The Top 20 Interlaken Attractions, Activities, and Things To Do
A visit to Switzerland is not complete without making a stop for a few days around the Jungfrau Region of the country. Here you will find valleys, mountains, lakes, rivers, hikes, viewpoints, adrenaline activities and plenty more. The entryway into the region goes through the town of Interlaken, where you can easily reach any of the smaller villages located further within the Jungfrau. This guide will go over some of the top Interlaken attractions to take part of that are all within the town itself or nearby.
1) Interlaken Logistics & Location
The town of Interlaken is situated near the middle of the country in the Bernese Oberland region, more specifically a subset called the Jungfrau region. The word Interlaken translates to “between lakes” and that is because it sits right between the beautiful lakes of Thunersee and Brienzersee.
You can reach Interlaken from anywhere in the country either by car or by the very precise Switzerland train system. The main station in the town is called Interlaken Ost, but there is a second station as well called Interlaken West. The West station is closer to the main town center, however not all trains stop at the West station, so be sure to double check the train schedules ahead of time.
If searching for train schedules, simply head on over to the SBB.CH train website, put in your starting point and you should see plenty of options to get you into Interlaken.
» Feel free to check out the Train Travel in Switzerland Guide that goes into more detail about the transport system, and don’t forget to purchase a Swiss Travel Pass if you are traveling through the country.
Once you arrive at the train station, you can either walk right over to your hotel, hop on the local bus, or grab a quick taxi and be on your way.
2) Transport Around the Jungfrau
Although Interlaken is a nice place to visit, it is not where you will find most of the attractions and activities to take part of. To see the real beauty and experience the excitement of the region, you will need to get out of the town center.
This is where the very helpful Switzerland transportation system comes into play. The Jungfrau region in general is super well connected by trains, busses, and cable cars. No matter where you want to go, you will be able to rely on public transport to get you there.
Most of the attractions are located further along into the mountains near the towns of Lauterbrunnen, Murren, Wengen, and Grindelwald. To get to all of these places, you simply can start at Interlaken Ost and hop on a train that will take you further along into your route.
There may be some additional train transfers, busses or cable cars after that initial train ride out from Interlaken Ost, but you should have no issue getting from point A to point B during your visit.
To Lauterbrunnen: Direct train to Lauterbrunnen Station
To Murren Option 1: Train to Lauterbrunnen, Cable Car to Grutschalp, Mountain Train to Murren
To Murren Option 2: Train to Lauterbrunnen, Bus to Stechelberg, Two Cable Cars to Murren
To Wengen: Train to Lauterbrunnen, Train to Wengen
To Grindelwald: Direct train to Grindewald Station
Also note that depending on where you are staying in Interlaken, it may be easier to take the bus to Wilderswil Station, where you can then hop on the train from there.
» It may be helpful to read to the Murren, Wengen, Grindelwald guide I put together that goes into a bit more detail of getting from place to place.
3) Where to Stay in Interlaken
If you are looking to stay in Interlaken, it would be easiest to stay near the town center from a logistics standpoint. That way you can easily make your way around the region at the beginning/end of the day, as well as be close to all restaurants, shops, etc.
By staying closer to Interlaken Ost, you can easily hop on the trains on a daily basis when going out to explore, since that is where all trains will leave/arrive from. If staying near Interlaken West, note that the trains from that station don’t go further into the Jungfrau like the ones from Interlaken Ost do. Instead, you can hop on the bus that takes you to Wilderswil and be on your way from there.
Below are a few of my top choices as you decide where to stay in Interlaken depending on your budget:
On the other hand, you can also decide to stay further in the mountains or valleys of the Jungfrau and choose from the other towns like Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Murren, or Grindelwald. These will certainly be more scenic, however they will be costlier.
4) The Top 20 Interlaken Attractions
Now that you have a good sense of logistics and location, let’s talk a bit more about each one of these 20 Interlaken attractions. As mentioned though – these are not necessarily in the town of Interlaken. They are all located within the proximity of town and can be easily reached by the public transportation system. Below I will break out the 20 attractions by area so you can more easily understand where everything is located.
A) Interlaken Activities
1. Lake Thunersee and Lake Brienzersee
As Interlaken is situated right in between the two lakes of Thunersee and Brienzersee, you can imagine heading out to do some lake activities is a popular option here. You can choose to just enjoy the lakes from various viewpoint spots, head on the public ferries that make their way across the lakes, take part of a boat cruise, or even join a thrilling jet boat experience.
While you could walk to either one of the lakes, the easier option here is to hop on the local bus or train, that will bring you all along the lake.
2. Harder Kulm
Situated just across the Aare River is the Harder Kulm lookout point that overlooks Interlaken, the lakes, and the surrounding mountainsides. While hiking is one option to get to the top, you can also take the super quick Harderbahn cable car, located just a few minutes from town, that will bring you up the mountain in no time.
3. Schynige Platte
On the opposite side of the Interlaken valley across from Harder Kulm you will find Schynige Platte. You simply will need to take a quick train/bus from Interlaken to Wilderswil and from there, hop on the mountain railway to Schynige Platte. Up top you can enjoy those views, take in some short or long hikes, and relax up in the mountains.
B) Lauterbrunnen Activities
4. Lauterbrunnen Valley
One of my favorite experiences near Interlaken is spending some time around the Lauterbrunnen Valley. You can take 20 minute train from Interlaken that will drop you off right in the valley town of Lauterbrunnen. From there you can explore all that the valley has to offer such as waterfalls, hiking, viewpoints, rivers, and more.
» Learn more in the Lauterbrunnen Valley Guide that goes into detail about all there is to see in the valley
5. Trummelbach Falls
As you are making your way through the Lauterbrunnen Valley, one of the highlights is Trummelbach Falls. Now this waterfall can’t be seen from the valley. Rather you will head inside the valley’s walls, where you will come across the thunderous water flowing down the mountainside. To get there, you can either walk from the Lauterbrunnen train station or hop on a quick bus.
» Learn more in the Trummelbach Falls Guide for everything to know about the waterfall
C) Murren Activities
One of the highest accessible viewpoints near Interlaken is found on the top of Schilthorn mountain. To get there, you will first need to make your way to the mountainside village of Murren and take a couple cable cars to the summit. Once there you will have vast views of the surrounding landscape including the famous Eiger, Monch and Jungfrau mountains out in front of you.
» Learn more in the Schilthorn Switzerland Guide up on the site
7. Birg Thrill Walk
After visiting the Schilthorn summit, take the cable car one stop down to Birg. Here you will find the famous Birg Thrill Walk. This short walk takes you along the side of the mountain’s wall as you walk along wires, peek through glass bottom floors and crawl through wire cages.
8. Murren to Gimmelwald Trail
While a visit to Murren is an activity within its own right, you can add to that experience by hiking the easy trail from Murren to Gimmelwald. This trail is paved all throughout with consistent views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley and surrounding mountains during the walk down.
» Learn more in the Murren to Gimmelwald Trail Guide that goes over what to expect on the hike
9. Murren Via Ferrata
If you are looking for a more exhilarating route between Murren and Gimmelwald, why not try out the Murren Via Ferrata. This protected climbing route requires certain equipment to be used so you can safely maneuver your way along the walls of the Lauterbrunnen Valley between the two towns. This is not an activity for everyone so be sure to read up on it before you commit!
» Learn more in the Murren Via Ferrata Guide up on the site
D) Wengen Activities
10. The Royal Walk
Another easily accessible town to visit from Interlaken is the small village of Wengen, located on the opposite side of the Lauterbrunnen Valley as Murren. From Wengen, you can hop on the cable car that takes you up to Mannlichen.
From there, you can head up the short Royal Walk, which gives you some great views of the surrounding landscape, with views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald, and the mountain ranges in every which direction.
11. Mannlichen to Kleine Scheidegg Panorama Trail
Once done with the Royal Walk, it is time to enjoy a true highlight of the Jungfrau region. The trail between Mannlichen and Kleine Scheidegg, also known as the Panorama Trail, is one of the most beautiful hikes of the region and is easy enough for anyone to take part of.
» Learn more in the Panorama Trail Hiking Guide for all there is know about the experience
High above Wengen, you will find what is known as the Jungfraujoch or the Top of Europe. A mountain railway takes you up into the mountainside, and to a station located near the summit of the Jungfrau mountain. From here you will get views of glaciers, mountains, valleys, and the rest of the Jungfrau region. The trip up top doesn’t come cheap but the views are some of the best you can ask for.
13. The Eiger Trail
While you may have taken in the views of the Eiger throughout your time in the region, why not hike right alongside it as well. The Eiger Trail runs between Eigergletscher and Alpiglen, and for the better part of 3 hours, you can enjoy those views of the surrounding landscape and the Eiger up above.
E) Grindelwald Activities
14. Bachalpsee Lake
Once in Grindenwald, make your way to the cable car station, where you can head up into the mountains to First. From First you can enjoy the easy hike to Bachalpsee Lake. Throughout the trail and once you reach the lake itself, you will have some stunning views of the Eiger, making it one of the top hikes in the area.
» The Bachalpsee Lake guide up on the site gives a great overview of the area
15. First Cliff Walk
After finishing up your time near Bachalpsee and heading back to First, you can make the stop at the First Cliff Walk. Here you will find a steel platform wrapped along the mountainside as you enjoy views of the Alps and the Eiger out in the distance.
16. First Activities
A popular option around First is to take part of some or all of the 4 various activities that are offered to visitors. You can head on the First Glider, First Flyer, First Mountain Cart and Trottibike Scooter as you slowly make your way down in style from First to Grindelwald.
17. Pfinstegg to Baregg
An underrated trail near Grindewald is the one that goes between Pfinstegg and the Baregg Hut. You simply will need to take the quick ride up from Grindewald to Pfinstegg, and from there start your journey towards the hut. The trail winds its way further into the mountainside valley as you enjoy waterfalls, mountains, and glaciers throughout.
F) Adrenaline Activities
While eating lunch outside at Hotel Edelweiss in Murren, every few minutes there were paragliders making their way right past the town. While seeing these paragliders was a unique experience, taking part of it can be one of the best there is. Most paragliding takes place down the Lauterbrunnen Valley as you get to enjoy the waterfalls, mountains, and the valley itself from above.
If you are looking to do some skydiving, it is hard to beat the landscape near Interlaken. Lakes, mountains, glaciers, rivers, and valleys will be surrounding you as you free fall from the sky and experience one of the most adrenaline inducing activities in the region.
20. Bungee Jumping
The final activity on the list is another fan favorite for those adrenaline seekers. The bungee jumping is usually done at Stockhorn, where you will take a cable car 134 meters into the sky and jump right out of it. If you have never done a bungee jump before, then this is the one to do!
When it comes to Interlaken attractions, there really is no shortage of things to do and places to see. I hope this list has given you a better sense of what is out there for you to choose from for your trip to Switzerland.
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them in below. Also don’t forget to check out the other Switzerland itineraries and guides up on the site. Have fun out there and safe travels!