Welcome to Interlaken
Lord Byron visited Interlaken in 1816. Travelling the region, he was both restored and awestruck by the mountains, the air and the shining lakes. And if it could inspire that jaded poet to even greater works, a visit here can be a life-changing experience for anyone. The river Aare, which runs through the town, remains the dreamlike aqua of sunlit jade, and the great, angular mountains, dredged with snow and topped with cloud, are a poem in themselves.
Interlaken- between the two lakes of Brienz and Thun- was renamed in the 19th century, purely so that English-speaking visitors could pronounce their destination. (Before this, it was 'Aaremuhel 'the mill on the river Aare.') Now, millworkers have been superseded by winter sports lovers, walkers, and backpackers. The building of the Swiss railways in the late 19th century meant that Interlaken was perfectly placed for visitors to explore the astonishingly beautiful Canton of Bern. Both Interlaken and Unterseen, the adjoining town, offer wide streets of majestic hotels and wooden chalets, gingerbread-style houses and grand Victorian architecture.
Yet somehow, it works- for every wood-carving shop there's a sophisticated restaurant, and for every pizza-peddling tourist trap there's a sweetly authentic cafe selling exquisite cakes. Besides, though Interlaken itself is charming, it's the town's unique position that makes it famous. **In a day, one can take a train to the snow-bound summit of the Jungfrau with its howling gales, eat breakfast on the Schilthorn, where James Bond nearly met his doom, or sit on the banks of Lake Thun, watching the sky glow pink above the mist-wreathed mountains of the far shore. Some people go to health spas to relax. A trip here is a deep-cleansing treatment for the soul.
THE 3 TELLS IRISH PUB
VICTORIA JUNGFRAU GRAND HOTEL & SPA
Interlaken is a resort town, but most of the nightlife takes place in the larger hotels- there are few independent nightclubs, so for late-night fun, choose a big hotel.
For a less expensive meal, the Coop café (Unter Boening strass 10) is very good value, and the self-service food is charged by weight.
There is a free ski-bus service that runs from Interlaken directly to the Jungfrau Skiing Region. To travel, a valid Jungfrau Ski Region sports, sledge or hiking pass as well as a valid and completed Interlaken / Thunersee Guest Card is needed.
Summer season begins in April- in Winter, certain attractions are inaccessible or closed, so for those not interested in Winter sports, Spring is a better time to visit.
Interlaken is a brilliantly well-connected city, with two railway stations, Interlaken Ost and West. Trains to Lucerne, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald stop only at Ost, most stop at both.
There is a good bus service throughout the city centre, and helpfully, the guest card which is provided by hotels permits free transport on the main bus services. It’s very easy however, to get around on foot- nowhere is more than a thirty minute walk away.
Driving in Interlaken is simple, but parking can be tricky on the street. There are several paying carparks, listed on the maps here: http://www.interlaken.ch
The roads nearly always stay open, even in winter. However, if driving through some of the passes around Interlaken it's important that motorists have snow tyres and snow chains.
There are taxi ranks at both stations, or hotels will call a cab for guests. It’s unusual to hail a taxi on the street.
Interlaken is easy to get around by bike. Try Flying Wheels bike rental for good, efficient service. Hoheweg 133, Interlaken 3800,
Holidays in Interlaken
A SWISS ROAD TRIP
From 13 days