How to Spend 3 Days in Interlaken
Interlaken is ideally situated for discovering the Bernese Oberland, and with three days, you can explore the stunning landscapes of the Jungfrau via Europe’s highest railway, learn about Swiss culture, and take in two Alpine lakes. Here’s how to make the most of three days in Interlaken.
Day 1: Swiss Culture and Alpine Views
A guided walking tour of Interlaken is the best way to get your bearings. Stop at landmarks such as Interlaken Castle and Monastery, admire the seasonal blooms in Höhematte park, and cross the river to stroll around the village of Unterseen. A visit to the Museum of Tourism offers a chance to discover the history of the Jungfrau region and learn more about Swiss culture and traditions. In the afternoon, head up to the mountaintop vista point of Harder Kulm—book tickets for the cable car in advance to save time—from where you can see Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, framed by the distant peaks of the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger mountains. Spend the evening enjoying Interlaken’s varied nightlife. Joining a pub crawl is a great way to sample traditional pubs, cocktail bars, and live music venues.
Day 2: Journey to the Top of Europe
The mountains around Interlaken offer plenty of options for day trips, but if you only have time to visit one summit viewpoint, it has to be the Top of Europe at Jungfraujoch. The landscapes of Jungfrau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are some of the most impressive in Switzerland, and the journey to the 11,332-foot-high (3,454-meter-high) mountain summit includes a ride on the highest railway in Europe. The most convenient way to visit Jungfrau is as part of a tour—the journey includes multiple train rides and changes, and the best tours offer time to explore at each stop. Take in the views along the Kleine Scheidegg mountain pass, and hop out to visit the mountain towns of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen along the way. Leave yourself plenty of time at Jungfrau to ride the elevator up to the Sphinx Observation Deck, visit the Ice Palace, or enjoy lunch at one of the mountaintop restaurants.
Day 3: Fun by the Lakes
Interlaken is known as Switzerland’s adventure capital, and most of the outdoor activities center around its two lakes: Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It’s worth devoting an entire day to exploring the lakeside towns, vista points, and attractions, and there is a variety of tours to choose from, including bus and bike tours and hop-on-hop-off-boat cruises. Perhaps take a walking tour of Thun, visit the St. Beatus Caves, see natural sites such as Giessbach falls and Neuhaus beach, or head out into the surrounding countryside on a Swiss-cheese-and-chocolate-tasting tour. Alternatively, adventurous travelers can enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and water sports such as kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. For a truly unforgettable experience, paragliding, skydiving, and bungee jumping are all possible, while winter visitors can enjoy skiing, sledding, or snowshoeing. End the day with a traditional Swiss fondue dinner at one of the lakeside restaurants.