Followmyhijab to Interlaken, Switzerland!
Recently we thought it would be a good idea to visit the beautiful views that are on offer in Switzerland.
Our choice of place to stay and start our exploration from: Interlaken.
We spent a total of 5 days including travelling to and from home (London, United Kingdom). Switzerland can be an expensive country to travel to, but we had a lovely time and used lots of ways to make the trip a lot more affordable than it could have been. Stay tuned for another blog post on our top money saving tips whilst travelling to Switzerland.
Lets now focus on the things that we did which might help you focus on what you would like to see and do if you are travelling to Switzerland and the Bernese-Oberland area. Feel free to ask us any questions about our trip through our social media channels.
Day 1: Lake Thun and Spiez
We started off with a really early (and really cheap! – using our Avios airmiles) flight from London at 06:45 landing in Geneva at 09:20.
In the Airport we popped by to the local SBB train station to find out where we can buy our Bernese Oberland passes. Whilst you can buy these online in advance, we decided to buy it whilst in Switzerland just in case our trip had to be cancelled for whatever reason (buying it online and in advance was non-refundable). We found that we couldn’t purchase these regional passes from the airport station, but we could from stations within the region that the pass covers.
So from the airport we took a train to Bern (we paid for a one way ticket which had cost us CHF. 60 per person). This train journey was beautiful and gave us our first glimpse of the beautiful picturesque scenery that Switzerland has to offer.
From Bern we bought our Bernese-Oberland passes.
Using the Bernese-Oberland pass, we started our journey and flurry of included train and boat travels!. We next took a train from Bern to Interlaken West station, walked towards our AirBnB reservation passing a halal pizza place (Napolli pizza) on the way! – This was really expensive, probably our most expensive spend on food for the whole trip! Wouldn’t recommend this place if you’re travelling on a budget.. On our way to our booked AirBnb, we came across a supermarket that was then to become our ‘go-to’ place for supplies! – ‘Coop’!. For those British followers we have… it seemed similar to our Co-Op! Bread, pasta, sauces, bits and bobs bought, we continued our walk to the AirBNB.
It took us about 20 minutes with our luggage (1 cabin bag each) to our Air BnB where we were greeted by a friendly elderly couple who showed us the flat!
Bags dropped, we descending on Interlaken! Now by the time we got back into Interlaken it must have been around 5pm. We found that the last boat from Interlaken West to Thun had already departed, but determined to start our trip with action, we decided to take the train to Thun, explore a little and then managed to take the evening 18:40 boat back from Thun to Spiez walked up a steep hill back to the Spiez train station (this was actually quite long and tiresome in the baking heat) and take a train back to Interlaken West! The trains and boat trip were all included (as most of the upcoming train and boat trips mentioned will be with the Bernese Oberland pass).
Landing in Geneva, 2 train journeys, food and supply shopping, reaching and settling in our AirBNB, a train journey, exploring Thun, a boat ride and train journey back to Interlaken later, we were excited after an action packed day 1. After a well earned rest we woke up early raring to go for Day 2!
Day 2: Grindelwald-First (Bachalpsee Lake, Cliff Walk), Staubach Waterfall (Lauterbrunnen) and Harder Kulum (Top of Interlaken)
Early in the morning we packed sandwhiches and walked to Interlaken OST taking a train at around 07:30 to Grindlewald. Exiting the station we took a bus for one stop to Grindlewald Firstbahn. Next up was the epic Grindlewald BGF Gondola to First, right to the end stop of the cable car. Here there are 2 main things to do…
1. The 2.7km walk to Bachalpsee lake (Alpine Lake).
2. The scary Cliff walk
We did both!
We started off with the walk to the Bachalpsee lake which was an amazing walk through a winding trail through peaks and troughs, through snow and dusty trails in between tall standing mountains either side of the trail. This walk took us about 40-45min each way. A quick snack with the pre-packed sandwiches by the lake gave us an energy boost!
After the walk to the Bachalpsee lake, we braved it across the cliff walk! – A single platform attached to the side of the cliff, gave a crazy walk and amazing view over the edge of the cliff! not something for those scared of heights!. With a ledge that extends out beyond the end of the cliff… you get the feeling that your literally standing in the sky!
Back down the cable cars by around 2pm, we then walked back to the train station at Grindlewald passing by our favourite ‘Coop’ shop to get some sandwiches and drinks to top up on and to keep for later. (we actually ended up storing these bought sandwiches in the fridge back at our AirBNB for the next day!). Back on the trains, next stop was Lauterbrunnen.
There are two routes to Lauterbrunnen:
1. Via Kleine Scheinedigg.
2. Going back towards Interlaken and changing trains at Zweilutschinen to get to Lauterbrunnen which is quicker!
Planning to come back to Kleine Scheidigg before our ascent to Jungfrau on Day 3, we decided on the second route to save time.
In Lauterbrunnen, we then took a bus towards ‘Staubach Waterfall’ where we climbed to get closer to the top of the waterfall cliff. Pretty good views, but with steep steps and after an early start and walk to the Bachalpsee lake, we were pretty exhausted at this point!
We then walked back to the train station (another 10-15 mins walk) and came back to Interlaken OST. We finished this by about 5:15pm. With the last bit of energy left, we then walked to the Interlaken Harderbahn and took the bahn up to Harder Kulm – the top of Interlaken! This place was literally 10min walk from our Airbnb so we thought of ending the day there a beautiful view at the top of Interlaken.
With the Bernese-Oberland Regional pass, all of the transport modes we took on this day were included with the pass. We took some really nice photos and soaked in the incredible landscape view from the top of Interlaken.
We also managed to tick off a to do list at Hader Kulm which was trying non-alcoholic fondue! As with alot of things in Switzerland, it was quite expensive, but Fondue is one of those foods quite special to Switzerland.
(Note: The restaurant at Harden Kulum serves Halal options. Be sure to ask for the halal menu and clarify halal fondue order. Halal cheese fondue is essentially made with apple juice instead of White wine! )
Coming back down on the modern funicular transport, we then walked back to our AirBNB walking past the glistening lake Aare after what was a very jampacked day with alot of walking, finishing at around 7:30pm.
We did 3 activities / villages that day which was a lot, but with limited time, it was a good day for seeing alot of Interlaken!. There is also a wildlife park area apparently 3 minutes walk in the Hader Kulm area, we just didn’t really get time to go there.
Time to cook dinner, we whipped up a quick filling and delicious pasta served by the all star hubs!
After a long day, the bed was very welcoming!
Day 3: Jungfrau- Top of Europe
We were umming and erring about whether or not to go to Jungfrau on this day. The weather forecast sometimes said it would be rainy, sometimes sunny, on the day though, the weather forecasts seemed favourable and it didn’t really feel right to come to Interlaken and not visit Jungfrau – THE TOP OF EUROPE! (arguably the biggest attraction / activity) to do in the Bernese-Oberland Region.
We went…. and certainly weren’t disappointed. Having the Bernese-Oberland regional pass also gave us a discount on this attraction to limit the tickets to around CHF. 99 per person (the train from Kleine Scheidigg to Jungfrau).
The top of Europe…. was…. spectacular. Starting early in the morning again, we packed our sandwiches and made our way to Interlaken OST from our AirBNB to take the trains to Kleine Scheidigg via Wengen, where we took another train to the top!
There are some amazing shots to take at the top of Europe, it can get a bit nippy, so do pack a jacket! but in the summer its also very sunny, so sun protection is essential! being so high up also means the sun is alot more direct on you. With several activities available, zip lining, toboggon, helicopter rides, ice palace, there is plenty to get involved in. After a heavy day the day before, we opted to take some time to soak in the view and sun sitting on the deck chairs available there. Because we went early (which we also recommend you do) it wasn’t too busy in the morning, by the time we were leaving, people really started to come through. We also went during a weekday which probably gave us less people to share the space with. There was loads to do at Jungfrau that by the time we got back to Interlaken, there wasn’t really much time for another special activity (Schyinge Platte- Alpine garden which we highly recommend). However it did give us a chance to visit our friendly Coop for more supplies at Interlaken OST, take a bus to Hohweg street where got some free silver spoons as a free gift from the shop ‘Bucherer’ as a token from our AirBNB hosts. It was a great time also to have some ice cream! A leisurely walk along this road of shops beside a beautiful park led us into the evening after which it was time for our short walk back to the AirBNB to close of another action packed day.
(Note that whilst it seems all trains in the Bernese Oberland region are covered by the regional pass…. only one of the Bus companies is fully covered which is the ‘pro-bus’ company, not ‘STD’ which seems to be only half price with the pass.)
Day 4: Lake Brienz via Boat, Train to Zurich via Lucerne
Day 4 was our trip from interlaken to Zurich, but we planned our journey in such a way as to enjoy another boat journey, this time along lake Brienz from Interlaken OST.
Slightly leisurely start to this morning (we really were tired with our jam packed schedule at this point), we bid farewell to our lovely AirBNB hosts and walked to Interlaken OST for the final time this trip. Taking the 11 o’clock boat to across Lake Brienz to Brienz, we then had lunch at the boat dock with a lovely view and very close to the Brienz train station from which we took a beautiful panoramic train to Lucerne. From Lucerne we had to switch trains as this city marked the ending of our trip covered by the Bernese-Oberland regional pass…. we used it well!
We took one way tickets from Lucerne to Zurich and then walked to our hotel reaching by the late afternoon, giving us a chance to dump our luggage and make for exploring the Bahnhofstrasse of Zurich!
We had a lovely dinner at RiceUp! which was probably one of the relatively… and we stress relatively reasonably priced restaurants that we could find in Zurich. Leisurely walk back to the hotel marked the end of a travel heavy day 4.
(Note: If you have time and travelling as a group, they offer halal BBQ on the boat as well- Interlaken Ferry Terminal near Interlaken Ost station)
Day 5: Exploring Old Town Zurich (Altstad)- Self-Guided Walk Tour
Leisurely start to the morning, we had breakfast with our bread and nutella spread left overs and walked out into amazing sunshine and warm weather. Now the best way to see Zurich is by foot. There is a free walking tour that starts at 11am from Paradeplatz. Its meant to be very good and informative but we needed flexibility with our walk so chose to do a self-guided walk. Our route:
Paradeplatz -> Poststrasse-> Kirche Fraumunster-> St. Peter Church-> Rathausbrucke-> Spiegelasse-> Neumarket-> Hirchenplatz (Resting, Water fountain break, listening to live acapella, lunch)
We tried again some very nice freshly made ice cream, various flavours are available, but we went for Strawberry and Mango! More walking and exploring led us to the Limmat river waterfront (Rathausbrucke) where there were prime benches to sit on taking in the lovely waterfront view. Reached Neumarket which is a 12th century AD medieval city and the prime attraction of the street was its colourful historical building and the Grimmenturm medieval clock tower. We continued our walk to Hirchenplatz where were rested for sometime and filled our water bottle from the amazing water fountains. Close by there was a halal kebab shop- Restaurant 1001 which was quite a nice place to eat lunch, again at slightly more affordable prices than we became accustomed to in Switzerland. We made our way to Limmatquai (waterfront) where trams continued to pass by and once we had some time to digest our kebabs, top our selves up with fluids, off we went on a tram! Paying at the tram stops is actually quite simple and easy. Selecting the English mode, you can enter your destination station and select the number of tickets you want and proceed to payment! They have contactless payments and so having a credit/ debit card with a favourable transaction fee…. or no fee at all! is great at this point.
We took the tram number 4 from Rudolf-Brun-Brücke to Dammweg station and then walked to the famous Umbrella street in front of the Gerold Chuchi restaurant. This was in District 5 which is known for its hipster/artistic influence, (similar to East London) a great place for photo snaps!
Then back to the hotel it was via trams to freshen up and pick up our luggage. Uber booked, destination Zurich Airport for a 20:40 flight back to London Heathrow! Work the next day…. 🙁
There are so many other things to do and see, which we would have loved to do but we were short on time in this trip. It just simply means we have more excuses to visit again! 😀