Interlaken, Switzerland

Interlaken, Switzerland

Considered the gateway to the Jungfrau ski region, Interlaken is a resort town that can be enjoyed by skiers and non-skiers alike.  The town is located in the German-speaking part of central Switzerland, in what is known as the Bernese Highlands Region.  It’s also aptly named “inter” (between) “laken” (lakes), referring to its central location between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun.

How to go:  Your means of transportation is really up to you, as there are plenty of choices.  Within the town of Interlaken, pedestrian travel is easy and the norm.  To access all of the other great options the region has at its fingertips, you can choose to walk, hike, bike, swim, sled, ski, sail and/or take the very well-connected trains.  Jungfraujoch is the most famous of these trains and can be included as part of your journey to Grindelwald.  The area hotels and tourist offices have fantastic, detailed route maps indicating the various lines and connections between the trails and towns here.

When to go:  Unless you’re specifically going for the skiing, the best time to visit this area would probably be summer.  With the warmer weather and the longer days, you can take advantage of the mountain views but also all that the lakes have to offer.

What to do: The town of Interlaken, itself, does provide a draw for tourists because of its location centered between 2 beautiful Swiss Alpine lakes with all of the expected benefits of a coastal town – boating, water sports, beautiful views, etc.  However, it also serves as the perfect base for visiting some of the other wonderful spots in this region, such as the great skiing at Grindelwald and Jungfraujoch, mentioned below.

What to eat/drink:  This is another great region for traditional Swiss dishes, but here, you can also enjoy the local meringues with cream. Drinks incorporating schnapps are also a highlight.

Where to detour:  One of the most popular detours from Interlaken is a visit to the highest railway station in Europe (Jungfraujoch/“Top of Europe”) via the Jungfrau cog railway.  From the station platform, you will have spectacular views of the longest glacier in the Alps (Aletschgletscher).  Also, from this summit, take the time to explore the viewing platforms “Sphinx” and “Plateau” and the beautiful “Ice Palace” with its artistic ice sculptures.  And if you’d rather have a lower altitude experience, take a relaxing boat ride from Interlaken to any one of the other charming towns on the lake front.  Spiez and Thun are both great choices!