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Spiez and Interlaken are just about 20 kilometers away from each other. They’re both by Lake Thun and have beautiful views around. Each place has its own unique charm and is a worthwhile place to visit for a variety of reasons. But you might be unsure which one to choose. Here’s a guide to choosing between Spiez and Interlaken if you were wondering which is better.
Visitors from all over the world might wonder: Is it better to stay in Spiez or Interlaken? We’ll talk about the different places we can visit nearby as well as the advantages of staying in each.
Spiez and Interlaken
Spiez and Interlaken are two well-known villages in Switzerland. These two villages are famous, each in their own right, and they’re surrounded by gorgeous scenery. You may find it hard to choose between the two. They’re both good options, but one might work better for you.
In this article, we’ll talk about both Spiez and Interlaken. Where should you stay while visiting Switzerland? Do we recommend staying in Spiez or Interlaken?
Key Differences: Spiez vs. Interlaken
The key differences between Spiez and Interlaken are as follows:
|Population: approx. 12,810||Population: approx. 5,600|
|Total Area: 16.8 km²||Total Area: 4.4 km²|
|Elevation: 628 m (2,060 ft)||Elevation: 568 m (1,863 ft)|
|Charming village with vineyards and a castle. Has lake and mountain views||Main transport gateway to the Bernese Oberland Region|
|Highlights: Spiez Castle, Spiez Vineyards, Niesen||Highlights: Harder Kulm Mountain,|
Thun and Brienz Lakes
|Lakes: Thun||Lakes: Brienz (East) and Thun (West)|
|Canton: Bern||Canton: Bern|
Spiez is a lovely spot by the southern side of Lake Thun. It’s great if you like the outdoors as well as quiet moments. You can do easy hikes, go to the lake, see vineyards, and enjoy the views of Niesen and Niederhorn mountains. Spiez is made up of five farming parts: Spiez, Spiezwiler, Hondrich, Faulensee, and Einingen.1
Spiez has really good train connections. Here are some of the direct trains from Spiez:
- You can take direct trains to Bern, Thun, and Interlaken.
- You can easily get to Valais (Brig, Visp) through the Lötschberg Basis Tunnel. From Visp, you can easily reach the famous alpine town of Zermatt.
- You can take the GoldenPass train to Gstaad and Montreux.
In a way, Interlaken is more of a travel base than anything else. It doesn’t have the same kind of views as Grindelwald or Mürren. But it’s surrounded by two lakes – Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Around these lakes, there are many pretty towns and villages like Thun, Spiez, Brienz, and Iseltwald. Also nearby are multiple castles, St. Beatus Caves, and more. You can also go on the Aare River.
Interlaken is also home to two fantastic viewpoints – Harder Kulm and Heimwehfluh.
Places to Visit: Spiez vs. Interlaken
Lots of places are near both Spiez and Interlaken since they’re close together. Generally, Spiez is closer to Valais, the Kander Valley, and even Italy. Interlaken is nearer to the Jungfrau region and Lucerne.
Places to Visit near Spiez and Interlaken
There are many places to visit near Spiez and Interlaken. There are many tourist attractions nearby, such as those around Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
- Harder Kulm – Harder Kulm can be reached from Interlaken by walking through the English Garden and crossing the bridge to the Interlaken Harderbahn. It is located 1,321 meters above sea level and provides fantastic views of Interlaken. Eiger, Mönch, Jungfrau, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz can be seen from Harder Kulm, too.
- Thun – Thun is a breathtaking lakeside town on the banks of Lake Thun. In Thun, you will find two castles (Thun and Schadau), a picturesque old town, museums, and places to bathe during summer.
- Iseltwald – Iseltwald with its peninsula, the Seeburg castle, and its lakeside promenade is a peaceful little village to visit near Interlaken. Boats stop here in summer.
- Lake Thun – The bigger of the two lakes beside Interlaken, you can cruise around Lake Thun, swim, or try one of the water sports.
- Lake Brienz – Lake Brienz is great for sailing, canoeing, windsurfing, wakeboarding and more. Take a ride on the Brienzer Rothorn to get some great photos of Lake Brienz.
- Giessbach Waterfalls – Giessbach Waterfalls get their water from the high Faulhorn-Sagis Valley. From there, it flows into Lake Brienz
- St. Beatus Caves – The caves and the museum are located inside the Niederhorn Massif. Outside, you can walk around a garden with beautiful waterfalls. Take good walking shoes and bring a jacket since the cave can get chilly.
- Rosenlaui Valley, Glacier, and Gorge – An absolutely beautiful and peaceful pocket of land in the Reichenbach Valley. The gorge has thundering waterfalls and bizarre cliff formations. It is definitely worth visiting.
- Reichenbach Falls – Beautiful waterfalls famous for being featured in Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem.
- Aare Gorge – Known for its limestone formations, Aare Gorge is a large piece of bedrock that stretches 1,400 meters long and 200 meters deep between Innertkirchen and Meiringen.
- Bönigen – Bönigen is a traditional village with wooden houses and chalets from the 16th century. You can find the village of Bönigen on the lower shore of Lake Brienz.
- Axalp – Axalp, right above Lake Brienz at 1,535 meters above sea level, is the starting point for a lot of hiking trails from spring until autumn. In winter, it is transformed into a small ski resort with 15 kilometers of slopes for young and old alike.
- Ballenberg Open Air Museum – This open-air museum features various centuries-old buildings from the different cantons of Switzerland. They have typical farm animals such as donkeys, cows, chickens, rabbits, and cats. In some houses, you will learn about specific trades or you will be able to interact with musical instruments or handicrafts.
- Höheweg – The shopping street in Interlaken in case you are on the lookout for souvenirs, jewelry, or watches.
- Milibach Waterfall – This waterfall can be found near Brienz. Best visited right after a rainy day.
- Pochten Falls – A waterfall found at the end of Suldtal.
- 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.
Places to Visit near Spiez
- Bern – Bern is the federal city of Switzerland. It’s a great place to visit because of its old town from medieval times, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are lots of interesting museums to check out too.
- Blausee – Blausee is a gorgeous lake in the Kander Valley roughly 20 kilometers away from Spiez. Open all year round, this destination is worth visiting any time of the year. With the exception of one day per year, swimming in Blausee is not allowed.
- Stockhorn – In Erlenbach im Simmental lies Stockhorn, a mountain in the Bernese Oberland. From up here, you can see Lake Thun, Aare Valley, Bern, and the Jura Mountain range. Stockhorn is 2,190 meters high and accessible by cable car from Erlenbach.
- 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.
- Brig – The historic town of Brig lies in the Upper Valais region of Switzerland. Zermatt lies to the southwest, Simplon Pass to the east, Jungfrau Aletsch to the north, and Andermatt to the northeast. Brig, also officially known as Blig-Glis, is located in the Rhone Valley, 691 meters above sea level.
Places to Visit near Interlaken
- Lauterbrunnen – Lauterbrunnen village is situated at the valley bottom of this magnificent U-shaped valley in Switzerland surrounded by numerous waterfalls.
- Grindelwald – Grindelwald is a famous mountain village in the Bernese Oberland, located at the foot of the Eiger (3,970 meters) and Wetterhorn (3,701 meters). It is characterized by soft green meadows and mountain forests on one side, and rocky walls and icy peaks of the Eiger, Schreckhorn, and Wetterhorn on the other. It is one of the most famous tourist destinations in Bernese Oberland.
- Kleine Scheidegg – Kleine Scheidegg is a mountain pass at an elevation of 2,061 meters. It is located between Eiger and Lauberhorn. Kleine Scheidegg makes a great starting point for excursions to Jungfraujoch and Lauberhorn. It is also the meeting point of two rack railways.
- Jungfraujoch – The saddle between Jungfrau (at 4,158 m above sea level) and Mönch (at 4,110 m above sea level). It is also the location of the highest mountain railway in Europe at 3,454 meters above sea level.
- Staubbach Waterfall – The Staubbach Waterfall is a waterfall in Switzerland located just west of Lauterbrunnen in the Bernese Highlands. It falls 297 meters from a valley overhanging the Weisse Lütschine, before the end of the overhanging cliff.
- Trümmelbach Waterfalls – There are ten glacier-fed waterfalls in Switzerland’s Trümmelbach Falls. It is accessible by a tunnel-funicular built back in 1913.
Advantages: Spiez vs. Interlaken
Advantages of Staying in Spiez
- Spiez has a fantastic location with many direct train connections. For example, Spiez has direct train connections from Milano Centrale (Italy), Zurich, and Zurich Airport.
- Spiez is closer to Zurich compared to Interlaken.
- Ideal for those who will proceed to Valais later (Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Crans-Montana, Grimentz-Zinal). From Spiez, you just need to go via the Lötschberg Basis Tunnel and you will be in Visp.
- Spiez is ideal for couples looking to relax. It is a peaceful lakeside town similar to Montreux and the Spiez Vineyards are always pleasant to visit.
Advantages of Staying in Interlaken
- Interlaken is closer to the Jungfrau Region compared to Spiez. Famous places to visit in the Jungfrau Region include Lauterbrunnen, Kleine Scheidegg, Wengen, Grindelwald, and Jungfraujoch.
- Interlaken has more hotels and restaurants compared to Spiez.
- Interlaken is an excellent choice for outdoor sports enthusiasts. If you are into swimming, surfing, sailing, SUP, paragliding, hang gliding, and skydiving, then Interlaken is a better option.
Hotels: Spiez vs. Interlaken
In both Spiez and Interlaken, you’ll find a wide variety of hotels. Here’s our pick of hotels.
Hotels in Spiez
- Belvédère Strandhotel (4-star) – This beautiful hotel offers an outdoor pool, a spa area, and a gourmet restaurant with a lake view.
- Hotel Eden Spiez (4-star) – This lovely hotel offers amazing views of the Jungfrau mountains and Spiez Castle. You can unwind with two swimming pools and a fitness center. It’s in a peaceful spot, yet not far from the village’s main attractions.
- Hotel-Restaurant Seegarten-Marina (3-star) – Sitting directly on Lake Thun’s marina, it’s just a quick 2-minute stroll from the boat station. The rooms are tidy, there’s a restaurant here, and the prices are reasonable.
Hotels in Interlaken
- Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa (5-star) – A luxurious and elegant hotel with distinctive design and decor, marble bathrooms, and views of the Jungfrau mountain.
- Swiss Hotel Apartments (5-star apartments) – With spacious rooms equipped with a kitchen, balcony, dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, and coffee maker, it’s the most affordable and convenient place to stay in Interlaken. It’s also just 80 meters from Interlaken Ost train station, so you can easily get there from Zurich and Geneva airports.
- Hotel Interlaken (4-star) – This 4-star hotel, conveniently located next to the Japanese Garden, offers good value for money in pricey Interlaken. It’s just a short walk from Interlaken Ost train station, and the staff is friendly and helpful.
- Hotel Bellevue (4-star) – This boutique hotel is near Interlaken West train station. Each room has a balcony with a view of the mountains.
- Hotel Bernerhof (3-star) – The Hotel Bernerhof is an affordable, central hotel right opposite Interlaken West train station. It has modern rooms and a restaurant that serves Swiss food.
- Interlaken Youth Hostel (Hostel) – A convenient hostel located near the Interlaken Ost train station. They have clean and basic accommodations, plus breakfast is included.
Final Thoughts: Spiez vs. Interlaken
Let’s get back to the question: should you visit Spiez or Interlaken? There is much to see and do in either place; the scenery is beautiful, the places to visit are interesting, and there are hotels and restaurants in both locations. In choosing a location, take into account your interests and itinerary.
Due to its scenery and activities, Interlaken is a great place for energetic individuals and outdoor enthusiasts. Wine lovers and relaxed travelers might enjoy Spiez more.
Personally, I like both places and have been to both several times. Ultimately, it comes down to you and what you want.
The two locations are just a short boat, car, or train ride away, so you can easily visit the other one if you wish to. Whichever choice you make, you won’t regret it. Both places are really beautiful, with majestic mountains and natural landscapes.
1 Welcome to Spiez – Energy by Nature. Spiez Guide 2023. Spiez Kraftort am Wasser.
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Darla Uhl is the owner of TouringSwitzerland.com. Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.
Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.