Interlaken, Switzerland – A Family Adventure Holiday

Interlaken in Switzerland has been a favorite European holiday destination for hundreds of years because of it’s natural alpine beauty. Now Interlaken is a great place for a fun family holiday at any time of the year. In summer, there are glorious alpine areas to explore, while in winter it becomes a snowy wonderland. The Swiss are always at the forefront of developing transport, accommodation, leisure, and adventure activities so Interlaken is just the right place for a family adventure holiday.

Interlaken, Switzerland, one of the best areas for leisure and adventure activities in the world.

Interlaken is at the center of the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland, surrounded by magnificent Alpine mountains, and offering spectacular views of three world famous peaks, the Eiger, the Jungfrau, and the Monch. Interlaken means “between lakes” in German, describing precisely how the bustling town is situated between two pristine lakes, Thun and Brienz.

Getting around in Switzerland is relatively easy, regardless of where you start your Swiss vacation. The Swiss are famous for their trains, for where they go, and for their punctuality: you can set your watch by them. In the Interlaken area there are over 45 mountain railways, funicular as well as cable cars, ski lifts that will help you to get places.

A funicular railway climbing up a steep incline in the Swiss Alps.

Your journey begins in Interlaken at just over 1,600 feet and climbs to over 11,000 feet. No wonder some passengers look slightly stunned in the  thinner mountain air, sometimes wandering around in rather inappropriate high heels and thin clothes not at all suitable. There is snow outside all year round with lots more in winter! You can just enjoy the spectacular view through windows or out on the viewing deck. Explore the sparkling ice palace for a chilly experience. You can take a walk on the Aletsch glacier where there is summer skiing, or find husky dogs to take you for a racy sled ride.

Accommodation is plentiful around Interlaken, from small Bed and Breakfast style to hostels to large hotels. so there is something to suit everyone. If you want to enjoy a special treat, consider staying overnight on top of the Schilthorn at 9,266 feet altitude. Imagine waking up where “Bond, James Bond” has been. Much of the Bond movie “On Her Majesties Secret Service” was filmed there. The 360o view from the top is spectacular, and your stay includes a day ticket for the mountain railway and cable car to the top as well as breakfast.

Imagine taking off from a high alpine meadow with an experienced paragliding pilot and slowly flying back down to Interlaken.

Once you are at the top of mountains, an exciting way of getting down is to take a paragliding or hang gliding flight. You will of course be flying with an experienced pilot, so it’s easy to follow their direction at all times. There are a number of launch areas surrounding Interlaken. Once in the air, you get to take in the amazing view as you fly over the forests and lakes to land in town. The pilot can even take photos of you in the air to record the adventure.

If flying is not for you, there are plenty of established walking and bicycling trails to help you explore. Quad bike tours are a fun way to spend a day on established mountain trails around the upper meadows of the Bernese Oberland. Stop off to learn about local farms and how these Swiss farmers milk their cows, make cheese, and other products, and then share a hearty lunch overlooking deep U-shaped valleys.

While trekking on foot, you can employ the services of friendly goats to carry your day pack for you. Hugeiss -Trekking with Goats is a fun way to wander through forests and see the summer meadows. Goats are always entertaining, and you will wonder where they find the energy for their happy bleating and leaping. The goats are not only good fun, they are all representative of endangered species and are supported by the Swiss Foundation PROSpecieRara. Their aim is to foster the breeding of old style domestic animals, and also to cultivate endangered plants used for food in days gone by.You can even prearrange a picnic or the tour guide/goat herder will whip up a delicious traditional cheese fondue en route.

A shy marmot checking out his surroundings in the Jungfrau region of Switzerland.

In the summer months of May through to August, you feel like spending time around the lakes and rivers. There is an historic paddle steamer, and excursion boats, as well as kayaks and rafts for the rivers. The whole family will enjoy a trip to Iseltwald Lido pool directly beside the lake Brienz for swimming and relaxing. The lake itself can be glacial in temperature, so the pool offers warmer temperatures. There are sun umbrellas, picnic tables, a paddling pool, table tennis ,and other activities for children of all ages to enjoy.

Also on the side of Lake Thun are the geological wonders of St Beatus Caves. The name comes from the legend that in the 6th Century AD, St Beatus banished the dragon that lived within. It might actually be more fun if the dragon still lived there, but there is over a half a mile of halls, nooks, and crannies to explore with impressive stalactites and stalagmites and fast flowing rivers. Children have a special treat with a playground that includes a dragon slide. You can also learn more about caves in the Swiss Cave Museum nearby.

If it’s too chilly outside, you might try the Bodelibad Interlaken for swimming and other wellness treatments such as sauna, steam bath, and massage. There is also a fitness room with lots of different training equipment and professional trainers on hand to help out.

Learn how to make delicious Swiss Chocolate at the Chocolate Club in Interlaken.

Another good rainy day activity is the Magical Interlaken Tour, a sightseeing tour that gives you a good overview of the Interlaken area, its history, and current events. You will board the Bödelibahn for a couple of hours to tour Interlaken and surrounds, culminating in the Jungfrau Park. Here there are six especially themed halls.  At the Jungfrau-Aletsch miniature arena, you can take a virtual flight over the area to get a bird’s eye view. Then there is Erich von Däniken’s (the author of “Chariot of the Gods”) Mystery World with interpretations of some of the strange artifacts and places on our planet where people still are not quite sure how they were made or why. Mystery Land has a lot of activities for children, enough to keep a family occupied for some hours regardless of the weather outside.

Think of Swiss food, and what is one of the most delicious that comes to mind? Chocolate! A fun place to find out about chocolate is the Chocolate Club in the center of town. Under the guidance of friendly chocolatiers, decked out in chefs’ hats and aprons to protect your clothes, you will get to make your own chocolate masterpieces – which, of course, you get to take home with you. Not that you will be hungry, as you can taste as much as you like while you are there.

Interlaken has so much to offer for your next family holiday, regardless of what time of year you plan to visit. Check for current updates on the Internet or at the well informed information centers in the town itself. Have a great time in Interlaken, Switzerland.

Linda Mary Smith
Linda Mary Smith

Born of immigrant parents in Aotearoa New Zealand, exploring the world comes naturally to Linda and she is aware that there are many places in the world to call ‘home’. She grew up on a busy sheep farm so animals are always in her life – cats, dogs, birds, horses, camels… Linda Mary Smith currently lives in the ‘Meddle East’ with Bedouin neighbors, working as a digital nomad and occasional tour leader. She’s taught horse riding, scuba diving, paragliding, belly dancing, and English as way to share her passions. Follow her quirky view on life on her blog!

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