After our visit to Zürich and Luzern next stop on our trip around Switzerland was Interlaken (568 m). Interlaken is located in the Swiss canton of Bern between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. We chose this cosy little town which is the main gate to the Bernese Alps, as the basecamp for our trips. In this blog we will go to Harder Kulm mountain above Interlaken and to village of Lauterbrunnen 🙂
How to get to Interlaken
We travelled from Luzern to Interlaken by train. The journey took around 2 hours.
Cesta trvala takmer 2 hodiny. Through huge panoramatic windows of the train we observed surrounding countryside breathlessly. The nature in Switzerland is unbelievable beautiful. Pictures like from advertisement on “purple cow” started emerging in front of us. Amazing green meadows where cows grazed and seemingly inaccessible hills typical alpine timber houses with geraniums in the windows.
We got off at Interlaken-Ost station. We chose accomodation eventually not directly in Interlaken but in immediate vicinity in Unterseen. These two cities are separated only by a bridge over the river Aare.
If you are in Switzerland wihout a car, it is great choice to use train transportation. Trains in Switzerland are perfectly organized with excellent transport connections. Trains are modern, clean and run often and ontime as Swiss-made watches. While we were at the airport in Zürich we bought Swiss Travel Pass and we didn’t have problems with buying tickets on trains or public transport in cities. However, Swiss Travel Pass does not apply on most cable cars and cog railways. But almost everywhere you can claim discount on prices. Somewhere 25% and somewhere 50%. So check it out.
Train: (Interlaken has two train stations Interlaken-Ost and Interlaken-West)
Zürich- Bern – Interlaken Ost – approx. 2 hours (by IC train), approx. 2,5 hours (by speed train)
Zürich – Luzern – Interlaken Ost – approx. 3 hours
Bern – Interlaken Ost – approx. 1 hod. (by IC train), approx. 1,5 hour (by speed train)
Bern – Interlaken (56,3 km) – 45 minutes
Zürich – Luzern – Interlaken (118km) – 1 hours 40 minutes
Harder Kulm (1.322 m)
Approximately 15 minutes walk from Interlaken-Ost station the lower station of Harder Kulm funicular is situated. Funicular took us in 8 minutes to the Harder Kulm hill (ticket costs 30 CHF). There is beautiful view from this hill on two lakes – Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and when the weather conditions allow it you can beautifully see three giants – Eiger (3.970 m), Mönch (4.107 m) and Jungfrau (4.158 m). We were lucky that the weather came out excellent and thus we could enjoy beautiful panoramic view of Interlaken and its surroundings. There is also a restaurant on Harder Kulm that resembles to a castle and of course a souvenir shop. We had at our disposal chairs for sunbathing so we could rest up a bit and enjoy the atmosphere with traditional Swiss music in the background 🙂
Lauterbrunnen (802 m)
The journey to Lauterbrunnen from Interlaken-Ost takes 27 minutes. The trains run every 30 minutes. This village is the main transit point to surrounding mountains – to villages Mürren, Wengen, Kleine Scheidegg, etc. We made a quick stop here before our journey to Jungfraujoch. We heard that in this village there is a beautiful waterfall called Staubachfall. Famous people like Johan Wolfgang von Goethe and Lord Byron during their trips make a stop here. So we decided to join them too. The road to waterfall offered us picturesque views of typical Swiss houses in the background with still snow-capped Alpine greats.
From Lauterbrunnen train station it took around 20 minutes to Staubachfall waterfall. We can see from the village itself the mass of water falling from steep rock wall. As we are getting closer to the waterfall it does not seem but the water falls from 297 meter height. There is a nice green meadow under the waterfall with sheep grazing on it. The sound of falling water is disturbed by the ringing bells that wear sheep. The atmosphere here is like from fairytale 🙂