Switzerland is small (in size), to give you some context, India (that’s the only other country I have lived in) is 80 times the size of Switzerland. A small country, blessed with beautiful mountains, hills, lakes and rivers. It has to be one of the most picturesque countries with each city more beautiful than the previous one.
Honestly speaking, Basel (which is where we live) is probably one of the least scenic places, Basel to its credit is more corporate, expat-friendly and culturally rich. While travel usually requires a lot of planning (I have a 6-year-old, hello?) but over here, each weekend could be a new place and trust me a weekend is more than enough. Sometimes even a day is enough – rich enough.
Weekends/Holidays in Switzerland could be the most exciting part – especially when the weather is by your side. If you’ve been following us on our social media channels, then you might probably know that my 6-year-old is my travel companion. We visited Thun for a day trip in the month of February, the weather was still quite cold. I was just happy to see the positive side – you know the weather moving towards the other side of 0 degrees. I think the day we visited Thun, was the first day of sunshine (after a very difficult winter) in Switzerland.
If you’re based in Switzerland, it is fairly easy to get there.
Super Saver tickets do not really work for me, but if you can stick to a set time, these tickets are highly recommended. With a 6-year-old, it does get fairly unpredictable especially with time. By the way, children below 6 go free, children between 6 and 16 pay a super subsidised price for their annual GA cards. However, if you’re visiting from elsewhere then I highly recommend you spend a day in Thun while doing Interlaken.
So we booked the tickets at the last moment and reached Thun from Basel in one and a half hours. As usual, the train is comfortable (it’s actually a way of life for us), and the views are wonderful.
An Ideal Day in Thun
While planning the day trip to Thun, I tried to look for small tours through various local/global operators however it was surprising that there was nothing that was “Thun” centric. There were a lot of trips from Thun to Interlaken or other close mountain ranges and hikes but not the tour of the city as such. Hence, being a blogger I researched itineraries and things to do – and voila I had the right ideas in an hours time.
Why do I recommend city tours through reliable operators? – I did a 4 hour Zurich city tour (on a cold winter day) with my daughter and it was extremely fruitful. It was more enjoyable, we hung out in a group and I wasn’t constantly worried about losing my way. I think for solo trips or duo’s with a child – these work perfectly. They might be a bit expensive but they turn out to be less stressful.
Some people like exploration and adventure, I have to admit I prefer perfect plans and safety.
Since we went on a Sunday all the shops were closed(how I hate this country for that!). But closed shops do not equalise to sitting at home, it’s a day to connect with nature and to get away from the usual city life. Hence we did exactly that, we strolled around the old town, which consists of streets, squares and bridges. We visited the Rathausplatz, Rathaus hotel and the castle and its surroundings. The views from the castle are absolutely breathtaking even if you don’t plan to take a tour of the insides.
What we loved the most was our stroll around the Aare river and its wooden bridge. Sometimes the views in Switzerland remind me of stereotypical paintings that we were told to draw in our Art classes. Remember the famous picture that we all drew in our art class, the sun between the mountains, the river, the stream and the gardens with cows and a house. You see those for real over here! And not once, but almost on a routine basis especially on such trips. What is also noteworthy are the panoramic views of the city from various points, which allow you to see peaks like Stockhorn and Niederhorn.
Shopping in Thun is actually pretty great, on an entirely different trip we were in Thun on a Saturday and were pleasantly surprised to see vintage shops with various price ranges in the Obere Hauptgasse Street which offers shopping at two different levels. Of course, while everything in Switzerland is expensive I prefer Thun to Interlaken as the later reeks of attracting tourists with practically the same souvenirs at every shop.
Also, one of the other things that could be done is the wonderful cruise over Lake Thun. The tour takes place on a majestic cruise which offers the best possible views alongside the deep blue water. This one is highly recommended, but be sure to wear your jackets as it does get quite chilly.
Best time to Go
Depends on the agenda, but I recommend summers for Thun (pronounced as Toon).
Plenty of sunshine offers a more lively atmosphere with the freedom to chose brighter outfits. One needs to walk a lot, this includes some slopes and the stairs so comfortable footwear is highly recommended. If the idea is to look at skiing, then I would suggest probably half a day in Thun for walking around and then moving to the lovely areas like Lauterbrunnen, Murren or for that matter Wengen. All these places are very picturesque and offer some great ski options. These areas can also be explored during summers via hikes, cable cars and e-bikes.
Where to eat?
Along the Aare river, there are some wonderful restaurants which give great indoor and outdoor options.
We ate some Italian for lunch during our day trip and the food was quite decently priced. We also ate at the Migros restaurant next to the train station and here again the options were great and the food was decently priced. Also see this link, for the top places to eat in Thun.
Mom Traveller Tips
- Carry entertainment for your child with you – Colouring sets, paper, cards, stickers… whatever works. And if you forget, look for a kiosk (these are everywhere) – buy her a child magazine from there, these are cost effective and come along with a small toy.
- Carry healthy snacks – This is something that I have learnt over here especially as an expat parent. I always carry fruit, crackers, nuts, plain sandwiches and a picnic mat with me.
- Carry a day tripper backpack – Pack all the things you need a night before, an extra jacket, hats, mufflers etc. We usually carry two back packs and two water bottles. One bag usually has the clothes and the other one has all the other stuff. Overpacked mum? – Yes, any day.
- Wear comfortable clothing – Since my style quotient reads comfort, this is the first thing I consider. On this trip, I made sure I was warm, and I made sure the little one was layered as well.
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog, and are raring to explore Thun on your next visit. Stay tuned for more posts on my day trips in Switzerland and our special travel guide – Things to do in and around Basel.