Interlaken, Switzerland is known for its adventurous activities that draw thrill seekers from around the world. However, the Swiss town is also brimming with activities for families traveling with children. Here are my top four activities for families traveling to Interlaken, Switzerland that parents will enjoy too.
1. St. Beatus Caves
The exterior to St. Beatus Caves was the initial factor that drew me to this site. The cave entrance looks as though it jumped straight out of a page of Lord of the Rings. The caves themselves consist of over a km of lighted pathways that are littered with underground waterfalls, stalagmites & stalactites and tunnels & caverns. The caves were named after St. Beat who was said to have chased a dragon into the caves in the 6th century.
Visitors have the choice to take a group tour, which runs every 45 minutes, or explore the caves on your own (my recommendation). You are free to stay in the caves as long as you like, but an average visitor stays around 75 minutes. It can get quite chilly in the caves (temp stays between 8 and 10°C) so don’t forget to bring a jacket. The caves are accessible by the Interlaken city bus route or by car (via bike or boat are also options). The caves are open from 9:45 am to 5 pm daily, but are closed for a few months in the winter.
CHF 18 for Adults
CHF 10 for Children 6-16
*Discount given with Berner-Oberland Visitors Card
CHF 49 for a Family Pass (includes 2 parents/grandparents and their children/grandchildren 6-16)
2. Kayaking on Lake Brienz
We rented kayaks on Lake Brienz for a half day. There was also the option to rent paddle boards or canoes. Both lakes in Interlaken are a beautiful turquoise blue (glacier fed) that have sprawling views of the mountains. Personally, I found Lake Brienz to be the most beautiful due to its more vibrant color so we decided to kayak there.
Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards can be rented from Hightide Kayak School, while paddle boards can be rented from SUP Fit and Fun which are both accessible from Interlaken by bus. For more information on routes check out their Paddle Trail Website. Hightide Kayak School also offers a family fun 1/2 day tour.
~ CHF 60 for a double sit on top kayak 1/2 day
~ CHF 70 for an open canoe 1/2 day
~ CHF 50 for a paddle board 1/2 day
3. Ride the Funicular to the Top of Harder Kulm
Harder Kulm looms over 754 meters over Interlaken (1,322 km above sea level) offering sweeping views of the city situated between Lake Thun & Brienz. From atop Harder Kulm there is a remarkable view of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau.
There are two ways to summit Harder Kulm. One can chose to ride the funicular- a mountainside railroad, or hike to the top of Harder Kulm. We chose to take the funicular to the top which lasts about 10 minutes. Based on my research, the trail to the top of Harder Kulm takes between 2-2.5 hours. Once you arrive, there is a restaurant and a lookout point called Two Lakes Bridge that both boast panoramic views. If you chose not to hike your way up, there are several hiking trails that you can explore at the summit.
The Funicular runs every 30 minutes starting at 9:10 am (8:10 on Sundays for brunch) daily. The railway is operating from April 14 to November 25 in 2018. The railway station is just a short walk from the Interlaken-Ost railway station. The trail to the summit also starts next to this station.
CHF 32 per adult
CHF 16 per adult with Swiss Travel Pass or Half Fare Card
CHF 24 per adult with Eurail/Interrail pass
CHF 16 per child (6-16) without a family pass
Free: child under 6 or child with family card
4. Swim at Lake Thun
Perfect for a chill day- Kifferinseli is a small park located on the stunning Lake Thun that was recommended to us by our hostel. The park is a hangout for locals and tourists alike with many families lounging, playing games, “swimming” and enjoying the views.
Kifferinseli offers benches, a public restroom and a grassy area perfect for a picnic. There is not a beach, but people swim off the edge of the park anyways. The park does not have much of a shallow area, so floats or life jackets would be helpful for small children. The water is quite cold so many of the tourists (including myself) were jumping in just to say they did it. The park is accessible via Interlaken bus.
Interested in planning a full European backpacking trip? Check out my post here. I hope you enjoy Interlaken, Switzerland!