Interlaken
Interlaken

Interlaken - a place between lakeland and mighty mountains

Travel Guide

Interlaken

One of Switzerland's most popular vacation resorts lies between two lakes and has the impressive mountain panorama of the Jungfrau region in direct view. The Aare meanders between the turquoise Lake Brienz and the deep blue Lake Thun.

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Highlights Interlaken

  • Interlaken is located between Lake Brienz in the northeast and Lake Thun in the southwest
  • The river Aare flows through Interlaken
  • In 1,5 hours from Interlaken to the Jungfraujoch
  • Harder Kulm, Schynige Platte and Schilthorn are also quickly reached
  • There are more than 45 mountain railroads, cable cars, chair and ski lifts in the immediate vicinity
  • Access to 200 kilometers of ski slopes
  • Dense network of hiking trails all around
  • Excursion boats operate on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, including historic paddle steamers.

Excursion destinations Interlaken

No matter which means of transport you finally decide on, whether on foot, by bike, by boat, by mountain railroad or by car - the Jungfrau Region around Interlaken with the towns of Grindelwald, Mürren and Wengen offers numerous exciting excursion destinations that you can reach in different ways.

By the way, with the Jungfrau Travel Pass you can enjoy free travel on the mountain railroads to all attractions within three to eight days. Popular excursion destinations include, for example, the idyllic Schynige Platte, where a fragrant alpine garden, panoramic hiking trails and a historic steam locomotive await you

Grindelwald First, on the other hand, attracts visitors with a cliff walk, the crystal-clear Bachalpsee, a 700-square-meter playground at the intermediate gondola station Bort and the Restaurant First, where you can indulge in regional delicacies on the sun terrace amidst the fantastic mountain panorama.

On the Harder Kulm, Interlaken's local mountain, you can experience the most beautiful sunsets and look forward to plenty of photo opportunities. At an altitude of 1,300 meters, there is a viewing platform on which a castle-like restaurant is enthroned. The Harder funicular goes directly from the train station in Interlaken Ost to the Harder Kulm.

Unforgettable are excursions to the heavily overfirn Jungfraujoch at 3,466 meters above sea level. It is not for nothing that almost a million people visit Europe's highest station every year, which can be reached by the Jungfraujochbahn. Visitors can expect not only a breathtaking view of some of the four-thousand-meter peaks in the Bernese Alps, but also restaurants, stores, a Lindt chocolatier, the unique 1,000-square-meter ice palace with a labyrinth created by two mountain guides, and the impressive Sphinx Observatory.

Visitors are taken up to the 2,350-meter Brienzer Rothorn by the Brienzer Rothorn cable car and a subsequent aerial tramway. Below the summit there is a picturesque ice lake and the Rothorn Kulm inn, which also offers rooms for overnight stays.

Where there are mountains, there are also impressive natural spectacles. The stalactites and mystical grottoes of the St. Beatushöhle above Lake Thun were created over millions of years. A prepared, illuminated path leads about a kilometer through gorges, colorful halls and past underground lakes. Pilgrimage routes run from several boat stations to the cave.

Activities around Interlaken

Throughout the year, the Swiss vacation region between mountains and lakes, which is a center of the eastern Bernese Oberland, is an ideal destination to practice various sports activities. Every season has its special charms in this atmospheric natural landscape. Already in the early 19th century, Interlaken was known as a resort for wealthy summer visitors and spa vacationers. The construction of the Jungfrau Railway and the Oberberg Railways marked the beginning of the region's success as a tourist destination.

The multifaceted region offers something for every adventurer and recreation seeker. Active vacationers can experience the region in a variety of ways, whether by water, land or air. There are numerous providers who offer everything from guided hikes to canyoning. If you want to take a break and recover from the worries of everyday life, you will find idyllic hideaways and special excursions that will bring you close to nature and bring your soul, mind and body back into harmony.

Water activities on Lakes Brienz, Thun and Lütschine

Wherever you book your night's lodging in Interlaken, it's nowhere far from the water. Lakes Brienz and Thun offer a unique world of water sports with fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Surrounded by the fresh water breeze, you can practice both traditional and new water sports and explore the two bodies of water in your very own way.

Canoeing in Interlaken is possible all year round. Between Leissigen near Interlaken and the Delta Park near Gwatt, there is an approximately 17-kilometer-long canoe trail in the southern part of Lake Thun, which can be divided into stages as desired. You can rent canoes at four different stations.

You can also explore this impressive route, which passes picturesque villages and idyllic bays, while Stand Up Paddling (SUP) in Interlaken. A dedicated paddle trail with several routes has been designed on Lake Brienz. This is also suitable for kayaking in Interlaken to get up close to the breathtaking rock face on the south side of Lake Brienz, which is also popular with climbers, the enchanting Schecken Island and the magical Giessbach Waterfalls.

If you like it a bit faster and more lively, book an exciting ride on the Jetboat in Interlaken. The jetboat tours across Lake Brienz at high speed, including action-packed 360-degree turns. Especially in winter, a jetboat ride with a view of the snow-covered mountain peaks and the icy breeze in your face is a special experience for young and old.

In every village around the lakes of Thun and Brienz, be it Spiez, Gunten, Thun, Leissigen, Iseltwald or Brienz, you can also go wakeboarding, waterskiing and windsurfing. There are several water sports centers where you can rent the equipment you need, take part in courses and guided excursions. Also unforgettable is the adventurous river rafting, where you conquer the wild mountain rivers of the region with paddle and rubber dinghy.

Together with family, friends and a guide you will go through rushing rapids, past thundering waterfalls and through a breathtaking landscape. Of course, you can also enjoy the lakescape of Interlaken while swimming in the 17 lidos of the region or during a leisurely trip on one of the excursion boats, such as the historic paddle steamer.

Similarly impressive is canyoning in Interlaken, for which there are countless variations. Depending on how much of a challenge you are looking for, the unique outdoor experience is adapted by the providers to the desired level of difficulty. From safe beginner tours to challenging canyons, everything is possible in the Interlaken region. You will always get wet!

Countryside activities Interlaken

The best way to experience a wild and romantic mountain world is by hiking. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe already knew: "Only where you have been on foot have you really been." And after all, just like his contemporary, the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the great poet himself was a frequent visitor to Interlaken. For hiking in Interlaken, hikers can choose from an extensive network of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and numerous signposted theme trails.

Whether it's an enjoyable stroll along the lakeside paths or spectacular ridge walks on steep high-altitude trails - there's something for everyone. Passionate hikers visit the mighty Augstmatthorn, which towers directly above Lake Brienz and offers a fantastic view over the Interlaken lake valley. The Morgenberghorn is also a popular hiking destination for hiking professionals who appreciate a challenge.

A guided glacier hike to the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch is an unforgettable experience. Instead of hiking, you can also climb the region. For hobby and sport climbers, several delightful climbing opportunities have been created. One of the most famous areas for climbing in Interlaken is the Hintisberg. You can also find challenging routes for climbing near Neuhaus. Adrenaline junkies should try the deep water soloing in Sundlauenen, which can only be reached by rubber dinghy.

You can even conquer the peaks of the fantastic mountain world by mountain bike. In the Diemtigtal Nature Park and in Schwanden near Brienz, you can go downhill on prepared trails through the overwhelming mountain panorama. The paths along the lakeshores are used for cycling in Interlaken by pleasure cyclists, who travel by city bike or e-bike. For racing cyclists, the serpentine mountain roads are ideal.

Those who prefer to explore this fantastic region at a leisurely pace can be transported to the summits by the 45 cable cars, mountain railroads, chairlifts and ski lifts. At certain stations, you can switch to a different cable car and be taken up to the snow-covered Jungfraujoch if you wish.

While the mountain railroads are used by hikers from spring to fall, in winter it's the skiers and snowboarders. After all, there are five snow-sure ski areas in the region with 200 kilometers of excellently groomed slopes and family-friendly offers.

Bungy jumping on the Stockhorn offers a bit more action. First you take the gondola to a height of 138 meters and then you fly in free fall towards the water. After all, at 90 meters is the platform in the Black Walls near Grindelwald, from which you swing with a rope at a speed of 120km/h through the narrow glacier gorge. More adrenaline is hardly possible!

Similarly exciting is skydiving including a sightseeing flight over Interlaken and over the trio of peaks Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. But the region also offers other parachute jumps. From 4,000 meters you dare to jump with the parachute on your back. Not quite so high up is the rope park Interlaken, an adventurous forest playground with rope slides, Tarzan swings and wooden bridges. Not only children enjoy a trip to the Adventure Park.

Aerial activities Interlaken

To experience Interlaken from above, you don't necessarily have to use a helicopter. Paragliding in Interlaken is becoming increasingly popular. How about an atmospheric evening flight at sunset, for example, or a 40-minute thermal flight high above the Jungfrau region?

There are also combination offers such as Spin and Fly, which combines a speedy ride on a jet boat followed by a tandem flight, or a Funky Chocolate Flight, which includes an additional visit to a high-quality Swiss chocolatier. Several paragliding operators, who also offer flying with delta gliders, serve different take-off spots.

Events Interlaken

Throughout the year, exciting events are organized between Thun and Brienz. From sports to art and music to culinary delights, one or more events are dedicated to each theme. One of the top events, for example, is the annual Greenfield Festival at the Interlaken airfield, which brings international rock and pop stars to the stage.

At the Brienzersee Rock Festival, regional musicians are mostly represented, but still the atmosphere in the evening hours directly at the lake is incredible. For classical music fans, there are the Thunerseespiele on a specially designed water stage and the Interlaken Classics, which last several weeks and feature concerts at various venues.

You should definitely see the spectacular stunts of the freestyle mountain bikers at the Swatch Rocket Air. The breathtaking show is accompanied by workshops and culinary highlights.

The best of the best compete at the Ironman Switzerland Thun, the Inferno Triathlon from Thun to the Schilthorn and the International Jungfrau Marathon. The fact that the Swiss are a down-to-earth people can be seen in the many traditional events. These include the Chästeilet in the Justistal, where the best cheese of the Jungfrau region is chosen, and the Alpabzug every September in the idyllic Suldtal. Not only can you marvel at the colorfully decorated animals, but you can also sample some of the region's delicacies. The Christmas markets in the villages of the region are almost fairytale-like with their wintery-romantic charm.

Arrival

The municipality of Interlaken is conveniently located in the Bernese Oberland and can be reached by car via several pass roads and via the A8 from Valais, Uri and Lucerne. Also through the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, which branch off from Interlaken, it is possible to arrive by car or by train.

Trains from Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva run to Interlaken every half hour, providing excellent connections to the Swiss airports. Depending on the departure station, you can be in the Jungfrau Region within 45 minutes to a maximum of three hours. The best means of transportation on site are the numerous mountain railroads, with which you can reach every mountain region around Interlaken.

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