Panoramic view of Old City and Aare River, Interlaken

Itineraries for Your Trip to Interlaken

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1 Day in Interlaken for First Timers

Curated by Zoë SmithZoë Smith is a British travel writer, editor, and digital content creator who has lived, worked, and traveled over six continents, and is currently based near Nantes, France. She has written for Rough Guides, CNN, and Culture Trip, and is digital editor at FrenchEntrée.

Encircled by alpine valleys and snow-capped peaks,, it’s easy to see why Interlaken is one of the most-visited destinations in Switzerland. One day is just enough time to take in the highlights, but planning ahead is essential if you want to fit everything in. Here are some ideas for how to spend one day in Interlaken.


Spend the morning enjoying views of Jungfrau from the top of Harder Kulm, which lies just north of town. Ride the cable car to the 4,337-foot (1,322-meter) mountain summit, from which you can see Lake Brienz, and Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger mountains to name a few—book your admission tickets in advance to avoid lengthy ticket lines. 

Interlaken is best explored on foot so opt for a walking tour in order to maximize your time. Tours tend to cover Höhematte Park, which blooms with colorful flowers in the spring and summer; Interlaken Castle and Monastery; and neighboring Unterseen, home to the Museum of Tourism.


Exploring the lakes of Thun and Brienz is a must for visitors in Interlaken. With limited time, it’s best to choose a tour over taking public transport to make the most of the day. A boat cruise or kayaking excursion around Lake Brienz affords views of the lakeside villages and landmarks such as Giessbach falls, while hop-on hop-off boat cruises come with the flexibility to create your own itinerary. 

It’s possible to explore by land too; bus and bike tours typically cover lakefront attractions such as Neuhaus Beach; the traditional Swiss villages of Matten and Bönigen; Shadau Castle; and the St Beatus Caves. 


Interlaken has a lively nightlife scene, especially during the summer months; bars, nightclubs,  and live music venues are dotted around the lakes and town center. Join a pub crawl to benefit from local recommendations and spend the evening among like-minded travelers.

For something a little more traditional, head to one of Interlaken’s many restaurants, where you can tuck into Swiss dishes such as cheese fondue or raclette. Winter visitors can also work up an appetite during a night sled ride, followed by a fondue dinner a restaurant in the mountains. 

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