Interlaken: 4 iconic Alpine experiences
Straddling the respectively emerald and turquoise lakes of Thun and Brienz, in the heart of the Bernese Oberland, the small town of Interlaken is often referred to as the epicentre of active tourism in Switzerland.
Home to half a dozen snow-capped Alpine peaks and countless multiuse trails, Interlaken is heaven on Earth for energetic travelers of all levels, whether they choose to embark on a dizzying ascent, or take up a soft adventure, like e-biking.
Looking for fun things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland? You’ll want to check out this travel guide for visiting the Swiss Alps.
Have a drink at Harder Kulm
Harder Kulm is a gorgeous spot for a pick-me-up with a view.
From the viewing platform at 1,322 metres above sea level, he could look down upon Lake Brienz and Lake Thun with their imposing mountainscapes—or admire the Eiger and Mönch. The Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant is a castle amid majestic scenery.
Thun Lake to the right, Brienz Lake to the left – which one is bluer? Only one way to find out.
Harder Railway is just a 10-minute steep ride (at 64% gradient!) from central Interlaken. Blink, and it will feel like you teleported on top of the Swiss Alps.
Go for a ride on an e-bike
Frank, our dynamic guide and owner of Flying Wheels, is an energetic German import that would motivate even the laziest of riders thanks to its easy-to-use electric bikes.
Unlike North American outskirts, Interlaken’s backyard is not not lined with shopping centres or massive warehouses; much the opposite, in fact. The Bernese suburbs consists of bucolic paths leading to the Swiss Alps, sprinkled with old-fashioned wooden chalets and dairy farms. Within just a few minutes from picking up their e-bike, visitors find themselves surrounded by nature with a capital N, listening to the sound of cowbells, breathing the fresh mountain air. A genuine Swiss postcard!
The e-bike allows cyclists, whether they’re amateurs or pros, to adjust the pace of the engine according to their capacity. This means you could actually bike down these beautiful paths without sweating a single drop!
Hop on the cable car to Mount Schilthorn
It’s impossible not to be amazed by the Swiss engineering here. After an unbelievably picturesque ascent on three different cable-cars, we reached the top of Mount Schilthorn where an impressive circular panorama of the Alps was on full display.
From the Piz Gloria terrace, you can see another 200 alpine peaks. On clear days, visitors can see as far as the Mont Blanc Massif in France and the Black Forest in Germany.
Adrenaline-hungry travellers may want to plan a brief stop at Birg Station where Thrill Walk, a 200-meter-long, transparent glass walkway hangs from the steep, rocky cliff. In essence, a top activity for all mountain enthusiasts visiting Switzerland!
Hike in Lauterbrunnen
Crossing the Swiss forests and massifs, the relatively flat trail covers a distance of five kilometres, which, upon completion, connects the gorgeous village of Mürren to Lauterbrunnen (in other words “Valley of Thunderous Waterfalls”; an extraordinarily fitting nickname, since the rocky mountainsides are dotted with hundreds of cascades).
Here, travellers can find the freshest, most pure Alpine air.
From these heights, hikers can gaze at the glacial valleys covered with daffodils but also the mythical Jungfrau mountain, in addition to the several of Switzerland’s most iconic peaks including Mönch, Eiger, and Schwarzmönch.
On the way back, why not stop at the very Swiss-looking Hotel Steinbock, whose leafy terrace makes for an enchanting setting for a glass of (Swiss!) wine or two.
Reach new heights
An array of on-site providers offer paragliding or hang-gliding excursions in the region.
Departing from Harder Kulm after a funicular ascent (a 64 per cent incline!) to the summit 1,322 meters above sea level. It is then possible to put on the equipment and then throw yourself into the void over Lake Thune before reaching the mainland in the centre of Interlaken.
Post-flight, travellers will appreciate the proximity to Restaurant Laterne, whose famous cheese and champagne fondue (!) is available year-round.
Interlaken: know before you go
Getting to Interlaken
SWISS International Airlines flies from Canada to Zürich several times weekly. Interlaken is only a two-hour, highly scenic train ride from the airport.
Trains in Switzerland
Switzerland is home to the world’s densest public transit systems; furthermore, it’s also one of the most punctual and efficient.
The Swiss Travel Pass allows travellers to explore Switzerland by train, cable car, boat, and funicular over 3, 4, 8 or 15 days, in addition to offering free or discounted entry to over 500 museums across the country.