Interlaken is a cute Swiss town located right smack in the middle of Switzerland, so if you’re traveling around the country at all, it’s an easy spot to stop and an even better place to stay a night. Admittedly, there isn’t a whole bunch to do in Interlaken, but despite that I still think it’s worth the trip.
Where to Stay?
My hands-down favorite in Interlaken is the Lindner Grand Hotel Beau Rivage. Just at the end of town but still in all the action, the Beau Rivage offers luxurious, yet traditionally Swiss-looking rooms that overlook either the river or the beautiful Schloss Interlaken, or Interlaken’s monastery and castle. The hotel has a spa, two restaurants and a trendy bar that serves premium cocktails, cigars and hookah. Though the Beau Rivage is in fact grand, the prices are not—you can stay here for around $300 USD.
Another option is the slightly more lavish (and more expensive—about $600) Hotel Royal St. Georges Interlaken. You know you get what you pay for when you first lay eyes on this hotel—it is absolutely stunning from the outside, is right in the center of town, and overlooks the adjacent field where the paraglider land. The rooms at the Royal St. Georges are beautifully decorated and opulent with all the amenities.
Where to Eat?
La Terasse - $$$$
Victoria Jungfrau Hotel, Interlaken
If you’re looking to spend a delightful evening celebrating your time in Interlaken, head over to La Terasse at the Victoria Jungfrau Hotel. The restaurant is right in the center of town (have a drink here if you need a little liquid courage before doing some watch shopping next door) and is beautifully decorated with palms, gold accents and banquets in pale green leather—wildly reminiscent of an upscale hotel in Palm Beach. Most importantly though, the food is absolutely divine. We opted to start with champagne and then each did a three course tasting menu with paired wines. The wines were all local Swiss wines—none of which we had heard of—that were unique and all very good. The service is exquisite as well.
What to Do?
A stroll through downtown Interlaken only takes about a half an hour, as it’s so small. Höheweg, the main street and promenade that runs through Interlaken, is where you will find the best hotels, bars and restaurants. There you will also find cute boutiques and tons of watch shops, so get your credit card out. If you’re in the market for high end watches like Rolex, Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Audemars Piguet, Piaget and Blancpain—just to name a few.
For the thrill-seekers, try your hand at paragliding with Paragliding Interlaken. Imagine launching off of the top of a mountain and floating down to the valley below, with snow-capped mountains surrounding you, with endless greenery and lake views below. Paragliders start in Beatenberg (where you will also find the St. Beutus Caves) and then end in the middle of Interlaken, where there is an open field just across from the Hotel Royal St. Georges.
Lake Thun and Lake Brienz are just a short drive away from Interlaken, and are also must-visits (only 15 minutes to the start of Lake Brienz and 30 mins to Thun). Lake Brienz is known for its turquoise hue and stunning mountain views. Lake Thun has a similar tone, but a slightly deeper blue color that has stunning views of Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau. The city of Thun is a delightful place to stop; the river runs right through the main part of town and there are cute little bars and cafes right on the water. If you have time, visit the Oberhofen Castle, Thun Castle and Schadau Park and the stunning Schadau Castle. For military connoisseurs, there’s also a collection of armored vehicles used by the Swiss forces at Panzermuseum Thun.
Below are some photos of Thun and the Schadau Castle.
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