Interlaken means ‘between the lakes', and this beautiful village sits in between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz, at the foot of three of the most famous mountains in the world - the Jungfrau, the Mönch and the Eiger in the Bernese Olberland, Switzerland. This is the gateway to the famed Jungfrau Top Ski Region, which includes the resorts Grindelwald, Mürren and Wengen. The skiing is limited at Interlaken, so most people use it as a base to ski the 213 km of runs in the wider region.
You can reach the mountains in the Junfrau region easily on an extensive network of trains or by bus. There are pistes for every level here, from the great selection of nursery slopes at Wengen to the challenging blacks at Murren including the legendary Inferno race - the longest downhill race in the world. Advanced skiers - you should be able to ski at least part of this for most of the season. Intermediates have their pick of the runs across the whole ski area, and the extensive lift system is both impressive and doesn't get in the way of the region's old world charm.
Interlaken is more famous as a summer destination, meaning that it offers fairly low rates in winter, and there's much for a non skier to do. You can take a cog-wheel train to one of the highest altitude railways in the Alps, Jungfraujoch, look out at the Aletsch Glacier and explore an ice cave. There are also beautiful mountain streams, waterfalls and lake cruises to check out. With beautiful old architecture hiding modern facilities, cosmopolitan restaurants and lively bars - you won't be bored après-ski.
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Interlarken for Different Ski Abilities
There are many beginner areas in the Jungfrau region, and Wengen is probably the best. Nursery areas with dedicated lifts are found in all three districts and allow for over 6,000 feet of trails. There is also a smaller ski area at Beatenberg closer to Interlaken which is suited to beginners.
Intermediates are spoilt for choice and will find great skiing throughout the region. You'll probably get the best deal at Jungfrau, with a huge amount of varied moderate-level pistes. There are intermediate runs on just about every hill and there are really no "no-go" areas for the aspiring skier.
Experts might not quite find the amount of black trails here as they would at some particularly expert-orientated mountains, but they will certainly find enough to keep them happy for a long holiday. You'll find a selection of challenging runs in Wengen and Murren and when the snow conditions are right there is some excellent off piste.
Interlarken Ski Schools
You can get group and individual ski and snowboard lessons at all of the ski areas around Interlaken. It would probably be a good idea to start in the smaller ski area at Beatenberg which is closer to Interlaken, and then work your way up to the other areas.
Private Snowsports School
Put your trust in Private Snowsports experienced and professional team and enjoy their variety of snow sport activities. Whether your prefer skis, snowboard or telemark, Private Snowsports will support you from beginning to end and help you meet your personal goals. Your instructor will pick you up from your hotel and spend all day on the most beautiful ski-runs, no matter if you are a beginner or advanced skier.
Après Ski and Off the Mountain Activities
There's a busy après-ski style at Interlaken, with numerous restaurants and cafés, bars a big casino lots of nightclubs! Over 40 restaurants serve everything from traditional Swiss fare to fine dining to Chinese takeaways. Dining on the mountain is a little limited and the runs down from the dining are seriously advanced, so the return cable car should be used despite having to pay for it.
off the mountain
There's so much to do at Interlaken and in the surrounding area, that non-skiers will be happy to see their skiing friends off up the mountain for the day! You can jump on one of Europe's highest railways and take in the amazing views around the Jungfrau, Eiger, Mönch and Schilthorn mountains up to the massive peak of Jungfraujoch (3,454m). There's also the Museum of Local History, in Grindelwald, and a beautiful parish church, which has a 15th century Gothic tower and is one of the most photographed sights in the region. The Museum of the Valley of Lauterbrunnen is a good way to learn about the history of the valley and its towns, and the Trummelbach Falls are a breathtaking sight. The Piz Gloria restaurant on top of the Schilthorn was built as a James Bond movie set, and it now serves up meals with a view. The restaurant revolves and gives diners a views ranging from Mont Blanc in France to Black Forest of Germany. You can also try: mountaineering, ice-cannoning, snow rafting, paragliding, hiking, ice-skating, tobogganing, luge, curling, horseback riding, a wellness room and indoor swimming, tennis and golf.
How to get to Interlarken
Interlaken ski resort lies south of Bern, the Swiss capital, and Zürich. There are regular train services from London and driving is pretty easy on the good motorway system. A flight to Zürich and a rail transfer is probably the easiest way to go.
Bern-Belp is the closest international airport, but most scheduled and charter services go through Zürich International Airport. Two trains leave every hour from there to Interlaken, with two-hour direct trains as well as connections involving one change available. The next closest option is Geneva-Cointrin Airport, the transfer by train takes over two hours.
Eurostar trains connect from London and involve two to four changes. It will take you about 10 to 17 hours. A good option is the 08:12 Eurostar from Waterloo to Paris (Nord). Transfer by foot or metro to the nearby Gare de Lyon and catch the high-speed TGV to Lausanne. Travel from Lausanne via Bern and on to an Intercity train to Interlaken (West), arriving at 19:15. Regular Skibuses connect nearby ski resorts, and the main station is in the centre of town.
By car from Calais, the journey is 900kms and eight hours via Reims, Metz, Strasbourg, Basel, Bern and Interlaken. Travel along the A-26, A-4, A-35, A-1 and A-6 autoroutes and autobahns. A well maintained highway and autobahn route connects large cities in Switzerland with the airports at Zürich and Geneva. Take the A-20 and A-4 (Lucerne) autobahns from Zürich International Airport, and the A-8 (Lucerne-Thun) autobahn for 140kms, taking 1 hour, 30 minutes.