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Lauterbrunnen Valley

Lauterbrunnen Valley, Nextvoyage

Visit Interlaken – The Bernese Oberland

When you visit Interlaken, the area is known as the Bernese Oberland. The Bernese Oberland includes Grindelwald, Gimmelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, Murren. Peaks in this area include the Jungfrau, the Eiger and the Schilthorn.

Gondola View to Schilthorn, Visit Interlaken

Gondola View to Schilthorn

Visit Interlaken – Schilthorn Day Trip

The two main attractions when you visit Interlaken are the Jungfraujoch and the Schilthorn. You can’t really find enough time to see them both in the same day, so plan accordingly. To reach the Schilthorn, start with a train ride from Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. Across from the rail station in Lauterbrunnen, catch the short gondola ride to Grutschalp. At the Grutschalp gondola station, you immediately board the narrow gauge railway to Winteregg and then the small village of Murren. Take a short walk from the train station in Murren to the Birg gondola, which is an intermediate station on the way to the Schilthorn. In Birg they have a nice restaurant deck and a cliff side walking platform. The last section of your trip is the gondola ride from Birg to the Schilthorn.

Gimmelwald, Switzerland, Visit Interlaken

Gimmelwald, Switzerland

On the way back down, walk the lovely paved pathway from Murren to Gimmelwald. From there, take a cable car down to Stechelberg and the local bus back to Lauterbrunnen. On a sunny spring day, the hiking and the cable car views are both amazing. Check out our Schilthorn Day Trip blog. You can also do the entire route in reverse, but on a sunny day the walk down from Murren to Gimmelwald is much nicer than a gondola ride up from Gimmelwald to Murren.

Eiger Mountain, Swiss Alps, Visit Interlaken

Eiger Peak from Hotel Alpenruh, Murren

You might also be able to squeeze in a visit to Trummelbach Falls, which is between the Stechelberg gondola station and Lauterbrunnen. The falls pass right through the mountain from the Eiger and Jungfraujoch above. Trummelbach Falls is more like an excursion into a mine than to a waterfall. If you aren’t out of time or energy, walk an hour between Stechelberg and Lauterbrunnen on a wonderful flat trail along the valley floor. Enjoy the many waterfalls on your hike.

Walk from Mürren to Gimmelwald, Schilthorn Day Trip, Switzerland

Walk from Mürren to Gimmelwald

Lauterbrunnen Biking Circuit

Another great option while in Lauterbrunnen is a biking circuit. Start in Lauterbrunnen by renting a bike. You will have lots of options, including electric bikes. Take your rental bike on the gondola to Grutschalp or if you are more energetic, bike up the hillside instead. Next follow the trail along a route close to the narrow gauge railway. After about 10 minutes, stop for a meal at the large restaurant deck with views in Winteregg or at several options after that in Murren. Murren is about 20 minutes from Grutschalp by bike.

Mürren, Birg Gondola Tower, Visit Interlaken, Switzerland

Mürren, Birg Gondola Tower in distance

From Murren, ride the paved path down to Gimmelwald and then load your bike on to the gondola down to Stechelberg. More adventurous bikers can ride the dirt trail all the way down to Stechelberg. For the last section, ride about 15 minutes on the flat Lauterbrunnen valley floor from Stechleberg to Lauterbrunnen and then return your bike. The big advantage of the Lauterbrunnen Biking Circuit is that the uphill sections are available by gondola.

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

Jungfraujoch, Lothar Siebert

Visit Interlaken – Jungfraujoch Day Trip

Ride the Swiss Railway from Interlaken to Zweilütschinen to Grindelwald. Then transfer to the Wengernalp Railway for your ride to Kleine Scheidegg. You also have the option to travel to Kleine Scheidegg through Lauterbrunnen and Wengen instead, so plan a circle route for even more views. In Kleine Scheidegg, you catch the Jungfrau Railway to the Jungfraujoch Station. Be aware that a Jungfrau Pass covers your trip all the way from Interlaken to Kleine Scheidegg and even past it to the Eiger Glacier Station, but you have to pay extra to ride the Jungfrau Railway up to the highest railway station in Europe at the Jungfraujoch. You also have the option with a Jungfrau Pass to take a cable car from Grindelwald Terminal to the Eiger Glacier Station instead of riding the train through Kleine Scheidegg.

Kleine Scheidegg

Kleine Scheidegg, ArtTower

The Jungfrau Railway travels through a very long tunnel starting just after the Eiger Glacier Station. The train comes out of the mountain at the saddle between the Mönch and Jungfrau peaks. There are two 5 minute viewpoint stops in the tunnel. One is an opening in the Eiger North Face (Eigerwand). The other short stop is the Sea of Ice (Eismeer) facing the Aletsch Glacier. At the top, visit the Ice Palace for a walk inside of the glacier.

The journey to the Jungfraujoch is very expensive but the Jungfrau Railway does offer a discount to holders of a Jungfrau Pass, Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland or a Swiss Rail Pass.

Eiger Glacier Station

With a Jungfrau Pass you can ride up past Kleine Scheidegg to the Eiger Glacier Station, which is the last station before the tunnel to the Jungfraujoch. Here you have lots of options. Board the Jungfrau Railway for a round trip ride to the Jungfraujoch. Enjoy the views on a short hike back down from the Eiger Glacier Station to Kleine Scheidegg. Catch the Eiger Express gondola from the Eiger Glacier Station all the way back down to Grindelwald Terminal. Or take a 3 hour hike from the Eiger Glacier Station down to Alpigen and then catch the train back to Grindelwald.

Thun Village, Switzerland

Thun, ClaraMD

Lake Thun Cruise

Take a cruise from Interlaken on Lake Thun to visit the town of Thun at the opposite end of the lake. Spend the day wandering the town including Thun Castle, Oberhofen Castle, the Aare wooden bridge and Schadau Park. Return by boat or train. If you purchase a Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland or at least a 5 day Jungfrau Pass then your cruise is free in both directions.

Niederhorn, Lake Thun

Niederhorn, Rene Staempfli

Niederhorn

Take a half hour bus ride on Bus #21 from the bus station near the Interlaken Ost train station to Beatenbucht on Lake Thun (Thunersee). From there take a funicular and then a gondola up to the Niederhorn. Alternately take a boat ride on Lake Thun. First stop at St Beatus Caves, then catch the next boat to Beatenbucht to meet up with the funicular to Niederhorn. You can also take Bus #101 between Interlaken and Beatenburg, which skips the funicular. The boat ride, bus, funicular and gondola to the Niederhorn are all included in a Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland.

Mount Niesen

Take a 20 minute train from Interlaken to Spiez or cruise there on Lake Thun. Visit Spiez Castle. Then take a 10 minute train ride from Spiez to Mülenen. At the Mülenen station, catch the funicular up to the restaurant at the top of Mt Niesen. Return to Interlaken by retracing your steps. The trip from Interlaken to Mt Niesen is included with a Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland.

Aare River, Visit Interlaken, Switzerland

Aare River, Interlaken

Visit Interlaken – Downtown

  • Wander through the small town of Interlaken. Stroll the pathways along the river between the two lakes.
  • Enjoy the cafeteria at the Migros Supermarket across from the Interlaken West train station. Alternately walk ten minutes from Interlaken West to catch the Heimwehfluh Funicular. After a very short ride on this 1906 funicular, enjoy the restaurant, the model trains and the children’s playground. Then ride a tiny toboggan back down the hill.
  • Book a tandem parasail ride. Your excursion includes transportation up into the surrounding hills where you then parasail back down into the town of Interlaken. It’s an extremely popular tourist activity that requires no previous experience. Too nervous to try it? Head to the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel and watch the parasails land in Höhematte Park.

Bern Day Trip from Interlaken

Take a one hour train ride from Interlaken to Bern. Spend the day in the old town along the river. See the astronomical clock, the cathedral, the Rosengarten, the Parliament and the Einstein Museum. Take the Bern S-Bahn or the #9 tram to Wabern and then ride the funicular up to Gurten. In Gurten enjoy the restaurants, children’s park and a viewing tower with views of Bern, the Jura mountains and the Alps. With a Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland your rail fare between Bern and Interlaken is covered.

Brienzer Rothorn Rack Railway

Take a day trip from Interlaken to Brienz by rail or on a lake cruise. With a minimum 5 day Jungfrau Pass your lake cruise is included. Then walk a few minutes to the Brienzer Rothorn Rack Railway station and ride the steam train up the mountain. At the top you have the option to retrace your route home or continue by taking a gondola down the other side of the mountain on a Golden Circle route. If you opt for the Golden Circle, you catch a bus to Giswil after your gondola ride. Then you ride the train from Giswil to Brienz and back to Interlaken. You can also easily do the route in reverse. Use their webcam to pick the right time for your day trip. With a Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland your entire trip is covered.

Lake Oeschinen, Oeschinensee

Lake Oeschinen, Jorg Vieli

Oeschinen Lake

Take a day trip from Interlaken to Oeschinen Lake. First ride the train from Interlaken Ost to Kandersteg. With a transfer in Spiez the train trip takes about 2 hours. Then walk about 15 minutes to the Kandersteg gondola, which takes you on a short ride to Oeschinen. From the Oeschinen gondola station, walk about 20 minutes to Oeschinen Lake. You will find great lakefront views, a restaurant and boat rentals. Alpine hikers will enjoy the challenge of the circuit above the Oeschinensee. The train rides and gondola to Oeschinen Lake are covered by a Regional Pass – Bernese Overland.

Schilthorn Day Trip, Switzerland

Schilthorn

Visit Interlaken – Harder Klum

Head to the Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant for lunch. It’s an 8 minute funicular ride after walking 5 minutes from Interlaken Ost. The restaurant looks over the valley, the city, the lakes and the mountains. The views are fabulous on a sunny day. Even on a cloudy day, the glacial waters of Interlaken are a beautiful turquoise blue.

Interlaken and Lake Thun from Harder Kulm, Visit Interlaken

Interlaken and Lake Thun from Harder Kulm

Visit Interlaken – Schynige Platte

Take a 10 minute train ride from Interlaken to Wilderswil. Then board the cog train to Schynige Platte. Visit the Alpine Garden. Check the flower schedule online. Take a short hike to see the views north to Interlaken lakes and south to Grindelwald, the Lauterbrunnen valley and the Eiger, Mönch & Jungfrau peaks. Instead of taking the train back down, you can hike about 4 hours all the way from Schynige Platte to First and then take the gondola down to Grindelwald. The cog train trip from Wilderswil to Schynige Platte is included in a Jungfrau Pass and so is the Grindelwald-First gondola.

Schynige Platte

Schynige Platte, Erich Westendarp

Panorama Trail – Männlichen Valley

Ride the train via Interlaken – Lauterbrunnen – Wengen. Next take the gondola from near the train station in Wengen to reach Mannlichen. The views over Wengen and the Lauterbrunnen Valley on this gondola ride are fabulous. Plus this gondola has an open-air balcony option. Then take the Royal Walk up to the Mannlichen lookout or hike the Panorama Trail along the Mannlichen Valley slope for about an hour to reach Kleine Scheidegg. From Kleine Scheidegg, ride the train back to Wengen or continue by train to Grindelwald. Afterward take a train back to your original starting point. The Panorama Trail circuit through the Mannlichen Valley can be done in reverse too, but then you will be facing away from the fabulous mountain peaks as you hike toward Mannlichen.

Panorama Trail, Mannlichen

Mannlichen, Walter Frehner

For those staying in Wengen, you can also get off the inclined railway at the Wengenwald stop between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen. Then take a very short hike through the small cliff side traditional Swiss homes until you reach the Moenchblick viewpoint for views of the Lauterbrunnen valley. This is a more secluded and pastoral hike with pleasant views, but not as spectacular as the views from the gondola ride from Wengen. Drones get great views as they climb here, because of the spectacular transition from rural forests to a complete view of the Lauterbrunnen valley below.

First Skywalk, Grindelwald

First Skywalk, Allyson Sarilho

Grindelwald – First

Use your Jungfrau Pass to reach Grindelwald from Interlaken or a number of other villages in the Bernese Oberland. For example, you could train through Lauterbrunnen to Wengen, take the gondola up to Mannlichen and then another gondola all the way down to Grindewald Terminal.

From Grindelwald Terminal train station, walk 10 minutes or use your Jungfrau Pass for a free short bus ride to reach the Firstbahn Gondola. The Firstbahn takes you to the Bort gondola station, the Schreckfeld gondola station and then to First. At the First gondola station you can enjoy the free First Cliff Walk and hike to the Backalpsee for a classic picture of the lake and the Alps. The trail continues all the way to Schnigye Platte, if you prefer a one way full day hike.

In First, you have the option to ride the First Flyer (Flieger) zip line back down to the Schrekfeld gondola station or take a tandem parasail ride from First back down to Grindelwald. At the Schrekfeld gondola station, you can be strapped in to the First Glider up to First and then “glide” the line back down to Schrekfeld. From Schrekfeld, rent a mountain cart on a one way ride down to the Bort gondola station. Continue your adventure on a one way trottibike rental from the Bort gondola station all the way back down to Grindelwald. Discount combination packages are available for the Flyer, Glider, Mountain Cart and Trottibike.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grindelwald, Allyson Sarilho

Your Jungfrau Pass also allows you to ride buses from Grindelwald to Grosse Scheidegg, Bussalp, Waldspitz and the Luftseilbahn gondola station. Jungfrau Pass holders get a discount on the Luftseilbahn gondola to Pfingstegg, where you can ride the Rodelbahn summer toboggan track or the Fly Line zip line. The summer toboggan and zip line at Pfingstegg are great options for children. If you have nerves of steel, try the Canyon Swing just past downtown Gindelwald on the valley floor.

Wengen, Switzerland

Wengen, Reginasphotos

Visit Interlaken – Aare Gorge Day Trip

Take a day trip from Interlaken to the Aare Gorge, known in German as the Aareschlucht. Catch the train from the Interlaken Ost station on a half hour ride to Meiringen. Then switch trains to the line which runs toward Innertkirchen. Ride two quick stops to the Aareschlucht West station. Walk across the bridge over the Aare River and about 7 minutes further to the Aare Gorge entrance. Pay a small fee to walk up river through the gorge. Alternately you can continue one more station on the train Aareschlucht Ost, which is open only during the summer months. This station is very interesting, as the train stops in a tunnel, where you then exit the tunnel through a door. Once you get outside, you cross a foot bridge over the Aare River to the entrance for a downstream walk through the Aare Gorge.

Aare Gorge River Walk

Aare Gorge, Werner Sidler

Your 45 minute hike through the Aare Gorge uses scaffolding over the river and tunnels along the route. Colored lights illuminate the gorge on Friday and Saturday evenings. At the narrowest point in the Gorge, called the Kleinen Enge, you can touch both sides of the gorge at the same time. Surprisingly, at either end of this narrow gorge, the Aare River flows through flat, pastoral settings. When the Aareschlucht Ost station isn’t open, you have the option to return through the forest or through the gorge. Near the west entrance you can also catch a funicular to Reichenbach Falls.

You can also add on a series of cable car rides to your Aare Gorge Day Trip. Walk about 10 minutes or take the #174 bus from the Meiringen train station to the Meiringen Luftseilbahn gondola station. From there ride up to Hasliberg Reuti, Bidmi, Magisalp and finally the Alpen Tower gondola station. Enjoy the restaurants and hiking along the way. The Alpen Tower Panorama Restaurant and the Magisalp Lounge Chair Oasis are both very popular.

Aletsch Glacier, Eggishorn

Eggishorn, Erich Westendarp

Visit Interlaken – Aletsch Glacier Day Trip

Ride the train 2 hours from Interlaken to Betten. Then take the Betten Talstation gondola up to Bettmeralp. Next transfer to the gondola that takes you up to Betterhorn. You don’t see the Aletsch Glacier until you reach the very top of your gondola ride. The Aletsch Glacier is the largest glacier in the Alps. If you visit the Jungfraujoch, you also see the other end of the Aletsch Glacier where it begins flowing down.

Another alternative for viewing the Aletsch Glacier is to continue past Betten to Feisch and then ride the gondolas up to the Eggishorn. The Eggishorn is farther up along the glacier than the Betterhorn. Many people debate which has the better view. Settle the matter yourself by hiking an hour between Bettmeralp and Feischeralp so that you can see both viewpoints.

Visit Interlaken – Jungfrau Pass

The Jungfrau Pass offers options from 3 – 8 consecutive days which include use of any of the following:

Jungfrau Pass – Railways

  • Interlaken Ost – Wilderswil – Zweilütschinen – Grindelwald or Lauterbrunnen
  • Wilderswil – Schynige Platte
  • Grütschalp – Winteregg – Mürren
  • Lauterbrunnen – Wengen – Kleine Scheidegg – Grindelwald or Eiger Glacier
  • Discount on Jungfrau Bahn from Eiger Glacier to Jungfraujoch

Jungfrau Pass – Gondolas

  • Lauterbrunnen – Grütschalp
  • Grindelwald – Bort – Schrekfeld – First
  • Eiger Express (Grindelwald Terminal – Eiger Glacier)
  • Grindelwald Terminal – Männlichen
  • Wengen – Männlichen
  • Interlaken – Harder Kulm
  • Discount Grindelwald – Pfingstegg

Jungfrau Pass – Grindelwald Buses

  • Ortsbus Grindelwald
  • Grindelwald – Grosse Scheidegg, Bussalp or Waldspitz

Jungfrau Pass – Lake Thun & Lake Brienz Cruises

  • included with passes of 5 days or more

Jungfrau Pass – What’s Missing

  • Murren – Birg – Shilthorn Gondolas

Regional Pass – Bernese Oberland

Available for 3, 4, 6, 8 or 10 consecutive days. Covers a wider area than the Jungfrau Pass, including

  • Rail access from Interlaken to Spiez, Thun, Kandersteg, Brienz, Brig, Meiringen, Bern and Lucerne
  • Rides on the Brienzer Rathorn Rack Railway & to the Niederhorn, Mt Niesen, Oeschinen Lake and Pfingstegg
  • Discounts on the Schilthorn, Jungfraujoch, Eggishorn and Mt Titlis

Get to Interlaken

There are no major airports servicing Interlaken. Most visitors get to Interlaken on the Swiss Rail system. The train takes about 2 hours to get to Interlaken from Zurich’s international airport. Interlaken is about 3 hours from Geneva. One of the longest tunnels in the world connects Interlaken with Visp and provides access to Zermatt. Since Interlaken is a small town, most places are within walking distance from the two main train stations – Interlaken Ost (East) and Interlaken West.

From Interlaken Ost there are a series of train and cable car gondola options to the Jungfraujoch or the Schilthorn. The geography forces you to pick one side of the valley and leave the opposite side for another day. A Swiss Travel Pass includes 50% discounts on cable cars and 25% off the Jungfrau Railway cog train. The Swiss Pass also provides free access to the buses in Interlaken and to the boats that tour Lake Brienz and Lake Thun. If you are staying more than 3 days, your best bet is a Jungfrau Pass as it includes a remarkable number of train trips and gondolas in the Bernese Oberland.

Aletsch Glacier near Eggishorn

Aletsch Glacier, Klaus Stebani

Interlaken Weather

Interlaken can be very cool, because it is in a glacial valley surrounded by the Alps. So, the Interlaken weather in town is not necessarily a good indication of what’s happening on the mountains. July and August are the height of summer. Expect average highs of 75 F (24 C) and average lows of 55 F (13 C). During the winter months from December – January expect average highs of 37 F (3 C) and average lows of 27 F (-3 C). Precipitation levels are higher in the summer. June or September are excellent months to avoid the height of the summer tourist season and still enjoy comfortable temperatures.

Accommodation in the Bernese Oberland

  • Interlaken – the entry point to the Bernese Oberland
  • Lauterbrunnen – access to Murren, Gimmelwald and Wengen
  • Murren – no cars, access to the Schilthorn
  • Wengen – no cars, access to Kleine Scheidegg and Lauterbrunnen
  • Grindelwald – access to Kleine Scheidegg and the Jungfraujoch

Visit Interlaken – Background

Interlaken is the heart of the Swiss Alps. The city is named for its position between two lakes – Lake Thun (Thunersee) and Lake Brienz (Brienzersee). This area is known as the Bernese Oberland. Travel the trains, cog trains and cable cars up into the Alps in summer and enjoy the Sound of Music experience. The movie was filmed in Salzburg though. You can make Interlaken your base camp or stay at a number of small towns in the Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen valleys. It’s the ultimate Switzerland experience. You can easily visit either the Jungfrau or the Schilthorn on a day trip. Pay careful attention to the spelling of towns, as Grindelwald and Gimmelwald are in different alpine valleys.

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