Out of all the places in Europe and the world, none combine sheer natural beauty with outdoor adventure quite like Interlaken. This Swiss wonderland nestled between lakes Thun and Brienz, which are connected by the Aare River, has developed alongside its beautiful mountain features in the Bernese Highlands. The lakes and Swiss Alps that surround it have made Interlaken a tourist destination ahead of the curve, known for active holidays and outdoor vacations for the most intrepid of travelers. This is the gateway to Alpine wonder.
The Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau are its most notable peaks, containing some of the best mountaineering on the continent. The Jungfraujoch and the associated mountain railways allow access to hikers and tourists to outstanding Alpine views. Swimming and canyoning from Thun to Lucerne can keep you up to speed on water sports during an active summer vacation, while ski touring through the Berner Oberland is often considered one of the best traverses in Switzerland, on par with the Haute Route.
For hikers, mountaineers, and skiers, this is the premier destination for quality outdoor sports. Canyoning, rock climbing, and even paralpinism programs abound as well. And while daring endeavors may call this spot home, you can also find charming and leisurely activities to satisfy the low-key holiday-goers, too. No matter what is on your agenda, Interlaken boasts a powerful arsenal of world-class wilderness that is sure to please any and every active outdoor holiday.
Planning an active outdoor vacation in Switzerland? Head to Interlaken for an unforgettable holiday in the heart of Alpine beauty and sports! Here are some ideas to inspire you:
1. Dive into an awe-inspiring canyoning program in Chli Schliere
Located to the northeast of Interlaken proper, the Chli Schliere canyon has cliffs, waterfalls, and slides – everything you need for outdoor fun. In fact, Chli Schliere is regarded as one of the best spots for canyoning in the country and even Europe. It needs no man-made help to retain its natural wonder. All of its rock faces, carved geology, and impressive ridges were formed naturally, adding to its splendor.
If thrilling adventures are your thing, don't miss our guide to the best canyoning spots in Switzerland!
It has everything, guaranteeing your canyoning program will satisfy everyone. You can expect abseiling, diving, swimming, and sliding – enough for multiple days exploring the gorge. The pristine pools of water are as invigorating as they are beautiful. Admire Lake Lucerne on your way to and from the canyon, bask in the shadow of Mount Pilatus, or just take in the thrills of traversing its waterways.
The wide range of activities makes this a great place for an active outdoor holiday. The Swiss Alps have an incredible raw environment, and discovering this region through the Chli Schliere canyon is nothing short of fun. There are lots of intermediate routes, and having a guide will ensure you are taking a safe and satisfying approach to this remarkable spot.
2. Ascend to Jungfrau and fly back down with a paralpinism program
If you just can’t decide on how to get your blood pumping, team up with a guide for an incredible paralpinism program, or a hike and fly! Essentially mountaineering your way to the top of Jungfrau and then paragliding down, this will add the thrill of climbing with the excitement of gliding down from the Alps. There is no better way to appreciate the Alpine views from top to bottom.
Feeling curious about this amazing sport? Learn more about paralpinism here!
Reaching the summit of an iconic peak at 4,158 meters will test your mettle, allow you to spend a night in a mountain hut, and give you a rare chance to fall back down to Interlaken. There is no better way to experience Jungfrau and the Alps than this life-changing program. Mountaineers will get to traverse glaciers, utilize mixed climbing techniques, and even train through the legendary tunnels of the Eiger. Then you get to shout your accomplishment from the mountain top – and all the way down!
Returning to Interlaken has never been more convenient and fun. This burgeoning sport is a great way to see the Bernese Alps and the surrounding beauty of this enchanting environment. You should be a proficient mountaineer to take on some of the technical challenges of Jungfrau. This will make sure you can enjoy a safe and successful summit before taking off from the peak.
3. Break into mountaineering by climbing Monch or Jungfrau
Jungfrau doesn’t get to have all the fun. The neighboring peaks, like the Monch and Eiger, are just as mouth-watering, even if you aren’t paragliding back to town. If you wanted to advance your climbing skills to hero status, try mountaineering up Monch or Jungfrau (or both) with a multi-day traverse. The mountains are tall enough for Alpine beginners as well as the seasoned veterans, so there are plenty of options for great climbs.
The Bernese Alps have an array of beauty, from the elevated trains to the sweeping views. You can experience this from every angle on these immense peaks. Jungfrau is 4,158 meters, and Monch comes in at 4,107 meters, so you can tackle multiple mountains over 4,000 meters. A scenic ride up to the mountain saddle, combined with glacier traversing, mixed climbing, and mountain hut immersion, combine for the perfect Swiss experience.
There are a number of peaks, including a couple of other 4,000-plus meter objectives (like Grunhorn and Fiescherhorn). Programs here can accommodate all levels of mountaineering, even if you are just starting out in the sport. Grab a certified guide who can craft an itinerary to your needs and head into this unforgettable location for as many days as you can handle.
4. Peruse the stunning scenery by hiking around Eiger
You don’t have to be a mountaineer to appreciate the Bernese Alps. The Eiger, part of the iconic trilogy of these symbolic mountains, is a trekking wonderland. And the scope of Interlaken’s beauty makes it easy to appreciate a number of incredible places. Enjoy a boat road, admire the lush valleys of well-kept wilderness, and take in the trails of the incredible mountain. The Eiger Trail is a classic Jungfrau route that has been used for years, and you trek on some of its most beautiful parts.
With some of the most scenic sites in the Bernese Alps, you can tour Grindelwald and Iseltwald. If you wanted, enjoying nights in mountain huts can help give you the full Swiss experience. One of the greatest views is the stark contrast from the tree line to the impressive rock face of the mountains. The picturesque views both up and down are breathtaking, and a new journey day after day ensures you never run out of beauty to appreciate.
Hiking around 4,000-meter mountains requires some physical fitness. There are few ways to take in the summer beauty of the Alps like hiking. It will allow you to take classic trails and see traditional places while blazing your own trail. You can even combine lake views and mountain peaks for an all-inclusive active holiday.
5. Traverse the Bernese Oberland on a world-class ski touring trip
No trip to Interlaken and the Alps would be complete without a bit of skiing. Hut-to-hut traverses are particularly rewarding, and none are as special as a Bernese Oberland Traverse. With an itinerary that includes Europe’s highest railway (Jungfraujoch), some of the largest glaciers in the Alps, and a wide swath of incredible scenery, the Berner Oberland is something every skier should experience.
A six-day program traversing this immaculate countryside will take you to 4,000-meter mountains and down through peaceful, powder-filled valleys. Ski touring allows you to see the undisturbed winter nature blanketed in snow, an Alpine delight that Switzerland and Interlaken get to see every day. You can even build your itinerary with UNESCO World Heritage Sites (Jungfrau-Aletsch) and reach every lake in the region.
Ski touring is a rare opportunity to see Interlaken in all its glory for intermediate-level skiers with some experience. For active outdoor vacations, it combines the best of sports with the brilliance of nature. The Bernese Alps were meant to be discovered by skinning and skiing, so speak with a certified guide for a well-earned Swiss holiday.
How To Get to Interlaken
Amazingly enough, after all that Interlaken offers on an active outdoor adventure, it is extremely easy to reach. Bern is so close that you can be there within an hour by car or train. If you wanted to fly into Zurich from other European cities (like London, Paris, Istanbul, and even New York), you can be there in about two hours by train. If you are flying into Geneva, the ensuing train ride is roughly three hours.
Buses are a viable way of reaching Interlaken as well. With direct routes to Paris, Rome, and Munich, you can reach the Swiss resort town effortlessly. Domestically, buses provide seamless access to Interlaken across a developed network of roads. If you choose to drive yourself, Zurich is just 117 kilometers away. Keep in mind that parking can be expensive and cumbersome.
Trains are arguably the easiest way to arrive, with the aforementioned timeframes from major areas like Bern, Zurich, and Geneva popular and affordable. The efficacy of Swiss Rail is second to none. There are two stations – Interlaken Ost and Interlaken West – and are well connected domestically and internationally. Paris and Berlin are connected to Interlaken with direct train transportation.
What Is the Best Time to Go to Interlaken?
With so much to choose from, it's obvious that you can enjoy Interlaken and its exhilarating outdoor activities all year round. Choosing the right season, and catering your appetite for adrenaline around a specific location, can be crucial.
Paralpinism programs rely heavily on the weather, so while the best time to take one of these trips is in the spring (April through June) and autumn (September and October), the daily forecast can alter the itinerary. Be prepared for a bit of improvisation when it comes to planning a hike and fly.
If you were in the market for a canyoning trip, heading to Interlaken during the warmer summer months is a must. Temperatures are more accommodating as are the longer days, making for some sweet and memorable jaunts through Swiss waterways.
Hiking and mountaineering are more versatile weather-wise, capturing a few different sides of Switzerland, and you can appreciate satisfying programs of all levels year round. Summer hiking and mountaineering allow for meadow views and rock climbing, while winter expeditions provide mixed climbing possibilities and serene snowscapes for hikers. You can even cruise the countryside in winter by taking a snowshoeing program.
Skiing and ski touring are best done in the heart of winter, during the heaviest snowfalls and best powder conditions. Aim for December through March, with a bit of wiggle room at the edges of the season. Late-season trips can help you enjoy a multi-adventure program without compromising snow quality.
Don’t delay your dream active outdoor holiday any longer! Book an adventure to Interlaken NOW and experience the incredible natural beauty of Switzerland and its stunning Alpine scenery!