When we found out we were staying in Balmer’s, the first privately owned hostel in Switzerland, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Located in the heart of adventure and adrenaline filled Interlaken, walking through Balmer’s Herberge was like getting transported through time.
Every nook and cranny is filled with interesting memorabilia and artifacts which have been with the Balmer family for many years. Having been around since 1907, Balmer’s sure had the whole hospitality thing pat down.
Balmer’s Herberge Hostel
During the 70’s, the son of the first generation of Balmer’s, Erich Balmer came back from the USA and Canada and turned his parent’s little tourist house into a hostel, causing an influx of young people to head to Interlaken. Its success pioneered a movement within backpackers making Interlaken a premier destination known for its many adrenaline pumping activities. Nowadays, the hostel is a super cool mix of old and new, instantly making guests feel at home. Walking around Balmer’s is like a maze as each door and corridor leads to a new place. They have many dorm rooms, private rooms, and even a hammock room for those on a budget! Designed for travelers to socialize and meet each other, Balmer’s also has a game room with a big ping pong table, fooseball area, pool table, and a club. That’s right-you heard me. A club! Their underground club was designed to look like a subway station, designed to allow people from all over the world to relax and have a good time.
Apart from that, Balmer’s Herberge has a kitchen which guests can use (trust me-you need this here in Switzerland) and a lot of common areas. The garden area has a large chess set and many outdoor seating areas. During the Winter time, the staff round up the guests on a Friday night for some Glühwein and Cheese Fondue.
We lucked out during our time there as we got to experience this fun get together and it was a great way to get to know the people in the hostel as well as the staff who worked there. We loved walking around Interlaken going on mini hikes, taking part in the many activities, and most of all, just coming back to Balmer’s to use the hot tub. In our many years of traveling, we have NEVER stayed in a hostel with a hot tub! It was awesome!
Our Room at Balmer’s Herberge
We were staying in a double private in the JungFrau building, named after the popular mountain. Our room was spacious, comfortable, and very hip. Think log cabin turned trendy! The bed and closet were made from Jagermeister wooden crates, giving it an up cycled feel and vibe. It had a shared kitchen and bathroom with the room next door. Because we had been moving quickly the past couple of days, we enjoyed our time in Balmer’s immensely.
Apart from the double private rooms, we got to see a few of the dorm rooms which were all tidy and kept clean. The rooms were spacious enough and didn’t give a cramped up feel. Apart from the rooms in Balmer’s Herberge, they also have a Balmer’s tent village where travelers who are on a tighter budget can just pitch their tent without having to worry about paying a high hostel fee. The tent village plus the newly created hammock room just goes to show the level of commitment of Balmer’s to promote tourism and make Switzerland enjoyable for everyone-even for those who are on a budget!
The Activities around Balmer’s Herberge
We planned a trip to Interlaken because of the many activities that the place offers. We were pleasantly surprised to see that Balmer’s made it easy for their guests to book these activities. You can coordinate with them to do night sledding, parasailing, skiing, vertical rope courses, and the best of all, skydiving. During our time there, Balmer’s helped us book a skydiving session with the folks at Scenic Air and we had a blast! Tom jumped while I got a scenic air tour of the majestic Swiss Alps. You can read about his experience over at Skydiving in Switzerland.
Our Overall Experience at Balmer’s Herberge
We LOVED our time at Balmer’s. During our time there, we had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Erich Balmer himself who was nothing short of lovely. What we loved the most was the fact that everyone from Mr. Erich Balmer, the guests, and most specially the staff, all LOVED Balmer’s.
The staff all spoke about the place with pride and treated it as more than just a hostel and a place of work, but more of a home away from home. They have created a family who cared for the hostel and the guests. Although we didn’t get to see Balmer’s Herberge at its peak time as we came just before the season started, we can only imagine the hustle and bustle that goes on in that place during the peak months of Summer and Winter. With that being said, we will just have to come back again one day!
Please note that despite receiving complimentary services from Balmer’s Herberge, all opinions are ours and remain completely unbiased.