Interlaken

Interlaken is a municipality in the Interlaken-Oberhasli administrative district in the Swiss canton of Bern. It is an important and well-known tourist destination in the Bernese Highlands region of the Swiss Alps, and the main transport gateway to the mountains and lakes of that region. Interlaken lies in the Bernese Oberland on an alluvial plain, between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. The vacation destination, which is presided over by the three mighty mountains, Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, is the starting point for numerous activities. The official language of Interlaken is (the Swiss variety of Standard) German, but the main spoken language is the local variant of the Alemannic Swiss German dialect. Agriculture and tourism are main sources of economy. Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, and there is adequate rainfall year-round.

History: While some scattered Neolithic flint objects, early Bronze Age swords and Roman era coins have been found near Interlaken, there is no evidence for a settlement in the area before the Middle Ages. Interlaken Monastery was built around 1133 on imperial land on the left side of the Aare. The monastery controlled a bridge over the river and generated an income from tolls. A village grew up around the monastery, along with a mill (which gave the municipality its name until 1891). On the right bank of the river, Interlaken village developed. In 1279/80 the village of Unterseen developed near Interlaken village. Also near the village were the imperial castle of Weissenau and the market town of Widen. The castle and market town became the possessions of the monastery, but fell into disrepair in the Late Middle Ages. Until 1891, Interlaken was known as Aarmuhle. On the right bank of the Aare, Unterseen became the only municipality and absorbed the village of Interlaken. In 1838, on the left bank, the villages became the two municipalities of Matten and Aarmuhle.

*(All the above information are from Wikipedia.)

Transport:

Airport: Interlaken has its own airport right in the city centre. Bern is the nearest international airport to Interlaken. Flights here are minimal as compared to Zurich International Airport and Geneva-Cointrin Airport. Both the airports are about equidistant from Interlaken.

Rail: Interlaken is connected by train to Zurich, Geneva, Basel, Bern and Luzern. Connection at Spiez provides access to canton Valais and to Italy via Lötschberg and Simplon tunnels.

There are two stations: Interlaken Ost (east) and Interlaken West, the latter is closer to the city centre. Most trains stop at both stations, except for trains to Lucerne and the trains to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald which stop only at Ost station.

Tips: It is advisable to get the swiss rail pass done in advance so that travelling throughout Switzerland becomes free and also hassle free.

Road: Bus2alps operates direct private buses from Florence, Rome, Paris and Munich to Interlaken. Timetables do vary but are busiest in February and March to cater for winter sports activities. FlorenceForFun provides transport by private bus and accommodation packages departing from Florence on Thursday evenings. Trips depart in November and early December then mid-January through to mid-March for Winter activities. Summer departure dates are in May, June and September. MysteryTours provide airport & city transfers and offer a sightseeing tour to the Interlaken lakes ( Brienz Lake-Thun Lake ) and scenic waterfalls 17 km away in the Lauterbrunnen valley.

Local: Interlaken is small enough to get around on foot or bike. Taxis are available from either train station and most hotels. With the guest card from your hotel, you can travel around Interlaken for free.

Tourist Interest:

Höheweg: It is Interlaken’s main street which runs between Interlaken West and Interlaken Ost Railway Stations. On this street, you will find many souvenir shops. Have a look at the “Japanese Garden”, the 150-year old Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel, and don’t miss the beautiful view of the famous snow-covered Jungfrau mountain from “Höhematte”.

Jungfrau-Aletsch-Bietschhorn: This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a glaciated location above Interlaken in the Bernese Alps.

Unterseen: Unterseen is a small old town near the Interlaken West train station. It’s not as crowded as Interlaken and has several shops and bakeries (including a Coop supermarket in which there is a large selection of groceries and chocolates). To get there, cross the bridge over the water near the train stop, walking in the direction facing away from Interlaken.

Tour Planner:

This tour planner is made on the basis of the location of the destinations. One can make changes as per their interest, convenience and accessibility and duration of the trip.

Day 1: Arrive Interlaken and explore the town on feet.

Day 2: Take the train trip to Jungfrau.

Hotels: Among many hotels in Interlaken some are Hotel Beausite, Swiss Chalet Hotel, Hotel Toscana, Hotel Lötschberg, Hotel Weisses Kreuz and much more.

Read my experience in Interlaken.

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