The beautiful town of Interlaken, Switzerland is located in a small valley of the magnificent Alps. The name Interlaken also gives a picture of its location, which is a place between two beautiful lakes, Lake Thun to the west and Lake Brienz to the east. Traveling to Interlaken is coming to a land with lots of activities associated with nature, such as climbing, hiking, skiing, paragliding,… And especially this is the starting point for you to reach the top of Jungfrau – the roof of Europe.
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So, is Interlaken worth visiting, what to do in Interlaken and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Interlaken for the first-time? Let’s check out our Interlaken travel blog (Interlaken blog) with the fullest Interlaken travel guide (Interlaken guide, Interlaken city guide, Interlaken tourist guide) from how to get to Interlaken, where to stay, best places to visit, and things to do in Interlaken to find out the answer!
Interlaken travel blog: How to get to Interlaken Switzerland from other European cities?
Interlaken is located in the Bernese Oberland region, the central of Switzerland, so it is very convenient if you are traveling from other cities such as Bern, Zurich,… It’s also near some major airports, so getting to Interlaken by plane and train is very simple. The rail network in Switzerland is famously efficient, modern and extensive.
If you come to Switzerland by air
Bern, Switzerland’s capital city, has the closest airport to Interlaken (about 50 minutes by train) but only connect to some European destinations. Zurich airport is much larger and connect to many destinations all over the world from Korea to Philadelphia and is better connected by train. It takes about two hours to travel from Zurich to Interlaken by train.
Take the train to Interlaken
Interlaken has two railway stations: Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost (East). Westbound is slightly closer in town so if you have the option to get off at either station, West is probably more convenient. If you can, book your train tickets early to pay less and get a better deal. You can book in advance via the Swiss SBB app or book through Trainline to manage your trip itinerary for the most convenience.
Interlaken travel guide: How to get around in Interlaken?
The town of Interlaken itself is very small and easy to explore on foot, but you will need to use public transport such as train and calbe to get to the larger areas of Interlaken. There is a shuttle bus within Interlaken and to the popular ski resorts in Grindelwald.
If you plan to stay in Interlaken for about 5 days, you should buy a Jungfrau Pass before going to Switzerland. This pass costs about 176 CHF including train, cable car, bus, boat and mountain car. The two most important routes are the mountain train from Interlaken to Harder Kulm and the train to the top of Jungfraujoch included in the pass. It should be noted that in summer and winter tickets are different and depending on how much you want to explore, a pass will be more cost-effective than buying single tickets.
Interlaken blog: Where to go, what to do in Interlaken, things to do in Interlaken?
Stroll around the town of Interlaken and the two lakes
Interlaken is a rather small town, surrounded by majestic mountains, like a valley surrounded by spectacular snow-capped mountain range. The streets in the town are not too bustling, mainly with souvenir shops, stores, and restaurants. Walking around town is okay, everyone can walk, take pictures of the streets, houses and majestic mountains in the background.
On either side of the town are two small lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, and the river that connects these two lakes called the Aare River and it flows through the center of Interlaken. You remember to go to the Weissenau place next to Lake Thun for a panoramic view of the lake, then stroll along Lake Brienz you can stop for coffee in the streets of petite Interlaken.
Reach the top of Harder Kulm for a panoramic view of Interlaken
One of the easiest viewpoints for sightseeing is to take the Cable car to the top of Harder Kulm viewing platform. From here, you can enjoy a panoramic view of Interlaken town with Lake Thun and Lake Brienz on both sides. Harder Kulm Peak is located right at Interlaken Ost train station, so it is quite convenient to travel. Tickets to the top are around 34CHF/round trip, which is quite high, but the view at the top is really worth the money.
At the top of Harder Kulm there is an observatory like the Sky Walk in Hallstatt. On misty days, you can admire a sea of clouds in the air, covering the valley below. Also, the funicular doesn’t usually operate during the winter months from December to April, which is something you need to keep in mind when planning your trip to Interlaken.
St. Beatus Caves
Address: Seestrasse 30, 3800 Sundlauenen, Switzerland
Hours: 9AM–5PM/Friday, Saturday: 9AM–8:30PM
Near Lake Thun is St. Beatus, a system of caves in the heart of a Swiss mountain, but quite close, only takes about 1 hour to visit. You can recognize the green foliage and waterfall if you are a fan of the famous movie the Lord of the Rings. This area is quite wet and here you should remember to wear high shoes and avoid slipping.
Address: 3800 Interlaken, Switzerland
Hours: Open 24 hours
This park appears beautifully on sunny summer or spring days when the snow has stopped falling, the vast green grass is surrounded by majestic mountains. This area is very peaceful, a very beautiful Swiss scene, also the place where skydiving participants landed in this area.
Day trips from Interlaken
Day trip to the mountain villages of the Jungfrau region
Obviously, coming to Interlaken is having to visit the villages around the Jungfrau region such as Wengen, Lauterbrunnen, Grindelwald and go to the top of Jungfrau, the roof of Europe. Interlaken is a transit point, the first point for you to travel from other cities for your visit to the Jungfrau region. You can read all the articles about the Jungfrau region and its villages here.
Visiting Schilthorn-Piz Gloria
Address: Schilthorn, 3825 Mürren, Switzerland
If you’re a fan of James Bond, you won’t want to miss the chance to take a day trip up Schilthorn Mountain, which was the setting of the 1969 film Spy 007 “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service”. You can also visit the super cute village of Mürren before taking the cable car up to the revolving restaurant and the Bond exhibit at the top. Sometimes the weather is nice, you also have the opportunity to see the peak of Mont Blanc as well as three UNESCO world heritage peaks.
Interlaken guide: Where to stay in Interlaken?
Budget stay: There are a number of hostels with bunk beds that you can refer to, such as NO. 8 Boutique Hotel (Agoda.com or Booking.com), which is just a 5-minute walk from Interlaken West train station. At first glance, it is a combination of ancient and modern features. This is the hostel I stayed when I came to Interlaken, it’s very good, quiet, has its own kitchen with a place to cook as well as a separate dining table for guests, very convenient when you buy groceries from the supermarket.
Mid-Range Hotel: Right on banks of the River Aare, Boutique Hotel Bellevue (Agoda.com or Booking.com) is one of the prettiest hotels in Interlaken. This is a 4-star hotel located in a stately house from the early 19th century, Bellevue has light, simple and airy furniture, most of the rooms have a balcony with a super nice view.
Luxury Hotel: Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage (Agoda.com or Booking.com) is located on the banks of the River Aare with views of Mount Eiger and is less than a 4-minute walk from Interlaken Ost Train Station. Beau Rivage is sure to be the perfect hotel for a luxurious, relaxing stay in Interlaken.
Below we recommend more best budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
- Hotel Roessli (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hotel Krebs Interlaken (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Hapimag Resort Interlaken (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
- Metropole Hotel Interlaken (Agoda.com or Booking.com)
Interlaken travel blog: Where to eat in Interlaken?
Eating in Switzerland in general or Jungfrau in particular is very expensive, a meal in restaurants in Switzerland costs from 20CHF. So, when traveling here, I often com to groceries, supermarkets to buy food and cook for myself, especially in hotels that have kitchens and dining areas for guests. If you stay in Interlaken, there are quite a few large supermarkets with a variety of food to choose from.
If you go to Harder Kulm, you can choose a restaurant right at the foot of the mountain, near Interlaken Ost station. This is actually the canteen of a hostel, they serve buffet food, the price is also quite soft. I chose a set of salmon rice, priced at only 17CHF, nice and airy seats with a beautiful view of the scenery of Interlaken.
In general, traveling to Jungfrau you need to have a specific plan in advance at home. From checking the weather to determining a reasonable time to go, making sure the weather is beautiful when you reach the top. Then find the best way to travel to save money. Because travel in Switzerland is very expensive, especially train tickets going up to Jungfrau. If you have a reasonable plan, you will save a lot of money for 3-5 days in Jungfrau.
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in Interlaken and Switzerland you can refer to
- 4G WiFi (SG Pick Up) for Europe
- 4G Portable WiFi for Europe from Uroaming
- 3G/4G SIM Card for Multiple European Countries (HK Airport Pick Up)
- Half Day Trip to Mount Titlis with Cable Car from Lucerne
- Jungfraujoch Day Tour from Lucerne
- Day Trip to Mount Titlis with Cable Car (Zurich Departure)
- Swiss Travel Pass
- Jungfraujoch Day Tour from Interlaken
- Paragliding Experience in Interlaken
- Day Trip to Grindelwald and Interlaken from Zürich
- Sulwald Snowshoeing Experience from Interlaken
- Schilthorn Piz Gloria Ticket from Murren
- Harder Kulm – Top of Interlaken Funicular Ticket
- Jungfraujoch Top of Europe Multiple Tour Options & Departure Points
- Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe Ticket from Interlaken
- Jungfrau Travel Pass
- The Golden Eagle Tandem Paragliding Experience in Interlaken
- The Top Flight Tandem Paragliding Experience in Interlaken
Are you looking for more Switzerland travel guide and top things to do in Switzerland: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Read more: Interlaken Lauterbrunnen blog — Visit the beautiful town of Interlaken & dreamy Lauterbrunnen valley? And here.