Interlaken, a city that invited me for the third time and gifted me with a new experience. It was a complete 180-degree turn from my previous stays. The last time I visited Interlaken was in winter when the entire town was wrapped with a blanket of snow. And the first time I visited Interlaken, I was treated to balmy weather, which is the best season for all the water sports in the city. However, this time, I took a trip in the month of Autumn with a cosy warmth from the sun wafting in the air and the entire town decorated in gold, orange and yellow hues. And during my three days in the alpine paradise, I took three adventure-filled day trips from Interlaken to get the best out of the adventure capital of Switzerland.
What makes Interlaken so picturesque is its location – a resort town in the mountainous Bernese Oberland region of central Switzerland snuggled by Lake Thun on one side and Lake Brienz on the other. And that’s why the town is named Interlaken.
Greatly admired for its Alpine beauty, Interlaken sees a great influx of Indian tourists every year, thanks to Yashraj Studios. This place is also the first choice for Adventure junkies like me, who visit for numerous adventure activities under one roof.
River Rafting in Geneva and Bungy jumping at Verdasca Dam in the Ticino region fueled my adrenaline rush further, which got satiated in Interlaken as I indulged in a plethora of adventures at Interlaken, Jungfrau and Grindelwald. A new adventure welcomed me every day as I took several Day trips from Interlaken.
Table of Contents
Adventure activities that you can’t miss in Interlaken
DAY 1 – Paragliding and Jetboat Scenic Ride in Interlaken
My first day trip from Interlaken started by indulging in the most popular adventure activities for which Interlaken is renowned for – Paragliding and jetboat riding.
Paragliding in Interlaken
My adventure journey in Interlaken started with Paragliding. A short walk from my Hotel Du Nord took me to Skywings paragliding meeting point, from where we took a 20 minutes bus ride to reach the jump-off point where a set of wings were waiting for me to explore the beautiful landscapes of Bernese Oberland region where I had only marvelled from the ground below.
As I took the flight, the spectacular scenery I witnessed amidst the clouds was indescribable and will only lose its charm in translation. But to hint at what you can expect from the flight, it makes you feel like a free bird, swaying in the sky with fresh air blowing in your face. Your eyes will get a glimpse of everything that comes within the bird’s eye view, a 360-degree sight of the panoramic townscape like a Lego set piece with snow-clad mountains shining like a diamond on the periphery of the town and birch trees colouring the hills with their golden leaves. I watched all this while floating atop the clear turquoise blue lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
I’ve done paragliding the world over, but if I were to rate paragliding in Interlaken, I would rank it among the top three simply because of the splendid views you get. No wonder it is a bucket list for many.
How much does Paragliding cost in Interlaken?
The cost of a single flight depends on the duration you opt for; it generally ranges between CHF 120-200, and an extra CHF 40 if you want HD videos and photos of your flight.
Jetboat Scenic Ride in Interlaken
While traversing in the air during Paragliding, my eyes were glued on the pristine blue lakes, and it seemed as if the dazzling lake was inviting me to ride on it. So, after flying on top of the world, I decided to fly on the water and directly headed to Lake Brienz to experience a Jetboat ride.
After a short walk to Interlaken Ost from the Paragliding base, I hopped on a bus to reach Bönigen See, where the Jetboat base was. When I booked a 50 minutes jet boat ride, I had no clue what I was signing up for. The jet boat glided at high speeds and sharp 360-degree turns on the turquoise waters of Lake Brienz. This adventure offered a sightseeing experience but with a twist. The swiftness of the ride on the ripples of the lake supplied views in fast-forward with sprays of water caressing you. Thankfully I was provided with wetsuits and helmets. And, the best part, our boat driver doubled up as a photographer and a guide sharing exciting trivia about the lake.
How much does Jetboat ride cost in Interlaken?
One single ticket for an adult costs around CHF 109 and CHF 79 for a child, and they also offer a Family Ticket ( 2 Adults + 2 children) at CHF 333
While returning, instead of catching a bus, I hopped on to a local Cruise Ship on Lake Brienz to witness the remarkable golden hour. Contrasting to the jet speed views I saw in fast-forward motion while on a Jetboat, this felt far more calming and in slo-mo, granting me enough time to cherish the beauty around me. And the setting sun became the icing on the cake.
I ended the day with a quiet dinner at Restaurant Taverne. Their pizzas and Swiss Fondue are to die for.
DAY 2 – Epic adventures of Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe
After an adventure-packed first day in Interlaken, my next day’s trip from Interlaken was to Jungfraujoch – Top of Europe following day. It was no doubt one of the highlights of my stay in Interlaken.
I was ecstatic to visit the highest train station in Europe and witness Jungfraujoch’s alpine wonderland of ice, snow and rock amidst Mountain Mönch and Jungfrau. My tour guide for the day was Ms Erica Mattle, who met me in my hotel Lobby, and together we travelled to Jungfraujoch via a short half-hour train journey from Interlaken to the newly constructed Grindelwald Terminal. We boarded the new Eiger Express triable gondola from there, taking us to Eiger Glacier station in 15 minutes.
I was brimming with excitement, but the gloomy grey clouds ominously hovering around with snowfall constantly falling from the sky sucked my happiness. I thought the weather gods had ruined my itinerary plan for the day. But Jungfraujoch refused to let me down. Jungfraujoch had a list of activities in store for me to enjoy, even if the weather was unpleasant.
My first visit was to Alpine Sensation, which is 250 metres long passage between Sphinx Hall and Ice Palace. I was welcomed by Frosty winds and a heavy feeling upon witnessing the 30 memorial tablets that displayed the sacrifices of the miners who provided access to Jungfraujoch. The Alpine Shock Experience Hall was built to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Jungfrau Railway and opened on April 1, 2012. Here, you can not only watch beautiful ice sculptures but also understand the story behind the iceberg train.
This place is a reminder of that sacrifice and revival of the history of Jungfraubahn and the imagery from the era of early tourism.
Have you ever wondered what an inside of a glacier looks like?
Ice Cave, one of the many attractions at Jungfraujoch, is carved out of Europe’s longest Glacier, which gives you a glimpse of a Glacier from the inside.
The long, crystal-icy corridors took me on a different kind of walking expedition. I plodded on the slippery path to the Ice Sculpture Zoo, where an elegant visual of creative artwork startled me. There was a myriad of colourless sculptures made out of pure ice.
There is no extra charge for Ice Cave; it’s included with the price of your train ticket.
After exploring the insides of a glacier, I stepped on the real snow outside towards my next attraction of the day: The Sphinx Observatory, a high-altitude astronomical observatory in Switzerland is one of the highest observatories in the world. On a clear day, the observatory offers an expansive transcendental vista of snow-adorned Alps, lush valleys, and the Eminent Aletsch Glacier. One can see more than 11,716 feet (3,571M) below from the metal netted terrace that encircles the skyscraper, with panoramas extending as far as Germany and Italy. Unfortunately, the day I went visibility was very poor due to bad weather and snowfall.
Due to the disturbance in weather, My excursion at Jungfraujoch was only limited to sightseeing attractions. Still, Jungfraujoch has numerous adventure activities that quench the thirst of thrill-seekers.
All the adventure sports occur at Snow Fun Park on a layer of stark white snow. You can enjoy a smooth ride on a snow tub, Sledge, Ski and Snowboard on an inclined slope, Hike across the Glacier to the Mönchsjoch Hut, and the most fun activity of all, Snow Fight and activity that brings families together and has the power to wake the sleeping child inside everyone.
Jungfraujoch is also the home to Lindt Swiss Chocolate Heaven and many Restaurants (including an Indian Cuisine Restaurant) where you can replenish, relax and prepare for the adventures lined up. At 11,332 feet above sea level, the themed chocolate shop on the Jungfraujoch is, up until now, the first and only shop of its kind. In addition, the Master Chocolatiers’ experience next door to the shop offers a fascinating insight into chocolate-making.
Along with the attractions, I got the opportunity to share an unexpected conversation with Ms Erica that granted me an astonishing revelation. Ms Erica was a 70-year youth with energy, enthusiasm and passion, making her look not a day older than 25. Her excited demeanour infused a sense of joy in me. She was beaming with pride when she shared stories about her culture. She talked about her career history through the years. Her first job was as an air hostess. She worked as ground staff, and now at 70, when people usually retire a decade before to enjoy a comfortable life, she continues to work with Jungfraujoch. A story inspired me to live with the same zeal and energy.
I have travelled to different parts of Switzerland, and one thing I found common everywhere in the country is how active the senior generation is. They are always on a hunt for an opportunity to explore their country, and with every discovery, they fall in love a little more.
DAY 3 – Day trip to Grindelwald-First from Interlaken
The last Day trip from Interlaken was dedicated to Grindelwald-First, an adventure hub with more than ten adventure activities under one roof. It is a famous mountain village with aesthetic views of the preserved unspoiled nature. Amidst this eye-pleasing panorama, I experienced some exciting hair-raising adventures, two of which were different variations of zip lining.
My first activity at Grindelwald was First Glider. The First Eagle carried me like prey across the landscape, sweeping me over the mountains.
First Flyer (First Flieger Eiger)
The next activity was First Flyer, which was an upgraded version of a swing. With my arms starched wide, I embraced the beautiful nature surrounding me while seated in a comfortable chair that swayed through the chilly air.
The First Cliff Walk by Tissot
My last adventure took me on a hike along the walkway fencing the mountain, where I only felt appreciation in my heart for nature. I experienced a gentle nuzzle of nature through arresting views, warm sunshine and cosy winds. Laughter was ringing in the air from the happy hearts of the tourists driving the Mountain carts along the same path. The smiles plastered on their faces were proof that Mountain Cart was an equally fun activity.
This place has a range of other adventure sports, like Cliff Walk, Trottibike Scooter, Skiing, First Mountain Cart, hiking to Lake Bachalpsee and many more.
Travel tip – with a Swiss pass, you can get a special price- CHF 50 for any one activity and ChF 79 for any two activities. In contrast, you will have to pay the total cost of CHF 74 and CHF 89 for any two activities.
Non-adventure activities in Interlaken
Schlosskirche – A Protestant and Catholic Cathedral
Interlaken is home to Schlosskirche (Castle Church), where both Protestant and Catholic churches stand side by side. The intricate architecture and enchanting interiors make them an unmissable attraction of the city. Schlosskirche, sometimes called Reformierte Schlosskirche or “the reformed church,” is one of the oldest buildings in Interlaken.
Sunset at Lake Thun/ Lake Brienz
Sunset is a tranquil activity that can calm people and make them smile. But when this is enjoyed alongside Lake Thun/ Brienz, the painted picturesque view relaxes the mind, and there is a surge of happy, positive thoughts.
Harder Kulm- Top of Interlaken
Harder Kulm is a must-visit spot in Interlaken, the topmost point of Interlaken. It stands at 1,322 metres above sea level, looking down upon the divine Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Harder Kulm also provides an alternate view which oversees the charismatic Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau peaks.
Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant is like a tangible version of Castle. The funicular was my chariot that took me to the castle-like restaurant to relish a flavour-rich dinner. The food served here is both local and international. I loved my burger and Swiss Wine after a long day.
Yash Chopra Statue
For all the Bollywood fanatics, this next tourist attraction is a special place. Indian Filmmaker Yash Raj Chopra has been honoured with a special statue in Interlaken, Switzerland. You can visit this place and take pictures with the statue of the person responsible for popularising Switzerland amongst Indians. In May 2016, a bronze statue of Yash Chopra was installed by the Switzerland government as a tribute, near the Congress Centre in Interlaken, a popular tourist spot. At the prestigious Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa, a special deluxe cinema-themed suite is named after Yash Chopra.
The last time I was in Interlaken during peak winters, I attended Lauberhorn ski races, amongst the highest-attended winter sports events in the world that sees over 30,000 attendees. Even though I was just a spectator, miles away from the skiers, my heart thumping increased at every sharp turn they took while whooshing over the snow.
If you are in Interlaken in winter, definitely experience this sport series. You can read more about it here:
Snow, Skiing and Stopover Switzerland in winters
Practical Travel Tips for Visiting Interlaken, Switzerland
How to Reach?
Interlaken is well connected to other parts of Switzerland by road, train and air. I arrived in Interlaken through a 4-hour-long Swiss Rail from Lugano.
The closest airport to Interlaken is Bern Airport. You can book flight tickets to Interlaken if you are itching to reach early and enjoy the adventures.
Before entering Adventure City, you can also plan a road trip and experience the beautiful countryside.
Where to Stay in Interlaken?
Interlaken has many stay options, from luxury to cheap stays and even Airbnb. I stayed at Hotel Du Nord, Höheweg. The Hotel is located just five minutes from the town’s centre and Interlaken OST (east) station, which is highly convenient and reduces unnecessary travel time. The cost of the stay for a single person at Hotel Du Nord is somewhere around CHF 180-200. You can check more details by writing at firstname.lastname@example.org or checking their website www.hotel-dunord.ch
Here is a list of a few hotels that you can check out before you make the booking-
Why should you get a Swiss Travel Pass before your trip to Switzerland?
With the Swiss Travel Pass, you can travel unlimited by Bus, Train and boat.
Getting a Swiss pass makes travel easier, with great complimentary views if you travel by Swiss Rails. This pass allows you to travel in more than 90 cities through public transportation. Mountain excursions to Gigi, Stanserhorn and Stoos are also included in the pass. You can visit more than 500 museums with your pass. While you need to pay separately for Cable cars, with the Swiss Rail pass, you can also avail of up to 50% off on cable car rides that are required for your day trips from Interlaken to Grindelwald, Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn (James Bond Tour), or Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Your travelling will be sorted with the Swiss pass, so don’t forget to purchase it before your trip.
For more details, visit- the Swiss Travel System
It is mandatory for every Indian tourist travelling to Switzerland to have Schengen Visa.
Currency required in Switzerland
Swiss Franc (CHF), Euros and Credit Cards are accepted in Interlaken. Start your journey with Swiss francs in your wallet so you can jump right into the adventure activities once you reach Interlaken.
What to pack?
Interlaken experiences balmy temperatures from June to September. You can carry comfortable summery clothes with a light jacket if the temperature falls at night. If you travel to this part of Switzerland in months other than June to September, you must carry jackets, coats, sweaters, warm pants, and socks to keep yourself warm.
One thing you need to carry, irrespective of the month, is a raincoat or a waterproof jacket, as Interlaken is an unexpected city in terms of Rain. The town sees unpredictable rains throughout the year. Also, do carry your winterwear if you plan to take at least a few of the day trips from Interlaken to Grindelwald First, Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn (James Bond Tour), or Lauterbrunnen Valley.
How many days are enough In Interlaken?
My Itinerary for the adventure city was 3-whole days; a short and crisp trip is apt to explore and experience everything without missing out on anything. In these three days I took the best day trips from Interlaken. If you want to explore more, you can add a few more days.
Top 10 Shopping Spots in Interlaken
Interlaken is not just famous for its day trips to exotic locations or adventure activities but also for its numerous shopping spots to satisfy ardent shoppers.
- Swiss Knife Center– This shop sells all kinds of Swiss Knives.
- Swiss Chocolate Chalet– This is a World-famous, high-quality authentic Swiss Chocolate.
- Bucherer– This place sells the Finest handcrafted watches.
- Heimatwerk Interlaken– you can find a wide variety of gifts, handicrafts, and souvenirs created by Local Artisans here for sale.
- Metropole Gallery– This is the most well-known shopping centre where you can get a wide selection of apparel, leather goods, traditional presents, Swiss watches, and jewellery.
- Otto’s AG– A wide range of items at this additional trading centre, including clothing, watches, furniture, kids’ toys and clothing, accessories, cutlery, furniture, and gadgets, are sold here that cater to every Income Group.
- Swiss Mountain Market– This is a well-known gift and speciality shop selling handcrafted natural products, tea, lotions, natural medicines, souvenirs, and other unique items, along with a selection of alcohol you may taste before you buy.
- Mad Cow– This is a place for those who enjoy unusual and designer goods and a wide selection of souvenirs, jewellery, presents, accessories, fabrics, crafts, and painted furniture.
- Vertical Sport Interlaken– This place offers one of the best sports equipment in Interlaken.
- EdelWeiss Shop– This store sells various items for gifting purposes.
The food you must try in Interlaken
At Interlaken, you should try fresh, authentic Swiss foods like Swiss Cheese, chocolate, local dried sausage, fresh beef, quiche Sunday bread, lamb, beef rösti, hazelnut cake, and a lot of other Swiss cakes. And it would be best to try meringues with cream and coffee with some schnapps. This is just a short list of some of the incredible foods of Switzerland.
Recommended Restaurants in Interlaken
Since Interlaken is a popular vacation destination, getting a table at a restaurant can be challenging if reservations are not made beforehand. So book tables at restaurants where you wish to enjoy your meal in the city. A full-fledged meal would cost around CHF 30-40 for a single person.
- OX Restaurant & Grill- This restaurant serves authentic swim delicacies. Disclaimer: This place has enormous portions before you order. They also have a few vegetarian options.
- Grand Restaurant Schuh is one of Interlaken’s best and most expensive restaurants. Unfortunately, it was fully booked during my 3-day stay, and I couldn’t try their unique recipes.
- Restaurant La Terrasse Brasserie & Ristorante Pizzeria Sapori– This restaurant takes care of your late-night cravings as it opens until late.
- Restaurant Taverne / Hotel Interlaken– This place serves scrumptious food, such as fondues, and soothes the eyes with its stunning interiors.
- Brasserie St. Georges Hotel Royal St. Georges
What Swiss hate about Indians?
During my several visits to Switzerland and other countries, I have seen that we, the Indian tourists, are a little loud and impatient. And this behaviour doesn’t go too well with the calm Swiss. My tourist guide Priya who is a local, echoed the same sentiments when she shared her and other Swiss locals’ personal experiences of dealing with difficult Indian travellers. Indians are notorious for their soaring impatience level while they are travelling. Swiss people’s personalities are on a parallel tangent where they are highly particular, punctual, and deal patiently. The contrasting personality traits often conflict, creating an annoying situation for the locals.
We must change people’s perceptions worldwide by rebuilding our image, having more patience, and respecting our hosts.
Things to keep in mind while you are in Switzerland
- Hotels serve only breakfast, so you need to make reservations for Lunch and Dinner in the restaurant of your choice in advance.
- Guests cannot carry food from the breakfast buffet outside the dining area.
- Hotels have a strict policy regarding check-in and check-out times. Even if you are a second late, they will charge extra.
- The kettle provided in the room is only supposed to be used to heat water and not cook any food items. If, after check out, the hotel staff finds that the kettle has been used for cooking food, they will charge a penalty which can be the cost of the kettle.
Interlaken has something in store for every traveller. It is a gateway that opens up an adventure world where you can expect adventure activities on three elements of nature – land, water and air. Interlaken is committed to providing adventure junkies with shots of adrenaline pumps and stunning sights for beginners who are new to adventure; Interlaken introduces them to low-intensity adventures to familiarise them with the realm and ignite a fire of thrill-seeking in them.
So, what are you waiting for? Plan your trip to Interlaken today. I hope you found this travel guide useful and will use it to plan at least a few day trips from Interlaken. Please share your feedback in the comment section below.
Zermatt- Home of the Majestic Matterhorn
Switzerland Tourism invited me to explore Interlaken. Everything expressed above is based on my personal exp[erienjces in the country. Please don’t copy or use any content (pictures or text) without my permission.