Interlaken is a small municipality in Switzerland’s Bernese highlands that’s most well-known as the Gateway to the Alps.
The town is noted for its traditional charm and is the starting point for a number of tours into the mountains, where international visitors and locals partake in seasonal outdoor activities like skiing, climbing, rafting, and paragliding.
Interlaken sits nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, but the nearby mountains tower thousands of feet higher. They offer nature lovers, outdoorsy types, and photography enthusiasts access to some of the country’s incredible scenery.
Below are 15 of the best tours in and around Interlaken.
1. Thrilling 75–Minute Jet Boat Ride
There’s probably no more memorable and exhilarating way to see the sights around Interlaken than by high-speed jet boat.
After meeting their captain, guests will head to the boat, don their all-weather gear, and have a brief safety orientation.
Tour highlights include panoramic views of idyllic fishing villages, the towering Alps, and famous Giessbach Falls.
When the ride is over and guests have caught their breath, everyone will receive an electronic photo album from the operator to commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Jetboat rides are notoriously fast, loud, and rough, so they may not be suitable for travelers of all ages.
2. Tandem Paragliding Flight
Not to be outdone by their jet boat counterparts, the folks who lead this tandem paragliding experience from Interlaken are intent on making each flight safe, memorable, and truly thrilling.
After a short drive to Beatenberg, guests will get an overview of safety procedures and the day’s events before strapping in with their pilot and taking to the air.
Gliding high above the Alps powered only by wind and the pilot’s skill, participants will enjoy panoramic views of some of Switzerland’s most rugged and beautiful country.
Depending on the weather, guests will land in Interlaken 10 to 20 minutes after takeoff.
Tours are available in English, Spanish, French, and German.
3. Kayak Tour of the Turquoise Lake Brienz
Beautiful Lake Brienz is one of Interlaken’s premier outdoor activity destinations.
Though kayaking may seem like a strenuous activity best left to the young, fit, and energetic, this tour is appropriate for those of most ages and levels of physical ability.
Tours run regularly through the late spring and summer and are a great way to see the Swiss countryside from a unique perspective while burning away unwanted excess calories.
Tour highlights include ragged cliffs, secluded beaches, and impressive views of Ringgenberg Castle.
Tours last about three hours. If you are visiting when the weather is cool, you’ll get a wetsuit before heading out.
4. 1-Hour Express Discovery Tour
For those with limited free time, this 1-hour express discovery tour would be a great way to see many of Interlaken’s most iconic attractions quickly.
Tours meet in the city center, after which walkers and their guide will meander through quiet streets and past urban parks, traditional restaurants, trendy bars, and quaint neighborhoods with impressive architecture.
Though there won’t be much time to stop, many guests discover places they’d like to visit on their own when the tour is officially over.
1-hour tours are a good fit for those with limited travel budgets and first-time visitors looking to familiarize themselves with the town’s layout and attractions.
5. 1-Hour 2nd-Class Boat Cruise on Lake Brienz
Apparently in Switzerland, 2nd-class cruise tickets are quite a bit better than they are elsewhere because this 1-hour boat tour on Lake Brienz gets consistently high marks.
Though guests may have to dodge the occasional banana peel carelessly tossed from the 1st –class deck, everyone will enjoy stunning views of the lake, old fishing villages on the shore, and stunning views of the Alps in the distance.
Tours get underway in the afternoon and offer a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere, making them the perfect way to end a long day on your feet.
Complimentary soft drinks and an audio guide app are included as well.
6. Private Instagram-Worthy Highlights Walking Tour
Sprucing up your Instagram feed and impressing your forlorn friends stuck back home has never been easier for guests of this private highlights walking tour.
After rendezvousing with their guide, participants will set out on foot to explore many of Interlaken’s most beautiful and impressive attractions.
Tours are open to those with traditional and smartphone cameras. Along the way, everyone will get helpful tips from their knowledgeable guide to ensure that their pictures are the best they can be.
It’s a good idea to wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather, which can change on a dime in Interlaken.
7. Helicopter Skydiving 2-Hour Experience
Skydiving in the Swiss Alps is a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that shouldn’t be passed up for diehard thrill-seekers and adrenaline junkies.
All tours begin with a short video and safety briefing, after which guests will strap on their gear, board the helicopter, and ascend to more than 15,000 feet before taking the plunge.
From aloft, participants will see amazing views of the mountains, city, and lake while experiencing an amazing free-fall with their instructor.
Don’t worry if you forget to pull the parachute cord, because that’s what your guide is there for.
Tours include a certificate and round-trip transportation from your hotel or a central meeting point in town.
8. Architecture Walking Tour
Interlaken features a unique architectural scene that’s easy to discover on this 90-minute walking tour with a local guide.
Tours are both educational and engaging and include stops at some of the city’s most impressive attractions.
Interlaken sports an aesthetically pleasing mix of contemporary and old-world architecture that are singular in character. Along the way, guests will get an overview of the town’s layout and learn about its history and culture too.
Tours meet at a central location, include a number of less-visited attractions, and cover a moderate amount of ground, making them appropriate for guests of most ages.
9. Blue and Öschinen Lakes Private Tour
The countryside around Interlaken is dotted with beautiful glacial lakes. Visiting them on a private tour is a great way to leave the city’s hustle and bustle in the rearview mirror for a few hours.
This value-packed tour includes stops at Blue, Oeschienen, and Thoune lakes, a Riccola herb garden, a family-owned dairy farm, and rides on a gondola and horse-drawn carriage.
Needless to say, guests will take in the area’s splendor from several unique perspectives. They’ll learn about the things they’re seeing from their local guide at each stop along the way.
Tours include round-trip transportation to and from Interlaken, a picnic lunch, and lots of one-of-a-kind photo ops.
10. Custom-Tailored VIP Tour with Local Guide
Customizable VIP tours are a great fit for travelers interested in making the absolute most of their limited vacation time.
This tour is a popular choice for those who prefer to experience many different aspects of local life in one convenient package.
Guests will ride a cable car toward some of the Swiss Alps’ most prominent peaks, learn about how cheese is made at a traditional dairy farm, and visit a renowned chocolate factory.
Before booking, take some time to consult with the tour provider to let them know your schedule and interests so they can prepare a personalized full-day package accordingly.
11. Canyoning on the Chli Schliere
It takes less than an hour from Interlaken to find yourself in some of the area’s most rugged natural areas.
Canyoning on the Chli Schliere is an exhilarating adventure that tends to rank among the most memorable experiences of many visitor’s trips.
Featuring jumps, slides, and a number of rappelling stations at various heights, this is a physically and technically challenging excursion that’s best left to fit, hearty, and relatively experienced canyoners.
Tours include all the training and gear you’ll need. After it’s all said and done, weary participants will enjoy a picnic lunch before making the relaxing drive back to Interlaken.
12. Stand-up Paddle Board Tour on Lake Brienz
For those who didn’t burn enough calories while on the aforementioned canyoning expedition, this stand-up paddleboarding tour on Lake Brienz would be a great way to kick things up a notch.
Though it may not seem like a tour for everyone, stand-up paddleboards are surprisingly stable and are therefore appropriate for guests of most ages and levels of physical ability.
Before pushing out on the water with their guide, guests will get all the gear and training they’ll need to make it a safe and memorable day.
Highlights include the lake’s clear and tranquil waters, impressive cliffs, and breathtaking views of the forested mountains in the background.
13. 2-Hour Past and Present Discovery Walk
Though the city of Interlaken has changed with the times, it’s still full of historic attractions that include centuries-old churches, ruins, and architecturally significant buildings of all kinds.
This 2-hour past and present tour focuses on a unique blend of attractions and is an excellent option for those interested in venturing from the well-worn path.
Guests will be accompanied by a friendly and knowledgeable local guide who’ll give them valuable insights into the area’s culture and history, and point out lots of things that they may wish to explore on their own later.
Itineraries are customizable, so don’t be shy about making your interests and preferences known.
14. 2 ½-Hour Canyon Swing
The canyons in Grindelwald are some of the area’s most impressive natural features.
Though they’re big hits with experienced climbers, they also offer activity options for other travelers that aren’t interested in such extreme physical exertion.
This 2 ½-hour canyon swing tour begins and ends in Interlaken with pickup from either a pre-arranged central location or your downtown hotel.
Just a stone’s throw from the Swiss Alps, Grindelwald features towering peaks and deep canyons, over which guests can hang effortlessly nearly 200 feet above the ground below.
Guests get all the equipment and training they’ll need, but age and weight limits apply, so click the link below for details.
15. Day Trip from Interlaken to Jungfraujoch
The Swiss Alps offer outdoorsy and nature-loving visitors to Interlaken a variety of activity and tour options from which to choose.
On this 7-hour day trip, guests will get about as close to the top of Europe as they’re every likely to get in Jungfraujoch—which is one of the highest points on the continent.
From the base, participants will board an old but reliable cogwheel train for a breathtaking ride, from which there will be unobstructed views of the world-renowned triple peaks of Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mönch.
Meals and light refreshments are available for an additional cost, and guests may opt to stroll the glacial tunnels at the Ice Palace if the spirit moves them.