Interlaken Travel Guide: Things That Make It Worth Visiting

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Like you, I was asking before: Is Interlaken worth visiting? Well the short answer is:

Interlaken is the thrill-seeker’s paradise in Switzerland and a top-tier destination. This town offers a “front-row seat” to some of the most awe-inspiring alpine views on the planet. Plus, you can dive into fun-filled adventures at Lake Thun, Lake Brienz, Harder Kulm, and Schynige Platte. There’s no question about it, Interlaken is worth visiting! 

While there’s no doubt about that — Interlaken is a must-visit destination — it’s not the only spot in Switzerland where you can find thrilling adventures and breathtaking views. You’ve got Zermatt, Lauterbrunnen, Lucerne, Gruyeres, Montreux, Kandersteg and more! It’s something worth noting when planning a trip to Switzerland. 

In this article, I’ll highlight the 10 key advantages and beautiful experiences that Interlaken offers — reasons that make Interlaken a destination not to be missed, despite the availability of other options. I’ll take you on a virtual tour, providing you with a glimpse of its fun outdoor activities and stunning landscapes.

As someone who has a deep appreciation for nature and mountains, I can say without a doubt that Interlaken is worth a visit. It’s not just about the breathtaking views or the thrilling adventures that Interlaken offers. It’s more about the awe and life-changing experiences that mountains can provide.

But, we all have our own likes and dislikes. What I seek in my travels may not be the same as what you seek. That’s certain! So, I’m offering these 10 reasons to visit Interlaken—to help you determine if Interlaken fits your travel style.

Should you choose to visit the Jungfrau region (for two days or more) and make Interlaken your home base, here’s a link where you can discover the best hotel deals in Interlaken. The hotel finder has a map feature that assists you in finding the most easily accessible hotels in Interlaken.

Here are my other articles related to Interlaken:

1. Interlaken’s Accessible Location

The first reason to consider visiting Interlaken over other towns is simple.

Situated in the heart of Switzerland, Interlaken is within easy reach of all the country’s major cities and attractions. Even though it’s nestled in the Bernese Alps, Interlaken is well-served by fast InterCity trains that connect it to major cities with international airports like Geneva, Bern, Basel, and Zurich.

If you’re coming from overseas, you’ll find that getting to Interlaken involves just one or two train rides. It’s both easy and convenient! Here’s a table that illustrates how close Interlaken is to Switzerland’s major cities:

City Road Distance Travel Time
(Using Car)
Public Transit Travel Time
(Using trains)
Bern 63 km 54m direct 1h 3m
Basel 149 km 1h 49m direct 2h 2m
Zurich 118 km 1h 45m 2 train rides 1h 56m
Geneva 216 km 2h 30m 2 train rides 2h 46m
Distance between Interlaken and the Cities in Switzerland

Source (Google Maps):

  1. Bern to Interlaken
  2. Basel to Interlaken
  3. Zurich to Interlaken
  4. Geneva to Interlaken

Here are the day trips to Interlaken from these cities:

Did you know that visiting Interlaken is quite straightforward, even if you’re not currently in Switzerland?

Let’s say you’re in Milan, located in Northern Italy, and you decide to visit Interlaken. All it takes is booking a ride to Brig and then transferring to a train bound for Interlaken. The journey will take approximately 3 hours and a few minutes. Here’s the itinerary for a day trip from Milan to Interlaken:

2. Harder Kulm: Epic Panorama of Lakes and Mountains

Not only is Interlaken accessible, but it also boasts an extraordinary and picturesque location! With natural splendor enveloping it from all sides, Interlaken is a place that’s sure to max out your camera’s storage. Undoubtedly, its awe-inspiring landscape is a reason in itself to visit Interlaken.

Check out this immersive 360-degree image taken in Interlaken (Try to drag the image in any direction to see more views):

If you’re planning a trip to Europe and are on the lookout for other destinations that offer views as stunning as this, I’d suggest considering Chamonix in the French Alps, Cortina d’Ampezzo in the Italian Dolomites, and Berchtesgaden in the Bavarian Alps.

Experiencing such a view is effortless when you visit Interlaken, and that’s another appealing aspect of this town. A brief journey on a funicular train is all it takes to immerse yourself in these breathtaking views — in Harder Kulm.

Harder Kulm is your ideal destination for a stunning view of Interlaken and the surrounding villages. This location offers a unique perspective where both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz can be seen in one sweeping glance.

Interlaken Switzerland, Harder Kulm, Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz – Interlaken
Interlaken Switzerland, Harder Kulm, Lake Thun
Interlaken – Lake Thun

What could be more exciting? The vantage point at Harder Kulm allows you to glimpse the entrance to the Lauterbrunnen valley. Towering above it are the three famed peaks of the Jungfrau massif: Monch, Eiger, and Jungfrau – they’re the crown jewels of the Bernese Alps. This spectacular view is what makes a visit to Harder Kulm a must.

If you’re planning a trip to Harder Kulm, you can purchase your roundtrip ticket here or from the widget below.

Should you choose to visit Interlaken and make your way to Harder Kulm, it’s best to do so early in the morning. Try to get to the funicular station in Interlaken before 9, right before the first train leaves. The view from the top is much better when it’s not crowded.

But there’s more to Harder Kulm’s viewing deck than just a sunny terrace. It has an observation platform that juts out from the cliff it sits on, leaving nothing but air beneath you when you reach the end. It’s quite an exhilarating experience!

Plus, Harder Kulm has a charming timber-framed restaurant where you can have breakfast. Their chicken nuggets are a bit pricey by Swiss standards but they’re well-liked by visitors. And I must say, I’m quite fond of the restaurant’s distinctive pointy roof!

You can reach Harder Kulm in two ways: 

  1. Funicular train — The most convenient way to reach Harder Kulm is by taking a funicular. This impressive mode of transport carries visitors up a steep 64% gradient slope to Harder Kulm, which is 700 meters above the station, in just 10 minutes. The journey begins at the Harderbahn station, situated across the Aare River to the northwest of Interlaken Ost station. Trains depart every 30 minutes from 9:10 a.m. to 5:10 p.m., seven days a week, from April through November. It’s always a good idea to check the Harderbahn timetable for any announcements or schedule changes before setting off.
  2. Hiking — Personally, I’d recommend hiking to Harder Kulm if you’re keen on experiencing the place in solitude early in the morning, perhaps to witness the sunrise. Don’t forget to pack essential hiking gear such as a headlamp or flashlight if you plan on doing this. The hike up to Harder Kulm is moderately challenging and it usually takes about 2 to 3 hours to get to the top. The route is roughly 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) long with an elevation gain of 770 meters (2500 feet). The trailhead is conveniently located near the Harderbahn Interlaken Station.

3. The Magical Lake Thun, West of Interlaken

When you’re at the Harder Kulm lookout and you’re facing the beginning of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, you’ll see Lake Thun to your right. This lake is named after the city of Thun, which is situated on its northern shore and is known for having the world’s oldest panorama.

Interlaken Switzerland, Lake Thun
View of Lake Thun from Interlaken

I like to refer to Lake Thun as ‘The Fairytale Lake of Switzerland.’ The reason for this is that Lake Thun boasts the highest number of castles in all of Switzerland. There are a total of eight castles around Lake Thun, with one located in the city and two that are now ruins. The castles are:

  1. Spiez Castle
  2. Oberhofen Castle
  3. Unspunnen Castle (Ruins)
  4. Weissenau Castle (Ruins)
  5. Hunegg Castle
  6. Thun Castle
  7. Schloss Eichbühl
  8. Schloss Schadau

With such stunning castles surrounding Lake Thun, all within reach from Interlaken, how could you possibly leave Interlaken out of your Switzerland itinerary? These locations offer a unique journey through time, providing an entirely new way to experience the Alps.

Get your skip-the-line tickets & unlimited access to the boats in Lake Thun/Lake Brienz here:

Just a thought, but if these castles are what’s attracting you to Interlaken, you might also enjoy a visit to Neuschwanstein Castle and Lichtenstein Castle in Southern Germany. They’re two of the most picturesque spots in Germany, and this is a sentiment echoed by numerous well-known online publications!

The Oberhofen Castle in Lake Thun

Among the eight castles you’ll find around Lake Thun, you’re bound to be particularly enchanted by Oberhofen Castle. This is the castle that frequently pops up on social media, distinguished by its tower that rises directly from the lake’s waters. Below is a picture of Oberhofen Castle, a compelling reason to consider a trip to Interlaken.

Interlaken Switzerland, Oberhofen Castle, Lake Thun
View of Oberhofen castle from the dock
Interlaken Switzerland, Oberhofen Castle, Lake Thun
Mount Niesen and Oberhofen Castle

Located in the municipality of Oberhofen, a mere 30 minutes from Interlaken by car, stands the 13th-century Oberhofen Castle. It’s often considered the most picturesque castle in Switzerland due to its lake tower that elegantly juts out into the water, providing a perfect photo opportunity with the Bernese Alps in the background.

Beyond its beauty, the castle is also remarkable for its sturdy 2-meter (6.6 feet) keep walls and the royal-level furniture and decorations that adorn its interior. The castle’s regal past is evident in its chapel and murals from 1473.

How to Explore Lake Thun From Interlaken

From Interlaken, you have three options for exploring Lake Thun: by bus, train, or boat. You can even make a complete circuit of Lake Thun using the bus and train.

However, it’s important to note that the east side of Lake Thun (the route from Interlaken to Thun via Oberhofen) is only serviced by buses. Meanwhile, the west side of Lake Thun (the route from Interlaken to Thun via Spiez) offers both train and bus services.

Lake Thun Bus Trips from Interlaken

On the eastern shores of Lake Thun lie Schloss Eichbühl, Hunegg Castle, and Oberhofen Castle. These can be accessed via bus #21 that departs from Interlaken Ost station hourly.

Oberhofen Castle is the closest to Interlaken on this route, with a travel time of 46 minutes including several stops along the way. Conversely, Spiez Castle is the sole castle on Lake Thun’s western side. To visit Spiez from Interlaken, catch bus #60 from Interlaken Ost station for a 36-minute journey.

Lake Thun Train Rides from Interlaken

If Spiez Castle is on your itinerary and you’re starting from Interlaken, consider taking the train for a quicker journey. The train ride from Interlaken Ost to Spiez is only 17 minutes long. Trains, much like buses, depart every hour for your convenience.

Lake Thun Boat Tours from Interlaken

If you truly want to experience the beauty of Interlaken and Lake Thun, consider skipping the bus and trains and opt for a boat tour instead!

Unlike land-based transportation, boat tours offer a direct route to the attractions around Lake Thun, all while you enjoy a leisurely, breezy journey across the lake. Most cruises and boats on Lake Thun make stops at several key areas, including St. Beatus Caves, Beatenbucht, Gunten, Oberhofen, Hilterfingen, Hünibach Thun, and Spiez.

If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, consider booking one of the culinary cruises that delight both your eyes with stunning views and your palate with delicious meals. The best time to explore Lake Thun is during the summer or between Christmas and New Year when the Blümlisalp, an early-1900s paddle-wheel steamer, sails across Lake Thun.

You can either watch it puffing white steam as it passes by or hop aboard and experience a vintage-style cruise on Lake Thun.

4. The Picturesque Lake Brienz, East of Interlaken

Interlaken offers two distinct ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of alpine lakes. For those seeking fun, luxury, or relaxation on the water, Lake Thun is a must-see. However, if you’re a contemplative traveler like me, who prefers serene, natural, and less crowded locales, then Lake Brienz is your ideal destination.

Interlaken Switzerland, Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz is famous for its captivating turquoise waters, which reach their peak intensity during the summer and spring seasons. This blue-green hue is a result of tiny particles carried into the lake by glacial meltwater.

The most breathtaking view of Lake Brienz can be found at Rothorn, a peak situated above the village of Brienz. From this vantage point, you can witness the lake’s milky blue color come alive during these seasons, given that the weather is clear and the sun is shining.

However, Lake Brienz isn’t the only gem that makes Interlaken a worthwhile visit. Much like Lake Thun, Lake Brienz also boasts attractions along its shores that justify the journey from Interlaken. Here are some highly-rated attractions you can explore at Lake Brienz:

  1. Giessbach waterfalls and Grandhotel Giessbach
  2. The peaceful lakeside village of Iseltwald
  3. The charming chalet village in Brienz

Here are other more ways to enjoy Lake Brienz:

Let’s explore one highlight from each lake to determine if they match your travel tastes and could serve as a motivation for your visit to Interlaken.

See Iseltwald from Interlaken

Let’s begin with the closest destination in Lake Brienz, a village called Iseltwald. Nestled on a small peninsula in the heart of Lake Brienz, Iseltwald is home to just 400 residents. Despite its size, this charming village has been thriving for over nine centuries.

The quaintness of Iseltwald is evident in its flower-adorned chalets, which feature stone foundations beneath their wooden structures. The crown jewel of Iseltwald is Schloss Seeburg, a castle perched atop the village’s peninsula. It’s undoubtedly the most picturesque part of Iseltwald and could easily be considered the Oberhofen of Lake Brienz.

This castle looks so captivating that it could entice you to hire a boat or kayak available on Iseltwald’s shores for the perfect photo opportunity – that is, unless, of course, you’re equipped with a high-powered lens. The sight of the castle mirrored in Lake Brienz’s turquoise waters creates a breathtaking scene that’s truly picture-perfect.

Interlaken Switzerland, Iseltwald
Seeburg Castle in Iseltwald and Lake Brienz

If you enjoy the scenic beauty of lakes with quaint villages and towns such as Lake Brienz and Iseltwald, you should definitely explore Lake Garda and Lake Como in Italy. Lake Garda is Italy’s largest lake and boasts a wealth of attractions including castles, delightful lakeside villages, picturesque hiking trails, and even theme parks! Lake Como is another Italian gem known for its idyllic villas. Its allure is so strong that it has been a favored retreat for both ancient aristocrats and contemporary celebrities.

Interlaken Switzerland, Iseltwald
Village of Iseltwald

To reach Iseltwald, you’ll need to start at Interlaken Ost and catch bus #103. Just 25 minutes after leaving, you should find yourself arriving in Iseltwald. The bus departs the station every hour, on the hour, with a five-minute window for boarding. Alternatively, you can opt for a scenic boat ride from Interlaken, which also makes a stop in Iseltwald to pick up and drop off visitors and tourists.

Explore the Charming Chalet Village of Brienz

Similar to Lake Thun, Lake Brienz also derives its name from a village situated on its northernmost shores, Brienz. However, unlike Thun, Brienz is not yet classified as a city but rather a town, with a population of only 3000 residents.

Despite its size, Brienz exudes a delightful alpine charm that’s truly unique. It’s filled with traditional alpine chalets adorned with flowers, even more so than Iseltwald.

Interlaken Switzerland, Brienz
Summer in Brienz
Interlaken Switzerland, Brienz
A charming street in Brienz

Truthfully, it appears that all the homes in Brienz are chalets or at least constructed from wood. Taking a leisurely stroll through this town is an absolute delight! As you wander around, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into an alpine wonderland.

What makes Brienz truly captivating are the unexpected discoveries you’ll make along the way, such as plant boxes shaped like animals and wood sculptures depicting local life and wildlife. For the adventurous at heart, this town is a must-visit.

But perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Brienz is the nostalgic steam train that travels from Brienz to Rothorn, which we’ll discuss in more detail later. Reaching Brienz from Interlaken is a breeze – a single train ride of just 20 minutes will get you there, passing through several charming hamlets and campsites along the way. Alternatively, you can also opt for a boat ride to Brienz.

Visit Giessbach Waterfalls and Grandhotel

Should you be in Brienz, a breathtaking spectacle awaits you just a short distance away. The magnificent Giessbach Waterfall, one of the prime destinations around Lake Brienz, is sure to leave you in awe.

Interlaken Switzerland, Giessbach hotel
Giessbach Grandhotel
Interlaken Switzerland, Giessbach trail
Bridge over Giessbach
Interlaken Switzerland, Giessbach waterfall
Giessbach Waterfall
Interlaken Switzerland, Giessbach waterfall 14 steps
View of Giessbach’s from below

With a height of roughly 400 meters, Giessbach Waterfall ranks as one of Switzerland’s tallest waterfalls. Its 14 cascades are a sight to behold and are bound to leave you in awe.

It’s a dream destination for visitors, especially landscape photographers who can capture its majesty in spring and summer when the cascades are most voluminous due to the downstream flow of melted mountain snow.

Interestingly, nestled in the area where Giessbach Waterfall is located, you’ll find a hotel. Grandhotel Giessbach is not your typical hotel, and its unique aesthetics speak for itself.

Resembling a castle manor, the Grandhotel Giessbach is a striking four-story building featuring a witch-hat-shaped roof and design elements that echo traditional chalets. It’s a sight that compels you to stop and capture its beauty in photos or simply appreciate it for a moment.

The thing is that the Giessbach Waterfall offers an immersive experience as you can approach the tumbling waters through nearby hiking trails. These trails extend beneath the rocks where the waterfall courses down, offering you a spot to witness nature’s power up close and enjoy a view of the hotel from the direction of the waterfall’s flow.

You have three options for visiting the Giessbach Waterfall.

  1. Firstly, you can drive there, but keep in mind that parking costs 10 CHF. Use these Google Maps coordinates for directions to the waterfall.
  2. Secondly, you can catch bus #155 from Brienz and then enjoy a 12-minute walk to the heart of the falls.
  3. Lastly, you can opt for a boat ride from either Interlaken or Brienz. The boat will dock at Giessbach See, where you can hop on a charming funicular train that leads straight to the waterfalls.

5. Rothorn & Ballenberg: Nostalgic Train Rides from Interlaken

I’ve mentioned the charming train rides earlier, and now let’s explore them in more detail! The nostalgic trains provide a distinctive reason to visit Interlaken, as they offer an experience that’s truly one-of-a-kind.

Sure, there are many places where you can find and ride on trains reminiscent of the 1900s, but they don’t come with the exclusive views you get in Interlaken! If witnessing or riding a steam-puffing train is on your bucket list, then the Brienz-Rothorn Bahn and the Ballenberg steam railway in Interlaken are your top choices.

Brienz Rothorn Bahn

Brace yourself for a nostalgic trip back in time and an excursion to one of the most scenic locations overlooking Lake Brienz! Your adventure on the Brienz-Rothorn steam train promises to be a standout memory from your Swiss travels. This sentiment has been shared by many, and you might find yourself echoing it after your journey!

So, what can you anticipate during this train ride?

Interlaken Switzerland, Brienz Rothorn bahn
Nostalgic train puffing steam
Interlaken Switzerland, Brienz Rothorn bahn
View from the train
Interlaken Switzerland, Brienz Rothorn bahn
View from the windows of the train (front and back of the train)

Imagine yourself aboard an open-air red carriage steam locomotive, complete with large adjustable glass windows. As it puffs steam, it carries you up to the summit of Rothorn. Throughout the journey, you’ll hear the distinctive sound of the locomotive rolling over the rack. Yes, it’s a bit noisy, but that’s part of the charm—it’s like being transported back a hundred years!

The train journey takes you past lush forests and through dark tunnels, all while offering panoramic views that will leave you in awe. From verdant meadows to rugged mountain ridges and the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz, it’s a sightseeing experience that will keep your eyes wide open!

In contrast to contemporary trains, the Brienz-Rothorn steam train maintains a modest speed of about 10 kph (6.2 mph). This unhurried pace is perfect for savoring each picturesque scene that appears along the route.

The locomotive’s strength will impress you, particularly when it ascends steep inclines with ease. Yet, with the awe-inspiring landscapes that mark your journey, the steep climb will barely register.

Consider the fact that the Swiss engineered this locomotive funicular as far back as 1892. Given the mountainous terrain and the limited technology available at the time, the train ride is a testament to Swiss engineering prowess.

The entire Brienz-Rothorn steam train journey spans 7.6 kilometers (4.7 miles) of rail tracks. Upon reaching the summit, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of not just Lake Brienz, but also approximately 700 alpine peaks that punctuate the horizon in every direction. For your convenience, restaurants and accommodations are available at the summit of Rothorn.

Based on my last visit to the official Brienz-Rothorn Bahn website, the train service is available during the summer season, generally from early June until late October. However, these dates can change from year to year, so for the most up-to-date schedule, it’s best to check their website.

The Brienz-Rothorn Bahn line consists of three stations: Brienz, Planalp, and Rothorn. Trains leave roughly every hour, so plan to be at the station about 30 minutes before your intended departure time.

In Brienz, make sure to be at the station before 7 a.m. to catch the first departure, and by 4 p.m. for the last train ride to Rothorn. Over at Rothorn, the first departure requires you to be at the station by 8:30 a.m., while for the last train departure, aim to be there before 5:00 p.m.

If you’re keen on experiencing the Brienz-Rothorn steam train, it’s advisable to book early via the official Brienz-Rothorn Bahn website. The site also provides important reminders for your journey on the Brienz-Rothorn steam train, so do take the time to read all the details. The fare starts at CHF 24.50.

The Ballenberg Steam Railway

The Ballenberg steam railway offers an alternative to the Brienz-Rothorn steam train. Departing directly from Interlaken, it travels along the banks of Lake Brienz before reaching its final stop at Meiringen.

If you’re seeking a more authentic locomotive train ride experience over scenic views, you might prefer the Ballenberg railway over the Brienz-Rothorn train ride. The trains on the Ballenberg steam railway resemble the locomotives used in the 1900s. They’re black in color, have rectangular carriages, and their windows aren’t designed for sightseeing like those on the Brienz-Rothorn steam train.

While the views on the Ballenberg steam railway may not be as stunning as those on the Brienz-Rothorn, you’ll still be treated to the picturesque scenery of Lake Brienz along the journey.

The Ballenberg steam railway is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a tranquil experience and a chance to create simple yet memorable moments with a companion. The leisurely pace of the locomotive provides ample time for meaningful conversations against the backdrop of Lake Brienz.

The departure schedule and availability for the Ballenberg steam railway can vary from year to year. As such, it wouldn’t be practical to provide a calendar here. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, it’s best to check the official website of the Ballenberg steam railway directly.

6. Saint Beatus Caves: Interlaken’s Underground Spectacle

With its distinctive landscape of lakes intertwined with mountains, Interlaken provides a plethora of nature-centric experiences. Consider the Giessbach Waterfall we mentioned earlier. Although cultural attractions abound, they are frequently made more appealing by their natural settings. Oberhofen Castle and Schloss Seeburg are cases in point.

But did you know that there’s a marvel tucked away underground near Interlaken? Known as the Saint Beatus Caves, it adds yet another layer of intrigue to your visit to Interlaken.

Interlaken Switzerland, Saint Beatus Caves
Outside the cave
Interlaken Switzerland, inside Saint Beatus Caves
Inside the cave

The Saint Beatus Caves, named after the legendary Saint Beatus, are steeped in folklore. Legend has it that in the 6th century, Saint Beatus drove out a fire-breathing dragon that resided within these caves.

While this is merely a tale, the medieval structures outside the caves and the waterfalls cascading through the rocks beneath them evoke images of Rivendell, the elven realm from Lord of the Rings. This fairytale ambiance enhances the visitor experience.

Inside the caves, you’ll be greeted by an array of stalagmites and stalactites, as well as tranquil underground lakes. The well-lit rock formations cast their reflections onto the serene lake below, creating a truly enchanting spectacle.

If you’re a fan of caves, then Carcassonne and Domme in France should be on your list. Why, you ask? Carcassonne is home to the Gouffre Géant of Cabrespine—a vast cave boasting stunning rock formations and offering adventurous activities. Additionally, Carcassonne features a beautifully preserved medieval city. It’s like getting two experiences for the price of one! As for Domme, it’s a delightful bastide with a unique feature—a cave located right in the heart of its village square. It’s a fascinating place to explore.

Saint Beatus Caves, a must-visit destination in Interlaken, can be reached in three ways: by boat, car, or the most convenient option, the bus. Start your journey from Interlaken West station and board Bus #21. Within a short span of 12-15 minutes, you’ll find yourself at the entrance of Saint Beatus Caves.

Prepare to spend at least 75 minutes exploring the captivating 1-kilometer trail inside the cave. Don’t miss out on the museum and restaurant, both offering stunning views of Lake Thun and the Bernese Alps. After your exploration, treat yourself to a meal at the cave’s restaurant, arguably the best dining spot in the area.

Learn more: Saint Beatus Cave’s Visiting Information.

7. Interlaken is An Adventurer’s Paradise

Interlaken is a paradise for explorers, offering experiences from the depths of its caves to the heights of its skies, encompassing mountains, lakes, and grasslands. But there’s more to Interlaken than just its natural beauty!

It’s a hub for adrenaline-fueled activities, making it an ideal destination for thrill-seekers and adventurers. The options are endless – hiking, kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing – you name it! As per Interlaken’s official website, daredevils can also indulge in hang-gliding, bungee jumping, and skydiving. No wonder Interlaken is known as the adventure capital of Europe!

Here’s a glimpse of some of the fun that awaits you in Interlaken:

Experience the thrill of a lifetime with these popular activities:

  1. First up, Tandem Paragliding – Embrace the freedom of the skies! Glide effortlessly over stunning lakes and mountains, with a skilled pilot handling all the maneuvers. Your only tasks? Soak up the breathtaking aerial views and tick off this unique adventure from your bucket list!
  2. Next, Canyoning on the Chli Schliere – More than just a fun-filled activity, canyoning offers an opportunity to conquer your fears. Dive off cliffs into crystal-clear waters, scramble over rocks, and slide down natural water slides.
  3. Finally, the Canyon Swing – Push your limits and live life on the edge! Experience the adrenaline rush of free-falling at speeds of up to 120kph (75 mph). After this exhilarating experience, fear will be a thing of the past!

Here are some more adventures you can embark on in/from Interlaken:

8. Absolutely Scenic Hikes from Interlaken

There’s something truly magical about the Alps – the majestic snow-capped peaks, the vibrant turquoise lakes, the cascading waterfalls, and the serene meadows. But to truly capture their beauty, one must embark on a hiking journey.

Hiking is not just an activity; it’s an experience that sets you free. Sometimes, it’s not about conquering the mountains but overcoming your personal challenges. Apart from its deeper meaning, hiking has practical benefits too. It gives you the freedom to explore stunning vistas at your own pace, unlike fleeting views from a train window.

Interlaken boasts many unique hiking spots that are sure to captivate any nature lover. Their uniqueness adds to Interlaken’s charm and makes it a must-visit destination. Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to beauty and experiences, but for me, these two hiking spots in Interlaken stand out:

  1. Mount Niesen
  2. Schynige Platte

Mount Niesen

As you travel between Interlaken and Thun or take a leisurely boat trip on Lake Thun, your eyes will be drawn to a distinctive triangular mountain located west of the lake’s southern section. This is none other than Mount Niesen, often referred to as Switzerland’s pyramid mountain.

It’s a favorite among hikers and sunset watchers alike. Picture a day with clear skies and the sun setting in a fiery display… What will truly take your breath away is the triangular shadow that Mount Niesen projects onto the fields and lake situated east of it. It’s just spectacular. Have a glimpse:

Interlaken Switzerland, Mount Niesen
Afternoon on the summit of Mount Niesen

Mount Niesen is worth visiting at any time, not just at sunset. The summit offers a breathtaking view that stretches from Switzerland’s Central Plateau in the north to the craggy peaks of the Bernese Alps in the south – a sight that’s sure to leave an indelible impression.

To journey to Mount Niesen from Interlaken, head first to Interlaken Ost station. From there, you have two options: take a train ride to Spiez or hop on Bus #60. Upon reaching Spiez, take a train to Mülenen, the cute village that’s home to Niesenbahn.

You have 3 ways you can reach the summit of Mount Niesen:

  1. Funicular ride straight to the top.
  2. Funicular rides until Schwandegg and starts the hike until the summit.
  3. Hike right away from the Niesenbahn ground station.

According to my route planner, a hike from Niesenbahn to the summit of Mount Niesen could take around 5 hours. This involves a 7.83-kilometer (4.8-mile) trek with an overall elevation gain of 1620 meters (5300 feet).

However, a more efficient route would be to start your hike midway. Take a funicular from the Niesenbahn ground station to Schwandegg, then hike to the peak. This approach saves time and energy, and you won’t miss much as the lower parts of the trail offer less impressive views.

Alternatively, you can opt for a leisurely ride on the funicular train from the ground station straight to the top of Niesen. If you choose to start your hike from Schwandegg, expect a 2-hour trek covering 3.16 kilometers (2 miles) with a total elevation gain of 670 meters (2200 feet). Here’s the route I’ve prepared for you:

Click the square button on top of the plus and minus buttons to recenter the map.

Schynige Platte

Schynige Platte is another hiking spot in Interlaken that’s sure to captivate you. This small mountain ridge, located southeast of Interlaken, offers panoramic views of various parts of the Bernese Alps.

From here, you can take in the stunning vistas of Interlaken’s lakes, the Lauterbrunnen valley, Lütschine, Grindelwald, and of course, the majestic Jungfrau Massif. The image below provides a glimpse of the view from one side of Schynige Platte. Rotate the image to explore more breathtaking sights.

Here’s how it looks on the northern side of Schynige Platte from Daube’s viewpoint:

During the summer months, Schynige Platte is a popular destination not just for its breathtaking views, but also for the beautiful botanical garden situated near the summit station of the Schynige Platte Railway. This garden is home to approximately 690 species of alpine flowers, each blooming in a riot of colors.

There are two ways to reach Schynige Platte from Interlaken: by hiking or by taking a ride on a 125-year-old cogwheel train that departs from Wilderswil. Given that you’ll be doing plenty of hiking once you arrive at Schynige Platte, I recommend opting for the cogwheel train ride. This way, you’ll conserve your energy for exploring the numerous hiking trails on the ridge and visiting the best lookout points.

Schynige Platte offers several trails to follow and must-visit spots. Below is a brochure from that you can download and print. It provides comprehensive details about what to expect in each part of Schynige Platte.

9. The Funky Chocolate Club Switzerland in Interlaken

Interlaken promises a myriad of experiences that go beyond just adventure and sightseeing. Situated in the town’s center is the Funky Chocolate Club Switzerland, a delightful spot for all chocolate aficionados.

Here, you’ll find an eclectic mix of chocolates in all imaginable flavors, shapes, and designs. It’s a place where the mysteries of Swiss chocolates are shared with travelers from around the world. You also have the opportunity to join their workshop and immerse yourself in the chocolate-making process. Let’s take a quick look at what’s inside the shop.

The Funky Chocolate Club Switzerland has garnered attention from numerous travel bloggers and international food shows. It’s a fantastic destination for family travelers and adventure seekers with a penchant for culinary delights. The experience is particularly loved by children, making it a hit with families.

Learn more from their website: Here’s what some of the travelers say:

I highly recommend taking the chocolate cooking class here. Not only do you learn about chocolate in general, but also Swiss Chocolate. The instructor was very fun and spoke English well as he is from New Zealand. The fun part about the class is of course, eating the chocolate and taking some home!

Troy Donovan


Absolutely amazing. The class was perfect. We had 2 kids and the teacher was very patient with them and took her time to ensure they understood what they were doing and where chocolate came from. You make three bars with different decorations and have a lot of fun and eat a lot of chocolate in the process. Absolutely worth the hour you spend doing it. Plus, there is a craft brewery on the premises that makes pretty darn good beer.


With 400 reviews under its belt, it boasts a score of 4.4 out of 5. Some reviewers have mentioned instances of racism from instructors, which is concerning. However, they appear to be responsive to feedback, suggesting that steps may have been taken to rectify or improve this situation.

There’s a spot in Switzerland that’s a paradise for chocolate lovers and cheese connoisseurs. It’s Gruyeres, a picturesque medieval village that seems frozen in time. With its majestic castle and breathtaking views of the pre-alps, it offers an experience that’s as delightful as its culinary treats.

10. Interlaken is Just Minutes Away From “Heaven on Earth.”

Need one more reason to visit Interlaken? Its proximity to Lauterbrunnen Valley, often referred to as “Heaven on Earth,” is a compelling one. Essentially, Interlaken serves as the gateway to this breathtaking location. If you’re in Interlaken, you’re just a stone’s throw away from the spectacular sights of Lauterbrunnen.

Many visitors choose to make day trips from Interlaken to explore Lauterbrunnen and its surrounding attractions. However, with so much to see, you could easily spend three days discovering all that Lauterbrunnen has to offer. Check out my post on how to plan and create your own itinerary for Lauterbrunnen.

Lauterbrunnen from Wengen
View of Lauterbrunnen From Wengen

Visiting Interlaken Now?

Indeed, Interlaken never falls short when it comes to offering a wealth of experiences and attractions, wouldn’t you agree? I hope I’ve painted a vivid picture of the adventures that await you in Interlaken should you choose to visit!

If you’re considering a trip, I’ve got you covered. I’ve prepared a comprehensive 7-day Interlaken itinerary that includes everything you need to know for your visit. If you’re planning a shorter stay, I also have a 3-day Interlaken itinerary ready for you.

Where To Next After Interlaken?

If you’re looking for more travel inspiration in Switzerland, I have plenty of suggestions. For a quick overview, you can refer to my Switzerland Itinerary.

This guide includes destinations such as Grindelwald — a charming village near Interlaken that’s perfect for outdoor activities and thrilling adventures; Kandersteg — a picturesque village that’s the closest to Oeschinensee, one of Switzerland’s most stunning lakes; Gruyeres — a well-preserved medieval village nestled in the Prealps, where you can sample authentic Gruyeres Cheese and indulge in unlimited chocolates; and Zermatt — a multifaceted alpine village, ski resort, and hiking destination boasting numerous breathtaking viewpoints of the Matterhorn.

Beyond these attractions, consider exploring some of the most picturesque villages in Switzerland and cities near the Swiss Alps.

These cities, close to the top tourist spots in the Swiss Alps, can serve as an alternative base to Switzerland’s major cities. In brief, these cities include:

  1. Sion, the capital of the canton of Valais, known for its hilltop church and chapel.
  2. Thun, a scenic city home to the oldest panorama painting and several castles.
  3. Montreux, a beautiful city by Lake Geneva, where you can visit Chillon Castle and the Lavaux vineyard.
  4. Brig, the gateway city to Italy, famous for Stockalper Palace and the picturesque Simplon Pass.
  5. And Lucerne, a charming city with notable landmarks like Chapel Bridge and Lion Monument, and proximity to Mount Rigi and Mount Pilatus.

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