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The Beauty of Interlaken: Ultimate Day Trip Guide

Updated: Apr 21

Nestled in the heart of Switzerland, Interlaken is not only an amazing destination but also a journey where the travel itself is part of the experience. Promising breathtaking scenery, this guide will help you make the most out of your day trip to Interlaken.

How to Get to Interlaken

By Train: The best and most memorable way to reach Interlaken is by train. Choose between the picturesque journey from Luzerne or embark on the Golden Pass line from Montreux, in the Lake Geneva area. Both routes offer stunning views that transform the travel into an experience itself, showcasing the beautiful Swiss countryside and alpine vistas.

By Car: Driving to Interlaken offers its own scenic charms, although the train journey is highly recommended for its unique routes. If traveling from Lucerne, take a moment to stop at Iseltwald to see the renowned 'Crash Landing on You' pier. If you are coming from Bern or the Lake Geneva area, a visit to the historic Spiez Castle is well worth the detour.

By Boat: Arriving in Interlaken by boat from Thun or Brienz adds an extra layer of charm to your trip, blending the pleasure of a cruise with scenic views. Both boat stations are close to train stations, enabling a smooth transition.

What to Do in Interlaken

Explore the Old Town: Beyond simply strolling through Interlaken’s old town, dive into its history by visiting the Touristik-Museum of the Jungfrau region, which offers insights into how tourism shaped the area. Engage with the local culture by trying Swiss delicacies in small cafes or purchasing handmade crafts in boutiques scattered around the narrow cobblestone streets​ (The Crazy Tourist)​​ (PlanetTravel)​. Crossing the Aare River via Spielmatte Strasse and walking along the river to the Harderbahn mountain rail station is exceptionally scenic.


Downtown Interlaken
Downtown Interlaken


Explore Unterseen: Just west of Interlaken, the charming town of Unterseen offers a quieter, less touristy experience. This medieval town features beautiful old chalets and has a rich history showcased in its architecture, including a 13th-century church and a town hall that was once an inn​ (The Crazy Tourist)​​ (PlanetTravel)​.

Ascend Harder Kulm: When visiting Harder Kulm, not only enjoy the panoramic views but also dine at the panoramic restaurant located at the summit, which offers traditional Swiss dishes against the backdrop of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains. The funicular ride to Harder Kulm is an experience in itself, climbing steeply from the valley and providing glimpses of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz as you ascend​ (ViaTravelers)​​ (Holidays to Switzerland)​.


View from Harder Kulm
View from Harder Kulm

Jet Boat Ride on Lake Brienz: This exhilarating jet boat experience is enhanced by the natural beauty of the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz. Prepare for high speeds and sharp turns, all while learning about the geological and historical significance of the area from your guide. The boat ride also offers unique views of the surrounding cliffs and waterfalls, making it a thrilling and scenic adventure​ (Switzerlandical)​​ (Arzo Travels)​.


View of Lake Brienz from Harderkulm
View of Lake Brienz from Harderkulm

Visit Lauterbrunnen: Extend your visit to Lauterbrunnen by exploring its stunning natural landscapes, including the Trümmelbach Falls—ten glacier waterfalls inside the mountain accessible via a funicular. Lauterbrunnen Valley is known as the valley of 72 waterfalls, so hiking and nature photography are highly recommended. The pastoral beauty and the towering cliffs make this a peaceful yet dramatic escape from the bustling town center​ (NOMADasaurus Staging)​​ (ViaTravelers)​. Lauterbrunnen is a 25-minute train ride from Interlaken. Once you arrive in Lauterbrunnen, walk along Pfundmatte and then continue on to Spiess further into the valley. Along the way, you will pass by the Staubbachfall Waterfall.


Lauterbrunnen Valley
Lauterbrunnen Valley

Sigriswil Panoramic Bridge: For breathtaking views, the Sigriswil Panoramic Bridge offers a spectacular perspective over Lake Thun. This 340-meter long suspension bridge connects two villages and provides panoramic views of the surrounding Alpine scenery—a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts​ (NOMADasaurus Staging)​.

Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboarding: Both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz offer serene settings ideal for water sports. Kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding are popular ways to explore these tranquil waters while enjoying the mountainous backdrop. These lakes provide a peaceful paddling experience, making them a must-try for visitors​ (The Crazy Tourist)​​ (NOMADasaurus Staging)​.

Hiking in and around Interlaken

Interlaken and its surrounding area offer a variety of hiking trails, providing opportunities to enjoy the scenic beauty and outdoor adventures.

Among the popular hikes is the Harder Kulm trail, accessed by a funicular ride and leading to the summit of Harder Kulm, where hikers can enjoy panoramic views of Interlaken, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz.

For a more challenging trek, the Eiger Trail follows the base of the Eiger North Face, offering views of glaciers and rugged peaks.

Additionally, the Schynige Platte Panorama Trail is known for its alpine flora and fauna, passing through meadows filled with wildflowers and offering vistas of the Swiss Alps. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or just looking for a scenic stroll, these top hikes provide opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region.

Ready for Your Interlaken Adventure?

Embarking on a day trip to Interlaken is an adventure that starts with your journey there. Whether you arrive by train, car, or boat, each mode of transport offers its own unique set of picturesque views and experiences. You won't be able to do all of this in one day. My personal favorite things to do are a short walk through Unterseen town, then along the river to the Harder Kulm mountain trails with lunch on top of Harder Kulm. In the afternoon, take the train to Lauterbrunnen and walk through the valley until you decide to turn around and head back home.

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