg to Switzerland, we don’t deal with any border crossing or passport checks. Theoretically you could get stopped on a random check, but it would just be them verifying your right to be there. I hope that all makes sense.
June 19, 2014 @ 1:49 PM
Thank you for clarifying that for me.
It’s just like the Commonwealth of Australia in one sense since 1901 when the individual colonies became one federated nation. What originally required permission to cross colonial borders, now the state and territory borders is no longer required at all for anybody but what is required is to have permission to be in the Commonwealth of Australia at all. Provided you have that you are technically free to roam but spot checks by immigration department officials can and do happen throughout Australia and people who have overstayed their visas or have no legal reason to be in the country get booted out. So as it is with the Commonwealth of Australia, so it is with the Schengen group and provided you have the permission to be inside the Schengen area, Switzerland included, you’re basically free to roam too.
What always does my head in is the status of Switzerland in relation to the EU. The closest thing we have to that here is Norfolk Island and Lord Howe Island but I won’t complicate matters again by bringing those two places into the discussion. And I will leave Andy to explain what the Schengen cloud is although it may be relevant for your blogging activities somewhere in the future.
Thank you again for clarifying Europe for me and I hope I haven’t confused you in turn in the process 🙂
June 20, 2014 @ 4:01 PM
Glad to help, Matthew. Switzerland just isn’t part of the EU. They don’t use the euro either. They like to keep to themselves. I have no idea what you’re talking about with “Schengen cloud” but that’s ok 🙂
June 20, 2014 @ 4:03 PM
Don’t worry about the Schengen Cloud. It’s for IT networking nerds 🙂
Henry | @fotoeins
June 21, 2014 @ 6:27 AM
I remembered seeing this destination on a variety of train routes. And when I think of “Thun”, I think of tuna ; yes, it’s strange, but there it is. And yes, I know it’s supposed to be “Thunfisch”. But I also remembered that “thun” was an old spelling for the word/verb “tun” 🙂 It’s always worth reminding that a short train ride (from anywhere in western Europe) will usually land you in another great part of the continent; I miss this aspect of being in Europe. 🙂 Thanks for writing about Thun!
June 21, 2014 @ 11:14 AM
Nope, I think of tuna every time as well! So true, it is fairly easy to hop on a train and just a few hours later end up in some other wonderful part of Europe. I love that about living here. Thanks Henry!
July 6, 2014 @ 10:11 PM
Looks like a beautiful place to visit.
July 7, 2014 @ 12:00 PM