Visit Interlaken, "the real Switzerland"
Swiss charm 5 and a 1/2 hours from Paris
Interlaken is a small town which takes its name from its geographical position: between two lakes. East of Lake Thoune, West of Lake Brienz. The Aar crosses the city. As you can see, water plays a central role in Interlaken. As well as the water, there are the mountains which seem to watch over the city. It's a holiday destination which is very popular with Asian tourists who love its typical Swiss charm. You will appreciate the large range of outdoor activities as well as the original attractions which can be accessed by train, funicular, cable car or boat.
Things to do in Interlaken
- Take the rack railway train to Schnyige Platte. This traditional steam train will take you up to 1,967 m above sea level. The railway is an unusual experience and offers breathtaking views. When you get to the top, visit the Alpine botanic gardens.
- Explore the Saint Beatus caves. They form a vast underground network in the Niederhorn mountain range. In the tunnels which stretch out for more than a kilometre you will discover underground waterfalls, stalagmites and stalactites. A speleology museum completes the visit.
- Cool down near the waterfalls. There are many of them in Interlaken. You won't want to miss out on Giessbach falls, which stretch out over several tiers, Trümmelbach falls, underground glacier waterfalls, and the Staubbach falls, which are 300 m tall.
- Go bungee jumping! Thrill seekers won't be disappointed. It is possible to jump from several different places. The most impressive is probably the jump from the cable car above Lake Stocksee.
- Indulge in a fondue at Harder Kulm, a mountain restaurant which is accessed by funicular. It's worth a visit even for its architecture; it resembles a small castle. The panoramic views of the mountains from the suspended platform are enough to take your breath away and are sure to whet your appetite!
The best time to visit Interlaken
- January - Touch the mountains. Concert and fireworks to carry on the New Year celebrations. "Harder-Potschete", a traditional procession with masked characters, brass bands and guggenmusik is held on 2 January.
- June - Greenfield Festival. Outdoor rock music festival.
- Mid-June/end of August - William Tell theatre festival. Real life performances of the William Tell play outdoors.
The climate in Interlaken
The climate in Interlaken is mild. It's one of the regions which has the least rain in Switzerland. December, January and February are the coldest months of the year but attract many tourists for the festivities of the high season. The summer is cool with average temperatures not rising above 25 degrees, ideal for enjoying outdoor activities!
Did you know...?
- Legend has it that the Saint Beatus caves were once home to a formidable dragon. It was an Irish monk, Saint Beatus, who was passing through the region, that chased it away.
- Several famous people used to live in Interlaken, in particular the conductor Felix Mendelssohn and the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
- Every twelve years the traditional Fête d'Unspunnen is held. It celebrates Swiss folklore, with stone throwing, Swiss wrestling and yodelling competitions.
- A replica of Interlaken was built in China and attracts numerous Chinese visitors in pursuit of Swiss romanticism.
Interlaken in figures
actors act in the William Tell play every summer.
mountain trains, gondola lifts, cable cars, chairlifts and button lifts transport you around Interlaken.