From skiing in the Swiss Alps, to kayaking on Lake Brienz, to tasting local chocolate and fondue, here are the 10 best things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland.
This past weekend, I had my first gig as an international tour guide in Switzerland.
I helped lead a weekend trip to Interlaken with Smart Trip, the student tour company I work for in Rome.
Aside from dealing with long overnight buses, the responsibility of helping 60 students plan their weekend, and organizing the events, I had an unforgettable weekend visiting Interlaken, Switzerland’s Adventure Capital.
So based on my own experience and a little bit of research, I’ve written this article about the best things to do in Interlaken to help future travelers plan their visit!
Here are 10 of the best things to do in Interlaken Switzerland.
10 Incredible Things To Do In Interlaken Switzerland
From skiing in the Jungfrau Region, to other fun outdoor activities, to taking day trips to all the sights nearby, there are endless exciting Interlaken attractions.
The town of Interlaken is nestled in between two lakes, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, with the peaks of the Swiss Alps standing tall in the distance. It’s an incredibly scenic spot with lots of natural beauty and opportunities for adventure.
Here are the best activities to do when you visit Interlaken!
Interlaken is expensive – see it on a budget using my 50 best budget travel tips!
1. Explore Interlaken Town Center
Interlaken is a charming village filled with shops, restaurants, green spaces, and unique architecture.
The souvenir shops draw in tourists like magnets. Be sure to take a moment to admire the organized displays of Swiss army knives, thick wool socks, and handmade crafts.
So many mountains and the beautiful two lakes surround the town center, so the scenery is amazing wherever you walk.
2. Try Canyoning
Canyoning is when you strap yourself to a harness and some sturdy ropes and climb up, down, and all around the landscape.
That means you’ll be rappeling down waterfalls, climbing up gorges, sloshing through rivers, and just getting down and dirty in nature.
This is a super fun thing to do in Switzerland if you’re feeling adventurous. It’s similar to rock climbing, and is on the bucket list of many thrill-seekers!
Canyoning in Interlaken is usually only available in the summer. You should always go with a reputable tour company that knows what they’re doing.
It’s usually a full-day affair, so consider it an exciting Interlaken day trip.
Also consider a Canyon Swing for an extra boost of adrenaline!
3. Indulge in Plenty of Swiss Food
Swiss cuisine is heavy and heartwarming. Indulge in plenty of cheese and chocolate!
We stayed at the Mattenhof Hotel in the town center, which served freshly baked bread with local cheese for breakfast.
My cheese adventures continued with the most mind-blowing Mac n’ cheese at Hüsi Bierhaus. I also enjoyed a decadent dinner of melty cheese fondue at Balmers Hostel.
Other popular restaurants in Interlaken are Ox, which serves modern Swiss cuisine, and Goldener Anker, a cozy joint with delicious home-cooked meals.
You also have to eat chocolate at any possible opportunity when you visit Interlaken. The town is full of chocolate shops selling adorable little truffles and interesting chocolate-themed gifts.
Funky Chocolate Club is a necessary stop in Interlaken. Here you can buy thick hot chocolate and life-changing chocolate-covered strawberries.
You can also do a chocolate workshop there to learn more and make your own chocolate.
4. Go Paragliding
Paragliding is easily one of the best things to do in Interlaken.
It allows you to soar over the surrounding mountains and the stunning lakes, and it’s much more relaxing than sky diving.
I didn’t have the time to go paragliding. But I spoke to many friends and students who did and they absolutely loved it. It is often a highlight of visiting Interlaken!
Here is the link to a top-rated paragliding tour company in Interlaken.
5. Ski or Snowboard In The Swiss Alps
With the world-famous Swiss Alps right around the corner, you can’t pass up the opportunity to ski or snowboard while visiting Interlaken.
The easiest way to reach the mountains is to take the train from Interlaken West Station to Grindelwald. It’s an easy Interlaken day trip, and the short train ride will take you into the heart of the Bernese Alps.
Grindelwald is an adorable ski town that acts as a gateway to the Jungfrau Region of the Alps.
You can rent your gear from Buri Sport which is right next to the train station.
Then, take another train up the mountain to Kleine Scheidegg. This mountain pass sits at 2,061 meters above sea level.
I was lucky to have a few hours of skiing before I had to resume my tour guide duties. It was some of the best skiing of my life!
6. White Water Rafting
With so many mountains, lakes, rivers, and canyons surrounding Interlaken, the water rapids are perfect for rafting.
If you want an adrenaline rush outside in nature, this is one of the best things to do in Interlaken.
This company is great for white-water rafting on the Lütschine River is suitable for all experience levels. Even if you’ve never gone white water rafting before, the rapids aren’t too intense and the local guides will ensure you are safe at all times.
This is a fun half-day activity that lasts about 4 hours.
7. Kayaking on Lake Brienz
For a different perspective of Interlaken’s natural beauty, go kayaking on the sapphire waters of Lake Brienz.
I took a few students with me to HighTide Kayak School. Once there, we received heavy-duty wetsuits, kayaks, and paddles. Then the local guide took us around the lake! (Here is the link to the tour company I used)
Halfway through paddling around the glassy lake, we beached our kayaks and hiked up a Bronze-Age stone castle.
Then our group of seven shared tea and chocolate while admiring the views that looked like they came straight out of a snow globe.
It’s a beautiful experience to get out on the water in winter. With the right gear, you’ll stay warm and get to enjoy the winter wonderland.
You can also go stand up paddleboarding on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun for a different experience, though this one is better in summer when the weather is warm.
8. Enjoy a Boat Cruise on Lake Thun
Interlaken’s two lakes are honestly so beautiful that you have to get out on the water. Even when it’s freezing.
If you don’t want to go kayaking, consider a boat cruise. You’ll stay nice and dry, but still get to absorb the picturesque lake scenery of Lake Thun.
Admire the green forests, charming villages, jagged mountains, and crystal clear water of Lake Thun.
You can book fancy boat tours that include food and drinks, or just book a cheap boat day pass that allows you to hop and off the local ferries while you explore Lake Thun.
A boat tour is more relaxing, but the boat day pass allows you to explore at your own pace.
9. Sky Dive
Sky diving has a place on the bucket list of many travelers.
There’s no better place to accomplish this goal than Interlaken!
Interlaken is one of the top sky diving sites in the world because of the scenery of the Jungfrau Mountains and the nearby Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
Switzerland is very expensive, and sky diving here will cost you hundreds of dollars.
But honestly, sky diving in Interlaken is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so go for it if you’re feeling bold!
10. Bungee Jump
I did mention that Interlaken is the Adventure Capital of Switzerland, right?
The adventurous activities here are endless. So if you’re not planning on skydiving or paragliding, you might as well go bungee jumping!
Again, Interlaken is expensive but it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world to try some of these adrenaline-pumping sports.
So book that bungee jumping tour and relive it in your head until the day you die.
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Thanks for reading my list of the best things to do in Interlaken Switzerland.
If you’re someone who loves outdoor activities and adventures, this is the perfect place in Europe to visit.
From the Funky Chocolate Club, to boat cruises or a kayak tour on Lake Brienz or Lake Thun, to all the stunning scenery near Interlaken, you’re sure to have a blast!
Travel Tips for Interlaken Switzerland:
Flights and Transport
Here are my favorite websites for finding cheap flights and transport around Europe.
Skyscanner: Amazing for finding cheap flights.
Find more tips in my article: Travel Hacks For Europe
You should always consider travel insurance for a trip abroad.
But if you plan on doing anything crazy in Interlaken, like canyoning, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or sky diving, you should 100% have insurance just in case you have an accident.
I personally recommend Squaremouth Insurance. They have affordable plans and a helpful live chat for asking questions!
Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to visit Switzerland.
Visit iVisa.com to check visa requirements before you leave for your trip.
For more travel tips and stories around Europe, check out these articles!
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