Sunny in Switzerland: Interlaken

People standing on the observation deck in Interlaken
People standing on the observation deck in Interlaken

Sunny in Switzerland: Interlaken

by Tamala Malerk
Stripes Europe

Switzerland is known to be a world-class skiing destination, but there is so much to do there when the snow on the ground has melted, and the sun is high in the sky.  I recently got to spend a week in Switzerland and experienced all it had to offer when it was warm out. The first two stops were Zürich and Luzern. The final stop on the adventure was lovely Interlaken.

The first part of the adventure actually began on our way to Interlaken when Google maps attempted to have us drive up an extremely narrow (looked more like a bike path) one-way mountain lane without a guardrail. Thankfully, we found a good pull-over spot and was able to re-route on a much less dangerous path.

Once we arrived in Interlaken, we immediately set out walking around and exploring. One of the most breathtaking sites was the still snow-capped mountains in the distance.

Snow-capped mountains
Snow-capped mountains | Photo by Tamala Malerk

Along our 45-minute walk into town from our hotel in Wilderswil, we saw not only the mountains but also the local Interlaken brewery, Rugenbraeu, and restaurant where we promptly had lunch. Well, attempted to have lunch. Two days prior in the town of Lucerne, I ordered a cheese plate which came with cheese, fruit, bread and jam. In this area, ordering a “Käseplatte,” brought a literal mountain of Swiss cheese pieces on a plate in front of me. Thankfully, my spouse ordered a more varied and hearty meal and shared some of it with me.

Filled with delicious Swiss cheese, we continued our walk into the main part of town where we promptly made our way to a rail station where we rode an 1800s train-car over 1000 meters up in the air to make our way to one of the highest points in Interlaken, Harder Kulm. We even got a discount because our hotel provided us with free visitor cards as part of our stay. Once at the “top of Interlaken,” we had some drinks and ice cream at the Panorama Restaurant on site. They have a full food and drink menu for those with bigger appetites, plus fantastic hiking trails. (You can also hike up and down to the top of the mountain, but we didn’t have the expected five hours to spare to do that). After our ice cream, we took advantage of one of these trails, but heard some suspicious rustling in the bushes. I thought it was a small bear making its way towards us… I am happy to report it was actually someone’s Saint Bernard.

View from Harder Kulm | Photo by Tamala Malerk
View from Harder Kulm | Photo by Tamala Malerk

Once back on the ground, we started the trek back to the hotel. We passed a bright, familiar sign that we had not seen since we moved from the U.S.: The unmistakable neon orange giant letters of the “HOOTERS” sign. Now, I love living in Europe, but those who come from the U.S. will tell you that one of the things that the Europeans have not been able to top or even match is the delicious crunch and flavor of hot wings. We knew we had to stop, especially since my spouse and I are Florida natives, where the first Hooters originated. The restaurant was also playing a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game; needless to say, we were there for the rest of the evening, and I even bought a souvenir shirt.

There is no shortage of things to do in the Interlaken area, but we discovered in our two days there that Interlaken is filled with tourists (much more than Zurich and Lucerne). So, while we got to experience Harder Kulm, we didn’t get to go up one of the mountains or experience the caves because they were just too packed. However, that didn’t stop our adventure.

Roughly a thirty-minute drive from Interlaken are the Oberhofen and Thun Castles. While everyone else was crowded in Interlaken, we drove to these adjacent towns and had a fabulous time. At Schloss Oberhofen, we loved the interactive style of the museum, which demonstrated how the household was run when it was used as a residence. There was also a cafe on site where you can eat, drink and just watch the mountains and the water. At Schloss Thun, we enjoyed their temporary exhibit on swords and weapons of the castle, as well as making our way up to four separate castle towers and getting fantastic views of Thun.

Schloss Thun | Photo by Tamala Malerk
Schloss Thun | Photo by Tamala Malerk

We ended our last night in the Interlaken area by partaking in the Swiss classic, cheese fondue. We will definitely be back to the area to explore more of Thun and Oberhofen as well as hopefully to see some of those mountains and caves we missed, maybe even when it is not so sunny in Switzerland.

 

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