Murten Attractions and Activities
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Murten offers a well preserved and charming Old Town to discover its past through its monuments. The surrounding area, called the 3-Lakes Region is lined with vineyards and the three lakes invite for watersports as well as many other activities along the shores. Murten also is conveniently located within approx. 100 minutes by train from the major cities and attractions of northern and western Switzerland and thus, making it an ideal base for daily excursions.
Excursions: >> Mountain ExcursionsCity Excursionsother Excursions
Murten, situated in the great Plain of the Swiss Midlands, is not the predestined destination for mountain excursions. Reachable are the peaks of the Bernese Alps and the Fribourg Pre-Alps.
Within approx. 2 hours by train and bus or approx. 1 hour by car, the mountain resorts of Charmey, Schwarzsee and Moleson-sur-Gruyeres are reached from where the mountain rides take visitors up to the summits which offer panoramic views of the Three-Lakes Region and the Swiss Alps, hiking and biking trails, and skiing slopes during the winter months. The highest peak is the Moleson at 2,002 m (6,567 ft) above sea level.
Schilthorn - Piz Gloria (2,970 m / 9,742 ft):
Full-day excursion (approx. 3 hours by train from Murten to the top). The most spectacular 360° panorama in the Alps! Dine-and-wine in the world's first revolving restaurant at an altitude of nearly 3,000 metres. Impressive views embrace some 200 snow-capped peaks, ranging from the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc in France and Germany's Black Forest.
Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe (3,454m / 11,330 ft):
Full-day excursion (approx. 4 hours by train from Murten to the top). Snow and ice 100% guaranteed! The UNESCO World Heritage offers the Sphinx observation hall, an impressive Ice Palace and a hiking plateau in the glacier - these are year-round attractions up on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Summer attractions include a skilift, husky-drawn sledging and adventure activities.
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 25 minutes by train from Murten). Fribourg (or Freiburg), the canton's capital and economic center offers a cultural treasure trove that goes back to the Middle Ages. The city is known for its cultural plurality, university, many gourmet restaurants and bridges over the River Sarine that links the French-speaking and German-speaking part of Switzerland. The beauty of Fribourg is best seen from up high, from either the tower of Saint Nicholas's Cathedral, or the Gate of Bourguillon. The view of this major European architectural ensemble, a part of the Middle Ages that has survived modernity, is unforgettable.
Neuchatel - Switzerland's Watch Making Center:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 25 minutes by train from Murten). Neuchatel is a pleasant, smiling town that stands in the middle of vineyards; its pale ochre houses made Alexandre Dumas say it was carved out of a pat of butter. The silhouettes of the collegiate church and the castle dominate the scene. Lake Neuchatel is the largest wholly Swiss Lake, being 38 km (24 miles) long and 8 km (5 miles) wide. Canals used by pleasure boats join with Lake Biel and Lake Murten.
Bern - Switzerland's captivating Capital:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 35 minutes by train from Murten). Founded in 1191, this is a city of medieval magic, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Attractions of Bern include several historic sites such as the famous Clock Tower, the bearpits (home to the city's heraldic animals), the House of Parliament, the Paul Klee Center, the Swiss Alpine Museum, and excellent shopping arcades.
Lausanne - Olympic Capital:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 75 minutes by train from Murten). Lausanne is one of Switzerland's secret destinations, renowned for its elegance, the historic Old Town with the well preserved Gothic Cathedral and the Olympic Committee headquarters. Lausanne is a city waiting to be discovered at every turn: monuments, architecture, flower-bedecked quays, parks and gardens. The city hosts two dozen museums of note - remarkable certainly the Collection de l'Art Brut and the Olympic Museum.
Zurich - Switzerland's financial capital:
Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Murten). Zurich is Switzerland's largest city, and with its famous "Bahnhofstrasse" (business and shopping street) is considered the country's most important financial, industrial and commercial center. It is also known to be the intellectual capital of the nation and particularly receptive to contemporary trends associated with younger generations. Zurich and the surrounding region is home to the biggest number of museums and exhibitions in Switzerland - the city offers a wealth of history, architecture, and culture, and is an absolutely charming, interesting and beautiful place to visit.
Lucerne - City of Lights:
Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Murten). Lucerne is ideally situated in the historic and scenic heart of what many believe to be the "true" Switzerland - picture mountains, lakes, cowbells, alpine villages and meadows full of Edelweiss. Lucerne is renowned for its attractive townscape, historic Chapel Bridge and shopping facilities. There are various routes to get from Murten to Lucerne: either going or on your return, take the scenic ride on the Golden Pass train via Interlaken and over the Brünig Pass (travel time 3 3/4 hours).
Basel - cultural capital of Switzerland:
Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Murten). In Basel you can live and breathe art and culture. The city promises "Culture Unlimited" and sparkles with an incomparable programme of culture and leisure activities. The city also is known as an important trade center, and an interesting place of archtiecture offering both - old historic buidlings as well as modern structures designed by world famous architects.
Geneva - peace capital of the world:
Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Murten). Known for being headquarters for many international organizations, Geneva also features the world's tallest fountain, the Jet d'Eau, Cathedrals, the University, the Opera and numerous museums and libraries. Check out the Horology Museum that highlights the importance of clock and watch making to the Genevan economy.
Montreux - City of the Swiss Riviera:
Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Murten). This attractive excursion crosses the "border" between German and French-speaking Switzerland and takes you to the shores of Lake Geneva. Enjoy the mild climate and the beautiful terraced vineyards of Lavaux that are part of the UNESCO world heritage. While in Montreux, you want to consider visiting one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Switzerland, the Chateau de Chillon: in the 13th century this castle was built in a unique setting on the shores of Lake Geneva, and today also serves as a typical postcard souvenir from Switzerland.
Interlaken - in the Heart of the Swiss Alps:
Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Murten). Interlaken, the small town between the cristal-clear lakes of Thun and Brienz is surrounded by Alpine pearls such as sparkling streams, fantastic falls and extraordinary mountain scenery including the famous peaks of the Eiger, the Moench and the Jungfrau. Don't miss strolling along Interlaken's famous "Höheweg" promenade - it is one of the best locations in Switzerland for souvenir and watch shopping, and offers superbe views of the Jungfrau mountain range. Consider combining the excursion to Interlaken with visiting other sights of the Jungfrau region, such as the Jungfraujoch or the Schilthorn, the Ballenberg Open-Air Museum or the St. Beatus Caves.
other Excursions / Sights:
Guided City Tour:
Would you like to know more about the fantastic buildings and Murten’s history ? Murten Tourism offers you a range of different Guided City Tours. Visit the tourist office in the Old Town to book a guided walk, a bike-tour or a one-hour roundtrip on the city train.
Mt. Vully (653 m / 2,142 ft):
Mount Vully offers a magnificent 360° panorama of the three Jura lakes, the Jura mountains, the Great Marsh and the Alps. On the southern side over 150 hectares of vineyards are facing towards the Murten Lake - A thematic walk through the Vully vineyards helps you to understand the different stages involved in wine production. On the other side of Mt. Vully, vegetable fields are cultivated. The protected natural reserves along the Broye and the shores of Lake Neuchatel offer quiet and peaceful moments to both walkers and nature lovers.
The Navigation Company of Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Murten, as well as the Lake Biel Navigation Company offer a variety of excursions on the three lakes and along the Aare River. Discover the region on the Three Lakes Cruise or on a individual cruise on one of the lakes - the navigation companies run regular services and organise many events and special trips such as events filled with the sounds of Salsa, Golden 80s Oldies or the Blues, or evening cruises with barbecue served on board.
Papiliorama-Tropical Garden: in Kerzers
The Papiliorama is a state-approved Foundation whose vocation is to raise public awareness of the fate of tropical forests and biodiversity in general, by immersing the visitor into the very heart of its living exhibitions. Under several glass domes, the Papiliorama takes visitors into a tropical climate where all kinds of animals, plants, insects and, of course, over 60 butterfly species from all over the world live together.
Sports: >> Summer SportsWinter Sports
Lake Murten offers numerous options of all kind of watersports such as sailing, (motor)boating, windsurfing or wakeboarding. Lake Murten, as well as Lake Neuchatel and Lake Biel are clean and invite for a refreshing swim. Several public swimming areas ("Lidos") are open during the summer months. In addition, there are public pools (indoor and outdoor) in Murten, Avenches and Kerzers.
Hiking / Walking:
Murten and the Three-Lakes Region are an excellent location for leisure hiking and (nordic) walking offering many miles of well marked and interesting trails. Get a list of walks with maps and elevation profile at the Murten Tourist Office. The routes also can be downloaded on GoogleEarth and to GPS receivers. Guided Hiking/Walking Tours are available on request.
Murten and the surrounding areas are great places for biking; there are several pleasant bike trails along the shores of the Lake Murten and the others lakes and in the gentle hills. Try the "Vegetabe Path" - from the beginning of May until mid-October, you can discover over 40 varieties of vegetables growing in Switzerland's largest vegetable garden. The Vegetable Path is a safe and "bike only" path on which you can feast your eyes on the delicious shades of green of the area. Two routes are possible: 24 km (15 miles) and 40 km (25 miles).
The Swiss Midlands - and in particular the Three-Lakes Region is a paradise for Inline Skaters. There are 90 km (56 miles) of well marked trails.
There are four golf clubs with "real" 18-holes golf courses in the Murten - Three-Lakes Region:
- the Wallenried Golf & Country Club (9 km / 5.5 miles from Murten);
- the Blumisberg Golf & Country Club (18 km / 11 miles from Murten);
- the Golf Club Payerne (28 km / 17.5 miles from Murten);
- the Golf Club Vuissens (41 km / 25.5 miles from Murten);
and two SWIN ("fun") golf courses:
- the 18-hole Swin-Golf in Tschugg (14 km / 9 miles from Murten);
- the 18-hole Swin Golf Course in Cremin/Lucens (44 km / 27 miles from Murten).
Get detailed information at the Murten Tourist Office.
Other Summer Sports
include indoor sports such as Badminton, Squash and Tennis, Billard, Pool and Bowling, and Fitness; outdoor leisure activities such as Fishing, Horseback Riding, Beach Volleyball and Minigolf; or adventure sports such as Canyoning, Sky Diving, Paragliding, Hot-Air Ballooning or Karting (indoor).
With its location in the Swiss Midlands, Murten certainly is not known as a destination for winter sports enthusiasts. "True" winter sports options are found in the following ski-resorts of the Fribourg Pre-Alps which are within approx. 1 hour driving distance from Murten:
Moleson-sur-Gruyeres: Skiing & Snowboarding (30 km / 19 miles groomed slopes); snow-shoe trekking; winter hiking; sledding; ice-climbing.
Schwarzsee: Skiing & Snowboarding (22 km / 14 miles groomed slopes); cross-country skiing; snow-shoe trekking; winter hiking; sledding; ice-skating.
Charmey: Skiing & Snowboarding (30 km / 19 miles groomed slopes); cross-country skiing; snow-shoe trekking; winter hiking; sledding.
Les Paccots: Skiing & Snowboarding (9 km / 5.5 miles groomed slopes); cross-country skiing; snow-shoe trekking; winter hiking; sledding; ice-skating.
La Berra - La Roche: Skiing & Snowboarding (25 km / 15.5 miles groomed slopes); snow-shoe trekking; winter hiking; sledding.
Jaun: Skiing & Snowboarding (20 km / 12.5 miles groomed slopes); cross-country skiing; snow-shoe trekking; winter hiking; sledding.
Other Winter Sports in the Murten region are limited to indoors sports such as Badminton, Squash and Tennis, Billard, Pool and Bowling, Swimming and Fitness; and outdoor leisure activities such as Winter Hiking and Horseback Riding.
Go Out: (Dining / Entertainment / Nightlife)
About 50 restaurants in Murten and the surrounding area offer meals for all tastes and budgets, and several wine cellars around the lake offer wine tasting as well as meals (often on request only). Murten also has a number of entertainment facilities, mainly bars and lounges in the Old Town and on the shores of Lake Murten.
Shopping in Murten is somewhat moderate but covered by arcades and the baroque houses that line Main Street are magnificent making it a special experience - even on rainy days. Main Street was originally known as "Reichengasse" (Alley of the Rich).
As a rule, shops in Murten are open on weekdays from 8:30 AM to midday and from 1:30 PM to 6:00 or 7:00 PM. Some bigger stores stay open between 12 and 1:30 PM and until 9 PM on one evening a week, either on Thursday or Friday. The shops are open until 4 PM on Saturdays and, except for some tourist places, closed on Sundays.
The Mai-Market is a very popular market in Murten on the first Sunday in May; in addition, from April through December, there's a weekly market on each Saturday with fresh produce: vegetables, fruits, cheese, meat, bread and wine and more from the Three-Lakes Region. From May through September the flea market takes place every second saturday of the month in the old city of Murten. And finally, in December at the Murten Christmas Market regional specialties and handicrafted items are offered in marvelously decorated chalets.
SlowUp Murtensee: (weekend in mid-April)
32 km (20 miles) of human powered mobility: cycling, skating, skate boarding, hiking, running, skipping or jumping. The Lake Murten slowUp is a car free dream providing excellent fun for Young and the young at heart, groups and families, outdoor people, sporty types, leisurely walkers, handholding lovers and even lonely hearts enjoy this happy slowUp mood in a motor free area and the diverse program all along the route. It turns into the most incredible party that's always on the move.
Youth Festival "Solennität": (in June)
Murten has been celebrating its 10,000 Knights’ Memorial Day in commemoration of the 1476 Battle of Murten since the 16th century. Since the 19th century, this commemoration day developed into the Youth Festival which is annually celebrated on June 22nd. Floral decorated children’s floats glide through the town; with church celebrations, dancing, round dancing, games, crossbow shooting and a disco rounding out the day, Everyone meets in the evening at the “Solo-Pintli”, the fun place for cozy socializing and fine food delicacies.
Opera Festival, Avenches: (2 weeks in July)
The Avenches Opera Festival, whose first edition took place in 1995, is set in the magical surroundings of the Aventicum Roman Arenas. The Opera Festival has enjoyed immediate success, attracting tens of thousands of spectators every year, who are thrilled by the show’s immense quality. The greatest and most beautiful works in the operatic repertoire have been presented at the Festival since its debut; such as Aida, Carmen, Nabucco, The Enchanted Flute, La Boheme, La Traviata, and many more.
Rock Oz'Arènes, Avenches: (4 days at the beginning of August)
The smallest of major rock festivals, featuring a different pick of outstanding popular musicians each year takes place in the Roman Amphitheatre in Avenches, a magical site that attracts a growing crowd each year, so much so that Rock Oz'Arènes is now considered a key Swiss musical event.
Murten Classics Festival: (3 weeks; mid-August - September)
Classical music festival with mostly open-air concerts in the court of Murten Castle, on beautiful spots at the lakeside and in different churches.
Equestrian Events, Avenches: (all year round)
The Avenches National Equestrian Institute (IENA) hosts about thirty competitions a year. Trotting and galloping, pony riding, obstacle jumping and training competitions. The Equestrian Sports Center, one of its kinds in Europe, was set up in Avenches in 1999. On 142 hectares, the Center boasts a racecourse (gallop and trot), and a first rate infrastructure for all equestrian activities: jumping, dressage, horse driving and three-day events. Numerous races with betting and competitions take place each week, making Avenches the undisputed horse capital of Switzerland.
Vully Vineyards Festival: (last weekend in September)
The traditional Vully Wine Harvest Festival takes place in Praz. For two whole days the village will be in festive mood, with numerous decorative stands held by the local societies ans other activities for young and old alike such as the Dodgems and roundabouts, the bars, the video-cinema and the balloon race.
The Murten Mill, built in 1524, houses Murten's historical collections and special exhibitions to discover the history of the region - from the ancient lake-dwellers to the Battle of Murten. The museum's permanent exhibitions evoke 150 years of archaeological digs on the shores of Lake Murten. Thanks to the most recent archaeological research, we now have a good understanding of the daily life of these first waterside villages.
Roman Museum Avenches:
The Roman Museum focuses entirely on Aventicum, the Roman capital of the Helvets. This town had 20,000 inhabitants, a number that has never been reached again. Aventicum was fortified with a wall measuring 5.5 km in length and containing 4 gates. 73 towers allowed access to its rampart walk. The museum is housed in a fortification tower dating back to the 12th century built on the Roman arenas. It displays mosaics and reliefs, the history and the Romanisation of Aventicum and the private lives of the Helvets. The showpiece of its collection is a golden bust of emperor Marcus Aurelius, discovered in a pipe at Cigognier sanctuary. At the initiative of Pro Aventico, scientific excavations started in 1885. The vestiges have been presented in the Roman Museum since 1938. The vestiges of the theatre, the amphitheatre, a temple and a sanctuary, the forum thermal baths and the eastern gate of Aventicum are accessible all year round.
Old Farm Museum Jerisberghof:
The 300 year old farm museum is the oldest building in the area. Old farm implements as well as homemade crafts can be viewed. The farm is located near Kerzers.