The hills are alive with the sound of music… not to mention the sounds of hairy mountain goats and screaming bungee enthusiasts. But if you want to be ein wandersman yodelling and slapping the accordion in the breathtaking Jungfrau massif, you’ll find the Swiss tradition alive and well in these parts.
You’ll also find your views obscured by hang-gliders, paragliders, bungee jumpers and tobogganists if you venture near Mannlichen, Grindelwald First or Murren-Schilthorn. Winter sports and mountain walks now bring in as many tourists as the scenic vistas, and Interlaken has long been investing in a fun-but-kitschy ski resort vibe. For something more unadulterated, cross the river to Unterseen or catch a steamer across Lake Brienz. Uh-oh, we feel a song coming on…
Interlaken’s Top 10
10. Alpine Garden This lofty 1,967m (6,453ft) garden has more than 500 types of flora, including Edelweiss. If you want to hum the tune, do it quietly.
5. The Hohenweg The main drag has great shopping, the famous Jungfrau Grand Hotel, a Japanese Garden and awesome views from Hohenmatte.
9. Mystery Park A theme park based on the world’s deepest mysteries, complete with a Mayan Temple, Stonehenge, an Egyptian Pyramid and crop circles. Weird, but also kinda wonderful.
4. Jungfrau Winter Sports Region For all your skiing/snowboarding adventures on the big three peaks – Mannlichen, Grindelwald First and Murren-Schilthorn.
8. Heimwehfluh Offers a quaint model train display, great views and a toboggan ride back down the mountain.
3. Night Sledding A nightly sled ride with a Swiss cheese fondue dinner thrown in. Cheesy (sorry!), but fun.
7. Tourist Museum A museum about tourists, for tourists! It features carriages, costumes and unintended laughs.
2. Matten Ice Rink If you aren’t getting enough ice outside, this indoor rink should set you up nicely.
6. Skydiving Run by Funrental, you can jump from a plane or a helicopter – your choice. Great aerial views either way!
1. Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn A glacial mountain looming above the Interlaken skyline, and a World Heritage-listed site.
- Interlaken Castle - A 19th-century castle containing an impressive tin figure exhibition.
- ChasDorfli - A model cheese dairy where you can see traditional Swiss-style cheeses made.
- Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa - A famous hotel built in 1865 that was the first hotel to have electric lights and a telephone system.
- Unspunnen - Ruins of a 12th-century castle southwest of Interlaken.
- Weissenau - A castle built by Friedrich Barbarossa during the 12th century that is now in ruins but still fun to explore.
Interlaken Art & Culture
- Ballenberg Open-Air Museum - Many old buildings from Switzerland that present an excellent picture of rural life.
- Jungfrau Region Museum of Tourism - Tells the story of tourism and travel in the Jungfrau region of Interlaken.
- Museum of the Swiss Federal Railways Foundation - More than 150 years of railway history to explore.
- Tellspielburo - This open-air theatre puts on performances of Wilhelm Tell from June to September.
- Kursaal - A Victorian-style chalet that puts on plays and concerts during the evenings.
- Hoheweg - The main street in Interlaken offers shopping, entertainment and a range of restaurants.
- Wunderli La Bijouterie - Watches at all prices, including cheaper brands as well as fashionable ones.
- Kirchofer - A great store that offers a range of kitchen tools by Victorinox, the company that launched the original Swiss Army Knife.
- Laderach - A chocolate maker in business since 1962, famous for its truffles.
- Migros - Shopping center in the western area of Interlaken that is close to the train station.
Gay & Lesbian Interlaken
- Hotel Derby - a gay-friendly hotel that offers charm and convenience in the heart of Interlaken.
- Club Sauna Horn - A gay sauna and bathhouse with mixed sauna that is open in the afternoon and evenings.
- Carlton Europe Hotel - A very stylish and gay-friendly hotel.
- The Caverne - Not strictly gay, but offers excellent disco nights.
- RiversidE Bar - The best Caipirinhas in town and the bar sells Rugen Beer.
- Jungfraujoch - The top of Europe is situated on a glacier with an Ice Palace and Sphinx observation hall.
- Alpine Garden - Located on the Schynige Patte, this garden has more than 500 different types of flowering plants.
- Harderkulm Funicular - The funicular takes you to the town where there are excellent views of Interlaken and a wildlife park.
- St. Beatus Caves - The only underground cave in Switzerland, this has an underground lake, waterfall and maze located on the shored of Lake Thun.
- Mystery Park - A theme park that contains rides that bring aliens and creepy mysteries to mind.
- Jump out of a plane from as high up as 4,000m and enjoy the thrill of skydiving.
- Rent a boat and enjoy the day sailing on the Lake Thun of Interlaken.
- Get your blood pumping by participating in adventure sports, including canyoning, hang gliding, paragliding and river rafting.
- Rent a bike and pedal to Giessbach waterfalls, Lauterbrunner of Brienz Lake.
- Spend the day hiking around Brienz Lake or up to Schynige Platte.
The youth of Interlaken turn out in carved masks for the Harder Potschete New Year celebrations, where indie electronica and traditional yodelling make strange bedfellows.
The day after the New Year festivities, Interlaken puts on Touch the Mountain, a huge fireworks display complete with bell ringers, folklore groups and an open-air concert.
June’s Greenfield Music Festival lasts for three days and attracts some 40 acts from around the world.
What trip to Switzerland would be complete without seeing a Yodelling Festival? This one is heldin June every year. Resist the urge to join in.
Four thousand runners hit the trail for September’s Jungfrau Marathon.The views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains are unsurpassed – assuming the runners have the energy to take them in.
When To Go
- Summer is prime time for hiking, biking, sightseeing and adventure sports.
- December to March is cold, but a magical time for winter festivals and snow sports.
- From April to June, the region usually experiences mild weather with fresh blooms and snow still on the mountains.
- There are frequent trains linking Interlaken to other major Swiss cities.
- If you’re not going quite as far, the Bus2Alps is a private bus service that connects with other European cities.
- It’s easy to stroll around town on foot, or you can rent a motorcycle or scooter.
What the Swiss Alps municipality of Interlaken lacks in population, it more than makes up for as a world class tourist destination. With less than 6,000 permanent residents, the tiny town in the canton of Bern is small, even for Switzerland. Scenery that takes your breath away however, is why people from all over the world come to Interlaken. The name tells the tale, as Interlaken sits in a beautiful valley between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, on the shores of the Aar River. That fortuitous position makes the town incredibly popular with winter and summer tourists in search of outdoor adventure and recreation.
A slew of tour operators in Interlaken offer visitors the chance to ski, snowboard, skydive, hike and hang glide amid some of the most idyllic environs in the country. For those who want some rest and relaxation and time to absorb the spectacular vistas however, Interlaken has a lot to offer. The small town hosts a number of popular events throughout the year, such as the Greenfield Music Festival.
Attractions & Activities
Restaurant & Nightlife
Interlaken has a typical alpine climate, with long, snowy winters and brief, mild summers.
- Winter (December to February) -2-6°C
- Spring (March to May) 2-16°C
- Summer (June to September) 11-23°C
- Fall (October to November) 2-13°C
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