Interlaken is one of the most well-known regions in gorgeous Switzerland. There you have a great connection to the Alps, several charming small towns by the lake or at the top of the mountains, in addition to several other tourist attractions.
To clarify, Interlaken is the region and the city of the same name. The town of Interlaken is located between two lakes, Brienz to the east and Thun to the west, with the River Aare flowing between them.
On our last trip to Switzerland, after passing through the beautiful town of Kandersteg and the gorgeous lakes Blausee and Oeschinensee (read more here and here), we left two days to go to Interlaken, where we stayed in Hilterfingen, which is by Lake Thun.
In fact, in 2012, my friends and I passed through the region, as we went to Grindelwald, Mürren and briefly stopped in Lauterbrunnen. Places where I highly recommend you to visit because it is gorgeous!
As I mentioned above, there are two lakes, and in my opinion, Brienz is the most beautiful, because of its unique turquoise colour, which looks like the Caribbean (I swear!).
It is no wonder that it is considered one of the most beautiful lakes in Europe. Not that Thun is not pretty, quite the contrary, but Brienz is something special…
If you are in doubt where to stay, what I can tell you is that the north of the Lake Thun is more developed and has several small villages by the lake or in the mountains, with different accommodation types, restaurants, bars, etc.
On Lake Brienz, the south has more towns and more things to do than the north.
In summer, Interlaken is very famous for parachuting and paragliding, in addition to several other activities, such as mountain bike, cycling, rafting, canyoning, paddleboarding, hiking, fishing, rappel down waterfalls and gorges amongst others.
In winter, Interlaken is known for its proximity to the Jungfrau, Grindelwald, Wengen and Mürren ski region. There you can practice snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing, snowshoeing and even dog sledging. The connections to the ski resorts nearby are plenty and easy.
Unfortunately, to my utter sadness, I had a late afternoon and night, plus an entire day and the following morning to stay there and it rained almost all the time. The rain only stopped at the end of the last afternoon and the morning that I would leave.
I was really upset because I wanted to see the lake’s colour, which is much more beautiful in the sun, in addition to all the plans we had to cancel such as boat trip, walk by the lake, swim in the lake, etc.
Because of the rain, we had to adapt and make a different schedule: we took bus 21 and went on the route by the lake from Thun to the town of Interlaken.
This journey takes around 40 minutes, and we did it to relax and not having to drive.
To explain more about the bus: if you stay in official accommodation in the city or the region of Lake Thun, you will receive the Thun Panorama Card, where you can use public transport for free, in addition to getting discounts on various activities. See more information here.
After we returned to Hilterfingen, we went to have lunch and stroll around the cute town of Thun, and after that, we took our car and drove through the villages in the mountains.
It was lovely as that way we had an incredible view of both the Thun and the Alps, and we got to know a few charming villages that only Switzerland has.
To do this, take the main road by the lake called Längenschachen, and following the GPS, choose a street and head towards the top of the hill. You will notice that the places are getting fewer houses and you will find very narrow streets, but it is worth it because the view is breathtaking.
We did this on several streets on the north of Lake Thun, and on each one, the view was more impressive, like the one from Sigriswil. We did it in Brienz too, and it was one of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen!
The entire region has trains, funiculars, boats and cable cars at your disposal, making Interlaken the ideal spot for trips to the formidable Bernese Alps, governed by three immense peaks: Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch.
You can also take the train with the highest railway in Europe that runs to Jungfraujoch and the Aletsch Glacier.
How to get to Interlaken?
The nearest Swiss airports are Bern (45 minutes), Zürich, Geneva and Basel-Mulhouse. After disembarking, you can take public transport or rent a car to Interlaken.
The Swiss public transport network is extremely well connected and is famous for its frequency, punctuality and safety.
Trains to Interlaken depart from all major cities in Switzerland, such as Bern, Zürich, Geneve, Lucerne, Basel, etc.
It also offers excellent international connections: like Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Venice, Vienna, etc.
Just remember that on some of these routes, you will have to switch trains in the middle of the journey.
There are several routes that buses take from different cities, both Swiss and international. See this site with some routes: https://global.flixbus.com and https://flugbus.ch/en/en-startseite
There are also private buses direct from Rome, Paris, Florence and Munich. Some bus services offer sightseeing tours around Interlaken as well.
It is also easy to reach by car, as we did. Interlaken is well signposted by the Swiss “Autobahn” network, which has excellent connections with the main centres in Europe.
Just bear in mind that in Switzerland, each region speaks a different language (German, Italian, French and the Swiss dialect). The official language of Interlaken being German, but the primary language spoken is the local variant of the Swiss-German dialect “Alemannic”. However, the vast majority speak English very well.
I really want to return to the region to further explore the various towns and the magnificent landscape that Interlaken has.
I hope you have a lovely time over there and very soon I’ll write about what to do on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Plus the tips on what to do in Interlaken on rainy days, which are in this post here.