Interlaken is the best place in Switzerland for me. How it is easy to understand, it is called Interlaken because it lies between two lakes: Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The two lakes, with their unbelievable blue water, create a unique landscape and, at the same time, the cities around the lakes are so beautiful that you really don’t want to leave. Additionally, the area offers tons of outdoor activities to do and I think that it deserves at least two days to be fully appreciated. If you want to reach the area by train, you will likely change train at Bern station. For this reason the itinerary described here is thought for people who come from Bern by train, but of course, it is doable in any case.
If you are in Bern, the closest city to visit is Thun, which will be your first stop. This city is located at the lower end of the Lake Thun, and, as all the other Swiss small old cities, will bring you into a fairytale atmosphere. I would suggest spending about two hours there, strolling along the cobbled streets of the old town.
The clock tower that is visible from this picture belongs to the town church, dating back to about 1330. But the absolute star of this town is on the left of the church and it is the old castle, which could be the perfect setting for a Disney movie.
Your visit should be over around lunchtime. At this point, you can decide to eat in one of the cafes along the Aare River, or, if you travel on a budget like me, you can grab a sandwich at the train station supermarket before to catch the train to go to Interlaken. Interlaken town is not impressive in my opinion. Yes, there are still really cute buildings, but it has nothing special. This town has two train stations, Ost and West, and you should get off the train at Interlaken Ost. At the back of this station, you can start your hike to the Harderkulm, which, being the highest point of Interlaken, offers the best views of this area.
The hike takes about 2 hours and it is really pleasant. The trail is indicated by red marks on trees or rocks, which sometimes are not clearly visible. I got lost few times, but the view is stunning and well worth the hike. If you really don’t want to hike, you can use the funicular which starts from Harder Railway valley station and takes about 10 minutes to reach the top (here you can find more information about the funicular). But I really suggest you hike, the views are amazing and there are so many viewpoints with benches where you can rest for a while.
By the time you go down, it should be already evening. So, it’s time to eat and rest because the day 2 will be very intense.
Time for outdoor activities! Interlaken is a top spot for all kind of activities, from regular sports like cycling, beach volley or canoeing, to more extreme ones like bungee jumping and skydiving. So you can decide the one that suits you best and do it. I spent the all first day looking up at colourful flying paragliders, so the morning of my second day at Interlaken I decided to try paragliding for the first time in my life and it was unbelievable!
I did it with the Paragliding Interlaken company and I was super satisfied with the service. A minibus picked me up at the meeting point at the arranged time and it brought me on the top of a hill from which the launch happened. I really cannot find the words to describe the view and the sensations during the fly, but you can try by yourself! I strongly recommend it 🙂
After your active morning, it’s time to relax on the shore of Lake Brienz, which is the closest to the Interlaken Ost station. You can have a nice picnic there for lunch (but remember not to leave any trash after you). Or, if you prefer, you can stroll around the Interlaken town and have lunch in one of the restaurants there.
At this point of the day, it’s time to take the train again and go exploring another of the cute little towns by these lakes. I would suggest going to Brienz or Spiez. If you have time, probably Brienz is your best option, but I didn’t have much time, so I went to Spiez because it was on my way back home (Living in Lausanne at the moment). This town is on Lake Thun, and it is also dominated by a castle, which is surrounded by vineyards.
From Spiez harbour, you can admire Lake Thun, which creates a perfect mirror of the surrounding mountains, which will leave you breathless.
Top tip for you: If you prefer, you can use the boat to move from a town to another of the two lakes. However, they are much slower than trains so I didn’t use them. But you can try if you have time. I’m sure it will be a fantastic experience.
Let me know if you decide to follow this itinerary. Do you like Interlaken as much as I do?