Interlaken: A Quick Stop
The Golden Pass line makes a stop in Interlaken so we figured we would hop off and explore a bit. There is plenty to do here but we had our sights set on a quick half-day adventure to Heimwehfluh, a funicular and alpine roller coaster.
We departed the train at Interlaken West, this part of the Golden Pass Line terminates one stop further in Interlaken Ost. The Interlaken West station is quiet and the train makes only a brief stop here. It appeared to be a more industrial part of town with very little tourist infrastructure.
We stored our bags in one of the lockers at the station. You’ll need Swiss Francs (CHF) to use the machine but they are quite spacious. Then we walked the five blocks to the funicular. The walk is not always on sidewalk and runs through some gas station parking lots, so be prepared for that.
You can’t miss the Heimwehfluh Funicular though, as the road dead ends into it. The ticket booth is in this house. A ticket gets you up to the top in the funicular and down either by the coaster or a return trip on the funicular. You don’t have to decide until you get to the top.
The funicular began operation in 1906 and maintains that nostalgic look.
Once at the top there are a variety of things to do before you choose your way back down.
We encountered a fun playground where every piece of equipment scared me. A large orange slide, mounted into the hill was the kids’ favorite. There was also a zip-line mounted on the hillside, swings that go out over a small hill and a large hamster wheel.
They also have a 12 hole mini-golf course where you spin a wheel to change the hold. It was unclear where to get balls and a club but the kids had fun spinning the wheel to check out all the hole options.
The cafe has a variety of options but we all chose to order some ice cream. They had swings and sandboxes in the cafe area which made it easy to keep track of the kids while we enjoyed our treat.
You don’t want to miss the view from the top viewing platform which gives an incredible look over Interlaken. You can see the two lakes that Interlaken sits between perfectly from this vantage point.
It almost looked like we were looking at a painting because the colors were so crisp from on top of the mountain. The whole visit was worth it for these views.
There is also a display model railway that is open a few times a day. The schedule is super weird and we were in there enjoying watching when they just turned off the lights to signal the viewing time was over.
Finally the time came to choose our way down! My mom opted to take the funicular back down with the Little Little. There was a bit of a backup when we were ready to head down. Everyone was on their walkie-talkies and they loaded up the kid of the owner to head down the slide, then the owner’s wife headed down and finally we were told we could go… um… ok. (Turns out the rider in front of us had busted through the barrier at the end causing everything to grind to a halt.)
The Middle Little and I were first up to ride down the alpine coaster. The carts are attached to the track and you control the speed with a hand break. You have to be going fast enough to keep moving on the track, but the Middle Little and I were able to maintain a good, safe, fun speed.
The Big Little and Jeff came barreling down behind us, squealing with joy. (Alpine coasters are one of Jeff’s favorite things. He got hooked on them during a European road-trip he took in 2005.) We walked down some wooden steps and met my mom at the entrance to walk back to the train station.
We retrieved our items from our locker and boarded the next section of the Golden Pass railway towards Lucerne to head to our next destination.
We didn’t spent a ton of time in Interlaken although there is plenty to do there. We wanted to be in some quieter towns and opted to head into the mountains from here. However, Interlaken offers lots of good family hikes, boat cruises and museums. You can check out My Switzerland and Mom, Tots, Zurich for lots of great ideas.
Interlaken was part of our Switzerland by Rail itinerary sponsored by Swiss Rail. They provided me with a first class rail pass in exchange for these posts on our trip. As always all opinions are my own.