There is a debate about whether Interlaken is even worth visiting. Some people think it’s a great place overall, but others think it’s a tourist trap with overrated shops and hotels. So which is it? Is it worth visiting Interlaken, Switzerland? Here’s what you need to know.
Interlaken, Switzerland is an incredibly popular tourist hub in the Bernese Oberland. It’s perfect – situated between two lakes, near the Jungfrau Mountain Range, and accessible from Zurich. As one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist spots, Interlaken is also a hot spot for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
Is Interlaken Worth Visiting?
Does Interlaken’s town even deserve a visit? Yes, Interlaken is more than just a single street with hotels and jewelry stores. There’s a lot to see, including boat trips to Lakes Thun and Brienz on both sides of the city, as well as train and cable car rides to the mountains nearby. Try an adventure, admire the views from Harder Kulm, or shop too.
High winter peaks, beautiful scenery with sailing opportunities on Lake Thun, and the opportunity to walk, hike, and bike make Interlaken a real gem.
The following article will detail the 8 reasons why Interlaken is a good place to visit in Switzerland.
1. Interlaken Has Exciting Adventure Experiences on Offer
You have so many adventures to choose from when you come to Interlaken. Lots of outdoor activities are available for adventure-loving tourists. You can check out some of the activities here (note: some are affiliate links):
- Tandem Paragliding: Try tandem paragliding if you are brave enough to soar to lofty heights. With an experienced pilot, you can see the famous area of Interlaken from above. You can book the experience at GetYourGuide.
- Rope Park: Even small kids will enjoy this activity. There’s a rope park just a few minutes away from Interlaken West where you can try different rope courses. You can book it at GetYourGuide or pay at the entrance.
- Helicopter Skydiving: Another awesome outdoor activity in Interlaken is Helicopter Skydiving. After your helicopter takes you to spectacular heights, you will experience an adventurous free fall before descending to the town below. This experience can be booked through GetYourGuide.
In Grindelwald, near Interlaken, you can go canyoning as well.
2. You Can Enjoy Fantastic Views From Harder Kulm
Right above Interlaken and Unterseen, 1,321 meters above sea level, is Harder Kulm.
Harder Kulm can be reached from Interlaken by walking through the English Garden and crossing the bridge to the Interlaken Harderbahn. Interlaken Ost railway station is only six minutes away from Harder Kulm Valley Station. In 10 minutes, the funicular will take you from Interlaken to Harder Kulm. There is one departure per half hour.
Near the funicular mountain station, there is a viewing platform that provides a fantastic view of the Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz. There is also a view of Interlaken itself right in the middle.
It is also possible to hike from Harder Kulm – one to Augstmatthorn and one through the forest to Interlaken.
You can also get delicious food at the Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant. On the last Sunday of every month, they have a Sunday brunch.
Harder Kulm is open from April until the end of October. From mid-April to mid-October, they also offer evening trips.
3. You can visit Lake Thun from Interlaken
Interlaken is a beautiful town between the lakes of Thun and Brienz. Both lakes are very accessible and you can see mountains and cities reflected in their crystal clear waters.
Lakes Thun and Brienz are easily accessible and well worth a visit for their incredibly crystal clear waters and the reflections of mountains and cities in the lakes. These, along with castles and nostalgic train rides, make Interlaken a must-see.
In the Jungfrau Region, passenger boats run on Lake Thun from April to October. The regular service enables guests to visit other destinations along the lake by boat.
Boats on Lake Thun are behind Interlaken West train station. Ride the boat Blümlisalp if you want to ride a steamer. Boats in Lake Thun stop in Neuhaus (Unterseen), Beatushöhlen-Sundlauenen, Leissinge, Beatenbucht, Merlingen, Faulensee, Spiez, Gunten, Einigen, Gwatt Deltapark, Längenschachen, Oberhofen am Thunersee, Hilterfingen, Hünibach, and Thun.
A regular service allows guests to visit other destinations along the lake by boat. From April to October, passenger boats run on Lake Thun and Lake Brienz in the Jungfrau Region.
Besides riding the boats (steamer or not) and stopping at towns, you can also swim at places like the Thun Lido.
Among Switzerland’s largest pool complexes is Thun Lido. In addition to the 50-meter and 10-meter pools, there is a 25-meter training pool, a pool for non-swimmers, a large slide, a 10-meter springboard (also with lower springboards), and a beach volleyball court.
4. Take a Steamer across Lake Brienz
Like Lake Thun, the shores of Lake Brienz also have attractions worth visiting from Interlaken. In the Jungfrau Region, passenger boats run on Lake Brienz from April to October. The regular service enables guests to visit other destinations along the lake by boat.
The boats in Lake Brienz can be seen behind Interlaken Ost train station. In Lake Brienz, boats stop in Böningen, Ringgenberg, Niederried, Iseltwald, Oberried, Giessbach, and Brienz. You can also visit the towns where the boats stop.
If you want to ride a steamer, you can ride the Lötschberg on Lake Brienz.
If you wish to see the list of steamer boats, check out our article Ultimate List of Steamboats in Switzerland’s Lakes.
5. You can explore Interlaken
Located in the Bernese Oberland, Interlaken is a beautiful city that is an ideal base for exploring this region. It is surrounded by the Aare river and offers views of nearby mountains like the Grosse Rugen.
Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland, by the River Aare. There’s a main street called the Höheweg that connects the train stations – Interlaken Ost and Interlaken West. This street is full of hotels, cafes, souvenir shops, and watch shops. Along this street are the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and the Casino Kursaal.
The Japanese Garden is another pretty spot in Interlaken. It’s close to the old monastery and the church.
6. You can shop a lot
The main shopping area in Interlaken is Höheweg. There are several Kirchhofer, souvenir, and chocolate shops. There are also other watch shops such as Bucherer.
There are Swiss, Korean, Italian, and Indian restaurants in Interlaken. There are also Migros and Coop restaurants, which are cheaper.
7. You can walk along the Aare River
You can see the Jungfrau mountains from Höheweg. You can cross the bridge leading to Harder Kulm after passing through Höhematte and the Japanese Garden. I
t’s a beautiful promenade along the Aare River. You can follow this path all the way to Unterseen.
8. You can visit the Historic Village of Bönigen and the Village Museum
Almost all of Bönigen has been built up around Interlaken, a resort town nearby. The town of Bönigen is situated in the Bernese Oberland on the southwest shore of Lake Brienz, near the point where the Lütschine empties into the lake.
Bönigen still keeps its rural character by keeping its traditions alive. A complex of wooden houses & chalets dates back to the 16th century in the idyllic village of Bönigen on the lower shore of Lake Brienz. The village center lies in the northwest part of the municipality along the Lütschine and up to the lake.
The entire village of Bönigen is designated as part of the inventory of Swiss heritage sites.
Alte Pinte Village Museum
A chalet has been converted into a museum called Alte Pinte. This village museum emphasizes the culture, the crafts, and the simple life of Bernese Oberland. Part of the museum is reserved as a showroom exhibiting locals’ artworks.
Admission to the museum is free from May to October.
Interlaken is one of the best travel destinations in Switzerland, with its high peaks offering some of the best winter activities, beautiful scenery, cruising opportunities on Lakes Thun and Brienz, and many other outdoor activities such as walking, hiking, and biking. There are also many mountain activities that can be enjoyed all year round in this region.
In addition to being one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist destinations, Interlaken is also a popular destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Interlaken is not only a fantastic place to base yourself from, but it is also a great place to visit with its activities and beautiful location.
Is Interlaken not suitable for all tourists?
It might not be the best place if you only want to focus on mountains or hiking. Perhaps the mountain villages of Wengen or Mürren would be a better choice for you. And if you would rather explore Central Switzerland, Lucerne might be a better option.
If you would rather visit a pretty town with historic buildings, then nearby Thun is a better option. And for those who really want a larger city, then the federal city of Bern is definitely a better place to visit.
Is Interlaken the right place for you?
Interlaken is an excellent option if you want to experience more than just the mountains of the Bernese Oberland. It is perfect for those who want an adventure or want to buy something from one of the tourist or jewelry shops in town.
I hope you will find Interlaken as charming as I do. Have fun!
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