Interlaken, in Switzerland is undoubtedly the most popular for Tourists and it is easy to see why. The dramatic surrounding mountains and the crystal-clear turquoise lakes create an absolutely stunning landscape that is just the ultimate mood booster. We’d challenge anyone to visit this place without grinning from ear to ear!
If you’re travelling here by motorhome and are used to the wild camping spots and aires that you find in many other European countries, then you’ll need to adjust your mindset and prepare to stay at a campsite for a few days. Wild camping is generally frowned upon and even if you do find somewhere to kip for the night, it is likely to be too far away to enjoy all that the Interlaken region has to offer. We quickly realised this and booked a pitch at Camping Manor Farm, where we were given free passes for public transport and the swimming pool at Interlaken. This means that we can just jump on a bus (or boat across the Lake) to anywhere we need to be, for free!
Our first stop in the region was Oberhofen castle (on Lake Thun). Parking was a little restrictive for our 7m motorhome, so we parked 1.5km down the road and had a pleasant walk alongside the beautiful Lake Thun!
We didn’t go into the castle itself, but we did enjoy a free walk through the Castle Park, which was magnificently well kept and very informative with signs dotted around to teach us all about the trees, from their healing properties to their uses in production.
Next stop was St Beatus Caves, we parked up in the main parking lot and ignored the signs that said ‘no motorhomes’ since we hadn’t planned to stay there overnight. The caves were incredible! Richard started off by carrying Jack in his carrier on his back, but we soon got Jack out for fear of him bumping his head on the low cave ceilings. Piper was slightly nervous as we entered the caves, but that’s understandable since this was her first ‘caving’ experience. To top off a very busy day, we hopped on the free bus to the centre of Interlaken, for a little evening stroll.
The following day it was time for some thrill-seeking (from Richard that is… not me), so here’s his account of what he got up to:
“It’s been 13 years since I’ve done my last tandem skydive which was in Cairns, Australia and ever since I’ve thought about doing another. When we decided to go travelling, I thought this would be the perfect time to do another skydive in another amazing location, and where could be better than over the Swiss Alps. The day had come and we headed to the airport about 25 minute drive from Interlaken, I signed in and was soon undertaking the basic ground training. My name was called out, it was my tandem master, a long-haired Aussie who was full of jokes. We kitted up and made our way to the plane, where along the way he told me about how experienced he was, all 2-weeks of it (a joke, I hope). We were soon in the sky enjoying the scenic views and my tandem master was still cracking the jokes, this time relating the coming jump to Brexit; “Brexit might happen, it might not happen. Just like the parachute, it might open, it might not open, we’ll have to wait and see” he said, making me laugh. The engine stalled and the plane door opened and one by one people started jumping. We shuffled to the door and I had a good look at the ground below before… We were out, falling at 120mph, looking back at the plane as we spun through the air. Just 45 seconds and 8,000ft later he pulled the parachute and the views of Eiger, Monch & Jungfrau as well as Mont Blanc in the far distance took shape. On the way down he decided to undertake some hard turns, the tranquil flight once again became an adrenaline filled experience and before I knew it we were coming in to land. Would I do it again? Yes definitely”.
The following morning, Richard was up and out early doors to go and collect the croissants and baguette that we had ordered from the campsite. Unfortunately, we were not all that impressed as we had expected some lovely warm fresh croissants and these ones were cold and not the best tasting. Never mind though, if there is one thing, we have learnt from travelling, it’s that things don’t always go as we might expect. Weissenau Nature Reserve was next on our list of things to do and lucky for us it was a 5-minute walk from our campsite, so we enjoyed a little morning stroll. If you’re after something to do for free then this is a neat little place to go. It’s nothing spectacular in itself but it does follow the lakeside, so you do get some lovely views and it makes for a nice morning walk.
After lunch, we hopped on the ‘free’ bus into Interlaken and headed to the swimming pool for some ‘free’ swimming, stopping along the way to once again admire the colour of the water here! In contrast to the very busy centre, the swimming pool was very quiet, with only a handful of other people in the pool. Whilst there wasn’t a fun toddler section, there was a children’s pool which was only 0.6m at the shallow end. With pippy now confident she can ‘float’ with her armbands on without any help, and Jack able to stand up and splash about we had a really good time playing around. And with it being free for us to use, it would have been silly not to make the most of it!
After 3 nights, it was time to leave our campsite. We don’t usually spend more than a night or two in the same place, so after 3 nights on a lovely pitch with beautiful views and the benefit of wi-fi, we were feeling quite relaxed. Moving out of the region, we stopped off at Aare Gorge at the other end of Lake Brienz, another lake with stunning turquoise waters! It cost us 9 euros each (per adults) and the children had free entry, which is one of the benefits of travelling with toddlers! We weaved our way along the 1.4km gorge path, marvelling at the stunning rock formations and the pure beauty of it.
That day, we ended up making a VERY spontaneous decision which involved us turning around the motorhome and heading in a completely different direction to where we were heading. So instead of looping back around into Germany to see Rhine Falls, we decided to head straight down into Italy. A decision that perhaps we might come to regret… TBC