48 Hours in Interlaken, Switzerland

How to Spend 48 hours in Interlaken, Switzerland Part 1

Interlaken is absolutely one of my favorite places I have been. It is definitely on my top 5 list. The scenery in this region is absolutely stunning. It’s so stunning that it is hard to believe that the scenery around you is real.

I especially love Interlaken because it is nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and at the base of the Bernese Oberland region of the Alps. It is extremely easy to spend part of your day on a mountain and part of your day on a lake. Both views are equally gorgeous and both have so many things to do. I would suggest you stay longer than 2 days, but you can definitely do and see a lot in only two days!

When I went to Interlaken I split my trip into a mountain day and a lake day. I loved this itinerary and really felt like I got to see a lot of the area without going too far out of my way. (Side note: I traveled to Interlaken in the summer. Some of these activities are not open in the winter.)

Day 1: Mountain Day – Grindelwald, First, Ziplining and ScootersFirst

It is extremely difficult to choose what activity to do in the mountains! There are numerous hikes, look out points, bike rides, mountain peaks, waterfalls, and the list goes on. I chose to travel to First where I ziplined down the side of a mountain and rode a scooter bike down to the village of Grindelwald. I had so much fun doing all of these activities. My favorite part of the day was when I was riding my scooter bike through the mountainside. There is something in the quiet stillness of being in the Alps that seems to fill your soul. I would highly recommend finding an activity that lets you take in the beauty of the Alps outside the villages.Grindelwald

We started the day by taking a train from Interlaken Ost to Grindelwald. Grindelwald is the sort of city you picture when you think of Switzerland. It is nestled just beneath some of the biggest peaks of the Alps. You could easily spend time browsing their chocolate shops, stores and coffee shops. I enjoyed buying some nice chocolates and a beer from a local coffee shop.

From Grindelwald, we took a cable car up to First. The cable car ride is one of the highlights of this journey. You get to watch the scenery get even more beautiful (if you thought that was possible) as you ride over waterfalls, rivers and of course the mountainside.

Do cable car rides get prettier than this?

At the top of First, I took the zipline down the side of a mountain. What a rush! I felt like I was flying.

I then picked up my trottibike (scooter bike) and rode the rest of the way down to Grindelwald. This trottibike may look fun and easy to ride, but let me tell you, it so much scarier than it looks! You fly down the mountain on this thing! Once you get used to the speed, it is actually really fun. This was my favorite part of the day. After you’ve been riding a bit, you find yourself in the peaceful countryside. I had to keep stopping just to take in all the beauty. You pass small barns and herds of cows and family homes (seriously these lucky people who live here!). I felt like I got to see the beauty of Switzerland in its original state.

We ended the day by enjoying some time in Grindelwald. This would be a great spot to grab dinner as well.

For day two, continue onto part 2 of this blog post.

For detailed descriptions of transportation and more in Interlaken and Grindelwald, check out my post on All the Planning Details for Interlaken.

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48 Hours in Interlaken, Switzerland Part 2

This is part 2 of a two part blog post. For part one, click here.

Day 2: Lake Day – Lake Brienz, Giessbach Falls, Lake Thun and St. Beatus-Hohlen

If you stay in Interlaken make sure you take a cruise on the lakes! Cruising along the water is so peaceful and of course the views are spectacular. If you have a Swiss Pass then the cruise is free. There are so many amazing stops along the way, so it’s hard to choose where you want to disembark the boat. You could also just stay on the boat for a full tour of the lake.

The views from the lake cruises are never ending!

Lake Brienz and Giessbach Falls

I chose to cruise on Lake Brienz and left the boat at the Giessbach stop to see the Giessbach Falls. I was so glad that I did! The Giessbach Waterfall is one of the most amazing things I have seen. It really is as amazing as the pictures make it seem.

The boat drops you off at the bottom of a steep hill. You can either hike to the top (about 20 minute hike) or take a funicular (5 CHF one way). The hike is beautiful so I suggest you hike either round trip or at least on the way back down.

Once you get to the top, you immediately see a hotel that looks like a castle. It’s the perfect setting beside the waterfall. They have a restaurant with stunning views, so if you can eat lunch here, this would be a good spot. From the hotel it is easy to walk to the waterfall. You get to even stand behind the falls!

Brienz

**The ferry is infrequent, so make sure to keep the schedule with you when you leave the boat.**

Lake Thun and St. Beatus Caves

Another great option is to cruise on Lake Thun and see the St. Beatus Caves. Legend has it that St. Beatus defeated a dragon that lived in these caves. This place definitely looks like the place of legends, in fact it looks like you stepped into a fairytale. Waterfalls cascade down over wooden bridges and pathways. The view from the top is (in my opinion) the best place to look out at the lake. I couldn’t stop taking pictures here because things seemed to get even more beautiful at each turn.

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At the top there is a restaurant and a snack bar with terrace seating. The caves themselves start here. They have tours every 45 minutes (cost: 18 CHF) I did not have time for the tour, but it does look quite amazing in the pictures. Maybe someday I will get the chance to return!

I just couldn’t get over how gorgeous the views of Lake Thun were!

If you choose the lake route, the hike up from the dock to the caves is steep. So be prepared for a bit of a hike. I took a bus to the base of the caves because I was short on time.

For more information about transportation within Interlaken and the lakes, see my post on All the Planning Details for Interlaken.