This charming small town’s unique atmosphere is highlighted by artfully designed arcades, medieval half-timbered houses, ancient cobblestone streets and a picturesque castle. Anyone strolling down the historic streets of Laupen is confronted with an impressive example of architecture down through the centuries.
Even from a distance, it immediately catches your eye: The splendid castle complex dating from the 12th century is the landmark of the region. The castle of Laupen sits majestically on a high sandstone cliff and offers visitors a unique panoramic view. The Chasseral, the Jura mountains, the Stockhorn chain and the Bernese Alps can be seen in the distance. The sleepy town of Laupen is nestled at the foot of the medieval fortress, and its mix of rooftops, ridge heights and reddish-brown roof tiles creates an artistic contrast of shapes and colors. With its strategic setting where the Sense River merges into the Saane river, the imposing border stronghold withstood the attack of the Habsburgs in the 14th century and saved the city of Bern.
Art and culture at Laupen Castle
From April to October, the castle complex opens its gates on the first and third Sunday of the month, giving visitors a look behind the thick castle walls. The grand knights’ hall, the vaulted cellar and the Käfigturm prison tower can be viewed. The permanent exhibit in the castle museum, documentary films and various tours share more historical, economic and culturally interesting data and facts about the castle complex and Laupen itself. There are also regular displays of art on the castle grounds. At special events, art lovers can even speak personally with the artists.
The castle with that certain something
Those who want to turn their visit to Laupen Castle into something extra special can choose to spend the night here. Beds and dormitories ensure that guests enjoy an unforgettable camping-style experience. Adventurers and seasoned travelers can even sleep in the former prison cells if they wish.
The Laupen Castle Foundation also rents its premises out for private events. For example, engaged couples can say “I do” in a chamber specially prepared for the ceremony. The grand ceremonial venue offers a romantic backdrop and a unique ambiance for a civil ceremony and cocktail reception afterwards. Other spaces in the castle are ideal for turning birthdays, corporate events or private parties into memorable experiences.
Medieval festival in Laupen
Hear ye, hear ye, anyone who has ever wanted to be a castle lord or lady! Every three years the Laupen Castle Association stages a multi-day medieval festival with jugglers, exhibition duels, music, dancing, cross-bow and archery competitions as well as other entertaining activities. The next medieval event will take place in 2020.
New Year’s Eve
On New Year’s Eve, all of Laupen waits for the clock to strike eight. As the year draws to a close, a group of masked figures descends from the castle of Laupen down to Bärenplatz square. With their costumes and fearful wooden masks, the “Bäsemanne”, “Blaateremanndli” and “Glöggeler” wander through the streets. They drive out evil spirits from the town with bells, inflated cow bladders and brooms. This ancient tradition is called “Achetringele” and is still celebrated today right down to the last detail. An unforgettable experience for young and old alike!
More activities in Laupen
With its ideal location, the area around Laupen offers unlimited opportunities for cycling, hiking and swimming. Summer days can be enjoyed to the utmost at Laupen’s swimming facilities. Or why not rent a “rail bike” and explore the region while gliding along a disused railway track?
Laupen also has something to offer when the weather doesn’t cooperate. The “die Tonne” theater stages in-house productions on a regular basis, the “KulturLa” cultural club in Laupen organizes classical concerts and jazz matinées, and film fun is guaranteed at the Kino Laupen movie theater. For those who prefer something more athletic, a visit to the BEO FunPark means you can jump, climb and slide to your heart’s content, while an introductory archery class lets you practice hitting the bull’s-eye.
Anyone who likes spooky thrills can go hunting for criminals in Laupen. The interactive mystery game lets participants set off as detectives in search of clues and uncover a murder. Info plaques with QR codes and Internet addresses are set up all over the town – so you can participate for free with your smartphone.