Interlaken - the best things to do

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Interlaken is one of the most popular vacation resorts in Switzerland and is located between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Thanks to its location in the Jungfrau region, Interlaken is the perfect starting point for excursions and activities of all kinds. Interlaken is also known as the adrenaline capital of Switzerland

Find out more about Interlaken

13 Highlights Interlaken

  • The thundering Giessbach Falls on the south side of Lake Brienz impress with 500m deep falls.
  • Lake Brienz with an area of 30 km2 lies northeast of Interlaken
  • Lake Thun with an area of 48 km2 is located southwest of Interlaken.
  • The Harder Kulm is the local mountain of Interlaken and can be reached by the Harderbahn in eight minutes.
  • The Schilthorn with the Piz Gloria is accessible by the Schilthornbahn. The Schilthornbahn in Stechelberg can be reached from Interlaken after 50 min by public transport.
  • The Schynige Platte can be reached via Wilderswil (4 min from Interlaken by train). The rack railroad goes up in 50 min and passes 4 tunnels and 8 bridges on the way
  • Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are served by excursion boats, including historic paddle steamers.
  • The mystical grottoes of the St. Beatushöhle are also regularly visited by pilgrims.
  • Grindelwald First with the Cliff Walk can be reached from Interlaken in less than 2 hours.
  • The Jungfrau Joch takes about 1.5 hours from Interlaken via Grindelwald. The trip with the Jungfrau Railway takes you to almost 3,500 m above sea level
  • More than 45 mountain railroads, cable cars, chair and ski lifts are in the immediate vicinity.
  • More than 200 km of ski slopes and a dense network of well-signposted hiking trails all around are within easy reach.
  • Interlaken is a Dorado for lovers of activities and nature experiences of all kinds.
Skiing (Photo: MySwitzerland)Skiing (Photo: MySwitzerland)
Adventure Tour Canyoning Grimsel (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Adventure Tour Canyoning Grimsel (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Excursion destinations Interlaken

The Jungfrau Region around Interlaken offers numerous exciting excursion destinations, which you can reach on different ways.

By the way, with the Jungfrau Travel Pass you can enjoy free travel on the mountain railroads to all attractions within three to eight days. The Winterlaken Card

Harder Kulm

On the Harder Kulm, Interlaken's local mountain, you can experience the most beautiful sunsets and look forward to plenty of photo opportunities. At an altitude of 1,300 meters, there is a viewing platform on which a castle-like restaurant is enthroned. The Harder funicular goes directly from the train station in Interlaken Ost to the Harder Kulm.


The Schilthornbahn runs as an aerial cableway in three successive sections from Stechelberg to the Schilthorn. The revolving restaurant Piz Gloria at 3000 m above sea level is by far the most popular destination on the Schilthorn. Via various walks you get a little closer to the overwhelming mountain panorama, provided you have a head for heights. On the Schilthorn you will also learn a lot about the James Bond film "On Her Majesty's Secret Service" and its actors. It was filmed here in 1969.

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Harder Kulm viewing platform (Photo: Interlaken Tourismus)Harder Kulm viewing platform (Photo: Interlaken Tourismus)
Schiltgrat Piz Gloria (Photo: Schilthornbahnen)Schiltgrat Piz Gloria (Photo: Schilthornbahnen)

Schynige Platte

The idyllic Schynige Platte is also a popular excursion destination. A fragrant alpine garden with over 700 alpine plants awaits you here at 2000 meters above sea level, as well as magnificent panoramic hiking trails. A historic steam locomotive overcomes a whole 1383 meters of altitude on the 7.26 km route. The mountain station is located at 1967 m above sea level. The average gradient of the railroad line is 19 %, within the Gräti tunnel it is even 25 %.

Grindelwald First

The Grindelwald First, on the other hand, attracts visitors with a cliff walk, the crystal-clear Bachalpsee, a 700-square-meter playground at the intermediate gondola station Bort, and the Restaurant First, where you can indulge in regional delicacies on the sun terrace in the midst of the fantastic mountain panorama.


Excursions to the heavily firned Jungfraujoch at an altitude of 3,466 meters are unforgettable. It is not for nothing that almost a million people visit Europe's highest railroad station every year, which can be reached by the Jungfraujochbahn. Visitors can expect a breathtaking view of some of the four-thousand-meter peaks in the Bernese Alps. Created by two mountain guides, the unique 1,000 square meter ice palace is also very impressive.

Brienzer Rothorn

Visitors are taken up to the 2,350-meter Brienzer Rothorn by the Brienzer Rothorn cable car and a subsequent aerial cableway. Below the summit there is a picturesque ice lake and the Rothorn Kulm inn, which also offers rooms for overnight stays.

Grottoes of the St. Beatus Cave

Where there are mountains, there are also impressive natural spectacles. The stalactites and mystical grottoes of the St. Beatushöhle above Lake Thun were created over millions of years. A prepared, illuminated path leads about a kilometer through gorges, colorful halls and past underground lakes. Pilgrimage routes run from several boat stations to the cave.

Giessbach Falls

The Giessbach comes from the Faulhorn area and plunges first over 14 steps and then 500m into the depths. The Giessbach Falls are located on the southeastern shore of Lake Brienz. A hiking trail leads to the waterfall. You can also walk directly under the waterfall via this path. The upper steps of the waterfall were already named after Bernese heroes in the 19th century.

Giessbach Falls (Photo: MySwitzerland)Giessbach Falls (Photo: MySwitzerland)
St Beatus Caves (Photo: MySwitzerland)St Beatus Caves (Photo: MySwitzerland)

Swiss Activities tips Interlaken

While researching Interlaken, we noticed some special features that we would like to pass on to you as tips

**Tip 1 If you want to try a paragliding flight for the first time, Interlaken is the place to be. Interlaken is a particularly popular place for tandem jumps. There are especially many professional pilots here who will take you on the journey

**Tip 2 A nice trip into the nature is a ride with the Wengernalpbahn from Lauterbrunnen. From Interlaken you can reach the train station in less than half an hour. In Wengen you can enjoy the view of the Bernese Alps. Below is the spectacular Lauterbrunnentai. The Staubbach Falls in the distance are easy to spot as they glow white. Wengen is completely car-free and a place to relax

**Tip 3 Have you ever walked under a thundering waterfall? You can do so at the Giessbach waterfalls. A hiking trail leads directly under the falls

Activities in Interlaken

The Swiss vacation region between mountains and lakes forms a center of the eastern Bernese Oberland. It is an ideal destination to practice various sports activities all year round. Every season has its special charms in this atmospheric natural landscape.

Active vacationers can experience the region in various ways, be it on water, on land or in the air. There are numerous providers who have everything from guided hikes to canyoning in their program

If you want to take a break and recover from the worries of everyday life, you will find idyllic retreats and special excursions that will bring you close to nature.

Paragliding Tandem (Photo: Paragliding Interlaken)Paragliding Tandem (Photo: Paragliding Interlaken)
Canyoning Grimsel (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Canyoning Grimsel (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Lakes Brienz and Thun offer a unique water sports world with fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains

Blown by the fresh water breeze, you can practice both traditional and new water sports and explore the two bodies of water in your very own way. You can also practice water activities on the rivers like the Aare or the Lütschine.

Canoeing and SUP in Interlaken

Canoeing is possible in Interlaken all year round. Between Leissigen near Interlaken and the Delta Park near Gwatt, there is a canoe trail in the southern part of Lake Thun that is about 17 kilometers long and can be divided into stages as desired. You can rent canoes at four different stations.

You can also explore the impressive canoe route, which passes picturesque villages and idyllic bays, by Stand Up Paddling (SUP) On Lake Brienz, a separate paddle trail with several routes has also been designed. On Lake Thun you can take an advanced SUP Interlaken course.

Kayak and Aare Böötle

Lake Brienz is also good for kayaking. By kayak, for example, you can get very close to the breathtaking rock face popular with climbers. It is located on the south side of Lake Brienz. You can also reach the Giessbach Falls and the Snail Island very well by kayak.

In summer people like to take the rubber dinghy on the Aare in Interlaken. At the Böötle you get in with it at one point of the river and let yourself drift. Between Thun and Bern is the most popular stretch for this. Guided Böötle for small groups let you experience the pleasure even more relaxed.

Jetboat and excursion boat trip Interlaken

If you like it a bit faster and more lively, book an exciting trip on a jet boat. At high speed, it goes across Lake Brienz including action-packed 360-degree turns. Especially in winter, a jetboat ride is an experience. The view is of the snow-covered mountain peaks.

With the excursion boat, you sail across the lakes in a very relaxed way and enjoy the scenery. In addition there is a good meal and/or a good drink, for example on the historical paddle steamer Day ticket Lake Thun and Lake Brienz you have the opportunity to experience both lakes at once.

 Boat tour (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken) Boat tour (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
Kayak tour (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Kayak tour (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Water sports centers and swimming in Interlaken

You can also go wakeboarding, waterskiing and windsurfing in any of the towns around Lakes Thun and Brienz, be it Spiez, Gunten, Thun, Leissigen, Iseltwald or Brienz. There are several water sports centers where you can rent the equipment you need, participate in courses and guided excursions

Of course you can also enjoy the lake scenery of Interlaken while swimming in the 17 lidos of the region.

Rafting and Canyoning in Interlaken

Unforgettable is the adventurous river rafting, where you conquer the wild mountain rivers of the region with paddle and rubber dinghy. Together with family, friends and a guide you will go through rushing rapids, past thundering waterfalls and through a breathtaking landscape. Rafting from Interlaken takes place mostly on the Lütschine.

Similarly impressive is Canyoning in Interlaken, for which there are countless variations. Depending on how much of a challenge you are looking for, the unique outdoor experience is adapted by the providers to the desired level of difficulty. From safe beginner tours to challenging gorges, everything is possible in the Interlaken region. Popular here, for example, are the Saxeten Gorge and the Chli Schliere Canyon at the Grimsel mountain pass.

Canyoning Grimsel (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Canyoning Grimsel (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
Canyoning Slide Fun Chli Schliere (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Canyoning Slide Fun Chli Schliere (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Hiking, mountain hiking and glacier hiking in Interlaken

The best way to experience a wild and romantic mountain world is by hiking. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe already knew: "Only where you have been on foot have you really been." And after all, just like his contemporary, the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, the great poet himself was a frequent visitor to Interlaken

For hiking in Interlaken, hikers can choose from an extensive network of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and numerous signposted theme trails.

Some beautiful hiking trails:

  • Ferry station Iseltwald to the Giessbach Falls and back: By ferry from Interlaken, 12 km, 3.5 hours, 290 meters altitude difference. The moderately difficult hiking route leads directly along the southern shore of Lake Brienz
  • Brienz to the Giessbach Falls and back: by train from Interlaken Ost to Brienz (16 min), 12.3 km, 3.5 hours, 280 vertical meters. The medium-difficulty hiking route also leads directly along the southern shore of Lake Brienz
  • Schynige Platte circular route via Daube vantage point and the Leiterweg with views of Lake Brienz, 6 km, 2 hours, 150 m difference in altitude (moderately difficult)
  • From Interlaken Ost to the Harder Kulm: 9 km, 4 hours, 720 meters altitude difference (moderately difficult, but good physical condition required. Return with the Harderbahn.
  • Lakeside trail on Lake Thun: between Merligen and Interlaken, below the Beatenberg on the north shore of Lake Thun

The spectacular ridge walks on steep high-altitude trails are ideal for mountain hikers. Passionate hikers visit the mighty Augstmatthorn, which towers directly above Lake Brienz. It offers a fantastic view over the lake valley of Interlaken

  • Augstmatthorn: start at the mountain station of the Harder cable car, end in Habkern, 15 km, 6 hrs, 1050 meters ascent, 1300 meters descent. The trail often zigzags, making it less strenuous. Stops along the way: Wannichnubel, Ringgenberg with the Burgseeli, Roteflue, over the ridge height to Horetegg (magnificent panoramic view).Further along the ridge path to Tritt, over the Suggiture to the Augstmatthorn. Here you can see numerous ibexes. Very steeply it goes over an alpine ridge into the valley to the parking lot Lombachalp. Over the Wiesenrain, via Schwendallmi to the Bol bridge and to Habkern.

The Morgenberghorn is also a popular hiking destination for hiking professionals who appreciate the challenge.

An unforgettable experience is a guided glacier hike as an excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch

Climbing spots and climbing hall Interlaken

One of the most famous spots for climbing in Interlaken is the Hintisberg. Challenging routes for climbing can also be found near Neuhaus. Adrenalin junkies should try the deep water soloing in Sundlauenen, which can only be reached by rubber dinghy.

Climbing hall Interlaken

Open year-round, Interlaken has an indoor climbing gym that offers 820 m2 of climbing space. The difficulty levels range from 4a to 8a. There is also a bouldering grotto here. Climbing courses are offered for beginners.

Climbing and bouldering around Interlaken

climbing spotdifficultyrockcharacteristicsnumber of routesbest time
Hintisberg3c to 5blimestonesteep wall climbing with numerous slabs and roofs77 over 6 sectorssummer to early autumn
Neuhaus4c to 7aQuarzy limestonefor hardmovers (full body)60spring and autumn
Sundlauenen4c to 7aLimeDeep Water Soloing (free solo climbing over deep water)8 in 2 sectorsSummer


From Interlaken you drive through the Lütschental towards Grindelwald and turn left at Hotel Stalden near Burglauenen. Follow the mountain road until you reach the parking lot Access: You walk along the road until you reach a grassy ridge. Here the hiking trail runs in the direction of Mändlenen. Before the first telephone pole turn left and follow the path. Cross two small streams to reach the foot of the wall.


You reach the Hintere Ey from Interlaken in 15 min. There you take the routes 11, 6 and 9. Access: Cross the bridge at the parking lot and walk left along the river. After about 15 minutes you have reached the rock


To Sundlauenen you can take the bus and get off at the bus stop Pilgerweg. By car you drive to the parking bay shortly behind the Hotel Beatus Access: You get from the bus stop in 5 min to the Schiffländte. Then you paddle about 200 m with the paddle boat in the direction of Thun to the rocks.

Climbing (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Climbing (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
Climbing on the rock (Photo: Interlaken Tourismus)Climbing on the rock (Photo: Interlaken Tourismus)

Canyon Swing, Bungee Jumping and Rope Park Interlaken

Bungee jumping on the Stockhorn to the west of Lake Thun offers plenty of action. However, this means a 45-minute drive for you. But there are guided tours from Interlaken. First you go by gondola to a height of 138 meters and then you fly in free fall towards the water of the Stockensee

After all, at 90 meters is the platform in the Black Walls near Grindelwald, from which you swing with a rope at a speed of 120km / h through the narrow glacier gorge.

Not quite so high up is the Seilpark Interlaken, an adventurous forest playground with rope slides, Tarzan swings and wooden bridges. Not only children enjoy a trip to the Adventure Park.

Canyon Swing (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Canyon Swing (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
 Rope Park (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken) Rope Park (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Paragliding and skydiving in Interlaken

To experience Interlaken from above, you don't necessarily have to use a helicopter

Parachuting including a sightseeing flight over Interlaken and over the trio of peaks Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger is exciting. But the region also offers other parachute jumps. From 4,000 meters you then dare to jump with the parachute on your back.

By the way, paragliding is becoming more and more popular in Interlaken. How about an atmospheric evening flight at sunset or a 40-minute thermal flight high above the Jungfrau region?

There are also combination offers such as Spin and Fly, which combines a speedy ride on a jet boat followed by a tandem flight, or a Funky Chocolate Flight, which includes an additional visit to a high-quality Swiss chocolatier. Several paragliding operators, who also offer flying with delta gliders, serve different take-off spots.

Beatenberg paragliding (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Beatenberg paragliding (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
Skydive Interlaken (Photo: Skydive Interlaken)Skydive Interlaken (Photo: Skydive Interlaken)

Mountain bike, monster scooter or e-bike in Interlaken

With a mountain bike you can conquer the peaks of the fantastic mountain world. In the Diemtigtal Nature Park and in Schwanden near Brienz, you can go downhill on prepared trails through the stunning mountain panorama. The paths along the lakeshores are used for cycling in Interlaken by pleasure cyclists, who travel by city bike or e-bike. For racing cyclists, the serpentine mountain roads are ideal. Guided tours by e-bike start in Interlaken.

You can ride the Monster Scooter down the mountain from Isenfluh. Guided tours are offered from Matten near Interlaken.

Interlaken mountain railroads

Those who prefer to explore this fantastic region at a leisurely pace can let the 45 cable cars, mountain railroads, chair lifts and ski lifts take you up to the summits. At certain stations, you can switch to a different mountain railroad each time and be taken all the way to the snow-covered Jungfraujoch if you wish.

While the mountain railroads are used by hikers from spring to fall, it's the skiers and snowboarders in winter. After all, there are five snow-sure ski areas in the region with 200 kilometers of excellently groomed slopes and family-friendly offers.

E-bike Lauterbrunnen (Photo: Flying Wheels)E-bike Lauterbrunnen (Photo: Flying Wheels)
Monster Scooter Isenfluh (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Monster Scooter Isenfluh (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)

Skiing, snowboarding, ski touring and cross-country skiing in Interlaken

From Interlaken you can reach several large and small ski resorts within a short time.

Ski resorts in and around Interlaken

Ski resortsPiste kmAltitude (m a.s.l.)Number of lifts/liftsDistance from Interlaken
Axalp ob Brienz151400 to 2000428km
kleine Scheidegg/Männlichen-Grindelwald/Wengen102944-23202412km
First Grindelwald491050-25001020km

If the ski areas in the Interlaken vacation region seem too small for you, you can also very quickly get to the huge ski areas in the surrounding area

Winter hiking, snowshoeing and sledging in Interlaken

Besides skiing or snowboarding, you can also go winter hiking or snowshoeing in Interlaken. The tours are easily accessible around the lakes and in the mountains of the area. Guided snowshoe tours are offered from Matten near Interlaken also for Isenfluh.

A special excursion is a snowshoe hike including sledding and fondue. It is also offered from Matten near Interlaken for Isenfluh. A 4km long sledging tour for families awaits you as a guided tour in Sulwald near Isenfluh.

70 km of toboggan runs can be reached from Interlaken. Many toboggan runs are also opened for night sledging. The mountain railroads and restaurants are open then. Not all toboggan runs are illuminated then, so you better bring a headlamp

Some selected toboggan runs in Interlaken:

  • Niederhorn: with the mountain railroad to the top, descent from the top station to the middle station (fondue possible, on Fridays and Saturdays also at night)
  • Axalp: by post bus to Axalp, by chair lift to Windegg, 3km downhill to Dotzweg (Rösti on the way at Restaurant Hilten)
  • Wiriehorn in the nature park Diemtigtal: with the mountain railroad to the top, from the mountain station Nüegg 5km through the fir forest down to the valley (on Fridays at night)
  • Grimmialp in the Diemtigtal Nature Park: for children at the snow playground Schlaraffenland (land of milk and honey)
Snowshoeing (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)Snowshoeing (Photo: Outdoor Interlaken)
Niederhorn star sledding (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)Niederhorn star sledding (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)

Events Interlaken

Throughout the year, exciting events are organized between Thun and Brienz. From sports to art and music to culinary delights, one or more events are dedicated to each theme. One of the top events, for example, is the annual Greenfield Festival at the Interlaken airfield, which brings international rock and pop stars to the stage.

The Brienzersee Rockfestival features mostly regional musicians, but the atmosphere is still incredible in the evening hours right on the lake. For classical music fans, there are the Thunerseespiele on a specially designed water stage and the Interlaken Classics, which last several weeks and feature concerts at various venues.

You should definitely see the spectacular stunts of the freestyle mountain bikers at the Swatch Rocket Air. The breathtaking show is accompanied by workshops and culinary highlights.

The best of the best compete at the Ironman Switzerland Thun, the Inferno Triathlon from Thun to the Schilthorn and the International Jungfrau Marathon

The fact that the Swiss are a down-to-earth people can be seen in the many traditional events. These include the Chästeilet in Justistal, where the best cheese of the Jungfrau region is chosen, and the Alpabzug every September in the idyllic Suldtal. Not only can you marvel at the colorfully decorated animals, but you can also sample some of the region's delicacies. An overview of the autumn events can be found on this page of Interlaken Tourism

The Christmas markets in the villages of the region are almost fairytale-like with their wintery-romantic charm.

Ironman Switzerland Thun (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)Ironman Switzerland Thun (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)
Inferno Triathlon Thun (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)Inferno Triathlon Thun (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)

Hotels Interlaken

You will find far more than 1000 hotels and overnight accommodations in and around Interlaken. More than half of the hotels and guesthouses are 3-star establishments, also in the 4-star range you will find many overnight accommodations. Twenty hotels in Interlaken have a SPA and wellness area. As many as 34 hotels in Interlaken have integrated a swimming pool.

Hotel Golday

Located directly on the Aare River is the Dreisternehotel Golday. It is a bed-and-breakfast aparthotel and offers a beautiful view of the Jungfrau massif from the breakfast room. Directly on the shore and promenade of the Aare River, the hotel is located in the Unterseen district. From the center of Interlaken you can reach it in five minutes by foot. 14 comfortable apartments have 2 - 4 rooms each.

Walters Hostel Interlaken

The Walters Hostel is ideal for people on a budget. Here you still don't have to sleep in a common room. There are twin rooms with shared bathrooms. The hostel is located in the heart of Interlaken and only 800 meters from Jungfraupark.

Restaurants Interlaken

There are more than 200 restaurants and bars in Interlaken and the surrounding area. The dishes offered are as varied as their price ranges. There are Swiss specialties as well as oriental cuisine. Almost all restaurants have one thing in common they offer fresh and regional products. Some restaurants offer beautiful sun terraces with panoramic views. Others score points with an atmospheric and rustic atmosphere.

The Beach Cafe Bönigen

The Beach Cafe Bönigen with pools and beach for the summer is located directly on Lake Brienz.The food in the restaurant is international and also vegetarian. A large children's playground and bicycle parking are also available. Access is possible everywhere with strollers and wheelchairs. A winter garden is available for cooler days. It is open from mid-April to the end of September.

Restaurant Luegibrüggli

The Restaurant Luegibrüggli is located in Unterseen. It also has guest rooms and is also barrier-free. The restaurant serves regional and vegetarian cuisine. A nice beer garden belongs to the restaurant. Open also in winter with rest days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Hotel Golday (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)Hotel Golday (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)
 Cafe Beach Bönigen (Photo: Interlaken Tourism) Cafe Beach Bönigen (Photo: Interlaken Tourism)

Arrival to Interlaken

Interlaken is very centrally located in Switzerland.


The municipality of Interlaken is conveniently located in the Bernese Oberland and can be reached by car via several pass roads and via the A8 from Valais, Uri and Lucerne. It is also possible to get there by car or by train through the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, which branch off from Interlaken.

Public transport

Trains from Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva run to Interlaken every half hour, providing excellent connections to the Swiss airports. Depending on the departure station, you can be in the Jungfrau Region within 45 minutes to a maximum of three hours. The best means of transportation on site are the numerous mountain railroads, with which you can reach every mountain region around Interlaken.


  • What excursions and sights are there in Interlaken?
  • What activities can you do in Interlaken?