Are you visiting the Jungfrau Region? I am excited for you! It is one of Switzerland’s top travel destinations, and you will indeed find all sorts of mountain fun and alpine beauty!
If you’re planning to visit the Jungfrau Region for three to four days, Interlaken is definitely the best place to stay. Not only is Interlaken very accessible from other Swiss cities, but it’s also strategically situated at the doorstep of the Jungfrau Region and between two beautiful lakes.
So, in this blog post, I’ll show you how you can spend 3 or 4 days in the Jungfrau Region while staying in Interlaken. Good to know: This Interlaken itinerary is budget-friendly as it focuses on free-to-visit (or with a small admission fee) destinations, with transportation being the only significant expense.
Note: This is a long post — packed with information. All the basic things you must know about your 3 to 4-day Jungfrau Region trip are available here.
Let’s get started.
For me, the Jungfrau Region is the ultimate destination in Switzerland (another is Zermatt). This portion of the Bernese Oberland in Central Switzerland offers numerous beautiful experiences, all in one place!
You can find the heaven-on-earth valley, phenomenal mountain scenery, bright turquoise lakes, and many more natural wonders! And if you explore the surrounding area around Interlaken, you can expect to find idyllic alpine villages, picture-perfect castles, and other little gems that can significantly satisfy wanderlust.
Do you want to have adventures? Of course, the wide range of experiences that you can have in the Jungfrau Region also includes that! Whether it’s a relaxing hike or a thrilling outdoor activity.
Jungfrau Region is a pretty compelling destination, right?
But, with all that said, you might wonder, how much time do you need in the Jungfrau Region? Are 3 or 4 days enough? Or should I go for a week?
Three days should be enough to see the highlights of the Jungfrau Region, but four days are perfect to see the most beautiful places around Interlaken. You can extend for a day or two if you also want to do some of the unmissable things in the Jungfrau Region or Interlaken.
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As I mentioned in the intro, Interlaken is the most accessible town in the Jungfrau Region. And the nice thing about it is that you can reach Interlaken in a single train ride from Switzerland’s major cities with an airport.
Interlaken is a 2-hour direct train journey from Basel and Zurich, 1 hour if you’re from Bern.
However, it’s not only the nice thing about Interlaken! It also has the most access to nearly every tourist attraction in the Jungfrau Region. Most are only one bus/train/boat ride away from Interlaken — you’ll learn more in the itinerary I will share with you.
3 to 4 Days Interlaken Itinerary
Although it’s possible to explore the Jungfrau Region without spending too much money, you’ll still need to budget for transportation. This can be the most expensive part of your trip unless you’re a foodie who’s always hungry (like me! LOL).
If you want to make your trip to the Jungfrau Region extra special by visiting its ultimate destinations, be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars. For example, a round trip to Jungfraujoch costs 275 USD, while a round trip to Piz Gloria costs 110 USD.
But don’t worry!
Aside from being jam-packed with tourist attractions and activities, another thing I like about the Jungfrau Region is its budget-friendly destinations, which are also its unique attractions. It’s a win-win situation.
While you don’t spend much money, you get unique experiences during your trip — that’s what we aim to do for your Jungfrau Region trip using this itinerary. All you need to consider for your budget is your hotel, food, and transportation.
During your 4-day stay in the Jungfrau Region, visit one of the areas surrounding Interlaken each day. These areas are the Lauterbrunnen Valley, Grindelwald, Lake Thun, or Lake Brienz. Here is the summary of each area:
- Lauterbrunnen Valley: Lauterbrunnen (village), Wengen, Mürren, and Gimmelwald
- Grindelwald: Grindelwald (village), Grindelwald-First, Bachalpsee, and Männlichen
- Lake Thun: Thun (town), Oberhofen Castle, Spiez
- Lake Brienz: Brienz (village), Iseltwald, Harder Kulm
You can visit these places in any sequence you want. However, it would be better to make the weather your basis in deciding which destination you should go for Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, and Day 4.
Below are the destinations in the Jungfrau Region, arranged from “which place needs clear skies the most to enjoy” to “which is okay to visit even if there’s an overcast.”
- Grindelwald. As much as possible, you should visit Grindelwald when the skies are clear. Most places of interest in Grindelwald are on a mountaintop, and they offer stunning views of the Jungfrau Region only if no clouds are blocking the view.
- Lauterbrunnen. The villages in the Lauterbrunnen have high altitude, and the scenery from these villages look perfect if there’s no fog covering the mountains in the backdrop of the quaint streets and buildings of these villages.
- Lake Brienz. Lake Brienz has impressive turquoise water that looks magical when the sun shines. However, the overall experience of visiting lakeshore villages wouldn’t be entirely affected by the weather.
- Lake Thun. You’ll usually be in a castle or town during a day in Lake Thun. Unless you’re into photography, the cloudy skies should not matter much.
If the weather forecast says it’ll be sunny for your entire Jungfrau Region trip, you can follow the sequence I set: Lauterbrunnen Valley —> Grindelwald —> Lake Thun —> Lake Brienz. It’s also a priority if you want to shorten your trip to three days instead of four.
Let’s assume and hope that the weather forecast during your trip is excellent. So, I’ll discuss the itinerary following the sequence I just mentioned.
Important. If you use this itinerary as a guide for your Jungfrau Region Trip, please note the following:
- A visit to the Jungfrau Region is incomplete without hiking, especially with the views you’ll find along the trails. There will be hikes, but it’ll be easy. Bring comfortable hiking shoes and apply sunblock if the UV measurement is high.
- There are several destinations on top of the mountains, 2000+ meters high. The climate is colder up there, so please bring warm clothing even if it is summer (if you are not used to a cold environment)
Without any further ado!
Day 1 – Lauterbrunnen Valley
Among the beautiful places in the Jungfrau Region, Lauterbrunnen Valley is the most beautiful, and you can’t just miss it! For me, it’s the most awe-inspiring, and I think J.R.R. Tolkien must have said the same.
Did you know that Lauterbrunnen Valley is one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s inspirations for his novel, The Lord of The Rings? Rivendell, the home of the elves, was based in Lauterbrunnen Valley, and it’s apparent in Tolkien’s depiction of the elven vale in his books.
Lauterbrunnen is so beautiful that it is often depicted as the closest place to heaven on earth. It has inspired me since the day I discovered it.
This is why I think Lauterbrunnen Valley should be in your 3 or 4-day Interlaken itinerary. You must see its beauty, too!
Lauterbrunnen Valley is the area south of Interlaken, and it has 4 beautiful villages that you can all visit within a day. Three of the villages (Wengen, Gimmelwald, and, Mürren) are perched above the valley, and only Lauterbrunnen Valley is located at the base.
Public transportation is the primary way of moving around the valley. The villages in Lauterbrunnen valley are connected by cable cars, trains, and buses. We’ll discuss the details later as we discuss each village.
But if you have a car, you can only drive at the base of Lauterbrunnen Valley. You must leave your car either in Lauterbrunnen Village or Stechelberg before you can visit Wengen, Mürren, or Gimmelwald.
Here’s the summary (estimated timestamps):
- 8:00 am — Ride the train to Lauterbrunnen
- 8:30 am — Arrival in Lauterbrunnen. Explore the village.
- 9:30 am — Take the funicular to Wengwald and hike to Lauterbrunnen Valley’s viewpoint. Continue hiking to Wengen.
- 11:30 am — Arrival in Wengen. Lunch.
- 1:30 pm — Ride the funicular back to Lauterbrunnen
- 1:45 pm — Ride the bus to Stechelberg (#141)
- 2:15 pm — Ride the Schilthornbahn cable car from Stechelberg to Gimmelwald
- 2:30 pm — Arrival in Gimmelwald. Explore the village.
- 3:30 pm — Ride the Cable Car to Mürren
- 3:45 pm — Arrival in Mürren. Explore the village
- 5:00 pm — Ride the Funicular to Allmendhubel or Birg. Dinner time
- 7:00 pm — Go back to Interlaken (Allmendhubel or Birg—> Mürren —> Stechelberg —> Lauterbrunnen —> Interlaken)
On a 20-minute train distance, Lauterbrunnen village is definitely the nearest beautiful village you can reach from Interlaken. This is why it’s where we’ll start your Jungfrau Region trip.
Whether you arrive by train or by car, a few steps into the village should already give you a good lasting impression of the Jungfrau Region. The stunning views should bless your eyes with the valley’s angelic beauty, especially when you start strolling along Auf der Fuhren – the village’s main street.
There isn’t much to do in the village except for exploring and enjoying the breathtaking scenery. Although it may appear to be a dull activity, it is not! You can anticipate some incredibly peaceful views and the ambiance of nature.
You can just imagine the sound of Staubbach Waterfall that lies beside the village. It jumps down from the cliff, 300 meters tall.
If you like, grab a coffee at the shops along Auf der Fuhren. Some coffee shops with an alfresco area where you can get a nice view of the valley and Staubbach Waterfalls are Airtime Cafebar, Hotel Schützen, and Hotel Jungfrau (the nearest to Staubbach Waterfalls).
Aside from Auf der Fuhren, there are more spots in Lauterbrunnen village you must visit for more awe-inspiring views. You should see them for picture-perfect scenes you can share with friends and family.
Below are the locations where they are:
- In Front of Chalet Pironnet
- Kirche Lauterbrunnen
- Along Stocki Road
- Staubbach waterfall
- Hiking trail between Lauterbrunnen and Wengen
- Hiking trail between Lauterbrunnen and Stechelberg
If you want to learn more about them, please check my Lauterbrunnen Map, Lauterbrunnen’s 7 Viewpoints and Photo Spots.
Chalet Pironnet and Wengwald are the two I would recommend you must not miss. Chalet Pironnet is very easy to reach, as it’s only a few steps away from Auf der Fuhren. On the other hand, Wengwald has the best view of the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Here’s the view from Chalet Pironnet and Wengwald:
To get to Wengwald, you must take the funicular to Wengen from Lauterbrunnen. Wengwald has its own train station, which is a 10-minute hike from the viewpoint.
After visiting the viewpoint of Lauterbrunnen in Wengen, proceed to Wengen. It’s your next destination.
Wengen is already a hiking distance from Wengwald. And it should not take you more than 30 minutes to reach Wengen from Lauterbrunnen’s viewpoint in Wengwald.
Wengen is your second destination for your first day on your Jungfrau Region trip.
I am bringing you here because Wengen is the best place to eat lunch. It has wider dining and shopping options compared to other villages in the Lauterbrunnen valley.
Where exactly is Wengen? It is the village perched above the valley northeast of Lauterbrunnen. If you want to go straight to Wengen from Lauterbrunnen and skip Wengwald, it’ll only be a 15-minute journey on a funicular.
Perched on a sunny terrace, Wengen also offers a scenic view of the Lauterbrunnen valley. You can go to the Reformed Evangelical Church of Wengen for an unobstructed panorama of the valley.
The view of the Lauterbrunnen Valley is the main reason why you must visit Wengen. You can see more beautiful scenery in Wengen from my post: Should You Visit Wengen: Best Reasons & 10 Things to Do.
Wengen has a few supermarkets where you can buy really affordable sandwiches for lunch.
Coop is only a few steps away from the train station. You can buy food there and have a breathtaking picnic on the benches outside the Reformed Evangelical Church of Wengen.
Wengen also has countryside scenery beside Saint Bernard’s Anglican Church. If it’s summer, you can find some cows grazing in the meadows, and all that you can hear is the cowbells chiming and the breeze of the air to your ears.
You can drop by the church for some idyllic views, but I would recommend spending too much time in the village. Because Gimmelwald, your next destination after Wengen, is the place to be for another glimpse-of-heaven scenery.
To get to Gimmelwald from Wengen, you can follow these steps:
- Take the Funicular to Lauterbrunnen from Wengen.
- Ride the bus (#141) from Lauterbrunnen to Schilthornbahn in Stechelberg.
- Hop on a cable car from Schilthornbahn in Stechelberg.
- Alight to Gimmelwald (the first cable car station after Schilthornbahn valley station in Stechelberg).
Jungfrau Region offers different experiences. One of them is an authentic experience of the Swiss countryside. Where’s the best place where you can find it? Gimmelwald.
It’s in Gimmelwald because it is the smallest village in Lauterbrunnen, far away from the busy tourist-packed attractions in the Jungfrau Region.
And most importantly, believe it or not, Gimmelwald only has approximately hundred and fifty residents as of 2020, and most of them still have livestock as their livelihood.
Although Gimmelwald already has a thriving tourism industry, commercialism barely exists on its streets. Take a stroll in the village, and you’ll mostly see meadows dotted by charming chalets, cute cheese storage houses, barns, and more quaint buildings.
If you’re like me (I love to do introspection while I travel), you’ll love the tranquility in Gimmelwald. It’s all nature that you can hear — the chirping of birds and the roaring of waterfalls from afar — they’ll surely give you peace of mind!
I suggest spending at least an hour in Gimmelwald to explore the village. It has little gems to offer. You can read my article, 5 Things To Do In Gimmelwald (Beautiful Reasons To Visit), to guide you where you can find them.
Mürren is your next destination after Gimmelwald. It is the village that neighbors Gimmelwald to the north, and getting to Mürren is a breeze with just a single 5-minute cable car ride.
Your first day in the Jungfrau Region ends in Mürren. This village, perched on the top of the cliff above Lauterbrunnen Valley, has an altitude of 1638 meters, which makes it the most elevated village in the Canton of Bern.
I bring you to Mürren because it has an imposing and unique view of the Jungfrau massif, featuring Schwarzmönch and its craggy mountain face. For me, it’s a spectacular view in the background of the charming Swiss chalets in this village.
That said, the first thing that I suggest you do when you arrive in Mürren is to explore the village.
As you explore, go to the village’s viewpoint of the Lauterbrunnen Valley near Café LIV. It’s the best place to take a selfie or photo souvenir; you’ll see the entire face of Schwarzmönch down to the base of the Lauterbrunnen Valley from the viewpoint.
If you have time until the last descent of the cable cars, try the tourist attractions above Mürren. They are:
Here’s the summary:
Allmendhubel is the hill above Mürren, linked to the village by a funicular. It’s free to visit, though you need to pay a small amount for the funicular if you don’t want to hike.
Among the three tourist attractions from Mürren, it is the nicest spot for family travelers. It features a scenic restaurant and an expansive flower-themed playground. While adults relax with the eye-pleasing views, kids have fun in the playground.
On the other hand, Schilthorn is the top tourist attraction you can visit from Mürren. It is a summit reached by cable car from Mürren, where you can find Piz Gloria — the revolving restaurant.
Piz Gloria was the filming location of James Bond’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service movie. If you’re a fan or you like to have a fancy dinner, I think you would like to spend time in Piz Gloria.
Lastly, Birg is the cable car middle station between Mürren and Schilthorn. It’s the place to be if you want a thrilling experience.
Birg has a steel pathway attached to the cliff of the mountain. The walkway features an open-air tunnel made of metal mesh and a tightrope path (protected with a metal net), which has nothing but hollowness below. It lets you have an exhilarating moment to help you conquer your fear of heights.
You can learn more about Mürren, Allmendhubel, Birg, and Schilthorn from my post, 10 Things To Do In Mürren: Reasons Why Mürren Is Worth It, for more details.
The four places I mentioned have restaurants. If you like, you can eat your dinner in them. However, to avoid inconvenience, make sure you are aware of the last cable car descent from each station before you stay in the evening.
Schilthornbahn timetable is linked at the resources section of this post.
Day 2 – Grindelwald
Grindelwald is the village north of the Jungfrau massif, a 35-minute train ride from Interlaken. I call it the adventure hub of the Jungfrau Region for its numerous outdoor activities.
At the same time, it’s also in Grindelwald that we can find some of the places in the Jungfrau Region that ultimately offer panoramic views and picture-perfect sights.
What’s so nice about these beautiful destinations in Grindelwald? They are free to visit! Those places will be our priority for this budget Interlaken/Jungfrau Region Itinerary.
However, like most free-to-visit tourist attractions in the Jungfrau Region, these travel destinations in Grindelwald aren’t totally free because you still need to pay for cable car/train tickets.
But if you already have a Jungfrau Travel Pass, you no longer have to worry about buying tickets for your 3 to 4-day Jungfrau Region trip. It covers unlimited use for almost all public transportation in the Jungfrau Region (Schilthornbahn excluded). With Jungfrau Travel Pass, you’ll virtually have a free travel day in Grindelwald.
Learn more about Jungfrau Travel Pass here.
So what are the free and breathtaking places you can visit in Grindelwald? They are First Cliff Walk, Bachalpsee, and Männlichen. Here is the summary of your second day in the Jungfrau Region, visiting these tourist attractions in Grindelwald:
- 7:00 am — Depart to Grindelwald from Interlaken
- 8:00 am — Ride the Cable Car to First
- 8:30 am — First Cliff Walk
- 9:00 am — Start hike to Bachalpsee
- 10:00 am — Relax, take pictures, and go on a picnic in Bachalpsee
- 11:00 am — Hike back to First
- 12:00 pm — Cable Car down to Grindelwald
- 12:30 pm — Lunch time!
- 2:00 pm — Cable Car to Männlichen
- 2:30 pm — Royal Walk and explore Männlichen
- 3:30 pm — Start Panorama Trail
- 5:30 pm — Train Kleine Scheidegg to Grindelwald Grund
- 6:00 pm – Explore the village
I have a separate post for this itinerary. It’s where I discussed all the details about how you can spend a day in Grindelwald on a budget. You can read it from my post, Free Things to Do in Grindelwald: One Day Budget Itinerary.
Below is the shorter version.
First Cliff Walk
In Grindelwald, the early bird gets the worm — it is the moment alone (or at least with very few people) on the tip of the elevated viewing platform of First Cliff Walk.
So, What is the First Cliff Walk?
First Cliff Walk is one of Grindelwald’s landmarks and free tourist attractions, a metal walkway attached to the cliff side of Mount First’s summit. Together with First Flyer, Glider, Trottibike, and Mountain Cart, they form the interconnected outdoor activities in Mount First.
Visiting First Cliff Walk while there are no or there are only very few other tourists around is the best way to experience it.
Being alone at the tip of Cliff Walk’s elevated walkway is like flying above Grindelwald. Above the abyss, while taking in a bird’s eye view of Grindelwald, there’s no doubt!
The experience will be slightly similar in Birg Thrill Walk above Mürren, but you’ll have panoramic views of the spectacular north faces of the Jungfrau Region’s mountains instead. It spans from Mittelhorn to Mättenberg and to Eiger.
And have that memorable experience, it’s important to start your day in Grindelwald early. For the best experience, catch the first cable car ascent to Grindelwald First. Tourists swarm First Cliff Walk during midday—that’s what we want to avoid.
Getting to First Cliff Walk is easy. The Firstbahn cable cars bring visitors to First in a 25-minute breathtaking ride straight from Grindelwald Village. The valley station is located just along Dorfstrasse or the village’s main street.
Don’t go down back to Grindelwald after sightseeing on First Cliff Walk. Because one of the most beautiful lakes in the Alps is only a hiking distance away.
That lake is called Bachalpsee, and it’s an unmissable hiking destination during your Jungfrau Region trip.
If you like taking photos of nature, Bachalpsee is the lake you would want to have on your itinerary. It’s the most picturesque lake in the mountains in the Jungfrau Region.
When lucky, you can see the peaks of the mountains reflected by Bachalpsee’s surface. Usually, it happens when the weather is calm, and no strong wind can disturb the lake’s surface.
Bachalpsee has two parts, separated by an isthmus. Go to the isthmus and face the smaller lake facing the mountains. It’s the part with the best view where the photographers go to take the otherworldly photos of Bachalpsee.
From First Cliff Walk, going to Bachalpsee is only an hour away on foot. It’s an easy hike; most parts of the trail are flat. Only the first thirds of it from First will be ascending.
If you want, you can buy food from the village’s supermarkets before you go to First or Bachalpsee. Bachalpsee is a beautiful place for a lunch picnic. It’s another great way to save money during your visit to Grindelwald.
Usually, a trip to Bachalpsee takes about three hours. That includes the back-and-forth hike and sightseeing around Bachalpsee.
Destinations with panoramic views surround Grindelwald. Aside from First Cliff Walk and Bachalpsee, another is Männlichen. For me, it has the best view of the Jungfrau Region, and that’s for one good reason.
Männlichen has a 360-degree view of the Jungfrau Region, and you can literally see every beautiful part of it in Männlichen.
The panoramic scenery from Männlichen includes an overlooking view of Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, and Interlaken. The three famous mountains of the Jungfrau Region, Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, look like sleeping giants from Männlichen.
Männlichen is a 2343-meter tall mountain peak at the heart of the Jungfrau Region, and that basically explains how it offers panoramic views. It lies west of Grindelwald, which has the best viewing angle for the notorious north face of Eiger.
Apparently, Männlichen is your next destination after Grindelwald First and Bachalpsee. Getting there is as easy as going to First from Grindelwald — it’s just a 20-minute cable car ride from the village.
You can already see the stunning scenery of the Jungfrau Region by the time you arrive at the cable car station in Männlichen. However, you still have to hike (approximately 30 minutes one way) to reach the summit, where the 360-degree views await.
To get back to Grindelwald from Männlichen, there are two ways. The first is a cable car ride return trip. Another is hiking the panorama trail to Kleine Scheidegg and a train ride back to Grindelwald.
Learn more about Männlichen by reading my post, How to Reach Männlichen and Make The Most of Your Trip.
Day 3 – Lake Thun
While staying in Interlaken during a Jungfrau Region trip, one can’t ignore the beautiful destinations around Lake Thun. From fairytale castles to charming towns and breathtaking viewpoints, there are many to choose from.
I even call Lake Thun the Fairytale Lake of Switzerland because of the 5 castles which overlook Lake Thun. Not to mention the charming town of Thun perched on the lake’s northern tip.
With the several beautiful destinations around Lake Thun, it’s easy to understand why spending a day in Lake Thun during your stay in Interlaken is worth it. It is packed with magical experiences, scenic scenery, and time-transporting encounters.
Check out my best picks: 10 Beautiful Places To Visit In Lake Thun — this article will also explain why Lake Thun is worth visiting.
With the 10 epic tourist attractions mentioned, it’s obvious that you’ll need more than a day to see every one of Lake Thun’s travel destinations.
However, you don’t need to see all of them to enjoy the lake. All that you need to do is to visit the lake’s unmissable tourist attractions.
What are those unmissable places you must see around Lake Thun? For me, it’s Thun (town), Oberhofen Castle, Spiez, and Saint Beatus Caves.
Here’s the full article on how you can spend a day in Lake Thun visiting its unmissable attractions, Lake Thun Itinerary: How To Spend One Day (Detailed Guide). In brief summary:
- 7:00 am — Thun (Town)
- 10:00 am — Oberhofen Castle
- 12:00 pm — Spiez
- 2:30 pm — Saint Beatus Caves
Note: in my Lake Thun itinerary linked above, I recommended staying in Thun before making this day trip to Lake Thun.
But for this Jungfrau Region trip, you don’t need to do that, as you can also start exploring Lake Thun from Interlaken. You just have to wake up earlier so you can arrive in Thun while it’s early morning when it’s usually nicer to wander around.
We start your Lake Thun trip from Interlaken at Thun early in the morning.
This small city, 30 minutes from Interlaken by train or 50 minutes by bus, is the Gateway to the Bernese Oberland. It is an unmissable destination from Interlaken for its charming old town and its overlooking scenery of Lake Thun and Bernese Oberland from Thun Castle.
Arriving in Thun, the first thing I suggest doing is exploring its old town. It’s plenty of time-transporting and picture-perfect spots to give you a unique experience in your overall stay in the Jungfrau Region.
Technically, Thun is outside the Jungfrau Region. But we can still consider visiting Thun as part of the trip to the Jungfrau Region because this city has picture-perfect streets and landmarks offering beautiful views of the Jungfrau Region.
Here are the beautiful landmarks and picture-perfect spots you must see when exploring Thun Old Town: Thun Stadtkirche, Thun Castle, Kirchtreppe, Bällizbrücke, Obere Schleuse, and Untere Schleuse, Rathausplatz, and Obere Hauptgasse.
You can refer to my posts below to learn more about the must-see places in Thun Old Town:
- Thun’s Map of Tourist Attractions.
- Thun Old Town Picturesque Places.
- DIY Walking Tour of Thun Old Town.
But if you love history or taking in breathtaking views, Thun Castle is the must-visit landmark you just can’t miss!
Thun Castle has exhibits to give you insights into the local history of Bernese Oberland. And most importantly, it’s where you can find time-transporting and stunning overlooking views of Thun, Lake Thun, and Bernese Oberland.
Check my post, Thun Castle: View Points, What to Expect & How to Visit, to learn more about this great place.
Tip: You can buy a ticket in Thun Castle which bundles a visit to Thun Panorama — the world’s oldest surviving 360-degrees painting. Discover Thun Panorama here, Thun Panorama: Why You Must See It & How to Visit.
If you like a one-day itinerary that is focused on exploring Thun and nearby attractions, I suggest you check my post, Best Way To Spend One Day In Thun — a day trip itinerary. Here, I included a stop to Schadau Castle, which is another Lake Thun’s fairytale castle.
After exploring Thun, Oberhofen Castle is the place to visit. It’s a castle that sits on the shores of Lake Thun, 15 minutes away from Thun.
Oberhofen Castle should be your next destination after Thun, not only because it’s a stone’s throw away from Thun but because it’s also hours before lunch Oberhofen Castle is best to visit.
The castle gates open at 9:00 am (the castle museum opens at 11:00 am). During those hours, the castle still has fewer tourists; you have more opportunities to enjoy its magical castle grounds and tranquil gardens.
So, what’s Oberhofen Castle all about?
Oberhofen Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in Switzerland, famous for its photogenic water tower, which can be photographed with the snowy peaks of the Bernese Oberland in the background.
It’s the Chillon Castle of Bern, the castle to turn your magical fantasies into reality.
The picture-perfect appearance of Oberhofen Castle and its proximity to Thun can already justify why you must see it when traveling around Lake Thun. However, it’s only just the tip of the iceberg.
This 13th-century castle gives visitors a mixed nature-history-culture experience, which explains that it’s a destination like no other in Bernese Oberland.
The views of Lake Thun from its beautiful garden and the time-transporting exhibits inside its elegant rooms can surely satisfy a traveler’s wanderlust.
During your visit, you can stroll in Oberhofen Castle’s garden, discover the exotic trees, and take eye-pleasing photos. If you have children, you can let them play in the playground.
You can spend 2 to 3 hours in the castle, but make sure you don’t miss seeing Oberhofen Castle’s museum. Inside, you’ll find artworks and artifacts straight from medieval times.
If you’re a fan of fantasy novels and movies, I bet you’ll also like exploring them!
The best part of Oberhofen Castle’s museum is no other than the Oriental Smoking Room. It features middle-eastern architecture, which was added to the castle by its commissioner (a Prussian ambassador to Istanbul).
There’s a lot more I want to share with you about Oberhofen Castle so you can make the most of your visit. But I can’t mention them all here.
Here’s where you can check it, Oberhofen Castle: Why You Should Visit & How to Visit.
Oberhofen Castle has a fancy restaurant overlooking Lake Thun — a nice place for lunch! But if you like cheaper alternatives, you can take the short boat ride to Spiez.
You can also try lunch in Saint Beatus Caves, which has a restaurant that also has an overlooking view of Lake Thun.
Several towns sit around Lake Thun. One of them is Spiez — the town that feels so Mediterranean! Its harbor, filled with palm trees, surrounding hills, and vineyards, should give you that vibe.
You can find Spiez at the southwestern shore of Lake Thun, easily reached by means of a boat ride from Oberhofen Castle. It has an iconic skyline dominated by Spiez Castle — the main landmark of the town.
I included Spiez in this itinerary because of its unique flair and beautiful view of Lake Thun from the town’s castle. Since Spiez is located opposite Oberhofen across Lake Thun, you can see different scenery of Lake Thun compared to the previous destinations mentioned.
For your Lake Thun trip from Interlaken, I suggest spending only a little time in Spiez.
After arriving in the town, go straight to the castle, which is only a stone’s throw away from the harbor.
The castle has a restaurant where you can eat your lunch. It’s a nice alternative to Oberhofen Castle’s restaurant, thanks to the alfresco seats with a nice view of the castle grounds.
Before or after you eat in the castle’s restaurant, wander around the castle for a nice view of Mount Niesen looming above Spiez. You can check the chapel and go behind it for a sweeping view of Lake Thun.
If you want, you can come inside Spiez Castle to see the exhibits and join the programs offered by the castle’s staff. However, I recommend skipping Spiez Castle museum for this trip as the experience may be quite redundant to that from Oberhofen Castle.
I linked the official website of Spiez Castle in the resources section of this post if you want to learn more about the castle.
Lake Thun boat schedule is also in the resources to help you plan your trip in Lake Thun during your stay in Interlaken.
Saint Beatus Caves
Saint Beatus Caves is the last destination for this Lake Thun day trip during your stay in Interlaken. It’s one of the most popular destinations from Interlaken to give you a more diversified travel experience during your trip.
Needless to say, it’s a cave, and thus, it offers an experience like no other top destination in the area. But, aside from that, I included Saint Beatus Caves in this itinerary for several more reasons.
It’s a nice destination even if the weather isn’t so great. There’s even a museum where you can learn about caves, Karstology, and wildlife as you wait for the bad weather to go away.
In Saint Beatus Caves, you can discover the otherworldly scenery underneath the spectacular Bernese Oberland mountains.
It’s simply a beautiful place with its fantasy-movie-like waterfalls and breathtaking views of Lake Thun.
Like Oberhofen Castle, Saint Beatus Caves also has a restaurant with a view of Lake Thun and Mount Niesen. If you want, you can have your lunch here instead.
Are you visiting during the summer or peak season?
Make sure to reserve yourself a table so that you can surely eat in the restaurant when you visit Saint Beatus Caves.
For any reservations, you can check Saint Beatus Caves’ official website, linked in the resources section. Visiting information is also indicated on their website.
What’s so nice about Saint Beatus Caves is its modern electric lighting letting visitors clearly see the fascinating limestone rock formations, stalagmites, stalactites, and grottos inside the cave.
What’s better? There are also 25 information boards to give you an insightful 45-minute tour inside the caves.
Are you going to Saint Beatus Caves?
There are several ways you can reach Saint Beatus Caves. But the shortest possible way can either be a single ferry ride, a single bus ride, or a combination of a ferry ride and a bus ride.
The most scenic way is by riding a ferry. You can find ferries stopping by Beatushöhlen Sundlauenen (ferry station of Saint Beatus Caves) from any town around Lake Thun. It’s not very frequent, though. So, you might like to check other ways to reach Saint Beatus Caves.
If you’re from Oberhofen Castle, you can easily reach Saint Beatus Caves by taking a single 25-minute bus ride (#21) heading to Interlaken.
On the other hand, if you’re from Spiez, you first need to get a ferry ride to the towns/ferry stations along the northern shores of Lake Thun (Merligen, Gunten, Beatenbucht). From there, you can wait for the bus (#21) to bring you to Saint Beatus Caves’ bus stop.
By the way, Spiez and Saint Beatus Caves aren’t the only two places you can visit during the afternoon of your Lake Thun trip from Interlaken. Here are more options: 10 Beautiful Places Around Lake Thun.
Day 4 – Lake Brienz
One of the most spectacular lakes in Switzerland also lies beside (east of) Interlaken. It is called Lake Brienz, and its turquoise water is, if not the brightest, one of the brightest in Switzerland.
Lake Brienz’s turquoise water is so bright that you can easily spot it from space. You can check Google Earth for yourself as proof. But you know what? Lake Brienz is more than just visually spectacular.
Like Lake Thun, Lake Brienz is surrounded by picture-perfect villages. Also, it has some adventurous and nostalgic culture-packed tourist attractions. That simply explains why Lake Brienz is also worth visiting during your stay in Interlaken.
Aside from the cute villages, you can also find an open-air museum, gorgeous waterfalls, and nostalgic train rides. However, there are only two places I would suggest you visit in Lake Brienz: Iseltwald and Brienz.
Here’s how I think you can spend a day in Lake Brienz during your Jungfrau Region trip:
- 9:00 am — Harder Kulm
- 11:30 am — Interlaken (Lunch)
- 1:30 pm (rest of the afternoon) — Iseltwald and Brienz
Let’s discuss the details of each place mentioned above.
We start your Lake Brienz trip from Interlaken at Harder Kulm. It is the viewpoint above Interlaken, which I consider one of the best viewing points of the Jungfrau Region.
From Harder Kulm, visitors behold a panoramic view of the Jungfrau Region that includes an overlooking view of Interlaken, Jungfrau Massif, Lake Thun, and Lake Brienz.
The varying landforms visible from Harder Kulm (Interlaken’s flat alluvial, lakes, valleys, and snow-capped mountain peaks) are simply stunning.
Harder Kulm isn’t exactly located around Lake Brienz, but it’s one of the best places to appreciate the bright turquoise water of Lake Brienz. Overlooking Lake Brienz and seeing its spectacular hue should spark excitement to see Lake Brienz up close in the villages.
What makes Harder Kulm special is its viewing deck that extends a few meters from the mountains.
It’s called the Two Lakes Bridge, where you can take a 180 degrees panorama of the Jungfrau Region from Lake Brienz to Lake Thun while there’s nothing but the abyss underneath you.
Do you want to go now to Harder Kulm?
Good news! Going to Harder Kulm from Interlaken is a breeze. Visitors can get to Harder Kulm within 10 minutes using a funicular train ride from Interlaken.
Harderbahn’s valley station is within walking distance from Interlaken OST across the Aare River. It’s approximately a 5 to 7-minute walk to get to the station.
If you want to learn more about Harder Kulm, here’s the article where I discuss everything that you need to know about this destination: Here’s What You Can Expect To See In Visiting Harder Kulm.
I recommend catching the first ascent to Harder Kulm. That way, you can really enjoy this destination. It’s absolutely nicer to hang around Harder Kulm with fewer travelers around.
Among the villages and towns around Lake Brienz, I am confident that Iseltwald is unmissable. This small village, perched in the middle of Lake Brienz’ southern shoreline, has the most picture-perfect scenery of Lake Brienz.
From Iseltwald, visitors behold a 180-degree panoramic view of Lake Brienz with the craggy mountain ridge above it and along its length.
The bright turquoise view of the lake makes it a scenery like no other.
Yes, wandering in Iseltwald will leave you in awe. Try exploring the shoreline because it’s where the nicest view and cutest chalets in the village are. Most importantly, don’t miss the harbor!
It’s on the harbor where the best view of Iseltwald is found, with Seeburg Castle included in the picture.
Seeburg Castle is Iseltwald’s main landmark, built on the tip of the village’s peninsula, and it’s straight out of a fairytale when observed from the harbor.
When the wind is barely blowing the surface of Lake Brienz, the scenery you can see from Iseltwald becomes gorgeously indescribable. Lake Brienz turns into a big turquoise mirror, reflecting the Seeburg Castle and the craggy mountains on the other side of the lake.
If you like taking photos, it’s definitely the scenery that you wouldn’t want to miss.
There are two options to get to Iseltwald from Interlaken OST. By bus (#103), it’s a 15- to 20-minute journey. By ferry, it’s a 45-minute voyage. You can also get to Iseltwald by driving your car.
Here’s my article about Iseltwald (Why Visit Iseltwald and How to Get to This Beautiful Village) where you can find more things to do in Iseltwald, tips, and more visiting information about the village.
Brienz may be the last in this Jungfrau Region itinerary, but definitely, it is not the least when it comes to the beautiful experiences travelers can have.
This village sitting on the northernmost tip of Lake Brienz is the destination to discover the culture in the Swiss Alps. And yes, as you might have been thinking, Brienz is the place to be to further diversify your travel experience during your Jungfrau Region trip.
Brienz, famous for its wood carving tradition, offers fascinating little discoveries that perfectly satisfy wanderlust.
There are many you can find in Brienz, from charming, colorful centuries-old chalets to cute dog-like plant boxes to funny wooden sculptures. It seems there’s always to take pictures of, especially in Brunngasse, which is Brienz’s most beautiful street.
And yes, you should not miss Brunngasse! This street in Brienz was once awarded the title of “the most beautiful street in Europe.” Quaint picture-perfect scenes await you there!
If you have spare time, visit the Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum. It is a museum in Brienz where you can give yourself a glimpse of the scenes of the settlements within the Swiss Alps and Switzerland 300 years ago.
The Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum showcases Switzerland’s traditional buildings and architecture. The quaint and intricately designed houses are a feast for the eye. You’ll really like it if we’re the same – architecture & history enthusiasts!
To get to Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum, ride bus #151 from either of the train stations in Brienz. Travel time should be less than 10 minutes. Ballenberg Swiss Open Air Museum’s visiting information is linked in the resources section of this post.
More Things To Do In Interlaken or Jungfrau Region
So, that’s it! That’s how I think you can spend 3 to 4 days in Interlaken on a budget. If you want to extend for a few days (but you might already spend bucks), I can suggest three activities/attractions you would also like to experience/visit.
Here’s where you can find the full list of activities you can have in the Jungfrau Region.
Aside from Saint Beatus Caves, Trummelbach is another travel destination in the Jungfrau Region to visit when the sky doesn’t look so sunny in the mountains.
Trummelbach Waterfall is Europe’s largest underwater waterfall, where 20,000 liters of meltwater cascade from Jungfrau. It’s a huge place to witness the incredible power of nature, which can keep you fascinated for a couple of hours.
Inside there are 10 levels and viewpoints showing the earth carved by the water; some offer overlooking views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley. Worry not if you think you’ll not climb lengthy stairs. The viewpoints are linked with lifts and funiculars.
Getting to Trummelbach Waterfall is a breeze from Lauterbrunnen. Take bus #141 from Lauterbrunnen, and you should arrive at Trummelbach Waterfall within 10 minutes. Trummelbach Falls’ visiting information is linked in the sources section.
If you want to extend for a whole day in the Jungfrau Region, Jungfraujoch is the place to be. For me, it’s the ultimate destination in the Jungfrau Region which gives many experiences that make it so worth visiting.
Mainly, Jungfraujoch offers a unique experience of standing on top of Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3454 meters above sea level. The train ride to Jungfraujoch is also an experience in itself as it passes through tunnels and offers stunning views of the Swiss Alps.
It’s also from Jungfraujoch that you can have a look at the longest glacier in the Alps, the Aletsch Glacier. Aside from that, you can also enjoy a variety of activities, such as the ice palace and sightseeing in the Sphinx Observatory.
Jungfraujoch is a day trip from Interlaken which you can do in several ways:
More information about Jungfraujoch at the resources section of this post.
Are you looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience? You should try Tandem Paragliding. The bird’s eye view of the Jungfrau Region’s spectacular landscape is definitely an experience like no other!
You’ll be flying 800 meters above Interlaken, slightly descending mid-air During a 10 to 20-minute flight. You will land softly in the center of Interlaken, within walking distance of all hotels and train stations.
If you are interested in Tandem Paragliding, you can learn more about the activity here.
Where to Stay During Your Jungfrau Region Trip
If you’re planning a trip to Interlaken, one of the most important things to consider is where to stay. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options available, ranging from budget-friendly hostels to luxurious hotels with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
In case you don’t have a place to stay yet, here’s where you can find the best hotel deals in the Jungfrau Region. The link will send you to a hotel browser that features a map to help you find the accommodation located at the most convenient location.
Resources: Interlaken Itinerary
As promised, here are the links to websites where you can learn more about the destinations I mentioned in the post.
I also included the links to pages where you can find some essential travel information in the Jungfrau Region, such as the live view of the mountains and the schedule of public transportation.
- Timetable & Tariff | Schilthorn – Piz Gloria
- Timetable for lake cruises in Lake Thun and Lake Brienz
- Live view of the mountains in the Jungfrau Region
- Official website of Spiez Castle
- Official website of Saint Beatus Caves
- Official website of Ballenberg, Swiss Open-Air Museum
- Official website of Trummelbach Falls
- More information about Jungfraujoch
That would be all!
I hope you had a great time exploring the beautiful Swiss Alps and all the fantastic activities that Interlaken has to offer. Wishing you safe travels and many more adventures in the future!🌍✈️
Where to go next after Interlaken in Central Switzerland? Check these out:
- Bern – 7 Beautiful Views in Bern and Bern’s 10 Stunning Landmarks
- Lucerne – Unique Things to Do in Lucerne and Old Town Lucerne
Looking for different ways to travel in Switzerland? Check my itineraries below.
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