The favored Swiss resort city of Interlaken, within the Bernese Oberland area, was a lot liked by the Victorian gentry who holidayed right here of their droves. It was so well-liked that the city’s identify was modified from Aarmühle (which means “close to the mill”) to Interlaken (“between lakes”) within the late 1800s, because the latter was simpler to pronounce.
The city is nestled between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and overlooks Switzerland’s well-known three peaks: the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau a veritable insta-worthy panorama.
Interlaken will get busy in the summertime, as folks use it as a base to discover close by areas. So think about a winter jaunt and benefit from the quieter vibe and roster of improbable journey actions in and round Interlaken, from winter kayaking to paragliding.
The glacier-fed Lake Brienz is one in every of Switzerland’s deepest lakes – 260m at its deepest level. It’s shallow on the edges however quickly deepening so you possibly can’t see the underside just some meters from the shore.
This makes it an ideal lake for kayaking, as you possibly can climb in with solely your ft submerged in water and inside seconds be gliding over the lake. Through the winter you’ll must put on a dry swimsuit to maintain you heat – in case you fall in, your drysuit ought to stop you from getting too moist and chilly.
Throughout our go to, the lake was an oasis of excellent calm, with barely a ripple in sight.
Our guides from Hightide Kayak Faculty, Dave and Peter, allow us to use the ocean kayaks, that are round 5m in size and quicker than the usual touring kayaks. We set off at round 10am, earlier than the solar had risen totally over the encompassing mountains to a spot on the lake the place the solar first casts its heat glow within the morning.
We stopped for a brief break after an hour or so of kayaking and made our method as much as Ringgenberg Fort, which dates again to the 1200s. We climbed the steep steps to the highest of the fort and loved some sizzling fruit tea and a biscuit as we seemed out onto the lake.
Jetboat trip throughout Lake Brienz
We booked a trip on a water-propelled jetboat – a jet of water ejected from the again of the boat – for an exhilarating jaunt throughout the lake with Jetboat Interlaken. We reached speeds 60 kilometres per hour. Its fairly high-octane when doing 360° turns.
On the journey to a small island known as Schnecke (German for “snail”), drivers Phil and Grizzy instructed us concerning the area’s historical past. The island appears like a snail from above and there’s additionally a hearsay that snails have been farmed for meals right here method again when. We then sailed handed Seeburg Fort, which was as soon as used as a sanatorium for troubled youngsters, and rumoured to be haunted.
Paragliding over Interlaken
Paragliding is Interlaken’s hottest journey sport. No earlier expertise and just about anybody can enroll, whether or not you’re 9 or ninety. Paragliding Interlaken organises day by day tandem flights that take off from Amisbuel, close to the city of Beatenberg, round 800m above Interlaken.
You’ll be connected to an skilled paragliding teacher and collectively you float by means of the air and also will (in case you agree) carry out some high-octane methods corresponding to helicopter turns. My teacher, Drew, has accomplished greater than 10,000 flights so I knew I used to be in secure palms.
READ ALSO: Paragliding over Interlaken, Switzerland
Flights final 12 minutes, however this could fluctuate anyplace from eight minutes to 20, relying on climate circumstances. The teacher takes loads of footage and movies through the flight, so you could have some mementoes once you get residence.
Uncover Lake Thun on foot
The charming villages that border Lake Thun are properly value exploring. Simply hop on a bus (included along with your Swiss journey go) and to lake Merligen, and stroll up the steep incline the church. From right here you possibly can take a mountain path and both run or stroll alongside the path whereas taking within the lovely views of the lake and mountains.
Merligen enjoys a Mediterranean local weather year-round, so that you’re virtually assured sunshine regardless that there’s a winter chill within the air and with layered clothes it makes for an exquisite technique to discover the world on foot.
Interlaken strolling excursions
Interlaken and its lengthy and vibrant historical past, so e book a spot with Interlaken Strolling Excursions run by locals. Our information was born in close by Wilderswil. We visited a neighborhood cheese store known as Chäs Fritz, a woodcarving store, chocolatier and a neighborhood dairy farm.
At Confiserie Schuh, a chocolatier that produces advantageous Swiss chocolate, they’re eager to point out off their expertise with demonstrations of how one can make caramel truffles and even chocolate high-heeled sneakers.
Take a calming boat trip on Lake Thun
Guide a lunchtime desk on BLS Lake Cruises, a calming different to taking the bus. The price of the journey is included in the price of the Swiss go. It’s a pleasant and mild scenic tour of Lake Thun and you may spend time taking footage from the bow or calm down with a glass of wine.
Through the winter months (December to February), the centre of Interlaken is remodeled right into a winter wonderland, with a big ice rink, beer and meals corridor and conventional restaurant. It’s significantly beautiful to skate to the sounds of traditional tacky music, alongside youngsters twirling and leaping on the ice whereas the solar units within the distance.
Prime it off with a warming glass of mulled wine within the beer corridor after which tuck into a standard cheese fondue within the Swiss Chalet Restaurant.
Osteria da Pasquale in Hünibach (a 40-minute direct bus from Interlaken) is a standard Italian restaurant that makes all the pieces from scratch, together with their scrumptious pasta dishes.
Bären in Bönigen, which is located subsequent to Interlaken. The restaurant serves all of the Swiss staples, most of which comprise giant doses of melted cheese.
A visit right here is incomplete with out ordering a bottle of Rivella, a Swiss comfortable drink which tastes like a mixture of Irn-Bru and lemonade. It’s surprisingly refreshing.
The Beatus Wellness- & Spa Lodge is positioned on the aspect of Lake Thun and has some spectacular wellness amenities together with an out of doors 35°C pool, indoor pool and 7 completely different saunas. It’s also possible to lease rowing boats and pedalos.
For a funds choice, e book a mattress/room on the pleasant Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, which prices as little as £15 per evening, together with complimentary breakfast and WiFi.
Climate: We spent four days right here in early January, and every single day was chilly and sunny. Convey thermals and a heat jacket, gloves, hat, scarf and sun shades.
Language: Interlaken is a German-speaking area in Switzerland, however lots of the locals additionally converse English.
Forex: The forex is Swiss Francs (CHF) – some locations solely settle for money so be sure you carry some with you always. Presently £1 = CHF 1.27
Getting there: SWISS provides greater than 150 weekly flights from London Metropolis, Heathrow, Gatwick (seasonal), Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh to Zurich and Geneva.
The Swiss Journey Move provides limitless journey on consecutive days all through the rail, bus and boat Swiss Journey System community. This contains all rail transfers and native buses. Interlaken is a 2-hour practice from Zurich and 2-hours 40 minutes from Geneva.
Extra information: Go to Interlaken