Interlaken and the whole Berner-Oberland region really is the jewel in Switzerland’s crown. It is a surreal and mesmerizing place which ranks highly on any traveller’s European bucket list. With adorable Swiss towns, towering mountains and cascading waterfalls, it feels like something out of a movie. Interlaken and Lauterbrunnen may be expensive but it really is a must-see in Switzerland.
There are many places to visit in this area but I only had time to explore Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald however places like Mürren are also extremely beautiful.
Map of the area
The train arriving in Grindelwald
Accessing Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald can either be a massive pain or fairly simple depending on where you are based in Switzerland. I came from Saint Gallen so it took 4:10 each way on the train or would’ve been a 2:30 drive each way by car.
The main access point for Interlaken is from the capital city of Bern. From the main station of Bern trains run to Interlaken Ost fairly frequently. From Bern it is around 1 hour to Interlaken. From Interlaken Ost you can get trains to either Grindelwald (40mins) or Lauterbrunnen (20 mins).
As recommended in my Guide To Travelling Switzerland on a Budget, if you are in Switzerland for a reasonable time then getting a SwissPass will save you a lot of money on train tickets. Expensive journeys like the one to Interlaken will be covered in the SwissPass. Getting train tickets individually does stack up.
How Long In Interlaken
This totally depends on your budget. As you can imagine, accommodation in the Interlaken area is very pricey but staying here will allow you to see more of the area. There are several well-rated hostels in the area but these will still cost you a small fortune. Hostels exist in most of the towns surrounding Interlaken including Lauterbrunnen. These can be found on hostelworld.com.
Because I was travelling Switzerland on a budget I opted to only explore this region as a day trip. I sincerely wish I had way more time because this was not enough. There is enough to see and do in the Interlaken region to fill up 3-4 days easily. In the day I was able to see Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald but not properly see Interlaken.
What You Can See and Do
Taking in the views at Lauterbrunnen is a must if you are in the Berner-Oberland region
There is plenty to see in Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald. There are ample opportunities for skiing and hiking in this region. I did not try either of these but you can find more information HERE.
Lauterbrunnen itself is stunning, simply wandering around the town will provide spectacular vistas. The waterfall down to the town is also incredible! There aren’t many places that really took my breath away quite like Lauterbrunnen – it really is amazing. I would recommend walking over to the hill on the other side of the town to really soak up the views.
Grindelwald is another amazing spot to visit and sense the true height of the mountains. Grindelwald itself is a pretty town but the enormity of the mountains dominates the experience here. Walk around the town itself and the surrounding hills to see great angles of all the nearby peaks.
There are many cable cars up the mountains that will give you amazing views. For budget travellers this really is not an option because it is horrendously expensive, but if you have the cash to spare I would recommend doing it. The Jungfrau has the highest railway station in Europe which obviously gives you impeccable vistas.
- If you are planning on staying the night book well in advance if possible
- Always check the weather before visiting the Berner-Oberland region because fog or clouds may totally ruin your experience. There are also many livecams you can check before your visit to ensure it is clear.
- A SwissPass will be sufficient to get you to Interlaken, Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald but any cable cars and special trains will cost extra (and it’s pretty expensive) so research this before heading there with high hopes
- Dress for the weather because you are high up in the mountains so it can get cold
- Visiting this region in winter will mean fewer crowds but the waterfalls will largely be frozen, so choose your season wisely – there are benefits and negatives to all seasons
Don’t believe how beautiful this area is? Check out my photos below. But please be aware that no matter how hard I tried, it seriously looks so much better in real life.
Could this be the most perfect valley on Earth?
No matter how hard you try, it is impossible to stop staring
A perfectly positioned church
The train trips are reason enough to visit – look at that view!
There are so many mountains surrounding Grindelwald it is hard to know where to look
Mountains tower over the town of Grindelwald