Interlaken is one of the most beautiful regions in the world. While Interlaken itself is a cute town, the region of Interlaken is beyond stunning.
And if you are wondering about the best day trips from Interlaken then this post if for you. Here you will find out about the top places to visit near Interlaken, Switzerland.
While the town itself is cute, you would miss out if you don’t do excursions from Interlaken. The Bernese Oberland, the state (canton) Interlaken is located offers so many beautiful and stunning places that I truly recommend to get out as there are so many places to visit on day trips or even tours for a few hours.
If you know my blog and Instagram, you might have realized my obsession with Interlaken. Each year, I spend days and weeks in the region of Interlaken – and I never get enough. If you do not plan to stay in Interlaken for weeks or months (though it would not be a bad idea) you will probably need to plan your trip wisely and choose the best day trip according to your preferences.
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TIPS FOR DAY TOURS FROM INTERLAKEN
- 1 TIPS FOR DAY TOURS FROM INTERLAKEN
- 2 BEST DAY TRIPS FROM INTERLAKEN
- 2.1 Jungfraujoch
- 2.2 Grindelwald-First & BACHALPSEE
- 2.3 Niesen
- 2.4 Brienzer Rothorn
- 2.5 Schilthorn
- 2.6 Mount Pilatus
- 2.7 Mount Rigi and Lucerne
- 2.8 Schynige Platte
- 2.9 Bern
- 2.10 Niederhorn Mountain
- 2.11 Lake Thun / Thun / Spiez
- 2.12 Giessbach Waterfalls and Lake Brienz
- 2.13 Zermatt
- 2.14 Montreux
- 2.15 Oeschinensee and Blausee
- 2.16 Gelmsersee
- 2.17 Zurich
- 2.18 Lauterbrunnen
If you want to make Interlaken your base, you will find some tips on where to stay so you can easily get around.
Where to Stay
Interlaken has some great hostels and hostels – don’t expect any bargain (not even for hostels) but to be honest: Staying in that area is worth the money.
Here are the best places to stay in Interlaken – my tips for your holidays in Interlaken.
$$$ The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau and since I have not started there myself I can just repeat what I heard: This hotel is supposed to be amazing, so if you are looking for a fancy place this is probably the best pick.
$$ I recently stayed at Hotel du Nord and I actually was very positively surprised (the reviews were not great but since all rooms were renovated lately, it is a great place to stay). Click here to get the best deals.
$ If you are on a budget I recommend staying outside of Interlaken, some cute towns close by that offer good value for money or you book a bed in one of the numerous hostels in Interlaken like Balmers Backpackers Hostel.
Airbnb is also big in Interlaken and though you will not find a bargain where you might get a better deal if you like to prepare your own meal or if you are in a bigger group. If you are an Airbnb first-time user you can save $$ by using my link.
How to Get Around
If you stay overnight at an official accommodation in Interlaken you will get a Guest Card. With that guest card you can use some of the public transportation in Interlaken but also outside of Interlaken – HOWEVER, to be honest, this guest card is pretty useless as it doesn’t take you to many places. You can’t visit Thun with it and actually, it really is just for the closest places around Interlaken.
So, in most cases you will need an extra bus/train ticket (expensive without a Swiss Travel Pass or a Half Fare ticket or if you travel with more than 2 people) or drive your own car. Driving around the two lakes (Lake Brienz and Lake Thun) is fun and the scenery is stunning but parking can be tricky.
Definitely do not rely on the guest card and prepare to pay (quite high) bus tickets or for parking.
BEST DAY TRIPS FROM INTERLAKEN
Here are my favorite places to visit near Interlaken.
Jungfraujoch is the main and most popular tourist spot in the region.
The Jungfraujoch is a saddle that connects the two impressive mountains, Jungfrau and Mönch (by the way, the Swiss Skyline consists of the three mountains Jungfrau, Eigner. and Mönch, you will see these mountain peaks from many places in the region – they are so recognizable that you will quickly find out about these beauties).
Getting up Jungfraujoch is a bucket list items for many – especially Asians (Chinese and Indians) seem to be crazy about it. Understandable as there is snow throughout the year. And it holds the record for being the highest train station in Europe – standing at almost 3,500 meters.
What do people do when they see snow? Yes, you can do winter sports (we are talking about winter sports in the summer), see the Ice Palace or visit the Lindt Museum.
Yes, it is amazing as it sounds (and my dog loved it, too). Hiking up is impossible – getting up quite expensive but it is a once in a lifetime experience.
Find out more about the costs of a day trip to Jungfraujoch from Interlaken – click here for more info.
P.S: If you hold a Swiss Travel Pass you get a discount on your Jungfraujoch experience – click on the link below to find the rates for Swiss Travel Pass holders. Jungfraujoch Train Trip for Swiss Travel Pass Holders
Read more: Fun things to do in Interlaken
Grindelwald-First & BACHALPSEE
Grindelwald is a cute village close to Interlaken. Since it is so small, there is not that much to do and see but you can also head to Grindelwald First and hike to Bachalpsee.
One of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland (and thus in the world) is the Bachalpsee (Bachalp Lake). Hiking or strolling around the Bachalpsee should be on your list, so another reason to visit Grindelwald and do some hiking.
Get to First by the gondola and there try out the First Flieger and First Glider and walk on the suspension bridge of the First Cliff Walk. Then hike to one of the prettiest lakes in the country. Bachalpsee.
It is not one of the places you can just get around via cable cars or funiculars.However, as far as I have understood skipping cable cars completely will be very difficult.
So, after using the cable car it will include some hiking but it is well worth it and makes a perfect day tour that you will not forget so easily.
Day trips are not only about mountains – but they do plan an important role. One mountain trip to take is a visit to Niesen Mountain. Personally, my favorite mountain in the region.
Why? This is a very good question and the answer is easy. The mountain looks like a pyramid.
Apparently, I have a thing for weird shaped mountains and which mountain can claim to be a pyramid and a mountain as well? Exactly, normally you are either one of it.
But it does not only look great (you can see when you visit Lake Thun, it is on the southern shores) – you can actually get on top of it.
From Mülenen train station you can get up by funicular all the way, or do a bit of hiking and using the funicular (which also will help you saving money).
Up there (at 2362 meters), you will not only have amazing views of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and the Alps. Kids will enjoy their time in the Niesen Village and the braver adults can do some paragliding up there.
Interlaken is located in between two lakes. Great thing!
One is Lake Brienz – so there is no way you can get around this, stunning lake (which is also one of my all-time favorites). So either hop on a boat and get from Interlaken to Brienz or take a train to arrive at Brienz train station.
It is time to experience one the most amazing Interlaken experiences – getting up Brienzer Rothorn via a very old steam locomotive. On a clear day, it might be quite busy (as all mountain rides) but it is worth the time, money and everything else that comes with it.
The locomotive takes about an hour to arrive at the mountain peak – the views are some of the best you can have on a mountain ride. As often, you can also buy a single ticket and hike down. But I recommend getting up via the steam loc as least.
Unlike on other mountain peaks, there is not that much to do up on Brienzer Rothorn. Up there, you can hike or just enjoy the most stunning view of Lake Brienz.
James Bond fans know about Schilthorn – but it is actually a great day trip from Interlaken for anyone, who appreciates good mountain views and a bit of action on a mountain peak.
Schilthorn was a movie location for one of the 007 movies (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service) and if you visit now, you will have the chance to not only see some settings but also play with some 007 requisites. But also, you have great views of the Swiss Skyline, and you can walk the “Thrill Walk” (a pathway along the rock massif).
By the way, you can buy a return ticket and get up Schilthorn by changing cable cars several times – my tip: Hike from Grütschalp to Mürren. This is a very easy but spectacular hiking path – on a clear day, you will surely not regret it.
Mount Pilatus is another beautiful mountain trip you can take – even though it is a bit further from Interlaken.
From Interlaken, you get to Lucerne and there you can opt for different options to get up – if you opt for the Golden Tour it means you will arrive via boat and then use cable cars/funiculars/cogwheel to get up and later down again.
Mount Pilatus offers incredible views over Lake Lucerne – and it seems, the mountain peak is a village on its own.
On sunny days, there is a lot going on. From hiking to paragliding – though there are many mountain peaks in the region of Interlaken, this mountain is something different and worth the longer train ride.
Mount Rigi and Lucerne
If you are heading to Lucerne and prefer spending some time in the city itself, I suggest a few hours on Mount Rigi and afterward some time in Lucerne.
Mount Rigi, the Queen of Mountains, is probably not that “spectacular” as Mount Pilatus and there is less action, but it is a great trip and worth it.
Especially, because the mountain ride is included in the Swiss Travel Pass. You can arrive via boat and get out at Vitznau station and then hike up or take the funicular.
It is also less time-consuming and getting up and down will allow you to spend a few hours in Lucerne as well. Lucerne – many people say it is the prettiest city in Switzerland.
I recommend strolling pretty Lake Lucerne, walking Chapel Bridge and discovering the old town of Lucerne before heading back to Interlaken.
From Interlake East Station hop on a train and go to Wilderswil – from there you can get up via a funicular to Schynige Platte. There are at least two reasons why Schynige Platte is so popular.
If you get out the cable car you have breathtaking views of Eigner, Jungfrau, and Mönch – also known as the Swiss Skyline which I have mentioned earlier.
There is a restaurant and it is the perfect spot to chill. But there is more to see – it includes some hiking hike but you will have more spectacular views this way.
To enjoy the north views hiking is essential but believe me, it is worth it! You can use the path through the Alpine Garden which is lovely too, or you can use the other way).
Bern is probably one of the prettiest capitals in the world – from Interlaken you can conveniently reach Bern within one hour.
The Old Town of Bern is quite big and charming – and the whole old town is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site. Plan in two hours or three and get wonderfully lost there.
For the best views of Bern visit the Rosengarten – say hi to Albert Einstein’s statue up there (just 5-10 minutes hike) and do not forget to say hi to the bears.Yes, there are bears living in Bern next to the Aare River, but do not worry the area is fenced off so you stay at a safe distance.
Find out more abut Bern here.
Everything that involves views of Lake Thun is my favorite! So, of course, I have to add an excursion to Niederhorn Mountain as well.
Whether you hike up or get up by cable car, on a clear day it is a fun day trip.
At the summit is a playground for the kids while the adults can enjoy a coffee with a view. There is more to do though – especially for those interested in action, there is the option to go paragliding,
Trotti-biking (it seems to be a “scooter-like bike without a seat”, yes, I am still guessing what that this) or to do a guided wildlife observation tour.
With a view of Lake Thun, it is never wrong to spend a lot of time on Niederhorn.
Tip: The food at Niederhorn Guest House it actually quite good!
Lake Thun / Thun / Spiez
Okay, here is another tip for lake and town lovers. Lake Thun – is amazing. Whether you stroll along it or go on a Lake Thun boat cruise and thus one of my favorite day trips from Interlaken.
From Interlaken you can do a boat tour to the other side – Thun is located at the on the southern shores and is probably the prettiest town at Lake Thun.
Hop off in Thun and explore different castles (like Schloss Schadau, Thun Castle), and explore the Old Town. Thun is so lovely I cannot even describe.
If you enjoy nice long walks you could head to Spiez – a very picturesque and pretty village with a Mediterranean feeling (or get there by bus, because 10 km might be a bit too long after all the walking in Thun).
Spiez has a pretty castle, a very lovely promenade – a perfect way to end your day (and take the boat back to Interlaken).
Giessbach Waterfalls and Lake Brienz
Here is another of my favorites day tours: a trip to the Giessbach Waterfalls. You can get there by car/public transportation, but the most scenic view to is to arrive by boat from Brienz.
If you get out the boat station (Giessbach) you can either get up to Grand Hotel Giessbach via funicular and just hike 10 minutes. From there you have great views of the waterfalls – keep hiking so you can even walk behind the waterfalls.
It is an amazing activity – walking so close along the waterfalls and with views of Lake Brienz – what else can I (you) ask for?
In the summer months, the Giessbach Grandhotel is open – I suggest to plan in some time for some nice walks and a coffee with a view, too.
Zermatt is one of the most picturesque towns in Switzerland and actually one of my favorites. The only thing is, that getting there is time-consuming and thus is not one of the most perfect day trips from Interlaken, but if you do not mind train travel, then consider visiting Zermatt from Interlaken.
You should plan in a full day to spend there. But once you arrive at the car-free town (care-free means, you have to a) leave your car in Taesch and then get to Zermatt by train or b) get to Zermatt from Interlaken by train.
Once you are in this really pretty town you can stroll the old town center and I definitely suggest getting up Klein Matterhorn. I actually got sick up there (altitude sickness), so make sure to not get to the cable cars too fast (and have some stops in between – since you have to change several times, it is possible).
Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are breathtaking but another gorgeous lake in Switzerland is Lake Geneva (also known as Lac Leman). Montreux is a gorgeous town on the northern shores of the lake and it makes one of the best day trips from Interlaken.
Montreux is small but one of the prettiest places in Switzerland and walking along the promenade, from the town center to Château de Chillon is a little treat for your eyes and your legs.
The castle is one of the most stunning ones in all of Switzerland – and a boat ride on Lake Geneva is a fun way to end your day in Geneva.
By the way, if you get to Montreux by train, you have to change trains in Zweisimmen. From there, take the Golden Pass Line to Montreux- and you have one of the most scenic train routes you can imagine.
I have a detailed post on Montreux which you can check out here.
Oeschinensee and Blausee
These two beauties are located in Kandersteg, close to Lake Thun and they make one of the best day trips from Interlaken. I suggest starting with Blausee first which is inside a natural park.
To see this tiny yet stunning lake you have to pay an entry fee of about 4,50€ (from 16 November to 15 March, otherwise it is about 7,50€.) There is not that much to do honestly. However, it is one of the most uniques lakes in the country.
You can row boats (without an extra a fee, have lunch in the restaurant or walk around the lake).
A trip should not take more than one hour though – afterwards head to the famous Oeschinensee.
Oeschinensee is honestly more stunning than Blausee – here you have a little bit of Canada in Switzerland. Get out at Kandersteg train station and use your Swiss Travel Pass to get a discount for the cable car. Once up there, you have to do a short hike (about 20-30 minutes) and you´ll then see this stunning Lake Oeschinensee.
Hike the lake, admire the lake or just relax – there are many activities you can do in and around Lake Oeschinen. If you are a hiker, you can actually get to Lake Oenschienen, a mountain lake, just by hiking and ignore the cable cars altogether (the hike is supposed to be a bit more difficult though).
One of my all time favorite day trips was my trip to Gelmersee. This lake is a bit lesser known yet a hike around the lake is spectacular.
Get to Bus stop Handegg, Gelmerbahn by car (limited free parking lots available) or bus (yellow Postautos that are perfect to get you around in the Swiss mountains).
Take the funicular, Gelmer Funicular, – one of the steepest in Europe – to get to the stunning Gelmersee, and artificial lake surrounded in a stunning scenery, and actually hike the lake.
The hike itself is not the easiest, but also not extremely difficult if you are a bit experienced and can keep your balance (yeah, there are some very small and narrow paths) but it is worth it.
While the Gelmer Funicular might be very busy, the lake isn’t because most people actually don’t hike the lake.
Tip: If you enjoy the thrilling funicular hike, try to get a seat at the very front (especially if you take the ride down). Also, for more thrills, cross the Handeck Bridge (free of entry). The suspension bridge is 70 meters above the Handeck Gorge and offers a fantastic view of the Handeck Waterfall.
Okay, Switzerland´s main city is quite far from Interlaken but you can still visit it. By car it takes about two hours and by train it also takes about the same amount of time. If you arrive in Zurich, I recommend exploring Zurich first but if you don’t pass Zurich on your arrival or departure, you can also visit this pretty city.
Zurich is located quite up the north and though many people assume it is the capital, it is just the financial hub of the country. If you want to shop in Switzerland, the Zurich is the place to visit and though the region of Interlaken is full of lakes itself, you can also visit Lake Zurich, and enjoy a city life that you don’t have in Interlaken.
However, the lake is much busier than Lake Brienz or Lake Thun (or any other lake) and there are more things offered – especially in the summer months, there are musicians around the lake that make the place even more special. And Zurich has a more charming old town than Interlaken but of course, the nature is not as impressive.
While getting there takes a while, it is a good though not one of the best days trips (and if you take the scenic trains, the train ride is actually a beautiful activity itself).
Last but not least, I have to mention Lauterbrunnen. Without a question, Lauterbrunnen is one of the most popular places to visit near Interlaken and there are many reasons for it.
If you visit Schilthorn, you will be in Lauterbrunnen already. However, spending one full day in Lauterbrunnen itself is also a great idea and often considered one of the most beautiful – if not the – village in the country.
You have the many, many waterfalls – including the famous Staubbach Waterfall which you can see in the image above but also the Trümmerbach Waterfalls and many more. But Lauterbrunnen is also known as one of the best places to visit for any adrenaline junkie. Don’t try base jump (though it is popular) but do other outdoor sports like hiking, paragliding or or or.
Visiting Lauterbrunnen is surely a great idea and you won’t regret visiting for a full day!
Find out more about hidden gems in Switzerland here.
This tiny region of Interlaken has so much to offer that I stuck to only my favorite places and day tours from Interlaken but if you want to get even more inspiration check out my Interlaken post.