A Day in the Shoes of Mary Poppins – Murten, Switzerland
You would think that once you visit all of the famous tourist attractions and numerous little towns in one country like we did in Switzerland, they would all start to look alike. Well, yes, that is partly true, but on the other side, we still manage to find something special in each and every one of them.
It was Albert Einstein who said: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” We aim to make these wise words our life motto and turn every day into a unique adventure.
The city with two names, Murten (German) or Morat (French), located on the border between French and German speaking side of Switzerland, thought us how much an ordinary town could offer if you are ready to seek beauty, fun, and knowledge.
A word or two on Murten’s history
Exploring different corners of the world, we realized every medieval town has an impressive background. The same goes for Murten. This charming municipality of the canton of Fribourg is located on the southern shore of Lake Morat (Lake Murten), which lies between Lake Biel and the Lake Neuchâtel. Once you find yourself in this area, don’t be surprised if you feel the need to turn every meal into a family picnic at picturesque lakeside promenade - that is just how this region affects people.
The more you learn about it, Morat’s history becomes more intriguing. This city changed hands a lot. Even though, the oldest archaeological traces of a settlement around Morat date back to the Mesolithic, the town’s name was first mentioned in 515 as a defensive fortification called "Muratum." Since that moment, King Rudolph III of Burgundy, Emperor Henry IV, Duke Berchtold IV, Count Peter of Savoy, King Rudolph of Habsburg and King Albert I of Germany and many others ruled the city.
However, probably the most significant event in this town’s history is the Battle of Morat. Burgundian army, led by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy attacked the city on June 22nd, 1476. Murten was saved thirteen days later by the Bernese army. Since then, the victory is celebrated every year on June 22nd. Interestingly, the tourism industry in Murten blossomed in 1876 with the celebration of the 400th Battle of Morat anniversary.
Enjoying Murten’s tourist sights
As we previously mentioned, for the city of only around 8000 inhabitants and 24.7 km2 of area, Murten has surprisingly a lot to offer. First things first, there are six heritage sites of national significance – Murten’s City Walls, the Grosshaus at Hauptgasse 43, Löwenberg Castle, the Rathaus or town council house, the Old school house building in Valvenach and the farmhouse at Erli 2.
We started our tour by visiting Murten’s Citi Walls, and it was the perfect beginning of the day. What you’ll get from this experience is the astonishing view of the nearby lake and the vintage rooftops of the Old Town along with additional information on Murten’s history. If you ever wanted to feel as if you were starring in the Marry Poppins movie, this is the perfect place that will sparkle your imagination. If you are coming here with your children, make sure to visit the Murten Tourist Office, before you start your tour. Here, you will get the map and other necessary materials to begin the exciting treasure hunt.
Once you enter the Medieval Old Town, its beautiful arcades will leave you speechless. History enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a chance to visit Museum Murten and Löwenberg Castle (Château de la Motte), which dates back to the 15th or 16th century.
However, if you are more of a nature-oriented type who likes to stay active and try new things during his/hers vacation, you’ll get your fair share of fun too. The region offers 170 km of cycle paths and 90 km of tracks for inline skaters, so exploring the Lake district on your bicycle is also an option. In our humble opinion, you should include a boat trip into your schedule - this is a perfect opportunity to explore the landscape of Lake Murten, along with the lakes of Neuchâtel and Biel-Bienne, which are connected by the canals.
If you have enough time, you should check out the Papilliorama-Nocturama in Kerzers. It is a small zoo park with indoor butterfly, bird and monkey habitats. It simulates the vibrant jungles of Belize during day and night. Also, those interested in the aspects of wine growing should check out the Vully Wine Path. The slopes of the Mont Vully will offer you a relaxed, romantic one hour long walk and the chance to taste local wine.
Join us for a video tour of the medieval town in the heart of Switzerland, on our YouTube channel. Don’t forget to subscribe and give us a big thumbs up! You can also follow our path around the world on our Instagram page. If you look closely enough, you will find pictures of Murten’s rooftops there.
Until our next adventure together, we wish you safe travels.