BEST INTERLAKEN WINTER ACTIVITIES + TIPS FOR YOUR WINTER TRIP TO INTERLAKEN
Interlaken is best known as the adventure capital of Europe. However, there is much more to it. Interlaken in the winter months is an especially perfect time to explore what the Swiss Alps have to offer. And if you are wondering about the best things to do in Interlaken in winter, then this post is for you.
There’s something truly special about visiting Switzerland during the winter months. If I had to choose one place to recommend, it would definitely be the Bernese Oberland region where Interlaken is located.
Trust me, this place is a winter wonderland! From skiing and snowboarding to snowshoeing and ice skating, you’ll find something to suit your taste.
But if you’re not a fan of adrenaline-pumping activities, don’t worry. There are still plenty of Interlaken winter activities that are perfect for a more relaxed vacation. Imagine cozying up by a fire with a cup of hot cocoa, taking a scenic train ride through the snow-capped mountains, or simply strolling around town and taking in the picturesque scenery.
Honestly, I could go on and on about how amazing this place is. So read on to find out more about all the amazing things to do in Interlaken in the winter.
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TRAVEL TIPS FOR YOUR INTERLAKEN WINTER TRIP
So, grab a hot cocoa, before we talk about the coolest winter activities in Interlaken, here are some important travel tips for your winter trip to Interlaken.
First, I’d like to introduce you to the Swiss Travel Pass and the Jungfrau Pass.
Jungfrau Pass VS Swiss Travel Pass
The Swiss Travel Pass is amazing for getting around in Switzerland. It includes a couple of mountain excursions and amazing boat cruises. You get a 50% discount on many other mountain excursions (including some mentioned here). I highly recommend getting the pass if you visit Switzerland for more than 3 days. It can help you save a lot of money – even if the passes are quite expensive. Check out prices here.
Alternatively, getting a Jungfrau Pass is a good idea because you can actually use the Jungfrau Pass for mountain trips.
You can buy one either for a pedestrian or a skier/snowboarder. You can use all of the trains of the Jungfraubahn (which will get you to places like Interlaken Ost, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Jungfraujoch, etc., as well as up mountain peaks without any extra surcharge, including Männlichen and Grindelwald First). You can choose between two different tickets – one includes a trip to Jungfraujoch, and one does not.
- Check out the Jungfrau Pass here, which is available as a 2 to 8-day pass, or a season pass.
How to Get Around Interlaken
When the winter months roll around, it’s time to switch gears and hop on some public transport. Snowy conditions can make driving a bit tricky, so it’s best to leave it to the experts and enjoy the benefits of the amazing Swiss public transport.
So, ditch the car and hop on public transport! Trust me, you’ll thank me later when you’re not slipping and sliding on icy roads.
The public transportation system in Interlaken is top-notch. Buses and trains run like clockwork, so you can leave your watch at home. And, if you’re staying at an official accommodation, you’ll snag the Interlaken Guest Card. That means free bus rides within Interlaken and nearby villages like Iseltwald. If you’re staying in Thun, you can even use your Thun Guest Card to get to Interlaken.
But, if you’re all about that public transport life, without a car in sight, the Swiss Travel Pass or Jungfrau Pass will be your new BFFs. So, sit back, relax, and let someone else do the driving – you’re on vacation, after all!
Where to Stay
Interlaken is home to some amazing hotels – amazing and expensive. I have a detailed accommodation guide for Interlaken, but you can find some tips below.
Luxury: Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa – The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. I have not stayed there myself, so I can only repeat what I heard: This hotel is amazing. If you are looking for a fancy place in Interlaken, this is probably the best pick.
Mid-Range: Hotel du Nord – For your stay in Interlaken, I recommend this hotel – Hotel du Nord – which is centrally located and is quite nice. It is one of my favorite accommodations for your 5-day Swiss itinerary.
Budget: Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof – If you are on a budget, I recommend staying in Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof next to the Höhenmatte. It is not the cheapest hostel but definitely worth the money and one of my all-time favorite hostels.
If you’re planning a trip to Interlaken between December and February, brace yourself for the chill. These months are the coldest, but don’t let that put a damper on your winter wonderland dreams.
While there’s no guarantee of snow in the town itself (Interlaken is located at about 568 meters (1.863 feet) above sea level), once you hit the mountains, you’re in for a treat. Picture this – snow as far as the eye can see!
- The average expected temperature when visiting around Christmastime in December is 1.2 degrees Celsius (34 degrees Fahrenheit).
- January has proven to be the coldest month of the year in Bern with temperatures usually lingering around 0.6 degrees Celsius (33 degrees Fahrenheit).
- And if you’re visiting in February, you can expect temperatures to be settled at around 1.7 degrees Celsius (35 degrees Fahrenheit).
If you plan your visit during any of the times mentioned, you’ll have a great chance of experiencing some serious snow time. But, keep in mind that it can get pretty chilly up in the mountains, so make sure to pack those extra layers.
What to Wear in Interlaken in the Winter
When the temperatures drop this low, it’s crucial to pack smart and stay cozy. Since Switzerland is expensive, you might want to avoid shopping here. So, what are the must-haves for a cold-weather trip? Here are some essential items that you won’t want to forget:
✔️ A warm, waterproof jacket should be one of the first items you think to pack. Avoid choosing a bulky jacket that takes up a lot of space. This can make you feel uncomfortable when you have layers underneath. Instead, opt for a lightweight trench raincoat that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
✔️ A knitted beanie is a perfect solution for keeping the warmth in while you venture out. A hat will keep you toasty warm wherever you are.
✔️ A pair of gloves can do wonders for your mobility and comfort. When selecting your options, it’s worth investing in a pair that can dry quickly and are touch-screen compatible.
✔️ A warm scarf and/or turtleneck sweater are key items for keeping your neck covered. A turtleneck sweater is perfect as a garment to wear underneath your jacket, while the scarf can be removed easily.
✔️ Leggings are an essential item to pack as you can dress them up or down. You can even wear them underneath your denim as an extra layer of warmth.
✔️ When it comes to packing socks for your Austria winter trip – the thicker, the better. The chances are that you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in the snow, and you’ll want your feet to be warm and cozy.
✔️ My favorite winter clothes are thermals. A quality set of thermals is your key to enjoying the winter weather in Austria. You have to wear them on a cold day to believe what a wonderful invention it is!
✔️ Make sure you have a trusty pair of warm shoes. You’ll want your shoes to be as versatile as possible. Shoes that allow you to enjoy a variety of activities while keeping your feet warm and dry.
TOP THINGS TO DO IN INTERLAKEN IN THE WINTER
Go Skiing and Snowboarding
While Interlaken itself may not be the ultimate ski paradise, there are tons of options nearby to satisfy your winter sports cravings. Check out Niederhorn Mountain, Brienz-Axalp Mountain, Diemtigtal Valley, Schwanden-Sigriswil, Habkern, and Aeschi-Aeschiried for some compact and family-friendly fun.
And, if you’re up for more challenging slopes, hit up the nearby towns of Murren or Grindelwald. Trust me, there’s no shortage of opportunities to shred some snow and have a blast.
Are you a newbie to the snow sports world? Don’t worry if you’ve never tried skiing or snowboarding before – Interlaken has got your back. You can take lessons and get some pro tips even if you’re an absolute beginner.
No gear? No worries! You can rent all kinds of equipment in Interlaken, Grindelwald, and beyond. So, there’s no excuse not to give it a shot. Trust me, once you hit those slopes and feel the rush of the wind in your face, you’ll be hooked for life. I am not a winter sports enthusiast but truly enjoyed my first time on the slopes.
Enjoy Some Night Sledding
What’s a winter vacation without some sledding action? It’s the perfect activity because you don’t need any experience and, in my opinion, it’s less “risky” than skiing or snowboarding. Plus, you can do it during the day or night – talk about versatility!
Check out some of the sledding packages available at Niederhorn Mountain or Axalp, where you’ll get some stunning views of Lake Brienz. But, don’t stop there – there are plenty of other areas to sled, including the epic Eiger Run, which even has a night sledding option. So, bundle up, grab your sled, and hit the slopes for some good old-fashioned winter fun!
- Make sure to wrap up warm. If you do not have your own sled, you can rent a sled at one of the many rental stores.
If you’re in the mood for a cozy winter adventure, don’t miss out on a visit to the charming valley of Lauterbrunnen. While it may not be the ultimate winter wonderland, I highly recommend checking it out.
Snow or no snow, you can’t miss the world-famous Staubbach Waterfall. And, to top it off, you’ll have the chance to explore one of the cutest villages in all of Switzerland. Trust me, it’s worth it just for the picturesque scenery and cozy vibes.
Check out my Lauterbrunnen guide for more information.
Here’s a little open secret – from Lauterbrunnen, you’re just a hop, skip, and jump away from some of the best winter wonderlands in all of Switzerland.
I’m talking about the epic destinations of Muerren and Wengen. You won’t want to miss out on these winter wonderlands. Think snowy peaks, charming villages, and endless adventure.
Explore Muerren / Schilthorn
Mürren (or Muerren/Murren, depending on your preference) is an absolute paradise for all things snow sports. Get ready to spend endless days shredding the slopes, hitting the powder, and exploring the winter wonderland.
Whether you’re into skiing, snowboarding, or snowshoe hiking, Muerren has got you covered. And, with its elevated location of 1,650 meters above sea level, it’s like a winter wonderland dream come true. Grab your gear and hit the slopes in Muerren!
It’s not just for the adrenaline junkies – anyone can appreciate the cozy atmosphere and stunning scenery. If you’re in the mood for a scenic stroll in a winter wonderland, Mürren is the place to be.
And, if you’re looking for an unforgettable Swiss train ride, look no further. The journey from Interlaken Ost to Lauterbrunnen, then to Grütschalp and Mürren, is hands down one of the most breathtaking train rides you’ll ever experience.
And, in the winter months, it’s even more magical. Trust me, the snow-covered landscapes and charming villages will take your breath away.
Check out my Muerren post for more information.
If you’re headed to Muerren, make sure to take it up a notch and visit the stunning Schilthorn Mountain at almost 3,000 meters above sea level. This peak gained fame as a filming location for one of the iconic James Bond movies (On Her Majesty’s Secret Service), and it’s a must-visit spot for any 007 fans out there.
Check out the museum and take a stroll on the “Walk of Fame,” where you can snap some epic photos and even play with some movie props – head to Schilthorn Mountain for some Bond-worthy adventure!
The views from Schilthorn Mountain are absolutely breathtaking! Prepare yourself for a jaw-dropping Swiss Skyline panorama, featuring the stunning peaks of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau.
And, if you’re up for a thrill, take a stroll on the “Thrill Walk” – a pathway along the rock massif that will get your heart racing. It’s not for the faint of heart, but the views and the adrenaline rush are well worth it.
As a seasoned Schilthorn visitor, let me tell you – both summer and winter are stunning, but there’s something extra magical. The entire mountain was blanketed in pristine snow, creating a truly breathtaking winter wonderland.
It’s like stepping into a real-life snow globe. So, make sure to plan your visit during the snowy months. Check out my Schilthorn guide for more information.
ICE Magic Interlaken
Ice Magic! This winter wonderland features an open-air ice rink at Höhenmatte Park, right in the heart of Interlaken. And it’s not just about skating – you can also try your hand at Bavarian curling, sip on some mulled wine or punch, and soak up the festive atmosphere.
There’s nothing quite like skating in the fresh air surrounded by snow and twinkling lights. So, lace up those skates, and hit the ice at Ice Magic!
- If you do not have skates with you, you can just rent some.
- In 2023/2024 there will be no Ice Magic in Interlaken.
Don’t hang up your hiking boots just yet, because the snowy trails in the Interlaken region are calling your name. That’s right – hiking isn’t just for the summertime.
In fact, there’s a whole range of snowy tours available for all skill levels, with a whopping 220 km of winter trails to explore. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking, and there’s something truly magical about trekking through the snowy landscape.
I highly recommend the Royal Walk at Männlichen Mountain. This easy 1-hour hike starts at the Männlichen gondola station, located 2,221 meters above sea level, and takes you all the way up to the summit of Männlichen at 2,343 meters.
The views are absolutely incredible, and you’ll feel like royalty as you stroll along the path. So, put on your hiking boots and get ready for a royal winter walk on the Royal Walk at Männlichen Mountain!
- Depending on the hikes, you will need proper hiking boots or even snow shoes. Other equipment can also be rented at the sports shops in the area.
Kayaking at Lake Brienz
If you’re looking to explore the stunning Lake Brienz during the colder months, boat cruises might not be an option. But, don’t worry – there’s another way to get out on the water and soak up the scenery.
Kayaking on Lake Brienz is a unique and unforgettable winter experience. Imagine gliding through the peaceful waters, surrounded by snow-capped mountains and pristine forests. It’s the perfect way to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of the winter landscape.
Known as one of the most incredible lakes in Switzerland, this turquoise-colored lake is always worth a visit, and yet in winter, it is especially popular for winter kayaking.
Lake Brienz offers you an enchanting alternative to skiing and snowboarding where you can escape the busy slopes.
While you could bring your own kayak, you can also book a guided kayak tour, which is suitable for all levels. This (group) activity gives you a chance to bond, have fun, and enjoy the lake, which you have almost all to yourself – no boats, no swimmers (at least I have never seen any in the winter) – just a few other kayakers.
Enjoy a Winter Kayak Tour on Lake Brienz: Head off on a kayak tour on beautiful Lake Brienz and follow a guide to ensure your safety and that you have the best time possible Book the tour HERE.
Hot Pot Tubs Brienz
When it comes to winter relaxation, Hot Tug on Lake Brienz just outside of Interlaken is unbeatable. Cozy up in a tub full of warm water and hold tight as your hot ride glides you around the lake – all while taking in some fresh Alpine air and enjoying the winter landscape.
With its deluxe wooden stove keeping things nice ‘n’ steamy for 90 minutes, this unique combo bathtub and boat lets you relax with friends or family like never before.
So if regular baths aren’t quite cutting it anymore when December rolls around, come aboard our one-of-a-kind floating spa experience that’s sure to make even Scrooge smile!
- This activity is available from the end of November until February.
Lake Thun Boat Tour
The towns and villages along the shores of the lakes are actually even more gorgeous, and whether it is a cold or sunny day, you can do a 2-hour-long boat cruise or get out at one of the stops, like Spiez or Thun.
Do not worry about the cold – you can sit indoors and sip on your warm drink while looking out and enjoying the scenery – or do as I do and switch between some outdoor and indoor sitting!
- You can buy day tickets for Lake Thun (or single tickets) – boat cruises are free with your Swiss Travel Pass.
Visit Bern Christmas Markets
Calling all Christmas lovers! If you’re looking for some festive fun, head to the capital of Switzerland – Bern – from the end of November until the end of the year.
You’ll find several Christmas markets that you can visit in just one day. Indulge in some delicious food and warm mulled wine, or shop for some unique Christmas gifts for yourself or your loved ones while taking in the festive atmosphere. Trust me, it’s the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit and make some merry memories.
So, head to Bern for some Christmas market magic!
You absolutely cannot miss the Sternen Market – my personal favorite. This magical market is located at the “Kleine Schanze” park and is named after its stunning star decorations.
But, it’s not just the decorations that will take your breath away – there are 80 stalls offering a variety of traditional crafts, modern designs, and delicious food. Whether you’re looking for unique gifts or simply want to soak up the festive atmosphere, the Sternenmarket has it all. Trust me, it’s a holiday must-see.
- Spend the rest of the day, exploring the beautiful city of Bern – it is the prettiest city in Switzerland (in my opinion).
Have Some Adventures at Grindelwald First
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-fueled experience, look no further than Grindelwald First – the “Top of Adventure.” Situated 2,184 meters (7,165 feet) above sea level, this summit located north of the village of Grindelwald offers a plethora of exciting activities. But, even if you’re not looking for a thrill, the views from First are absolutely incredible.
Imagine dining at the restaurant or snacking outside, all while taking in the stunning panorama of the Bernese Alps, including the famous Eiger Mountain. Trust me, it’s a view that will take your breath away.
Winter sports enthusiasts if you’re looking for some epic skiing and snowboarding, Grindelwald First is the place to be. With 56 km of pistes, it’s probably the sunniest resort in the region, and the snow park is perfect for snowboarders to show off their skills.
But, if you’re not into winter sports, don’t worry – there’s still plenty to do. Take a hike from First to Lake Bachalpsee which will take you to a small, gorgeous lake with stunning panoramic views. It’s the perfect way to stay active and take in the winter wonderland scenery.
Looking for a thrilling adventure? Grindelwald First has you covered! Step onto the platforms of the First Cliff Walk for a heart-pumping experience with stunning views, or take flight on the First Flieger or eagle-shaped First Glider.
These adrenaline-fueled activities will leave you feeling exhilarated and amazed. Trust me, it’s an unforgettable way to experience the beauty of the region from a whole new perspective. So, let’s channel our inner daredevils and take on the exciting adventures of Grindelwald First!
- Check out my detailed Grindelwald in Winter guide for more information.
Try Velo Gemel
Get ready to be amazed, because what I’m about to tell you might sound unbelievable – but it’s totally real. Brace yourself for the wonder that is the Velo Gemel in the Bernese Oberland region.
The snow bike has been a beloved tradition in Grindelwald since 1911. But, don’t expect a typical bike with wheels and pedals.
This wooden wonder is more like a bike frame placed on two wooden skates, similar to a sled. It may sound strange, but trust me – it’s a blast to ride down a ski slope on this special bike. Whether you take on the Eiger Run or ride from Eigergletscher to Kleine Scheidegg, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to test out your new favorite winter vehicle.
- You can rent these velo gemels at the rental stations throughout Grindelwald or at the tourism office at the train station. And if you decide to take one of these special bikes home, you can actually buy one for around 600 CHF. Renting is obviously much cheaper :).
Have a Traditional Swiss Dinner
After a long day in the snow, there’s nothing quite like warming up with a delicious, cozy dinner in a traditional chalet. Lucky for you, the choices for these charming wooden chalet restaurants are endless.
One popular option is Restaurant Brandegg, where you can fuel up before sledding all the way down to Grindelwald Grund (as mentioned above). This alpine mountain restaurant, nestled in the Swiss Alps, just opened in 2021 and offers mouthwatering local dishes like various kinds of Rösti and cheese fondue.
There’s (almost) nothing better than indulging in some hearty and delicious Swiss cuisine while taking in the stunning alpine scenery – it’s the perfect end to an unforgettable day in the snow.
As someone who doesn’t consume a lot of animal products, Swiss cuisine has always been a bit of a challenge for me. But, I recently tried Swiss cheese fondue for the first time at Restaurant Brandegg and I have to say, it was a delicious surprise.
While I might switch back to my vegan diet next time, there’s something special about indulging in traditional Swiss food in the mountains of the Bernese Oberland.
Get up Jungfraujoch
If you’re looking for a truly unforgettable travel experience, look no further than Jungfraujoch – also known as the “Top of Europe.” At the highest train station in Europe, located at around 3,500 meters (about 11,00 feet) above sea level, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views and a variety of unique activities.
Whether you’re visiting in the summer or winter, a day trip from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch is a must-do.
Get ready to explore one of the highest observatories in the world – the Sphinx Observatory – and take in some seriously jaw-dropping views. But wait, there’s more! After enjoying the stunning scenery, make your way to the Ice Palace for a frosty adventure and discover the fascinating history of Jungfraujoch at the Alpine Sensation.
When it comes to satisfying your hunger at Jungfraujoch, you won’t be disappointed. With a variety of restaurants offering different cuisines, there’s something for every taste bud. And for those with a sweet tooth, a trip to the Lindt Shop is an absolute must. Trust me, the chocolates are as heavenly as the views!
Speaking of views, I’ve been lucky enough to experience Jungfraujoch in both summer and winter – and let me tell you, winter takes the cake! The snowcapped mountains, the Aletsch Glacier (the longest glacier in the Alps), and the endless activities available up there make for an unforgettable experience. Make sure to pack your warmest clothes and get ready to embark on a winter wonderland adventure like no other.
Here is more information on my trip to Jungfraujoch.
- However, this trip is quite expensive and can cost up to about 200 CHF (yep) if you do not have any discounts (Swiss Travel Pass or Juli or a winter Jungfrau Pass).
FINAL THOUGHTS ON A WINTER VACATION IN INTERLAKEN, SWITZERLAND
A winter trip to Interlaken is an absolute must for anyone seeking a snowy adventure. From skiing and snowboarding to sledding and hiking, there’s no shortage of thrilling activities to keep you busy.
And let’s not forget the stunning views of the Swiss Skyline, the charming villages, and the delicious cuisine (hello, Swiss cheese fondue!). Plus, who doesn’t love a cozy chalet dinner after a day in the snow?
And if that’s not enough to convince you, just imagine kayaking on Lake Brienz, riding a snow bike down a ski slope, or taking in the views from the top of the world at Jungfraujoch. It’s a winter wonderland like no other, and you won’t want to miss out.
Interlaken in the winter is a great place to visit. In a short amount of time, you can be at many places that offer stunning winter activities. And even if you are not into winter sports, you have plenty of other activities to choose from, like the Christmas Markets in Bern.
- Grindelwald in winter
- Lauterbrunnen travel guide
- Murren travel guide
- Interlaken – the 50 best things to do