Best things to do in Interlaken
Find out more about those top places in Interlaken
Nestled between two of Switzerland’s most picturesque lakes, Brienz and Thun, Interlaken is a paradise for alpine adventures. Surrounded by the glacier capped peaks of Eiger, Jungfrau and Mönch, it is no surprise that Interlaken offers unparalleled opportunities for extreme sports with paragliding, white water rafting, ice climbing, canyon jumping and the more ubiquitous skiing and snowboarding all on offer. The town of Interlaken itself is also one of Switzerland’s most charming with a host of fin-de-siècle hotels, cafes and spas, which were once the favored retreat for weary Victorians, and picture-perfect alpine cottages lining the streets.
Perched 3454 meters above sea level in the snow-capped Swiss Alps is Jungfraujoch, the world’s highest railway station. Day trips from Interlaken take you through some of Europe’s most iconic scenery before ascending to the summit by rail, which is encircled by the Altesch Glacier. Once on the roof of the world you can marvel at the breathtaking landscapes, sample Swiss cuisine at a mountain-top tavern and learn about the history of this remarkable railway station.
One of the quintessential Interlaken experiences is taking the town’s funicular to Harder Kulm, which lies nearly 1500 meters above sea level. From the summit a variety of hiking trails ranging from pleasant strolls to adrenaline pumping epics begin while the recently opened Two Lakes Bridge is Europe’s answer to the Grand Canyon’s Sky Bridge.
The Tourist Museum, which is one of Interlaken’s most low-key attractions, is also one of its most fascinating. The museum details the town’s swift rise to fame during the Victorian-era, the emergence of mass tourism in the region and its recent transformation into an adventure sports mecca. Guided tours of the small but perfectly formed museum are available.
Well beneath the surface of the Swiss Alps that surround Interlaken is the subterranean world of Saint Beatus Caves. Clad in a phantasmagoria of stalactites, stalagmites and other rock formations, the caverns are simply unforgettable – especially once you learn of their fabled history as the home of dragons.
Sandwiched between impressive Alpine peaks is the picture-perfect Lake Brienz. With Interlaken perched on its western tip, the town makes the perfect base for exploring its wonderful scenery whether by vintage paddle boat tours or by something a little more adventurous, such as jet skis or kayaks.
For vertigo-free visitors to Interlaken, one of the area’s most unforgettable activities is paragliding. A variety of highly experienced local operators run tours from the town that let you glide down pine-clad Alpine valleys and survey the snowy peaks from the air.
Trundling up the hill south of Interlaken is the 19th century funicular Heimwehfluh. While the scenery this side of the town may be more rolling than Alpine, the summit station gives you the opportunity to go tobogganing in the winter or simply admire spectacular views of Lake Thun.