Interlaken Travel Guide: 22 Best Things to Do in Interlaken (2024)

written by local expert Jane Elmets

Jane always knew she wasn't destined for a desk job... She has travelled all over the world and is passionate about noodles, sloths and her hiking boots! When she isn't busy adventuring around the world, you can find her reviewing travel gear and dishing out travel tips to all the places she's visited.

Looking for the BEST things to do in Interlaken? Look no further because we have you covered. If Switzerland is on your bucket list but you don’t know where to start, Interlaken is the perfect destination for any traveler eager to visit the Alps.

Interlaken is full of things to do, whether you’re interested in exploring the unique landscape and quaint villages, visiting historic castles, or getting your blood pumping with adventurous activities. We spent a few glorious days hiking and soaking up the mountain views, skydiving, and exploring this beautiful place.

To help you understand all that Interlaken has to offer, here are 22 things to do on your next trip to this Swiss gem! It’s my favorite spot in Switzerland and is a place that has no shortage of activities!

Before I share the best things to do in Interlaken, we want to let you in on a little secret. If you’re traveling all over the country, we recommend getting the Switzerland travel pass which gives you UNLIMITED access to trains, buses, boats, and more.

You also get 50% off a lot of different activities and get entry into over 500+ museums. Since Switzerland can be pricey, this pass is a great way to make some savings.

arial views in interlaken
Visiting Interlaken is a must if you like adventure activities like rock climbing
mountain views in interlaken
Explore Interlaken to admire beautiful views and mountain viewpoints

Interlaken Things to Do Highlights

Interlaken can be a BUSY place, especially as it’s a year-round destination full of adventure-filled activities. This is truer in peak tourist season. We recommend booking in advance to make sure you get to do everything you want, especially if you’re on an Interlaken day trip. Here are our absolute MUST-Dos while in the area.

  • Tandem paragliding adventure– If skydiving feels a little too extreme, go ahead and book a paragliding adventure across the Swiss Alps. The scenery is absolutely unreal!
  • Boatride around Lake Thun– This boat ride is one of the best ways to see Lake Thun and Interlaken, so we recommend booking it in advance as it’s a popular activity! Lake Brienz is also nearby and another well-loved place to visit.
views over interlaken
Interlaken is known as an adventure capital
Even on a day trip, you should strongly consider paragliding while visiting Interlaken

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1. Enjoy Panoramic Restaurant Views from Harder Kulm 

One of the attractions that draws the most visitors in Interlaken is Harder Kulm. This panoramic restaurant is otherwise known as the “house mountain” of the area. Either take an easy hike up or ride the funicular (cable car) for panoramic views of the city, lakes, and surrounding Swiss Alps.

When you reach the top of Harder Kulm, you can take in all the sights from the viewing deck that has a glass floor, and then grab a delicious local lunch from the restaurant next door. This panoramic restaurant is a highlight when visiting Interlaken.

Top Tip: Avoid long lines and prebook your tickets for the cablecar to the top! Trust us, the views are worth it!

views from harder klum in switzerland
The Swiss Travel Pass allows you to save money, even if it’s just a short trip!

2. Go Paragliding

Paragliding is a super popular activity in Interlaken due to the hefty winds, unbelievable landscape, and a plethora of certified instructors. This activity is considered a MUST-DO when in Interlaken. Take a tandem paragliding adventure with a professional who will guide you through the air, where you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the mountains and lakes.

You’ll gently soar through the air while taking in your surroundings. Imagine how unique it’d be to see Interlaken from a bird’s eye view! A “classic flight” will give you 5 to 10 minutes of airtime, but if you top up a little bit for a “sensational flight”, you’ll spend 12 to 30 minutes in the sky.

Is there a better way to see a place? From up high, you can enjoy endless mountain views.

Read our full Paragliding in Interlaken Review.

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Adventure in You paragliding in interlaken
Paragliding in Interlaken
paragliding in switzerland
Outdoor activities are very popular in Interlaken
paragliding in interlaken
Adventure sports are popular in this Swiss destination

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3. Take a Boat Tour on Lake Thun

Another one of Interlaken’s natural splendors is Lake Thun, which features deep blue waters and a strong breeze blowing off the surrounding mountains. The best way to view the lake is by going on it! Book a boat tour around Lake Thun to truly enjoy the stunning scenery.

When visiting in the summer, relax on the banks of the lake or take a dip in the clear water. If you’re feeling adventurous, this is a prime spot to windsurf and sail as well!

When you’ve finished up at the lake, hop on a steamboat to visit the town of Thun. Check out the castle and stroll around streets that have a rich history. A visit to Lake Thun is one of the best things to do in Interlaken!

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interlaken lake thun and surroundings
Looking for a beautiful hiking trail? Interlaken is full of them! You’ll find stunning views and greenery

4. Stroll around Höhematte Park

Höhematte Park is located right in the center of town and spans over 35 acres of land. From this park, you can stroll around, viewing the stunning Jungfrau mountain. This is also the spot where people land when they are paragliding so it’s also a good place to people watch.

If you’re looking for a place to have a picnic, Höhematte Park is the right spot! We would often go to a grocery, grab a few bits and bobs, and head to this park to enjoy the views.

During the Winter months, the park transforms into Ice Magic, where you can find five rinks connected by ice ramps. During Ice Magic, you can expect to see plenty of ice skating, Bavarian curling, and more. Ice Magic is a local festival/ event that many people from Interlaken look forward to.

5. Explore Lake Brienz via Kayak

Speaking of lakes, Lake Brienz is another gem in Interlaken. Although smaller than Lake Thun, this lake offers different activities and sights to enjoy. While Lake Thun gets a lot more visitors, we personally think a visit to Lake Brienz is worth it.

To make the most of your visit, take a kayak tour of the lake to revel in mountain scenery, explore cliffs, and discover hidden beaches. Suitable for even for beginners, this half-day excursion is a unique way to take in the beauty of Lake Brienz.

Either go during the day for sunshine on the water or opt for an evening tour where you’ll get to watch the sunset from the comfort of your kayak as you paddle along Lake Brienz.

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lake brienz
Lake Brienz is a must-see in Interlaken
lake brienz during sunset
Lake Brienz is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland

6. Ride the Highest Railway Station in Europe to Jungfraujoch

Take a trip on the highest railway in Europe and end up in a mystical paradise once you reach the top. Your journey begins at the Interlaken Ost railway station.

It takes a few hours (approximately 2h 8m) to get from Interlaken Ost Station to the top of Jungfraujoch. We recommend booking tickets in advance as seat reservations are possible during this leg of your journey.

When you arrive at the final station, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views. At 3,454 meters above sea level, you’ll have the chance to experience a natural high while looking out at the snow-covered mountains and distant lands.

Once you reach the top, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the restaurants and explore attractions like 360° views from the observatory!

Travel Tip: Want to beat the crowds? You can book your round-trip train tickets (including admission to Jungfraujoch) online!  Get more details here.

riding the train to the top of jungfraujoch
The train journey to the top of Jungfraujoch offers an amazing view of the Swiss Alps

7. Go on a Hot Air Balloon

Love the idea of viewing Interlaken from above? Consider taking a hot air balloon tour over the majestic Swiss Alps and the cities below. You’ll weave between forests, view pristine meadows, soar over lakes, and of course immerse yourself in the mountains and glaciers as you travel by air over this beautiful place.

To make the experience even more special, this half-day excursion begins super early in the day – this means you’ll be able to view the sun slowly rising up over the Alps. It’s bound to be a breathtaking sight!

This tour is only currently offered on Manawa. You can view more details below.

riding a hot air balloon over switzerland
An easy Interlaken day trip is enough time to enjoy a hot air balloon ride, but you may prefer bungee jumping

8. Bungee Jump

If a thrilling holiday is what you’re after, take the opportunity to bungee jump in the Swiss Alps! Bungee jumping in Interlaken is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Imagine the exhilaration of free-falling in one of the most beautiful places on earth.

After riding 132 meters up a mountain in a gondola, you’ll jump towards Lake Stockensee, where you’ll be carefully lowered into a waiting boat below when you’re finished flying. How amazing does that sound?

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9. Go SkyDiving in Interlaken

By now, it’s pretty clear that Interlaken is a dream location for adventure lovers. So why not go for the ultimate thrill? For the most adventurous of travelers, use your trip to Interlaken as an opportunity to skydive from a helicopter. 

After traveling up, up, up, you’ll have the opportunity to jump from a helicopter at up to 14,000 feet. Enjoy the snowy landscape as you race through the air. But don’t worry, you’ll be attached to an instructor so you’ll be safe and sound for the duration of your dive.

This is one for all of the adrenaline junkies that are seeking the ultimate blood-pumping experience in Interlaken.

Want to know what skydiving in Interlaken is really like? Read our complete review of skydiving in Interlaken!

skydiving tom interlaken
Skydiving in Interlaken

10. Stay in Luxury at the Lindner Grand Hotel

Lindner Grand Hotel

Lindner Grand Hotel

If you’d like to wake up to views of Interlaken’s splendid landscape, look no further. The ever-luxurious Lindner Grand Hotel offers guests views of either the Alps or the Aare River right from their beds. 

When you’re not soaking in the sights from your bedroom, you can take a dip in the pool, visit the spa, or dine at the world-class restaurant.

Only a 5-minute walk from the Interlaken Ost train station, you’ll get to live large in the heart of Interlaken in this castle-like hotel. If you’re looking for other options, Hotel Interlaken is another great option as it is right by central Interlaken. From here, you can walk to the central town quite easily.

Both of these are some of the best hotels in Interlaken.

Insider’s Tip: Looking for places to stay in Interlaken? Check out our full travel guide which features budget friendly places to luxury hotels.

11. Visit the Fairytale-Like Village of Grindelwald

While the village of Grindelwald has nothing to do with Harry Potter (where are my fans?!), it has a magical atmosphere that will simply sweep you off your feet.

Take a stroll through this charming village to escape the tourists, see how the locals of the Jungfrau region live, and take in outstanding sights. You’ll get to see turquoise lakes surrounded by mountains and glaciers, with a small town sitting right at the banks.

This is a must-see if you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the central town! Walking around the Jungfrau region is a highlight in Interlaken so definitely include it in your itinerary.

birds eye views of grindelwald in switzerland
You simply need to visit Grindelwald whilst visiting Interlaken
grindelwald on a sunny day with mountain views in the background
There are many outdoor activities in Grindelwald near Interlaken
village in the mountains
Snowcapped mountains in Grindelwald near Interlaken
beautiful views of grindelwald
The Swiss town of Grindelwald is one of the most popular day trips from Interlaken

12. Take a Trip to Trummelbach Falls 

Love waterfalls? Well, here’s your chance to see multiple falls located inside a mountain! When visiting Trummelbach Falls, you’ll have the opportunity to explore ten waterfalls that are fed by glaciers.

To get there, you’ll take a tunnel-funicular that was built in 1913. You can also wander around the stairs and multiple viewpoints to get optimal views of nature at work.

13. Stay in a Chalet without Breaking the Bank

Chalet without Breaking the Bank

Chalet without Breaking the Bank

Switzerland is notoriously expensive, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find banging budget options for accommodation.

Perched at the forefront of a massive mountain, the Chalet Hostel @ Backpacks Villa is a fairly inexpensive option if you’re looking for a quality place to stay in Interlaken.

Stroll through the property gardens, relax in the lounge, or set off on one of the many hikes nearby with other backpackers visiting Interlaken. You’ll have a mountainous experience while sleeping in the dorms of a chalet. What better place to meet other budget travelers?

14. Stroll around the Town Center

Looking for some souvenirs to bring home with you? Hit the town center and walk along the main street to find shops filled with chocolate, Swiss Army Knives, and more. If you’re on an Interlaken day trip, it’s one of the best ways to take in the atmosphere of the town.

You’re sure to be one of many tourists here, so if you’re not keen on pushing through the crowds, try out the streets that lead to the river. You’ll find a more local experience here with craft shops, flowers, and lots of color. Not to mention a glorious view of the water! 

Strolling around this area is one of the best things to do in Interlaken as you enjoy views of the stunning mountains and lush green meadows.

aerial view of interlaken town centre
Views of Interlaken and the surrounding peaks of the magnificent Swiss Alps

15. Traverse through St. Beatus Caves

It must be clear by now that Interlaken is full of natural wonders that are bound to blow your mind. Included in those wonders are the St. Beatus Caves, which are in the heart of a mountain. 

Walk more than a kilometer in caves to marvel at the stalactites and stalagmites that have been forming for millions of years!

When you’ve finished your cave walk, stop by the Cave Museum to learn more about these incredible formations. You’ll also get the story behind St. Beat, the monk who discovered these caves on the hunt for a mythological creature in the 6th century.

Who says history can’t be fun?

16. Hike through Swiss Nature

I hope by now you realize that Interlaken, Switzerland is a place full of natural wonder. With so many mountains and greenery, there are plenty of hiking trails to do in this area. Plus, it’s an awesome way to see the landscape and reach wild viewpoints!

If you’re looking for popular hiking trails, check out Niderhorn Mountain or Niesen, Brienzer Rothorn, Mannlichen, or Stockhorn. The list of places to hike in and around Interlaken can go on forever.

hiking on a trail near interlaken
A beautiful hiking trail in Interlaken

If you want the mountain experience but aren’t one for strenuous physical activity, many mountains offer a cable car ride up to the top! What’s not to love? We personally love using All-Trails when finding hiking trails in an area.

As hiking is one of the best things to do in Interlaken, there are over 35 different hiking trails to choose from. They have hiking routes that vary in difficulty level so make sure you check them out.

lakes and mountain views in switzerland
Scenic boat tours are also popular in the area – you might get the entire lake to yourself

17. Walk the Sigriswil Suspension Bridge

Stretching between Sigriswil and Aeschlen lies a 340-meter-long suspension bridge that offers panoramic views of the magnificent surroundings of Interlaken.

Walk along the bridge to admire the sights of the 182-meter-deep Gummischulucht gorge, surrounding mountains, and the ever-famous Lake Thun.

If you’re feeling extra active, this bridge can be combined with different hikes in the area so you can work those legs while viewing Lake Thun and the entire landscape from an unbeatable vantage point.

18. Dive into the History of Schlosskirche

It should come as no surprise that there’s some beautiful architecture in Interlaken.

One of the best places to see an old-time building is Schlosskirche. This building was erected in 1133 (talk about ancient history) to serve as a monastery but was later converted to a private castle.

On a visit to Schlosskirche, you’ll be able to feast your eyes not only on the astounding construction of the building but also at the stained glass windows and the rich history this site has to offer.

19. Indulge at Funky Chocolate Club

It wouldn’t be a trip to Switzerland if you didn’t gorge yourself on world-famous Swiss chocolate, now would it?

Funky Chocolate Club is the ultimate place to visit if you’re interested in eating, drinking, and learning about Swiss chocolate. They offer workshops in their special Chocolate Laboratory where you’ll learn all about the chocolate-making process. You’ll learn about the different components, tastes and origins of chocolate as well.

Prepare yourself for this one – you’re going to get chocolate wasted!

swiss chocolates
From modern Swiss cuisine to tasty chocolates, you’re in for a treat – Try some chocolates at Funky Chocolate Club

20. Visit Oberhofen Castle

Castles pique your interest? If so, Oberhofen is one of the most beautiful (and famous) in the Jungfrau region.

Sitting on the banks of Lake Thun, this castle looms over the deep blue waters. In true fairytale style, it’s surrounded by spires, bridges, medieval walls, and gardens (because what castle is complete without a lavish garden?).

Dating back to the 13th century, visitors are able to wander around the castle grounds and through the different rooms that were once used by the nobility. You’ll find multiple points from different towers to get an unreal view of Lake Thun, as well as the surrounding village.

view of Oberhofen Castle interlaken with water
You can’t visit Interlaken without visiting Oberhofen Castle, there are also other options for day trips nearby

21. Travel through Forests, Waterfalls and Gorges while Canyoning

For anyone looking to experience nature with a thrilling twist, consider canyoning in Interlaken.

On this excursion, you’ll visit Saxeten Canyon where you’ll be strapped in and left free to jump and slide down through a forest and waterfalls (obviously under the watchful eye of certified guides). 

For those who really like an adrenaline rush, you can even take an optional 7-meter jump to round out this wild adventure as you travel through the narrow gorges and lush greenery of Swiss nature. 

You don’t need to have any experience for this canyoning outing, so if you’re looking to tick this wild ride off your bucket list, Interlaken is the place to do it!

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22. Experience Winter Activities

Much of what’s on this list can be enjoyed year-round, but it wouldn’t be a trip to the Alps without a little bit of snow. If you’re visiting in wintertime, you’ll be faced with a glorious winter wonderland in the Jungfrau ski region, that’s just ready to be taken advantage of. 

There is actually a local named Yuri who offers a personal local hiking tour which he has named the Winter Wonderland Experience.

The Jungfrau Ski Region comes alive as you can explore the ski resorts, ski slopes, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or ice climbing. The options are endless in Interlaken. A winter trip is the perfect time to see this place in all of its snowy glory. As you can see below, Lake Thun will look a little different this time of year!

As you can imagine, there are tons of different ski slopes in the area. If you’re here to enjoy the winter activities, make sure you look them up in advance.

Jungfrau mountain
Consider buying a Swiss Travel Pass to save money on your trip to Switzerland and adventure activities (such as winter sports)

FAQ about Interlaken

Is Interlaken worth visiting?

100% Yes! We loved our trip to Interlaken. It’s one of the best destinations to visit when traveling to Switzerland. It has incredible scenery including mountains and two lakes, plus, there are loads of amazing things to do.

How many days are enough for Interlaken?

4 Days.

We spent 4 days there and it was enough time to explore the main highlights, experience the Swiss culture, do plenty of activities, and not feel rushed.

When should I go to Interlaken?

The best time to visit Interlaken depends on your interests. If you want to go trekking and have nice weather, (temperature around 18°C to 20°C) is during the summer, from June to August.

The best time for snow sports such as skiing and snowboarding, is during the winter, from December to February.

How long does it take to travel from Interlaken Ost Station to Jungfraujoch?

This famous train journey from Interlaken Ost to the top of Jungfraujoch takes 2 hours. We recommend that you book your tickets in advance as this is one of the best things to do in Interlaken.

Is Lake Brienz worth visiting?

One of the best things to do in Interlaken is visit the Lake Brienz. Although smaller than its counterpart, Lake Thun, a visit here will allow you to enjoy the panoramic views of the lake and its surrounding mountains.

Why is Interlaken so famous?

Loosely dubbed as the adventure capital of Switzerland, Interlaken is so famous due to the many activities on offer. From skydiving, skiing, hiking, boat cruises, and more, the sights here are endless.

That’s it! Honestly, there is so much to do in Interlaken, you’ll never be bored. The only question is how to fit so much into a single trip. From mountains, to boat rides on lakes, to castles and caves, you’ll really enjoy yourself while traveling through the Swiss paradise that is Interlaken.

Enjoy your travels and eat some chocolate for me!

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