Interlaken travel guide

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Introduction to Interlaken

Höhematte, Statue Of Yash Chopra, and Flying Wheels Interlaken have one thing in common - they're all three very good reasons to visit Interlaken, Switzerland. This resort town in the Swiss canton of Bern is a travel destination everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. Boasting a variety of natural beauty and architecture, a unique historical background, and a culture as rich as its population of over 5.6 thousand people, the town of Interlaken is truly one of the main highlights of Switzerland.

Traveling to Interlaken is especially rewarding for anyone eager to connect with locals and learn more about their unique culture and traditions. German is the official language in Interlaken. Dive deeper into the heart of the town's heritage, traditions, and community events by exploring the official website of Interlaken.

Easily accessible, Interlaken is the perfect base for a memorable and unique vacation in Switzerland any time of the year.

History of Interlaken

Interlaken, nestled between the pristine lakes of Thun and Brienz, has a rich history dating back to the Stone Age. The earliest settlements can be traced back to 1133 when it was known as 'Aarmühle'.

The town gained prominence in the late 19th century when it became a popular destination for the European nobility attracted by the stunning alpine landscapes. The construction of the Bernese Oberland Railway in 1890 further bolstered Interlaken's status as a tourist hub.

The name 'Interlaken', meaning 'between the lakes', was officially adopted in 1891. The town has since evolved into a major tourist destination, offering a mix of natural beauty, adventure sports, and historic sites. Today, landmarks like the Harder Kulm, Jungfrau Park, and the historic Schloss Interlaken, bear testament to the town's rich past and vibrant present.

Local culture and customs in Interlaken

Interlaken, nestled in the Swiss Alps, is rich in cultural heritage and traditions. Swiss German is the principal language here, but most locals also speak English due to the high influx of tourists. The people of Interlaken are known for their punctuality and high standards of cleanliness, which are evident throughout the city.

Hospitality and politeness are deeply ingrained in the Swiss culture. A customary greeting is a firm handshake while maintaining eye contact. It is customary to greet shop owners when entering and leaving establishments. As a tourist, it's expected to respect the local customs, including quiet hours typically observed between 10pm and 7am.

The Swiss are passionate about their food and drink, with cheese fondue and Raclette being local favorites. Try these dishes in the traditional Swiss restaurants for an authentic experience. Finally, tipping is not mandatory in Switzerland as service charge is included in the bill. However, it's appreciated if you round up the bill or leave a small tip for good service.

Currency information for travelers in Interlaken

In Interlaken, Switzerland, the official currency used is the Swiss Franc (CHF). It's wise to always have some cash on hand for small purchases as not all establishments accept credit cards. That being said, credit cards like Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in most hotels, restaurants, and shops. However, American Express is not universally accepted, so it's best to have a backup payment method.

ATMs are readily available throughout the city, and they usually offer the best exchange rates. Note that most Swiss banks charge a fee for cash withdrawal with foreign cards. A good budgeting tip is to always check the current exchange rates before making any large purchases or withdrawing cash. Lastly, tipping is not mandatory in Switzerland as service charges are included in the bill, but it's customary to round up to the nearest franc for good service.

Language tips for travelers in Interlaken

When visiting Interlaken, you'll find that most locals fluently speak German, French, and English, so communication should not be a significant problem. However, brushing up on your German could enhance your experience, as it is the most widely spoken language. Simple phrases such as 'Guten Tag' (Good Day), 'Danke' (Thank you), and 'Entschuldigung' (Excuse me) could be handy.

Although locals appreciate attempts to speak in their native tongue, they are also very accommodating and will readily switch to English if you struggle. Remember, a little effort goes a long way, so don't shy away from using simple Swiss German phrases and greetings. It is also advisable to download a language translation app for convenience.

Best time to visit Interlaken

The best time to explore Interlaken, Switzerland heavily depends on what you want to experience. For winter sports enthusiasts, December to February offers a snow-laden wonderland, perfect for skiing and snowboarding. However, these months can be crowded as many tourists flock to the Swiss Alps. If you prefer a quieter yet equally scenic experience, consider visiting in the shoulder seasons of spring (April to June) or autumn (September to November). These periods offer milder weather and fewer crowds, ideal for hiking, cycling, and paragliding. July and August are also beautiful, with warm summer days and exhilarating water sports on the lakes, but expect larger crowds. For cultural experiences, don’t miss the Interlaken Classic Music Festival in March, or the William Tell Open-Air Theatre performances from June to September. Ultimately, the best time to visit Interlaken combines your preferred activities, crowd tolerance, and weather preferences.

Weather in Interlaken

Located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken experiences a temperate climate with distinct seasonal variations. Summers (June to August) are mild to warm, with temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C, offering bright sunny days interspersed with occasional rainfall. Winters (December to February) are cold and snowy, with temperatures often dipping below 0°C, making it an ideal time for winter sports enthusiasts.

Autumn (September to November) is a delightful time, marked by crisp air and colorful foliage, with temperatures ranging from 8°C to 15°C. Spring (March to May) brings blooming flowers and mild temperatures, averaging 10°C to 20°C. It's important to note that due to its mountainous location, weather patterns can change rapidly in Interlaken, so packing layers is recommended. Also, the city's altitude can lead to cooler temperatures than those at sea level, even in summer.

Local tip for visiting Interlaken

A true insider tip when visiting Interlaken is to explore the town in early morning or late evening. During these times, the tourist crowds are significantly smaller, offering a more authentic and relaxed experience. Wander the quaint streets, enjoy the serene views, and immerse yourself in the Swiss charm without the hustle and bustle. Another advantage of this timing is the magical lighting. The soft morning light or the warm glow of the setting sun brings an added dimension to the breath-taking landscapes that Interlaken is so famous for. This is particularly wonderful for photography enthusiasts. So, adjust your schedule to enjoy Interlaken at its most tranquil and picturesque. This insider tip will enhance your trip, allowing you to engage more deeply with the heart of Interlaken.

Top services in Interlaken

On this page, you'll find all the top travel services in Interlaken, Switzerland. Enjoy the convenience of planning and booking every detail of your trip to Interlaken, including flights, accommodations, activities, and more, in one place.

Discover the cheapest and most popular flights offered by a variety of airlines that fly to Switzerland. Check out the best things to do in Interlaken by browsing over 92 top-rated tours available to you in the town. Compare the rates and services of the stays and 2 car rental companies offering CDW insurance coverage.

Experience the best of Interlaken with an expertly curated and fully customizable itinerary. Get answers to questions about the routes and services offered in Interlaken from our free 24/7 customer support. We make it easy for you to find and book every detail of your trip to Interlaken with this travel guide.

Continue reading this Interlaken travel guide to learn how you can enjoy a stress-free and memorable vacation in the town of Interlaken!

Learn more about Switzerland

With destinations such as Interlaken, a trip to Switzerland needs no further explanation. Spanning over 41,285 square kilometers, Switzerland is an expansive playground of discovery, offering a wealth of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and captivating experiences awaiting exploration. From bustling metropolises to historic towns and modern urban hubs, Switzerland has something to enchant every traveler.

In Interlaken alone, travelers are spoiled for choice with an array of experiences and world-famous attractions such as Höhematte, Statue Of Yash Chopra, and Flying Wheels Interlaken. Thus, a trip to Switzerland becomes essential. Whether you're drawn to historical sites, natural wonders, or vibrant cultural experiences, Switzerland offers an abundance of treasures waiting to be discovered.

There's so much to explore and uncover in Switzerland. Click or tap the link below to discover more about Switzerland and its offers.

What to see in Interlaken

Photo of Interlaken is a Swiss town. It is an important and well-known tourist destination in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps.

Expect an exhilarating journey through Interlaken, a haven brimming with attractions to suit every traveler’s taste. From historical landmarks to natural wonders, and delectable cuisine, Interlaken offers an abundance of experiences waiting to be discovered. Dive into this ultimate Interlaken travel guide to uncover must-visit spots and get the scoop on what makes the town so special.

Top attractions in Interlaken

With its blend of traditional and modern culture, Interlaken is more than just a wonderful town in Switzerland. It's a hub for diverse experiences, boasting top attractions that range from historical landmarks to modern marvels, offering a glimpse into Switzerland's rich heritage and innovative spirit.

One popular place to visit in Interlaken is the unforgettable Höhematte. Considered one of the most well-known attractions in the town, a visit to this spectacular travel destination is something you shouldn't miss on your trip to Interlaken.

For more information about what you can expect during a vacation in Interlaken, check out our list of top attractions below. Discover the best places to visit in Interlaken, including the fascinating Höhematte, Statue Of Yash Chopra, Flying Wheels Interlaken, Reformed Castle Church, and Interlaken Castle.

Map of attractions

Take a closer look at the town map below for the exact locations of all the top attractions in Interlaken.

Things to do in Interlaken

Photo of Interlaken idyllic landscape after snow in winter with river reflection, Swiss alps, Switzerland .

You've explored Interlaken's top attractions and marked them on your map. So now, it's time to delve deeper and discover the top things to do in Interlaken. These activities not only offer excitement and adventure but also provide unique insights into the city's culture and heritage. Take your experience to the next level by checking out the best sights with a knowledgeable guide, embarking on fun adventures unique to Interlaken, or learning more about the town's rich history and traditions.

Discover the most popular tours and experiences in the town below.

Most popular experiences in Interlaken

A visit to Interlaken gets more exciting with memorable experiences. And the town is just perfect for that, with plenty of fun activities. Guided Day Trips, Walking Tours, Full-day Tours, and more are just some of the options you could explore to fully immerse yourself and make the most of your time.

In this travel guide, we've included some of the best things to do in Interlaken, adding a special touch to your journey in this vibrant town. Explore bustling markets, embark on scenic hikes, sample local delicacies, or immerse yourself in the rich history and heritage of Interlaken. Browse this diverse array of unforgettable experiences Interlaken offers and let your adventures begin!

Top tours & tickets starting in Interlaken

In Interlaken, travelers are spoiled for choice with a dazzling array of 17 categories of top-rated tours and tickets. But among this sea of options, one category reigns supreme: Activities.

Activities offer an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the heart and soul of Interlaken. For example, the fantastic Paragliding over the Lauterbrunnen Valley.

Interlaken also offers plenty of budget-friendly tours and activities that promise travelers a unique experience. This experience costs around 3 EUR.

Elevate your upcoming Interlaken adventure with unforgettable experiences by booking top-rated tours in the town. Uncover the finest tours, activities, and tickets awaiting you in Interlaken right below.

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Discover the best things to do in Interlaken. Choose from 92 fantastic tours and activities available in the town.

Select your dates and number of travelers in the search bar below to receive the best recommendations for your vacation in Interlaken. Click the green button to view your options and discover a variety of exciting things to do in Interlaken.

What to eat in Interlaken

Interlaken, nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, is a feast for the senses and the stomach. The city is famed for its distinctive Swiss cuisine, marrying traditional recipes with contemporary culinary techniques. Visitors should not miss experiencing fondue and raclette, quintessential Swiss dishes often made with locally sourced cheese. Interlaken's Hohematte Park region is a vibrant food district, accommodating everything from street food stalls to upscale dining establishments. Here, you can savor Swiss culinary delights such as Rösti, a traditional Swiss potato dish. One of the best places to eat in Interlaken is the Brasserie 17, renowned for its Swiss and Interlaken specialities. For those looking for a luxurious dining experience, the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and Spa offers exquisite meals with breathtaking views of the Swiss Alps. To truly appreciate the local cuisine, consider a chocolate-making class or a visit to a local cheese dairy. This not only allows you to taste the authentic flavors, but also to understand the rich culinary tradition of Interlaken.

Best shopping in Interlaken

Interlaken, the heart of Switzerland, is not just about breathtaking landscapes and thrilling adventures, it is also the best place to go shopping in Interlaken for a unique collection of goods.

Head to Höheweg, the city's main street bustling with shops offering Swiss watches, artisanal chocolates, and local crafts. Here, you'll find the iconic Bucherer, renowned for its Swiss timepieces and jewellery. For a more diverse shopping experience, visit Metropole Shopping Center, where you can find everything from fashion to electronics.

Interlaken's distinct fashion can be explored in boutiques like Mad Cow, which merges Swiss style with global trends. Don't miss out on the local craftsmanship at Funky Chocolate Club, where you can even craft your own chocolate souvenirs. The Swiss Knife Valley, a short trip from Interlaken, is a must-visit for the famous Swiss Army Knifes.

Remember, most shops in Interlaken close by 6:30 pm and are closed on Sundays, but tourist shops on Höheweg often have extended hours. Shopping in Interlaken offers a delightful blend of Swiss tradition and global fashion, promising a unique and unforgettable experience.

Best Free Things to Do in Interlaken

Interlaken, nestled amidst the spectacular Swiss Alps, offers an array of free activities for the discerning traveler. Starting with a leisurely stroll through the serene Höhematte Park, you can immerse yourself in the tranquility of this 14 hectare green heart of the city, while marveling at the panoramic views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau mountains. A must-visit is the Swiss tradition-rich Interlaken Monastery and Castle, a historical testament to the town's past, which is open to visit without any entrance fee. For nature enthusiasts, the captivating Harder Kulm offers hiking trails with breath-taking vistas of the surrounding lakes and peaks. Don't miss the local farmers market held every Tuesday and Friday mornings, where you can sample Swiss cheese, fresh produce and mingle with locals. Lastly, make sure to explore the Lake Thun and Lake Brienz via the scenic walking paths, offering serene lake views and picnic opportunities. These are just a few of the best free things to do in Interlaken, ensuring a memorable Swiss adventure without denting your wallet.

Car rentals in Interlaken

Photo of Aerial view over the city of Interlaken in Switzerland - amazing drone footage .

To navigate Interlaken effortlessly, renting a car is an excellent choice. With your own wheels, you can explore every nook and cranny of the destination without relying on public transportation and even venture off the beaten path. On our website, you'll discover a selection of over 2 car rental companies in Interlaken, ready to provide you with the perfect vehicle for your travels.

Automatic cars for rent in Interlaken start at 87 EUR per day or 612 EUR per week. The cheapest automatic rental car is an Opel Astra.

Learn more about the different types of cars you can rent in Interlaken, Switzerland below.

Search for car rentals in Interlaken

Get ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful town of Interlaken. Find the best deals on a variety of popular car rentals in Interlaken, Switzerland, or any other destination in Europe by using the search tool below.

Enter your pick-up and drop-off location, driver's age, and dates. Click the green button to view your options.

Popular destinations to visit after Interlaken

Photo of Stunning view of the top of Harder Kulm in Interlaken, Switzerland photographed in summer with paragliders flying around.

The town of Interlaken is just one of the many unique and scenic destinations you can visit in Switzerland. So if you're itching for another cultural adventure, a relaxing road trip, an action-filled city break, or a memorable weekend getaway, know that Switzerland has it all.

Each destination in Switzerland offers something unique to experience! Take the opportunity to visit other captivating places in Switzerland that are as magical as the town of Interlaken. The most popular travel destinations in Switzerland are listed below. Click on the name of the place you want to explore next to learn more about it.

All the best destinations in Switzerland

When unsure about where to go next, use the map below. This map shows the locations of all the best destinations in Switzerland. Use the map to plan your trip and find the best routes.

Transportation in Interlaken

Transportation in Interlaken, Switzerland is diverse, efficient, and easily accessible. The city is well-connected with an extensive public transit system that includes trains, buses, and boats. The Swiss Travel Pass provides unlimited travel on this network, making it a convenient option for tourists.

Taxis are readily available throughout the city and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance. For those who prefer to drive, there are numerous car rental services offering a range of vehicles to suit individual needs.

A distinctive local transportation experience is the funicular railways, offering breathtaking views of the city and its surroundings. Another unique option is to explore Interlaken by bicycle, with numerous rental shops available. Pedestrian-friendly streets and scenic cycling routes make this a delightful way to explore the city.

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