Interlaken is a popular destination for travelers who want to experience the stunning scenery and adventure of the Swiss Alps. Located between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and surrounded by majestic mountains, Interlaken offers a variety of attractions and activities for all tastes and budgets. Whether you are looking for culture, nature, or adrenaline, you will find something to enjoy in Interlaken. Here are the top 10 things to see and do in this amazing place.
1. Harder Kulm
Harder Kulm, or the Top of Interlaken, is the closest mountain to Interlaken, and you can reach its summit by a funicular in just 10 minutes. From there, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the lakes, the town, and the famous peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. There is also a viewing platform that extends over the cliff edge and has a glass floor, giving you a thrilling sensation of being suspended in the air. You can also have a meal or a drink at the restaurant that resembles a castle.
2. Schynige Platte
Schynige Platte is another mountain ridge that offers spectacular views of the Bernese Alps. You can get there by a historic cogwheel train that takes you through scenic pastures and forests. At the top, you can visit the Alpine garden, which has over 650 species of plants, or hike along one of the many trails that start from there. You can also see the famous trio of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau from a different angle.
3. Lake Brienz
Lake Brienz is one of the two lakes that flank Interlaken, and it has a stunning turquoise color that contrasts with the green hills and white mountains. You can explore the lake by taking a boat ride on one of the vintage steamboats that operate on it, or by renting a kayak, canoe, or paddle board. You can also visit some of the charming villages and castles that dot the shore, such as Brienz, Iseltwald, or Giessbach, where you can see a waterfall that cascades down to the lake.
4. Lake Thun
Lake Thun is the other lake that borders Interlaken, and it has a different character than Lake Brienz. It is larger and deeper, and has more islands and bays. You can also take a boat ride on Lake Thun, or enjoy water sports like sailing, windsurfing, or jet skiing. Some of the attractions around the lake include Thun Castle, Spiez Castle, St Beatus Caves, and Oberhofen Castle.
Jungfraujoch is the highest railway station in Europe, at an altitude of 3,454 meters. It is located on a saddle between two of the most iconic mountains in Switzerland: Jungfrau and Mönch. To get there, you need to take a train from Interlaken that passes through Grindelwald and Kleine Scheidegg, offering amazing views along the way. At Jungfraujoch, you can visit the Ice Palace, where you can see sculptures made of ice; the Sphinx Observatory, where you can observe the stars; or the Snow Fun Park, where you can ski or sled on snow.
6. St Beatus Caves
St Beatus Caves are a network of limestone caves that are located above Lake Thun. They are named after St Beatus, a monk who according to legend lived there in the 6th century and fought against a dragon that inhabited the caves. You can take a guided tour of the caves and see stalactites, stalagmites, underground lakes, and waterfalls. You can also visit the museum that displays fossils and minerals found in the caves.
Unterseen is a historic town that lies next to Interlaken on the banks of the Aare river. It has a charming old town center with medieval buildings and churches. You can stroll along its narrow streets and admire its architecture and atmosphere. You can also visit some of its attractions such as the Rugenbräu Brewery, where you can taste local beer and whisky; or the Weissenau Nature Reserve, where you can see rare plants and animals.
8. Summer Outdoor Adventures
Interlaken is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts who want to enjoy some summer activities in nature. You can choose from a wide range of options such as hiking, biking, paragliding, canyoning, rafting, climbing, or bungee jumping. You can also join some guided tours or courses that will help you discover the best spots and learn new skills. No matter what your level of experience or preference, you will find something to suit your taste and thrill your senses.
Höheweg is the main street of Interlaken, and it is where you can find most of the shops, restaurants, cafes, and hotels. It is also a great place to relax and enjoy the view of the mountains and the gardens. You can walk along the street and see some of the landmarks of Interlaken, such as the Casino, the Kursaal, or the Statue of Yash Chopra, a famous Bollywood director who filmed many movies in Interlaken. You can also stop by some of the souvenir shops and buy some local products such as chocolate, cheese, or watches.
10. Ice Magic
Ice Magic is a winter attraction that takes place in Interlaken from December to February. It is a large ice rink that has different zones and themes, such as a fairy tale forest, a curling lane, or an ice bar. You can rent skates and glide on the ice, or join some games and competitions. You can also enjoy some food and drinks at the chalets that surround the rink, or watch some shows and performances that are held on the ice.
11. Bonus: Paragliding during the day, Sledding at night
Its unique location and geography means that in Interlaken you can combine multiple activities in one day that can't be done anywhere else. As the paragliding capital of the world taking a flight and enjoying the Swiss Alps from a brid's eye view is unbeatable. AlpinAir is one of the oldes and most experienced companies offering this in Interlaken. Do this during the day and then sign up for a night sledding & fondue adventure where you zip down a snowy track among a starlit sky. Serene, fun and stunning it makes for a very special ending of an Interlaken day. Add the optional fondue afterwards to warm up and binge on one of Switzerland's most iconic national dishes.
Interlaken is a destination that has something for everyone, whether you are looking for culture, nature, or adventure. You can visit some of the most beautiful and impressive places in Switzerland, or try some of the most exciting and fun activities in the Alps. You can also enjoy the charm and hospitality of the town and its people, and experience the Swiss way of life. Interlaken is a place that will make you fall in love with Switzerland.