Updated: May 2
Interlaken, Switzerland is a MUST SEE before you die. I've been to a decent amount of cities, and this one might be my favorite. Not only is the scenery absolutely stunning, but there is so much to do in this small little mountain town. Interlaken means "between lakes", and it's named this because, you guessed it, the town sits in between two of the bluest lakes I've ever seen. It's also surrounded by the Alps, which makes it even more incredible. With all this prime real estate, Interlaken lives off tourism, which is a little annoying if you're trying to not be cliche, but I still think this town is a must see.
So without further ado, here's my tips and tricks for Interlaken -
Where to stay:
So there are TONS of 4 and 5 star hotels and resorts in Interlaken. People with money flock to this town for it's beauty. But like I've said in my previous blog posts, I'm poor and I like to travel on a budget, so I have one amazing suggestion for you on where to stay and that is...
Balmer's Hostel- I know what you're thinking... "A hostel, really Shelby??". But this is no ordinary Hostel. Rated one of the best Hostels in all of Europe, this place is more like a resort than whatever you're imagining. My friend and I got a private room together (the bathroom/showers were shared with other guests) for 98 CHF a night. And trust me, this is way below the price for anything else you'll find in Interlaken. Balmer's included a free breakfast, along with it's own restaurant, bar, night club, hammock room, pool, hot tub, free bus pass, and a bunch of deals on the activities around town. We met tons of other interesting travelers of all ages here from all over the world, and it's centrally located in the heart of Interlaken. I wouldn't suggest to stay anywhere else.
Things to do:
If I actually sat here and wrote out all the cool things to do and see in Interlaken, this would turn into a book. So I'm going to summarize to the best of my abilities.
-Ride the funicular up to Harder Kulm- Named the "Top of Interlaken" this mountain sure does have a great view. It's about a 10 minute funicular ride up to the top (the ride will cost you about 16 CHF) along with a short walk. Once at the top, there is an amazing observation deck where you can walk out and look over all of Interlaken, including the Alps and the two lakes the town is situated between, as well as a delicious restaurant that has outdoor seating with a view.
-Channel your inner adrenaline junkie- Interlaken is one of the adrenaline capitals of Europe, and if you like this kind of stuff, then this town is perfect for you. Some activities you could enjoy here include paragliding, hanggliding, skydiving, wake surfing, white water rafting, and rope courses just to name a few.
-Gambling!- There is a huge casino right in the heart of Interlaken, so try your luck!
-Interlaken Free Walking Tour- There is a free walking tour that shows your around Interlaken that I would highly suggest you do. Done by local college students in their free time in multiple languages, this tour walks you to all the local gems and tells you the history behind the town.
-Enjoy the nature- There are tons of hikes in the area, or maybe you'd rather go out on a boat or kayak on the lakes, or even try a SUP. Why not try it all?
-This list is getting pretty long, so here's a few other things Interlaken has to offer- Chocolate tasting tour, shopping, spas, golf course, open air Theatre, a zoo, bike rentals, etc.
Where to Eat:
-There are tons of fancy restaurants in Interlaken, that I cannot afford. There's also a surprising amount of Indian type restaurants in the area. Here's a few of the more affordable, but delicious, places to eat.
-Hooter's.- That's right. In this stunning little mountain town, there stands a Hooter's. Apparently some rich guy wanted to buy the property but wouldn't pay the right price, so the owner of the lot slammed a Hooter's on the property out of spite. Amazing, I know.
-The Three Tells Irish Pub- Located just a block or so away from Balmer's Hostel, this little Irish Pub serves up just the food you need after a fun filled day of being a tourist. They serve local beer and have great burgers in a friendly atmosphere, at an affordable price.
-Husi Bierhaus- This is a local's favorite, and for good reason. Great drinks, fun atmosphere, all for a good price. They have great lunch and dinner options, and while you're in Switzerland, you have to try Alska. It's this fruity alcoholic cider drink that is literally to die for. They don't sell it in the States, so please bring me back some. If you're not into fruity drinks, then try Haarige Kuh beer (it means "Hairy Cow". lol). Brewed right there in Interlaken, it's actually pretty good! (Switzerland is not known for there beer though to be fair)
-Restaurant Harder Kulm- This is the restaurant that's on the top of the mountain after the funicular ride that I mentioned, 1322 meters up. I can't stress enough how great the view is from up here, but the food at their restaurant is just as good. A little on the pricier side, but still affordable, they offer great soups and sandwiches for lunch that you can eat outside right on the observation deck. The restaurant is kind of shaped like an old castle too, so that's a nice touch.
As you can see, you won't be bored in Interlaken. Although this destination is a little bit on the pricier side, it can absolutely be done on a budget.
So if you're ever in Switzerland, make sure you stop in Interlaken- I promise you won't regret it.