3 day itinerary for Interlaken, Switzerland

by Kelly

Planning a trip to Switzerland? Make sure to set 3 days aside to explore the Interlaken area! It is centred amongst the most beautiful area you will ever experience. Our 3 day itinerary for Interlaken, Switzerland will solve all your Switzerland trip questions!

This blog was in collaboration with Switzerland Tourism and Swiss Travel System. All opinions are our own, we are excited to show you this incredible country!

Where is Interlaken?

Interlaken is approximately 2 hours south of Zurich by train. It is set between two incredibly beautiful lakes and is perfectly situated to explore one of the most spectacular areas we have ever been to.

How to get to Interlaken?

We arrived in Interlaken by train from Bern where we had spent a day prior. The transport system in Switzerland is excellent and you will be able to access most of the locations by either train or bus. We had Swiss Travel Passes which included travel on any trains or buses, it was so useful and made travel in Switzerland incredibly easy, we highly recommend it!

Where to stay in Interlaken?

We stayed at No. 8 Boutique Hotel. It was excellent and in a great location. We were able to walk there easily from the train station. Check in was simple and contact free. There was a shared kitchen and our room was very comfortable, we would definitely stay there again. It made the perfect base to explore the town and greater area.

Best tour from Zurich

If you can’t stay in Interlaken check out this epic tour from Zurich, you will get to go to the top of Jungfrau which is something we can’t wait to come back and do!

How to spend 3 days in Interlaken?

This is our ideal itinerary for 3 days in Interlaken, we stayed there in April 2023 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is what we did, feel free to change things up! This is just an indicator or what you can see from Interlaken as a base. The best part of this is that these activities are all great for any season.

Day 1 of your 3 day itinerary for Interlaken itinerary:

We arrived mid morning on the train and walked to our accommodation. It was only a short walk from the train station which was really simple. We checked in and left our bags in our room so we could spend the rest of the day exploring.

Grosse Staatsschleuse / Obere Schleuse

We decided to spend our first day exploring our local area of Interlaken. From the train station we walked along the Aare River which was really charming. The beautiful colour of the water slowly drifting past was mesmerising. We came across the Grosse Staatsschleuse / Obere Schleuse which is a lock built in 1854/1855. It regulates the water flowing from Lake Brienz. It is also on the border between Interlaken and Unterseen, has five gates and you can walk on it.

The fish ladder

Right near the lock is a beautifully designed fish ladder which is aiding to reintroduce and encourage fish back into Lake Brienz. In the past the nearby monastery had control of the fish in the lake. They dedicated themselves to catching fish building weirs to regulate the water. This meant dwindling fish numbers in Lake Thun and caused friction between the town and monastery. Nowadays the weirs are remotely operated and the rate of flow through it is regulated constantly. The fish ladder supports the easy circulation of fish from Lake Brienz to Lake Thun. It is a pretty place to visit and relax a while.

Winter Kayaking tour of Lake Brienze

Head out on a kayaking tour of Lake Brienze! It is such a beautiful place to explore and this is the perfect way to do it.

Lake Brienz is one of the best things to do in Interlaken

Head to the Höhematte to watch the paragliders

Heading in to the main area of Interlaken we went to check out the paragliders! Paragliding is huge in Interlaken and if you are adventurous you should give it a try. The views would be spectacular of the snowy mountains and lush green landscapes around the little towns. If you aren’t keen to see if from the air you can watch them landing in the Höhematte park. This massive green space is perfect for their landings. There are park benches there to relax on and a pretty fountain. Take a picnic or coffee, sit and relax while waiting for them to land.

Walk the main street of Interlaken

Get acquainted with your local area before going further away. The main street of Interlaken is full of beautiful stores, historic hotels and is set right near the river. You will find the main Interlaken train station here and the larger supermarket options.

Interlaken Castle, Church and Catholic Church

The Interlaken Castle is set just back from the main road. The Interlaken Castle, which was a former monastery, the castle church and Catholic church are all right next to each other. Set in a really lovely garden area there is also a little fountain at the front. The castle was once a monastery and first documented mention was in 1133. The monastery was later used as a hospital, is now the Interlaken-Oberhasli government governor’s office. There is a beautiful Gothic cloister in the former courtyard and its chapel from 1452.

The Japanese Garden

The Interlaken Japanese Garden is beautiful and a lovely spot to stop by in town. Incredibly peaceful it is called the Garden of Friendship. It was a gift from Interlaken’s Japanese twin town of Ōtsu.

There is a pond, pavilion and reflects the landscape of Interlaken. It symbolises the roaring waterfalls and mountains, the Shinji pond represents lakes Brienz and Thun. Every element has special meaning and symbolism according to the Japanese tradition.

Japanese Garden in Interlaken

Jump on a train and go to Thun Castle

As you are right near the train station hop on a train to Thun. It is a town at the top of Thun Lake. Trains take about 30 to 40 minutes to get there from Interlaken and it is a pretty ride. Thun Castle is an easy walk from the Thun train station. It is full of history and great to spend a few hours to really see it well. While you are in Thun stop by Flusswelle Thun and see if there are any surfers tackling the current. They are great to watch from the side or the bridge.

Take the train from Thun to Spiez

On the way back from Thun stop off at Spiez. It is another gorgeous Swiss town with its own church, castle and viewpoints to check out. We loved walking this town. It has a historic trail to follow. You will end up at the castle and its beautifully landscaped gardens. You can go inside to the castle museum and check it out or just enjoy it from the outside. There are plenty of benches to sit and soak up the landscape with lake views right in front and a café on site for lunch or coffee

Go Night Sledding!

Head out on an evening adventure to go sledding in the mountains. Such an epic ride and doing it at night makes it even more magical.

Day 2 of your 3 day itinerary for Interlaken:

Day 2 means you have had a great sleep and breakfast ready to spend a day exploring further afield! Today we are heading off to explore the wider area!

Take the train to Lauterbrunnen

Lauterbrunnen is one of my favourite places in the world. It really feels like you are in heaven. Imagine towering snowy mountains, green hills and valleys, a cute town full of chalets and loads of cute animals. Only half an hour by train from Interlaken you will be there before you know it. Have an early breakfast and get to Interlaken in the morning so you can spend the whole day there. You will find a pub, cafes, bike hire, a church by the river and the most picturesque street you’ve ever walked along with a waterfall that can be seen from here.

Head up to Murren and Grimmelwald

I would head up to Murren and Grimmelwald immediately when you arrive in Interlaken. It is just a beautiful area and there are viewpoints with sweeping views of the valley. You will walk through the cute towns and feel the Swiss vibe surrounded by chalets. Access these towns by cable cars which can be found at the end of Lauterbrunnen or at the start. You can visit these towns in a loop from one to the other.

Take the iconic yellow train to Wengen

Wengen is another charming Swiss town and it is located just above Lauterbrunnen. The iconic yellow train takes a scenic journey up to the town. From there you can walk the town and complete one of many hikes through the area. We hiked out to a beautiful view point and it only took around an hour or so each way. The view was incredible and the hike was not difficult at all.

Trümmelbach falls

We loved visiting Trümmelbach falls, they are pretty incredible. You will walk inside the mountain and experience the force of the water gushing through. It is definitely a full on experience and one we really liked. The caves are pretty dimly lit, you can see your way but it can also be a little slippery. Watching the water from the glacier rush through is breath-taking. You can walk out there or take the bus that goes to the gondola up to Murren and could do it on the way out there.

Have a picnic with stunning views

I love nothing more than finding excellent locations for picnics. As a coeliac is really helps me keep control over the ingredients of my meals as I buy it all myself and often gluten free meals in restaurants are expensive so I will always opt for a picnic with a view over a café and restaurant. There is no better place for a picnic than in Switzerland, the views are just too perfect! There are two incredible locations for a picnic that I would recommend and have used myself. Our hike location in Wengen and right under the Lauterbrunnen waterfall.

Day 3 of your 3 day itinerary for Interlaken:

Spend today exploring the beautiful Lake Brienz! Interlaken is perfectly positioned near it and is a must see. You can take a boat cruise around the lakes and jump on and off at any locations they stop at before returning back to Interlaken. Alternatively you can choose to bike ride around the lake or hike them. If you have the Swiss Travel Pass these boats are included in the pass otherwise tickets are available at the lakes.

Lake Brienz

Lake Brienz is my favourite out of both Lakes. The colour is the most incredible shade of blue! We were going to bike ride around the lakes but unfortunately couldn’t hire one on the day that we planned to go. Make sure to book your bike or a bike riding tour in advance. Flying Wheels does bike hire and bike tours or Yellow Velo has gorgeous vintage and modern bikes for hire.


We took the boat across from Interlaken to Brienz and enjoyed the views along the way. It honestly was a beautiful way to see the landscape. The boat pulled in to about 3 or 4 towns and we are definitely coming back to explore more on our next trip.

The town of Brienz was lovely. We walked the promenade and the towns street admiring the cute town before going to the local store to grab supplies for a picnic lunch.

Hike along Lake Brienz

We jumped back on the boat and went across to the stop at Giessbach Waterfalls. Here we got off and had our picnic right at the boat stop. Before hiking back along Lake Brienz we went to see the waterfalls, they were easily accessed up some simple stairs.

We hiked through to Iseltwald which took us about 1.5 hours. It is seriously a beautiful walk and not too strenuous. At Iseltwald we checked out the town and made sure to visit the famous viewpoint that was featured in the movie Crash Landing into You.

We hopped back on a boat to Interlaken and enjoyed the slow cruise back to town. This was such a lovely day and we really enjoyed spending time on the lake.

Interlaken is such an incredible place to base yourself in Switzerland. There are many other destinations easily accessed from Interlaken by train. We could have spent a week or more exploring from here, it is definitely somewhere we will return to.

If you have any questions about planning your trip to Interlaken just leave a comment, we are happy to help!

Is there an easier way?

If you are looking for an easy way to see gorgeous Switzerland check out these awesome tours, they include everything from accommodation, meals and transport. Swiss Fairytale, a 8 days tour from Zurich to Stein am Rhein, Schaffhausen and 12 destinations, or European Extravaganza, a 7 days tour from Zurich to Interlaken, Grindelwald and 4 destinations.

Where to next:

Why you should visit Lauterbrunnen

How to visit Murren and Grimmelwald

Should I visit Lucerne or Interlaken?

Why Swiss Travel Pass is the best way to travel Switzerland

How to travel Switzerland on a budget

Why you should visit Lucerne

Lake Brienz boat cruise

Is Glacier Express worth it? A Review

Prettiest Lake in Interlaken

What to do in Lake Thun Interlaken

How to spend a morning in Interlaken

3 day itinerary for Interlaken

What to do in Interlaken when it rains

Best things to do in Bern, Switzerland

Best hotel in Bern Switzerland

Why you should visit St Moritz

Best hotel in St Moritz

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Jenny July 4, 2023 - 9:52 pm

So much helpful information. Definitely a real help in our planning.

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Kelly July 13, 2023 - 3:42 pm

Thank you that is great to hear!

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[…] between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, Interlaken is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Surrounded by the breathtaking Swiss Alps, this picturesque town attracts visitors from around the […]


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