Whenever I talk to fellow travelers, it seems that Switzerland is a bit of a mystery to them, kind of like a unicorn – everyone’s talking about it, you’ve heard some incredible stories surrounding it (yes, it’s true, all we eat is melted cheese and chocolate!) and you’re just a tiny bit doubtful whether it actually exists or not.
But fear no longer! This Swiss Miss is here to tell you everything you need to know to have a marvelous time in the fairy tale land that is Switzerland.
First up: 5 reasons why you should stay in Interlaken when visiting Switzerland
Once Interlaken made the Victorians swoon with mountain vistas from the chandelier-lit confines of grand hotels; today it makes daredevils scream with adrenalin-loaded adventures. Straddling the glittering Lakes Thun and Brienz and dazzled by the pearly whites of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, the scenery here is mind-blowing. Particularly, some say, if you’re abseiling waterfalls, thrashing white water or gliding soundlessly above 4000m peaks.
1. It’s (almost) smack in the middle of Switzerland
Location, location location – one of the main reason why you should stay in Interlaken during your Switzerland adventure.
Unlike many other countries, Switzerland isn’t famous for having stunning cathedrals and a plethora of historical sites, all crammed into one bustling megacity. Don’t get me wrong, our cities are fun (if you call a place with less than 400 000 citizens a city), there are architectural masterpieces to be discovered and our history is worth to be told (William Tell anyone?).
But the one thing that puts Switzerland on every travelers bucket list is its breathtaking scenery with deep-blue lakes, snow-capped mountains and mystical valleys. Seeing everything Switzerland has to offer involves quite a bit of traveling, though. That’s why staying in Interlaken, basically the heart of Switzerland, will enable you to see more (amazing places) for less (money and time).
The following list illustrates the travel times to the top attractions in Switzerland (by train):
- Zermatt (home of the famous Matterhorn): 2 hours
- Lucerne (stunning lake, gorgeous mountains and a beautiful town): less than 2 hours
- Geneva (cosmopolitan city with a record-breaking fountain): less than 3 hours
- Montreux (beautiful town on the Swiss Riviera): 2.5 hours or 3 hours if you take the famous Goldenpass Panoramic train
- Bern (Switzerland’s charming capital): less than an hour
- Zurich (Switzerland’s biggest city): 2 hours
- Ticino (Switzerland’s Italian-speaking region): less than 4 hours
2. It’s absolutely breath-taking
While a great location is very important, traveling is all about seeing those unforgettable places. So what if you could have the practicality of staying at a very central location, while starting every day with some of the best views in Switzerland?
That’s Interlaken for you right there!
Snuggly squeezed in between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz (ergo the name: ‘inter’ = between, ‘laken’ = lakes) and with three of the highest mountains of the Swiss Alps in the background (Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau), every view serves as a postcard moment.
3. Interlaken is backpacker friendly
Switzerland is expensive. There’s no denying it. That’s why many backpackers shy away from traveling to Switzerland.
And I don’t blame them! Hostels in Switzerland are few and far between – even in Switzerland’s biggest cities Zurich, Basel and Geneva. And when a bunk bed in an 18-bed dorm for more than 30 EUR is considered a BUDGET option, you know it’s gonna be tough on your wallet.
Cue Interlaken! If you stay in Interlaken you’ll be spoilt for choice and, believe it or not, you might even find the cheapest bed in all of Europe (who’d have thought, right?)! Fancy sleeping in a hammock for 5 Euros a night? Or how about a comfortable bed in a sturdy tent for about 15 Euros?
Interlaken makes the impossible possible and lets you visit one of the most expensive countries without emptying your bank account.
4. Interlaken is Switzerland’s adventure capital
Can’t you get enough of speed, danger and that tingling feeling of being alive? Then you should definitely stay in Interlaken.
Interlaken offers everything your adrenaline-craving heart could desire – canyoning, river rafting, bungee jumping, paragliding, jetboating, canyon swinging. There’s nothing you can’t do! And experts agree that Interlaken is one of the best, if not THE best place, to go sky diving.
5. When you stay in Interlaken you’ll never have to worry about the weather
Rain can put a real damper on your travel plans. Especially if your travel plans include a lot of outdoor activities. Hiking can be extremely dangerous when it’s rainy or foggy and should be postponed to a clear day.
So what can you do, when it’s raining cats and dogs? Staying in, watch a movie and relax for once can be nice, especially if you’re a longterm traveler. But it’s not really what you had in mind, is it?
Well, Interlaken has you covered for that as well. Many of the adventure activities mentioned above don’t rely on sunny weather and blue skies. I mean, you’ll get wet while river rafting anyways, a couple of drops more or less really won’t make a difference.
Check out this activity planner for a detailed list of all the possible activities, when they’re possible and when they have to be cancelled. To be on the safe side, simply give the organizers a call.
If you’d prefer something a bit calmer, a rainy day is ideal for a little trip to the Lauterbrunnen valley. This valley is only a short train ride from Interlaken (just 20 minutes!) and, while glorious on a sunny day, offers an even more spectacular experience on a rainy day. The so-called Valley of the 72 Cascades lets you discover the mystic side of Switzerland.
While you’re there, make sure you stop at the Trümmelbach Falls, a UNESCO world heritage site. The Trümmelbachfalls are a unique set of ten glacier-waterfalls inside a mountain. There is nothing comparable in all of Europe and one of the most impressive spectacles of nature you’ll ever witness. Obviously they grow in magnitude the more water comes down from the mountain, so rainy days are actually preferable! (Best time to visit is from April to October when the snow and the glaciers are melting!)
With all that in mind,
wouldn’t you like to stay in Interlaken?