Interlaken, Switzerland … a town so beautiful it doesn’t feel real.
Oh, Interlaken, you’re absolutely stunning. All aspects of this Swiss town come together to create the most spectacular scenery, which includes dozens of mountains, two teal-colored lakes, a river connecting the two lakes and vibrant-colored houses. You may need to pinch yourself as a reminder that you’re not dreaming. Put it on your bucket list now — better yet, start planning your adventure to Interlaken with this go-to travel planning guide.
Don’t miss it
Spend a morning hiking one of the many Swiss Mountains surrounding Interlaken. Most have easy-to-follow hiking trails with various levels of difficulty. We hiked Harder Kulm Mountain, which took about two hours each way. The actual hike was a bit tough due to the steepness, but the views from start to finish were spectacular. A viewing platform and restaurant sits at the summit. The platform offers panoramic views of both lakes, the river and the town below.
This was one of my favorite hikes during my three-month trip to Europe – although hiking in the Amalfi Coast is pretty spectacular. If hiking isn’t your thing and/or you have limited time, there is a funicular that transports you from the center of town to the top of Harder Kulm in less than 10 minutes.
Interlaken is known as the “adventure capital of the world,” so whether you are on top of the mountain or on the ground in town, you see dozens of hang-gliders and para-gliders making their descents just over your head.
Interlaken sits between two lakes with a river connecting the two bodies of water. Spend some time wandering along the river. It is so crystal clear and clean, like everything else in Interlaken. Mother Nature has a special place in her heart for this town.
In the afternoon, pop in and out of the shops along the main shopping street, Höheweg, which includes high-end clothing boutiques, chocolate shops, elegant hotels, Swiss watch shops, a variety of restaurants and dozens of other vendors. Ps. I don’t recommend leaning against or touching the swanky, fancy cars.
Must try food/drink
When traveling in Bruges I learned of the rivalry between Belgium and Swiss chocolates. You can be the judge on which is the best! In between tasting all the chocolates, be sure to nibble on the famous Swiss cheeses. Cheese fondue is very popular in Switzerland. Warm cheese and bread … why not?!
Here’s a hint
Interlaken and Switzerland, in general, can be quite expensive. If this area is just one stop on a multi-country trip, I recommend limiting your restaurant dining experiences. Instead, stock up on food at the local grocery store, or eat the much-cheaper street food. Save your money for dining experiences in more budget-friendly cities or cities with exceptional cuisine – like fish and chips in Galway or seafood in Dubrovnik.
Wish I had more time for
Adventure seekers from across the world flock to Interlaken for its array of adrenaline-pumping activities, such as canyoning, parachuting, skydiving and hang-gliding. Be prepared for higher prices than you may experience elsewhere, although the scenic landscape in Interlaken really can’t be beaten. I would have loved to go hang-gliding. Next time!
The oldest hostel in town, Balmers Hostel, is comfortable, clean, cool and centrally located. There’s tons of outdoor space to relax, and even plenty of hammocks to lounge in. If you’re a low-budget traveler, I highly recommend it. And if you haven’t stayed in a hostel before, check out my guide to staying in a hostel to decide if it’s right for you.
There are plenty of luxurious and budget-friendly hotels, as well. View them all on a map using Booking.com.
Curious where to head next? With Switzerland bordering so many countries, the options are endless. I’d recommend heading to Italy’s coast – to explore Cinque Terre – or heading into nearby Austria to visit Salzburg or Vienna.
Additional resources for planning your adventure
- A Packing List for Backpacking Europe
- Five Easy Ways to Save Money, Spend Less and Travel More
- 5 Charming Towns in Europe
- Two Week Itinerary to Europe
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