There are a few fantastic peaks that will definitely be great hikes starting from Spiez (by train or bus). The peak right behind Spiez is the Nisen. A post auto (bus) can take you to a veriety of base locations, and there is a train that can take you down at the end of a tired day, or take you up just for the view.
If you would like the classic alpine experience the Stockhorn is a favorite. The hike starts in Erlenbach (15 minute train ride from Spiez towards Zweissimen on the local train). There is a cable car that takes you to the middle station, and a second that takes you to the peak. I recommend taking the first cable car to the middle station, from there hike to the peak, and from there you can explore hiking down a variety of routes. I love this hike for it's beautiful views and the fact that the peak is abov a 400m cliff on the other side.
While you are exploring the interior of the Schloss Spiez, a lot of steps will lead you upwards to the tower of the castle and I may really highly recomend to take these extra-steps for an excellent panorama-view of the vinyards next to the castle , the village of Spiez with the Niesen in the back and the lovely Thunersee.
The tower dates back to the year 1200 and is 39 meters high.
Dont miss this lovely house next to the chapel of St.Columban, it has a great balcony facing the Thuner See and a nice painting behind that balcony. When arriving from the lake you will see it, when arriving from the castle of Spiez you might easyly miss it, because that building does not look special at all from behind.
This building was certainly ment for one of the higher officials working for the noble family
The Festsaal is the largest and also one of the most beautiful rooms of the Schloss Spiez. All over the ceiling and sidewalls it has precious and unique stucco-works. It was funny for me to learn, that these great stuccoworks are left over only because of the fact, that the owners did not have enough money to replace them by a more modern decoration some hundreds of years ago. These stucco-works were made for Franz Ludwig von Erlach, you may still see his face there made of plaster, as a part of the decorations. Antonio Castello from Melide made the stucco-works
You may visit the park of Schloss Spiez all year long, but the museum in the interior is open for the visitors only during the summer-season, staring normally at friday before easter-sunday.
Take a look at my 3rd picture : that is a medieval bed, it has a door that will be closed at night, so it is not so very cold while sleeping
Schloss Spiez is open for visitors daily :
Mondays between 02.00p.m. and 05.00p.m.
Tuesdays till Sundays 10.00a.m. till 05.00p.m.
In July and August the castle closes daily at 06.00p.m.
Schloss Spiez looks great from outside already, but it really makes sense to go inside as well ! You may walk around the castle on your own and may see interesting exhibits of different centuries.
On my 1st pic : my favorite room with a giant painting and a precious wooden ceiling
my3rd pic : one of the great doors
my 4th pic : a spinning-wheel like in a fairy-tale
my 5th pic: the giant painting, obviously a scene of Swiss history
The lovely flower-arrangement of Spiez is one of the sights that you will miss, when you just take the bus from the train-station to the castle of Spiez and / or the ships-landing-station.
When walking that distance you may as well see some great wooden houses in the old swiss style.
Take the ship from Spiez to Schloss Oberhofen ! Several ships are going there every day during summer and Schloss Oberhofen is one of the highlights of every cruise on Thunersee, because you will pass by it in a short distance from the lovely castle and its great surrounding park. When-ever you have enough time, leave the ship and walk around at least the lovely garden around the Schloss Oberhofen, or visit the museum of great furniture inside the palace:
The museum in Schloss Oberhofen is open daily
between mid of May and mid of October
Monday : 02.00p.m.-05.00p.m.
St. Columban chapel is just a few meters from the castle of Spiez and it dates back to the 10th century. You may enter this chapel freely and without restrictions during the day and may see some remains of great frescos there. This church is one of the most popular places for marriages in Switzerland, so be prepared that it might be locked for visitors at some weekends, due to marriages beeing held there.
The Schloss / castle of Spiez is the best tourist-attraction of Spiez in my personal opinion. The oldest walls are dating back to the 10th century, but the castle was rebuilt and renovated several times and so you may mainly see the architecture of the 18th century there nowadays with fancy baroque furniture and ornate decorations, lovely stucco-works and frescos, and what is the very best news for VT-ers : you may take as many pics as you want !
You will need around 1,5 hours to explore of the interior of the castle
Take a look at my main picture, that mountain right behind the village of Spiez that is shaped like a pyramid is called "Niesen" .
A funicular will take you from Muehlenen to the top of Niesen for an exscellent panorama of Eiger - Moench - Jungfrau and a lot more peaks of 4000 meters hight.
Please click here for a panorama from Niesen
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Click here for the weather-forcast of Niesen !
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The funicular will only run between May 5th and Nov. 11th (in 2007)
it will run every half hour
Daily between 08.15a.m. and 06.00p.m.
Always at Wednesday, Friday & Saturday from july4th - Nov. 12th
there are additional tours till 07.45p.m. uphill
and at 11.15p.m. the last funicular down
The ticket Muelenen–Niesen Kulm–Muelenen is 47.–
the funicular is included in the Regionalpass Berner Oberland !
At your birthday your ride with the funicular is FREE!!!
If you travel here by lake steamer, watch the side of the mountain as you near the station and you will see the building built into the side of the mountain. (This will give you a moment to realize what a steep hike you're gonna have getting up there!)
This is a popular rainy day activity and when we arrived to the ticketing area we had to fight our way through the milling masses to the ticket booth. Lucky for us, we only had to wait 5 minutes for our tour to start.
You cannot go into the caves alone-only by guided tour. About 40 people a group. Our leader put the english speaking people up front with her. (There were 5 of us, my family, and a couple from Ireland.) As the tour moved along, she spoke first in english and then repeated it in german.
The route is about a mile. Takes about an hour. Damp and cool conditions of course. Here's the part that cracked me up. Our guide tore through the caves at breakneck speed. We had to almost run in places (not easy to do in damp, dark, slippery caverns.) The walls were close and the ceiling low. I saw more than a few people bump their heads! (ah, a plus for being short)
Forget trying to read the brochure that explains each numbered spot-no time, nor enough light!
Palm Sunday until 3rd Sunday in October
Closed on Monday
No pictures allowed inside caves. (Someone(s) kept doing it anyway-boy, was our guide livid!)
Not accessible to wheelchairs.
Take a steamer that is coming from Thun heading towards Interlaken. It is about a 48 minute ride to the Beatushoelen-Sundlauenen dock.
Right at the dock will be a sign directing you to the caves. It is about a 20 minute hike walking steeply upwards. If you do this as a rainy day activity, the trail will be full of slippery wet leaves and rocks. Careful!
You can use your Swiss Pass to ride the ships or purchase tickets at a ticket center located right at the end of the pier where the ships dock. Funny thing is, we were never asked to show our passes any of the several times we rode. (Very trusting folks)
From the train station you can reach the ship station by walking to and by the lake. Follow the yellow signs, "see". They will lead you down narrow streets and park pathways. It will take about ten minutes to reach the lakeside. There is a small, but beautiful flower garden with benches overlooking the sailboat laden lake. Walk through the park and a boardwalk begins. The boardwalk is lined mostly with restaurants and cafes. In another 10 minutes you are at the end of the walk and at the ship station.