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Situated between the beautiful Lakes Thun and Brienz, and at the foot of the Bernese Alps, Interlaken is one of Switzerland’s most popular tourist towns. The town is the gateway for excursions to Jungfraujoch and Schilthorn as well as numerous other mountains and villages in the area.
Grindelwald, Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Wengen are all located in the Jungfrau Region and are within 30 minutes of Interlaken. This gives visitors lots of scope regarding where to go and what to see and do while holidaying in the Interlaken area.
Often referred to as the Jungfrau ski region, the area is deservedly popular with fans of winter sports. This does not mean, however, that visiting the Jungfrau in Switzerland isn’t a good idea at other times of year, such as during summer.
As well as snowy slopes, the area is criss-crossed by hiking trails that make the Jungfrau and Interlaken region just as appealing when the weather is warmer. Guests can take lake cruises on Lake Thun or Lake Brienz, or try their hand at various adventure or water sports.
Other resorts and villages of the area include the car-free locations of Wengen and Murren, the pretty valley village of Lauterbrunnen that is home to numerous waterfalls, and Grindelwald, a larger place boasting its own glacier as well as plenty of other attractions and activities.
Taking a holiday in the valleys below the majestic Mönch, Eiger and Jungfrau mountains is incredibly rewarding at any time of year. This guide will take you through all the highlights, so you can plot your perfect trip to the Jungfrau region of Switzerland – or Jungfraujoch region, as it’s often referred to.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about visiting the Jungfrau Region.
Click here to listen to our podcast episodes about Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region
Popular towns and villages in the Jungfrau Region
With numerous mountain ranges, lakes and valleys to explore, there’s lots to do in the Jungfrau region. There are many pretty resorts and villages to discover too, from the bigger towns of Grindelwald and Interlaken, popular villages like Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Wengen, as well as other charming villages and hamlets.
The five main towns and villages of the Jungfrau Region are:
Interlaken – The main holiday resort of the region, Interlaken has a permanent population of around 5,500 residents. It makes a great base for exploring the region thanks to its excellent services including numerous large supermarkets, shops and restaurants.
There are a large selection of accommodation options in Interlaken – hotels, apartments, hostels and camping included.
Grindelwald – Just 25 minutes from Interlaken, the mountain village of Grindelwald is a popular ski resort in winter but offers a host of activities and attractions for visitors year round including Mount First and the Grindelwald Glacier.
There is an excellent selection of hotels in Grindelwald, as well as other styles of accommodation, and the village can be reached by frequent train and bus services from Grindelwald or by car.
Lauterbrunnen – The postcard-worthy village of Lauterbrunnen sits in the Lauterbrunnen Valley, surrounded by 72 waterfalls. Just 20 minutes from Interlaken by either car or train, Lauterbrunnen is the gateway for visits to the Schilthorn and the villages of Murren and Wengen.
Although small in size, there are numerous Lauterbrunnen hotels, apartments and hostels to choose from, a small but well-stocked supermarket, a bakery and other shops and restaurants.
Wengen – The car-free village of Wengen sits on a sunny terrace above Lauterbrunnen and is a popular winter ski resort. Accessed by train from Lauterbrunnen, Wengen boasts an excellent supermarket as well as a good range of shops, restaurants and hotels.
Accommodation options include hotels, apartments and guesthouses.
Murren – Another car-free village on a plateau above Lauterbrunnen (on the opposite side of the valley to Wengen), Murren is a charming village with plenty to offer the visitor. As well as the stunning views of the surrounding mountains, Murren is a major stop on the Schilthorn cableway.
The village has a small supermarket and a number of shops, as well as a good selection of hotels and apartments.
Murren can be reached either by the Schilthorn cableway from Stechelberg or by cableway and train from Lauterbrunnen (via Grutschalp).
The best time to visit Interlaken and the Jungfrau region
As you might expect from a ski region, the Jungfrau winter months find the area awash with skiers and snowboarders who flock to Interlaken and the surrounding area to take to the snow-clad slopes.
Summer is no less popular, with holidaymakers flocking to the region for hiking and mountain excursions and to admire the stunning scenery.
The summits of the Jungfrau, Eiger and Mönch mountains will be cold at any time of year, but during late spring, summer and early autumn you can expect to experience warmer weather in the Interlaken area.
Part of the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Swiss Alps, the Jungfrau Ski Region is home to 70 kilometres of cross country trails and more than 250 kilometres of pistes, making it the ideal destination for those who love snow sports.
There are also ample opportunities for sledging, snowshoeing, winter hiking and ice skating, too.
You can expect heavy snowfall and cold conditions during winter. The mercury tends to stay below zero degrees celsius during the ski season, but things do warm up a little from March onwards.
So what’s the Jungfrau weather like during the warmer seasons? While the highest reaches of the mountains are cooler and may stay snow-capped all year round, the towns are a lot more pleasantly warm during the Swiss summer.
During June, July and August in particular, you may break into a sweat when hiking in temperatures of up to 24°C, and even during September it should be at least 10°C overnight in Interlaken.
The summer months are the perfect time to enjoy a refreshing dip in one of the Jungfrau Region’s beautiful lakes.
Spring and Autumn (Fall)
If you’d prefer to avoid the crowds, Spring and Autumn (Fall) are the best seasons to visit. Visitors in Fall will be rewarded with the changing colours of the leaves, whilst those arriving in Spring will be greeted with wildflowers bursting with colour.
What to See in Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region
The stunning alpine scenery will have you eager to get outdoors and breathe in the fresh mountain air. Popular mountain excursions to enjoy include Harder Kulm, Jungfraujoch, Schilthorn and Schynige Platte.
Lake cruises on Lakes Thun and Brienz are an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours, there are plenty of adventure sports on offer, endless hiking trails to explore and skiing and snowboarding are popular pastimes in winter.
Each of these has its own attractions, and wherever you roam or take a trip on the Jungfrau railway to, breathtaking scenery will greet you at every turn.
You may see snow capped alpine peaks even during summer, and whatever time of year you visit this part of Switzerland there are glittering lakes to sail on, gorges and glaciers to see and charming Alpine villages to capture on camera.
Whenever you visit and wherever you go, there’s lots to explore and plenty to do in this gorgeous part of Europe.
If you’re visiting the area for a few days or more, consider purchasing the Jungfrau Travel Pass which offers free and discounted travel on trains, funiculars, cableways and boats in the region.
Popular things to do in the Jungfrau region
While the availability of some pastimes is determined by the season, some of the attractions and activities of the Interlaken area are equally delightful all year round.
Many hikers can be found in the Jungfraujoch region during the warmer months. Once the snow has melted away by late spring, the array of hiking tracks that traverse the slopes and valleys are revealed.
Breathing in the freshest mountain air while the sun shines down is just one of the simple pleasures available to those who visit the Interlaken area in summer, and there are trails to suit all abilities.
Some of the best include a Giessbach Falls hike taken after the funicular train trip up to the top. You can also take a funicular to Mount Niesen for a panoramic hike around the ridge, or head to the Hasliberg mountain range which lies to the east of Interlaken.
Getting to Niederhorn peak involves both funicular and gondola rides, while you can travel by an historic cogwheel train to Schynige Platte, the departure point of which is just outside Interlaken.
Skiing and Snowsports
If you’re in the area during winter, then it’s pretty likely that you came to make the most of the magnificent ski slopes that the region is so abundant in.
Whether you prefer to take to the pistes or explore the magical landscape by cross country skiing, there’s something here for all abilities.
Other winter pursuits available include snowshoeing tours and sledging rides that will whizz you through this Swiss winter wonderland at high speed.
With numerous mountain ranges, lakes and valleys to explore, there’s lots to do in the Jungfrau region.
There are many pretty resorts and villages to discover too, from the bigger towns of Grindelwald and Interlaken, popular villages like Lauterbrunnen, Murren and Wengen, as well as other charming villages and hamlets.
Jungfrau Railways operate a number of mountain routes including those to reach the summits of Jungfraujoch, Schynigge Platte, Harder Kulm and more.
This can make the Jungfrau region pass (also called the Jungfrau Travel Pass, and mentioned below) a worthwhile purchase for those who wish to delve deeper into the area.
Adrenaline junkies may also appreciate the chance to sample exciting sports such as paragliding, skydiving or bungy jumping while in the area. In winter, taking a sledge down the snowy slopes can also fill both kids and adults with a thrilling sense of adventure.
Getting around the Jungfrau Region
If you’re visiting the area from April to October and staying for a few days or more, consider purchasing the Jungfrau Travel Pass or the Berner Oberland Pass which offer free and discounted travel on trains, funiculars, cableways and boats in the region.
Year-round, the Swiss Travel Pass also offers excellent value. Read more about it here.
Where is Interlaken?
Interlaken is perfectly located in central Switzerland, just one hour by train from Bern and Lucerne, two hours from Zurich and Basel, and three hours from Geneva.
Interlaken is well connected to other Swiss cities by regular train services and is just over an hour by car from both Bern and Lucerne and under two hours from Zurich.
How to get to Interlaken and the Jungfrau Region
Due to the reliable Swiss train network, decent roads and good infrastructure, it’s easy to get to Interlaken, particularly from major centres like Zurich, Bern and Lucerne.
Interlaken can be reached from Zurich city or airport in under 3 hours, while the trip from Bern takes only 45 minutes. Lucerne is located between Interlaken and Zurich, so the journey time is less than 2 hours.
If you want to drive, the car trip between Lucerne and Interlaken takes about an hour. From Zurich, expect to spend up to 2 hours on the road, while from Bern the journey is shortest at around 45 minutes. > Read our driving in Switzerland guide here.
Take a tour
Another option is to take an organised tour to Interlaken and the Jungfrau region. Trips vary in duration and itinerary. Popular options include:
- Day trip to Grindelwald and Interlaken from Zurich – click here to check prices
- Day trip to Grindelwald and Interlaken from Lucerne – click here to check prices
- Day trip to Jungfraujoch Top of Europe from Zurich – click here to check prices
- Day trip to Schilthorn, Piz Gloria and Bond World from Zurich – click here to check prices
Where to stay in the Jungfrau Region
The region offers a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets. You’ll find links to our hotel guides below but other options to consider include holiday parks, hostels, apartments and for something a little special, a hotel with infinity pool.
Population: 5,600 (Interlaken)
Average high temperatures: January – 3C / 37F; April – 14C / 57F; July – 24C / 75F; October – 14C / 57F
Christmas market dates: mid-December (Learn more here).