Interlaken

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The mountains around Interlaken Switzerland are stunning in scale
The mountains around Interlaken Switzerland are stunning in scale
Interlaken Ost railway station is the start of many a spectacular adventure in the Jungfrau ski region
Interlaken Ost railway station is the start of many a spectacular adventure in the Jungfrau ski region
The train ride up to the Sphinx observatory on the Jungfrau is almost as amazing as the skiing!
The train ride up to the Sphinx observatory on the Jungfrau is almost as amazing as the skiing!
Interlaken is home to several
Interlaken is home to several 'old world' 5-star hotels like the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel
Interlaken is surrounded by sensational skiing like at Mürren Schilthorn
Interlaken is surrounded by sensational skiing like at Mürren Schilthorn
Interlaken streetscape near the Interlaken Ost train station
Interlaken streetscape near the Interlaken Ost train station
Enjoy Swiss skiing perfection in the Jungfrau Ski Region from Interlaken
Enjoy Swiss skiing perfection in the Jungfrau Ski Region from Interlaken
Interlaken is full of activities in winter including an outdoor ice skating rink
Interlaken is full of activities in winter including an outdoor ice skating rink
From Interlaken two trains get one to the superb Kleine Scheidegg ski area
From Interlaken two trains get one to the superb Kleine Scheidegg ski area
Jungfrau Ski Region high above Interlaken
Jungfrau Ski Region high above Interlaken
Another Interlaken 5-star - the Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage
Another Interlaken 5-star - the Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage
From Interlaken one can sample the delights of skiing down to Grindelwald
From Interlaken one can sample the delights of skiing down to Grindelwald
The Lauterbrunnen valley separates the ski resorts of Mürren Schilthorn & Wengen Grindelwald
The Lauterbrunnen valley separates the ski resorts of Mürren Schilthorn & Wengen Grindelwald
The Schilthorn provides the most challenging ski terrain from Interlaken
The Schilthorn provides the most challenging ski terrain from Interlaken
Train travel to & from Interlaken & up into the Jungfrau ski region is simply wonderful
Train travel to & from Interlaken & up into the Jungfrau ski region is simply wonderful
Train travel travel made easy for skiers from Interlaken
Train travel travel made easy for skiers from Interlaken
The ancient train to Muerren is a delightful ride
The ancient train to Muerren is a delightful ride
Car free Mürren near Interlaken
Car free Mürren near Interlaken
The Sphinx observatory perched atop glaciers is accessible from Interlaken
The Sphinx observatory perched atop glaciers is accessible from Interlaken
Wengen is one of many alpine villages near Interlaken Switzerland
Wengen is one of many alpine villages near Interlaken Switzerland

Interlaken

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Interlaken

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Best Powder in Austria
Wagner Custome Skis

Nearby Ski Resorts

Grindelwald Wengen
Gstaad
Jungfrau
Meiringen Hasliberg
Muerren Schilthorn

    Interlaken City Map
  • Interlaken City Map
    Interlaken Regional Map
  • Interlaken Regional Map
    Interlaken Ski Resort Map
  • Interlaken Ski Resorts Map
    Jungfrau Railway Map
  • Jungfrau Railway Map

Interlaken

The iconic Swiss resort town of Interlaken provides the gateway to some of Switzerland's most spectacular scenery, most incredible ski resorts & most unbelievable rail journeys. Exploring the magnificent Jungfrau Ski Region resorts of Mürren Schilthorn & Grindelwald Wengen via the train from the Interlaken Ost station & get your dose of super-scale glacier-draped Swiss Alps.

Interlaken is not just a gateway to the Jungfrau, it also provides a good value alternative base to the renowned ski resort villages of Grindelwald, Mürren or Wengen in winter, but still has numerous classic Swiss 5-star grand hotels for those wanting a serious dose of ‘belle époque’ luxury.

Non-skiers will find just as much interest in a winter visit to Interlaken than those that have snow-sliding proclivities. Whether it is an epic train journey up to ‘The Top of Europe’ to view the Alps longest glacier (Aletsch Glacier) or crawling through a steel mess tube with a few hundred metres of air below you on the thrilling cliff walk above Muerren, a huge number of wonderful winter experiences await.

For a quick glimpse into the area, see the Interlaken regional map here.

Pros & Cons for Interlaken

Pros

  • Convenient transport hub for numerous Swiss Alps ski resorts.
  • Relatively affordable high-end accommodation available in winter.
  • Loads of sightseeing & non-ski activities.
  • Extensive range of shops, restaurants, services & markets.
  • Easy to get to from Zurich or Bern.

Cons

  • Travel times to & from some of the ski resort bases (particularly Muerren) can make for quite a long day if trying for first tracks.
  • Whilst being surrounded by huge mountains is wonderful, the downside is much of Interlaken is in shadow during winter!

Pro or Con (depending on your perspective!)

  • Not a car friendly area - best to take the train everywhere here.
  • You will have to travel up into mountains to get some sun - nice problem to have!
  • Low elevation so may, or may not, have snow but will be very cold.

Skiing & Snowboarding near Interlaken

Interlaken is surrounded by Switzerland’s most amazing mountains & in amongst them are several superb ski resorts, all accessible directly by train from Interlaken-Ost bahnhof. One can use the train to do day trips into the diverse Jungfrau Ski Region, with the brilliant combination of Grindelwald-Wengen & Mürren-Schilthorn accessed via Lauterbrunnen (both resorts) or Grindelwald. See the full Jungfrau ski resorts/trail map here.

Another local ski area is the relatively unknown Meiringen-Hasliberg. Accessible via a lovely 35min train ride along Lake Brienz, it offers uncrowded skiing & snowboarding for intermediates & advanced riders plus a huge network of winter-walking & sledding trails. Further afield, the extensive Gstaad ski resort is only 1.5hr by train to its Zweisimmen base. From Zweisimmen bahnhof (train station) a short walk through town gets one to a gondola & up amongst the best ski & snowboard sector in Destination Gstaad.

Fast trains from Interlaken travel via Spiez & the Lötschberg Basis Tunnel to Visp in the Rhône valley, taking a little over an hour. From Visp, buses & the railway line between Brig & Montreux, provide connections to all manner of Valais ski resorts (Zermatt, Saas Fee, Crans Montana, Grimentz-Zinal, Verbier – the list is long!) & even to Chamonix France via Martigny.

Another train trip from Interlaken via Spiez is worthwhile to ski a Powderhounds favourite at Lauchernalp. Buses meet the train at Goppenstein to complete the journey to this brilliant ski area.

Car travel times can be quicker to some places (like Grindelwald & Lauterbrunnen) but most locations in the area require a train ride so why fight it!

Things to Do in Interlaken

Boredom & a lack of things to do are simply not an option at Interlaken. Whilst it may be a standard feature of all Swiss ski resort to provide loads of non-ski activities for visitors, Interlaken & the entire Jungfrau ski region goes well beyond all of them to lead the pack. That means there is probably more to see & do here than just about any other ski region in the world – not a bad thing to have on your CV!

In the Grindelwald-Wengen sector, train buffs & sightseers alike will delight in the possibilities the various railway lines & cable cars provide; including the ultimate journey up to the Sphinx observatory at Jungfraujoch. Walkers will love the diversity of a stroll up the peak at Männlichen or a wander under the frozen waterfalls of the Lauterbrunnen valley. Perhaps a helicopter over the peaks of the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau? Feeling the need for speed or just the sensation of sliding, there are masses of top to bottom sledding trails throughout the resort including the world’s longest – 15km. Getting the picture!

In the Muerren-Schilthorn sector, the obvious activities simply involve the fabulous mountain scenery. Gawping at the views from the top of Schilthorn is the end game of a fascinating journey from Interlaken involving 2 trains & 3 cable cars. Such is the scale & sense of vertigo on the journey up, those not familiar with travel in cable cars generally find themselves hanging on tightly. Along the way one can further test their nerves walking & crawling through the various elements on the cliffside ‘Thrill Walk’ below the Birg cable car station. On the Schilthorn, the rotating restaurant includes a series of amusingly kitsch James Bond 007 attractions which may distract you from the breathtaking vistas. On the way back down, it is possible to rent a toboggan and slide the last 8km into Lauterbrunnen. Just fabulous!

Interlaken itself has a quality range of shops, restaurants & entertainment near the town centre. If gambling floats your boat, one can even try their luck at the local casino. An extensive outdoor ice-skating rink complex is in the park opposite the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel, complete with après ski plus after-dark food & entertainment. To top it off (literally), a funicular located just across the river from Interlaken Ost train station, heads up to Harder Kulm, providing unparalleled views of the mountains, glaciers, lakes & valleys, plus some wonderful dining.

See the Interlaken city map here.

Where is Interlaken Switzerland?

The town of Interlaken is within the expansive canton of Bern in central Switzerland. Not surprisingly, Interlaken is located between two lakes, Thun (Thunersee) & Brienz (Brienzersee), both of which are on the Aare River which flows to the Rhine. The town is 55km (45min) by road south-east of the defacto Swiss capital of Bern & only 120km (1.5hr) south-west of Zurich.

The main international gateway airport is Zurich (ZRH) with secondary options including Geneva (GVA) (for all international flight origins) or Basel (BSL) (for UK & European flight origins).

The train is the recommended mode of travel to the region. Interlaken has excellent rail connections to all the major Swiss cities, towns & ski resorts throughout the Alps. The town has two railway stations, West & Ost (East). Access to the Jungfrau ski resorts by train is only available from Interlaken Ost station, making it the more important of the two. Trains to from Zurich transit via Bern to Interlaken Ost Bahnhof in around 2hr, or via the more scenic route through lovely Lucerne in around 3hr. The journey via Lucerne is recommended if time is not of the essence!

From Interlaken Ost station, onward trains depart every 30min to the popular ski resort villages of Grindelwald, Mürren & Wengen. All train journeys from Interlaken Ost into the Jungfrau Ski Region via Lauterbrunnen or Grindelwald are included in the Jungfrau lift pass. Trains also connect the two valleys of the ski area via the eye-popping high pass at Kleine Scheidegg below the Eiger. See the Jungfrau rail network map here.

Search & book train tickets to Interlaken & the Jungfrau ski region here.

If taking public transport offends one’s sensibilities or if you have post-covid concerns, we recommend a private transfer to reach the city & surrounding ski resorts. Private transfers can also be particularly cost effective & time efficient if in a group of 3 or more people. Note that if staying in Wengen or Murren, a train &/or cable car-train combination is required from Lauterbrunnen.

Search & book all airport transfers to Interlaken here.

Anyone driving to the Jungfrau region (not recommended) & staying at Wengen or Muerren, should note that both villages are car-free & vehicles need to be parked at Lauterbrunnen. The journey can only be completed by train to Wengen or combination cable car & train to Mürren.

Interlaken Accommodation

The town of Interlaken is useful as a central location to ski the Jungfrau region, other nearby resorts & also to save a few pennies on accommodation & food. Travel times to the ski resorts may be longer each day, but the local trains as in such splendid surrounds you will likely hardly notice.

Interlaken has a long history as a tourist destination, so within strolling distance of the Ost train station, one can stay in magnificent contemporary youth hostels, huge 5-star 'Belle Époque' grand hotels, beautiful new self-contained apartments & everything in between.

Search & book all Interlaken accommodation here.

For ease of access to the train for skiing, all our picks for the best places to stay are close to the Interlaken Ost station. In reality, the main commercial centre of Interlaken is only 1.5km from Ost, but why extend the distance to ski transport unnecessarily.

At the top-end of the market it is hard to go past the 5-star Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. An added benefit is that the local outdoor ice-skating is just across the road in winter. Other superb hotels back toward the Ost station include the 4-star Hotel Interlaken & Hotel du Nord plus the fabulous 3-star Carlton-Europe Vintage Adults Hotel (don’t you love it when they specify ‘adults’ in a hotel name!) with its three diverse restaurants. A little further out, the traditional Hotel Hirschen offers affordable rooms in a delightful 16th century building.

Interlaken’s ‘youth’ hostels may well surprise. Exceptional quality, the offer a slick, contemporary lodging experience in both shared & private rooms. Only 100m from Ost is the excellent Interlaken Youth Hostel & more distance (a 10min walk from the station) is the equally good Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof.

Two sensational modern apartment providers within a kilometre of Ost are Hapimag Ferienwohnungen Interlaken & the more luxurious & spacious 247 Concierge - Interlaken Apartments. Either provides an economical long-stay base for groups & families.

If availability & finances allow, stay in the sunnier towns of Grindelwald, Muerren or Wengen for a proper Swiss ski resort experience. Car-free Wengen is the best placed to provide access to the entire Jungfrau ski region, followed by Grindelwald. The car-free village of Muerren is very much only useful for those intending to spend loads of time at Murren-Schilthorn ski resort. Set deep in a spectacular valley, Lauterbrunnen is a reasonable proposition if the mountain villages are full.

Search & book all Wengen ski accommodation here.

Ski & Snowboard Rental

Receive a discount when you search & book ski & snowboard rental from our partner in central Interlaken. See our Jungfrau Ski & Snowboard Rental page for more local options.

More Reasons to Visit Interlaken

If flying in and out of Zurich, Interlaken can make an exceptionally good & affordable base from which to explore multitudes of amazing Swiss ski resorts & mountains. Finish with a night or two in Lucerne on the way back for a perfect Swiss ski holiday.

Review

The Powderhounds last visited Interlaken 2019. We enjoyed its wonderful location, super transport links & eclectic mix of 'old world' Grand Hotels & contemporary accommodation. Click on the review link in the left column (or top of the page if on a mobile) to read the latest inciteful & droll postulations!

See how Interlaken's local ski resorts in the Jungfrau Ski Region compare to the rest of the European ski resorts on the Europe ski resort ratings page.

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Tours near Interlaken

Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area Tours

Mürren Jungfrau Ski Tour
CUSTOM GUIDED SKI TOUR | PRIVATE GROUP
8 Days | 7 Nights | 6 Ski Days
Ability: Strong Intermediate to Expert
Customise your dates to ski 6 days with local guides deep into the heart of the Swiss Alps & across multiple valleys through the Jungfrau Region exploring Mürren, Grindelwald First and Kleine Scheidegg-Männlichen. Enjoy skiing some of the best terrain of your life in one week.
Price p/p From price based on min. 4 guests in a twin/double-share room.
Base/invoice currency is in USD ex taxes.
*Displayed price may vary due to currency fluctuations.
USD 3,695
View Details
 
See all Single-Base, Multi-Ski-Area tours that visit Interlaken here
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