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We spent a long weekend in Interlaken at the end of August. Without having consulted any official statistics, Interlaken is I think the most visited place in Switzerland. Lucern is a close second. It is situated between two mountain lakes.


The city is built for tourism. Its name was originally Aarmühle but it was changed in 1891.  Tourism started in the early 1800’s and the place never looked back.


With increasing rail and boat links, hotels developed along the route to the Jungfrau. In late 1800’s several luxury hotels were built with views of the Jungfrau and surrounding mountains.


This casino is one of the reasons why this place became popular.


The main promenade – Höheweg –  links the east and west side of town.  It is lined on one side with hotels – the grandest of which is the Victoria-Jungfrau. The street is really busy – tour buses dropping off hordes of tourists to buy souvenirs and watches, horse-drawn carriages pick up and drop off passengers.


The Victoria-Jungfrau has a very nice garden/sidewalk cafe. We were very thirsty and glad to find place to rest our feet. The cafe is across from a large open lawn known as the Höhematte.


This is taken from the other side of the Höhematte – from left to right – the Metropole, the Victoria-Jungfrau.


As if there is not enough going on in front of the hotel – the hotel provided a girl playing guitar to serenade the patrons. She was singing Bésame Mucho when we sat down.

interlaken-5Along Höheweg, beside hotels, there were jewelers, boutiques, and eateries, including a Hooters !  The waitress were wearing orange uniform, like in the US, and the ambiance appears to be that of a family restaurant.

interlaken-7Paragliding is very popular and relatively cheap compared to everything else in this town. Lots of tandem paragliding. There are cliffs just behind the town for launches. We saw 8-10 of them all up there at the same time.


Höhematte offers the perfect landing space in the middle of town. The open space even allows several to land more or less one after the other.  It is a huge lawn – you cannot miss it. We did it once in Rio de Janeiro and the paragliders there land on the open beach.

interlaken-11So we spent a half hour sipping ice tea under an umbrella, listening to brazilian songs, and watching the paragliders land in front of the hotel. Nice!

interlaken-12Interlaken is very commercial – crawling with tourists, mostly changing trains heading for the mountains. It serves as the hub for the entire region.

interlaken-13It has two train stations (Ost and West) – the former serving mostly trains that go to Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald – very popular villages half way up the mountain. See later posts. The West station serves the main lines and international trains (German mostly).

interlaken-14Our first day was not suitable to go up to Jungfrau due to cloud coverage. If you look carefully at the picture below, in the middle, you can see Jungfrau.


More to come … but here is a map to help orientation. Click to enlarge.

Screen Shot 2013-09-29 at 11.49.13 PM


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