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Many houses date from the 15th to the 18th centuries, and the town itself is surrounded by medieval ramparts with a wall walk. Today you can stroll along the wall, taking in the view over Altstadt (Old Town) with the castle, lake, and Jura Mountains as a backdrop.

Duke Peter of Savoy built the town's castle in the 13th century. It's bleak and foreboding, but impressive nevertheless, and from its inner courtyard (which you can enter for free), there's a vista of the lake and the Jura foothills.

The main street, Hauptgasse, is the major attraction of Murten, running through the center of the old quarter. It leads to the baroque Bernegate, which contains one of the oldest clock towers in the country, dating from 1712.

Musée Historique, adjacent to the castle (tel. 026/670-31-00; www.museummurten.ch), contains everything from archaeological excavations revealing the city's earliest history to a diorama of the 15th-century Battle of Morat. It's housed in an 8-century-old mill a few steps from the walls of the castle. The museum shows a film featuring the Battle of Murten, one of the defining moments in the history of the Swiss cantons. It's open April to November, Tuesday to Saturday from 2 to 5pm, Sunday 10am to 5pm. Admission is 6F for adults, 5F for seniors, 2F for students and children 6 to 16, and free for children 5 and under.

Nearby, Murtensee, or Lac de Morat, spread over nearly 26 sq. km (10 sq. miles), has a maximum depth of 45m (148 ft.). Between late May and September, you can take boat trips and circular tours on the three lakes from Murten to Neuchâtel to Biel (Bienne), with trips through the canals in the Great Marshes. Check with the tourist office for information on these excursions.

One of the most enchanting bike rides in this part of Switzerland is around Lake Murten. The tourist office will provide maps. You can rent a bike at the rail station (28F) and visit such lakeside villages as Faoug, Salavaux, Bellerive, and Vully. Allow about 4 hours for this 40km (25-mile) jaunt.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.