Ready for another fairytale castle in the Bernese Alps?
Oberhofen Castle is a magical lakeside castle in Switzerland that looks like something from Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
Dating back to the early 13th century, it’s influenced by Neo-Gothic and Turkish style, and the castle is surrounded by lake Thun, snow-capped mountains and a stunning flower garden. You’ll even find palm trees in front of the castle.
Here is a complete guide on how to visit Oberhofen Castle with the history, opening times, prices, and things to do!
Oberhofen castle history
Oberhofen Castle is a medieval castle located on the shores of Lake Thun. The castle dates back to the early 13th century when the Freiherr von Oberhofen built Balm Castle on a hill above the village.
In 1200, a daughter of the family, Ita, married into the von Eschenbach family and gave this family the castle and village.
In the 13th century, the von Eschenbach family began a new, moated castle on the shores of Lake Thun. The castle has a colourful history and has been owned by several aristocratic families throughout the centuries. One of the last owners of the castle, Walter IV von Eschenbach, was assassinated.
Oberhofen castle gained its present appearance after it was bought by the Neuchâtel-Prussian aristocratic family de Pourtalès in 1844 and converted into a summer residence.
The castle was renovated and expanded in the neo-Gothic style and has a beautiful park that is one of the most magnificent in the region of the Alps.
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Where is Oberhofen castle?
Oberhofen Castle is located in the town of Oberhofen am Thunersee, in the Bernese Oberland in Switzerland.
The castle is easy to reach by car or public transport, which makes it a popular destination if you’re staying in Interlaken or Bern.
Tickets and opening hours
The castle museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm, and it’s closed on Mondays. However, you can access the castle park as early as 9:00 am where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery before the museum opens.
Keep in mind that the castle museum is closed during the winter season, from November to March.
There are different types of tickets available, depending on what you want to see. The standard ticket gives you access to the castle museum and the park.
The ticket prices are as follows:
|Children (6-16 years old)
|Students and Seniors
|Family Ticket (2 adults + 2 children)
Oberhofen castle is easy to visit, both with car and public transportation.
If you’re travelling by car, simply follow the A6 motorway. Take the Thun Nord exit and follow the signs towards Gunten and Oberhofen.
If you’re driving to the castle, there’s a car park nearby where you can park your car.
The parking lot can get busy during peak season, though, so alternatively, you can park in the village and walk to the castle. It takes around 10-15 minutes to walk along the lake shore.
By public transport
If you’re travelling by public transport, take the train to Thun and then catch bus number 21 to Oberhofen. The journey takes around 20 minutes and the bus stop is just a short walk from the castle.
If you’re travelling from Interlaken, you can take the train to Spiez and then catch bus number 21 to Oberhofen. The journey takes around 30 minutes.
It’s worth noting that public transport in Switzerland is reliable and efficient, but can be expensive. If you’re planning on doing a lot of travelling, it may be worth investing in a Swiss Travel Pass or a regional Berner Oberland Pass. You can also use an Interrail or Eurail pass.
🔥 My recommendation: Take the scenic route with boat to or from Spiez. You’ll get the best views.
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🏰 Things to see at Oberhofen Castle
1. Take a tour around the castle
The best way to experience the castle is by taking a guided tour. That way, you’ll learn about the history of the castle, the former owners and their way of life. I had a guide with me, and she gave me lots of details so it all made more sense.
During the tour, you’ll visit the kitchen and servant quarters to see how the castle lords and servants lived.
The tour also includes a visit to the castle’s chapel and the castle tower, where you can see the beautiful Lake Thun and surrounding area.
The tours are available in English and other languages, and they last for about an hour.
2. Discover the Oriental Smoking Room
The Oriental Smoking Room is one of the most unique rooms in the castle. Make sure you go here! Located high up in the tower, the room has a truly exotic and oriental atmosphere.
The room is decorated with Turkish carpets, cushions, and other objects brought back from Istanbul by count Albert de Pourtalè, a former owner of the castle.
3. Watch the exhibitions
Oberhofen Castle regularly hosts temporary exhibitions with art, culture and history. The exhibitions change regularly, so be sure to check the official website.
The exhibitions are usually held in the ballroom, which is a beautiful room with a high ceiling, chandeliers and large windows with spectacular views of Lake Thun.
4. Visit the museum
The castle also houses a museum where you can learn about the former owners and their way of life. The museum has a collection of artefacts, furniture, and other objects from the past.
5. Explore the magical Oberhofen castle park
My favourite part of touring Oberhofen Castle was the large park.
Honestly, it felt like being in a fairytale with the colourful flowers located just by the lake and mountain tops.
You can have a picnic or relax on one of the park benches while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
6. Rent a room in the castle
Fun fact: You can actually stay at the castle overnight and have it (almost) all to yourself. The castle has several rooms available for rent, each with its own unique character and charm.
7. Explore Oberhofen am Thunersee
Oberhofen am Thunersee is a charming village located on the shores of Lake Thun. This is the town where the castle is located.
You can find restaurants, cafes and shops here, and it’s the perfect place to have lunch. You can also take a boat ride on the lake to enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding mountains and villages.
Things to see and do nearby
While you’re in Oberhofen, make sure to check out other nearby sights. Here are the best ones:
The Lake of Thun is just by Oberhofen Castle, and the best way to explore the beautiful lake is by boat. Check out this boat day pass where you can explore both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz by boat.
Very close to Oberhofen, you’ll find the beautiful Schloss Spiez. It’s placed on a hill overlooking the lake and I’m telling you: it comes with beautiful views!
Spiez castle has a museum that showcases the history of the region, and there are also several restaurants and cafes in the town of Spiez where you can enjoy a meal or a drink.
Spiez and Oberhofen are two very different castles. Whereas Oberhofen is more contemporary, Spiez is more historic.
Both castles are interesting to visit, especially on the same trip because it’ll give you perspective and background info about the Bernese Alps and history.
🛥️ You can take the boat from Oberhofen to Spiez and vice versa.
Thun Castle is another medieval castle by the lake, and it’s located in the town of Thun, which is just a short drive from Oberhofen Castle.
The castle has a museum that displays artefacts from the region’s history, and there are also several exhibitions that showcase the castle’s architecture and design.
Is Oberhofen Castle worth visiting?
I really don’t think that any trip to the alpine region would be complete without a trip to Oberhofen Castle and it’s picturesque little tower. A trip here is utterly breathtaking.
It’s one of the little gems in the region and there is nothing quite like admiring the fairytale castle over the turquoise lake!
At the very least, I would recommend stopping here and walking around Schloss Oberhofen grounds if you’re in the area.
Oberhofen Castle FAQ
Why is Oberhofen Castle famous?
Oberhofen Castle is famous for its stunning architecture, picturesque location on the shores of Lake Thun, and its rich history dating back to the 13th century. You might have seen a photo of the romantic castle complex and its tower that stands in the waters of the vibrant lake.
Does anyone still live in Oberhofen Castle?
No, no one lives at the castle anymore. But you can rent a room there and spend the night!
What are some facts about the Oberhofen Castle in Switzerland?
Here are a few facts about the castle:
- Oberhofen Castle was built in the 13th century
- Oberhofen Castle is built on the bank of Lake Thun
- The castle was originally built by the von Eschenbach family
- In 1849, a Turkish smoking room was added
- The inspiration for the Turkish smoking room came from Count Albert Alexander de Pourtalè’s time as a Prussian diplomat in Istanbul. He modeled the room after the ones he had seen during his stay in Turkey.
- The keep, which is the oldest section of the castle, boasts walls that are over 2 meters (6 feet) thick. To put it into perspective, these walls are wider than the average height of a person.
Who owns Oberhofen Castle?
In 1940, Oberhofen castle was bought by an American, William Maul Measy. He founded the Oberhofen Castle Foundation to oversee the castle’s upkeep and management, which marked the end of the castle’s private ownership.
Since 2009, the castle has been part of the Oberhofen Castle Trust.
Is Oberhofen Castle dog friendly?
Dogs are not allowed in the castle or the park, but are welcome in the castle restaurant.
What does Oberhofen mean?
Oberhofen castle is named after an early ruler of the area: the Freiherr von Oberhofen.
In German, the word Oberhofen translates roughly to “Upper courtyard”.
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