Beyond the Interlaken bridge over the Aare on the road to Brienz, at the Harder Alpine Wildlife Park (Alpenwildpark; marmots, ibexes), is a funicular (length 1,447 m/4,748ft, height difference 725 m/2,379ft, maximum gradient 64% (1 in 1.5), time eight minutes) up Harder (upper station 1,322 m/4,337ft), with the Harderkulm restaurant magnificent views of the Jungfrau area and the lakes. The return can be made by forest paths, via the Hardermannli lookout pavilion (1,116 m/3,662ft) and the Hohbühl pavilion (memorial to the composers Mendelsohn, Wagner and Weber).
From the south end of Rugenparkstrasse in Interlaken a funicular (length 167 m/548ft, height difference 120 m/394ft, time three minutes) runs up to the Heimwehfluh (676 m/2,218ft; cafe, restaurant, lookout tower), which forms the northwest buttress of the Grosser Rugen (800 m/2,625ft). Model-railroad enthusiasts should see the layout of the Gotthard and Lötschberg lines, presented by the Heimwehfluh-Bahn-AG.
A popular trip from Interlaken is to the Schynige Platte (2,000 m/6,564ft; Hotel Kulm 40b.), reached from Wilderswil, 3km/2mi south of the town, on a rack-railroad (cog-railroad) opened in 1893 (7km/4mi, 50 minutes). From the top there is one of the finest panoramic views of the Alps. Alpine garden with 500 species of flowers.
From Wilderswil a road runs 6km/4mi up the Saxeten valley to Saxeten (1,103 m/3,620ft; pop. 100), a picturesquely situated mountain village from which Sulegg (2,412 m/7,914ft) can be climbed (about 4.5 hours).
From the Höheweg in Interlaken a road goes east to reach the south shore of Lake Brienz at Bönigen (569 m/1,867ft; pop. 1,900). The old part of the town has richly carved timber houses of the 15th to 18th C. The modern resort is well equipped with facilities for the entertainment of visitors.
High above the south side of Lake Brienz is the village of Iseltwald (565 m/1,854ft; pop. 420), on a quiet little peninsula with no through road.
Interlaken to Beatenberg (driving tour)
From Interlaken station take the Thun road, which crosses the Aare into Unterseen, where the road to Thun bears left: continue straight ahead up the Scheidgasse. 2km/1mi from Interlaken is a road junction, with a road on the right which runs up the Lombach valley to the prettily situated village of Habkern (6.3km/4mi, 1,067 m/3501ft). The road to Beatenberg, to the left, begins to climb through wooded country (attractive view of Interlaken to left) and then takes two sharp bends up the hillside. From here it is 3.5km/2mi to the Lueglibrückli restaurant (938 m/3,078ft; parking lot), with superb views.The road continues uphill on a moderate gradient (views of Lake Thun and the mountains to the left) and then takes another two sharp bends. Farther on it passes a number of children's homes under Amisbühl (1,336 m/4,383ft; views) and then descends into the Sundgraben. From here it is 5.5km/3mi to Beatenberg.
Beatenberg (1,150 m/3,773ft), a popular health and winter sports resort which spreads out along a sunny sheltered terrace high above the north side of Lake Thun, with magnificent views of the Bernese Alps, from the Schreckhorn to the Niesen. From the Oberland Hotel (parking garage) a chair-lift runs up in 18minutes to the Niederhorn (1,957 m/6,421ft), on the Güggisgrat ridge, with still more extensive views. At the west end of the town is a funicular (1,706 m/5,597ft, gradient 35-40%, 10minutes) to Beatenbucht.