Interlaken Switzerland Travel Tips

The town of Interlaken, Switzerland is nestled between two lakes – Lake Brienz to the east and Lake Thun to the west.  Surrounded by the Swiss Alps, Interlaken is the perfect Switzerland getaway for a traveler looking to enjoy the best of nature.  Depending on the season you can hike, ski, kayak, paddleboard, paraglide and engage in many other outdoor activities in Interlaken.  Additionally, the quaint town features the medieval Oberhofen Castle and makes for the perfect backdrop to a traditional European holiday.  In this article lets take a look at how to get to Interlaken, things to do in Interlaken, Interlaken accommodations and attractions near Interlaken.  Let’s go to Switzerland!

The Harder Kulm Funicular viewpoint in Interlaken, Switzerland.

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Is Interlaken Worth Visiting?

Interlaken is an ideal village to visit if you are looking for nature, sports or a quaint small-town atmosphere. Interlaken is also known as the adventure capital of Switzerland, so if you want to try something new like paragliding, Interlaken is ideal. On the other hand, if you are looking for a metropolitan feel or great shopping, a trip to Interlaken is not for you.

What Is Interlaken Known For?

Interlaken is known as the adventure capital of Switzerland. In the summer, visitors flock to Interlaken for the white water rafting and paragliding. In the winter, Interlaken is known for close proximity to the Jungfrau ski region. Tourists stay in Interlaken while enjoying the ski resorts of Grindelwald, Wengen, and Mürren. And finally, Interlaken is known for Oberhofen Castle, a major regional attraction.

What Language is Spoken in Interlaken, Switzerland?

German is the most common language spoken in Interlaken, Switzerland. However, most locals also speak English and French. Even if you only speak English, you should have no trouble communicating in Interlaken.

What Is The Closest Airport to Interlaken, Switzerland?

The closest airport to Interlaken is the Bern regional airport (BRN). If you are coming in by air, the easiest transport is going to be from Zurich to Bern.

Hiking near Interlaken, Switzerland - Swiss Alps.

How Do You Get to Interlaken By Train?

Getting to Interlaken is very easy.  In Switzerland, you will find a fantastic public rail system. The train system covers the entire country of Switzerland with efficient and well-maintained trains.  The trains, famously, run not a second early or late – just like a swiss clock.  To get to Interlaken you can take a train from Zurich or any other major Swiss city. When you travel to Interlaken, take a train to Interlaken West which stops close to center town. Alternatively, take the train to Interlaken Ost (Interlaken East) which will drop you off a bit further.  Interlaken is a small town so ultimately it doesn’t make much difference which station you pick. Most trains stop in both.

Interlaken Travel Tip:

Book your train ticket in advance, online to guarantee a window seat with the best views.

Another advantage of buying a ticket in advance online is that it costs less than buying on the spot. Switzerland is one of the most expensive Northern European countries, so save where you can.  Don’t forget – the trains leave precisely on the dot. Be on time or you will lose the value of your ticket when the train leaves without you!

A cow on a summer day in the Alps, Switzerland.

What To Do In Interlaken In The Summer

Extreme Sports

There is no shortage of great things to do in Interlaken in the summer, and no shortage of outdoor activities.  Known as the thrill-seeking capital of the world, Interlaken is probably one of the world’s best places to paraglide and skydive.  If you prefer water to air, you can go whitewater rafting in Interlaken.  In addition to the lakes that surround the town, here you will find the Lütschine River.  Enjoy the class III to IV rapids in some of the cleanest water on earth.  Of course, many people prefer the lakes for the more relaxing canoeing, paddleboarding, and fishing in Brienz or Thun. 

Paragliding in Swiss Alps, Interlaken, Switzerland

A Picturesque Train Ride to Aletsch Glacier

In addition to outdoor activities, Interlaken is known for its proximity to the highest railway station in Europe, Jungfraujoch.  You can take a train through the region year-round and enjoy breathtaking views of the Aletsch Glacier.  On a clear day, you can see as far as Italy, Germany, and France.

The Aletsch Glacier near Interlaken, Switzerland
Views of the Aletsch Glacier.


You will find even more stunning views hiking in Interlaken. I spend a day hiking the town’s well-marked trails and there are few places in the world that can compare.  There is no shortage of hiking options, from an easy couple of hours to all day long challenging vertical treks.  Many hiking trails start at Harder Kulm mountain.

Hiking in the alps in Interlaken, Switzerland.

The Harder Kulm Funicular

Harder Kulm is one of the many mountains that surround Interlaken. To get to the top you can take the Harder Kulm funicular from the center of town – or you can walk up. Most locals think that the trails are better if you start at the top, so I would suggest the funicular.  Besides, the ride is a lot of fun.  The average gradient in the Harder Kulm funicular is close to 65%.   At the top, you’ll find a great little restaurant, a wonderful place to eat dinner after your hike.

The views from the top of the Harder Kulm Funicular.

Things To Do In Interlaken in the Winter

The Swiss are known for doing winter well – and Interlaken is no exception.  You’ll find brilliant winter sporting activities in this little town.  Here you can cross country ski, snowshoe and even dog sled.  You can find more great winter activities for everyone in your group on Viator.  If you are up for it, you can skydive and parasail in the winter as well – fun but a slightly colder way of doing extreme sports.

Although Interlaken does not have a ski resort of its own, Interlaken is an ideal base for skiing, because it is located close to several major ski resorts in the area.  When you stay in Interlaken you can try out several resorts in the Jungfrau region.  Staying outside the ski resorts you will save a lot – hotels are 30% to – 70% cheaper in Interlaken in the winter than they are in Grindelwald, Wengen or Mürren.  You can access the ski resorts with efficient ski buses and rail direct from Interlaken West.  If you are looking to save money skiing in Switzerland, few places are a better bargain.

A ski resort near Interlaken, Switzerland - the alps.
Many in Interlaken in the winter and access skiing resorts via the ski-bus or train.

Oberhofen Castle

Whatever time of year you decide to visit, one place almost everyone chooses to go while in Interlaken is the Oberhofen Castle.  Situated on Lake Thun, the picturesque castle was built around the 13th century.  The castle’s colorful history and its idyllic location on the lake make it a major Interlaken tourist attraction.  But you can do one better than just visit the Oberhofen Castle.  In addition to touring its beautiful rooms, you can actually stay at the Castle.  Slightly less pricey in the winter than in the summer, this is one “hotel” location you will not forget.  Whether you decide to visit or stay, be sure to budget a few hours to visit this mini national Swiss treasure – the Oberhofen Castle.

Oberhofen Castle, Interlaken, Switzerland.

Interlaken Hotels

In addition to staying at medieval Castle Oberhofen, there are many traditional accommodation options in Interlaken. Check and compare Interlaken Hotel prices for the best deals:

I hope you have enjoyed this article on things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland and found it useful. If you have read this far, I have a favor to ask. Please leave a comment or a question below as these help the search engines determine which articles are valuable – and which are not. Thank you again for reading and I’ll see you on the road!

Viktoria aka Travel Tipster

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2 Responses

  1. Can you get by without a car in Interlaken?
    Are buses less expensive than the train, and is there a good bus service for Interlaken and surrounding areas?

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