The name ‘Interlaken’ means ‘between the lakes’, and it’s exactly for this picture-perfect location that the town of Interlaken is hugely appealing in both summer and winter. Visitors flock to the pleasant waterside location for climbing, hiking, swimming and adventure on the lake. But come winter, skiers take over the town and the cheap hostels.
Adventurers can try their hand at any type of winter sport in Interlaken. There is atmospheric night sledding and snowshoe trekking. But if you are a confident skier, you might fancy being thrown from a helicopter to explore some more isolated locations. This seemingly terrifying experience will make you feel like James Bond. Interested? It’s called heli-gliding.
From the top resorts of Grindelwald, Mürren and Wengen, skiers have access to 160km of trails which you can reach by 45 cable cars and lifts. Runs last between 6 and 12 kilometres so it’s possible to ski a different route every day for a week. Beginners should start with the small ski area at Beatenberg then attempt some of Wengen’s nursery slopes. Intermediates are particularly well catered for and experts will find the most challenging runs at Wengen and Mürren, which offer excellent off piste skiing when the conditions are right.
The mountain railway is another reason why so many skiers choose Interlaken as their base. Take the train and you can reach three top ski resorts. In just 40 minutes, skiers can reach the Jungfrau ski region and, because the train journey is included in your ski pass, this makes it a nice little saver too.
If affordability is a major consideration when you are planning your ski trip, it’s definitely worth considering an Interlaken hostel. There’s usually a great atmosphere for après-ski in the lounge areas and you won’t be far from the train station. Staff are usually very well-informed on tours and other things to do in Interlaken and can get you all the latest weather reports.