To this day, Interlaken, Switzerland remains my favorite travel destination in the entire world. Picture the most magnificent blue lakes surrounded on all sides by majestic mountains. This small town, nestled in the Bernese Alps, is heaven on earth for adventure seekers.
Although this is a popular travel destination year-round, I highly suggest visiting Interlaken in summer. Not only will you have beautiful weather, but you’ll be able to experience a wide range of activities.
In this guide, learn exactly what to do in Interlaken in the summer to make your trip unforgettable.
What To Do In Interlaken In Summer
I was incredibly impressed by the plethora of activities available in this tiny Swiss town. At no point during my summer trip did I wonder, “what is there to do in Interlaken?” The opportunities for adventure are all-encompassing.
If you are a nature-lover, don’t think twice about visiting this town for your next vacation. Here are some of the best things to do in Interlaken, Switzerland in the summer:
1. Hike Harder Kulm
Interlaken is so visually beautiful that it would be insulting not to see the entire town from above. Our favorite hike in the Bernese Alps was the Harder Kulm Trail.
Lace-up your hikers for a 4.5-mile out-and-back hike up to the coveted Harder Kulm viewpoint and observation deck.
At the top of this mountain, you’ll have spectacular views of both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Of all of the places in the world, I’ve never seen blue lake water quite this vibrant.
This is a moderately difficult hike since you will be walking uphill for two miles. However, I recommend hiking Harder Kulm for anyone who is in decent physical condition.
If an uphill trek doesn’t sound like fun to you, I recommend taking the funicular up to the top of Harder Kulm. If you’ve never heard of a funicular (I wasn’t quite sure what this was at first either), it resembles a train and it takes you effortlessly up to the viewpoint.
The trailhead for Harder Kulm can be a bit difficult to find if you’re new in town. The easiest way to locate it is by finding the Harderbahn railway station; this is where the funicular operates.
2. Kayak On Lake Brienz
When I first saw Lake Brienz and Lake Thun, I was in absolute awe. I couldn’t believe that the blue color of these lakes was occurring naturally.
To get a better view of the lakes, rent a kayak and spend an afternoon on the water. We rented a kayak on the southwest side of Lake Brienz, which cost 10 Euro for 2-3 hours.
Note: It can become extremely hot during the summer months in Interlaken. If you’re sensitive to the sun, be sure to pack sunscreen.
3. Swim In Lake Thun
Spend more time on the lakes of Interlaken by swimming in Lake Thun. There are plenty of swimming spots on the shores of Lake Thun, so find a secluded beach and dive in.
Another option would be to rent bicycles and tour the circumference of the lake.
While you’re biking, stop along the way for a quick swim. Be aware that the water is relatively cold throughout the year, but this is the perfect way to cool off on a hot summer day in Interlaken.
Note: A couple of friends of ours even found a bridge to jump off of into the Aare Gorge, the river that connects these two lakes. This seemed like an awesome activity after hiking up Harder Kulm, however, I cannot be 100% certain that it’s legal.
4. Take A Day Trip To Lauterbrunnen
When I was a child, my favorite movie was the Sound of Music. Watching Julie Andrews and the kids dance through the beautiful Austrian Alps put me in the best mood. I wanted so badly to teleport to that exact location.
If you’re looking for the Sound of Music kind of natural beauty, taking a day trip to Lauterbrunnen is the best thing for you to do while visiting Interlaken. Spend the day exploring the town, while gawking at the breathtaking sights.
Whether you’re nibbling on Swiss chocolate, checking out one of the 72 waterfalls in the area, or enjoying a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop, you will not be disappointed in a day trip to Lauterbrunnen.
5. Go Canyoning For An Epic Adventure
This one isn’t for the faint of heart, but it was by far the best thing we did when visiting Interlaken. Prior to our trip, I had never heard of canyoning.
Imagine jumping off cliffs, sliding down waterfalls, and repelling off steep ridges into the raging canyon below. This is canyoning and it’s the ultimate adrenaline rush.
We decided to go canyoning with the company Outdoor Interlaken and I couldn’t recommend them more. They are the best company because they’re extremely knowledgeable and they take every safety precaution.
We chose to go canyoning in Chli Schliere. The drive out to the canyon is approximately 45 minutes, but you’ll spend 5+ hours exploring the canyon. If you’re choosing between trips offered from Outdoor Interlaken, Canyoning Chli Schliere is the best!
6. Take To The Skies: Go Skydiving + Paragliding
If you’re wondering what to do in Interlaken in the summer, look to the skies! Adrenaline sports are some of the best things to do in Interlaken; if you’ve never been skydiving or paragliding, what better place to try than in Interlaken.
Although we didn’t go skydiving or paragliding during our trip to Interlaken, I was overly envious of the people that did. Seeing the mountain ranges and aquamarine lakes from above must be out-of-this-world incredible.
7. Attend The Greenfield Music Festival
This one is for music lovers!
Plan your trip to Interlaken during the Greenfield Music Festival and party all weekend with awesome musical acts.
It was a complete fluke that we ended up in Interlaken during the Greenfield Music Festival, but we are so glad it worked out that way. We watched Linkin Park and the Dropkick Murphys rock all night on stage; this was by far one of the coolest experiences during our entire European trip.
The Greenfield Music Festival is set for June 11-13, 2020. Don’t miss out!
8. Visit Oberhofen Castle
Take a walk through the gardens of Oberhofen Castle or admire this magnificent mansion from afar. Located on the shores of Lake Thun, Oberhofen Castle is a must-visit during your summer trip to Interlaken.
There is also a museum that you can visit, which is located inside the castle. We chose to forgo the museum, but I’ve heard that it’s very interesting and gives great insight into the Bernese culture. If you have time, definitely check out the museum in Oberhofen Castle.
9. Go White Water Rafting
Another activity for the adventure junkies: white water rafting must be added to your summer itinerary in Interlaken. There are several rivers to choose from, all varying in intensity.
Again, Outdoor Interlaken is by far the best company to book your excursion. They offer trips for extreme adventurers, as well as trips for families.
10. Hop On The Schynige Platte Railway
During your summer trip to Interlaken, I recommend taking a train ride on the Schynige Platte Railway.
Start in the small village of Wilderswil and ride through the mountains to Schynige Platte where you’ll find fields and fields of wildflowers.
Many tourists head up to Schynige Platte for the hiking adventures in the area. Our favorite hike in Schynige Platte was the Panorama Trail, which you can read more about below.
11. Hike Up Schynige Platte Panorama Trail
After seeing the Eiger and Jungfrau from the train window, you’ll be itching to find the perfect mountain hike in Schynige Platte. Opt to hike the Schynige Platte Panorama Trail.
Schynige Platte is an amazing trail that offers incredible views. This 4-mile loop is an easy hike and is great for people of all fitness levels.
There are also several other hikes that start at the Schynige Platte visitor center. Spend an afternoon hiking all of the trails in this area before returning to Interlaken for a filling dinner.
12. Day Trip To Grindelwald
Another Sound of Music-esque town to visit during your summer vacation in Interlaken is Grindelwald. Grindelwald is located just 30 minutes by train from Interlaken; the perfect distance for a day trip.
Our favorite activity in Grindelwald was hiking.
This town is full of incredible hiking trails including Eiger Trail and Männlichen Mountain. Regardless of your physical fitness condition, you’re sure to find a hike that suits you in Grindelwald.
13. Visit Jungfraujoch
Venture to the top of Europe by train to Jungfraujoch. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit during your summer trip to Interlaken. You’ll experience some of the most beautiful views in all of Europe at the observation deck.
Here, you’ll see an astonishing panorama of Aletsch Glacier and some of the highest mountains in Switzerland.
Where To Stay In Interlaken, Switzerland In Summer
During our visit to Interlaken, Switzerland, we stayed at two fantastic and affordable hostels. Since Interlaken (and Switzerland in general) is so expensive, it was really important for us to find budget accommodation.
The first hostel we stayed at was called Balmer’s Tent Village. Prior to arrival, I was quite skeptical about staying in tents. Although I’m accustomed to camping, I was unsure how a tent-style hostel accommodation would work.
To our surprise, the tents were massive, the beds were cozy, and the staff was friendly. They offer a swimming pool, BBQ grill, and happy hour specials in the community tent, which was a pleasant surprise.
The next hostel we stayed at was a bit fancier (in comparison to the Tent Village). Just down the road from Balmer’s Tent Village is another hostel called Balmer’s Herberge. Enjoy the summer Biergarten and fresh breakfast at this hostel as you ponder what to do during your Interlaken vacation.
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Continue exploring the mountains of Europe here: The Best Towns to Explore in the Bavarian Alps.
The Wrap-Up: What To Do In Interlaken In Summer
No longer must you wonder what to do in Interlaken in the summer. This small town tucked in the mountains of Switzerland is perfect for adventurers and nature lovers. Use this list to plan your perfect summer itinerary in Interlaken and prepare to be wowed by the sights.
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