Interlaken Travel Guide
Interlaken is a top destination for visitors wanting to experience Switzerland’s mountains. It’s particularly popular among young people, as this city is a launching point for adrenaline sports adventures.
But even if you enjoy slower pursuits, Interlaken has plenty to offer.
While there are cultural and historical attractions in Interlaken, most come to engage in outdoor activities. From hang-gliding to canyoning, you’ll find countless ways to connect with nature during your visit here.
But what if your tastes don’t verge towards extreme sports? If you want an adrenaline rush that doesn’t involve rappelling down waterfalls, give jet boating a try. As you surge across Lake Brienz, your guide will fill you in on the area’s history. Along the way, you’ll also stop by sights like Giessbach Falls – not a bad deal!
The Interlaken area was once home to an impressive keep. Sadly, as often happens, its former owners let Unspunnen Castle fall into ruin. But today, it is a popular tourist attraction for locals and foreign visitors.
Access is via a relatively short path from town. Despite this, it can be irregular and steep in places, so take care en route. Once you arrive, walk amidst stones that date back to the 12th century. For over four centuries, this fortification defended the citizens of Interlaken. Try and visit during Unspunnenfest – at this time, locals compete in stone-throwing, wrestling, and yodelling contests.
Learn about the history of Interlaken by visiting the Touristik-Museum der Jungfrau-Region. Inside, you’ll find exhibits that chronicle local resident’s lives, and tourism’s rise over the past century. As you make your way through, you’ll get to see antique skis, sleds, yodelling horns, and more.
Want to check out a church before moving on? Make time in your schedule for Schlosskirche. Truth be told, there’s not much that’s special about it (except that it’s relatively old). But after a long day doing touristy stuff, this place can provide some solace, repose, and great photo ops. Be respectful of worshippers, though!
The Interlaken area is rightly famous for having some of the most impressive mountain scenery in Switzerland. Those wanting to take in some of its most spectacular sights should take a day trip to Schynige Platte. From Interlaken, the train journey takes almost an hour. But it’s worth it – the sights are amazing, and the views at Schynige Platte are even better.
Once you’ve got all the pictures you can handle, there’s plenty more to do. If you’re active, you can take a hike through sub-alpine meadows. But if the air’s just a bit too thin for your liking, you can relax, eat, and drink at the Restaurant Schynige Platte.
Speaking of drinking, experience the trademark beer of Interlaken at Rugenbraeu Brewery. Locals have been brewing this distinctive lager since 1866. But in recent times, they’ve spread their wings a little further, adding whiskey and gin distilling to their resume.
English tours of the Rugenbraeu Brewery last about an hour and cover their history & brewing process. As you might expect, you’ll get to sample their wares at the end of the tour. Admission is 15 CHF, or roughly 16.50 USD per person.
Want to get a bird’s eye view of Interlaken? Take a funicular up to the top of Harder Kulm. After an eight-minute journey, you’ll emerge hundreds of feet above the valley below. After walking the short two-kilometre Panorama trail, grab some food Harder Kulm’s castle-like restaurant.
Need a sightseeing break? Take a load off in Höhematte, one of the most popular parks in Interlaken. Occupying 35 acres of land in the centre of town, there is plenty of room to go on a jog or leisurely walk. Or, take a seat in the park’s cafe and watch paragliders land – your choice!
What To Eat
It’d be a shame if you visited Interlaken without trying Fondue. After a day in the Swiss Alps, there’s no better way to refuel than to dip bread into a rich cheese sauce. Many locals have an affinity for this dish for cultural reasons as well. In their mind, it represents Switzerland – a melting pot – perfectly.
If you’re looking for the perfect bread for your fondue night, consider Zopf. This is a tasty, braided bread that is similar in appearance to Challah. As you enjoy your loaf, consider its historic roots – for centuries, widows buried this bread with their late husbands.
For dessert, try to find one topped with Meringue. While it’s now common throughout the modern world, some historians have traced its origin to Switzerland. As if you needed another excuse to indulge!