LOOKING FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN INTERLAKEN IN SUMMER?
To this day, Interlaken, Switzerland remains my favorite travel destination in the entire world. Picture the most magnificent blue lakes, with traditional wooden bridges, 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. This is the best time of year. Not only will you have beautiful weather, but you’ll be able to experience a wider range of Interlaken activities and water sports.
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 2022
I was incredibly impressed by the plethora of outdoor 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 adventurous activities are all-encompassing in this unique tourist destination.
If you are a nature-lover, don’t think twice about visiting this town for your next vacation. Here are some really great things to do in Interlaken and around central 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 Oberland was the Harder Kulm Trail.
Lace-up your hikers for a 4.5-mile round trip hike up to the coveted Harder Kulm viewpoint and observation deck. Sitting at 1,322m (4337ft) above sea level, from here you’ll have the best views of the town, lakes and surrounding mountain peaks.
At the top of this mountain, you’ll have spectacular views of both Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Of all of the most beautiful 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 (cable car or cogwheel train) 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 best way to locate it is by finding the Harderbahn railway station, just a short walk from the town center. This is where the funicular ride operates.
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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 beautiful lakes was occurring naturally.
To get a better view of the crystal clear lakes, rent a kayak and spend an afternoon on the deep blue waters. We rented a kayak on the southwest side of Lake Brienz, which cost 10 Euro for 2-3 hours. But if you’re a creature of leisure, you can also go on a boat trip.
If you don’t want to do a DIY kayak tour of Lake Brienz, you can book a guided tour with Hightide Kayak School here.
Note: It can become extremely hot during the summer months in Interlaken. If you’re sensitive to the sun, be sure to pack sunscreen for your kayak or boat tour.
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 of the Swiss Alps.
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. – Truly a unique experience!
We decided to go canyoning with the company Outdoor 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, Canyoning Chli Schliere is the best!
You can read more details and book your canyoning trip here.
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, Interlaken is one of the best places in the entire world to do so.
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.
Above all, we recommend booking with Outdoor Interlaken. They are by far the best company in the area.
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. Such a good time!
The Greenfield Music Festival is set for June 11-13, 2020. Don’t miss out!
8. Visit Oberhofen Castle
Take a walk through the beautiful 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 a very interesting popular attraction and gives great insight into the Bernese culture. If you have time, do check out the museum in Oberhofen Castle, it’s definitely worth visiting.
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.
You can book your white water rafting tour with Outdoor Interlaken here.
10. Hop On The Schynige Platte Railway
During your summer trip to Interlaken, I recommend taking a train ride on the Schynige Platte Railway. – Get to the train station ahead of time as trains are very punctual! After all, Switzerland is known for it’s awesome public transport system.
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, it’s a popular place for hiking adventures in the area. Our favorite hike in Schynige Platte was the Panorama Trail, which you can read more about below.
Then, after a long day of hiking, you can grab some traditional food and a cold beer at the panoramic restaurant at Berghotel Schynige Platte.
Book your Schynige Patte visit in advance by clicking here.
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 panoramic views of the nearby mountains and surrounding area. This 4-mile loop is an easy hike and is great for people of all fitness levels.
There are also several other hikes that share their starting point 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.
There is so much to do in Grindelwald, but our favorite activity was hiking. But you can also enjoy a leisurely stroll through the town center, admiring the historic buildings, local souvenir shops and quaint cafes.
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.
And if you like to get off the beaten path and find the hidden spots only locals know about, we suggest you hire a professional guide from the area.
13. Visit Jungfraujoch
Venture to the top of Europe by train to Jungfraujoch. – It’s the highest railway station in Switzerland!
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-visit during your summer trip to Interlaken. It’s one of the highest points in Switzerland. On a clear day, you’ll experience some of the most beautiful views in all of Europe at the viewing platform.
Here, you’ll see an astonishing panorama of Aletsch Glacier and some of the tallest mountains in Switzerland.
Book your trip up to Jungfraujoch here!
Where To Stay In Interlaken, Switzerland In Summer
During our visit we stayed at two fantastic and affordable hostels in the heart of Interlaken. 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, it was a great place! 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. This hostel has private rooms and you can enjoy the summer Biergarten and fresh breakfast, 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
With so many fun activities and awesome things to see, no longer must you wonder what to do in Interlaken in the summer. This small town tucked in the mountain scenery of Switzerland is perfect for adventurers and nature lovers. Use this list to plan your perfect Swiss summer itinerary in Interlaken and prepare to be wowed by the sights.
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