Interlaken, Switzerland is a winter paradise that Singaporeans should definitely consider visiting. This picturesque town, located in the heart of the Swiss Alps, offers a wide range of winter activities and experiences that are sure to leave any traveler with memories to last a lifetime.
It also serves as a convenient base and gateway to Jungfrau, Top of Europe, the highest summit in the whole of Europe and the UNESCO heritage site, Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsc. The latter encompasses the most glaciated part of the mountain range and the largest glacier in Europe, making it a paradise for winter sports. For non-sporting activities, the impressive landscape also played an important role in European art, literature, mountaineering and alpine tourism.
From Interlaken, you can take a connecting train to Grindelwald, which by itself, is an area of interest to explore their outdoor Cliff Walk and other winter adventure activities like sledding and the First Glider experience. The latter is a four passengers glider that will bring you through the mountain landscape to enjoy a panoramic view at a high speed of between 72 to 83km/hr over an 800 metres track.
Commuting to the Top of Europe
For over a century, the Jungfrau railway has been making its journey to Europe’s highest-altitude railway station at 3,454 metres above sea level, right at the heart of the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsch. All through the year, the cog railway runs steeply up through a tunnel to the Jungfraujoch from Kleine Scheidegg.
With the opening of the Eiger Express on 5 December 2020, the journey from Interlaken to the Jungfraujoch now takes just one and a half hours. From a new terminal in Grindelwald, a cableway takes you directly to the station Eigergletscher (Eiger Glacier) in 15 minutes. Once at the top, there is even more time to enjoy the panorama and the adventure world.
Be sure to purchase the Swiss Travel Pass to enjoy savings on the train and cable car rides if you are intending to do a lot of heavy commuting around the Interlaken and Jungfrau regions.
For fans of K-drama, Crash Landing of Your, make sure you get a picture at this iconic spot at Jungfrau whereby an iconic scene happened between the two protagonists:
Here are some further reasons why Interlaken is the perfect winter destination for Singaporeans:
1. Stunning natural scenery
Interlaken is surrounded by some of the most beautiful natural scenery in the world, including snow-capped mountains, pristine lakes, and scenic valleys.
Visitors can take a cable car or train to the top of the mountains to enjoy stunning views of the Alps and surrounding landscape. The Jungfrau region, which includes the famous Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger peaks, is particularly breathtaking and is a must-see for any nature lover.
Here are some pictures I took just around Interlaken:
2. Wide range of winter sports
Interlaken offers a wide range of winter sports, including skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding, and snowshoeing.
Ski enthusiasts will find some of the best slopes in the world in the nearby Jungfrau region, while beginners can take lessons from experienced instructors. The town also has several ice skating rinks and sledging runs, as well as guided snowshoeing tours for those who want to explore the snowy landscapes on foot.
You can also take a short bus ride (B 103) of around 12 minutes to Bönigen from Interlaken, Jungfraustrasse, to try out winter kayaking at the nearby Hightide Kayak School located at Strandbad Bönigen – The Beach, Lütschinenstrasse 24 3806, Bönigen.
The instructor at the school will get you ready to kayak in the turquoise Lake Brienz and bring you to the Giessbach Falls for a tour. I was very afraid of my kayak capsizing and freezing to death in the winter waters, but rest assured that you will be properly attired in a professional wet suit that will keep you warm and dry, with all the right rears and safety measures. This is a different experience worth experiencing for those of us from sunny Singapore who are used to kayaking in tropical weather.
Within Interlaken, you can also go for a paragliding flight experience with an operator like Skywings Paragliding Interlaken, Höheweg 56 3800 Interlaken. It will be a fun way to appreciate the deep-blue lakes and majestic mountain peaks while your paraglider carries you in the wind via a tandem flight amid the Swiss Alps.
3. Delicious Swiss cuisine
Switzerland is famous for its cheese, chocolate, and fondue, and Interlaken is no exception. Visitors can enjoy traditional Swiss dishes at the many local restaurants and cafes, including cheese fondue, raclette, and rosti. There are also several chocolate shops in town, offering delicious treats to satisfy any sweet tooth.
Here are some of the pictures of the lovely restaurants and the meals I had in Interlaken during my 4D3N there:
If you love chocolate, consider signing up for a chocolate-making workshop at the Funky Chocolate Club in Interlaken, Postgasse 10 3800 Interlaken.
The Funky Chocolate Club offers daily workshops to share the origin of the cocoa bean to the production of chocolate bars in Switzerland. At the end of the workshop, you get to take home, your own homemade chocolate bars as a souvenir, decorated and customised just the way you like them.
4. Cosy accommodation options
Interlaken has a wide range of cosy accommodation options to suit any budget and taste. Visitors can choose from hotels, hostels, chalets, and apartments, many of which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains and lakes.
I stayed at Hotel Metropole, a four-star hotel located in the heart of Interlaken with a splendid view of the Jungfrau mountain range. It takes just 8 minutes to walk from the hotel to the train station and there are lots of retail stores as well as F&B establishments nearby.
The town also has several hot springs and wellness centers, where visitors can relax and unwind after a day of winter activities.
Variety of hotels to choose from in Interlaken:
5. Festive winter atmosphere
Interlaken has a festive winter atmosphere, with Christmas markets, holiday lights, and seasonal decorations adding to the town’s charm. Visitors can stroll through the streets, enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, and even take part in some of the local winter festivals and events.
When I was in Interlaken, Christmas had just passed and there was an Interlaken Labyrinth that was set up, using donated Christmas trees from the locals to form a labyrinth for visitors to explore for free. The floor of the labyrinth was filled with wood pulps while the trees are used to line and form the walls – a great way to promote sustainability and tourism.
6. Gateway to Jungfrau, Top of Europe
Most importantly, Interlaken is a convenient base to explore Jungfrau and the surrounding UNESCO site, the Swiss Alps Jungfrau-Aletsc. The train station is a short walk away from most of the hotels in the small town and from there, you can explore everywhere cheaply and easily with the Swiss Travel Pass.
With the opening of the new Grindelwald Terminal with direct railway connection, you can easily get to Eigergletscher with the connecting tricable gondola, Eiger Express in just an hour and an half from Interlaken, drastically cutting traveling time. The new Eiger Express will be able to take you from Grindelwald to the Eiger Glacier station in just 15 minutes, transporting you to Jungfraujoch, Top of Eurpoe, 47 minutes faster than before.
The terminal also offers a shopping centre with top international brands, as well as quality Swiss products and a sports shop. For those who prefer a VIP experience, there is also a VIP lounge and an 888 VIP cable car that is available for reservations.
Overall, Interlaken is the perfect winter destination for Singaporeans who want to experience the beauty and magic of a winter wonderland. With its stunning natural scenery, wide range of winter sports, delicious cuisine, cosy accommodation, convenient access to other areas of the Swiss Alps and festive atmosphere, this charming town in the Swiss Alps is sure to impress any traveler.