Interlaken in the Bernese Oberland between Lakes Thun and Brienz and at the feet of the three famous peaks Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau is a holiday and conference resort of international importance, and an ideal starting point for countless excursions to the region’s top destinations.
The composer Felix Mendelssohn wrote: «If you haven’t seen the Interlaken contryside, you haven’t seen Switzerland.» The fashionable holiday resort with village character and a spacious park nestles between Lakes Thun and Brienz at an altitude of 570 metres above sea level and boasts a fantastic view of the Jungfrau Massif. The “Höheweg“, a 700-metre-long boulevard, is Interlaken’s promenade wooeing passers-by with windows of exclusive boutiques, watch and jewellery shops and luxurious hotels.
The most famous hotel along the Höheweg is without any doubt the Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. The beautiful view of the Jungfrau and the extravagant spaciousness of the appropriately furnished rooms are a reminder of the heyday of the «Belle Epoque».
Trains to the Jungfrau region in the direction of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen with connections to the railways to Mürren and from there to the Schilthorn as well as via the Kleine Scheidegg to the Jungfraujoch depart from the Interlaken Ost railway station. A fleet of ships, including one historic paddle-steamer on each lake, cruises on Lakes Thun and Brienz. Interlaken is located on the «Golden Pass» panorama route from Montreux on Lake Geneva past the luxury holiday resort of Gstaad to Interlaken and from there across the Brünig Pass to Lucerne.
Just ten kilometres away from Interlaken, on a sunny south-facing slope, lies Beatenberg-Niederhorn, a paradise for paragliders. For hikers there is an extensive network of hiking routes. The Niederhorn also provides a habitat for ibexes, chamois and marmots.
In winter visitors benefit from the central location of Interlaken and the associated opportunity to every day pick their favourite among the ski regions of the Jungfrau Top Ski Region (Mürren/Schilthorn, Kleine Scheidegg/Männlichen and First) or the family-oriented ski region of Beatenberg. Over 45 mountain railways, aerial cableways, chair and ski lifts take athletes to 200 kilometres of pistes. Cross-country skiers and toboggan riders also are well catered for in the vicinity. And there are over 220 kilometres of winter walking trails in Interlaken, Beatenberg, Habkern, Wilderswil and the Jungfrau region.
- Schynige Platte near Wilderswil – nostalgic rack-railway, fascinating view of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, Alpine garden with about 500 plant species and a lot of hiking possibilities.
- Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn – the rides by rack-railway to the highest railway station in Europe and the cableway to the Piz Glora revolving restaurant: two top mountain experiences in the Bernese Oberland.
- Harder Kulm – a cableway takes passengers up to Interlaken’s „house mountain“ which affords a view of the health resort and the whole Jungfrau region. The Alpine wild animal park near the valley station is an experience for children.
- Heimwehfluh – a nostalgia funicular provides transport to the vantage terrace with a restaurant, all-weather toboggan run, model railway display and large playground.
- Jungfrau Tourism Museum in Unterseen – the regional tourism museum shows 200 years of tourism in the Jungfrau region.
- St. Beatus Caves – one kilometre of lit limestone caves with stalagmites, impressive halls and waterfalls accessible by boat, car, bus or on foot on the historic pilgrims way.
- Greenfield Festival – over 40 international and Swiss bands bring three days of open-air festival atmosphere to the airport area of Interlaken (June).
- Interlaken Classics
- Jungfrau Music Festival
- Internat. Trucker- & Country-Festival
- International Jungfrau Marathon – about 3500 runners complete the 42-kilometre-long race at an altitude of 1823 metres above sea level (September).
- Tell Open-air Theatre – amateur acters have been performing the heroic epos «Willhelm Tell» by Friedrich Schiller on a natural stage near Interlaken for almost 100 years now (June-September).
How to get there
Direct trains every hour from the largest Swiss airports as well from all major Swiss cities to Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost.
- from Zürich HB 1 hour 45 min., Zürich Airport 2 hours
- from Geneva 3 hours
- from Basel 2 hours
- from Lucerne on the Panorama route of the Brünigbahn (Brünig train), via Brünig Pass along Lake Brienz to Interlaken Ost, 2 hours. 15 min.
- from Basel, Zürich or Geneva on the Autobahn via Bern to Interlaken, exits Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost
- from Luzern via Brünig Pass and along Lake Brienz to Interlaken
Zürich Airport / all major airlines
Train: Distance 198 km / driving time 2 hours 25 min.
Road: Distance175 km / driving time 2 hours 15 min.
Geneva Cointrin / all major airlines
Train: Distance 226 km / driving time 2 hours 40 min.
Road: Distance 186 km / driving time 2 hours 30 min.