Hi everyone! Switzerland has been one of our dream trips for a while, and this past summer we were able to visit a few destinations there. Our first leg of the journey was spent in Interlaken for 3 nights. This small town is at the foot of the alps and known for being a great starting point for some adventure sports!
We were able to spend our nights at Balmers Hostel (which is part of the St. Christopher’s chain). This is a trusted name for us so we were excited to check this one out. It’s said to be one of the oldest hostels in Europe (though I have yet to find concrete proof) but it definitely had an authentic Swiss chalet feel. There’s also a bar that serves food and a variety of events in the evening to participate in.
We’ve put together a little list of the top five things you have to do while staying in Interlaken in summer, check it out:
Our last night in Interlaken we had made our reservation at Balmer’s Tent Village. About a 10 minute walk up the road from the main building, they set up a village of tents for the summer, for those interested in camping at the foot of the alps. We got a private tent, which was really nice and cozy. At night they have a campfire, jacuzzi and bar for campers to enjoy. If “real” camping isn’t your thing, this might be something fun to try as a more comfortable option. We ended up waking up early the morning we were camping, due to a busy day we had planned, and we were able to catch the sunrise over the Alps. It was still so quiet and felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.
This is one of our favorite recommendations for Interlaken. Although I did not participate in any adventure sports myself–Mark was much braver and went paragliding. We booked in advance with Outdoor Interlaken and scheduled a time to go. They even came straight to Balmer’s Hostel to pick him up in the morning. I was able to walk to the field where they landed and patiently awaited his arrival.
The total ride is about 15-20 minutes long and you are with an experienced paraglider who controls the wing above. They can make it a smooth and easy ride if you want, or they can do some upside down spins. (Of course Mark chose the more adventurous route). He was able to get some great shots of Interlaken and the Alps from above with our GoPro. Outdoor Interlaken also offers a variety of other actives, such as canyoning, skydiving, river-rafting and skiing. Check them all out here .
FUNKY CHOCOLATE CLUB
When in Switzerland, it’s crucial to get some Swiss Chocolate. Funky’s is a local spot where you can get some delectable treats at a reasonable price. (Separate from the box of chocolates we got, we also shared some chocolate covered strawberries). They also offer chocolate making classes. If we had more time in Interlaken, this would have been something we definitely would have done. Check out more information on their website here.
DAY TRIP TO THUN
Since Interlaken is small, it’s definitely easy to see a lot in a short amount of time. If you are there for a weekend, I recommend checking out the nearby town of Thun. It’s full of Swiss charm, with a lot of interesting historic sites to visit, such as castles and a tank museum. We loved it so much we dedicated a separate post to it! Click here to check out what to do and see in Thun for the day!
VISIT THE TOP OF SCHILTHORN
Although most travelers are eager to visit the top of Jungfrau, we are more inclined to recommend you visit Schilthorn instead. It’s a very similar experience, with equally beautiful views! There are many benefits to Schilthorn, including less crowds, cheaper tickets and views of Jungfrau itself. This was one of our favorite parts of our whole time in Switzerland. To learn more, check out our previous post here.
Even if adventure sports aren’t your thing, Interlaken has a lot to offer a curious traveler. Our only wish was that we had more time in this region. If we ever take a trip back to Switzerland, we will certainly make a return to this area.
Auf wiedersehen, Amanda