Switzerland may be a small country, but it is jam-packed with stunning natural scenery. The list of scenic destinations in Switzerland includes turquoise lakes, spectacular peaks, gigantic glaciers, thundering waterfalls, idyllic alpine countryside villages, heaven-on-earth valleys, and so much more.
But did you know that you don’t have to travel to different parts of Switzerland to see all the beautiful places I mentioned? You can find them all in the heart of Switzerland, in a stunning region called Jungfrau Region. And the town of Interlaken is the perfect base for visiting these places.
If you’re planning a trip to Switzerland and want to visit Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region, I’m here to help with ideas on where to go and what to see. The beauty of the Jungfrau Region has deeply fascinated me, and I’d love to share all that I know with you. Let me inspire your wanderlust!
Fantasy movies set in medieval times are my sources of travel inspiration. They’re the reason why my imagination is always drawn to Europe. With scenes that are completely different from where I grew up, these movies never fail to spark my sense of wonder.
Out of all the movies I’ve seen, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings is the one that really ignites my wanderlust.
I can’t help but daydream about the incredible locations in the film that we just don’t have back home. The dwarves’ majestic mountains, the humans’ charming villages, and the elves’ enchanting vale all leave me in awe.
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If we share the same fantasies, visiting the Jungfrau Region will make your dreams a reality. It’s part of Switzerland that looks the closest to the most beautiful places in the world of Lord of The Rings!
There’s no doubt about it, as one of the places in the Jungfrau Region was J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspiration for his novel. In my list of beautiful places around Interlaken in the Jungfrau Region, you’ll see what I’m pertaining to.
So, where exactly is the Jungfrau Region?
The Jungfrau Region is located in Central Switzerland, specifically in the Bernese Oberland or the southern portion of the Canton of Bern. It encompasses the mountains, lakes, valleys, and villages surrounding Jungfrau — the iconic mountain of the Bernese Oberland.
Interlaken is the most accessible town in the Jungfrau Region.
It takes only about 2 hours on a single train ride to reach it from three major Swiss cities, namely Bern, Basel, and Zurich. You can check the map later to find Interlaken’s exact location.
Most people choose Interlaken as their home base for their trip to the Jungfrau Region or Bernese Oberland. With its strategic location, it’s easy to understand why.
- Interlaken is sandwiched between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and is the gateway to the valleys and towns around the Jungfrau massif.
- Roads and public transportation lines spread out of Interlaken.
- Centrally located, you can basically get to any beautiful place in the Jungfrau Region with equal minimal effort.
Have a look at this map to give you a better picture:
Now that you already know where exactly Interlaken is, it’s time that we talk about the beautiful destinations around it.
If you are traveling to the Jungfrau Region, you definitely need this: Jungfrau Region Itinerary: 4 Days in Interlaken on a Budget
Beautiful Places Around Interlaken
As a person who is deeply fascinated by the mountains, it is difficult for me to determine which place is the most beautiful in the Jungfrau Region. I believe that every peak, alpine lake, and a mountain village in the Jungfrau Region possesses its own unique beauty and offers wonderful memories.
It can simply be breathtaking beauty, relaxing tranquility, unforgettable fun adventures, or something else.
This is why I didn’t arrange this list of beautiful places around Interlaken, from most gorgeous to fair, but from nearest to farthest from Interlaken.
I hope this helps you plan your trip to the Jungfrau Region! To summarize, here is a map that shows the locations of the beautiful places in the area.
I’m kicking off the list with Harder Kulm—the top of Interlaken.
1. Harder Kulm
Let’s say you like traveling through trains and you just arrived at Interlaken OST (the main terminal of the town), then you are literally a few minutes away to the first beautiful destination in the Jungfrau Region — Harder Kulm.
Harder Kulm is a mountain peak above Interlaken, beautiful because of the sweeping views of the Jungfrau Region it offers. It also has a charming castle-like restaurant where you can savor the food and the moment eating with the view of Eiger, Monch, and Jungfrau.
For me, Harder Kulm is one of the most breathtaking vantage points in the Jungfrau Region. From here, you can see a panorama that includes not only the famous mountains but also the two turquoise lakes on both sides of Interlaken.
The viewing deck that extends a few meters from the mountains is what makes Harder Kulm more interesting.
It’s called the Two Lakes Bridge, and you can take in stunning views of the lakes and mountains with a thrill. At the tip of the viewing deck, there’s nothing beneath you but meters of hollowness!
Getting to Harder Kulm involves a 10-minute funicular train ride. The station is within walking distance from Interlaken OST.
Learn more about Harder Kulm (when to visit & more ways to visit) from my post, Visiting Harder Kulm: Here’s What You Can Expect To See.
The viewing deck, named “Two Lakes Bridge,” is so called because it offers a view of two lakes visible from Harder Kulm: Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. These two stunning locations are the next must-visit destinations from Interlaken.
2. Lake Thun
Lake Thun is located on the western side of Interlaken. If you are currently at Harder Kulm, you can see it to your right.
Among the beautiful places you can visit from Interlaken, Lake Thun is the most unique. It has scenic lake views and five time-transporting castles that provide a special experience for those who visit them.
I even call Lake Thun “the Fairytale Lake of Switzerland” because of these castles! Definitely, if you want a romantic getaway in the Bernese Oberland, you should not miss Lake Thun.
My favorite castle in Lake Thun is Oberhofen Castle. It is famous for its water tower, which you can photograph with the Bernese Alps in the backdrop. If you’re into photography, architecture, and discovering unique things, I think you’ll love visiting Oberhofen Castle.
Learn more about Oberhofen Castle from my post, Why You Should Visit Oberhofen Castle & How To Visit.
If you have plenty of time to spend, I suggest you start exploring Lake Thun from Thun.
Thun, the small city perched on the northern tip of Lake Thun, is beautiful for its charming old town and two castles. And indeed, it is a perfect destination for you, if you are like me, interested in nature, history, and old-world architecture.
When you visit Thun, have the most picturesque places in Thun Old Town, Thun Castle, and Thun Panorama in your itinerary. Make sure you don’t miss Schadau Castle which is the most magical part of Thun!
Check out this map of Thun and its tourist attractions to learn more about the beautiful city of Thun.
Please know that Lake Thun has more places of interest other than Oberhofen Castle and Thun. It’s the reason why Lake Thun is so much worth visiting!
Some that I should mention are the Spiez Castle, Sigriswil Panorama Bridge, Mount Niesen, Niederhorn, Saint Beatus Caves and more.
You can check my post, 10 Beautiful Tourist Attractions Around Lake Thun to learn all about them. Alternatively, you can read my One Day Thun Itinerary or One Day Lake Thun Itinerary for the different ways you can spend a day in Lake Thun.
There are different ways you can move around in Lake Thun.
You can take the buses (#21) to explore Lake Thun’s northeastern shore, where you can find Oberhofen Castle, Saint Beatus caves, and Sigriswil. On the other hand, Lake Thun’s southwestern shore where you can find Mount Niesen and Spiez has a train service.
Of course, you can cruise and use the boat to travel to different parts of Lake Thun.
There are several ferry stations on Lake Thun, and you can start cruising from anywhere. However, if you want to start from Interlaken, go to the Interlaken West terminal, where the Lake Thun boats depart and arrive
If you like to spend a whole day in Lake Thun and travel by boat, use this unlimited boat ride day pass for convenience and to save money. You can also use the pass to ride the boats in Lake Brienz.
3. Lake Brienz
Would you like to see something spectacular by only looking at the surface of a lake?
Well, there’s no other place to be than Lake Brienz. It has the brightest turquoise color, noticeable even from space if you look on Google Earth!
Lake Brienz is the lake to the east of Interlaken, and it’s a beautiful place you can visit right away if you arrive in Interlaken by train at Interlaken OST. That’s because the bus/train/ferry station to Lake Brienz is also Interlaken OST
You can use the trains and buses connecting the villages and attractions around Lake Brienz. However, if I were you, I wouldn’t miss the boat ride because it’s undoubtedly the best way to enjoy Lake Brienz’s scenic beauty.
If you like, you can try cruising the nostalgic Lötschberg paddle steamer, which dates back to the Belle Époque period.
Similar to Lake Thun, a trip around Lake Brienz lets you have a mixed experience, not only about nature.
Visiting the villages around Lake Brienz, you can discover a part of Swiss culture in the countryside. For example, if you wander around Brienz, the town on the northeastern tip of Lake Brienz, you can stumble upon charming chalets, local woodcrafts, and many rustic home decorations that are all wanderlust-satisfying!
Brienz is only a 20-minute train ride from Interlaken and also a 22-minute bus ride (#151) to the Ballenberg Swiss Open Museum.
It’s an unmissable museum, especially if you want to get a glimpse of life in the Swiss countryside 200 to 300 years ago. Do you also love discovering unique architecture? Some of the most beautiful and best-preserved Swiss traditional houses are in the museum.
If you want to learn more about the beautiful places in Lake Brienz, check my post, 7 Things to Do in Lake Brienz.
Among the beautiful places around Lake Brienz, Iseltwald must be on top priority. This village is one of the most charming in the Jungfrau Region, because of the scenery of Lake Brienz with Seeburg Castle.
If the wind is barely blowing during your visit to Iseltwald, you can see an image of Seeburg Castle reflected by the turquoise surface of Lake Brienz. Have a quick glimpse of this spectacle from my post about, Why Visit Iseltwald and How to Get to This Beautiful Village.
The scenery of the Jungfrau Region lakes can already satisfy your eyes craving for some pleasing sights. But it’s just the tip of the overall beauty that you can take in from this spectacular place.
You’ll believe me when you arrive at Lauterbrunnen.
For me, Lauterbrunnen is the most beautiful place that you can quickly reach from Interlaken. You can skip any place, but Lauterbrunnen.
Because, did you know that Lauterbrunnen is the inspiration of J.R.R. Tolkien for Rivendell (the home of the elves in LoTR)? and that pretty much explains it. I mean, if you want to be inspired to create something that also inspires, Lauterbrunnen is the place to be!
Getting to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken is simple. From Interlaken OST, you can catch a direct train ride to Lauterbrunnen, which is a 30-minute journey.
What exactly is Lauterbrunnen?
In simplest words, Lauterbrunnen is the place called by many the ‘closest you can get to heaven on Earth.’ Its name, ‘Lauterbrunnen,’ came from the trough-shaped valley that has 72 waterfalls. Lauterbrunnen, in direct translation, means ‘many fountains.’
Lauterbrunnen can sometimes be confusing.
It’s a village, a valley, and a commune that is composed of more lovely alpine villages. However, visiting the village alone must be enough to see the beauty of the Lauterbrunnen valley.
There’s nothing much to do in Lauterbrunnen village but to appreciate the heavenly scenes. Although visiting Lauterbrunnen village is all about sightseeing, it’s absolutely worth it because it’s paradise.
The most famous view of Lauterbrunnen village is in front of Chalet Pironnet, where you can see the angelic Staubbach Waterfall like silk in the air plummeting down behind the church of Lauterbrunnen. It’s also the best place to take a selfie for your photo souvenir of you in the Jungfrau Region.
If you visit Lauterbrunnen, you should also see other viewpoints in the village for more unique awe-inspiring scenery.
Check them out here in my post, 7 Best Viewpoints & Photo Spots In Lauterbrunnen.
Wengen is another destination from Interlaken, known for its beautiful scenery overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley. From its streets and hiking paths, you can clearly see the trough shape of the valley, which looks absolutely stunning.
On a map, you can find Wengen perched above the Lauterbrunnen Valley, northeast of the Lauterbrunnen Village. If you look at the topography of the area, you’ll realize that Wengen is like a nature-made viewing point for the valley.
Getting to Wengen from Interlaken is simple: it’s only a 2-part 40-minute train journey, with a transfer in Lauterbrunnen.
When you visit Wengen on a sunny day, I’m sure you’ll marvel at its spectacular scenery. The view manifests an unimaginable creativity of nature, and you might even wonder how it was even possible.
For the best view, go to Wengen’s Evangelisch Reformierte Kirche. It’s where you can find an unobstructed view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Learn more about Wengen from my post, Should You Visit Wengen: Best Reasons & 10 Things To Do.
One cable car ride from Wengen lies a beautiful place called Männlichen.
It’s a 2343-meter high mountain peak on the ridge that separates Lauterbrunnen and Grindelwald, known for the 360-degree view of the entire Jungfrau Region it offers.
For me, Männlichen is the most stunning viewpoint of the Jungfrau Region because you can literally see every beautiful part of the Jungfrau Region from here.
The panoramic scenery includes overlooking views of Lauterbrunnen, Wengen, Grindelwald, and the three famous peaks of the Bernese Oberland. Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau appear like they’re a sleeping giant in front of you!
With the 360-degree panorama of the Jungfrau Region, you’ll feel like a royal overseeing your vast, breathtaking kingdom. The summit of Männlichen has a crown-shaped viewing deck that will make you feel like a king or queen.
If you have spare time, you can hike down to Kleine Scheidegg after taking in the stunning view from the summit of Männlichen.
The hiking trail between Männlichen and Kleine Scheidegg is called the Panorama Trail. As its name suggests, it’s a hike with some of the most remarkable views in the Jungfrau Region. The notorious north face of Eiger will be in view throughout the 1.5 hours you’ll be hiking on the trail.
Learn more about Männlichen from my post, How to Reach Männlichen and Make the Most of Your Trip.
The Jungfrau Region is worth visiting for several reasons.
Aside from the picturesque natural scenery, it also offers exciting activities where you can create fun, memorable moments to cherish for all your life. If you want to see breathtaking places and have fun adventures in the Jungfrau Region, Grindelwald is the place to be.
Grindelwald is the resort village north of the Jungfrau massif, 45 minutes away from Interlaken by train. I call it the adventure center of the Jungfrau Region because it has many outdoor activities, ranging from mountain-top fun to canyon adrenaline-rush.
Among the outdoor activities in Grindelwald, the most accessible are located in Mount First. They are Cliff Walk, Flyer, Glider, Mountain Cart, and Trottibike.
The mountain has a cable car whose valley station is situated right beside the main street of Grindelwald village. Visitors are brought to the summit 30 minutes after they depart from the village. However, they can alight at the different cable car stations (Bort, Schreckfeld, or First) where the outdoor activities begin.
The only drawback to having these adventures is the cost.
You can check the official website of Jungfrau linked in the resources section of this post for more information about these outdoor activities.
Of course, you don’t need to pay for everything in Grindelwald to have fun outdoors. The most beautiful places in Grindelwald are free! They are First Cliff Walk and Bachalpsee.
First Cliff Walk is a metal pathway beside the First cable car station that is attached to the cliff of the mountain overlooking Grindelwald. It’s pretty much the same as Harder Kulm, but gives more thrill because of its hanging bridge and longer extended viewing deck.
On the other hand, Bachalpsee is an alpine lake at hiking distance from First. It is one of the most picturesque high-altitude lakes in the Jungfrau Region and is often photographed with an inverted image of the surrounding peaks on its surface.
There’s more I want to tell you about First Cliff Walk and Bachalpsee. Learn more from my article, One Day Budget Grindelwald Itinerary.
If Grindelwald is the best place to have both adventure and picture-perfect scenery, then Gimmelwald is the village to visit for introspection and a peaceful encounter with nature.
Gimmelwald is the smallest village in the Jungfrau Region, located at the farthest end of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, and that pretty much gives a clue as to why Gimmelwald offers a unique, potentially life-changing experience.
For me, Gimmelwald is a beautiful destination because of the authentic Swiss countryside experience that one can have from visiting the village. It’s overflowing with rustic charm, and you’ll surely notice it as you stroll through the village.
I think most residents of Gimmelwald have livestock as their livelihood, and they do it in an artistic way. The Swiss cheese huts, barns, and buildings where they prepare Treichel (cowbells) are really cute and straight out of a movie!
Getting to Gimmelwald from Interlaken takes a little additional effort compared to other villages in the Jungfrau Region. But it’s definitely worth it, especially if it’s the authentic Swiss countryside experience you seek.
It takes 3 steps:
- Ride a train to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken OST.
- Hop on bus #141 to Stechelberg.
- Ride the cable car in Schilthornbahn.
The first station of the cable car is Gimmelwald.
I recommend you see my post about Gimmelwald, 5 Things to Do in Gimmelwald (Reasons Why You Must Visit). There, I’ll show you the exact location of the must-see parts of Gimmelwald.
Gimmelwald lies west of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Another village you can visit in this part of the Jungfrau Region is Mürren, and it’s only one cable car journey from Gimmelwald.
Of all the villages in the Jungfrau Region, Mürren is the most elevated. It is perched on a 1650-meter-high cliff top on the western part of the Jungfrau Region, overlooking the Lauterbrunnen Valley.
Situated above the middle part of the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Mürren offers its visitors a spectacular view of the craggy west face of Schwarzmönch mountain.
If you go to Allmendhubel, a plateau beside Mürren, you get a unique perspective of the Jungfrau Region’s superstar trio. Allmendhubel is still a part of Mürren that’s a hiking distance from the village.
Allmendhubel can also be reached quickly through a 5-minute funicular train ride from Mürren. You can find the funicular station in the middle of the village.
Let’s say you’re already in Mürren, don’t hurry to go to Allmendhubel. Explore first the village of Mürren. It is a must-see for its lovely streets, flanked with charming chalets and picture-perfect viewpoints.
Before you think that Mürren is boring, I have to mention that one of the most adventurous activities in the Jungfrau Region is here! It’s the Via Ferrata which starts from Mürren down to Gimmelwald. I linked the description in the resources section of this post.
If you want to learn more about this village and the attractions you can visit near it, check my post, 10 Things to Do in Mürren.
Oeschinensee (Oeschinen Lake) isn’t exactly in the Jungfrau Region. However, it is within the UNESCO World Heritage region of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch (Bernese Oberland) and still pretty much accessible from Interlaken.
You can find Oeschinensee in Kandersteg in the Kander Valley, west of the Jungfrau Region. If you’re from Interlaken, getting to Oeschinensee entails a 1.5-hour, 2-train ride journey (Interlaken to Spiez and Spiez to Kandersteg) and a short hike from Kandersteg.
What makes Oeschinensee a beautiful destination is that, simply, it’s one of Switzerland’s most gorgeous lakes. Come to Oeschinensee to be inspired to take hundreds of photos!
Oeschinensee is a mix of Lake Brienz and Bachalpsee; Lake Brienz because Oeschinensee has turquoise water; and Bachalpsee because it’s at a high elevation with picture-perfect scenery.
However, as much as I think that Oeschinensee is a lake with characteristics of Lake Brienz and Bachalpsee, it’s really obvious that it’s unique compared to the two. Oeschinensee has a craggy mountain face above it, which looks stunning, with Oeschinensee reflecting it on its turquoise surface.
When you arrive at Oeschinensee, you can just hang out at its shores and appreciate the views.
However, I encourage you to spend some time hiking around the lake for more spectacular angles. Check out the loop north of the lake; for me, it’s the best area to hike. It can be done on a roundtrip, starting from Rodelbahn.
You can learn more about the hiking trails in Oeschinensee (and how to visit Oeschinensee) from its official website, linked in the resources section of this post.
Beautiful Cities To Visit From Interlaken
Alright! Those are my picks for the beautiful places in the Jungfrau Region and Bernese Oberland that you can quickly visit from Interlaken. They are really straight out of fantasy novels, aren’t they?
However, the list continues, especially if you want to have a mixed travel experience during your Switzerland trip.
If you are like me and love historic buildings and old-world architecture, you would not want to miss the beautiful cities of Switzerland.
Since you are already in central Switzerland (let’s say you’re currently in Interlaken), here are the two places I would recommend you include in your itinerary: Lucerne and Bern.
- From Interlaken to Lucerne, it’s a 1-hour drive or 2-hour public transportation journey. Take Bus #470 to Brünig Hasliberg and then hop on a train to Lucerne.
- From Interlaken to Bern, it’s a 45-minute drive or 1 hour direct train ride.
Lucerne (for a mix of culture and nature experience)
Lucerne is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There’s no doubt about that because of its charming old town and location perched on the shores of Lake Lucerne and on the foothills of Mount Pilatus.
It’s also home to Switzerland’s most iconic landmarks like the Lion Monument and Chapel Bridge. Mark Twain described the Lion Monument as the most moving piece of stone in the world, while Chapel Bridge is the world’s oldest surviving truss bridge.
If you want to learn more about Lucerne, you can start with my travel inspiration posts about this city:
- 10 Unique Things To Do In Lucerne
- 10 Beautiful Things To See In Lucerne
- 10 Must-See Landmarks In Lucerne
Bern (for beautiful city architecture)
For a nature lover who’s also an architecture-enthusiast traveler, Bern is the place to be after visiting Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region. Bern is the capital of Switzerland, and it has some of the most impressive architectural marvels in the country.
From its cute fountains (10 Most Beautiful Fountains In Bern) to its buildings (Bundeshaus and Bern Minster), Bern will feed your wanderlust perfectly! If you visit, don’t forget to stroll in Kramgasse. It’s where you can find the marvelous Zytglogge and the house of Einstein.
You can start discovering more about Bern from my posts below.
Sources: Interlaken Switzerland
As promised, here are the links which you can use as references for some of the beautiful places near Interlaken.
- Grindelwald First – Top of Adventure – start discovering the adventures in Grindelwald First here.
- Via Ferrata (Mürren-Gimmelwald) – Here you can find the information about the Via Ferrata from Mürren to Gimmelwald
- Oeschinensee – Official website of Oeschinensee: Visiting information and hiking trails
Tip: If you are planning a 3-day to a week-long Jungfrau Region trip, take advantage of the Jungfrau Travel Pass. It gives you free and unlimited use of nearly all kinds of public transportation in the Jungfrau Region. Learn more about the Jungfrau Travel Pass here.
Don’t forget to have unlimited 4G internet so you can check the live webcam, public transportation schedules, and more online services in Switzerland during your trip.
Lastly, you can check this link for more ideas on what to do in the Jungfrau Region or Bernese Oberland. And if you don’t have a place to stay yet, here’s where you can find the best accommodation deals in Bernese Oberland. You can use the hotel browser of the website I just linked so you can easily find the hotel at the most convenient location for you.
That would be all! I hope you have a fun and beautiful and memorable trip. 😀
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