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Interlaken is the centre of tourism in the heart of the Swiss Alps and has a huge range of activities and sights on offer. From spectacular mountain views via jaw-dropping gondola rides to getting a little wet while you experience what role water plays in this country.
There are also plenty of things to do in Interlaken with kids that they will absolutely love. And in this post, we are going to share with you all the possibilities, both in and around Interlaken.
Switzerland is a perfect family destination, with plenty to see and do with kids in Switzerland. Interlaken is a must-visit during your stay!
THINGS TO DO IN INTERLAKEN WITH KIDS
The Bernese Oberland region is a great place to visit in Switzerland with kids because of the huge variety of kid-friendly activities and day trips from Interlaken.
If you have just arrived in Interlaken, or it’s your first day, then heading out on foot to explore the town is a great idea. Of course, most kids won’t walk for long without a little entertainment, so here are the highlights of things to see within the charming town.
Starting off at the park in the centre of town called Hohenmatt, it’s a great place to stretch your legs in the heart of Interlaken. With snow-capped mountains in the background and loads of green space to enjoy a picnic, this is a beautiful area, especially in the spring with flowers blooming.
Interlaken has several large parks perfect for an afternoon picnic or some time playing on the playground equipment.
However, the best part is the paragliders that drop from the skies throughout the day on their way back from Beatenberg. There is no guaranteed time to see them, however later in the day is usually a good bet.
There are often events held in the park throughout the year, such as concerts and animal shows.
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The Old Town (Unterseen)
Heading to the old town of Interlaken is always a fun way to see some history, and there are a few things for children here too. There are often ducks and swans swimming along the river, which you can feed or just enjoy watching from a distance.
The old town of Interlaken is laced with narrow, cobblestone streets and quaint buildings dating back to the 16th century. It’s a popular place for a leisurely stroll with kids in tow.
Start at the Heiliggeistkirche, the oldest church in town, then explore the labyrinth of side streets lined with colourful flowers. If your kids are getting restless, stop for a treat at one of the many cafes or gelaterias.
There is a historic covered bridge at the very end of town which is not something you will see in most towns.
You can also pop into the Tourist Museum, TOURISMUSEUM, while you are in the area. It shows how tourism for pleasure has developed in the region over the last century or so, which is quite interesting given the infrastructure the Swiss have invested in, such as the Jungfrau train line.
Harder Kulm & The Alpenwildpark
The last port of call on a day out in Interlaken is the cogwheel train (or funicular) that steeply climbs up to an epic view from Harder Kulm.
A funicular ride is a great way to get your bearings and see the stunning mountains in the distance. It is also a fun experience in itself because the train climbs up at quite an angle!
On your way to or from the train, you can also stop with the kids to see some of the unique Alpine wildlife that inhabits the mountain regions in Switzerland. Most of these animals you will rarely see in the wild, so this is a great opportunity to catch a peek at them.
Although, if your family love the outdoors, you can also hike your way up the top!
FAMILY ACTIVITIES AROUND INTERLAKEN
If your children are hankering for something a little more active, then here are a few more activities just outside town that are great for families visiting Interlaken.
Boat Tour on Lake Brienz
One of the best ways to see the Swiss Alps is from the water, and Lake Brienz is one of the most beautiful lakes in Switzerland to take a boat trip.
There are several boat companies offering cruises from Interlaken, both with and without commentary. If you have time, take a round-trip cruise that includes a stop in the medieval town of Brienz, located on the opposite side of Brienz Lake.
More Interlaken water sports for families to try:
- River rafting
- Water skiing
Explore Interlaken & Surrounds By Bike
Interlaken is the perfect place to explore by bicycle, and there are several rental shops in town. If you’re feeling adventurous, take a mountain bike ride along one of the mountain trails. For a more leisurely experience, stick to the paved paths along Lake Brienz.
There are bicycle tours and e-bike tours or hire available to suit different levels of difficulty and various bike routes.
Or take the bike shuttle bus to Bikepark Thunersee and explore the area around Lake Thun.
Adventure Park Seilpark Interlaken
Seilpark is the German word for a Rope Park and this is great for those who are not afraid of heights. There are lots of different routes through the trees over a variety of obstacles with a range of difficulties. There is even a course dedicated to younger children too – the Butterfly Walk.
With over 120 different activities spread out over the adventure park, there’s something for everyone.
St. Beatus Caves
The Beatus Caves are a series of caves located just outside Interlaken and are one of the most popular attractions near Thun Lake. A tour to the caves takes you along a well-built, illuminated pathway with approximately a one-kilometre area to explore the Niederhorn massif.
See incredible stalactites and stalagmites that formed over millions of years and explore the natural underground world of the caves.
If your children have never been inside a cave before, this might be a great option for a half-day tour in the area. It is a little outside of town, but you can easily get a bus from downtown.
This is definitely one for the kids and a great way to keep them busy, and laughing for most of the day. With a huge range of activities, displays and unique experiences, it is the Swiss version of a fun park.
Although Jungfaur Park is perhaps more sedate than most are used to, it is still a fun family day out that the kids will love.
Visit A Castle
Switzerland is home to many beautiful castles, and Interlaken is the perfect base for exploring them. There are several castles within a short drive of town, including the 11th-century Spiez Castle and the 13th-century Oberhofen Castle. Or take a day trip to Lucerne to see the magnificent 13th-century Chillon Castle.
Swiss Chocolate Making
What kid doesn’t love chocolate? On a chocolate tour and workshop at Funky Chocolate Club, your kids will learn all about the history of chocolate and how it’s made. They’ll also get to sample some of the delicious Swiss chocolate, of course.
They have workshops starting from ages 3 and up and an “all you can eat” policy. Sweet tooth heaven!
This is also perfect if you are looking for Interlaken indoor activities when the weather isn’t so great outside.
Attractions & Day Trips From Interlaken
Now, we are getting to the big guns. These are the tourist attractions in the Interlaken area that most people come to see and some of the best day trips from Interlaken for visiting with kids.
The Jungfraujoch is probably the most impressive (and expensive) attraction in the Bernese Alps, and for good reason. It will make you feel like you are at the top of Europe!
It is the highest train station in Europe at over 11,000 feet and is located between two of the highest and most stunning mountains in the area – Jungfrau and Eiger.
On top of that, the longest glacier in Europe, the Aletsch, rolls off the back of the Jungfraujoch, so coming here on a clear day will give you views you will never forget.
On top of that, the train ride itself is impressive, not only showing you the whole area as you climb, but when you plunge into the side of the Eiger, you will wonder how it was built.
Grindelwald is a small village located in the Bernese Oberland region, about an hour from Interlaken by train.
It’s a great place to take kids for a day trip, with plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities to keep them occupied. And if you’re looking for breathtaking views, the trail to the First Cliff Walk is not to be missed.
First Ski Resort
This is a ski resort located directly above Grindelwald and is reached from the heart of the town. It provides a great opportunity to see the three most impressive mountains, Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch, from a magnificent viewpoint opposite.
Once you reach the top of the resort by gondola, you have a few options. Start with a walk along the cliffs below the lift station, and test your fear of heights.
If you are up for a few hours’ walk, you can take an easy hike to the Bachalpsee to see the mountains reflected in the still water.
The finale of a visit here is either to throw yourself down the cable on the First Flyer or take a Trotti (scooter) or low-riding four-wheeler down to the town. The kids will love it!
If you still have time after all these fun-filled activities, then Lauterbrunnen will be the cream on the cake. Just the view of over 72 waterfalls tumbling off the cliffs above the valley is reason enough to come here.
However, activities are what you are after, so here are a couple of things your children will enjoy, even during the Interlaken winter:
Trummelbach falls is quite an experience as you wind through the tunnels carved by the force of the water that comes down from the mountains above. The shapes, colours, and sounds of the water are something you will not quickly forget!
At the end of the valley is another great option for taking a gondola ride right up to some more amazing panoramic views on the Schilthorn.
This time the gondola has some action movie history! It was used in the old James Bond movie: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.
In fact, the gondola was just being built and the film helped finance it. There are also some James Bond specific experiences you can check out while you are up there.
Lucerne is a beautiful city located just over an hour’s drive from Interlaken. There’s plenty to keep kids entertained, including the historic old town and iconic Chapel Bridge, and the Lion Monument.
Families can also take a scenic boat ride on Lake Lucerne, or take a cable car up Mount Pilatus for incredible views.
A little way from Lucerne is Mount Titlis. This is a great place to see snow, even if you are visiting in the middle of summer as we did!
Experience TITLIS Rotair – the world’s first revolving cable car. It takes you from the middle station at Stand up to the summit station at 3,020 metres above sea level, with rotating 360-degree views.
There is also a glacier cave, cliff walk and loads of other winter activities on offer.
Check for the latest ticket prices. Tickets give you admission to the gondola and the glacier cave and cave walk.
Tip: Even if you are visiting in summer, bring your winter gear. We visited on a European summer tour in 2010 and were prepared but half our tour group was not and they were freezing!
THINGS TO DO IN INTERLAKEN IN WINTER
When many people think of Interlaken, they think of summertime activities like hiking, boating, and biking. But Interlaken is also a great place to visit in winter.
There are plenty of things to do during winter in Interlaken, from skiing and snowboarding to sledding and ice skating.
Skiing and Snowboarding
Interlaken is located in the Bernese Oberland region, which means there are plenty of great ski slopes nearby. The Grindelwald-First ski area is just a short train ride away, and there are several other ski areas within easy reach. So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced skier, you’ll find a slope that’s perfect for you.
Sledding is a great activity for the whole family, and there are several sledding hills in Interlaken. One of the most popular is the Holenstein sledding hill, which has two toboggan runs. The longer sled run is 1.5 kilometres (just under a mile) long, so you can really get some speed going!
If you’re looking for something the kids will adore, head to the ICE MAGIC ice rink at Jungfrau Park. It’s open from mid-December to February, and skate rentals are available. So whether you’re a skating pro or have never stepped onto the ice before, you’ll have a great time.
If you want to explore the beautiful scenery of Interlaken in winter, snowshoeing is a great option. There are several different trails to choose from, ranging from easy to difficult. And if you’re new to snowshoeing, there are several companies that offer guided tours.
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you can’t go for a hike. Interlaken is surrounded by mountains, so there are plenty of great trails to explore. And if you’re not up for a strenuous hike, there are also several easy trails that are perfect for a leisurely walk.
Kayaking and Boating
There are many winter water tours for boating and kayaking in winter, equipping you with the right gear to stay warm as you take in the beautiful scenery from the water.
Christmas & New Years Celebrations
Interlaken is an exciting place to be during December with Christmas markets, festive events and New Years’ Eve celebrations. It is also where you can celebrate the longest New Years’ Eve in Switzerland – an experience for the bucket list!
BEST TIME TO VISIT INTERLAKEN
The best time to visit Interlaken with the family really depends on what you want to do while you are here. If you are looking to ski or snowboard, then winter is obviously the time to come.
However, if you want to enjoy all of the outdoor activities, such as hiking and kayaking, that Interlaken has to offer, then summer is the best time to visit. That being said, Interlaken is a popular destination year-round, so no matter when you visit, you are sure to have a great time!
WHERE TO STAY IN INTERLAKEN
If you are spending more than one day in Interlaken, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit different budgets and styles. Here are some recommended options:
- Alphenrose Hotel and Gardens – Family friendly accommodation with a view of the Jungfrau mountain range
- Hotel Du Nord – Located in central Interlaken just a short walk from the Harderbahn cable car and other Interlaken attractions
- Hotel Interlaken – Located in central Interlaken within walking distance to Eastern Train Station and popular for visiting Interlaken with kids.
There is more than enough to do and see with kids while you are in Interlaken. And, the great thing is that many of the activities are also fun for adults.
Your only challenge now is deciding what not to do! It will all come down to whether you have one day in Interlaken or many. However, these ideas are sure to help you plan the perfect Interlaken itinerary for all ages!
Find more Interlaken tours check here for visiting Interlaken in winter, summer or anytime in between! Plan your perfect Interlaken itinerary for visiting Switzerland as a family.
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Roger is a little obsessed with travel and spends every waking minute thinking about it. He now lives in the heart of the Alps in Switzerland and spends his spare time blogging about his experiences on his blog Expert World Travel or via Twitter.
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