If you’re looking for a charming town with plenty of activities to enjoy, look no further than Interlaken, Switzerland. There are many hikes and trails to explore, as well as cruises on the lakes and rides up to Jungfraujoch. You can also find great shopping and dining opportunities, as well as fascinating museums and beautiful temples.
Interlaken is a charming town that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventurous one, Interlaken is the perfect place for you!
Table of Contents
- Best Things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland
- 1. Hike the trails around Interlaken
- 2. Take a boat tour of Lake Thun
- 3. Take a boat tour on Lake Brienz
- 4. Ride the Cogwheel Railway up to Jungfraujoch; the Highest Railway Station in Europe!
- 5. Visit the otherworldly Trummelbach Falls
- 6. Enjoy splendid vistas at the Harder Kulm Viewpoint
- 7. Take a Cable Car ride up to the summit of Mt. Pilatus
- 8. Visit in nearby Lauterbrunnen
- 9. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
- 10. Visit Hoheweg Street for Shopping and Dining
- 11. Walk through the Old Town Center
- 12. Visit the Interlaken Monastery and Abbey
- 13. Heimwehfluh
- 14. Sample local cuisine at one of Interlaken’s superb Restaurants
- 15. Explore St. Beatus Caves
- 16. Go on an Interlaken Pub Crawl
- 17. Stroll around neighboring Unterseen
- 18. Check out nearby Iseltwald
- 19. Go Paragliding around the Bernese Alps
- 20. Go Bungee Jumping in Interlaken
- 21. Enjoy libations at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa
- 22. Explore Thun Castle
- 23. Take in the whole Jungfrau region at Grindelwald
- 24. Climb the mighty Eiger
- 25. Relax in the Höhe Matteo
- 26. Admire Swiss wildlife at Weissenau Nature Reserve
- 27. Summit Schilthorn Mountain
- 28. Take a trip to Spiez
- What to Know Before You Visit Interlaken
- Final Thoughts
- When is the best time to visit Interlaken, Switzerland?
- What are some of the most popular things to do in Interlaken?
- What are some of the underrated things to do in Interlaken?
Best Things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland
If you’re looking for things to do in Interlaken, here are some of the best activities you can enjoy:
1. Hike the trails around Interlaken
There are many hiking trails to explore around Interlaken, and by walking or biking along with them, you’ll be able to take in the stunning scenery.
The route of Giessbach to Isellingwald has a variety of walking trails. The longest, easiest and arguably the best is the trail that runs along Lake Shore, without taking you up steeper hills and through forests.
This is a great trail to take if you’re looking to get some exercise and fresh air while marveling at the natural beauty of Switzerland.
The Lakefront Path from Giessbach to Iseltwald is a lovely stroll, but it isn’t quite like other spectacular paths on nearby mountains.
2. Take a boat tour of Lake Thun
Looking for a unique and relaxing way to spend a day in the Swiss Alps? Then consider taking a boat tour on one of the most stunning lakes in the area. Lake Thun is a beautiful option, offering enchanting views of the surrounding mountains.
If you’re lucky enough to visit on a sunny day, the colorful villages that line the shore will add an extra touch of beauty to the landscape.
Lake Thun is a popular destination for boat trips, and there are several different kinds of boats to select. If you’re searching for a genuine one-of-a-kind experience, try finding a boat that is driven by paddlewheels.
These boats are fairly rare nowadays, but they offer a fun and interesting way to travel. Plus, you might even get lucky and find one that is decked out in Belle Epoque-style decor! Whichever boat ride you choose, you’re sure to have a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Not a fan of boat cruises? There are tons of other outdoor activities on this incredible glacial lake featuring some of the best Interlaken hiking or even cafe hopping around the entire region.
See Related: Most Beautiful Towns in Switzerland
3. Take a boat tour on Lake Brienz
Another great option for boat tours is Lake Brienz, Interlaken. This lake is known for its clear blue waters, which make for some stunning views.
And like Lake Thun, the villages that line the shore are quite picturesque. If you’re interested in learning more about the area’s history, consider taking a boat tour that includes a stop at the Giessbach Falls.
This waterfall is one of the oldest tourist attractions in Switzerland and is sure to be a highlight of your trip. Don’t forget your camera!
4. Ride the Cogwheel Railway up to Jungfraujoch; the Highest Railway Station in Europe!
The Jungfraujoch railway is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Switzerland, and it’s easy to see why.
The cogwheel railway up to Jungfraujoch is an exciting experience that you won’t want to miss. The train takes you from Interlaken to the Jungfrau mountain range, and the views are stunning along the way.
You’ll need to transfer to a number of spots from Interlaken West Station but it’s a wild ride to the Jungfrau region. Make it into a full-day trip to get the most out of your visit.
Once you reach the top, you can explore the glaciers and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. If you’re looking for an unforgettable experience, be sure to add the Jungfraujoch cogwheel railway to your list.
See Related: Best Places to Visit in Switzerland & Things to do
5. Visit the otherworldly Trummelbach Falls
If you are looking for an incredible Interlaken day trip you need to visit Lauterbrunnen. The Trümmelbach Falls are some of Switzerland’s most unique and breathtaking natural wonders. Carved into the side of a mountain, the falls are a series of ten glacier-fed waterfalls that flow into a creek known as the Trümmelbach.
This creek is one of the largest glacial runoff systems in the world, and it drains water from the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau glaciers. Every year, the Trümmelbach carries more than 20,000 tonnes of boulders down from the mountains. The waterfalls transport up to 20,000 liters per second when full.
Visitors to the Trümmelbach Falls can take a tunnel-funicular up to the falls, or they can hike up a staircase that has been carved into the mountain. Once they reach the top, they can see the falls illuminated by special lights that highlight their beauty.
The Trümmelbach feed into the Weisse Lütschine, which flows north through the valley and the hamlet of Lauterbrunnen before reaching its sister river, the Schwarze Lütschine at Zweilütschinen, where they combine to form the Lütschine.
6. Enjoy splendid vistas at the Harder Kulm Viewpoint
Harder Kulm is a great place to take in the views of the two lakes that surround the city and get some fresh air. Harder Kulm is over 1,000 meters high and overlooks the villages of Interlaken and Unterseen and the two lakes of Therma-Turner See and Brizersee (Lake Brienz and Lake Thun).
The views are incredible. Take a trip to Harder Kulm no matter what time of day or night it is! The journey down the incline funicular is simple and fantastic for people of all ages.
Once you arrive at Harder Kulm, there are plenty of places to take pictures, buy souvenirs, and have a bite to eat before heading back down the mountain. Taking a trip to Harder Kulm is a must-do when visiting Interlaken.
Harder Kulm is an amazing getaway, but it may become clogged if everyone wants to go there at once. It happens every year, especially during the summer when it’s peak season.
See Related: Best Hidden Gems in Switzerland
7. Take a Cable Car ride up to the summit of Mt. Pilatus
This is an adrenaline-pumping experience that you won’t want to miss if you’re looking for thrills. Mt. Pilatus was an out-of-world experience that is hard to describe.
The journey on the Golden Round Trip features a ride on the steepest cogwheel train in the world. You can take the easy route via the Golden Round Trip to the summit or if you’re an experienced hiker you can climb your way all the way to the top.
If you like incredible mountain peak views, take the top of the Mt. Pilatus hiking trail to get a one-of-a-kind experience – it’s the real Swiss way.
Regardless of how you get to the top, it’s a journey that you are bound to enjoy with hotels, bars, restaurants, and plenty of sweeping views of great scenery to enjoy.
Mount Pilatus is pretty close to Lucerne, so you’ll need to take a train ride, cogwheel, and cable car to get there, which will cost you a full-day trip experience. It’s so worth it if you want that full experience – and Lucerne is one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland.
With a Swiss travel pass, it won’t cost you much more money as you’ll have the train to get you from this gorgeous lakeside town to, well, another amazing place to visit. With so many mountains it’s hard to prioritize but this trip is worth it.
8. Visit in nearby Lauterbrunnen
Staubbach Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Switzerland, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re ever in the area. The waterfall is located in Lauterbrunnen Valley, which is home to 72 different waterfalls.
Staubbach Falls is often referred to as the valley’s signature waterfall, and it’s one of the most iconic features of the area. The waterfall is 930 feet tall, and it’s fed by the River Staubbach, which is one of the three main rivers in the valley.
The Staubbach flows down from the Grimmselwald forest, and it eventually joins the Aare River. If you visit Staubbach Falls, be sure to take some time to walk around the area and explore all that Lauterbrunnen Valley has to offer.
See Related: Day Trips from Lake Como to Switzerland
9. Go Skiing or Snowboarding
Traveling to Interlaken in the winter is a great way to enjoy the winter weather and hit the slopes!
Interlaken is not really a ski resort per se but it is a very nice place for you to get some skiing or snowboarding done in winter. The Jungfrau Ski region is on the radar, comprising Grindelwald, First, Kleine Scheidegg, and Mürren-Schilthorn.
A little farther is Beatenberg-Niederhorn north of Interlaken, with steep slopes to welcome families or newcomers to skiing. Here on the north shore of Lake Thun as well as in Spiez south are cross-country tracks, many with views over the lake.
So, if you’re looking for a place to enjoy winter sports in Interlaken, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from!
10. Visit Hoheweg Street for Shopping and Dining
Hoheweg is the main street in Interlaken and is a great place to find souvenirs and try the local cuisine. Hoheweg is also known as the backbone of Interlaken, as it runs through the center of town. The street runs parallel to the Aare River, which flows from Lake Brienz into Lake Thun.
As you walk down Hoheweg, you will pass by many high-end resorts, as well as boutique bars, a few cafes, and some casinos. If you are looking for a more scenic route, Hoheweg also has a number of flower gardens that offer beautiful views of the Bernese Alps.
No matter what you are looking for, Hoheweg is the perfect place to explore Interlaken and experience everything that this charming town has to offer.
See Related: Best Hotels in Lucerne, Switzerland
11. Walk through the Old Town Center
If you’re looking to get a feel for the true atmosphere of Interlaken, one of the best things to do is take a walking tour of the Old Town.
This is where you’ll find some of the most historic buildings in the town, as well as a number of quaint shops and cafes.
You can also get a great view of the mountains from here. If you don’t have time for a walking tour, you can also just wander around on your own. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy exploring all that Interlaken has to offer.
12. Visit the Interlaken Monastery and Abbey
Interlaken Monastery was an Augustinian Canons convent in Interlaken from about 1133 until 1528. It was founded in the early 12th Century by Duke Berthold IV of Zähringen and is a national monument of great significance to Switzerland.
The first monks were brought here from Hauterive Abbey, near Fribourg. Interlaken quickly became a center of pilgrimage, and the monastery’s church was consecrated in 1134. In the following centuries, the monastery played an important role in the religious and political life of Switzerland.
Today, Interlaken Monastery is a popular tourist destination, and visitors can learn about its rich history and see its beautiful architecture.
See Related: Lake Lucerne, Switzerland Travel Guide
Heimwehfluh is a funicular cable car servicing passengers to the summit at Heimwehfluh, 662 meters above sea level. The Heimwehfluh Museum is located at the top of the Heimwehfluh funicular, which ferries passengers to and from the summit. The trip takes about five minutes and at the top, you’ll find more than enough for entertainment.
There is a panoramic restaurant, a playground for kids, and even a model railway that is 250 meters long. The Heimwehfluh funicular operates daily between March and April and is just a 7-minute walk from Interlaken West Train Station. So if you’re looking for a scenic ride or an exciting cable car experience, Heimwehfluh is the place for you.
14. Sample local cuisine at one of Interlaken’s superb Restaurants
Swiss cuisine is notoriously delicious, and Interlaken is no exception. From chocolate and fondue to roasted meats and fresh produce, you’ll find plenty of great food to try. If you love chocolate, you’ll need to hit the Funky Chocolate Club which offers some of the best Swiss chocolate in town!
For something a little more filling, try one of the many great restaurants or something along Lake Brienz or Lake Thun for an incredible view.
While you are in town, consider going on a food tour or visiting many of the local small eateries for a dinner in the alps like no other.
You’ll enjoy tasty sweets and savory snacks, local schnapps, beer, and wine – all while getting some fabulous photos of your Interlaken adventure.
15. Explore St. Beatus Caves
The St. Beatus Caves are a series of caves located in Beatenberg, Switzerland, and is an easy trip from the Interlaken city center via bus. Just make sure you have your Swiss Travel Pass and it’s free to get there.
The caves are known for their natural beauty and their historical significance. The tale of the cave is centered on St. Beatus, a monk who lived around 100 AD and chose the cave in which to establish his devout hermitage. Meanwhile, in the mountain cave, he discovered that a horrible dragon was already living there. The dragon had flames shooting from his burning eyes – creepy stuff!
Today, St. Beatus Caves are open to the public. They feature a kilometer-long walkway, as well as several chambers with concretions, dark holes, and underground waterfalls.
The caves are located on the side of a mountain, and they are accessible by a series of tunnels and stairways. The caves are formed by a series of limestone formations, and they contain a variety of interesting features, including stalactites and stalagmites.
The St. Beatus Caves are a popular tourist destination, and they attract visitors from all over the world. The caves are open to the public year-round, and there is a small admission fee which includes entrance to a small cave museum.
These caves are a must-see for anyone traveling to Switzerland and offer a unique look at some of the country’s most impressive natural formations.
16. Go on an Interlaken Pub Crawl
Interlaken is known for its nightlife, and there’s no better way to experience it than on a pub crawl. With a guide, you’ll visit four different watering holes, each with its own specialty.
You can choose from a variety of tequilas at one spot, or find the largest assortment of drinks at another. You’ll also get a free shot and special offer at each place you visit!
So whether you’re looking to explore Interlaken’s nightlife or just want to try something new, a pub crawl is the perfect way to do it.
17. Stroll around neighboring Unterseen
Unterseen is a great option if you’re looking for a quieter, less touristic town near Interlaken in the Bernese Alps. It’s across a railway track from Interlaken West Train Station (Interlaken Ost Railway Station), you’d hardly know that it was a different town! It’s literally right near Interlaken and is only separated by the Aare River. Be sure to snap a few photos of the picturesque wooden bridges that separate these two towns.
This is a quaint town that is largely dominated by the main square that features a rustic church tower, an old city hall, and a museum about tourism development and history in the area.
Unterseen is also home to a great restaurant that was once the city hall – it’s been serving up food to cattle drivers (and others) since the 1500s!
Whether you’re looking to learn more about the history of tourism in Unterseen or just relax in a peaceful setting, this town is definitely worth a visit.
18. Check out nearby Iseltwald
Iseltwald is a small town located in the canton of Bern, Switzerland situated on a mountain lake. The town is situated on the banks of the Isel River and is known for its picturesque landscapes and stunning mountain views.
This is a popular destination for tourists who come to enjoy its natural attractions, including hiking and skiing in the winter. The town is also home to a number of historical buildings and monuments, making it an interesting place to explore if you’re a history buff.
In the summer, when the weather is good, you can swim around the lake or hire a yacht or raft and just enjoy the scenery. There are also plenty of hiking trails in the area if you want to explore the mountains. In the winter, Iseltwald is a great place to go skiing or snowboarding. There are several ski resorts nearby, so you can find one that suits your level of experience.
See Related: Most Famous Historical Landmarks in Switzerland
19. Go Paragliding around the Bernese Alps
If you’re in Interlaken and seeking something to quicken your pulse, paragliding is a must! You’ll be able to soar high above the stunning Swiss landscape and take in views of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains.
With experienced instructors, you can be sure that you’ll be in safe hands as you enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience. So if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, paragliding in Interlaken is the perfect activity for you.
20. Go Bungee Jumping in Interlaken
If you’re looking for another adrenaline rush while traveling in Switzerland, bungee jumping off the bridge at the Interlaken Outdoor Center is definitely worth considering.
At a height of nearly 200 feet, it’s one of the highest bungee jumps in Europe. And the views of the Bernese Alps from the bridge are simply stunning.
Of course, this isn’t for everyone. It requires a certain amount of physical fitness and mental toughness. But if you’re up for the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with an experience you’ll never forget!
Plus, the staff at the Interlaken Outdoor Center are some of the most experienced bungee jumpers in the world, so you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands.
See Related: The Ultimate Ski Trip Packing List
21. Enjoy libations at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa
The Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa is one of the most luxurious hotels in Interlaken. Its lobby bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea or a cheeky cocktail while taking in views of the stunning Swiss Alps.
If you’re looking for a truly special experience, the hotel also offers a variety of spa treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps. So whether you’re looking to relax or celebrate a special occasion, the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa is the perfect place to do it.
22. Explore Thun Castle
Thun Castle is a must-see for history buffs visiting Interlaken. This well-preserved castle dates back to the 12th Century and was once the seat of the powerful Counts of Thun. The castle grounds are also home to a beautiful garden, which is perfect for a leisurely stroll.
And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the resident peacocks!
Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to step back in time and explore one of Switzerland’s most fascinating historical landmarks.
See Related: Best Day to Book Flights
23. Take in the whole Jungfrau region at Grindelwald
If you are making the journey to Jungfraujoch, you’ll end up in Grindelwald for a bit – but make it a point to stay there for a while. The Grindelwald Glacier Canyon, which features both the Upper and Lower Grindelwald Glaciers, makes up the backdrop from the Grindelwald town center and is unlike anything on this planet.
It’s a true Swiss skyline that I bet you are looking for. In fact, your Interlaken day trip should rightfully turn into a weekend getaway. During our trip to Interlaken, I remember leaving Grindelwald saying… “we should have stayed here.”
During your visit to the Top of Europe aka Jungfraujoch, make it a point to take in the Aletsch Glacier from the Sphinx Terrace. The Aletsch Glacier is the longest glacier in the alps and from this vantage point, you’ll be able to see how the glacier extends to Italy, Germany, and France.
In addition, at Jungfraujoch take a moment to enjoy the indoor ice palace featuring some incredible ice sculptures and ice caves. Also, make sure you step outside to take in the views and fresh mountain air.
The Jungfrau region is one of the most impressive ecosystems and range of mountains in the world. There are cable car rides to access it and it’s near enough to Interlaken making it an easy day trip destination.
If you are not a fan of heights or outdoor adventures, you will love the town center of Grindelwald. It’s a quaint and lovely town with an old-world feel to it.
24. Climb the mighty Eiger
The Eiger is one of the most iconic mountains in Switzerland, and it’s also one of the most popular climbing destinations in the world. Located just outside of Interlaken, the Eiger offers a variety of challenging routes for climbers of all levels.
So whether you’re a seasoned mountaineer or a beginner looking to test your skills, the Eiger is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. Just be sure to come prepared with the proper gear and equipment, and be aware of the risks involved before embarking on your climb.
25. Relax in the Höhe Matteo
Höhe Matte is a large park in Interlaken with an excellent view over the Eiger and Jungfrau peaks and valleys in the Jungfrau regions. It’s a popular place to fly for paragliders in the summer, and you can often see them landing there.
Höhe Matte is an excellent location in Interlaken to watch Paraglider return to Earth. You can also find several other traveling amenities nearby such as a small cafe and public restroom. Höhe Matte is free to the public and open year-round so you can always enjoy the wonderful view.
See Related: Best Gardens in Europe to Visit
26. Admire Swiss wildlife at Weissenau Nature Reserve
Weissenau Nature Reserve is a beautiful and peaceful spot on the eastern side of Lake Thun, just beyond Unterseen. The reserve has extensive wetland areas with magnificent views of Eiger Mönch and Jungfrau and is home to a variety of bird and plant life.
Few people make their way to Weissenau, but if you’re looking for a little solitude, it’s definitely worth the effort! The reserve has a number of historical buildings dating from the 1600s that you can explore, as well as a wood pathway that leads down to the lake.
If the weather is warm, take a dip in the lake or just enjoy the views. Either way, Weissenau is sure to provide a memorable experience.
27. Summit Schilthorn Mountain
Schilthorn mountain is home to one of the first revolving restaurants on the planet; Piz Gloria – the star of the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. The summit (2,970 m) can be reached from Interlaken within about 90 minutes, by bus or via cableway.
Schilthorn is open to the public all year round, except during an occasional maintenance period. Schilthorn is a great place to get away from it all and experience some of the best views in the world.
The summit offers 360-degree views of nearly 30 mountain peaks, including the Matterhorn and Eiger. Visitors may also depart from Birg intermediate station with glass-floor viewing terraces or go on 200m thrill walks around the cliff edge. It’s also got a number of awesome James Bond-themed attractions.
So whether you’re a die-hard 007 fan or just looking for a unique dining experience, Schilthorn is definitely worth a visit!
28. Take a trip to Spiez
Spiez is a picturesque village on the South Coast of Lake Thun covered with vineyards that are easily accessible by car, ferry, or boat in an approximate 15-minute drive from Interlaken West.
Despite its height, Spiez is dominated by the strong square keep of the Spiez Castle (or Schloss Spiez). The castle’s initial construction began in the 13th Century, but the current structures were laid down in 1603.
Spiez is a beautiful place to visit together with an ancient Romanesque church, Schlosskirche Spiez. The church has information on the succession of royal families who owned the castle during both Kingdoms of the Burgundy.
What to Know Before You Visit Interlaken
If you’re visiting Interlaken, you may need to know that it’s not a huge city. You can see the best sights of Interlaken in less than an hour so be prepared for an Interlaken day trip or two if you’re planning on an extended stay in the area.
The other thing to note here is that you have Lake Thun and Lake Brienz to work with so if you love water sports, you’ll be in good hands staying near Interlaken to make the most of your trip.
During your trip, there are many attractions in Interlaken that can be easily reached by foot, car, bus, or train. Despite its modest size, there are a ton of places to stay in and around Interlaken, which can be a little overwhelming. Shop around and see what suits your plans, taste, and budget.
These are just a few of the best things to do in Interlaken. This charming town has something for everyone, so you’re sure to find something that you love. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing vacation or an adventurous one, Interlaken is the perfect place for you.
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When is the best time to visit Interlaken, Switzerland?
The best time to visit Interlaken is between June and September when the weather is warm and sunny. However, keep in mind that peak tourist season falls during July and August, so expect large crowds and higher prices during these months.
What are some of the most popular things to do in Interlaken?
Some of the most popular things to do in Interlaken include hiking, taking a cruise on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, riding the Jungfraubahn railway up to Jungfraujoch, and shopping or dining in the town center.
What are some of the underrated things to do in Interlaken?
In addition to the more popular activities, there are also plenty of less well-known things to do in Interlaken. These include visiting the local museums and temples, exploring the old town, or taking a cable car ride up to Harder Kulm for stunning views of the surrounding mountains as well as Lake Brienz and Lake Thun.
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