The best hikes in Interlaken are also some of the most spectacular hikes in all of Switzerland.
The central Swiss resort town sits on a narrow valley between the magnificent Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. Along with these large bodies of water, you’ll find picturesque old timber houses and lush green parkland.
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And if that’s not enough beauty, the mountainous backdrop of alpine peaks and glaciers will take your breath away. This, combined with around 70 marked trails makes Interlaken a hiker’s paradise and a safe place to trek.
Moreover, the trails vary in length and difficulty, so you’ll find fantastic walking routes no matter your level. Here are seven of the best hikes in Interlaken.
Giessbach Waterfall Hike
- Distance: 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers)
- Duration: 1 hour
Giessbach Waterfall is a 30-minute drive east of Interlaken or a short yet scenic ferry ride along the Brienzersee lake.
The dramatic 1,640-foot-tall (500 meters) falls are a popular tourist attraction as the water gushes down a cliffside with great power. The water enters straight into the turquoise lake, giving an incredibly picturesque appearance from both near and afar.
The 1.7-mile (2.7 kilometers) loop hike begins and ends at Giessbach Waterfall trailhead on the south side of the lake near the village of Brienz. From here, the route climbs up to the Grandhotel Giessbach, where there is also a funicular station.
The hotel and its onsite restaurant are beautiful and look like something out of a fairytale. So it’s an excellent place to stop for a cold drink or bite to eat if you want to make the walk more leisurely.
From the hotel, the trail then follows alongside the waterfall and up the mountain, giving you close-up vistas. In particular, you will pass various bridges that serve as incredible viewpoints.
Mount Niesen Panorama Trail
- Distance: 3 miles (4.8 kilometers)
- Duration: 2 – 2.5 hours
If you’re looking for the best hikes in Interlaken in terms of views, the panorama trail at Mount Niesen is hands down, a top choice. Moreover, it’s a relatively easy route as you take the funicular halfway up the mountain.
Mount Niesen sits 7,749 feet (2,362 meters) above sea level, giving magnificent views of the surroundings, such as Niesen reservoir, Lake Thun, and the Bernese Alps. It is located less than an hour’s drive from Interlaken.
The Mount Niesen Panorama trailhead is at Schwandegg middle station. Depart the funicular here and walk via Alp Oberniesen up to the ridge.
This route makes for a 3-mile (4.8 kilometers) walk with an ascent of 2,546 feet (776 meters).
However, if you prefer a more gentle walk, take the funicular all the way up to Niesen Kulm and reverse the trail by walking down to the middle station. This eliminates all inclines and takes around one hour to complete.
The Rugen Trail
- Distance: 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers)
- Duration: 30 – 60 minutes
The Rugen Trail in Kleiner Rugen is easily one of the best hikes in Interlaken as it is practically located in the city center. The trail is short, family-friendly, incredibly scenic, and slightly challenging, with a slight climb to the top.
However, once you reach the summit, you’ll enjoy some of the best vistas across Interlaken and beyond, including Lake Thun. You will likely spot some native Swiss wildlife like alpacas along the route.
You will find the Rugen trailhead on the circular path, just a short walk up Hubelweg. If coming by public transport, get off at Hotel Regina, and you’ll find the road next to the bus stop.
The total elevation gain is 2,149 feet (655 meters). Beginners can make it more gentle by stopping off along the way.
Experienced hikers can incorporate jogging or running to make it more challenging.
Hasliberg Dwarf Trail
- Distance: 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers)
- Duration: 1 – 2 hours
The Hasliberg Dwarf Trail is one of the best hikes in Interlaken, particularly for families. It is known as a storybook trail as the unique themed walk follows the adventures of the Hasliberg dwarfs with over a dozen interactive play stations.
It is also a short and easy walk, just over 2 miles (3 kilometers). It is mostly downhill and, if done without kids, takes no longer than an hour to complete.
However, if you do this walk with children, the play station stops can increase the hike duration by double.
The play stations along the route match the tales from the Muggestutz storybook. Therefore, we recommend reading the book beforehand for a more magical experience.
The trail is just as fun for adults as children and is accessible for all fitness levels. However, unfortunately, it is not stroller-friendly.
The Hasliberg Dwarf Trailhead is 328 ft (100 m) below the Mägisalp restaurant, approximately 75 minutes from Interlaken.
The Eiger Trail
- Distance: 4.5 miles (7.2 kilometers)
- Duration: 2 – 3 hours
The Eiger Trail runs from Eigergletscher to Alpiglen in the Jungfrau region of the Bernese Oberland. The 4.5-mile (7.2 kilometers) route is mostly downhill, so it is rated easy and takes between 2 and 3 hours to finish (one way).
Despite being a gentle hike, the trail does not lack gorgeous scenery. The elevation at The Eiger trailhead at Eigergletscher gondola station is 7,618 feet (2,322 meters), and the finish point at Alpiglen station is 5,302 feet (1,616 meters).
Therefore, as you make the significant descent, you’ll be blessed with lush green mountain views in the summer and a magical white wonderland in the winter. Eigergletscher is approximately a 45-minute drive from Interlaken.
Lauterbrunnen To Stechelberg
- Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers)
- Duration: 2 – 3 hours
The Lauterbrunnen To Stechelberg hike is a mostly paved, flat walking route that connects the two picturesque towns.
The trail also passes many waterfalls, including Trümmelbachfälle and Mürrenbachfall. The falls here are at their best after a period of rain.
There are stunning mountain views from start to finish, which, combined with the waterfalls, makes it one of the most serene walks in Interlaken. Plus, around Lauterbrunnen Valley, you may spot some paragliders, too.
The hike begins in Lauterbrunnen, a 15 to 20-minute drive or a 20-minute train journey from Interlaken. The Lauterbrunnen To Stechelberg trailhead is at the parking lot by Hotel Horner.
The walk to Stechelberg is around 4.3 miles (6.9 kilometers), so most people walk one way and then catch a bus back to Lauterbrunnen. However, you can do the out and back route if you fancy a longer hike.
Murren To Grutschalp
- Distance: 3 miles (4.8 kilometers)
- Duration: 1.5 hours
Another of the best point-to-point hikes in Interlaken is Murren to Grutschalp, a gentle 3-mile (4.8 kilometers) trail through the forests and meadows in the Jungfrau region. The track is pretty short, taking most people no more than 90 minutes to complete one way.
The elevation on the route gets pretty high, reaching 5,410 feet (1,649 meters).
Therefore, expect to see many breathtaking views of the lush greenery and colossal mountain peaks along the way. Look out for Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau mountains, to name a few.
The trail runs alongside a railroad, making it easy to hop on the train in Grutschalp and travel back to your starting point. Or, for those who are first-time hikers, you can catch a train from Winteregg station, located halfway along the route, and continue your journey by railroad to Grutschalp.
The Murren to Grutschalp trailhead is located by the Murran ski lift. After just a short, you’ll come across the first highlight of the walk, the Murran viewpoint, where you will witness some of the country’s most beautiful scenery.
Final Thoughts On Hiking In Interlaken
Interlaken is popular among first-time hikers and those with years of trekking experience looking to see the world-class Swiss scenery. No matter your fitness ability, these seven best hikes in Interlaken will not disappoint.
Moreover, many trails are also open in the winter, giving an alternative and magical experience to the summer’s blue skies and green forests.
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