Cruise boats on the Thunersee call at stops such as Thun, Oberhofen, Spiez, and Interlaken West while passing Alpine landscapes of central Switzerland near Bern.
Lake Thun near Interlaken and Bern is one of the best lakes for enjoying cruise boat excursions in Switzerland. The Thunersee is smaller than other major lakes but still offers plenty of cruises with magnificent views of the Alps while passing small historic cities with Romanesque churches, museums, castles, old town centers, and very pleasant outdoor cafés and restaurants. Pleasure cruises on Lake Thun easily combine with excursions to other sights and activities.
Cruising on Lake Thun in the Berner Oberland
Cruising on the Thunersee is possible from early April to end December with the main season from mid-May to late October. Daily scheduled cruises are available from early April to mid-November with Sunday cruises continuing well into December.
Cruising the full length of Lake Thun from Thun to Interlaken West takes just over two hours. In summer, up to eight return cruises are available daily, with three during the spring, and only one during late autumn.
The historic belle époque paddle steamer Blümlisalp (1906) cruise twice daily between Thun and Interlaken West from mid-May to mid-September. On some mid-summer cruises, parents may leave children in a supervised playroom during the lunchtime cruise.
The full Thun to Interlaken West cruise fare is CHF43 (CHF73 return) in Second Class and CHF71 (CHF121 return) for First Class. However, many savings options are available – see Savings Tips for more details.
Cruise Routes and Times on the Thunersee
Almost all cruises on Lake Thun are from Thun to Interlaken West and back. A few cruises turn around at Spiez, Merligen, or Beatenbucht while event cruises commonly depart from Thun and Interlaken West and ending at the original port of departure.
With very few exceptions, the cruise route and times for Thunersee excursion boats are as follows:
|Port||Between Ports||From Thun||From Interlaken West|
Boats mostly depart at :40 from Thun and :10 from Interlaken West. The cruise time is the same in either direction. Boats depart from early morning to evening from Thun and from late morning to early evening from Interlaken West.
Stops and Destinations on Lake Thun
Thun, with its historic old town, church, and castle, and Interlaken with its tourist facilities are the obvious main stops on Lake Thun cruise excursions. However, it is worth stopping en route at many smaller towns too.
Spiez is a major destination with a lovely small castle, a Romanesque church, a pleasant town center, and a fantastic pool center for sunny summer days. Strolling along the lakeshore from Spiez to Faulensee is probably the most pleasant short walk in the region.
Oberhofen has a picturesque castle with exhibits from the Bern history museum, a large park, lakeside walks, and a museum of moving musical instruments. From Beatenbuch, take a funicular to Beatenberg and from there a cable car to the Niederhorn (1950 m) – returning to Beatenberg (1130 m) by monster scooter (trottinet) is possible from the Vorsass station (1580 m).
The Beatushöhlen is a large cave complex and the home of the mythical dragon that St Beatus killed here. Dragons and images of the saint can be seen frequently in the region.
Special Event and Dinner Cruises on the Thunersee
Special event cruises are scheduled throughout the year but particularly plentiful during the summer and over weekends. For special event cruises, discounts are often not available for transportation cardholders. Reservations are possible and even recommended for event and dinner cruises.
Meals are served on most regular scheduled cruises and are charged in addition to the regular cruise fare. Transportation card discount fares are available on these cruises. Reservations for individuals are not possible on regular cruises but table reservations may be made, and during the high season advisable, on any cruise that serves meals.
Continental breakfasts are served on boats departing at 9:40 (and 8:40 in summer) from Thun, except on Sundays and vacation days when a larger brunch is served. Lunch is available on most cruise boats operating around noon. Taking meals is optional on these regular cruises.
Lake Thun is also a popular day-trip destination from Bern. Frequent trains from Bern take only around 20 minutes to Thun or 50 minutes to Interlaken.
More on the Lake Thun and Lake Brienz Region:
- Pleasure Boat Cruises on the Thuner- and Brienzersee
- Book Tours and Activities in the Region with Get Your Guide
- Pleasure Boat Cruises on Lake Thun
- Pleasure Boat Cruises on Lake Brienz
- Tips on Saving on Fares when Cruising on Lakes Thun and Brienz
- Visit Schloss Spiez Castle
- Visit Schloss Oberhofen Castle
- Visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum in Meiringen
- Visit the Reichenbach Waterfalls near Meiringen
- The Ballenberg Open-Air Museum of Swiss Rural Architecture
- Hike through the Aareschlucht Gorge
- Jungfraujoch — Top of Europe — Mountain Railway Excursion