Surrounded by the impressive mountain panorama of the Bernese Alps and with a view of the peaks of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the popular holiday region of Interlaken lies in the centre of the Swiss Alps on an alluvial cone between two lakes.
The turquoise Lake Brienz stretches directly to the north-east and the deep blue Lake Thun to the south-west. The waters are connected by the River Aare, which meanders through the middle of Interlaken.
A true Eldorado for active holidaymakers, nature lovers and pleasure-seekers and an ideal starting point for exploring the beautiful Jungfrau Region.
All year round, the Swiss holiday region between mountains and lakes, which forms a centre of the eastern Bernese Oberland, is an ideal destination for practising various sporting activities. Every season has its own special charm in this atmospheric natural landscape. As early as the early 19th century, Interlaken was known as a resort for wealthy summer visitors and spa holidaymakers. The success of the region as a tourist destination began with the construction of the Jungfrau and Oberberg railways.
Water, air and land activities in Interlaken
The multifaceted region offers something for every adventurer and recreation seeker. Active holidaymakers can experience the region in a variety of ways, whether on water, on land or in the air. There are numerous providers who offer everything from guided walks to canyoning. If you would like to take a break and relax from the worries of everyday life, you will find idyllic hideaways and special excursion possibilities, which will bring you very close to nature and bring soul, spirit and body back into harmony.
Water activities on Lakes Brienz, Thun and Lütschine
Wherever you book your accommodation in Interlaken, the water is never far away. Lakes Brienz and Thun offer a unique world of water sports with fantastic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. Surrounded by the fresh water breeze, you can practise both traditional and new water sports and explore both lakes in your own unique way.
Canoeing in Interlaken is possible all year round. Between Leissigen near Interlaken and the Delta Park near Gwatt, in the southern part of Lake Thun, there is an approximately 17-kilometre-long canoeing trail that can be divided into stages as you wish. You can hire canoes at four different stations.
Stand Up Paddling (SUP) in Interlaken is another way to explore this impressive route, which passes picturesque villages and idyllic bays. On Lake Brienz, a special paddle trail has been designed with several routes. This is also suitable for kayaking in Interlaken, to get very close to the breathtaking rock face on the south side of Lake Brienz, the enchanting Scheckeninsel and the magical Giessbach waterfalls, which are also popular with climbers.
If you like things a little more racy and lively, book an eventful trip by jetboat in Interlaken. The jetboat tours across Lake Brienz, including action-packed 360-degree rotations, take place at high speed. Especially in winter, a jetboat ride with a view of the snow-covered mountain peaks and the icy breeze on your face is a special experience for young and old alike.
You can also go wakeboarding, waterskiing and windsurfing in every village around Lakes Thun and Brienz, whether Spiez, Gunten, Thun, Leissigen, Iseltwald or Brienz. There are several water sports centres where you can rent the equipment you need, take part in courses and guided excursions. Also unforgettable is the adventurous river rafting, where you can conquer the wild mountain rivers of the region with paddles and rubber dinghies.
Together with your family, friends and a guide, you will travel through rushing rapids, past thunderous waterfalls and through a breathtaking landscape. Of course, you can also enjoy Interlaken’s lake landscape by swimming in the region’s 17 lidos or taking a leisurely trip on one of the excursion boats, such as the historic paddle steamer.
Similarly impressive is the canyoning in Interlaken, for which there are countless variations. Depending on how much of a challenge you are looking for, the unique outdoor experience is adapted by the providers to the desired level of difficulty. From safe beginners’ tours to challenging gorges, everything is possible in the Interlaken region. You always get wet!
Land activities Interlaken
The best way to experience a wild and romantic mountain world is by hiking. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe already knew: “Only where you have been on foot have you really been”. And after all, the great poet, like his contemporary, the composer Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, was himself a frequent visitor to Interlaken. Interlaken has an extensive network of hiking trails of varying degrees of difficulty and numerous signposted theme trails.
Whether it’s an enjoyable walk along the riverside paths or spectacular ridge walks on steep high-altitude trails – there is something for everyone. Passionate hikers visit the mighty Augstmatthorn, which towers directly above Lake Brienz and offers a fantastic view over the lake valley of Interlaken. The Morgenberghorn is also a popular hiking destination for hiking professionals who appreciate the challenge.
An unforgettable experience is a guided glacier hike to the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch UNESCO World Heritage Site. Instead of hiking, you can also climb the region. Several attractive climbing opportunities have been created for hobby and sport climbers.
One of the most famous climbing areas in Interlaken is the Hintisberg. Challenging climbing routes can also be found at Neuhaus. Adrenalin junkies should try the Deep Water Soloing is Sundlauenen, which can only be reached by rubber dinghy.
You can even conquer the peaks of the fantastic mountain world on a mountain bike. In the Diemtigtal Nature Park and in Schwanden near Brienz, you can ride downhill on prepared trails through the overwhelming mountain panorama. The trails along the lakeshore are used for cycling in Interlaken by the pleasure cyclists who ride the city bike or e-bike. The serpentine mountain roads are ideal for racing cyclists.
For those who prefer to explore this beautiful region in a more leisurely manner, the 45 cable cars, mountain railways, chair and ski lifts take you up to the peaks. At certain stations you can switch to a different cable car and, if necessary, be taken to the snow-covered Jungfraujoch.
While the mountain railways are used by hikers from spring to autumn, skiers and snowboarders use them in winter. After all, there are five snow-assured ski areas in the region with 200 kilometres of excellently groomed slopes and family-friendly offers.
Bungy jumping on the Stockhorn offers a little more action. First you take the gondola to a height of 138 metres and then you fly towards the water in free fall. At 90 metres, the platform is located in the Black Walls near Grindewald, from where you swing through the narrow glacier gorge with a rope at a speed of 120km/h. More adrenalin is hardly possible!
Similarly exciting is skydiving, including a sightseeing flight over Interlaken and over the summit trio Jungfrau, Mönch and Eiger. But the region also offers other parachute jumps. From 4,000 metres, you then dare to jump with a parachute on your back.
Not quite as high up is the Interlaken Rope Park, an adventurous forest playground with rope slides, Tarzan swings and wooden bridges. Not only children will enjoy a trip to the Adventure Park.
Air activities Interlaken
To experience Interlaken from above, you do not necessarily have to use a helicopter. Paragliding is becoming increasingly popular in Interlaken. How about an atmospheric evening flight at sunset or a 40-minute thermal flight high above the Jungfrau Region, for example?
There are also combination offers such as Spin and Fly, which combines a speedy jetboat ride followed by a tandem flight, or a Funky Chocolate Flight, which includes an additional visit to a top-quality Swiss chocolatier. Several paragliding providers, who also offer flying with Delta gliders, serve different departure points.
No matter which means of transport you finally decide on, whether on foot, by bicycle, by boat, by mountain railway or by car – the Jungfrau Region around Interlaken with the villages of Grindewald, Mürren and Wengen offers numerous exciting destinations which you can reach on various routes.
With the Jungfrau Travel Pass you can enjoy free rides on the mountain railways to all attractions within three to eight days. Popular excursion destinations include the idyllic Schynige Platte, where a fragrant Alpine garden, panoramic hiking trails and a historic steam locomotive await you. The Grindewald First, on the other hand, lures with a Cliff Walk, the crystal-clear Bachalpsee, with a 700 square metre playground at the Bort gondola intermediate station and with the First restaurant, where you can indulge yourself with regional delicacies on the sun terrace amidst the fantastic mountain panorama.
On the Harder Kulm, Interlaken’s local mountain, you can experience the most beautiful sunsets and look forward to plenty of photo opportunities. At 1,300 metres above sea level there is a viewing platform on which a castle-like restaurant is enthroned. The Harder funicular railway runs directly from Interlaken Ost station to the Harder Kulm.
Unforgettable excursions to the heavily over-fermented Jungfraujoch at 3,466 metres above sea level. It is not for nothing that almost one million people visit Europe’s highest railway station every year, which can be reached by the Jungfraujochbahn. Visitors not only have a breathtaking view of some of the four-thousand-metre peaks in the Bernese Alps, but also restaurants, shops, a Lindt chocolatier, the unique 1,000 square metre ice palace created by two mountain guides with a labyrinth and the impressive Sphinx observatory.
After all, visitors are taken up to the 2,350-metre Brienzer Rothorn by the Brienzer Rothorn Railway and a connecting cable car. Below the summit there is a picturesque ice lake and the Gasthaus Rothorn Kulm, which also offers rooms for overnight stays.
Where there are mountains, there are also impressive natural spectacles. The stalactites and mystical grottos of the St. Beatus Cave above Lake Thun were created over millions of years. A prepared, well-lit path leads about one kilometre through gorges, colourful halls and past underground lakes. Pilgrim paths to the cave run from several boat stations.
Throughout the year, exciting events are organised between Thun and Brienz. From sport to art and music to culinary delights, one or more events are dedicated to each theme. One of the top events, for example, is the annual Greenfield Festival at Interlaken Airport, which brings international rock and pop stars to the stage.
Although the Lake of Brienz Rock Festival usually features regional musicians, the atmosphere in the evening hours right on the lake is incredible. For classical music fans, there are the Lake Thun Festival on a specially designed water stage and the Interlaken Classics, lasting several weeks, with concerts at various locations.
You should definitely see the spectacular stunts of the freestyle mountain bikers at Swatch Rocket Air. The breathtaking show is accompanied by workshops and culinary highlights.
The best of the best compete at the Ironman Switzerland Thun, the Inferno Triathlon from Thun to the Schilthorn and the International Jungfrau Marathon. That the Swiss are a down-to-earth people can be seen from the many traditional events, such as the Chästeilet in the Justistal valley, where the best cheese in the Jungfrau region is chosen, and the Alpabzug every September in the idyllic Suldtal valley, where you can not only marvel at the colourfully decorated animals, but also try some of the region’s delicacies. Not to mention the fairytale Christmas markets in the villages of the region with their wintery romantic charm.
The municipality of Interlaken is conveniently located in the Bernese Oberland and can be reached by car via several mountain passes and the A8 motorway from Valais, Uri and Lucerne. It is also possible to reach Interlaken by car or by train through the two valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen, which branch off from Interlaken.
Trains from Zurich, Bern, Basel and Geneva depart every half hour to Interlaken, providing excellent connections to the Swiss airports. Depending on the departure station, you can reach the Jungfrau Region within 45 minutes to a maximum of three hours. The best means of transport on site are the numerous mountain railways with which you can reach every mountain region around Interlaken.