Discover Interlaken and the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Switzerland
People say that in this country everybody knows how to milk a cow, that they only eat fondue and finally, that they are all born with Alpenhorn in their hands. Yes, we’re in Switzerland now. Welcome to Interlaken!
There’s something peaceful about the water and mountains together – almost a perfect combination, and that is exactly what you get in Interlaken, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
We always tend to spend time with extraordinary people and visit extraordinary places, so today we’re going to Interlaken to find out why so many travelers go there and what’s so special about this small town.
What should you know about Interlaken?
Interlaken is considered to be the adventure capital of Switzerland. The town is located on the flat alluvial land called Bodeli, in the Bernese Highlands region of the Swiss Alps. The reason why it’s called Interlaken is that the town lays between two lakes: Thun and Brienz.
This town counts around 5000 inhabitants, and their official language is the Swiss variety of Standard German.
Interlaken is famous as a shooting location for the James Bond movie, so we’ve seen a lot of 007 themed tourist places here.
However, the main reason why Interlaken is so popular among travelers and hikers is that it’s a good starting point from where you can go to other mountain parts and take a deep breath of fresh air while everything around you looks like Heaven.
If you’re interested, this resort is offering various activities. You can try paragliding or, more dangerous one, jumping off of the cliff in the special suit that allows you to fly through the air. However, be careful with this activity, it is created only for the bravest adrenalin addicts.
Unfortunately, it’s said that one person a week dies taking that impressive and risky jump. Tourists usually just gather around to watch someone else jump, and we recommend you to try some of the safer activities instead.
What to visit in Interlaken?
Once you arrive in Interlaken, you will probably be in awe, as the landscapes around you are bound to take your breath away. However, when you gather the strength to break that magic spell and stop staring at the mountain tops, you’ll need some ideas what to visit.
So, here’s the list that covers the most beautiful places in Interlaken town and same-named agglomeration:
From Interlaken, we drove up to the Lauterbrunnen. That’s a small municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the canton of Bern in Switzerland. Lauterbrunnen valley is also known as “the valley of 72 waterfalls.”
The river Weisse Lütschine flows through Lauterbrunnen, and it tends to overflow once a year. Fortunately, the locals are prepared for such situations, and they still love their river as it represents a pure and clean source of water.
Trummelbach Falls which are one of the valleys 72 waterfalls are only 3 km away from Lauterbrunnen, and you can easily get here by taking a bus from the local bus station. The reason why we decided to mention Trummelbach Falls specifically, is that they are the world's only glacier waterfalls you can access underground by lift and explore them through galleries, paths, platforms, and tunnels.
The same thing that inspired Tolkien about this village encouraged us to drive up here by a train and then take a 15 minutes’ walk to catch a bus for going back down.
In the meantime, we had a great time admiring the view. From Lauterbrunnen, you can take a cable car to Murren and go to Shiltorn, which is a breath-taking adventure and route on its own.
Jungfraujoch, The Highest Railway Station in Europe
From Interlaken, you can quickly get to the Jungfraujoch, the highest railway station in all of Europe! It is located at 3,454 meters above sea level.
The Jungfraujoch train rides around the Eiger and Mönch Mountains, visiting Eismeer and Eigerwand stations. Most importantly, this ride will give you a chance to see some of the most dramatic landscapes ever.
Also, if you want to, the train can take you to the viewing platforms on the Aletsch Glacier or the Ice Palace. People say that on a bright, sunny day, you can see all the way to Italy, France, and Germany while standing on this platform.
St. Beatus Caves
According to a Swiss legend, Saint Beatus chose the St. Beatus Cave for his hermitage after exorcizing a notorious, fire-breathing dragon into the Lake Thun.
This is just a story, but the fact is that the cave still has impressive wide halls, crisscrossed stalactites and stalagmites, and stunning limestone structures. Waterfalls flow inside and pour out of the exterior of the mountain.
If you come here, don’t forget to visit a cave museum as well. Guided tours are available every 30 minutes.
The Oberhofen Castle
A Thurnersee cruise from Interlaken will take you to Oberhofen Castle which sits on the edge of Lake Thun.
This enchanting bastion was built back in the 13th century. Today, it opens its gates for tourists allowing them to explore the artifacts which tell the story of a life in the region from 16th to the 19th century.
Take a walk, discover the castle’s stunning halls and choose which one you like the most – Summer hall, Knight’s hall or the Neo-Gothic dining hall or perhaps the oriental smoking salon.
What’s interesting is that the chapel of the Oberhofen Castel, which dates back to the 15th century is still in use for baptisms and weddings.
Pro Tips for curious travelers
The best way to feel the spirit of the town you’re in is just to let go of everything and take a walk without checking the time. Here are some tips on how to make the most out of your Interlaken visit:
- Trust us and go on an organized tour. Learning about the history, nature, and tradition from a local guide is a valuable bonus.
- We’re going to leave this link for you to try and find a suitable hotel for your vacation.
- Let’s face it – we all love chocolate and when in Switzerland, you shouldn’t miss a chance to eat some of the best quality chocolate in the world. Also, buying some delicious souvenirs for your friends is a good idea. We recommend you to check out the Funky Chocolate Club. Everything you need, you will find here.
- Even though winter is the most popular time to visit Interlaken, you can come whenever you want. If you’re a summer person, you won’t be disappointed, because when you come from June to September, there’s a dizzying number of things to do. Renting a kayak or stand-up paddleboard for Lake Thun or Brienz should be at the top of your list.
Here are a few activities you may enjoy!
- Interlaken is extremely welcoming to families. The west side of the region, where suburb Unterseen is located is especially family-friendly because it’s so peaceful. You will fall in love with the old marketplace, rustic tower and lots of medieval things they’re offering to you.