Our second stop on our Swiss tour was Interlaken, the main gateway to the mountains and lakes of the Bernese Highlands.
Since we stayed outside Interlaken in Beatenberg, we would take the bus through Unterseen (a small town with a historic charm) to go down to Interlaken, arriving at the Interlaken West Railway Station in just over 30 minutes. The drives were always so scenic that once I didn’t even realize that we were already in Interlaken as it had just felt like I had been on the bus for a mere 10 minutes.Located between two alpine lakes, Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, Interlaken is a popular base station for outdoor sports fanatics and travelers who want to explore the surrounding areas. While Interlaken is not the main attraction, it can quickly be accessed from major Swiss cities by train and road, and it provides excellent transport infrastructure to visit the mountains and lakes in the region.
Small enough to get around on foot or bike, Interlaken is a scenic little town. One of my favorite attractions was Höhematte, a beautiful green field, with scenic views of the famous, snow-covered Jungfrau behind it. It is also the preferred landing spot for paragliders and hang-gliders.
I also enjoyed strolling along Höheweg, Interlaken’s main street, which runs between Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost Railway Stations. Full of souvenir shops, restaurants and the iconic 150-year old Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel, right opposite Höhematte, Höheweg is a great way to spend a lazy day wandering around town shopping.
I would recommend buying Swiss chocolate from Läderach and souvenirs such as Swiss Army knives, watches and jewelry. One of my favorite souvenirs were the Swiss Music Boxes that can play your favorite songs. On a side note, to spice things up, you could roam around town on a horse carriage.
If you stroll past Höheweg, you can check out the Japanese Garden, a token of friendship of friendship from Japan when Interlaken was twinned with the Japanese town of Otsu back in 1978. And if you’re a Bollywood fan, make sure to snap a picture by the Yash Raj Chopra statue in the Kursaal Gardens. Then go to the Interlaken Monastery & Castle that date back to the 12th century, according to historical records.
Since you’re in the heart of Switzerland, don’t forget to try some local Swiss cuisine like fondue or raclette from the many restaurants. Diva and I were super-excited to try a Swiss fondue at Des Alpes (review coming soon).We even tried Läderach chocolate, despite being super full after trying a Swiss cheese fondue. At their shop in Interlaken, they have an assortment of pralines, truffles and their signature Frischschoggi fresh chocolate barks. I tried their Fudge Caramel and Chilli Lime Frischschoggi and we left with a small bag of assorted Frischschoggi that I happily taste-tested. Hey! Don’t judge me – it was for the blog, okay?!While in Interlaken, we spent one day exploring Jungfrau by taking the mountain trains. While we skipped on these, other areas worth visiting are Harder Kulm, Interlaken’s home mountain, with a lookout point with wonderful views over Interlaken, Lake Brienz and Lake Thun and the entire Jungfrau region. At the summit, 1322 meters above sea level, is a restaurant reminiscent of a small castle.
Alternatively, check out the iconic Schilthorn, a 2970 meter-tall, summit in the Bernese Alps, overlooking the valley of Lauterbrunnen and the Titlis and Jungfrau mountain range. High above the village of Mürren, Schilthorn’s panoramic revolving restaurant, Piz Gloria, most popular for featuring in the 1969 James Bond movie – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
Other activities in Interlaken for adventure junkies include hiking, walking, adventure sports such as paragliding, hang gliding, bungee jumping, canyoning and rocking climbing, swimming, sailing, biking. And in the winter, skiing, snowboarding and sledding are popular.Whether you want to relax by the Swiss mountains, eat and shop or go crazy with the range of the adrenaline rushing activities available, Interlaken is a MUST on your Swiss escape!
Photos by Hitesh & Diva Shah