Oberhofen, BE show Website
The romantic castle complex with its medieval keep is located on the shores of Lake Thun, surrounded by the marvellous panorama of the Bernese Alps. The vast park with its grand castle gardens is counted amongst the most beautiful in the Alpine region and is an ideal place for visitors to enjoy a relaxing day. The castle is home to a museum where visitors can explore the castle's rooms and discover traces of its former inhabitants. Special exhibitions shed more light on different aspects of the castle's history.
A magical eight centuries
Oberhofen Castle is an icon on Lake Thun. The castle complex which has grown to its current size over eight centuries and its keep are visible from the boats passing by. The sprawling park along the lake provides a fitting framework for the town's most famous landmark. Since 2013 the castle restaurant with its terrace has invited visitors to stay and enjoy a nice meal.
From a moated castle to a count's summer residence
Oberhofen castle was originally a water castle surrounded by a moat and a wall. Bevor the castle was taken over by the Habsburg family, it belonged to the family von Eschenbach. After the Battle of Sempach in 1386 the castle became part of the Bernese holdings in the region. It was later acquired by one oft he most famous Bernese patrician families, the von Scharnachthals. When the last line of the von Scharnachthal family went died out, Oberhofen Castle was inherited by the four von Erlach brothers. Finally the castle was acquired by Franz Ludwig von Erlach (1575-1651), who also owned Spiez Castle and Schadau Castle in Thun. After he passed away, a Bernese bailiwik was established in Oberhofen and until 1798 the Bernese bailifs would reside in Oberhofen castle. Count Albert de Pourtales bought the castle in 1844 and turned it into a summer residence for his family.
The castle as a museum
William Maul Measy, an American lawyer and the castle's last private owner bought Oberhofen Castle in 1925 and resided there until the late 1950s. He set up a trust ensuring that the castle would be taken over by the "Bernisches Historisches Museum" in 1952. Furnished with original pieces the castle opened its doors to the public in 1954. Since its separation from the "Bernisches Historisches Museum" in 2009 it has been part of the Oberhofen Castle Trust.
The oriental smoking parlour
The many changes in ownership have left their traces on the architecture and interior decorations of the castle. Many of the more profound changes go back to Albert de Pourtales, including the oriental smoking parlour, which was established on the upper floor of the keep in 1855, based on the designs by a Bernese achitect. This meant that a unique piece of the orient found its way to Oberhofen.
The historicist dining room still reminds visitors of the splendours of the lifestyle of the old counts and the room can be booked for weddings or private events. Especially noteworthy are 15th century frescos decorating the interior of the castle's chapel, located in the oldest part of the complex - adjacent to the old castle dungeons. Additionally the garden saloon with its direct access to the castle terrace can be booked for formal events.
The castle as a meeting place
An varied programme of events such as guided tours, themed days, concerts, crime nights, summer festivals, theatre plays and an open-air cinema has something for everybody. For our younger guests we offer special events such as the knight's trail, which is also held in the castles in Thun and Spiez. The garden boasts a tree gallery, detailing interesting aspects of 17 select species of trees. Visitors can enjoy many regional specialities in our restaurant while enjoying the spectacular view from the panorama window or the terrace.
Castle Park and Lakeside Path: special opening times
- Adults : CHF 10.–
- Adults (reduced): CHF 8.–
- Children (6-16 years): CHF 2.–
- Min. 10 persons: CHF 8.- per person
- Swiss Museum Pass
- Raiffeisen Member Card
Playground in front of the castle and in the park
Sandpit near the castle
Picnics are allowed in the grounds (either bring one yourself or order a picnic basket from Restaurant Schloss Oberhofen)
Dogs are allowed in the restaurant. Dogs are not allowed in the grounds or the castle itself.
Park with gravel path (no steps), castle: Only the ground floor is wheelchair accessible, the restaurant (incl. toilets) is wheelchair accessible.
Bus no. 21/25 from Thun station, get off at Oberhofen Dorf
By boat from Thun or Interlaken to Oberhofen
A1 to Bern, A6 to Interlaken, exit Thun Nord, head for Gunten, multi-storey car park in Oberhofen
Hiking (Way of St. James, among others), sailing,
swimming (open-air and indoor swimming pools in Oberhofen), pedalo hire (in
front of the castle).
- Park Hotel Oberhofen
- Hotel Bellevue au Lac, Hilterfingen