Interlaken and Harder Kulm, Switzerland

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The view from the top of Interlaken, we picked the perfect time to arrive.
The view from the top of Interlaken (Harder Kulm), we picked the perfect time to arrive.

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Interlaken is the perfect base for visiting the beautiful mountainous region of Canton du Bern. This gorgeous town sits between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz; with an unbelievable landscape, gorgeous food and so many experiences to chose from. I was only here for 3 nights during my Eurotrip but I loved it and definitely plan to come back.

The areas surrounding Interlaken have the views that come to mind when someone suggests a trip to Switzerland, and do not disappoint. During my Interrail Eurotrip, I wanted to visit somewhere in Switzerland. I had visited Montreux and Basel on previous trips to Switzerland but wanted to see more. My short short stay passing through for a few nights was an ideal way to get a taster of this area

We were visiting here in Spring Over the Easter break so there were tourists, but it didn’t feel crowded. There is so much to do here.I also wanted to be in the mountains and my I decided on a location of Interlaken due to its proximity to Jungfraujoch aka ‘The Top of Europe’ and Lauterbrunnen. From the town you can get amazing views of Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau and no pictures can do justice to how stunning they are.

About Interlakken

It has been a popular travel destination since the 19th century. Travelers from all over the world visit to experience its natural beauty and outdoor activities. Interlakken is also committed to sustainable tourism practices and has received recognition for its efforts to reduce the environmental impact of tourism in the region.

looking towards Interlakken and the mountains on a sunny day

While the primary language spoken is Swiss German, due to its international tourist presence, you’ll find people in Interlaken who can speak multiple languages, including English and French.

Places to Stay in Interlakken

There are plenty of places to stay and we had a hiccup with our accomodation closing down without informing us and after taking our money (thank you to for sorting our issue out). We stayed at a hostel that had availability luckily and it was great, but I couldn’t remember the name. In town you will see a blend between modern apartments and some quant traditional alpine swiss lodges. The town also has a few historic hotels like Victoria-Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa.

Exploring The Adventure Valley and activities to do around Interlakken

Often referred to as the adventure capital of switzerland and you can absolutely see why. Interlakken is so beautiful and a perfect base to explore the lakes, gorges, rivers, mountains and more.

I would reccomend staying for at least 3-4 days, and ideally longer. I would also suggest visiting in both the spring/summer and the winter if you love adventure.

If you are an adventurer (like myself) then there are so many options of things to do to fill your time with. The adventure valley had so much to offer, You’d honestly be spoilt for choice (We only discovered this once we got there on my first visit and had already booked our visit up jungfrau joch, but we managed to fit in some further exploring and I’ve vowed I’ll be back more than once).

We visited the top of europe via the train (and on my second trip I went via the eiger gondola), I also visited the top of interlaken (Harder Kulm) before and did a short hike up to the view point before too. I also managed to head back to the top of europe on my second visit (but I was staying in Bern at the time, so only had time for one thing and I knew my husband would love it).

If you like to hike or just walk around you can hop on and off the trains up to grindelwald or lauterbrunnen and there is so much to see and do with views that honestly just took my breath away.

The adventures that I will be booking next time I visit here are:

The Top of Interlaken

Regardless of what you come to Interlaken for, the ‘Top of Interlaken’ or Harder Kulm (above) is a must-see. You can hike up the trails or you can take the carriage up. We decided to take the carriage up due to us being limited on time. It cost us £17 at the time and we had to wait in a bit of a cue due to others who had pre-booked online.

The views just going up in the carriage is amazing as your rise above the town and start to view both lakes. It is quite slow and goes a little slower than a ski lift. Once you arrive at the top you are able to wander around and enjoy the views. You will walk along a path the final part of the way to the Hard Kulm cafe restaurant. At the restaurant, we opted for some mulled wine which was perfect as there was still a chill in the air from late winter.

There are seats outside the restaurant to relax and views to the back, jutting out from the mountain is a dramatic platform leading to a glass viewing deck for panoramic views over Interlaken. We picked the best timing for this trip up just as the sun was starting to set (as you can see from my pictures above – all of which are unedited).

It is honestly breathtaking, we had picked the perfect time and day for this with the sun just starting to set as we were up there. We enjoyed it so much that we made time to hike some of the trail, which did not disappoint either. Be aware there are a lot of mountain bikers in the area during spring and summer, so you will need to just keep your eyes and ears peeled.

I have put a link below for tickets to this. It is a standard price where ever you get the ticket from online. If you get it from the ticket office on the day there is some slight inflation (like most).

There was a cue to wait for a free carriage as many had pre-booked online or at the station the day or two beforehand. I would recommend pre-booking next time.

Top of Europe

At an elevation of 3454m on the south side Jungraujoch overlooking a glacier is the top of Europe. This attraction needs to be pre-booked and we booked had to wait in a cue and book it for the following day missing our chance to get the early journey up, which did affect the visibility (due to the weather at the time).

The top of Europe looks like something out of a Bond movie, it takes approximately 2 hours to get up to the top of Europe by train from the Interlaken. The pick-up point is at the information centre which is also a train station. The train has stops along the way which if you have time or better weather than we had you could get off and explore more.

Once you are at the top there is a Lindt chocolate factory (which is lethal, I spent a fortune), a cafe, some interactive ice tunnels which are all pretty cool (especially when you learn how they were made and how they are maintained).

The views at the top are brilliant, we managed to pick a poor visibility day to go up and struggled to see much (as you can see from my pictures above). But the views on the way up which were really breathtaking and absolutely made up for it, even with the cloud and rain.

The carriages that take you up through the ski resort and overlooking Grindelwald are just unbelievable. I spent most my journey up and down just staring out of the window admiring the views.

Planning Your Own Visit Switzerland?

I have been fortunate enough to visit Switzerland 6 times so far and heading back there this summer. Here are a few other posts that may help to inspire your own planning:

1.) What to see and do in Thun, Switzerland

2.) Top things to see and do in Montreux, Switzerland

3.) The Top of Europe and Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

4.) The Ultimate Guide To InterRail – Everything You Need To Know To Travel Europe By Train

5.) What to see and do in Bern, Switzerland… coming soon

Keep an eye out on more upcoming posts from Switzerland

Follow Nicole:

Owner of Travels and Wandering | Lecturer by Day, Nomad at Heart Adventure Travel Tester | Outdoor Instructor | Mountaineering and Outdoors Researcher | Strength and Conditioning Coach | Yoga Instructor | Personal Trainer | Fitness Pro | Endo Warrior, Pelvic Congestion Syndrome, Spoonie

11 Responses

  1. Carol Colborn

    The Top of Europe, Interlaken’ or Harder Kulm, is a breathtaking sight. I wouldn’t go for all those adventure activities. I will go just to see the beauty of the place, including Adventure Valley.

  2. Georgina

    Jungfraujoch and Interlaken were destinations in my European trip last year when it was cancelled due to our ongoing global situation. Your photos are beautiful and I look forward to be at the Top of Europe one day!

  3. jacqueline

    This is perfect! I am based in Switzerland now, and am planning a trip to the Interlaken area again soon. I will def bookmark this for the near future.

  4. Kristina

    Interlaken looks so beautiful – have been to a few other spots in Switzerland but need to add this to my list!

  5. Linda

    Whoa those views are breathtaking! I have to admit, I would also take the carriage up haha. I really need to put Interlaken onto my Europe bucket list! So beautiful there.

  6. Linda (LD Holland)

    We had a short visit to Switzerland but enough to now we want to go back.  We loved the views from on high.  But sure missed some of the fun things to do like paragliding and canyoning.  Although we did watch the canopies sail down. Jungraujoch is definitely on our plans on a return visit.  I too would spend my time gawking ou the window on the rides up and down.

  7. Nancy Hann

    Wow! Those views are gorgeous. So many colors in those scenes. The cable car to the top sounds like so much fun and getting to the Top of Europe sounds great as well. You had me at “Lindt chocolate factory”. That’s my absolute favorite chocolate. Thanks for sharing all these great options.

  8. Renata

    Switzerland is so beautiful. These mountains are like a picture postcard. I’m afraid of heights so maybe not the adventure valley but would love to explore the town, lake and hike up to see these views 😀 I would love to visit Switzerland more often, lots of saving needed

  9. Sarah

    Looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve had a craving for Switzerland ever since our trip was cancelled there last year. I’d definitely fancy doing some hiking there and drinking mulled wine, lol.

  10. Sue

    This looks beautiful! Although I love the idea of hiking up the to the Top of Interlaken, taking the carriage up certainly sounds like a great option, especially at the time of day you visited. Those photos are just stunning! The top of Europe sounds fab too. I’m sorry you didn’t have as great views when you arrived but the journey certainly looked like it was worth it nonetheless.

  11. Molly

    Carriages up to the ski resort?! That’s cool! Interlaken look amazing and I will keep an eye out for the Thun post too. So many great adventures! 

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