When building your 1, 2 or 3 days in Interlaken itinerary, you’ll have more than enough options for how to spend your time. Interlaken is popular, but not quite as popular as some of the surrounding towns and cities in Switzerland — such as Geneva — which makes it the perfect balance of famous and off-the-beaten-path itineraries.
Interlaken is in one of the most famous regions of Switzerland, and for good reason. With towering mountains on either side and a bright blue river running through this charming Swiss mountain town, it should come as no surprise that Interlaken is a favourite destination for those visiting Switzerland.
Whether you have 1, 2, or 3 days, here are places you should consider adding to your itinerary.
How Many Days in Interlaken?
Step one in planning your itinerary is determining how many days to spend in Interlaken. It’s very possible to explore just the town of Interlaken in one day.
However, should you want to use Interlaken as your home base to explore more of central Switzerland, you’ll want at least 2 days in Interlaken. For those who have a little more time to spare, 3 days in Interlaken is the best amount of time to spend.
One day in Interlaken is enough to explore the town itself and see the town’s main attraction, Harder Kulm. One day might also be long enough to take a boat out on one of the lakes. Increase your time to two or three days to venture out of Interlaken and continue comfortably exploring the many sights and towns of central Switzerland.
Getting To & Around Interlaken
Interlaken is located in the Bernese Oberland region of the Swiss Alps. It’s situated between two lakes, Brienz and Thun, with the river Aare running between them and through the town. Due to its small size, Interlaken is very walkable.
Most hotels offer paper maps to help guide your exploration of the town. Otherwise, just set out on foot and see where the day in Interlaken takes you! While the official language is German, a local dialect of Bernese German is most commonly spoken. However, because Interlaken is frequented by tourists, many locals you encounter will know some English.
Interlaken doesn’t have its own airport, which most likely means you’ll be taking the train from a nearby city, such as Geneva, Zurich or Bern. However, once you hop on that train, you’ll be in awe of the view. From Bern, the train takes 45 minutes to a little over an hour.
Coming from Zurich, the train ride is closer to two hours. While renting a car is an option (you can check car rental options here), the train is a convenient and comfortable mode of transportation that most visitors opt for.
Make sure to reserve a seat on your train, and maybe even a spot by the window, for excellent views of Switzerland’s iconic landscape as you travel between destinations. Click here to view train schedules.
Arriving and departing Interlaken might be some of the most stunning–the train zig-zags up or down a mountainside, through small villages, to showcase some of the best scenery the country has to offer.
1, 2 or 3 Days in Interlaken Itinerary
Whether you have one day or three days in Interlaken, you’ll be in awe with the sites to see. Interlaken is centrally located, which makes it a good home base for exploring much of the region.
Keep in mind that you can organise your itinerary with any array of these ideas so it fits your interests. Take a read through some of the best activities to fill your time while visiting Interlaken and the surrounding area.
Day 1 – Interlaken Town Highlights
Explore Interlaken town
Make sure you reserve at least three hours for exploring the town of Interlaken. This charming historic town is a pleasure to walk through, marvelling at the architecture that is unique to the region.
Visit Hoheweg Street for some afternoon shopping or to stop for a bit to eat. Here is a good place for an afternoon break or to wander after dinner. While you’re exploring the main street, stray off just slightly to take a stroll through the Old Town Centre.
Here is where you’ll find some of the most historic buildings that are now shops, cafes, and lodging. Pair this up with a walk along the river trail to really take in the vibrant colour of the water.
Save some time to visit the Interlaken Monastery and Abbey. It was home to an Augustinian Canons convent from around 1133 to 1528. It quickly made Interlaken into a destination for pilgrimages and played a central role in the religious life of Switzerland.
Here is where you’ll want to visit for stunning views of Interlaken and the surrounding mountains. If you thought the lakes and river Aare were blue up close, just wait until you see them from above.
The best time to visit Harder Kulm is when the sky is mostly clear. This will offer the greatest views.
To reach the viewpoint, you can hike to the top or take the funicular for about ten minutes. In those ten minutes, you’ll climb 730 metres, while looking over your shoulder for exceptional views. The higher you get, the better the views become. You can pre-book tickets here.
Take a boat ride on the lakes
Lake Brienz and Lake Thun are the two lakes on either side of Interlaken. With their clear, turquoise waters, it’s well worth your time to reserve a boat ride out on one of the lakes. If you want to stay a little more off the beaten path, you can also opt to reserve a night or two at a lodge along the lakeshore.
On Lake Brienz, check out Giessbach, an old hotel that looks like a castle, and a 500-metre waterfall. Lake Thun, on the other hand, has several swimming options for those visiting in the summer.
From the water, you’ll get an unobstructed view of Jungfrau and Eiger, so make sure to take your time if you hop a steamboat on Lake Thun. You can also visit Thun Castle. You can buy a lake pass here or, alternatively, it is also possible to organise a kayak tour here on Lake Brienz.
Day 2 – Adventure Sports & Jungfraujoch
Go bungee jumping or skydiving
As you might imagine, Interlaken is a great destination if you’re looking for some outdoor adventuring. Should you find yourself itching to see Interlaken from high above, explore bungee jumping or skydiving.
There are several local outfits for both activities, and with each, you’ll be rewarded for your bravery with outstanding views. When bungee jumping, you’ll leap from a cable car toward a mountain lake 134 metres below.
Skydiving offers views of the mountains surrounding Interlaken that only a select few get to experience.
And if skydiving or bungee jumping is a bit too out of your comfort zone, there is no shortage of activities for visitors seeking a little rush of adrenaline in their Interlaken itinerary. Some popular options include this paragliding experience and this canyoning tour.
Jungfraujoch, or the “Top of Europe”, is a railway station built high in the mountains above Interlaken. It sits at 3,463 metres above sea level and overlooks the Jungfrau-Aletsch mountains.
At the top, there are several panoramic restaurants, shops, exhibitions, and even a post office. There are countless places to get some of the best views of the Swiss Alps available to visitors. There are hiking trails along a crevassed glacier that lead to Monchsjoch Hut.
The Sphinx Observatory can also be reached from Jungfraujoch by taking a short elevator ride. It’s the second-highest observatory in Switzerland and is home to one of the Global Atmosphere Watch’s research stations.
Coming from Interlaken, you’ll first take a train to Grindelwald before hopping the Eiger Express gondola to the Top of Europe. You can book your return trip here or this full-day tour from Interlaken.
Day 3 – Day Trip from Interlaken
Due to its close proximity and variety of things to do, Grindelwald is a popular day trip from Interlaken. One of the most famous sights is the First Cliff Walk. This viewpoint is not for those who are afraid of heights.
This metal walkway protrudes from a cliff side over a 450-metre straight drop. For adventure seekers, there are opportunities for zip lining and bungee jumping. The Eiger trail is a six-kilometre hike that takes hikers toward Eiger’s north face while Bachalpsee is a stunning alpine lake.
If you want more outdoor activities, consider choosing Grindelwald. If you want to spend more time exploring a quaint village, add Lauterbrunnen to your Interlaken itinerary.
If you’re taking your time, you probably won’t have time to visit both Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. The first is most likely one of the most popular day trips from Interlaken, and maybe one of the most photographed regions in Switzerland.
Staubbach Falls cascades down the mountain and into the Lutschine River and creates a picturesque backdrop to this quaint village. The waterfall is 300 metres and is one of 72 in the area that you can explore.
Lauterbrunnen is famous for its collection of towering mountains, roaring waterfalls, and rolling green hills surrounding the charming town.
Trummelbach Falls is the largest subterranean waterfall in Europe and a must-see during your 3 days in Interlaken. The waterfall is accessible by a tunnel, stairs, and lighting built in 1913. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is perhaps one of the most stunning places to visit.
A common trip from Interlaken to Trummelbach Falls includes a stop at Staubbach Falls. Visitors walk along a thin underground path to witness the waterfall, erosion, and river that all exist underground.
The falls are fed by water melted off the glaciers on Eiger, Monck, and Jungfrau. It’s estimated 20,000 litres of water per second are pushed down the waterfall and out to the valley. The highest drop is about 290 metres, with the total drop at 400 metres.
The trail takes visitors through 10 sections of the falls. You can also opt to take an elevator to the base of the upper falls, but it’s well worth your time to walk if possible. The best time of year to visit is during the summer when the snow melt is at its highest, sending large amounts of water gushing over the falls. Try also to visit early in the day before tour groups arrive.
While you may not have time to visit each of these places during your 3 days in Interlaken, it’s well worth your time to create an itinerary that includes at least one.
To start, Murren is another small yet impressive town that’s located at 1160 metres above sea level. It’s popular for skiing and walking tours as it’s one of the few places in Switzerland that doesn’t allow cars.
The train from Interlaken only takes about an hour. Keep in mind that this town has a population of only around 500, but it’s always full of tourists, making it one of the most trafficked day trips from Interlaken.
Next, consider paying a visit to Schilthorn. It sits at 2970 metres above sea level in the Bernese Alps and offers amazing views of the surrounding landscapes. There is a popular restaurant, Piz Gloria, at the top that offers a menu of regional cuisine. Try to plan your visit to Schilthorn on a clear day for the best views possible.
Where to Stay in Interlaken
Swiss Inn & Apartments – This three-star hotel located in a quiet, residential area of Interlaken is a great option for mid-range travellers. They have a range of rooms and furnished apartments to choose from, as well. Click here to see their availability
Hotel Interlaken – For those looking for a luxury stay in this Swiss town, then this plush hotel is a great choice. There are a number of luxe rooms available, plenty of amenities and a fabulous location in the centre of Interlaken. Click here to see their availability
Interlaken City Apartments – If you’d like to have your own space while visiting Interlaken, then these apartments are a good option. They have a range of sizes available to suit all kinds of groups and a fantastic location for exploring all the town and region has to offer. Click here to see their availability
Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof – If you’re on a tight budget in Switzerland or are travelling solo, this hostel is an excellent option in Interlaken. They have a range of both private and dorm beds available and breakfast is included in the nightly rate, as well. Click here to see their availability
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse more Interlaken hotels!
From one day in Interlaken to three days in Interlaken, you can use these ideas to create an itinerary that ensures a memorable trip. Your time in and around Interlaken will be filled with some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe. Make sure to take your time and enjoy everything that Interlaken and central Switzerland have to offer.
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Are you planning to visit Interlaken? Have any questions about this itinerary? Let us know in the comments!