By Renate Strub
As the boat slowly glides through the waters of Lake Thun, you admire the stunning scenery from the deck while enjoying a snack and a cup of coffee, or a glass of wine. It is a balmy summer afternoon; a few clouds linger over the snow-capped mountains of the Niederhorn range. It is astonishing — you can clearly see the snow on the high mountains, but they seem so far away. Here on the lake it is warm. A slight breeze mitigates the summer heat. The lake is calm and its blue, tranquil waters have a soothing effect. From time to time the musical note of the boat’s horn announces a stop at one of the many picturesque towns along the lake. A few people disembark, others come aboard, and minutes later your journey continues.
Congratulate yourself for having chosen to come to Spiez instead of one of the more well-known — but rather crowded — tourist areas in Switzerland. Located at the south bank of Lake Thun (Thunersee), this delightful small town is less than 45 minutes by train from Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The population is about 12,000 and the altitude is less than 2,000 feet. It doesn’t have a great nightlife, but it offers first-class hotels and restaurants, and an array of daytime activities.
Lake Thun is about 11 miles long, with a maximum width of two miles. To board a ship in Spiez, walk down the Seestrasse towards the lake, where you will also find several outdoor restaurants. Ask your hotel for information regarding departure times and destinations.
For a schedule of the Swiss Railroad, see: www.sbb.ch/en/home.html
Spiez has many scenic trails, some more strenuous than others. You could take a leisurely stroll on the Strandweg (“walk along the beach”) towards Faulensee, an easy walk of less than two miles that will take you along the lakeside, under tall trees and across open spaces. Waterfowl such as swans and common mergansers abound. Sit on a bench and let your gaze wander from the lake to the impressive Morgenberghorn and the trio of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains; or watch the sailboats and ships tracing their ways on the lake.
To take the Strandweg trail, walk down the sloping Seestrasse until you see the Strandweg sign on your right-hand side. This will take you down to the marina and the Spiez bay. Once you reach the shore, walk to your right. From Faulensee you can walk back to Spiez or take the ship. The signs for walking/hiking trails are yellow and list the destination and the time it takes to get there.
A landmark is the Castle Church of Spiez: www.sacred-destinations.com/switzerland/spiez-castle-church
For hotels and restaurants, see: www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g580339-Spiez-Hotels.html
Hotel Eden special feature: catering to people traveling alone. Tel. 41 (0)33 655 99 00, www.eden-spiez.ch/en_neu/
Hotel Belvedere: Tel. 41 (0)33 655 66 66, www.belvedere-spiez.ch/e/
Hotel Bellevue: Tel. 41 (0)33 654 84 64, www.bellevue-spiez.ch/ (currently German only)
For an extended stay in Spiez, you could rent a house or an apartment. This apartment house is part of the Hotel Eden: www.eden-spiez.ch/en_neu/wohnen/Residence/index.php.
Find an Introductory Offer at: www.eden-spiez.ch/PDF/Preislisten/re_Einlageblatt_Preise_2011_EN.pdf
Two restaurants (in the Hotel Belvedere and in the Hotel Bellevue) have the prestigious Gault Millau designation. Gault Millau is one of the most influential French restaurant guides.
Official Switzerland Tourism website: www.myswitzerland.com/en/home.html
Also see: www.virtualtourist.com/travel/Europe/Switzerland/Kanton_Bern/Spiez-690215/TravelGuide-Spiez.html
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