The ancient town of Murten, known in French as Morat, is a popular resort on the Murtensee/Lac de Morat (Lake Murten). The bilingual town has a boat-lined waterfront, windsurfing rentals, a lakeside public pool complex, grassy picnic areas, and a promenade as well as a superbly preserved medieval center. From the town's 13th-century gates, take a stroll through the fountain-studded cobblestone streets. Climb up the worn wooden steps to the town ramparts for a view of the lake over a charming montage of red roofs and stone chimneys.

Although a small town, Murten looms large in the history of Switzerland. Its most memorable moment came on June 22, 1476, when the Swiss Confederates—already a fearsomely efficient military machine—attacked with surprising ferocity and won a significant victory over the Burgundians, who were threatening Fribourg under the leadership of Duke Charles the Bold. Begun as a siege 12 days earlier, the battle cost the Swiss 410 men and the Burgundians 12,000. The defeat at Murten prevented the establishment of a large Lotharingian kingdom and kept Switzerland's autonomy unchallenged for decades. Legend has it that a Swiss runner, carrying a linden branch, ran from Murten to Fribourg to carry the news of victory. He expired by the town hall, and a linden tree grew from the branch he carried. Today, to commemorate his dramatic sacrifice, some 15,000 runners participate annually on the first Sunday in October in a 17-km (11-mile) race up the steep hill from Murten to Fribourg. As for the linden tree, it flourished in Fribourg for some 500 years until 1983, when it was ingloriously felled by a drunk driver. It has been replaced with a steel sculpture.

Read More


Trip Finder
Travel Phrases

Learn French Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Download Now

No Thanks

Love To Travel?

Get FREE email communications from Fodor's Travel, covering must-see travel destinations, expert trip planning advice, and travel inspiration to fuel your passion.

Thank You

Now sit back, relax, and check your inbox to start planning your next travel adventure.

Please tell us more about the type of travel you're interested in. Check all that apply.