WHY INTERLAKEN IS EUROPE'S BEST WINTER DESTINATIONDiscover the incredible picture-postcard "Swissness" that is Interlaken, where everything is possible!
Are you researching places to cure that winter wanderlust? Maybe you’re looking for the best skiing in Europe? or perhaps you’re simply trying to find the best all-round winter destination?
Nothing beats a Swiss winter! ahhhhh, those miles of untouched slopes with perfectly groomed runs are to die for, but that’s not the only thing.
Check out our top reasons why we feel Interlaken in particular is still Europe’s best winter destination.
There’s a reason “Swiss Made” gives people the feeling of quality. The minimum standards for almost everything in Switzerland are very high.
…but what does this mean for a winter holiday?
Clean and tidy:
At all levels of budget, you will find your accommodation more than satisfactory! You will find all the resorts free from garbage and the whole town is kept ‘ship-shape’ at all times!
You can set your watch by it:
It’s cliché, but it’s also 100% accurate. The swiss pride themselves on being on time. This means you won’t be left wondering where your bus, train, instructor or waiter is.
Switzerland is one of the most picture-perfect countries on the planet. In winter, Interlaken is in a class of its own and really needs to be experienced to believe it’s not photoshopped.
Visit the top of Europe
At 3454m (11,332ft), Jungfraujoch boasts arguably the best panorama’s in the area. There is also an ice palace and incredible views of the Aletsch Glacier (the largest glacier in the Alps). If the weather is nice you’ll be able to see 3 different countries from up there!
Eiger, Jungfrau, Mönch
Interlaken and the surrounding area is watched over by three of the Alps most recognisable mountains. The resorts are located in close proximity to these mountains giving you an incredibly humbling experience.
Interlaken is located between two stunning lakes. Lake Brienz on one side and Lake Thun on the other. It doesn’t get much more idyllic than that!
Interlaken is no doubt the adventure capital of Europe. The town has built an incredible reputation for having a little something for everyone! It’s not difficult to see why when you consider that Interlaken is a vibrant and charming Swiss town sitting between two huge lakes and surrounded by many of world’s greatest mountains.
From Interlaken, you can ride anything from bunny slopes to fun parks to off-piste steeps. You can hit up the big resorts or explore a few of the quieter local runs. If you’re up for the bigger resorts you can buy a ski pass which covers Grindelwald, Wengen & Schilthorn giving you plenty to discover.
Closer to town are a few smaller lift systems for a completely different feel. There are some great quiet options around Beatenberg, Waldegg, Habkern and Haslital.
Switzerland is a small country in amongst many others. This is a huge bonus for anyone living here. Almost everyone you meet in Switzerland speaks multiple languages and have had influence from a variety of cultures. The most prominent languages are German, French, English and you may even find some Italian.
Longest sledging run in Europe
You kick things off around Bussalp or First and head up to the summit of the Faulhorn (2,680m). From there to Grindelwald is 15km with a vertical drop of 1,600m !! “Big Pintenfritz” is set amongst the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau, making for an incredibly scenic run coined as one of the greatest toboggan runs of all time.
If you’re not up for the hike, there are plenty of other sledding options around Interlaken. A great option after a day of skiing or on a down day would be the night sledding / fondue trip run by Outdoor Interlaken.
Downhill world cup
This is really a testament to how good the terrain is around the Jungfrau ski area. Each year the FIS ski world cup rolls into Wengen for the longest downhill race of the series. If you’re going to be here over January 13-15 it would be worth checking out! Grandstand tickets are on sale here.
If you’re not into the whole skiing / snowboarding thing … you’re in for a treat! This is where Interlaken really shines. Check out this list of other activities you can get into!
+ Vertical Rush
+ Night sledding
+ Adventure Park
+ Ice Magic
+ Scenic Flights
+ Christmas Markets
+ Winter boat cruises
We all know Switzerland has a little cash in the bank. This is a big plus for anyone coming to Switzerland for a holiday. Everything has been thought of and everything just works!
The Swiss travel more kilometers in trains than any other nation. The incredibly efficient transport network which includes trains, buses, trams, cable cars, chairlifts and even boats will get you from the airport to Interlaken and up into the mountains on time and without any unnecessary stress.
I’m quite sure the Swiss invented the phrase “if you’re going to do it, do it right” … well maybe not, but it certainly feels like it when you arrive at the resort. There’s no waiting around, you’re straight onto a 6-man chair and into your day on the slope.
Everything you need
While you could spend hours looking for the best deals on ski rentals, winter clothing and lift passes, there’s really no point. When coming to the Jungfrau region to ski or snowboard, your best bet is to talk to guys like Outdoor Interlaken. It’s not your run-of-the-mill rental shop. These guys are guides first and foremost. Their passion is getting people into the wilderness and challenging what you thought you were capable of. You’ll find everything you need under the one roof, but you’ll also get some quality time with knowledgeable mountain folk!
Full disclaimer: Outdoor Interlaken support this blog (so we’re familiar with what they have to offer!)
Not something you want to think about when planning your skiing trip, but we feel it’s always best to be prepared. Swiss mountain guide training is the standard in the world of certified guides. You have the best of the best, ready to rescue should you find yourself in an unplanned situation. You can also top up your regular winter travel insurance with a donation to Rega (Swiss air rescue). This will ensure your air travel off the mountain is covered.
If you’ve got this far, congratulations and thank you! You’re probably thinking, this place sounds too good to be true. Well, welcome to your winter wonderland! You’re coming to Switzerland… it really IS this good. But it doesn’t end here … just a few more points on the things fairy tales are made of.
The Alpine lifestyle provides a huge amount of benefits. There’s an appreciation for quality food and you really get a sense of honest humility. That and these people spend most of their lives outdoors! What does this mean for you? Well, it means that every aspect of living well isn’t just an after-thought, it’s just the way it is.
She grew up in the countryside, lived in the city, and then fled into the mountains. The romantic and idyllic image of Switzerland… as the author Johanna Spyri’s story goes. You too can follow in Heidi’s footsteps. Get off the couch and out of the office. Flee to the Swiss alps where the child-like spirit is alive!
Research has shown that chocolate causes the brain to release dopamine (the ‘happy’ chemical) – and no-one does chocolate quite like the Swiss! You’ll find chocolatier’s dotted around the various resorts and you can even make your own at The Funky Chocolate Club.
You can already picture the vast, wide open green pastures deep in the mountains. This is where Swiss cows call home and they’re given almost total freedom to roam around wherever they please. Farmers even place bells on each cow so they can find them again. That and the crystal clear mountain water provides a perfect platform for making incredible tasting cheese.
Alp cheese, in particular, is still hand-produced on the mountain. As soon as the cows are milked the process begins on site. Throw in some wood fire smoke and locally grown herbs and you get an incredibly varied semi-hard / hard and extra hard assortment of cheeses.
This is the place to try fondue or raclette!!
Are you coming to Switzerland this winter? Is there anything you would like to know? Ask us in the comments below.