How to spend one day in Spiez (+ the fairy tale Spiez Castle)

One day in Spiez itinerary

Spiez is by far one of the prettiest places in the country, and its location on the shores of Lake Thun makes it look like something from a fairytale.

As a lover of fairytales, the Swiss Alps, and anywhere magical, I’ve had this place on my bucket list for years and I was so happy to finally make it here. 

Here is a complete guide on how to visit Spiez Switzerland with the history, opening times, prices, and things to do! 

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Spiez itinerary

One day in Spiez Switzerland

One day is the perfect amount of time to experience the best things to do in Spiez.

You can explore the medieval castle that was built around 1200, and the early Romanesque church dating from 762 A.D.

If you’re looking for something more relaxing, enjoy a glass of wine at the castle’s wine-making facility, head to the vineyards or the Spiez marina nearby. You can also do all sorts of water activities in the bay of Spiez, and there’s a playground for kids. The castle and small town of Spiez is very family-friendly with fun activities for kids.

🏰 For the perfect day trip, make sure to visit Oberhofen castle, which is just across the lake. You can take a boat there.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken-10

Where is Spiez

Spiez is located on the shore of Lake Thun. It’s situated in the Bernese Oberland region (the Bernese Alps) and is known for its picturesque landscape and historic castle.

How to get to Spiez

Spiez is a well-connected town in Switzerland. You can get there by train, bus and ferry from major cities like Bern, Zurich, Basel, and Geneva. 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.

With public transportation
Timetable (train): get off at Spiez train station
Timetable (boat): get off at Spiez Schiffstation

Travelling time by train
From Thun: 10m / Interlaken: 20m / Bern: 30m / Zurich: 1h30m

🚞 Get the all-in-one Swiss Travel Pass!

With the Swiss Travel Pass you’ll get unlimited rides on trains, buses, and boats throughout Switzerland!

Simply show the Swiss Travel Pass on your smartphone and you’re ready to explore Switzerland.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken
The boat from Spiez to Oberhofen

🏰 Things to do in Spiez

Spiez castle

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. The castle is the main attraction in Spiez.

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.

Castle Spiez is as beautiful on the outside as the inside. Aside from the castle, the grounds include a fairytale Romanesque church and a flower park.

Spiez castle opening hours

Open from 1st May – 31 October 2023
Monday 2 pm – 5 pm
Tuesday to Sunday 10 am – 5 pm
July and August until 6 pm

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Spiez castle history

Spiez castle was built by Rudolph II, King of Burgundy, in 933. For over 250 years, it remained a mystery until the outer walls and base levels of the central tower were added around 1200.

Spiez Castle has had an interesting past, with ownership changing hands several times. It was co-owned by noble families for a while, during which time a residence hall was added to the central tower. However, it was the Erlach family who built the castle’s reputation, as they owned it for over two centuries. The family made significant improvements to the castle, including expanding the gallery and constructing a wine production.

One of the most notable additions to the castle was the “New Castle” on the southern side of the gatehouse, which was remoduled in late Baroque style. This addition gave the castle a unique charm and character that set it apart from other castles in the area.

🇨🇭 Read next: Jungfrau itinerary: 20 things to do in Jungfrau region

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

The castle tower

The best part of Spiez castle is the tower.

From the tower, there’s a really good panoramic viewpoint of the church, most beautiful bay and vineyards. 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

Spiez castle church

Right next to the castle is a small church which is the oldest building at Spiez castle and also one one of the oldest 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

Explore the Spiez vineyards

Spiez castle is surrounded by hilly vineyards that produce some of the most exquisite wines in the world.

Make sure to take a stroll through them and admire the fantastic views.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Niesen – the Swiss pyramid

Looming over Spiez is the mighty Niesen mountain. It’s 2,362 meters high and a popular place for hikers and tourists.

If you’re not into hiking, you can take the 30-minute funicular railway to the top of the mountain. It runs daily from end of April to mid-November. On your way to the top, you can enjoy incredible panoramic views, and there’s a restaurant and mountain lodge at the top.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken
View of Niesen mountain from the tower

Have lunch at Spiez marina

Right next to the Schloss Spiez 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.

You’ll also find palm trees and beautiful flowers lining the walkway, which make you feel like you’re in a tropical beach town.

Have lunch at one of the cafes or local restaurants here. These are highly rated:

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken
The blue lake
in Spiez
Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Sports activities at Lake Thun

After lunch, you can do water sports and other outdoor activities: You can sail, play tennis, rent paddle-boats, swim, or just sit by the water and enjoy the beautiful lake promenade. It’s the perfect location to relax.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken
Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Where to next?

While you’re in Spiez, make sure to check out other nearby sights. Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are two beautiful lakes with castles, spectacular views and charming alpine towns that are worth visiting. Here are the must-visit nearby sights:

Lake Thun boat cruise

Castle Spiez is located by the Lake of Thun, which is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.

The best way to explore the lake is on a boat tour. Check out this boat day pass where you can explore both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz with the snow-capped mountains in the background. It’s so pretty!

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Oberhofen castle

Oberhofen Castle a magical lakeside castle in Switzerland that’s located just across the lake.

I highly recommend visiting both of these unique castles as they’re different and look like something taken straight from a fairytale.

🛥️ You can take a quick boat trip from Oberhofen to Spiez and vice versa.

Beautiful views of Oberhofen castle

Is Spiez worth visiting?

100% YES. Spiez castle is one of the prettiest I have seen in Switzerland. Honestly, I’m so happy that I got to visit this enchanted castle. 

It’s been on my bucket list for years now and it really does look like a magical chateau from the pages of a storybook. 

Even if you’re not into Disney or fantasy, there is something in Spiez that will appeal to every type of visitor.

There’s lots of history to discover, a marina that appeals to nature lovers, and incredible views over the lake and mountains.

I would highly recommend adding Switzerland’s fairytale town to your bucket list! You won’t regret it.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

Where to stay in Spiez

La belle vue Boutique Hotel & Café (⭐ 8.9) – Amazing views of the Spiez castle, Lake Thun and the mountains! With wonderful food and cosy rooms, this hotel has the highest rating in town. Check latest rates here.

Spiez and Oberhofen castles, Interlaken

💸 Switzerland travel insurance

I highly recommend having travel insurance because let’s be real — the last thing you want on your trip is for accidents to get in the way.

I recommend Safety Wing — they offer affordable prices, great coverage, and a reliable 24/7 on-call service.

🙋‍♀️ Spiez itinerary FAQ

What is Spiez Switzerland known for?

These are some of the things Spiez is famous for:

  • Spiez is famous for its picturesque landscape
  • The stunning scenery of Spiez harbor and Lake Thun
  • Spiez Castle which dates back to the 10th century
  • The Spiez vineyards that produce some of the world’s finest wines

Who owns Spiez castle?

The Spiez Castle Foundation has owned the castle since 1929.

Interesting facts about Spiez castle

  • Spiez Castle was built in the 10th century as a fortified tower to protect the region. It was later expanded in the 13th century when the original tower was incorporated into a larger castle complex.
  • In the early 14th century, the castle was owned by the powerful von Bubenberg family. The castle was their seat of power until it came into the possession of the Bernese government in the 15th century.
  • During the Middle Ages, Spiez Castle was an important center of trade and commerce. Merchants and traders passing through the region would often stay at the castle, which also served as a customs office for goods entering and leaving the area.
  • In the 16th century, the castle was used as a prison for political prisoners. It was also a site for storing ammunition and food during times of war.
  • In the 20th century, Spiez Castle was restored and converted into a museum, showcasing the history and culture of the region. Today, you can explore the castle and its grounds, and take in the views of Lake Thun and the surrounding mountains.

How much time to spend at Spiez castle?

Spiez Castle and gardens take about 2 hours to explore. While you can spend less time here, too, I do recommend a few hours to take in the beautiful scenery and learn about the history of the castle and area.

Is there a parking lot at Spiez castle?

Yes, there’s a car park at the castle.

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.

Read more posts from Switzerland

Save it!

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.

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  1. 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!

  2. 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. 😀

    1. 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.

  3. 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?

    1. 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.

  4. 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?

    Sarah x

    1. 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.

  5. Thanks for this great account of visiting both castles! How long would you say this trip took? We will be based out of Lucerne and I’m wondering if it would be realistic to do a half day here and a half day exploring Old Town Bern.

  6. Neuschwanstein would have to be on my list of most beautiful castle, though the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, USA, is pretty impressive as well as Hearst Castle in California, USA. Of course, the American castles do not have the age or lineage of Europe’s selections.

    1. I haven’t been to any castles in the U.S, but the European castles are definitely something! We have a lot in Denmark, too, and they’re truly beautiful.

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