Interlaken : accommodation
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The Metropole and Victoria Jungfrau hotels in Interlaken (©_Switzerland Tourism)
Almost everyone who ventures into the Oberland stays for at least a short while in Interlaken, and the town is well geared up for visitors: there are literally dozens of accommodation options. The downside of the popularity is that breakfasts can be skimpier, corners dusted less assiduously, and personal service less expansive than in less touristic towns. Beware that hotels fill up very quickly at the frantic height of the summer season; in winter, when most people stay in the mountains, many places close altogether for a month or two.

The tourist office runs a free hotel reservation service: call toll-free 0800/558 555 within Switzerland (or 033/822 21 54, fax 822 52 21). Otherwise, to relieve pressure on the overcrowded tourist office, make use of the hotel information boards and complimentary phones outside both train stations.

Camping and hostels
There are thirteen campsites within 4km of town. The closest is the rather simple Sackgut (033/822 44 34; May–Oct) behind Ost station. Less than a kilometre south of the centre is Jungfraublick (033/822 44 14, fax 822 16 19; May–Sept), a much more comfortable family choice. Five sites are clustered together in Unterseen: Manor Farm (033/822 22 64, fax 823 29 91) is the only one open all year, but it’s also the most expensive, while Lazy Rancho (033/822 87 16, fax 823 19 20, www.lazyrancho.ch; April to mid-Oct) offers best value.

The best hostel in Interlaken is the inimitable Balmer’s Herberge, fifteen minutes south of town at Hauptstrasse 23, Matten (033/822 19 61, fax 823 32 61, www.balmers.com; a). This is the oldest privately run hostel in the country with fifty years’ experience of catering to backpackers, offering kitchen access, laundry, and spartan comforts in well-tended pinewood dorms (from Fr.20, plus Fr.1 for a shower), quads, triples and doubles. The atmosphere is brash and convivial, a perfect place to hook up with other travellers for trips into the mountains; you can get discounts on Adventure World’s extreme sports and activity excursions if you book direct through the hostel. In summer, when the frat-party atmosphere and queues for the shower and for breakfast get too much, they set up a giant tent in a field 800m south (033/822 96 97; May–Oct), with bunks sleeping over a hundred at Fr.19.

There are less frenetic hostels in town, led by the quality Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof, Alpenstrasse 16 (033/826 71 71, fax 826 71 72, www.villa.ch; a), an attractive chalet with comfortable, spotless rooms, a good shared kitchen, and dorm beds from Fr.29; rooms at the back, with stunning views of the Jungfrau, command a Fr.3 surcharge. Alp Lodge, Marktgasse 59 (033/822 47 48, fax 822 92 50, www.interlakentourism.ch/alplodge; a) is a modest place with dorms from Fr.27 and rock-bottom room prices, while Happy Inn, centrally located at Rosenstrasse 17 (033/822 32 25, fax 822 32 68; a), is a backup dorm option, clean but uninspiring at Fr.27. Interlaken’s HIhostel is 2km east of the centre, at Aareweg 21 in Böningen (033/822 43 53, fax 823 20 58; a; closed mid-Jan & mid-Nov to mid-Dec), with dorms from Fr.25 and bike rental.

Inexpensive hotels
Alphorn, Rugenaustrasse 8 (033/822 30 51, fax 823 30 69, www.hotel-alphorn.ch). Charming little place (formerly named the Pilgerruhe) on a residential backstreet near West station, very clean and quiet, with some giant triples. Parking is easy. b.

Bären, Marktgasse 19 (033/822 76 76, fax 822 28 55). Huge unrenovated old dive, with low prices, especially on the shared-bath rooms. a–b.

Beyeler/Heidi’s, Bernastrasse 37 (033/822 90 30). Comfortable enough garni stopgap, with some OK rooms (and some not-OK ones). a.

City, Marktgasse 6 (033/822 10 22, fax 823 10 18, www.city-hotel.ch). Generic modern place in the heart of town, a little characterless but efficient enough on providing the creature comforts. c.

Hirschen, Hauptstrasse 11, Matten (033/822 15 45, fax 823 37 45). Atmospheric old inn on a crossroads south of the centre, in the same hands for some 300 years, with freshly redone pinewood rooms – comfortable and pleasant – boosted by the wonderful dark-beamed Stübli and restaurant. Also with plenty of parking. Closed Nov. c.

Lötschberg, General-Guisanstrasse 31 (033/822 25 45, fax 822 25 79, www.interlakentourism.ch/ lotschberg). Characterful family-run hotel in a residential quarter, with excellent-value attic rooms in particular and a good-value B&B guesthouse attached. Apartments also available (Fr.100 for two people, Fr.175 for up to five people). Discounts for stays over six nights. Closed Jan. b–c.

Rugenpark, Rugenparkstrasse 19 (033/822 36 61, fax 823 36 61, rugenpark@tcnet.ch). Quiet, very friendly family-run little place close to West station, with modest, attractive rooms that are cosily unrenovated – only some are en suite. Also with a non-smoking floor. b.

Mid-range and expensive hotels
Du Lac, Höheweg 225 (033/822 29 22, fax 822 29 15). Comfortable, stylish old house in a perfectly quiet riverside location beside Ost station. In the same family since 1888 (and at one time hosting Field Marshal Montgomery during World War II), it now offers bright, light rooms that are far and away the best mid-range bargains in town. Closed Dec–Feb. c–d.

Metropole, Höheweg 37 (033/828 66 66, fax 828 66 33). The town’s major landmark, and its sole high-rise, soaring above the tourist office. Utterly generic business-class facilities inside, memorable only for the stunning upper-floor views (the fourteenth is top), which are worth paying for. e.

Royal-St-Georges, Höheweg 139 (033/822 75 75, fax 823 30 75). Gorgeously stuffy palace, renovated to prime condition throughout. Closed Nov–Jan. d–e.

Victoria-Jungfrau, Höheweg 41 (033/828 28 28, fax 828 28 80, www.victoria-jungfrau.ch). One of the grandest hotels in the country, dating from 1864–65, which hosted Mark Twain on his journey around Switzerland. These days it’s been entirely restored, with its pricier front rooms overlooking the Höhematte for views of the Jungfrau between the hills. f–g.

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