Top Things To Do In Interlaken

Interlaken is one of the most requested holiday resorts in Switzerland and to try and list everything there is to do there would be nigh on impossible! However, we’ll do our very best to highlight some of the excursions and activities that we enjoy while on holiday here and which we can happily recommend to you.

Nestled in the heart of the scenic Bernese Oberland, Interlaken is perfect if you want to make the most of both the lakes and the mountains for which Switzerland is renowned. To one side of the town lies Lake Brienz and to the other Lake Thun. Connecting the two is the River Aare, running through the middle of the town. Look up and you can see the Bernese Alps including the Eiger and the Jungfrau mountain. The lakes are ringed by mountains as well, so you really are spoilt for choice! Read on and discover the best things to do in Interlaken...

Take a sublime cruise on the lake

Lake Thun

Lake Thun

Sit back, unwind and enjoy the view! Taking a lake cruise is one of the most relaxing things you can do on a Swiss holiday. The elegant boats glide ever so gently across the water, calling at villages and towns along the way and offering passengers a 360° view of the scenery. There’s no queasiness on these tranquil waters, which are fed by the meltwater from the surrounding mountains. On a sunny day, with a light breeze on your skin and a cool drink in your hand, there really is nothing better. If you upgrade to first class, there is often cushioned seating, and of course, fewer people. If the weather isn’t so clement, there’s indoor seating in both 2nd and 1st class, as well as a bar for drinks and ice creams. You can even order lunch on board, prepared in the ship’s galley. The fleet of boats on Lakes Thun and Brienz comprises modern motor ships and a number of lovingly restored paddle steamers. Timetables show which sailings will be aboard a steamer (‘dampfschiff’) so that you can plan your trip accordingly. On board you can see the pristine engines turning and of course hear that distinctive steam whistle. 

Explore Harder Kulm, Interlaken’s local mountain

Harder Kulm, Interlaken

Harder Kulm, Interlaken

Interlaken’s ‘home mountain’, the Harder Kulm is a must do while you are here. You can stroll to the funicular (just by Interlaken Ost station) or take the bus, so it’s a trip you can make when you have a half a day or even a couple of hours free. The historic funicular is over 100 years old and transports you up the mountain to the summit at 1,322m in less than 10 minutes. Enjoy the view as you gently ascend! (You can of course walk up the mountain; the zig-zagging trail will take an experienced walker around 2 and a half hours). At the top, what a reward! There are amazing views over the lake and the mountains beyond from the Two Lakes Bridge which invites you to step onto the extended viewing platform. Screw up your courage to walk to the edge of the bridge and revel in the mountainscape; there’s even a glazed section of floor if you are particularly brave! You’ll need a drink afterwards and the restaurant with its outdoor terrace can help quench your thirst. A lovely recommendation is to come up at sunset during the summer months and enjoy a meal as the sun slowly dips down.  

Relax in pretty Höhematte Park

Paragliding, Interlaken

Paragliding, Interlaken

An oasis of peace in the heart of Interlaken, this is a lovely spot for a picnic and soaking up the soaring views of the Jungfrau mountains.  You could pick a place to watch the paragliders gently weaving their way down to land, or find a quieter corner in which to unwind during your holiday. Why not take an enchanting trip on a horse-drawn carriage around the park and enjoy the alpine scenery above, and the vibrantly coloured flowerbeds bedside you. You may also like to visit the charming Japanese garden known as the ‘Garden of Friendship’, see the ornate Victoria Jungfrau hotel or take a leisurely stroll along the bank of the icy River Aare. Höhematte is a picturesque treasure in the heart of the town, beloved of residents and visitors alike.

If you visit during December, January or February, you’ll find that the Höhematte is completely transformed into ‘Ice Magic’. This winter wonderland complex of skating and curling rinks also features plenty of cosy chalets in which to enjoy a glühwein or a hot meal. 

Be astonished at the Jungfraujoch Top-of-Europe

Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe

Jungfraujoch-Top of Europe

Why ‘Top-of-Europe’? Well, the railway station at the Jungfraujoch summit is the highest in the continent at 3,454m, and when you stand on the Sphinx viewing platform at 3,571m and look out over the vast glacier, you really will feel as you could reach out and touch the sky! This excursion can be enjoyed all year round and even in summer you will see snow on the mountain tops (and enjoy a ride on an inflatable tube down the snowy slopes at the fun park if you fancy it!). There’s also a restaurant with a magnificent view, an ice sculpture palace, a suspension bridge over the glacier and an exhibition on the history of the Jungfrau railway and alpine tourism. Indeed, the railway is over 100 years old and a stupendous feat of engineering, tunnelling through the mountain. The journey up from Interlaken also includes a ride on the new Eiger Express cable car with glorious views as you glide upwards and a close up view of the Eiger. The Jungfraujoch makes for a whole day out during your holiday and can be booked in advance. It will certainly be a trip to remember! 

Chug up the mountain on the Brienzer Rothorn steam train

Brienzer Rothorn steam train

Brienzer Rothorn steam train

A nostalgic journey on a lovingly restored steam train. This is another day out that will stay with you for a very long time! Make the short journey from Interlaken along the lake to Brienz to join the steam train at the foot of the Rothorn mountain. The little engine works hard to push the carriages away from the station and up the mountain. As you climb, you’ll delight in the views which passengers have been enjoying since 1892. Look behind you for views of the sparkling lake and ahead for the soaring mountains. At the 2,350m summit, you can stroll around and enjoy those views, take a break in the alpine restaurant, or embark upon a scenic walking trail – there are several recommended paths from the Rothorn which take around 2 hours. The train operates from May to October and departs several times a day, but it is best to pre-book to avoid disappointment as it is obviously a popular excursion for people staying in the Bernese Oberland. If you’d like to experience something really special, book for the Sausage Express, which departs on a Wednesday and includes a mid journey stop for sausages cooked over the steam engine.      

Discover underground secrets at St. Beatus Caves

Waterfall at St. Beatus Caves

Waterfall at St. Beatus Caves

According to legend, in the 6th Century AD St. Beatus defeated a fire-breathing dragon that dwelt in the caves above Lake Thun. Visit today and we can’t guarantee any fantastic beasts - but you WILL be treated to a natural wonder including vast underground halls, deep gorges and bubbling waterfalls. Around 14km of the cave system has been mapped so far; as a daytripper rather than a speleolgist, you can explore around 1km thanks to the flooring and lighting which has been installed. You might still want to wear sensible shoes and bring a jacket though! You’ll see amazing stalagmites and stalactites which have grown steadily over millions of years, and other limestone formations in various shapes and colours inside the grottos. There are plenty of information boards in English but you might want to embark on a guided tour of the caves to fully appreciate the rock and water phenomena. To enhance your visit, you can browse around the museum, enjoy the restaurant with great views over the lake and children will love the dragon themed playground! Why not make this a full day out by combining your cave visit with a wander around the village of Beatenberg or travelling up to the Niederhorn mountain for amazing views. 

Step back in time Unterseen and Ballenberg

Unterseen, Interlaken

Unterseen, Interlaken

Watching the paragliders, Interlaken can seem like a very modern place. The Bernese Oberland is full of history however, and you don’t have to go far to discover it. Just a few steps from the busy Höheweg is the pretty Unterseen district of Interlaken. The square - Stadthauzplatz - is where you will find historic buildings, houses and a church whose tower is depicted in many photos and paintings of Interlaken. The Stadtkeller is a vaulted archaeological cellar and you may enjoy the museum showcasing the history of Swiss tourism, going back 500 years. There is a fine restaurant situated on the square and you can stroll along the river Aare away from the bustle of the centre of town.

If history is your thing - or you would just like to revisit childhood memories of Heidi – visit Ballenberg. This is an open air museum, where you can explore traditional wooden houses from all over Switzerland which have been painstakingly reconstructed to give you a flavour of alpine life. The gardens have been planted with ancient vegetable varieties and medicinal herbs and in the pastures you will find grazing cattle with their tinkling alpine bells. Check out the traditional handicrafts such as basket weaving and cheese making, or watch the blacksmiths at work.  

Feel the adrenaline rush with high-octane activities

Paragliding over Interlaken

Paragliding over Interlaken

Surrounded by mountains and with rushing rivers and gorges nearby, Interlaken has naturally developed as one of Europe’s top centres for adventure sports. Specialist companies in the town can arrange all manner of activities, whether you fancy adventures in the air, on the water or on the ground. If skydiving and bungee jumping are a step too far for you, then a 15 minute tandem paragliding session with a professional pilot could be just right. There are unforgettable views over the mountains and lakes as you gradually drift down from 1,350m towards Interlaken before a gentle landing in the Höhematte Park.

Canyoning includes climbing, sliding, abseiling and diving and can be done at a beginner or more advance level depending on which gorge you visit! River rafting is also popular on the rapids, or you might prefer the calmer waters of the lake, where canoeing and sailing are on offer. If dry land is more enticing, you could head for the high ropes park or try mountain biking – in the mountains! While there are plenty of gentle panoramic walks in the alpine terrain above around Interlaken, serious hikers have a choice of tough alpine trails – and may be rewarded with the best views. 

Experience alpine village and walks

Alpine walking

Alpine walking

Interlaken lies at 586m above sea level (relatively low lying - for Switzerland!) and is forever connected with water thanks to the river and those two stunning lakes. If you are gazing upwards to the incredible mountains however, we can recommend a day trip to 1,274m where you will discover idyllic Wengen. This is the epitome of a cosy alpine resort – traditional wooden chalets, gorgeous views and a holiday atmosphere. Wengen is well known as a fantastic ski resort, but it is absolutely charming in the summer too, with its wide ranging views over the lush green valley and the snowcapped highest mountains. This is a sunny plateau where you will definitely take pleasure in relaxing on a café terrace and watching the world go by. If you enjoy walking, this is a good place to start! How about a gentle 45 minute forest trail from Wengen to Allmend? On arrival you’ll find a mountain restaurant and then head to the station to take the train back to Interlaken. Alternatively, there are slightly more challenging trails which zig zag down from Wengen to Lauterbrunnen (around 1 hour) and here you will find delightful scenery including an icy waterfall cascading vertically down the mountain.  

Tiptoe across a deep gorge

Sigriswil near Interlaken

Sigriswil near Interlaken

High above the Gummischluct gorge stretches the amazing Sigriswil suspension bridge. This 340m bridge offers magnificent views of the famous Bernese Oberland mountains and Lake Thun. While you are midway across, you can peer straight down - if you dare - to the abyss 182m below you. It will take your breath away! Visitors cross the bridge from either side as it connects the villages of Sigriswil and Aeschlen. Both are set in picture-perfect locations on the shore of Lake Thun. We recommend stopping off at Sigriswil’s lovely farm shop which offers fresh regional produce and snacks. ‘Bridge rangers’ are on hand to give you information about the impressive engineering of the bridge and the wonderful nature which thrives around it. The bridge does have a slight sway, but don’t worry, it is capable of safely holding 102 tonnes (which would be over 1300 people). 

Sigriswil is just one of 3 suspension bridges which you can find in the area. All 3 are linked by the popular Lake Thun Panoramic Circular Trail. The trail covers 56km so you would need to walk it over a few days - or you could just choose your favourite sections and use the local bus network in between.

Getting around Interlaken

Our holidays include a Half Fare Card, an amazing benefit which gives 50% discount on trains, buses and boats as well as discounts on mountain railways and cable cars. You can also pre-book a Swiss Travel Pass or a Bernese Oberland Regional Pass which give further benefits.

Read more about holidays in Interlaken

We have a wide choice of hotels in Interlaken all of whom we have worked with for a number of years. Our specialist team will help you find the best fit for your requirements – please call 0800 619 1200. Below are guide prices including flights, transfers, bed & breakfast accommodation and the Half Fare Card. Free night offers and further discounts may apply on certain dates.

Hotel Beausite, Interlaken

4 nights from £576pp

3 star Interlaken holiday

Hotel Beausite

View this holiday
Hotel Interlaken, Interlaken

4 nights from £660pp

4 star Interlaken holiday

Hotel Interlaken

View this holiday
Hotel Beau Rivage, aerial view

4 nts from £751pp

5 star Interlaken holiday

Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage

View this holiday

Brochure Request



Our full colour brochures Switzerland Lakes and Mountains 2022 and Scenic Holidays Switzerland 2022 are available to be mailed to UK addresses.


Request our Brochures

Newsletter Sign Up



We have a monthly lakes & mountains newsletter and a ski newsletter. You can choose to sign up to either one, or both, according to your interests.


Sign up to our Newsletter