Interlaken is the epicentre of outdoor pursuits in Switzerland and lies between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Hiking, kayaking, parasailing, and skiing are all accessible activities to try while in Interlaken. Still, for me, it was the spectacular mountain views, fairytale buildings and, of course, the fondue that attracted me to venture out on day trips to explore this popular area of Switzerland.
I am going to be honest when I say that the town of Interlaken wasn’t what I expected. It was a lot more commercialised than the picture-perfect Swiss town that I had imagined with casinos and an abundance of top-end Swiss watch shops. But don’t let that put you off as I loved exploring the villages and towns around Interlaken. I would say it is the perfect place to base yourself to see some of the most beautiful places in Switzerland.
In this post you can read about 15 beautiful day trips from Interlaken that you can include in your Switzerland trip itinerary.
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Most Popular Activity in Interlaken
The most popular activity in Interlaken is to take the funicular up to Harder Kulm for a fantastic viewpoint that looks back down over the town, lakes (Thunersee and Brienzersee) and across to the Bernese mountains.
A beautiful restaurant is at the top of Harder Klum, with an outdoor bar selling alcohol and snacks. A trip to Harder Klum is the best thing to do in Interlaken and so gets very busy. Try arriving on the first or last funicular if you want it to be less crowded at the top, or hike the steep 4km hill if you are super fit!
Make sure to have a photo taken on the walkway with the resident cow that resides on Harder Klum – it’s that must-have photo when in Interlaken!
Click to book this activity – Funicular from Interlaken to Harder Klum
The Best Ways To Travel Around Interlaken
By Public Transport
In Switzerland the public transport connections run like clockwork however they are very expensive. It is the only way to get around if you aren’t planning to drive however some places can only be reached by car so you will have to bear that in mind when planning day trips.
The most economical way to travel around Interlaken is to purchase a Jungfrau Travel Card.
If you are going to be staying in the Bernese Oberland for three days or more and are planning on getting around by public transport it may be best to purchase the regional Berner Oberland pass
If you are road-tripping through Europe, then getting around Interlaken by car will be easy. Just make sure that you have purchased a Swiss Vignette Toll Pass; otherwise, you could find yourself receiving a fine.
If you haven’t got your own car, you can easily hire a car in Switzerland for a few days and really explore the Jungfrau region.
Fairytale Swiss Day Trips from Interlaken
To sum Lauterbrunnen up in a word would be hard because there are so many great things about it. Charming Swiss chalet buildings, magnificent waterfalls, first-class restaurants and hikes that will take you through the magical Swiss countryside, and that’s just for starters.
Lauterbrunnen is the perfect day trip from Interlaken and one of the best locations to visit the other beautiful small towns and villages in the Jungfrau region.
By rail from Interlaken, there are hourly trains that depart from Interlaken East Train Station. If you have the Jungfrau Travel Pass taking the 20-minute journey by train to Lauterbrunnen is very easy.
Information on train stations in the Jungfrau Region can be found here.
The tiny cliff-side, car-free village of Murren is fairytale Switzerland in all its glory. It can be reached by cable car from Lauterbrunnen and is one of the best hiking spots in the Alps. Wander along trails through Swiss wildflower meadows and listen out for the sound of the cowbells ringing as the cows graze on the mountainside.
Once in Murren the Northface-Trail offers keen hikers the chance to explore the area.
A 5-minute funicular train from Murren will take you up to the mountain top of Allmendhubel. Here you will find the flower walking trail and a restaurant giving uninterrupted views of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains.
There are numerous hikes through the beautiful alpine scenery, including a hiking trail which leads up to the Schilthorn.
Schilthorn is home to the Piz Gloria viewpoint, and at 2,960 metres, is one of the best views accessible by cable car from Lauterbrunnen or Murren. It is affectionately known as the “007 viewpoint” after the James Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Service” was filmed here.
At the top of the mountain, you will find a restaurant. Time a visit for sunset for possibly the most stunning views of the Swiss skyline that you could imagine.
Click to book this activity – Cable Car Roundtrip to Schilthorn: Piz Gloria & Bond World
No surprise that Grindelwald is another beautiful Swiss town high on the list of day trips from Interlaken. From the main town of Grindelwald, you can reach the Gletscherschlucht, a stunning glacial canyon, or the mesmerising alpine lake of Bachalpsee.
One of the most popular attractions in Grindelwald is to take the cablecar up to the Mount First Cliff Walk (also known as Skywalk Grindelwald). The walkway hangs over the side of the mountain allowing for magnificent, if not a little scary, views! For more adrenaline activities in Grindelwald, try the sky gliders, canyon swing, mountain carts and of course, skiing in winter.
A 45-minute direct train from Ost station to Grindelwald will transport you to an alpine paradise.
Jungfraujoch – The Top of Europe
The most popular day trip from Interlaken is to take a trip on the cogwheel train up to Jungfraujoch, Europe’s highest-altitude railway station. The journey takes one and a half hours from the station in Lauterbrunnen with a stop at Kleine Scheidegg.
From the moment you step aboard this charming form of transport, the views are incredible as it gently makes its ascent to the top of the mountain. It is advisable to arrive early to take this trip as there are many activities to try out at the top of Jungfraujoch.
Book your ticket online, especially during summer.
Jungfraujoch is at 3,454 metres above sea level and is a different world. With snow at the summit, it’s hard to believe that the valley below is swathed in sunshine and green pastures. Oh, and did I mention it is a Unesco World Heritage Site!
Kleine Scheidegg railway is at the foothills of the Eiger – the most treacherous mountain in the world. It is the halfway stop for day trip visitors heading to Jungfraujoch by train and has several places to grab a bite to eat and drink before continuing up the mountain.
Kleine Scheidegg also offers visitors some wonderful alpine walking trails to explore with stunning views over the Bernese Oberland mountains.
Looking for the best place to stay in Interlaken? Check out the Hotel Interlaken
Schynige Platte is one of the most accessible mountain locations in the Jungfrau region to access from Interlaken. It is lesser-known than Jungfraujoch or Lauterbrunnen and so is a tranquil destination to explore.
Like the beautiful alpine train journey to Kleine Scheidegg, this hour-long ascent up the mountain is a fantastic experience. Step out at the top and head to the botanical alpine gardens for sensational views of the surrounding landscape. The train up to Schynige Platte departs from the town of Wilderswill, which can be reached by car or train from Interlaken.
If you arrive in the summer season, you will undoubtedly hear the sounds of the alphorn players who entertain visitors with sounds from these traditional Swiss instruments. Afterwards, head out on the 4-mile Panorama loop trail to see why Switzerland is one of the most beautiful places in Europe.
Want to see more of Europe? Check out the 11 Most Beautiful towns in Eastern France to Visit on a Road Trip.
Swiss Lake Day Trips from Interlaken
This day trip to Lake Thun from Interlaken is surely one of the best. With so much to see and do around Lake Thun, you will be spoilt for choice. If you love European castles then a trip here is a must as there are 5 fairytale Swiss castles on Lake Thun all with their own character and history.
The town of Thun is picture-perfect with cobbled streets, waterside restaurants and a stunning covered bridge spanning the River Aare.
A few small artisan shops around the town offer souvenirs alongside traditional Swiss crafts and several historic buildings including the church and town hall dating back to the 14th century.
To the east of Interlaken and a is Brienzersee. Take a boat cruise on the azure waters of Lake Brienz and marvel at the mountainous scenery and charming Swiss villages.
You can purchase 1-day boat passes for both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz – click here for current prices.
For thrill-seekers, a jet-boat ride from Interlaken will take you from Lake Brienz to Iseltwald. At this well-known picturesque fishing village, you will experience your first spin before heading on to Giessbach Falls, a series of spectacular waterfalls.
After a thrilling ride, your cruise will jet back towards Bönigen, giving you a chance to enjoy views of the impressive Niesen summit.
Click to book this activity? Interlaken Scenic Jet Boat Ride
Nature Reserve Day Trips from Interlaken
Blausee Nature Reserve
Head to the beautiful nature reserve of Blausee and discover the mesmerising Blausee Lake that attracts visitors on day trips from Interlaken. Take a glass-bottomed boat across the lake and wonder at the tranquillity of the area. Enjoy a walk through the enchanting forest and find a special spot for a picnic.
Blausee is easiest reached by car and is a 30 minute drive from Interlaken.
Weissenau Nature Reserve
A 5k walk along the banks of the River Thun will take you through the Weissenau Nature Reserve. This easy walk will allow you to explore the lake’s natural beauty, the nature reserve, and the ruins of a medieval fortress. It is a tranquil way to spend some time during a day trip from Interlaken.
Keep an eye out at the nature reserve for migrating birds who use this site as a breeding ground and also the many species of orchid growing there.
This idyllic hike through the nature reserve begins at the Interlaken West train station.
Adventure Actities In Interlaken
Swiss City Day Trips From Interlaken
From Interlaken, it’s a 2-hour train journey to the beautiful Swiss city of Lucerne. Unlike the alpine day trips, this one will give you a taste of city life in Switzerland. But forget high-rise buildings and over-pollution! Lucerne is an idyllic city with the River Aare running through it. Steamboat tours allow tourists to take to the water for views of Mt. Pilatus and Mt. Rigi – both accessible by train or gondola.
One of the leading photography hotspots in Lucerne is the 14th-century Chapel Bridge decorated with brightly coloured flowers and spanning the river. No day trip is complete without a shot of this iconic Lucerne landmark followed by a cheese fondue at one of the great restaurants in Lucerne that line the waterfront.
One of the most beautiful cities in Switzerland is Bern. It also happens to be the capital of Switzerland and a Unesco World Heritage Site. Trains from Interlaken will take 55 minutes to reach Bern and are frequent.
There are plenty of things to see and do in Bern, from a visit to revel at the Gothic architecture of Bern cathedral or to hear the chimes of Zytglogge, the iconic 13th-century astronomical clock.
Wander around the old town and stop for a bite to eat in one of the many traditional restaurants in Bern. Afterwards, head to the Einstein or Kunst museums for a burst of Swiss culture or stroll through Bern’s outdoor spaces.
The River Aare runs through Bern and offers delightful waterside trails and river cruises.
Often mistaken as the capital of Switzerland, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and one of the most popular city break destinations. By rail, the journey takes 2 hours from Interlaken and passes through Bern.
Due to its size, Zurich has something for everyone, including museums, parks, and of course, shopping. Stroll along the cobbled streets of the historic old town and view the medieval buildings scattered around the area.
Parking in Zurich can be difficult and so arriving by train rather than car may be an easier option.
More information for your trip to Switzerland
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