Interlaken is a small city in the Bernese Highlands Region of central Switzerland. Located between two Alpine Lakes (Brienzersee and Thunersee), Interlaken is a popular base camp for outdoor sports and travel in the surrounding Bernese Oberland Alps. While Interlaken itself is not that scenic it serves as a good base to discover the neighbouring valleys, mountains and lakes, since it holds all the infrastructure and can be reached quickly from major Swiss cities by train and car.

The best part of travelling in Switzerland is the Swiss travel pass – it makes life easy! Just a one-time expense and you can travel on boat, train, tram and bus.

Zurich is the best airport to land in as you could do a city tour, either on the day you land or the day you leave, if you are flying out of Zurich. The airport offers great connectivity to the main station (Haupthbahnof) from where there are superb rail connection to the all regions in the country. The main station connects Zurich with any part of Switzerland, either directly or through a change of trains.

For Interlaken: Take a train from Zurich to Bern (approx an hour) and then change over to the train for Interlaken Ost. (an hour’s journey). The route is picturesque and enjoy the azure blue waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, hills and valleys.

Once you alight at Interlaken Ost, check into your hotel and plan the day. Interlaken’s home mountain – the Harder Klum – from where you can view the majestic Jungfrau. Take the funicular, that reaches in precisely eight minutes. Have a meal at the restaurant (1322 metres above sea level), look into the valleys below, spot the steamers on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. Dig into Swiss food, either outdoors or indoors and don’t forget to take photos with the Swiss cow on the viewing gallery!

You can also visit Lake Brienz and indulge in lunch at the Neuhaus, a idyllic restuarant on the waterfront. Steamer boats glide by peacefully, as sun bathers enjoy the sun. Enjoy a meal of fish in the outdoor garden. Satiated, it is time for some action at the jet boat. Armed with the life jacket, go into the middle of the lake and the captain does a 360 degree spin, that leaves you totally shaken but thrilled. Slowing down the boat goes upto the Giessbach waterfalls and the as you enjoy the view and peace, the captain announces another spin!

Schingye Platte is another spot in Interlaken to visit. An open air cog wheel train takes visitors up. It is beautiful journey of 50 minutes and you get off at the Botanical Alpine Garden – a peaceful area that houses around 600 species of Alpine plants and flowers, that bloom throughout the year.

Visit Grindelwald First for action. Accessed by the cable cars, get off at the First Flyer – a ride that takes you zipping down the mountains in a harness. Children can also indulge in the 700 m2 adventure playground close to the Bort intermediate station. Or just go hiking in the hills, and watch the paragliders floating above you.

The snow-clad Jungfrau is a year round attraction. To get to top of Jungfau, you have to change the train at Lauterbrunnen, and again at . Kleine Scheidegg. The panorama then unfolds with snow all around. There is a viewing gallery on one of the stations where you can get off and take magnificent photos from the windows that look out into thick snow and peaks. One the train reaches the final stop, there is plenty of action. The Ice Palace showcases ice sculptures – Penguins, polar bears, and a Sherlock Holmes, and a lot more. Walk gingerly to avoid slipping as you are walking on ice. Once done with the palace, visit the viewing galleries to click photos. You could also walk out into the snow, or go skiing. A recent introduction is the 360-degree panorama show!

Don’t forget to buy Lindt chocolates from the highest chocolate showroom in Europe, inaugurated by Roger Federer last year!!


Credits: main text Aruna Rathod. Title