Lake Brienz, Switzerland
Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places in the world and there are so many incredible places to be discovered here. One of those places is Interlaken, in the Jungfrau region. Interlaken is one of the best places to visit in Switzerland as it enjoys a perfect setting, nestled in between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and in the shadow of the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger mountain ranges.
Looking to explore more of Switzerland? Check out my guide on how to visit Zermatt for the famous Matterhorn
8 Incredible things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland
1. Spend a day in Interlaken town
Interlaken is not a large town, but it is full of shops, restaurants and hotels. You don't need more than a day or half a day to wander around Interlaken itself. The main promenade is lined with designer shops on either side and leads up to a huge meadow where you can marvel at the surrounding views. One of the best things to do in Interlaken is to stroll by the river Aare. The river runs through the centre of the town, linking Lake Thun and Lake Brienz on either side of Interlaken. A late afternoon stroll along part of the river edge in the shadow of the mountain range is a great way to round off a day here.
A day in Interlaken, Switzerland
2. Visit the Giessbach Waterfall - one of Switzerland's most impressive waterfalls
The Giessbach Waterfall is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Switzerland and is one of the best things to see from Interlaken. This impressive waterfall sits on the edge of Lake Brienz, close to the town of Brienz and tops the list of attractions in the Interlaken and Jungfrau region. (It is also completely free of charge to see - bonus!)
The waterfall cascades over 14 stages and paths have been added, which criss-cross over the waterfall, so you can follow it the whole way up. You can even walk behind one of the cascades!
The Giessbach waterfall is one of Switzerland's' most beautiful waterfalls
3. Visit Grindlewald's incredible Glacier Canyon
The Glacier Canyon near Grindlewald is pretty impressive. The Canyon was formed by Grindlewald’s lower glacier, which carved its way through the rock over time. Unfortunately, the lower glacier has now melted and no longer exists, but the canyon remains and walkways have been built 1km into the rock so you can marvel at the canyon close up.
If you’re feeling brave, you can walk on a huge ‘spider web’ net that hangs over the glacier floor, where the river Lütschine flows beneath you. And if you’re a real adrenaline junkie, you can pay extra for the canyon swing!
The Glacier Canyon can be reached by car, bus, or it is an easy 35-minute walk from Grindlewald, along the River Lütschine. It is definitely worth a visit and one of the most incredible places to see in Switzerland.
The incredible Glacier Gorge at Grindlewald
4. Experience the beautiful Lake Brienz
You can’t visit Interlaken without experiencing amazing views of Lake Brienz and it’s sparkling turquoise water. If you fancy getting out onto the water of Lake Brienz, you can join a boat cruise or hire a kayak or paddleboard and in the warmer, summer months you can swim in designated areas. If you prefer to keep your feet on firm ground, there are plenty of hiking trails all around the shoreline. The stunning Lake Brienz can also be seen from several hiking trails in the surrounding mountain ranges and the view of the lake from the mountains is even more spectacular.
Switzerland's beautiful Lake Brienz taken from the ridge of Schynige Platt
5. Hike the Panorama trail at Schynige Platt for amazing views
Switzerland has some incredible places to hike and one of the best things to do in and around Interlaken is to explore the many hiking trails. One of the most popular hiking trails in Interlaken is the Panorama trail at Schynige Platt. It’s only a short hike (choose from either a 3km or 6.5km loop trail) and it's not a difficult hike but the views are insane!
From the top of Schynige Platt you can see down to Interlaken, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and are surrounded by mountain ranges. You really do feel like you're walking amongst the clouds. It is definitely one of the best hikes near Interlaken.
One of the best things to do in Interlaken is to hike at Schynige Platt
6. Stroll through Lauterbrunnen valley
One of the most beautiful valleys in Switzerland is Lauterbrunnen valley. The small town and surrounding valley are known for having 72 waterfalls! The Lauterbrunnen valley walk is one of the best walks in and around Interlaken, not only because you are rewarded with incredible views of beautiful waterfalls, but also because it is accessible to everyone, including pushchairs and wheelchairs.
Lauterbrunnen is just 20 minutes by car or 30 minutes by train from Interlaken. To start the walk, simply head away from Lauterbrunnen’s main street and train station, towards the mountains, following signs for the waterfalls. The full valley walk is just 4km from Lauterbrunnen to Stelberg. When you arrive in Stelberg you can catch a bus to take you back to the start at Lauterbrunnen, or retrace your steps and walk back.
The Lauterbrunnen valley walk has everything you could ask for - traditional Swiss houses, waterfalls, mountains, and a river. On a dry day, I'd recommend packing a picnic and take your time enjoying the views.
This is a great walk suitable for everyone, which is why it's one of the best places to visit in Switzerland.
The beautiful Lauterbrunnen Valley Walk
7. Visit the Trummelbach Waterfalls in Lauterbrunnen
Situated about halfway into the Lauterbrunnen valley walk, the Trummelbach falls make a great stopping point whilst on the valley walk - or you can visit them on their own as well. Whilst you can see the other waterfalls from the valley walk, you do have to pay to see the Trummelbach falls, but it was only 12 CHF per adult.
The Trummelbach falls are a series of 10 waterfalls that cascade through the mountain, carving and twisting their way through the rocks. A tunnel system of walkways has been created through the mountain, showcasing the power of the waterfalls at each stage. The water is so loud that it thunders and echoes within the caves and is really quite impressive. When you arrive, you have the choice to take the elevator to cascade no.6, or walk from the bottom. I recommend taking the elevator. From cascade 6, work your way up to no. 10, then it’s all downhill from there, saving your legs from climbing up lots of steps!
This is a great experience in Lauterbrunnen and the 12 CHF entry fee is definitely worth it!
Walking through the caves to one of the 10 cascades of the Trummelbach waterfall, Lauterbrunnen
8. Hike around the stunning Lake Oeschinen (a must-see!)
Lake Oeschinen (Oeschinensee) is located in Kandersteg, which is a small town just 45 minutes by car from Interlaken. It's not as close to Interlaken as the other sights I've mentioned above, but it really is beautiful and is worth a visit.
The small blue lake is tucked neatly under the surrounding mountains and there's a hiking trail that takes you along one side of the lake for stunning elevated views. But if hiking is not for you, you can still enjoy the atmosphere here. There's a restaurant by the lake, as well as barbecue pits, a play-park and rowing boats which you can hire. Lake Oeschinen might be small, but it is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland.
Switzerland was one of those places that I instantly fell in love with and the area around Interlaken is incredibly beautiful. If you only have a few days in Switzerland and are looking for a place to base yourself to explore, then I would highly recommend Interlaken as there's so many amazing things to see and do here.
What's the best way to get around Interlaken, Switzerland?
By car - I would recommend having your own vehicle in Switzerland as it makes getting around so much more convenient. We had our own car, but you can easily hire a car if you fly into the country. If you do use your own car, you will need to purchase a vignette if you wish to use the motorways (which I would highly recommend as it shaves off considerable time from your journey). The vignette was only 40 CHF when we visited in September 2021 and you can buy it from gas stations easily. Equally, if you hire a car, make sure the car has a vignette.
By public transport - If you don't have your own car, Interlaken is well connected by public transport. There are two train stations in Interlaken - East and West and also a great bus network. You can even travel on some of the buses for free with your Interlaken guest card (something all accommodation providers will give to you when you check-in), so getting around to explore, even if you don't have your own car is really easy.
Is Switzerland very expensive?
Switzerland is definitely one of the most expensive places I've been to, but it's not all bad if you manage expectations and plan ahead. As with many trips, eating out accounts for a large part of your daily spend, so we chose to stay in a studio apartment in Interlaken, which really helped our budget. We made a packed lunch each day that we took with us and we cooked in each evening. Interlaken has two decent-sized supermarkets for everything you might need.
The main thing we were not quite expecting was the high prices of the gondolas / mountain railways. For most of the hiking trails, you will need to take either one of these to get to the top of the mountain to start your hike. The prices of these were much higher than I had anticipated. To help with this, always check if you can use your Interlaken guest card for a discount on the displayed rates.
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