Are you wondering about a perfect 1-day Interlaken itinerary? Then read it – this post will help you find out about what to do in one day in Interlaken.

Interlaken is the epitome of breathtaking scenery – the Swiss Alps look better here, the (mountain) lakes are out of the world, the possibilities of activities are endless…In Interlaken, there is no shortage of things to do in and around Interlaken. If you have only one day in Interlaken, you have to decide what you want to do.

And this will be a hard decision – it is really hard. I have visited Interlaken so many times. I always fall in love with new places. And when I talk about Interlaken, I do not mean the town only but the whole area of Interlaken (and Jungfrau). There is the Jungfraujoch, Lauterbrunnen, Lake Brienz, Lake Thun, Sigriswil, St. Beatus Caves, Trift Bridge, and much, much more. So, how do you decide? While I cannot say this is the very best 1-day Interlaken itinerary for everyone out there, my suggestions here are based on a very special day I had.

The Brienz Rothorn Railway promises “an experience of a lifetime” when visiting Brienzer Rothorn Mountain in the region Interlaken – and I can say that they definitely do not promise too much.

One of my travel highlights, probably of all my travel highlights, was actually my trip to Brienzer Rothorn Mountain (about 2300m above sea level). It was one of those experiences I will not forget (like the day I hiked up the Table Mountain or when I saw the Brooklyn Bridge in New York for the first time.

So, I actually related that experience, and it did not even disappoint my the second time.


Anyhow, here is how to have a (relaxed and still fun) perfect day in Interlaken.

Arrive by boat at Grandhotel Giessbach or just do a boat tour on Lake Brienz

Boat Tour Lake Brienz

Start your day with a boat tour and get a good overview of what Lake Brienz is about. It does not start spectacularly, but it will become amazing.

I am obsessed with boat cruises, and so I got from Interlaken East to Brienz by boat. It took almost an hour, and there were several stops. I did not have time to get out at any, which I actually really regret. First of all, I should mention that Lake Brienz is one of the most beautiful lakes with an awesome color.

I have seen smaller lakes with a more special color but never a lake of this size, which is mesmerizing. That lake is definitely one of my most favorites ever, if not my most favorite lake. This alone is already a highlight, and I could have stayed on the boat for hours (p.s. I keep coming back and have done probably 5 boat cruises on Lake Brienz).

Best things to do around Lake Brienz, Interlaken Giessbach Waterfalls

Giessbach Waterfall

If you have time, my advice is to get out at the stops, especially at the Giessbach waterfall and take the next boat (though they don’t regularly go, so I would definitely check it out beforehand).

View from the boat - get to Grandhotel Giessbach by boat

Interlaken where to stay

You can hike up to the waterfall (it should take anywhere between 20-45 minutes) and have a coffee at the hotel’s terrace.


Brienzer Rothorn + BRIENZ

Then it is time to continue your boat cruise and get to Brienz.

Best things to do at Lake Brienz, Interlaken
It is a cute little village with a beautiful boat station.

You can stroll Brienz for a while if you like or get to the steam locomotive station (just next to the boat station) straight away.

Of course, you can also hike up (or even just some parts as the lock stops), but if you decide to take the ride to be prepared to enjoy a one-hour journey (almost 8km) that offers spectacular views.


I often got to see Lake Brienz, which from above looks stunning, we passed beautiful little houses, many tunnels, and I got to see almost untouched nature.


Interestingly, the steam locomotives are the same that were used when the railway opened back in 1892. So, this also makes everything even more special, and be prepared that it is quite loud if you sit close to the driver 🙂

Since I got up twice, the views were different. The first time, it was still a bit foggy, and on my second trip, the sky was clear, and the views were even more spectacular.

Most beautiiful lake in Siwtzerland Lake Brienz



View from Brienzer Rothorn
On the way down, the views will be about meadows, the lake, animals, and mountains! I could hardly have asked for more on that day (except for fewer clouds).
Most beautiiful lake in Siwtzerland Lake Brienz
It was an incredible trip with spectacular views and definitely an “experience of a lifetime. “

Retour ticket adults: about 85€ (half-fare with your Swiss Travel Pass), but if you plan to hike a bit, you can save some money. Kids (under the age of 6) and dogs don´t have to pay. Kids between 6-15 years pay a small fee. Check out their website for more information.

Interlaken itself is cute, but honestly, these places are more unique and stunning for a perfect day!

Dinner in Interlaken

To end your day, I suggest heading to Interlaken itself (which is on the other side of Lake Brienz) and have dinner there.

Interlaken Where to go, Höhenmmatte

The town center itself is not spectacular (in terms of being a very pretty town with historic buildings). Still, if you have dinner around Höhenmatte (a beautiful park area), you will have a fantastic place to end your day.

Buy something and have food at Höhenmatte and watch paragliders (on clear days, there will be many) or pick one of the numerous restaurants in the city center.


After talking about ta perfect day in Interlaken, here are some travel tips for Interlaken, so you are well prepared for your trip!

Language in Interlaken

Though Germany is the main language, most people speak English. There are many Arabic, Chinese and Indian restaurants as Interlaken is extremely popular amongst tourists from those places. However, you can also find all other kinds of cuisines and fast-food restaurants.

How to Get Around Interlaken

Driving in Interlaken is very safe and easy (the streets are well paved, driving in the mountains might be a bit tricky, though). Public transportation in Interlaken is effortless as buses/trains go often, are punctual and reliable, so I recommend getting around by public transportation.

If you stay in an official accommodation in Interlaken, you will get the Interlaken Guest Card – giving you free bus rides within Interlaken and close places by (like really close villages like Iseltwald). If you stay in the region of Thun, you can even use your Thun Guest Card to get to Interlaken.

For this trip, I suggest using public transportation (Swiss Travel Pass if you stay for a few days) as you can hop on the boat without paying extra, and you do pay 50% only for using the steam locomotive to get up Brienzer Rothorn.

Where to Stay / Best Hotels in Interlaken

Interlaken is home to some amazing hotels – amazing and expensive. I have a detailed accommodation guide for Interlaken but find some tips below.

The most luxurious hotel in Interlaken is Victoria Jungfrau. Since I have not started there myself, I can 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.

One of my favorite hotels – ever – is the beautiful 4* hotel  Grandhotel Giessbach. You can probably see why.

I recently stayed in the newly renovated Hotel du Nord. 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). The breakfast was also better than in the Hotel Interlaken. Click here to get the best deals.

If you are on a budget, I recommend staying at this gorgeous hostel that I stayed at when I was not traveling with my dog. This hostel is a bit more expensive than other hostels, but the best I have stayed at (even though I relay missed curtains in front of my bed) and they also offer free parking. Check out the hostel here.

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.

Security in Interlaken

Interlaken – and the region – is very safe and secure. With common sense, you should be fine. I have always traveled solo to Interlaken (sometimes accompanied by my little dog) and never felt unsafe. Keep valuables close to you, and you should be fine!

It is surely not the only way to have an epic one day in Interlaken, but it is a pretty great itinerary for a day. If you stay longer or prefer something more adventurous, check out my many posts on Switzerland and Interlaken in particular, as I have written quite a lot on the area!

Stay safe!

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