Medieval towns at the Alps’ doors: Thun and Spiez (one day)

8 September


This day trip targets two medieval towns at the gateway to the Bernese Alps: Thun and Spiez. These two towns border the Lake of Thun and are located at the feet of mountains rising up to 13 000 feet. The view is breath-taking! The excursion will start with a tour of the old town of Thun and its castle. We will then take the boat from Thun to Spiez. The second part of the day will be devoted to the town of Spiez. During the whole day, participants will be guided by the expert in medieval archaeology, Dr. Armand Baeriswyl.

Around 1200, the Dukes of Zähringen established Thun as a stronghold to control the regional aristocracy, developing the Early Middle Age village with a parish church built on the northern bank of the river near the outflow of the Aare into a town with an imposing castle. The tour leads through the picturesque late medieval river town, which spread to the southern bank of the Aare in the 14th century. We will further visit the Zähringen castle, dominated by a huge central tower dated through dendrochronology around 1200.

Then we go to Spiez, an old harbour bay on the Lake of Thun, where an unknown early medieval chieftain built a church, which was replaced around 1000 by a small but very beautiful three-nave basilica in Lombard Romanesque style. Finally, we visit the nearby Spiez castle with its Late Medieval residential tower and the beautiful park, from where you can admire the lake and the Swiss Alps.


10 - 25/30 people


110 EUR (includes transportation from and to Bern, boat  trip, lunch, guides and tickets to all visits)


train and boat

Meeting point:

"Treffpunkt" in Bern train station, 8:45

Approximate schedule

 8:45  departure from the “Treffpunkt” (meeting point) in Bern’s train station
 9:30  arrival in Thun
 9:30 - 11:00  Thun old town visit
 11:00 - 12:15  Thun castle visit
 12:40 - 13:30  boat cruise and apero
 13:30 - 15:00  lunch in Spiez castle
 15:00 - 16:30  visit of Spiez
 16:50  departure from Spiez
 17:30  arrival in Bern

© Archaeological Service of the canton of Bern

© Archaeological Service of the canton of Bern


Thun Castle