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Located among the scenic beauty of the Swiss Alps, Interlaken is a town in the Bernese Oberland. With the Brienz lake to its east and the Thun lake to its west, the city is positioned as if it were a painting. A settlement since the stone age and the bronze age, this city lies a witness to the evolution of mankind through ages. Settlements are often discovered around the area. Donning a very old schoolish aura, Interlaken is home to a mere five thousand people. With its old timber houses amid the high mountains and thick forests, the city replicates one of the old times. The mountains and snow around make the place great for skiing and hiking. Tourism being a major attraction of the place, Interlaken attracts tourists, travel enthusiasts and nature lovers from all over the world.
The history of this city speaks richly of engaging access to the place due to the development of transport and its possibility. Though the picturesque mountains and the emerald coloured lakes are the major sources of attraction, Interlaken is home to numerous other locations, making this place nothing less than a paradise. The Touristik-Museum or the Museum of tourism in the Jungfrau region, the Unspunnen castle and the St. Beatus Cave and waterfalls speak volumes about the rich history of this beautiful city. The waterfalls at the St. Beatus cave are absolutely breathtaking and are bound to keep one hooked on to them. The mountain village also has specimens from the 12th and 14th-century gothic architecture in the Unterseen, lying at the foot of Mt. Harder.
Surrounded by the ethereal lakes Brienz and Thun, the city of Interlaken offers the view of a lifetime of these exquisite lakes. The view of these lakes is no less than a painting from history. Exhibiting bright hues of green, the view is extremely soothing. Entertaining tourists since the 19th century, this place has never disappointed them. Though the first world war caused obstacles in the tourism industry, the hamlet established itself with the services speaking for themselves. This city is also home to Niederhorn, a location comprising diverse natural habitat and wildlife. Home to numerous species, Niederhorn particularly resides in the rare cuckoo, ibexes, marmots and countless others. With its weekly wildlife tours, Niederhorn provides a great view of spectacular viewpoints around the area.
Best time to visit
With the temperatures being a comfortable 18 C to 20 C, the months of summer between June and August are the best time to visit Interlaken. The winters here are rough with temperatures reaching unbearable lows. The temperature and climate of summer offer for calming walks and to soak in the ethereal beauty of the city. Often a commonly chosen tourist place, Interlaken is in great demand during the summer months. The period between the end of May and the last week of September is ideal for touring. Expenses of visiting would rise during the months of peak summer during July and August. Planning the trip early and making required arrangements would be benefitting and easily fits in the budget.
Image by kBandara from flickr
Located at an altitude of 1322 meters and a 64-degree gradient, the Harder Kulm is a spectacular viewpoint. It provides alluring views of the Jungfrau region, the Harder Alpine wildlife park and the city of Interlaken completely. Walking back from the Harder Kulm, visit the Harder Alpine Wildlife park to wander amidst the lush green nature. This wildlife park is also home to marmots and ibexes, also being successful in increasing the number of the once-endangered ibexes.
Image by DHuiz from flickr
Lake Brienz and Lake Thun
On the west side of Interlaken, lies the narrow lake, Thun. This lake can be explored in cruise boats operating all year or the paddle steamers, especially during the summer. On its western end, lake Thun has a small valley by the same name. This valley is home to ancient Roman artefacts, armour, tapestries and furniture. Several churches and castles are present along the shore of this lake, usually Romanesque. On the east side of Interlaken, is the emerald green Lake Brienz. This is higher in altitude than Lake Thun and can be visited in the same way. Apart from the usual paddle steamers and cruises, kayaks, rowboats and pedalos can be rented for self-exploration of the lake.
A rail-road journey from the Interlaken Ost railway station takes passengers along a picturesque and artistic view to the Schynige Platte. The place provides exquisite views of the Alps, including the Jungfrau range and lake Thun. A relatively easy trail is present, walking through which panoramic views can be witnessed. The Schynige Platte has been open to visitors since 1893 and is home to 600 species of flowers. On certain days, the locals can be found playing the traditional Swiss Alphorns at the station.
Touristik Museum or the Museum of Tourism
The exquisite growth of tourism in the Jungfrau region can be experienced in this museum. Housing models of early coaches, railway locomotives, bicycles and lake steamers, this place provides an enriching journey through the development of tourism in the region. The museum also showcases how small villages experienced development through tourism. Art and photos from the bygone times are displayed here to show the geological beauty and the folk traditions of the region through ages. The displays and artefacts are mostly labelled in English.
St. Beatus Cave and Waterfalls
The legend here says that a dragon took shelter in these caves when being chased down by the monk, Beatus. This series of caves with long passages and hallways along the hillside behold numerous underground waterfalls. The caves and waterfalls along with mirror lakes, underground caverns, stalactites and stalagmites can be explored alone or with the help of a guide. The view of this place is ethereal and charming. This place can be reached by a bus from Interlaken and is a 10-minute walk.
Located at the heart of Interlaken, the park was left as open space by a group of hoteliers and citizens who acquired it. Home to numerous rare species of flowers, this place is surrounded by the famous Victoria Jungfrau hotel. The Jungfrau range is visible from here and appears as if it has been surrounded by colourful flower beds. The park also has the Garden of Friendship, the first Japanese garden in Switzerland. Hohematte park is usually the favourite landing sport of hang glides, an adventurous sport which is often sought after. Apart from hanging glides, the milder horse-drawn carriages are parked in front of the park. During the winters, the park converts into an ice skating rink, comfortable for both beginners and fast skaters.
Surrounded by mountains and houses on hilltops, Wengen is a small village near Interlaken. The city has numerous ski clubs and can be reached only by train. The village appears as if it were a fairytale with dreamy houses and no cars. It has a population of around 1500 people, which limits the number of vehicles to stations only. While visiting Wengen, do not miss the famous Lauterbrunnen, a downhill skiing competition.
A dreamy world with impeccable scenic beauty, Grindelwald is a resort 1000 meters above sea level. This place is a 45-minute journey from Interlaken via train. It has also featured in the Harry Potter series with its mysterious and appealing nature. Apart from nature, this region also gives the delight of tasteful wines and wood fire pizzas. Do not miss to try these amazing treats.
Located near the Bernese Alps, Schilthorn resembles ‘The Wall’ from the Game of Thrones series. It has an altitude of nearly 3000 meters and offers visuals of all the nearby mountainous regions. The place also resides a beautiful and famous revolving restaurant of the name Piz Gloria. The eatery serves a good number of regional dishes with the original flavour intact.
Image by xiquinhosilva from flickr
Set in the older part of the town, Unterseen presents a gothic architecture view. The place is primarily a mountainous village with old wooden chalets and Greenlands. The animals grazing around the area give it a very rural charm and scenic beauty. Unterseen can be reached through a bus from the Interlaken bus station or by foot. Exploring this area by foot is a divine feeling with the surrounding calmness.