Visiting Spiez and Oberhofen castles in the Swiss Alps

By |2018-07-28T23:06:22+00:00June 3rd, 2016|Destination, Europe, Fairytales, Switzerland|16 Comments

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles are two medieval keeps by Lake Thun in Switzerland. I visited both castles on a day trip from Interlaken and learned a lot about the area’s history and culture.

SPIEZ CASTLE AND VINEYARDS

Entrance fee: 10 CHF (US $10). Find more information on their website (in German).

When I researched for things to do in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland, I first stumbled upon Spiez castle; a historic 1.000 year-old castle, near Bern and Interlaken.

In Spiez, I was welcomed by Georg von Erlach whose family ruled the town and castle from 1516 till 1875. Georg came all the way to Spiez to show me around the castle and introduce me to his family’s history. If you’re reading this, Georg – thank you so much for the grand tour!

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

From the tower, there’s a really good panoramic viewpoint of the church, harbour and vineyards

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

View of Niesen mountain from the tower

Castle Spiez is as beautiful on the outside as the inside. Aside from the castle, the grounds include the fairy tale Romanesque church and a flower park. I got the best view from the castle tower, which is also the oldest building at Spiez. The rooms leading up to the tower are a mix between wood-paneled Renaissance style and early Baroque.

On my way up the tower, Georg showed me graffiti of horses and knights scratched into the walls. Apparently, some of the graffiti wasn’t discovered until recently when the castle was renovated.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez Romanesque church

Right next to the castle there’s a small church which is one of the oldest buildings in Switzerland. Most of the church is from AD 1.000, while parts of the crypt dates back to AD 700. It’s free to access the church and the garden.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Frescos inside the church

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

The castle and tower. They used to be separated

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez marina

The castle is very family-friendly with fun activities for kids. And right next door is the marina, which is said to be the most beautiful in Switzerland. The water is so transparent and turquoise that you wouldn’t believe it’s actually a harbour.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez castle is surrounded by hilly vineyards. If the gate is open, you can take a walk and enjoy the landscape

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

THE MEDIEVAL OBERHOFEN CASTLE

Entrance fee: 10 CHF (US $10). Find more information on their website.

After visiting Spiez and having lunch at the harbour, I continued to Oberhofen, which is just across the lake. The town is quite small and its main attraction is the castle.

Whereas Spiez castle clearly has been around for many generations, Oberhofen castle seems more modern, both in architectural style and interior. It dates back to the 13th century and entails styles from Neo-Gothic to Turkish influence. The postcard Oberhofen 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.

Oberhofen. Switzerland

The oldest building at Oberhofen castle was built by the Duke Walter von Eschenbach

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

The castle garden

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen are two very different castles. I found Oberhofen to be more contemporary and Spiez more historic. They were both interesting to visit, especially on the same trip because it gave perspective and background info about the area and history.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

The boat from Spiez to Oberhofen

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

HOW TO GET THERE

From Interlaken, it’s a quick 20 minute train or bus ride to Spiez. If you have Interrail or Eurail, you can use the pass.

I took the boat from Spiez to Oberhofen, which is the most scenic transportation if you ask me. From Oberhofen, you can take the bus back to Interlaken. It stops at Interlaken West and takes 30 minutes.

Map of the Jungfrau area

Click the + or – buttons to zoom in or out.

Now over to you, adventurers. What’s the most beautiful castle you’ve visited?

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Spiez and Oberhofen are two medieval castles by Lake Thun in Switzerland. Oberhofen is more contemporary whereas Spiez is more historic. They are both super interesting to visit, especially on the same trip because it gives you perspective and background info about the area and history.

Many thanks to My Interlaken for hosting me in Switzerland. Whenever I travel, there will always be full disclosure about whether my stay was hosted by a tourism board. And even if I’m on a press trip, my view will never be swayed one way or the other.

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16 Comments

  1. Saiful Islam Opu June 6, 2016 at 8:04 am - Reply

    A fairy tale world exists along the shores of Lake Thun. Five splendid castles, each with their own spacious grounds, stand by the water’s edge, boasting incomparable panoramic views of the Bernese Alps. The castles at Spiez, Hünegg, Oberhofen, Schadau and Thun will take you back in time to witness how the nobility lived in a bygone age. All the castles are easily reached by ship or bus from Thun and Interlaken West. Thanks Miriam for sharing such an interesting article!

    • Miriam June 6, 2016 at 10:27 am - Reply

      You’re welcome! I would love to visit Thun castle when I return.

  2. Our Wanders June 6, 2016 at 10:14 am - Reply

    Oh we love castles so much! We’ve just been to the Loire Valley in France a couple of weeks ago which is a real fairy tale place with countless castles. These medieval castles with the lakes and views of the snowy peaks could be a very different expereince though! Love your pictures… guess our bucket list of castles has got longer again. 😀

    • Miriam June 6, 2016 at 10:49 am - Reply

      That sounds wonderful! I love fairy tale castles and France sure knows how to build those 😀 I’ll keep an eye out on your blog if you write about it.

      • Our Wanders June 6, 2016 at 5:10 pm - Reply

        Coming soon. 🙂 But still processing the hundreds of pictures. 😀

        • Miriam June 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm - Reply

          I know exactly what you mean 😉

  3. Stephen Garone June 6, 2016 at 6:52 pm - Reply

    Wonderful photos! Thanks for sharing.

    • Miriam June 6, 2016 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      I’m glad you liked it, Stephen. Thanks 🙂

  4. Castle of Spiez June 7, 2016 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Castle of Spiez says TAK for the nice article! We shared it by the way on fb. See you!

    • Miriam June 7, 2016 at 8:25 pm - Reply

      Selv tak, Spiez Castle! 🙂 I loved visiting your castle.

  5. Ashley @ Married Wanderlust Love June 12, 2016 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    Is it terrible to admit that I most likely did not read a single word and was just mesmerized over the photographs? I’ve been dreaming of visiting Switzerland for many years and this just adds to it! It’s absolutely gorgeous! Who does not love castles?

    • Miriam June 12, 2016 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Ha, not at all 🙂 Switzerland is definitely one of the must-visits on a trip to Europe – more so than Rome and Paris if you ask me.

  6. Megan June 12, 2016 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    Wow! Switzerland just looks incredible!!!!

    • Miriam June 12, 2016 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      It is. Switzerland is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend visiting.

  7. Sarah May 8, 2018 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Heya! Can’t wait to follow you’re footsteps!!” Looks amazing and I’m excited for July!

    Just wondering if you could tell me which boat ride/company you took from Spiez to Oberhofen?

    Thanks!
    Sarah x

    • Miriam June 22, 2018 at 10:26 am - Reply

      Yay, you’re in for a treat! 🙂

      I don’t know the boat company, actually. You just get on the boat at the dock, I think there’s only one. Otherwise, just ask when you’re there. People are so helpful and everyone speaks English.

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