Interlaken Attractions and Activities
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Situated between lakes and surrounded by mountains - Interlaken is a treasure trove of holiday delights just waiting to be discovered. With its preferred location, this resort is the ideal starting point to engage in sports activities - summer and winter, and to make exciting excursions. We are presenting you just a few of the many activities that are possible in the Interlaken region.
Excursions: >> Mountain ExcursionsCity Excursionsother Excursions
Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe (3,454 m / 11,330 ft):
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 2 1/4 hours by train from Interlaken Ost to the top). Snow and ice 100% guaranteed! The UNESCO World Heritage offers the Sphinx observation hall, an impressive Ice Palace and a hiking plateau in the glacier - these are year-round attractions up on the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in Europe. Summer attractions include a skilift, husky-drawn sledging and adventure activities.
Schilthorn - Piz Gloria (2,970 m / 9,742 ft):
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 80 minutes by train and gondola from Interlaken Ost to the top). The most spectacular 360° panorama in the Alps! Dine-and-wine in the world's first revolving restaurant at an altitude of nearly 3,000 metres. Impressive views embrace some 200 snow-capped peaks, ranging from the Bernese Alps to Mont Blanc in France and Germany's Black Forest.
Kleine Scheidegg (2,061 m / 6,760 ft):
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 80 minutes by train from Interlaken Ost). The Kleine Scheidegg, the pass between the Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald Valleys, lies directly beneath the towering trio of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau mountains. From here, the Jungfrau Cogwheel Railway begins its remarkable journey to the Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe. The Kleine Scheidegg is a lively, bustling place: during the winter it's the departing point of numerous skiing runs, and during summer time, you'll meet Alpine herdsmen with their cattle, climbers preparing to attempt the Eiger North Face and visitors from all over the world. This is also the starting point for some of the best hikes in the region.
Maennlichen (2,227 m / 7,305 ft):
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 65 minutes by train and gondola from Interlaken Ost via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen; approx. 90 minutes via Grindelwald Grund). From the Maennlichen, you have a fabulous view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, as well as the valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen. During winter, the Maennlichen is a popular place for winter sports, and in summer, this mountain has a host of hikes to suit all tastes - whether you prefer short or long, wild, tame or tough.
First (2,186 m / 7,170 ft):
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 90 minutes by train and gondola from Interlaken Ost to the top). The First mountain is one of Europe's most beautiful viewpoints offering panoramic views of the Bernese Alps with seven peaks of over fourthousand meters (13,120 ft). During winter months, the First invites to great skiing and snowboarding, and in summertime, there are 100 km (62 miles) of picturesque footpaths for all levels, and from the middle station "Bort", you can rent a Trotti-Bike to experience a pleasant way of descending to Grindelwald.
Niederhorn (1,954 m / 6,409 ft):
Half-day or Full-day excursion (approx. 60 minutes by bus and gondola from Interlaken West to the top). You can get there by bus and gondola, or via Beatenbucht taking a short cruise on Lake Thun, and then up to Beatenberg by funicular and by aerial cableway to the top of the Niederhorn. This mountain is one of the most popular vantage points in the Bernese Oberland. Fine panoramic views extend from the Lakes of Thun and Brienz to the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau. In addition, this mountain offers winter sports during the winter months, and several hiking paths during winter and summer - you might want to rent a Trotti-Bike for a special way to descend to the village of Beatenberg.
Brienzer Rothorn (2,244 m / 7,360 ft): open June - October.
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 100 minutes by train from Interlaken Ost to the top). Take a trip up to the Rothorn on Switzerland's only surviving steam-driven cogwheel railway. The route passes through wonderful woodland, over mountain pastures and past rugged rockfaces. The scenic summit is an ideal departure point for memorable mountain hikes and to observe Alpine animals.
Schynige Platte; Alpine Garden & "Teddyland" (1,967 m / 6,452 ft): open May - October.
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 70 minutes by train from Interlaken Ost to the top). Take the cosy cogwheel railway to this superb vantage point, where the views of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau are acclaimed as the finest. Other attractions include extensive hiking trails, the Lowa Hiking Shoe Test Center and, especially for our little ones, a large Teddy Bear exhibition. The Alpine Garden is a famous botanical attraction that comprises some 500 different flowering plants and ferns grouped in 15 groups of near-natural locations. From mid-June until late September, the Alpine Garden is an ever changing blaze of colour.
Harderkulm (1,322 m / 4,336 ft): open April - October.
Half-day excursion. In just 10 minutes, the Harder funicular takes you up to the Harderkulm. This attractive vantage point offers fine views of Interlaken, the Lakes of Brienz and Thun, and the entire Jungfrau Region. Particularly popular with children are the trip to the top by funicular and the Alpine wildlife park at the valley station, near Interlaken Ost railway station.
Heimwehflue (669 m / 2,194 ft): open April - October.
Half-day excursion. The old-timer funicular (built in 1906) gets you within less than 5 minutes to the beautiful Heimwehfluh vantage point above Interlaken. Attractions here include beautiful woodland paths, an open-air model railway, an exciting bob run from the top all the way down to the base station in Interlaken and a spacious play area for children.
Thun - Gateway to the Bernese Alps:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 30 minutes by train from Interlaken West). Thun (pronounced "Toon") is one of the most original towns in Switzerland. It occupies an admirable site with magnificent views of the Bernese Alps and is much overlooked by visitors pressing on to Interlaken. With its picturesque castle, the quaint medieval Old Town, and Lake Thun, one of the loveliest and largest lakes in Switzerland, Thun is well worth a visit.
Bern - Switzerland's captivating Capital:
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 50 minutes by train from Interlaken West). Founded in 1191, this is a city of medieval magic, listed by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Attractions of Bern include several historic sites such as the famous Clock Tower, the bearpits (home to the city's heraldic animals), the House of Parliament, the Paul Klee Center, the Swiss Alpine Museum, and excellent shopping arcades.
Lucerne - City of Lights:
Full-day excursion (approx. 2 1/2 hours by train from Interlaken West or Ost). Lucerne is ideally situated in the historic and scenic heart of what many believe to be the "true" Switzerland - picture mountains, lakes, cowbells, alpine villages and meadows full of Edelweiss. Lucerne is renowned for its attractive townscape, historic Chapel Bridge and shopping facilities. You get to Lucerne by train either via Bern, or with the scenic Golden Pass train via Brienz along Lake Brienz and over the Brünig Pass.
Montreux - City of the Swiss Riviera:
Full-day excursion (approx. 2 - 2.5 hours by train from Interlaken West). This attractive excursion crosses the "border" between German and French-speaking Switzerland and takes you to the shores of Lake Geneva. Enjoy the mild climate and the beautiful terraced vineyards of Lavaux that are part of the UNESCO world heritage. While in Montreux, you want to consider visiting one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Switzerland, the Chateau de Chillon: in the 13th century this castle was built in a unique setting on the shores of Lake Geneva, and today also serves as a typical postcard souvenir from Switzerland. There are various routes to get from Interlaken to Montreux, either via Spiez and through the Loetschberg Tunnel to the Rhone Valley; or via Bern and Lausanne, or the scenic Golden Pass train through the Simmental Valley via Gstaad (travel time approx. 3 hours).
Other Excursions / Sights:
Ballenberg Open-Air Museum: open Mid-April through End of October.
Half- or Full-day excursion (approx. 70 minutes by train and bus from Interlaken Ost). Experience Switzerland as it used to be! In Ballenberg rural culture and the life of our ancestors becomes a fascinating experience. More than one hundred century-old buildings from all over Switzerland, 250 farmyard animals, traditional, old-time gardens and fields, demonstrations of local crafts and many special events create a vivid impression of rural life in days gone by.
St. Beatus Caves: open April - October.
Half-day excursion (approx. 25 minutes by bus from Interlaken West). Switzerland's first and only underground cave museum - spectacular but safe. Explore this mysterious maze of stalactites, stalagmites, lakes and waterfalls to a depth of 3,000 meters. Located on the shores of Lake Thun; reachable from Interlaken by boat, car, or bus - or on foot along the historic Pilgrims' Path.
Grindelwald Glacier Gorge:
Half-day excursion (approx. 45 minutes by train and bus from Interlaken Ost). The wildly-romantic gorge, with its mills, erosion, pink and green marble blocks, is a masterpiece of nature. From the Gletscherschlucht hotel-restaurant a wooden walkway leads over raging water, through galleries and tunnels in the rock over 1,000 m (approx. 0.7 miles) into the depths of the gorge. At the entrance to the Glacier Gorge there is a crystal museum with minerals found in the Bernese Alps. The Glacier Gorge is reached within 35 minutes on foot from the center of Grindelwald, or by bus from Grindelwald station within just a few minutes.
Truemmelbach Falls: open April - November.
Half-day excursion (approx. 40 minutes by train and bus from Interlaken Ost). Located in the Lauterbrunnen Valley between Stechelberg and Lauterbrunnen. 10 glacier-waterfalls inside the mountain made accessible by tunnel-lift and illuminated. The Trummelbach river drains the mighty glacier defiles of the Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains - up to 20,000 liters of water per second.
Aare Gorge: open April - October
The Aare Gorge is situated between Meiringen and Innertkirchen in the valley of Hasli. The gorge is 1.4 kilometers (nearly 1 mile) long and up to 180 meters (600 ft) deep. For more than 100 years, the gorge is accessible to visitors by a system of safe paths and tunnels that run through it. The walk through the gorge is a very special way to experience nature.
Cruises on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz: from April - October.
Half- or Full-day excursion or evening cruise. Enjoy a leisurely cruise on a modern motorship or one of the renovated stately steamers. Excellent catering and banquet facilities, theme events and club, company and family festivities, paddle steamer with children's club, evening cruises with entertainment. Cruises on Lake Thun depart at Interlaken's "West" railway station, cruises on Lake Brienz from Interlaken's "Ost" station.
Zermatt: incl. Gornergrat (3,089 m / 10,132 ft) or Klein Matterhorn (3,883 m / 12,736 ft):
Full-day excursion (approx. 2 1/4 hours by train from Interlaken West to Zermatt railway station). The journey takes you through the Lötschberg-Tunnel and then, on the Glacier Express route climbing through rugged valley landscape, to Zermatt. Then continue this popular excursion either by cogwheel railway to the Gornergrat (approx. 40 minutes) or by gondola to the Klein Matterhorn (approx. 45 minutes) to enjoy great views of the world famous Matterhorn.
Guided City Tours:
Learn more about the history, customs, building styles and life in general in Interlaken and the nearby villages. Various guided tours allow you an insight: on foot, with horse and carriage, mini-train or a culinary tour - the Interlaken Tourist Office provides detailed information about all options.
Walking Tour: all year round.
Approx. 1.5 hour guided tour through Interlaken along the famous Höheweg boulevard with views of the Jungfrau mountain range. Your tour guide is full of fascinating facts on the history of Interlaken, the Kursaal, the former Interlaken monastery and a host of other interesting topics.
Carriage Tour: Spring - Fall.
Enjoy a peaceful ride in a carriage and enjoy an all new experience. Carriages can be hired at one of the railway stations or reserved for special occasions throughout the year.
Mini-Train Tour: all year round (according to timetable; subject to changes).
Approx. 30-minute sightseeing tour of Interlaken, Matten and Unterseen with an interesting commentary in German and English. Pick-up points: Höheweg, Interlaken Ost and West Railway Stations, and Marktplatz.
The Bernese Oberland, and particularly the Jungfrau Region offers a great number of attractions worth to be seen. Due to its central location in the Bernese Oberland, Interlaken is the ideal place from where you can easily combine the visit of several attractions on one single day - of course, there's some planning required... (ask our travel consultants, or people at your hotel or at the tourist office). Following some examples:
Lake Cruise on Lake Thun to Thun / City Tour incl. visit of the Thun Castle / by train to Bern / City Tour incl. shopping in Bern / direct train back to Interlaken.
Lake Cruise on Lake Thun to Beatenbucht / Visit of St. Beatus Caves / by funicular up to Beatenberg / by gondola up to the Niederhorn / by Trotti-Bike down to Beatenberg / by bus back to Interlaken.
Lake Cruise on Lake Brienz to Brienz / stroll through the woodcarving village; Visit of the Ballenberg Museum / by steam-driven cogwheel railway up to the Brienzer Rothorn (and back down) / direct train back to Interlaken.
Train to Lauterbrunnen / strolling in the picturesque village of Lauterbrunnen (incl. famous Staubbach Waterfalls) / cogwheel train up to Wengen and/or Kleine Scheidegg incl. short stop-over at either place / cogwheel train to the Top of Europe (Jungfraujoch) / back down via Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald / strolling and shopping in Grindelwald / train back to Interlaken.
Sports: >> Summer SportsWinter Sports
With its location between two lakes, Interlaken is a prime destination for water sports enthusiasts. On the shores of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz you will find inviting beaches for swimming in the lakes (mid-summer only - temperatures hardly reach 20 degrees Celsius !) - there also are several public lakeside baths with outdoor pools. On the lakes, boating, sailing and windsurfing are quite popular among locals and tourists, and there also are possibilities to engage in fishing, water-skiing, wake-boarding and scuba-diving.
Hiking is high on the list of attractions in the Interlaken holiday region: a vast variety of paths and trails, fantastic views, idyllic picnic spots surrounded by Alpine flowers and the ring of cowbells. The more than 500 km (310 miles) of hiking paths in the greater region (incl. Jungfrau Region, Beatenberg-Niederhorn, Habkern, Wilderswil, and along the shores of Lake Brienz and Lake Thun) are well-marked and well-kept. In fact, hiking is the ideal way to discover the delights of the Interlaken region including its lakes and mountains. Free brochures with suggestions for walks and various detailed hiking maps are available at the local tourist offices.
Explore the region on 2 wheels ! In and around Interlaken you will find well marked routes to bike along the lakes and into the valleys, and mountain bikers will find plenty of options in the surrounding mountains. Guided tours are available to discover the region’s most scenic spots.
Interlaken-Unterseen offers one of the most beautiful and varied golf courses of Switzerland. Between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, with views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains, you find an attractive 18-hole Championship Course (Par 72), which has been modernized in 2004/05. Playing conditions: proven handicap of 36 maximum and member of an affiliated golf club or a golf association.
The sourrounding region of Interlaken including the Jungfrau Region with the valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen are popular for various adventure sports such as: rafting (the Lütschine River offers exciting Class 4 white water rafting), canyoning, bungy jumping, ice-climbing, paragliding, sky diving or base jumping.
other Summer Sports:
The options in Interlaken are endless.... - further activities in this resort and the surrounding region include indoor sports such as Badminton, Tennis, Squash, Beach Volleyball, Billard/Pool, Bowling, outdoor activities such as Horseback Riding, Inline-Skating, Minigolf, and more adventurous sports such as Mountaineering and Climbing (including indoor climbing at Interlaken's Kletterhalle).
Skiing / Snowboarding:
From Interlaken you can either ski at one of the 3 ski areas of the Jungfrau Region totalling 42 mountain rides and 213 km (132 miles) of groomed runs: "Muerren-Schilthorn" (12 mountain rides - 53 km / 33 miles; fun-snowpark); "Kleine Scheidegg-Maennlichen" (21 mountain rides - 110 km / 68 miles; half-pipe and jump-street), or "Grindelwald-First" (9 mountain rides - 50 km / 31 miles; snowpark and superpipe). Nearby there also are smaller ski areas at Beatenberg-Niederhorn (3 mountain rides; 5 runs) or in Habkern (2 mountain rides; 5 runs). All valley stations are easily accessible from Interlakien by train, bus or car.
Cross Country Skiing:
Trails are found in the Lauterbrunnen Valley (12 km / 7.5 miles), the Grindelwald Valley (17 km / 10.5 miles), in Habkern (13 km / 8 miles), in Beatenberg ( 2 trails totaling 11 km / 6.8 miles), and depending on snow condition in Interlaken on the Hoehematte (1 km / 0.6 miles) or in Boenigen (5 km / 3.1 miles).
Tobogganing has a long tradition in the Jungfrau Region; most of the sledge-runs are located in the Grindelwald region (approx. 60 km / 37 miles), and there also are runs in Wengen and Muerren as well as in the ski areas near Interlaken (Beatenberg-Niederhorn, Habkern and Saxeten). Even at night, toboggan runs to the villages of Grindelwald or Beatenberg, after a cozy evening with a cheese fondue in the rustic atmosphere of a mountain hut, are always an unforgettable experience.
other Winter Sports:
include indoor sports such as Badminton, Tennis, Squash, Bowling, Swimming and Fitness, and there's an Indoor Shooting Range and an Indoor Climbing Hall; or adventure sports such as Ice Climbing, Heli Skiing, Paragliding and Sky Diving, or more relaxed activities such as Winter Hiking or Snowshoe Trekking, Curling, Ice Hockey and Ice Skating at Interlaken's ice sports center (the "Eissportzentrum Boedeli" is open from October through March).
Go Out: (Dining / Entertainment / Nightlife)
The Interlaken region offers anything from Swiss to exotic, from peaceful to mind boggling or traditional to trendy. You will find plenty of dining options at one of the approx. 100 restaurants from traditional Swiss and local cuisine to international cuisine representing almost every country of the world, and afterwards there's ample entertainment at one of the 50 bars, pubs, discos or clubs till late into the night and morning.
Casino Kursaal Interlaken:
The Casino Kursaal Interlaken is a unique complex which was built at the end of the 19th century with spacious halls and elegant gardens. The tradition of gambling at the casino dates way back to 1858. Today you find slot machines, Black Jack, Poker and American Roulette tables - try your luck or visit the Swiss Folklore Show at the Restaurant "Spycher".
Interlaken has two movie theatres, the Ciné Rex and the Rex piccolo offering evening showings every day and afternoon showings on Saturdays and Sundays.
Höheweg Interlaken: True to its role as the center of the entire Berner Oberland region, Interlaken stocks an ample supply of souvenirs, chocolate, watches and sports equipment. You'll find all the handicrafts and art objects you could possibly need on the Hoehëweg, Interlaken's main street, and around the Interlaken West railway station.
In general, the shop opening hours in the Canton of Bern are as follows:
9 AM - 6:30 PM (5 PM on Saturdays); some shops close an hour or two for lunch; Sundays closed.
However, in the popular tourism regions, and especially during high seasons, many shops have longer business hours - as late as 10:30 PM, and also are open on Sundays.
The Interlaken Markttag (Market Day) in May with about 80 market stands mostly offers wood carvings, leather goods, textiles, souvenirs, toys, cassettes, alp cheese and butter, fruits, honey, and much more....
Throughout the year, there are several special markets (e.g. Flea Market, Easter Market or Christmas Market) in Interlaken and nearby villages.
William Tell Open-Air Theatre: (June - September)
Friedrich Schiller’s dramatic tale of William Tell, Switzerland’s heroic freedom fighter, has been performed on the scenic stage in Matten’s Rugen forest since 1912. The large "Tell family" is made up of over 170 actors - each one an amateur, from extras to leading characters. Many horses, cows and goats also play their part in making each open-air performance an impressive spectacle. The auditorium provides covered seating for up to 2300 people. German spoken. The performances take place s on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Greenfield Festival: (in June)
In mid-June, three days, two stages, 40 international and Swiss acts as well as top international bands from the alternative rock scene. Interlaken's Greenfield gives you the chance to discover interesting new bands including home-grown from Switzerland. This Festival is the only music event to include the return journey by public transport from every Swiss railway station to the festival site for fans buying tickets in Switzerland.
International Trucker- & Country Festival: (in June)
During three days at the end of June, the mammoth rendez-vous for hundreds of (for once quiet) trucks, proudy-polished powerful motorbikes, weekend cowboys with Stetsons and boots, country music fans and countless families transforms Interlaken's former military airfield into a fantastic festival site.
Jungfrau Music Festival: (in August)
The Jungfrau Music Festival in Interlaken is one of the most important events on the Swiss classical calendar. Performers at this annual summer spectacle always include leading international orchestras and soloists.
Inferno Triathlon: (in August)
New dimensions in a magnificent mountain world - the most beautiful and spectacular endurance event in the Swiss mountains! From Thun (560 m / 1,837 ft above sea level) up to the Schilthorn summit (3,000 m / 9,840 ft): 3.1 km / 1.9 miles swimming (Lake Thun: from Thun to Oberhofen), 86 km / 53.4 miles biking (from Oberhofen via Sigriswil, Beatenberg, Interlaken, Meiringen and Grosse Scheidegg to Grindelwald), 31 km / 19.3 miles mountain biking (from Grindelwald via Kleine Scheidegg, Wengen and Lauterbrunnen to Stechelberg) and 25 km / 15.5 miles uphill run (from Stechelberg via Lauterbrunnen and Muerren to the top of the Schilthorn).
Jungfrau Marathon: (in September)
With its length of 42.195 km (26.224 miles) and a climb of 1,839 meters (6,032 ft), the Jungfrau Marathon is one of the most beautiful marathons in the world, but also said to be the toughest marathon in the world. The Jungfrau marathon takes place every year starting in Interlaken and ending at the Kleine Scheidegg. The course is set amid the supereb Alpine setting of Eiger, Moench and Jungfrau, and ranges from the idyllic Lake Brienz to the foot of the Eiger North Face.
Calendar of Events in Interlaken
Jungfrau Region Museum of Tourism: (Open May - October).
The first regional museum of its kind in Switzerland, this museum traces the history of travel and tourism to the Jungfrau Region. Many exhibits date back some 200 years and range from local crafts and hotel interiors to folklore, fashions and means of transportation. Located in Unterseen - Interlaken in a charming 17th century villa.
Tin Figure Museum: (Open April - October).
This remarkable exhibition is a beautiful blend of art and entertainment, comprising some 150 scenes from world history. From Old Egypt to Antic Greece, to the Roman Empire, to the Swiss hero Winkelried, and up to World War II. You'll be mesmerised by the multitude of miniature figures on display. The Tin Figure Museum is located at the Interlaken Castle - the old 12th century monastery.
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