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Interlaken in the Swiss Jungfrau region: the pros and cons

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We chose Interlaken Ost as our holiday base because travelling to most attractions takes less than 3 hours.

Must knows about Interlaken

  • Interlaken is a midsize town in the center of Switzerland. It is surrounded by the Bernese Alps and situated on the valley floor, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.
  • Interlaken isn't the prettiest town in Switzerland. But it is centrally located and easy to reach: a convenient base for exploring the Bernese Oberland.
  • Interlaken has two rail stations. Interlaken Ost is the main one, Interlaken West is smaller. These stations offer frequent train, bus and boat services to all attractions.
  • The street connecting both stations is the main shopping street.
Interlaken from Harder Kulm

View of Interlaken and the Bernese Alps from Harder Kulm.

About Interlaken

Interlaken is the central town in the Bernese Oberland, and the gate to the famous Jungfrau region. It's an ideal base if you want to explore the entire Bernese Oberland.


Find attractions around Interlaken. The famous Jungfraujoch, the Schilthorn, hiking trails and more.



These are the hotels we suggest for your stay.



Rent an apartment or holiday home in or around Interlaken.



Find out how to get around.



Pictures of Interlaken.



Any questions left about Interlaken? Feel free to post to the forum!


Facts about Interlaken

It's easy to find your way in Interlaken

Although the town center of Interlaken feels like a busy city, it is actually quite small. Basically, the town center is situated around two rail stations.

If you leave station Interlaken West and turn left into the Bahnhofstrasse, you will enter the main shopping street. Just keep on following that street, which is called Höheweg a bit further on, and you will reach the Interlaken Ost station in about 20 minutes on foot. This main street and few of its side streets are the town center of Interlaken.

Location and scenery

Interlaken is situated in the plains of the valley, not in the mountains. It is surrounded by the Bernese Alps though: the Jungfrau can easily be seen from the town center.

The town is located on the edge of 3 regions: the Jungfrau region, Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. 'Interlaken' in fact means 'in between the lakes'.

Pros and cons of Interlaken

Interlaken certainly isn't the prettiest town in the Bernese Oberland. It's a fine looking tourist center, without a lot of attractions of its own.

The main advantage of Interlaken is its excellent location: with its two rail stations, it serves as a hub for a large region. All nearby attractions can easily be reached from here, and a day trip to quite some other parts of Switzerland is possible too. If you want to see and do a lot during your stay, you can save traveling time by basing yourself in Interlaken, rather than a more isolated village in the mountains.

Interlaken is a lively town with many shops and a wide selection of restaurants and hotels. If you are traveling with teenagers that seek some fun, you're better off in Interlaken than in a smaller mountain village with less facilities. The same holds true if you like to do some activities in the evenings.

The location in the plains of the valley and in between the lakes results in better chances of good weather. The sky often clears up well before it does so in the mountains.

What not to miss during your stay

We recommend to not spend too much time in town, but rather focus on the amazing region surrounding Interlaken. Visit some viewing points, do a few scenic trips, and don't forget to hike. If time is limited, try to include at least:

We have listed more attractions and hiking routes here.

Bad weather activities

You can still enjoy yourself when it's rainy. Here are some suggestions:

  • Great for kids: Heimwehfluh in Interlaken.
  • Great for kids: JungfrauPark Interlaken.
  • Visit the national capital Bern.
  • Visit the town of Thun.
  • Visit the town of Lucerne.
  • The Schuh Chocolate Show.
  • The St. Beatus Caves.
  • The Trümmelbach Falls near Lauterbrunnen (they're in caves).

Interlaken as a winter destination

Interlaken is at relatively low altitude. Snow in the village isn’t likely. But you can use Interlaken as a base to visit ski areas in the Jungfrau region. Examples are the areas near Mürren, Wengen and Grindelwald. The ski slopes of Meiringen-Hasliberg and Beatenberg are close by as well.

Mid-December to mid-March is the best season for snow activities in this area.

In November and December, Interlaken can serve as a base town to visit Christmas markets and make beautiful train journeys. It’s low season: cable cars and mountain trains can be closed for maintenance.


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