Mountains Close to Interlaken Worth Visiting

Interlaken is a well-known resort town in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland. And why is Interlaken famous? Nestled between the lakes Thun and Brienz, Interlaken is close to many nearby mountains in the Jungfrau region. It is an excellent base to explore the fantastic area. Specifically, you are close to Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau among many others.

Interlaken is not only a very good base to explore the Bernese Oberland. The place itself offers also numerous sports possibilities. Paragliding, parachuting, rafting, canyoning, and many more are available here to supplement their extensive hiking trails.

In this article, we will discuss the various mountains close to Interlaken, how to get to the mountains from Interlaken, and why these are worth visiting. Without further ado, let’s get to the list of the closest mountains to Interlaken.

Harder Kulm

Harder Kulm is the top station of the funicular right above the town of Interlaken and Unterseen. Harder Kulm, also known as Harderkulm, is located 1,321 above sea level in the canton of Bern.

Image of Harder Kulm by Lukas Bieri from Pixabay

How do you get from Interlaken to Harder Kulm? 

From Interlaken Ost, walk through the English Garden and cross the bridge to the Interlaken Harderbahn. The Harder Kulm Valley Station is only 6 minutes away from Interlaken Ost railway station. The funicular will lead you to Harder Kulm in 10 minutes. It leaves once every 30 minutes.

Why should you visit Harder Kulm?

Although the funicular has been present for a hundred years, the view never gets old. There is a viewing platform near the funicular mountain station which provides a fantastic view of Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz. Right smack in the middle is a view of the town of Interlaken itself.

From Harder Kulm, you can also opt for mountain hikes – one towards Augstmatthorn and another through the forests going down to the town of Interlaken.

You can also enjoy delicious food at the picturesque Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant. Moreover, they have a stunning panoramic view. Additionally, lunch tickets are available for reasonable prices, allowing you to go up to Harder Kulm, have the daily special, and return. The lunch ticket includes a meal, and the offer is available to adults. 

On the last Sunday of every month, they have a Sunday brunch. Additionally, evening trips are available from mid-April to mid-October.

Harder Kulm is open from April until the end of October.


Grindelwald First

Grindelwald First is located in the Bernese Oberland region of Switzerland. It is a cable car station right above Grindelwald and is a popular hiking area due to the beautiful Bachalpsee lake.

Image of Lake Bachalpsee in Grindelwald First by Fotoauge from Pixabay

How do you get from Interlaken to Grindelwald First?

From Interlaken Ost, travel by train to Grindelwald for around 30 minutes. In Grindelwald, you can take the First Railway from the valley station to Grindelwald First. Travel time from Grindelwald takes around 25 minutes.

Why should you visit Grindelwald First?

Let’s take a look at the beautiful Instagrammable picture directly above. That’s Lake Bachalpsee. It can be reached from First on foot in around 50 minutes. This picturesque view reflecting Schreckhorn is gorgeous. It’s reason enough to visit Grindelwald First, but it’s not the only one. Grindelwald First is also the end destination of the popular alpine hike Schynige Platte-Faulhorn-First.

From First, you can see the Grindelwald Glacier. Together with Finsteraarhorn, Schreckhorn (as seen in the image above), Lauteraarhorn, and Fiescherhörner, you can see several mountains four thousand meters high.

Those who are daring can try the First Flyer – an 800-meter long steel cable from First to Schreckfeld going at 84 kilometers per hour.

In winter, this area is also part of the Jungfrau Ski Region.


Schynige Platte

Schynige Platte is a small mountain that is part of the Schwarzhorn group in Bernese Oberland. The mountain range consists of Gumihorn (2,099 meters), Tuba (2,076 meters), and Geiss (2,067 meters). The viewpoint itself lies at an altitude of 2,000 meters.

Schynigge Platte near the train station. Credits: Wikipedia

How do you get from Interlaken to Schnynige Platte? 

From Interlaken Ost, take the train to Wilderswil. From Wilderswil, you can take the cogwheel train. The travel time from Wilderswil takes one hour and opens from the third week of May to the third week of October.

Why should you visit Schnynige Platte?

The nostalgic cogwheel train up to Schynigge Platte from Wilderswil is reminiscent of the Belle Époque era. Going up, this century-old train climbs up the mountain with a 25% steepness up to the viewpoint. This is a slow ride of one hour, a similar experience to that of the red panorama coaches going to Brienzer Rothorn (except the Brienzer Rothorn train is a steam train). The experience of the cogwheel train going up and enjoying the view is reason enough to visit. The panorama welcoming you once on the peak is a good bonus.

On the mountain, you have an alpine garden with hundreds of different plant species. Hikers can proceed to Faulhorn and Bachalp Lake as well. The views are impressive – Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, and most giants of the Bernese Alps.


Niederhorn

Niederhorn is a mountain of the Emmental Alps in the Bernese Oberland. Located near Beatenberg in canton Bern, it is 1,963 meters above sea level.

Image taken from Niederhorn. Credits: TouringSwitzerland.com

How do you get from Interlaken to Niederhorn?

From Interlaken West, take the bus to Beatenberg. On Beatenberg station, you can take the gondola up to Niederhorn. The whole trip will take around one hour.

Why should you visit Niederhorn?

Niederhorn has a good view of Lake Thun and the surrounding mountain peaks of Bernese Oberland. The famed Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau can be viewed here. There is also said to be a presence of alpine ibex, though we did not see them when we went there. While walking on the mountain peak, you can also see the Justis Valley, Jura, and the Aare Valley. There are numerous hikes towards Habkern and Gemmenalphorn.

For children, they have a large wooden playground directly beside the restaurant terrace. There are also mountain scooter bikes from the middle station.

Skiing is also possible here during winter. It also has winter and snowshoe trails.

TIP: You can also combine this trip with a stop at St. Beatus Caves in Beatenberg.


Schilthorn

Schilthorn is a summit in Bernese Oberland, Switzerland. The mountain can be accessed via Mürren and overlooks the Lauterbrunnen Valley below. Although Schilthorn is administered and located in Lauterbrunnen, the western slope belongs to Kander Valley.

Image of Schilthorn by Julius Silver from Pixabay

How do you get from Interlaken to Schilthorn?

From Interlaken Ost, travel by train to Lauterbrunnen. From Lauterbrunnen, transfer to Stechelberg, Schilthornbahn. Afterward, you will take the cable car in four succeeding sections: Gimmelwald, Mürren, Birg, and then lastly Schilthorn. The total estimated time from Interlaken is 1 hour 22 minutes.

In case you noticed, there are many cable car changes leading up to Schilthorn. This was considered one of the most difficult airways to be built in Switzerland.

Why should you visit Schilthorn?

Schilthorn was made famous by the spy film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service featuring James Bond. As such, you can enjoy Bond World (an interactive exhibit about the film), Bond Cinema (a cinema with space for 35 viewers showing clips from the Bond classic), as well as the 007 Walk of Fame (15 information boards on the mountaintop).

The peak also has the Piz Gloria restaurant, located 1,300 meters above Mürren. From the top, you can enjoy fantastic views of the Jungfrau region, Äbeni Flue, and Blümlisalp.

Schilthorn is also a winter ski region encompassing 50 kilometers of groomed slopes between 1,600 and 3,000 meters. The winter ski area is open until the end of April. It is part of the Jungfrau Ski Region and the proud location of the region’s steepest slope (88% steep).

Video Credits: Schilthorn – Piz Gloria

Jungfraujoch

Jungfraujoch, at 3,463 above sea level, is located in Bernese Oberland, Canton Bern. It is actually a saddle between Jungfrau (at 4,158 m above sea level) and Mönch (at 4,110 m above sea level).

Image from Jungfraujoch by aranha from Pixabay

How do you get from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch?

From Interlaken Ost, visitors transfer to the cable car in Grindelwald. Once done with the cable car, there is a transfer to the mountain ride going to Jungfraujoch.

Why should you visit Jungfraujoch?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to say that you visited the “Top of Europe“? Although, strictly speaking, this isn’t really true. The real peak of Europe is located elsewhere. But Jungfraujoch does become the Top of Europe if we are talking about mountain railways. Jungfrau has the highest operational mountain railway in Europe at 3,454 meters above sea level.

This train ride up to Jungfraujoch is one of Switzerland’s classic experiences. In 1893, the project led by the pioneer Adolf Guyer-Zeller, aimed to bring people all the way up to Jungfrau. However, plans changed, and the saddle of Jungfraujoch became the train’s end station. Building the railway began in 1896. It was completed on the first of August 1912. The railway presently carries millions of people through some of Europe’s most beautiful Alpine scenery.

From Jungfraujoch, views of the Bernese Alps (Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Männlichen, Schynige Platte, Harder Kulm, Grindelwald – First) and the Aletsch glacier are gorgeous. 

Did you know? Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps at 23 kilometers. 

Have you seen the video from Jungfrau Railways regarding Jungfraujoch? If not, check it out below. It’s short yet worth watching.


Brienzer Rothorn

The peak of Brienzer Rothorn is located in 3 cantons – Bern, Obwalden and Lucerne. It towers at 2,350 meters above sea level.

Image of the red cog railway to Brienzer Rothorn. Credits: Viola from Pixabay

How do you get from Interlaken to Brienzer Rothorn?

From Interlaken Ost, travel by train to Brienz. Then take the steam cog railway up to Brienzer Rothorn. Travel time from Interlaken to Brienz is approximately 20 minutes. The succeeding train ride takes an hour.

Why should you visit Brienzer Rothorn?

Aside from having the possibility to ride one of the two remaining steam trains in Switzerland (the other being Furka) that travels regularly, the train travels in the UNESCO Entlebuch Biosphere. The steam railway operates daily from June to October. It takes approximately 60 minutes from Brienz to Brienzer Rothorn.

The mountain station of the cable car with the panorama restaurant is 2,288 meters above sea level. After leaving the restaurant, walk 62 meters up to the mountain peak. It is a good, wide path secured by a low wall. The peak of Brienzer Rothorn is accessible in 10 to 20 minutes from the trains.

The views from the peak are amazing. You can see the Bernese Alps, Lake Brienz, Grimsel, and even Pilatus. The point where cantons Bern, Lucerne, and Obwalden meet has a granite stone marking it.


Niesen

Niesen is a mountain peak located in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. The pyramid-shaped mountain is one of the known symbols of the Lake Thun area.

Image of Niesen by David Mark from Pixabay

How do you get from Interlaken to Niesen?

From Interlaken Ost, take the train to Spiez. Transfer to Mülenen while in Spiez. From Mülenen, you can go to the Niesenbahn. There, a funicular will take you to Niesen. It departs once every 30 minutes from mid-April until mid-November.

Why should you visit Niesen?

The ride on the Niesen funicular is a very interesting experience. Although it looks very steep at 66% and 68% steepness gradient, it is still quite safe to ride on. There are no cogs on this funicular.

Once you reach the top of this pyramid-shaped mountain, there is a glass restaurant plus a playground for kids called Niesen Village (Niesendörfli). Views of the region are also fantastic. You can see the Lake Thun, Simmen Valley, Kander Valley, as well as the surrounding Bernese Alps.


Summary

Here is a brief summary of the mountains close to Interlaken and how far away these are (in kilometers, an approximate).

MountainHeight (m)Distance from Interlaken (km)Canton
Harder Kulm1,321 meters4.5 kmBern
Grindelwald (First)2,166 meters30 kmBern
Schynige Platte2,000 meters11.5 kmBern
Niederhorn1,963 meters18 kmBern
Schilthorn2,970 meters22 kmBern
Jungfraujoch3,463 meters30 kmBern
Brienzer Rothorn2,350 meters27.5 kmBern, Obwalden,
Lucerne
Niesen2,362 meters40 kmBern

Other nearby mountains which can be visited easily from Interlaken include Kleine Scheidegg/Männlichen, Kiental Ramslauenen, Adelboden Sillerenbühl, and Zweisimmen Rinderberg.

As you can see, there are so many mountains near Interlaken. It’s truly a mountain lover’s paradise here.

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