We had just taken a night train from Paris that was delayed for over two hours and although I was looking forward to arriving to daylight or at least sunset in Interlaken, I quickly accepted that that would not happen and the dreamy mountain views in my imagination would have to stay in my imagination. We arrived late at night to a very dark Interlaken and all I could possibly see through my tired, squinty eyes on our 20 minute trundle to our hostel was chocolate shops, watch boutiques and large areas of field that I could just about make out under the lamp-post light. As I walked along, dragging my bag behind me, praying the hostel was round the next corner, my always-energetic guide said to me, ‘right now you can’t see anything, but by the morning you’re going to wake up and look around you and be like… ‘WOW”. He wasn’t wrong.
I quite literally woke up and stumbled just outside of our room to a balcony where I caught my first glimpse of Interlaken – so unbelievably amazing that I had to run back into the room to grab my phone and immediately start taking photos. I expected mountains but to have them literally in every direction I turned was so captivating, it was almost unreal. It completely exceeded my expectations and I hadn’t even stepped foot outside the hostel yet.
I’ll admit that I hadn’t done a hell of a lot of research on Interlaken and I hadn’t planned what I was going to do there. Thankfully for me after breakfast in the hostel, two of my new travel buddies mentioned they were going to walk into town and catch a bus to the lake. Since I didn’t have any better options and I was quietly thrilled that they’d asked, I jumped at the chance and if I hadn’t gone with them that morning, I’m quite sure I would never have come across Lake Thun.
Travel can take you to some amazing places but I think it’s rare to stumble upon places that leave you standing in awe and running out of words to describe just how beautiful it is. This is exactly what happened to the three of us as we arrived at Lake Thun. We stood there as three travelers, pretty much strangers to each other but for that moment in time we couldn’t believe our luck that by chance we decided to get a bus to the nearby lake and it turned out to be this…
Lake Thun was beyond beautiful and there was nothing that my iPhone camera could do that would give it any of the justice it deserved. I’d never been anywhere like it. It was possibly the most natural place I’d ever been with a shade of water that I’d never seen before and the freshest air that I felt I’d ever breathed.
After taking a considerable amount of photos, we couldn’t bear to stand and look at the lake for any longer so we hired a pedalo so we could get out there. And this honestly turned out to be one of my favourite memories of my entire tour.
You don’t have to trust my photos but trust me on this one, if you’re going to Interlaken don’t miss out on this incredible lake.
Interlaken Summed Up:
I want to return to Interlaken some day and re-visit the lake but also re-visit Harder Kulm, the highest point of Interlaken. When I reached the top, weather was not on my side and I was literally walking through clouds and managed only a few photos before the clouds completely took over. But from what I did see, the view was extremely promising and still worth the 20 francs it costs to ride a tiny train to the top of the mountain.
On a budget? Stay in Balmers Hostel, it’s almost like a legend to backpackers from all over the world who come to Interlaken to stay there. It’s basic but cosy and has nearly everything you could want in a hostel. It’s a pleasant walk from the main town centre and to the main paragliding zone, which is very popular and I’m kicking myself for not doing it.
Be wary that Switzerland is pretty expensive everywhere you go, from buying some essentials in the supermarket to eating at cafes and restaurants. However, in my short time spent in Interlaken I wasn’t able to eat in a restaurant and actually there aren’t many in the area. My first night’s meal was in an Irish Pub and my second nights was Thai takeaway from the place next door to the hostel.
Consider these things when you go but don’t let anything put you off, believe me the views and the experiences you can have in Interlaken are worth much more than the time you’ll spend worrying about all the activity fees and trying to find fancy places to wine and dine.
I’ll leave you with one last thought… those chocolate shops are UNREAL.
NEXT STOP: Milan