Its name reveals its nature: Interlaken, a city between lakes. And even so, it is impossible not to be surprised when you first set foot in this small town in the Bernese Oberland.
Sheltered between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and dominated by the majestic Eiger, Mönch and the mythical massifs Jungfrau (which you have to get on a rack railway if you visit the area), Interlaken shows off of classic beauty and stunning natural surroundings, which makes it an ideal platform for excursions and sports of all kinds.
For decades, Interlaken stations have connected trains and racks with neighboring mountains and valleys. In winter, a paradise of skiing and alpine crossings; in summer, an explosion of color, balconies overflowing with flowers and outdoor shows.
And, throughout the year, home to exclusive boulevards and shops, centuries-old hotels and a thousand and one walks on the banks of the Aare river or Thun and Brienz lakes.
What to do in Interlaken: for spring and summer
Here are some suggestions for discovering Interlaken, the Swiss city between two lakes, and soak up its extraordinary natural surroundings.
Take an excursion to a viewpoint in the Interlaken Valley
Interlaken It is an excellent starting point for nature lovers: it is surrounded by trails and mountains from where the landscape is dominated.
One of the best known is the panoramic platform Harder Kulm, an alpine viewpoint (1,322 m) with vertigo views over Interlaken, Thun and Brienz lakes and the best-known mountains in the valley Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. To access, take the funicular at the station Interlaken Ost; once up, you can choose several excursions in the mountains.
Embark on a cruise on Thun and Brienz lakes
From April to October, and at reduced hours in winter, different boats sail the turquoise waters of the Thunersee and the Brienzersee, breaking the reflections created by the mountains.
If you choose a sunset cruise you will see how the last reflections of the sunbathe the castles and the fairytale villages on the shores of the lakes. How about enjoying a quiet dinner on board, floating in a unique natural environment?
Enjoy a free concert outdoors
From June to August, in Interlaken, two nightly music festivals are held: the Swissness and the Timeless Jazz. The concerts are free and take place outdoors, next to the Kunsthaus Cultural Center and the huge Höhematte Park, in the heart of the city.
Bring something to eat and enjoy a pleasant musical evening. Or arrive a little earlier and take the opportunity to walk through the Höhematte, visit the floral clock, buy ice cream in a kiosk and contemplate the views of the imposing Jungfrau.
Bathe in a Swiss lido
The lidos are places where you can swim outdoors, which in Switzerland often results in small lagoons on the shores of a larger lake, such as those in Brienz and Thun.
After a cold winter, as soon as the spring sun rises to the sky, the Swiss jump into the water. From May to September, you can also live the experience of swimming in a lake like a leman on the sides of Bönigen or of Burgseeli, a few minutes from Interlaken, which also has facilities with heated swimming pools, cafes and sunbathing meadows.
Approach the Trummelbach waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen
Very close to Interlaken you can a beautiful excursion to the Lauterbrunnen valley whose main attraction is the trummelbach waterfalls. Dozens of waterfalls of glacial origin cross the mountain creating one of the best natural spectacles in the area.
We take the funicular built-in 1913 to get to the top of the mountain and we walked down following the path of the water. When leaving, we can continue enjoying the valley where dozens of waterfalls that reach almost 300 m high will continue to amaze our traveling sense.
What to see in Interlaken; visit the Kursaal and the Japanese gardens
In the center of Interlaken, two beautiful gardens stand out: those that surround the Kursaal casino and convention center, majestic at the foot of the mountain; Y the Japanese gardens in front of the Interlaken Hotel, that evokes peace. If you want to continue enjoying the tranquility, surround the Kursaal to the rear, where you will find the Aare river, and follow the river walk to the west to discover one of the least touristy areas of Interlaken.
What to see and do in Interlaken: Winter activities
If you decide to visit the Interlaken Valley In winter, get ready, because, in a country accustomed to the cold, winter activities are the order of the day.
Have a cup of chocolate at Schuh
In a country of cold winters and chocolate tradition like Switzerland, the best remedy to combat low temperatures is a cup or a chocolate fondue.
In the heart of Interlaken, enjoy it in the emblematic Schuh cafeteria, which also has a store dedicated to the food of the gods; or in Top o’Met, the panoramic restaurant of the Metropole hotel, which also serves sweets and offers privileged views of the city.
After lunch, try a glass of the german kirsch cherry liqueur, very popular also in Swiss lands.
Practice your favorite winter sport
Interlaken is a paradise for winter sports. The most obvious is skiing, as the city is surrounded by more than 250 km of tracks connected by funiculars and trains.
But in the streets of Interlaken, the companies that offer other experiences full of adrenaline accumulate heliskiing, sledding, glacier walks (accessible until October)… Or, if you dare, paraglide from the rugged neighboring mountains and land in Höhematte Park after flying over the lakes and valleys with a bird’s-eye view.
Board the Jungfraujoch by rack railway
Although the train journey from Interlaken to the Jungfrau massif is over two hours, board the Jungfraujoch by rack railway It is an essential experience. It’s about the highest train station in Europe, located between snowy peaks and the colossal Aletsch glacier at 3,454 meters high.
The station, which has a viewpoint and an ice palace, is accessed by crossing the mountain in rack railway through a tunnel built more than a century ago. This extraordinary place, included in the Unesco World Heritage Site, can be visited throughout the year, although in winter the snowy landscapes show all their splendor.
Visit the surroundings of Interlaken at any time of the year
Spring, summer, autumn or winter; yes Travel to Interlaken for tourism, do not miss the opportunity to visit the vestiges of his medieval monastery and its baroque castle, close to the city center; or stroll through the old town.
Also, reserve a morning to explore the lakes that connect the city and stop at the charming little towns that you will find.
In the idyllic Brienz, on the banks of the Brienzersee, you can take the oldest steam train in Switzerland; and in the city of ThunOn the banks of the Thunersee, in addition to its famous castle, you will enjoy the charm of the cobbled streets of the old town.