• interlaken travel tips

Is Interlaken Too Touristy?

When I first went to Interlaken, it was by accident. I thought it was “off the trail” so to speak & I thought I was one of the cool kids seeing it first. Someone told us about it on a train and we detoured to see what the fuss was about. Turns out, everyone and their mother had been there. Even now, it seems like every week I see a new Facebook friend hang-gliding or canyoning in the freezing glacier water of Interlaken.

But, is Interlaken too touristy?

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I always re-enforce the beauty of Interlaken and assure travelers that even if it’s becoming quite the tourist stop, it is SO worth it. The lake water is beyond tempting to jump in with its clear blue tiny ripples of waves.

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The tiny town is like something out of a movie; even the bars still have curfews for noise. Plus, the mountain views of the “virgin, monk, and ogre” peaks will blow your mind. They say the monk protects the virgin from the ogre. The virgin is the mountain peak that is snow white, while the ogre has a black peak.

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is interlaken too touristy, switzerland, interlaken, lakes, outdoor adventure, hang gliding, canyoning

Outdoor Adventure

Canyoning in the glaciers of the Swiss Alps is still one of the most thrilling things I have ever done (it’s up there with whitewater rafting grade 5’s in the Nile and bungee jumping). Canyoning Saxeteen is a fun but scary mix of cliff jumping, repelling, and slipping down natural made water slides. Luckily, there was a wetsuit to keep me from freezing- it was still cold. The guides chose names for us all to wear on our helmets. I was dubbed “barbie”.

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is interlaken too touristy, switzerland, interlaken, lakes, outdoor adventure, hang gliding, canyoning

is interlaken too touristy, switzerland, interlaken, lakes, outdoor adventure, hang gliding, canyoning

There have been cases of flash flooding causing many lives to be lost at once which is horribly tragic, so make sure you think about the risk involved. The danger makes it all that more appealing to some, like me. The cliff jumping is difficult to work up courage because of how shallow that water is. On multiple occasions more than half the group would choose not to jump. I plan to take on Europe by train again and will for sure do canyoning in Interlaken again. I’d like to try a new canyon.

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The other kick-ass outdoor activity I did was hang-gliding. A “ticket to fly” was put in my shoe, with my signature, basically saying if I die, it was my fault. Super. After a couple beers and helping put together my glider I was running off the top of a mountain tandem with my guide, Bernie at .

is interlaken too touristy, switzerland, interlaken, lakes, outdoor adventure, hang gliding, canyoningInsanely exhilarating to get the running start of the moutain. To be honest though, in the air it wasn’t that scary. The views were amazing and make it well worth it on their own.After much floating around having Bernie snap photos,  he dove head first to give me the feeling of free fall. After landing with drool over my face and yelling obscenities, I had a stupid grin on my face all day.

Other options including hiking, sky diving, riding quads, boating, kayaking, and ice climbing. I HAVE to go back just for the ice climbing. There was an avalanche the day I was meant to go and I still haven’t recovered entirely from that disappointment.

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There aren’t as many hostels to choose from in Interlaken, as you’ll see when you search. Almost everyone I’ve met on the road stayed at the same one:s. It’s popular, cute, you’ll meet loads of people, and they set up tours for you. Because we loved the town, we wanted to stay longer but our hostel was booked. Luckily in the quaint little town, a bar was nice enough to let us sleep in the attic. The kindness of strangers always comes in handy. Click for rates and availability. 

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if you’re not into any of the activities I’ve mentioned, spend the day hanging out at the local pool is interlaken too touristy, switzerland, interlaken, lakes, outdoor adventure, hang gliding, canyoning, pool

Interlaken is THE place to do the outdoor activities you’re seeking but be prepared to spend a decent chunk of money. In my experience, it’s no more than you would spend in the states (about 200 an activity once you buy the CD of photos they take). No matter how many people go to Interlaken, it won’t take away that special place in my heart. It might be touristy, but so is seeing the Eiffel Tower in Paris and that doesn’t stop anyone! At the time I went to Interlaken, I had never seen anything more beautiful.  That’s exactly how I will remember it.

Did you love Interlaken? Is there anywhere you went that exceeded your expectations?

 

2017-07-05T18:01:56+00:00

About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.

15 Comments

  1. Jeff November 25, 2013 at 11:19 am - Reply

    By judging with your article, i would say not only touristy but the place to be, enjoy and have fun.

    • Rachel November 25, 2013 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      I agree, it’s not one you want to miss!

  2. Audrey November 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    I agree with you – some places are worth visiting even if they are known for being very touristy. I mean, you couldn’t go somewhere like Paris and not see the Eiffel Tower, now could you? ;)

    • Rachel November 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm - Reply

      exactly! thanks for commenting :)

  3. Mike Huiwitz November 28, 2013 at 10:16 am - Reply

    I’d love to go there. Looks like a good travel destination. Especially if you’re looking to unwind and unplug.

  4. Jessica Wray November 29, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    I LOVE visiting new towns or cities which also have views of mountains. It’s just so epic every time you walk outside! Looks like I’ll have to get to Interlaken, regardless of its touristy-ness ;)

    • Rachel November 29, 2013 at 3:47 pm - Reply

      yess i agree! sometimes the touristy spots are the best, interlaken at least isn’t crowded, you’d love it i’m sure!

  5. Rachel A Davis December 11, 2013 at 2:53 am - Reply

    Love this! I know exactly what you mean, get a tip that you think is gold then turn up and realise everyone is on it! But then it’s touristy for a reason, and Interlaken is so accessible. We’ve been really lucky and have {sort of} relatives who we housesit for down the valley in Lauterbrunnen. Been there two Decembers in a row for some wonderful Swiss festive snow. Adore the area, so so beautiful.

    I had always wanted to see the Taj Mahal, absolute top of my list, but was concerned it wouldn’t live up to my dreams. We visited at sunrise, as did the rest of India, it was so busy….but hands down, the most incredible experience! More than exceeded my expectations, the way it changed colour as the sun rose, amazing.

    Hope to see you in our little #travelbookclub in Jan! :)

    • Rachel December 11, 2013 at 5:54 am - Reply

      Lucky girl, i went to the taj in the middle of the day (we planned for sunrise but you know how plans can go…) and it was crowded, hot, and kind of ruined it :( i want to go back at sunrise! and I’m looking forward to the book club as well!

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