We Planned To See The Swiss Alps From Interlaken
A day trip on our stay in Bern gave us the opportunity to view the Swiss Alps from Interlaken.
We visited Switzerland for 10 days. When we planned the trip, we decided that this would not be a Swiss mountain adventure. But we did not want to miss seeing them totally. The weather dawned clear and sunny one day so we headed for a view of the Swiss Alps from Interlaken.
The small town of Interlaken was charming. In Bern we took the Gurten Funicular and got great panoramic views out over Bern. In Interlaken, the Hardenbahn Funicular took us up to the Harder Kulm viewpoint for amazing views over Interlaken and the Thun and Brienz Lakes. The view of the mountains left us with a promise of so much more.
The Train To Interlaken
Interlaken was an easy day trip from Bern. Trains ran from the main train station to Interlaken Ost about every half hour. The train we took stopped first at Interlaken West. From that stop, it was easy to wander in town.
Interlaken Ost station was the terminus and junction for railway lines that went to Jungfrau and Luzern. This station was closer to the Harderbahn Funicular to the top of Harder Kulm.
We were not sure if all trains stopped at the West stop. So after we visited the town, we made our way to Interlaken Ost when it was time to return to Bern.
Different Options For The Swiss Alps From Interlaken
When we originally planned our trip to Switzerland, we intended to head deep into the Swiss Alps from Interlaken. The peak at Jungfrau was called “The Top Of Europe”.
From Interlaken there were a few options to get to Jungfrau. Most people suggested we go one way and return another. There was a train from Interlaken to Grundlewald with a connecting train to Kleine Scheidegg. The other route went via Lauterbrunnen and Wengen to Kleine Scheidegg. In Kleine Scheidegg another train finished the trip to Jungfrau.
The train ticket to Interlaken was quite cheap. But the cost for additional trains rides to Jungfrau was quite expensive. There were several trains a day. But we were concerned that a day trip from Bern would squeeze us for time. So we left a visit to Jungrau for another visit to Switzerland.
The other Swiss Alps trip that we considered from Interlaken was a trip south to the town of Zermatt. From there it was possible to take a cogwheel train to Gornergrat for a view of the Matterhorn. The town of Zermatt looked like an ideal mountain town to stay at. So we put this on the list for a future mountain visit. At that time we would also head into the mountain region around Lugano and St Moritz.
But on this visit to see the Swiss Alps from Interlaken we headed up to “The Top Of Interlaken” at the Harder Kulm viewpoint. From there we got a great teaser view of Jungfrau off in the distance.
Heading High On The Hardenbahn Funicular To Harder Kulm Viewpoint
The bottom of the Harder Kulm viewpoint was located a short walk from the Interlaken Ost train station. The funicular ran about every 30 minutes. There were both one or two way tickets for the Hardenbahn Funicular. But it was a couple of hours to walk down and we did not have that time on this trip.
The funiculars ran at a very steep gradient (64 degrees) and at one point went through a tunnel. Stairs ran beside the funicular in case of an emergency. On one trip, we sat right at the back and got a view of Interlaken below us.
At the top, there was a gentle path up to the Harder Kulm viewpoint. We were excited when we headed up on the Harderbahn for a view of the Swiss Alps from Interlaken.
Stunning Views From the Harder Kulm Viewpoint
As we approached the viewpoint, we saw the chalet restaurant with a big patio area. The viewpoint platform stuck out from there.
We were amused when we found a cow statue in the middle of the platform. He looked out and enjoyed the view from there. Visitors could not resist ringing the bell around the neck. We wondered if that was some kind of local good luck charm.
It was still early when we arrived, so we headed directly to the platform for our panoramic views. In one direction we saw deep into the Swiss Alps. The Jungfrau summit came in and out of clouds as we watched through our visit.
Looking down we got a great birds eye view of the town of Interlaken. On one side we saw the clear green Lake Thun. And on the other side the Lake Brienz. Boats did tours of the lakes when we visited in late May.
We looked out and saw the hiking paths that led further up this mountain and others that led back to town.
We took in the stunning views from Hader Kulm on our trip to the Swiss Alps in Interlaken.
Typical Tourists At the Viewpoint At Harder Kulm
We were surprised by how many people took their quick Instagram moment and left. They stood at the platform point, quickly posed in a number of amusing ways and then headed back down. Even when they were there with someone else, they could not leave without at least one selfie.
We must admit that we took our share of pictures at the platform too. We got pics of each other and someone even took our picture together. There are not a lot of pictures of us together since we were often not comfortable when we handed over David’s expensive DSLR camera or my iPhone.
But we did not leave the viewpoint without sitting down to just enjoy the view. There were tables at the restaurant with good views. The self service counter had picnic tables. Although there were a number of signs cautioning us about having a “Pick Nick”.
We took two lounge chairs and got some drinks. I could not resist an Aperol Spritz. We were delighted we found them readily available as we travelled in Switzerland. David continued his quest to find a local beer that he liked. Of course we made a toast to the perfect day visiting the Swiss Alps from Interlaken.
A quick picture stop may prove we visited. But we were happy we stopped and really enjoyed the view on our trip to the Swiss Alps. If that meant that we saw less viewpoints in a day, then that was a trade off we always made.
Fun Views From The Air
There were other ways to get a birds eye view of the Swiss Alps from Interlaken. As we wandered through the town we saw signs for paragliding, hanggliding and skydiving.
When we were at the Harder Kulm viewpoint, we got a great view of the paragliders as they launched from the heights of the mountain hills beside us. They took the updrafts from the mountain sides and the lake and stayed in the air for quite some time. A few times the paragliders buzzed the platform we stood on. We were sure that the view while paragliding was quite awesome.
We saw paragliders several times on our travels around the Alps. One time when visiting Annecy in the French Alps, we stopped and just watched them float down.
From the viewpoint, we saw the landing zone for the skydivers and paragliders. When we were in town we visited the landing zone and watched as they came in. It was quite a show.
If you head to the Swiss Alps from Interlaken, think about seeing them from the air. I thought that David should try it. Having 150 skydives under my belt, I wanted to watch him have this experience. But by the time we finished lunch and found the place to sign up, the clouds started to come in. This was definitely on the list for a return visit to the Swiss Alps from Interlaken.
Walking Around Interlaken
The quaint town of Interlaken looked exactly like we expected a Swiss mountain village to look. The hills around the town were green and cows grazed lazily in the fields. The houses looked like mountain chalets. The hotels in town were elegant. Parks offered green spaces to sit and enjoy the views. And everywhere we looked, the mountains loomed above us.
There were many places for lunch in the town. There was something for every budget and taste. We had a few options pinned on our offline map. And finally chose to sit at an outdoor patio at the Café de Paris. It was asparagus season and I was in heaven to find a spring menu with lots of tasty options.
When we headed to see the Swiss Alps from Interlaken, we enjoyed the quaint town.
A Taste Test View Of The Swiss Alps From Interlaken
When we visited Switzerland, we were glad we planned to see the Swiss Alps from Interlaken. On a quick day trip from our stay in Bern, we went to Interlaken and headed up to the Harder Kulm viewpoint. We got a great view down to the town below and out on the horizon to the summit at Jungfrau.
If we wanted to see Jungfrau up close, we needed to plan enough time to make that visit properly.
We definitely put Interlaken on our list of places to re-visit. We loved this quaint mountain town. It would be a great spot to use as a base to explore the Swiss Alps from Interlaken in much more depth.
Did you get a view of the Swiss Alps from Interlaken? Did you head from there to Jungfrau?
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