8 best things to do in Interlaken
True to its name, the scenic town of Interlaken sits between two lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – and it’s surrounded by the soaring Swiss Alps. There are loads of things to see and do on a holiday here. Check out some of our favourites…
Take a dip
The glistening blue waters of lakes Thun and Brienz are enough to tempt anyone in for a dip, though smaller Brienz is the more popular pick for swimming. Or spend the day at the Burgseeli Natural Lido, splashing around in the warm water, playing games or cooking up an al fresco lunch in the barbeque area. Kids will love the playground – it’s even got a pirate ship.
Go to the ‘Top of Europe’
Switzerland’s well-known for its trains so set off early and catch the Jungfrau Railway to the Jungfraujoch – known as the ‘Top of Europe’, it’s Europe’s highest railway station at 3,454m. See the glittering tunnels and sculptures of the Ice Palace, have fun tubing and sledging on the glacier, or just gaze out at the views from the observation deck of the Sphinx Observatory. And definitely treat yourself in the Lindt chocolate shop.
Delve into caves
Head to the north shore of Lake Thun to visit the St Beatus Caves – once said to be the lair of a dragon who was hiding from the 6th-century monk, St Beat. Now, there’s a kilometre-long walkway through the rocky caverns, pools and waterfalls. And you can pop into the museum to learn more about the area’s history.
Visit a castle
Lake Thun’s well-known for castles – there are five dotted around its shore, including Thun Castle, with its distinctive white towers, and the lavish, Art Nouveau Hünegg Castle. And you can get a glimpse of Interlaken’s past at the town’s 12th-century castle, which was originally a monastery and then a hospital. Stroll through the shady grounds to see the steeple and Gothic cloister gallery.
Explore by boat
Hop on board a boat to see more of both lakes, from the little villages dotted around Lake Brienz, to the town of Thun itself – not to mention waterfalls, islands and forests. For a really special trip, book a cruise on the traditional steamboats that tour each lake. Or choose a dinner cruise to pair a tasty meal with beautiful sunset views.
Ride the funicular
Jump on the funicular and ride up to 1,322m on the Harder Kulm mountain. Wander out to the Two Lakes Bridge for one of the best views in Europe, and see if you can spot the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the country’s three most famous peaks. There’s a network of walking trails up there too, so lace up your walking boots and set off.
If you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at water-skiing or windsurfing. Prefer something gentler? Take to the lake in a pedalo, kayak, stand-up paddle board or canoe. Follow one of the suggested routes and take your time as you soak up the scenery.
See the Schynige Platte
Sit back on the steam train that chug-chugs up to the Schynige Platte peak in about an hour, giving you plenty of time to take in the scenery along the way. At the top, you can see the colourful variety of flowers in the Alpine Garden. Or to really stretch your legs, follow the Panorama Hike, a gentle, 3km route that takes in some of the best views of Interlaken and the surrounding mountains.
Top tip: Use a summer card
Make the most of your free Interlaken Visitor Card – you can use it to get free rides on local buses and trains, as well as discounted tickets for things like cable cars, museums and castles.
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