1 Day In Interlaken: The Best Guide On How To Spend 24 Hours

Do you only have 1 day in Interlaken?

This is one of the most beautiful towns in Switzerland. It lies on the Bernese Oberland on the plains between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

So, what can you do with 1 day in Interlaken?

Plenty! While Interlaken is a base town for serious mountaineers and hikers, Harder Kulm is accessible by rail and gives us a glimpse of the magnificent mountains.

After that, spend some time along Lake Brienz, Giessbach Waterfalls, Lake Thun, and the beautiful castles along these lakes.

End your trip at Grindelwald where paragliding is a popular activity. This beautiful village overlooks the Bernese Alps. In summer, an easy walk gives you fantastic views of the three beautiful mountains of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.

Willkommen in Interlaken! Or Welcome to Interlaken!

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I’m not going to lie. I watched Crash Landing On You and I fell in love with Hyun Bin (and Interlaken) which I why I recommend the Crash Landing On You Location Tour which starts from Zurich. Believe me, you would fall in love with the stunning scenery and the CLOY couple once again.

Let’s just say, there is one combination of food which I can eat over and over again. It’s chocolate and cheese. So, if you want to try good chocolate and cheese, join the cheese and chocolate tour. You can taste gruyere cheese and eat as many pralines as you like. The tour also explores the medieval streets of Gruyeres Old Town. So, remember, always save space for dessert.

Before you actually go to Interlaken, get an expandable backpack that is perfect as a carry-on bag. This backpack has a roomy main compartment, and an organizer pocket, and is water-resistant. The bag also comes with 4 packing cubes for you to store your liquids and creams. This is one backpack that is worth investing in.

When traveling, the safety of our personal belongings is important which is why we recommended the Apple Air Tags which gives you peace of mind as you can track all your belongings through your iPhone. The setup is seamless and the ability to assign and name each Air Tag is a plus point. Never leave home without these tags and have the convenience of knowing the precise location of your luggage.

Where is Interlaken?

Map provided by Wanderlog, a travel planner on iOS and Android

Interlaken is in the Bernese Highlands of central Switzerland. This small town lies along the Arae River between the Alpine lakes of Brienz on its east and Thun on its west. The city is small enough to walk.

Interlaken has a mildly warm summer humid continental climate with sufficient rainfall all year round.   

About 6 miles from Interlaken is Beatenberg-Niederhorn which is a paradise for paragliders. Spread your wings as you soar above Lake Thun with spectacular views of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.


Although there were no known settlements around Interlaken before the Middle Ages, Roman coins, Bronze Age swords, and Neolithic objects indicate that people have been here since the Stone Age.

Interlaken was known as Armuhle, after the riverside mill. This name lasted until the early 19th century. Interlaken Monastery first appeared in written records in 1133 when the Roman Emperor, Lothair III took the town under his protection. 

By the 14th century, Interlaken was a thriving town with more than 20 churches and a population of 400 people, mostly monks, priests, and nuns. During the Protestant Reformation, the monastery was secularized which resulted in riots.

The Interlaken Bailiwick was created from monastery lands with the monastery being the administrative center. The monastery church choir was turned into a granary and wine cellar.

The early paintings by Swiss artist, Franz Niklaus Konig and enhanced with the Unspunnenfest Festival which is held once every 12 years led to a tourist boom in the early 19th century. 

Today, tourism in Interlaken continues to be strong with the town re-branding itself as a major conference and convention center. Interlaken is backpacker-friendly and caters to the adventurous with skydiving, canyoning, paragliding, and skiing being the favorites.

Visa Requirements

Most visitors require a visa to enter Switzerland, depending on your nationality. As Switzerland is part of the Schengen Area, citizens from 26 countries such as Austria, France, Spain, Italy, and Germany do not require a visa to enter Switzerland.

This means that if you plan on extending your visit to another Schengen member state, you will need to apply for a Schengen Visa. 

Additionally, passport holders from the United States, Ireland, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand do not require a visa, whether as a tourist or on business.

The easiest way to apply for a visa is using iVisa which simplifies the process of getting a Swiss visa, should you require one.

How do you get around Interlaken?

Before we talk about how to get around Interlaken, let’s talk about how you get to Interlaken.

Simple! Just purchase a Swiss Travel Pass which gives you unlimited access to public trains, buses, and boats. There are direct trains from Zurich, Geneva, and Bern. 

Hotels also provide guests with a pass that allows traveling on all modes of transportation within the city. However, if you are planning to visit more than one city in Switzerland, the Swiss Travel Pass is your best option.


Interlaken is a compact city which makes it easy to walk around. Walking is the best way to get around Interlaken. You can spend your days strolling along the paths on Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. It is wise to spend some money on a good pair of walking shoes that is lightweight, comfortable, and machine washable (yes, you read that right).


Interlaken is well connected to other villages nearby. The bus stations are within walking distance from both the major train stations, Interlaken Ost on its east and Interlaken West. Look out for the yellow Post Auto buses with intervals every 30 minutes.


Alternatively, you can Rent A Bike which is suitable for cycling around town or hiking along the shores of the lakes. 


For a memorable trip, why not take a boat trip on the lakes of Interlaken, a once-in-a-lifetime memory, right? Get a boat day pass for both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and spend a relaxing day on board the cruise. Admire the St Beatus Caves and the many castles along the lake.

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How to spend one day in Interlaken?

Because it is a small town, you can easily cover the highlights of Interlaken in one day. This useful map provides the list of places covered in this guide on how you can easily spend 1 day in Interlaken. 

For the adventurous, join the tandem paragliding flight with a pilot while taking in the breathtaking views of the lakes and mountains below you. The full safety equipment is included for your peace of mind. So, would you soar above the mountains for that adrenaline rush?

Harder Kulm

1 day in Interlaken, Harder Kulm, scenic mountain hilltop, sculptures on Harder Kulm
Photo by Cole Patrick on Unsplash

The first of our 1 day in Interlaken is Harder Kulm. This is the nearest mountain closest to Interlaken and stands at a height of 1,322 meters. The lookout point has beautiful views of Interlaken and Unterseen.

You can reach the top of the mountain via a funicular train that is in operation for close to 100 years. The ride takes 10 minutes. And, if you are hungry and haven’t had breakfast, enjoy your meal at the Panorama Restaurant.

Next to the restaurant is the Zwei-Steen-Steg which means Two Lakes Bridge. This bridge is a viewing platform with views of the Three Peaks and Two Lakes. Take a wild guess and pick the correct lake. And, then take a photo.

Take the Interlaken City Private Walking Tour and Cable Car To Harder Mountain where you explore the natural attractions of the Arae River and Lake Thun combined with visits to Unterseen, Victoria Jungfrau, and Hohematte Park.  

Is Harder Kulm worth it?

Yes, Harder Kulm is worth visiting. Why? The first reason would be that it is easy to get to Interlaken. And, secondly, the views from the viewing platform would leave is breathtaking. 

For hikers, there is a steep hiking trail that takes about two hours to complete. The trail has a gradual incline which makes it hard, although the trail is about 3 miles.

Lake Brienz

1 day in Interlaken, Lake Brienz, woman looking up to sky during golden hour at Lake Brienz
Photo by Mike van den Bos on Unsplash

The second of our 1 day in Interlaken is Lake Brienz. Lake Brienz is about 6 miles from Harder Kulm and lies north of the Alps. On its northern shores to its eastern ends, is Brienz, the village from which it takes its name.

The lake’s turquoise waters make it an iconic gem in Interlaken with the Bernese Oberland mountains in the backdrop making this lake popular with photographers. There are currently 5 passenger ships plying the lake. 

Some popular activities include a Kayak Tour on Lake Brienz or taking a Summer Boat Day Pass on both lakes. Sit back, relax, and marvel at the beautiful landscape as the boat cruises over the emerald waters and turquoise waters of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz.

Why is Lake Brienz so blue?

Lake Brienz is blue because of the tiny sediments that were washed onto the lake from the glacial waters of Lütschine and the Aare. As these fine particles sink slowly, the visual effect is the stunning turquoise color in summer and deep blue during the winter months.

Is Brienz worth visiting?

Yes, Lake Brienz is worth visiting. Other than the many winter and summer activities that you can do on the lake, Brienz is also the starting point to get to Giessbach Waterfalls which is next on our list.

Giessbach Waterfalls

1 day in Interlaken, Giessbach Waterfalls, girl looking at waterfall
Photo by Dave Ruck on Unsplash

The third of our 1 day in Interlaken is Giessbach Waterfalls. To get to the waterfalls, take the ferry ride on Lake Brienz. The drop-off is at the foot of the falls near the Grand Hotel Giessbach.

The Giessbach Grand Hotel is a historic hotel built by the Hauser family from Zurich. The oldest and surviving funicular which takes you to Giessbach Falls was opened by the hotel. 

You can also walk the 14 steps to the falls. These steps were named after Bernese heroes. After these steps are the circular trail that takes you to the falls. The walk behind the falls is truly a captivating experience.

Lake Thun

1 day in Interlaken, Lake Thun, panoramic view of Lake Thun, clear blue skies with snow capped mountains in the background
Photo by Pascal Müller on Unsplash

The fourth of our 1 day in Interlaken is Lake Thun which lies between the Bernese Oberland towns of Thun and Interlaken. The lake was created during the last glacial period and in the 10th century, it split from Lake Brienz. 

When at Lake Thun, make sure to visit the Old Town of Thun. This medieval old town is a pedestrian-friendly shopping street that runs along the Aare River. With a small population, the town has a welcoming and relaxed vibe to it.

After that, stop at Oberhofen Castle which is next on our list.

Why is Lake Thun so blue?

Lake Thun is so blue because of tiny glacial sediments that sink slowly. The cleanliness of the lake amplifies the blue color from these sediments making this lake worthy of photographs.

Is Lake Thun worth visiting?

Yes, Lake Thun is worth it because it is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland, and with a long shoreline, there is plenty to do here. You can drive around the lake, although parking can be difficult.

Or, cycle around the lake which could take you about 5 hours to complete, without any stops. Alternatively, take a cruise on the lake and visit Spiez and St Beatus Caves.

Oberhofen Castle

1 day in Interlaken, Oberhofen Castle, Historical Museum of Bern
Photo by Jairph on Unsplash

The fifth of our 1 day in Interlaken is Oberhofen Castle. The original castle was built during the Middle Ages by Freiherr Van Oberhofen. By the early 13th century, this moated castle was built on the shores of Lake Thun.

The castle passed to the House of Habsburg during the 14th century and in 1421, the castle belonged to one of the wealthiest families in Bern. Oberhofen Castle passed through several families.

Oberhofen Castle became part of the Historical Museum of Bern and opened its doors to the public in 1954. 

How to get to Oberhofen Castle from Thun?

The cheapest and fastest way to get to Oberhofen Castle from Thun is by using a taxi. The ride takes less than 10 minutes and should not cost more than $45. 

Alternatively, from Thun Railway Station, take bus number 21 in the direction of Oberhofen-Interlaken West or take bus number 25 which is the express line to Sigriswil. Stop at Oberhofen Dorf and the castle is a 5-minute walk away.

Or, you can take a boat from Interlaken West station to the boat landing within the vicinity of the castle. Make sure to check the schedule, timetable, and price per person.

How much is the entrance fee to Oberhofen Castle?

The entrance fee to Oberhofen Castle is CHF 12 ($13) for adults and CHF 10 ($110 for students, groups of 10, or more. Children between the ages of 6 to 16 years pay CHF 5 ($6) while children below the age of 6 years, enter for free.

Schadau Castle

1 day in Interlaken, Schadau Castle
Photo by Anthony Gomez on Unsplash

The sixth of our 1 day in Interlaken is Schadau Castle. This castle is a 15-minute drive from Oberhofen Castle. Schadau Castle was once the private summer residence of a banker. It is now a boutique hotel.

The Schloss Schadau Boutique Hotel boasts 9 unique rooms with either view of the park or the lake. The manor house beautifully combines neo-Gothic styles with modern amenities. 


1 day in Interlaken, Grindelwald, aerial view of Grindelwald
Photo by Jose Llamas on Unsplash

The seventh and last of our 1 day in Interlaken is visiting Grindelwald, a beautiful village with the north face of the Eiger and Wetterhorn mountains.  Tourism began in the late 18th century when the English came to climb the Alpine mountain peaks.

The Jungfraubahn railway is one of the reasons that bring tourists to the village. Some opt for the Grindelwald Day Hike while others can take the Jungfraujoch Top Private Photo Tour

What is Grindelwald Switzerland known for?

Grindelwald is known for its beautiful scenery, a wide range of outdoor and recreational activities, and multiple lookout points that make this a popular destination, especially during the summer and winter months.

What is the best time to visit Grindelwald?

The best time to visit Grindelwald is during the summer months from June to August. These months are also peak seasons as the weather is pleasant. Grindelwald turns into a summer paradise as blue skies contrast with blooming flowers and mild sunshine.

Hiking, zip lining, mountain carting, trekking, and mini jumping are some of the popular activities which you can do during these months.

The other best time to visit Grindelwald is during the winter months from December to February. Tourism is high as crowds gather for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoe trailing, and cliff walking. 

What are the best places to stay in Interlaken?

Are you looking for the best places to stay in Interlaken? These are our top 5 best places to stay in Interlaken. From the oldest hotel to a modern boutique hotel, these hotels have one thing in common. it’s stunning views of the rolling green hills and turquoise lakes. 

Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa

Our first choice for a 1 day in Interlaken stay is the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa which is a 216-room hotel where modernity and tradition beautifully complement each other. 

The hotel boasts views of the snow-capped peak of Jungfrau and is located within walking distance of Hohematte Park with the Yash Chopra statue nearby. 

While the rooms in the main historic building have heavy drapes, antique furnishings, and soft tones, the newer Spa rooms have modern facilities such as a Nespresso machine and wide windows that either look out to Interlaken or the Harder mountains.

Guests loved the helpful staff, the spacious rooms, and the delicious breakfast. Other reviewers loved that the hotel was within 10 minute walk to either Interlaken West or Interlaken Ost train stations. 

Tip: For Bollywood fans, stay at the Yash Chopra Suite which was inaugurated by the man himself in 2011. Yash Chopra was a legendary film director and producer whose movies brought Switzerland to the Indians. In this suite, you are the star.

Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage

Our second choice for a 1 day in Interlaken stay is the Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage which is a 101-room hotel with impressive views of the mountains and river. The hotel is within walking distance of both train stations, the English Garden, and the Harder Kulm.

All rooms are designed with an emphasis on traditional Swiss charm and comfort. All rooms come with free WiFi, an in-room safety deposit box, ironing facilities, and a seating area.

Guests loved the excellent location, beautiful views, and friendly staff. Reviewers also loved the old-world charm of the hotel and the spacious rooms. A heads-up is that the rooms are not air-conditioned and only come with an electric fan.

Tip: The First Class Double Room has connecting rooms and is ideal for families. These rooms also have either a balcony or terrace with stunning mountain views.

Hotel Interlaken

Our third choice for a 1 day in Interlaken stay is Hotel Interlaken which is a 61-room hotel and the oldest hotel in Interlaken having been around since the 14th century. 

The closest landmarks within walking distance from the hotel are the English Garden, Hohematte Park, the Statue of Yash Chopra, and Harder Kulm.

The unique feature of this hotel is that it caters to the budget-conscious traveler with 10 rooms on the 5th floor which are basic and share common bathrooms. The other room categories include family rooms and rooms with an extra large bed.

Guests loved that the hotel was within walking distance of the train stations, tourist attractions, restaurants, and grocery stores. The spotlessly clean rooms and the comfortable beds were other plus points for staying here.

Tip: Parents and kids would love the Family Balcony Room that comes with a bunk bed, a double bed, and a balcony, other than the usual amenities. 

Hotel Central Continental

Our fourth choice for a 1 day in Interlaken stay is the Hotel Central Continental which is a 68-room on the banks of the Aare River. The hotel is a 10-minute walk to the Interlaken West Train Station with the Alpine Center within walking distance.

The rooms are bright with private bathrooms, free WiFi, and a work desk. While the Quadruple Room comes with a balcony, the other rooms have stunning views of the mountains.

Guests loved the excellent location, clean and spacious rooms, and delicious English breakfast buffet spread. Reviewers also mentioned that although the walls were thin and there were no blackout curtains, the beds were comfortable. 

Bellevue Interlaken Boutique Hotel

Our fifth choice for a 1 day in Interlaken stay is Bellevue Interlaken Boutique Hotel which is a 38-room hotel spread over 4 floors. The hotel also has a Riverside Holiday Cottage and a holiday apartment for more privacy.

All rooms come with free WiFi, a safety deposit box, and a hairdryer. This hotel is also pet-friendly and can cater to vegetarians.

Guests loved the excellent location which was within walking distance to the main station with several restaurants a few steps away. Reviewers loved that the rooms were clean and the views from the rooms were breathtaking.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Interlaken

These are some answers to other questions which you may have on Interlaken. We hope you find the information useful.

Why is Interlaken so famous?

Interlaken is so famous because of its amazing views and scenery. The city is also known as the adventure capital of Switzerland as it is popular with tourists who come for hiking, canyoning, skydiving, and rafting.

When should I go to Interlaken?

The best time to visit Interlaken is during the summer months from June to August which is also its busiest season.

During these months, the weather is warm which means that hiking trails and the city is bustling with tourists. The winter months from December to February is popular with skiing enthusiast who come for snowboarding, night sledding, and snowshoe hiking.

Join the snowshoe and sledding winter alpine tour or the Wetterhorn trail snowshoe hiking tour and save the Grindelwald beginners snowboarding lessons for another day.

After all that activity, end your day with a night sledding tour with a cheese fondue dinner

How long is the train ride from Interlaken to Lucerne?

The train ride from Interlaken to Lucerne takes about 2 hours and 25 minutes with about 20 trains running the 32 miles route. Ticket prices start at CHF 17 for adults. These are direct trains directly to Lucerne which means you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

What language is spoken in Interlaken Switzerland?

The language spoken in Interlaken is Bernese German which is a local variant of the German language spoken in northern and eastern Switzerland. English is spoken in and around tourist areas, so it may not be an issue if you don’t know the language.

Can I swim in Interlaken?

Yes, you can swim in the lakes of Interlaken, unless there is a sign which says otherwise. The public bathing pools in which you can swim are the Brienz Lido, Bodelibad indoor and outdoor pools, Thun Lido, Oberhofen Lido, and Iseltwald Lido.

Can you get around Interlaken without a car?

Yes, you can get around Interlaken without a car. In fact, the town is compact enough to be explored on foot. Guests staying at hotels would be provided with a travel pass which means that train rides and buses are free.

Is Interlaken worth visiting?

Yes, Interlaken is worth visiting. Despite being a compact town, this village has plenty to offer tourists. With its title as the “adventure capital of Switzerland”, Interlaken is a year-round destination. Here’s why a trip to Interlaken is a must, at least once in your lifetime.

1) Scenery. With turquoise lakes and lush green mountains in spring and snow-capped mountains in winter, Interlaken is postcard perfect every time.

2) Adventure. From hiking to snowboarding and night sledding, there is so much you do here. With 35 trails of various difficulty levels, start your hiking adventure with the Harder Kulm trail which can be completed in 2 hours.

3) Lakes. Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are the two lakes that dominate the landscape of Interlaken. And, the best part is that there are swimming areas near these lakes. So, why not take a dip or walk to the historic castles along these lakes?

4) Accessibility. Interlaken is easily accessible from Bern, Zurich, Geneva, and Basel as it is in the heart of Switzerland. All you need to do is hop on the train and you would be in Interlaken in a jiffy.

5) Jungfraujoch Mountain. Take a day trip to Jungfraujoch mountain and marvel at the beauty of Aletsch Glacier from the Sphinx Observation Terrace. The Sphinx Observatory is the highest in the world and is the second-highest observation deck in Switzerland.

With panoramic lakes, blue lakes, and majestic mountain views, Interlaken leaves you speechless once you see its beauty. Interlaken blooms in springs, perfect for summer adventures, and the colors of autumn mark the start of Interlaken’s winter wonderland.