Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about Switzerland. Interlaken was one of the highlights of my Eurotrip last May/June and will always be a country that I am looking to return to. Given it’s name for being nestled in between two turquoise lakes, Interlaken was the nature-break I desperately needed during my Eurotrip. I had been visiting bustling cities like London, Paris and Barcelona, so making the change to something more peaceful was perfect. Not to mention, this was the first time in my life I had been around such beautiful natural scenery and snow-capped mountains! I was used to driving up and down interstate 71 in Ohio between Cincinnati and Columbus during college, so Interlaken was a huge change and I loved it!
Interlaken is not only a backpackers hub, but it is also an adventure center in Europe. There are countless activities, from sky-diving over the Swiss Alps to paragliding through them. We stayed in the Balmers Inn Hostel and next door was Outdoor Interlaken where we could sign up for different activities. I think they put something in the “fresh swiss alp” water there, because I was feeling extra crazy and signed up for Canyon Jumping (You know, that thing where you sign a DEATH WAIVER before you do it and you drive up a windy mountain with a hippy who then is in charge of making sure you are all strapped in to jump off a cliff, free falling for 85 meters, into the Grindelwald glacier gorge and swing through a canyon). Who am I?
[ TRAVEL TIP: Sign up for your activities either early in the morning or right when you get to Interlaken, according to the weather since paragliding, canyoning, etc is weather contingent. Research the weather on your phone, but also check with the people who work there and work with them to plan your adventure schedule. ]
I also really enjoyed Interlaken, because you can go from doing an adventure activity (like interlaken paragliding or swiss alp sky diving) one minute, and walk into a chocolate show or spa the next. We literally landed from paragliding in a field and walked next door to a swiss chocolate show. Also, SWISS CHOCOLATE IS EVERYTHING. I found one of my swiss chocolate bars like a month after I got home from Europe and it might have been the highlight of my summer.
Interlaken is also super small and walkable which also left for lots of time just walking and exploring. We spent time perusing the streets of Interlaken, visiting stores full of clocks and watches to eating margarita pizzas at a small, family owned restaurant. The one thing you have to do when you go to Interlaken is see the lakes. They are absolutely stunning and the water is the most teal water I have ever seen.
The vibe in Interlaken was chill. From the fresh air, to the crisp water straight from the alps, to the hipsters flooding the basement bars, Interlaken was just a cool place with a laid back atmosphere. It might have been because it was the longest place I stayed during my Eurotrip, but I felt refreshed when I was leaving Interlaken. Something about the fresh air (and maybe wearing only yoga pants and tshirts for three days) and the Swiss Alps is just unbeatable.
If you are backing Europe for your first time, or are just looking for a new destination to visit, my travel tip is definitely to check out Interlaken, Switzerland. I clearly can’t say enough good things about it, but it was a completely unexpected surprise for me! It has something for everybody, the adreneline junkies (me!) to people who want to relax at a luxury spa (also me!), and everyone in between.
Have you ever been to Interlaken or Switzerland? Are you an adrenaline junkie?