Ultimate Guide to Harder Kulm – Top of Interlaken

Ultimate Guide to Harder Kulm – Top of Interlaken by aplins in the alps

If you’re coming to Interlaken, then you’ve certainly heard of Harder Kulm — Top of Interlaken! Today we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about this place, plus 7 things to do nearby so you can fit Harder Kulm into your Swiss itinerary!

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Where is Harder Kulm?

Harder Kulm is the mountain of Interlaken since the town is nestled just at the base of it between Lake Thun and Lake Brienz. In fact, we’ve heard it said that if Interlaken had a royal family, their castle would be up at Harder Kulm. 

view of harder kulm and lake thun and niesen from the harder kulm playground top of interlaken

How to reach Harder Kulm

The closest train station is Interlaken Ost, where there’s also plenty of parking, as well as luggage lockers in the station if you need to stash your bags. From there, it’s just a 7-minute walk to the Harder Kulm funicular. 

You’ll walk down the street and through this colorful garden, which happens to have free public bathrooms. This is good to know because there are no bathrooms at the lower Harder Kulm station, but there are toilets at the top. Then cross the bridge over the Aare river and you’ll have no trouble spotting the funicular station.

park in interlaken switzerland near interlaken ost and harder kulm

If you’ve seen our other videos or read our blogs, then you know Brett is quite possibly the #1 expert (nerd!) on Swiss train passes. But he’ll tell you more about tickets and passes later because we’re excited to get to the top and show you the view from Harder Kulm!

harder kulm funicular station in interlaken switzerland

By the way, if you already have a ticket or pass that covers the funicular, you can enter on the LEFT side. Or if you need to buy a ticket, stand in the line on the RIGHT.  

The Harder Kulm Funicular

The funicular is open during Spring, Summer, and Fall from 9:10am until anytime between 5:10 and 9:40pm, depending on the time of year. It just takes 10 minutes to climb up 754 meters at a 64% average gradient on this 100-year old funicular.

In fact, this ride and the entire network of Jungfrau Railways is 100% run on sustainable and renewable energy. And yes, that’s right, there’s a glass ceiling so you really can see all the way from Lake Brienz up to the Jungfrau!

harder kulm funicular upper station

Things to do at Harder Kulm

Welcome to Harder Kulm! After you exit the funicular, there’s about a 5-minute panoramic walk to the restaurant and viewpoint. So, what can you do up here? There are really 4 main things.

1 | Harder Kulm Viewing Platform

First, walk right on through the restaurant to the viewing platform. It’s officially called “Zwei-Seen-Steg,” which means Two Lakes Bridge, and has an open-air floor so you can see the trees beneath you. 

But you’re not here to look down, you’re here to see the view! To your left is the milky teal water of Lake Brienz. Straight ahead are the snowy peaks of the Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau. And to the right is Lake Thun and the pyramid-shaped Niesen in the background. Even farther to your right is the Niederhorn and Beatenberg, the longest village in Switzerland. Just below you is Interlaken, which means “between 2 lakes,” and from you here you can really see why!

I think my favorite view during the day is the mountains, but when we’re here at sunset, I like to watch the sun go down behind the Niesen.

Brett’s favorite view is whatever he can see while sitting and enjoying a beer after hiking up!

You can also snap a selfie with a Swiss cow in the middle of the platform, and the pointy part of the bridge is a great photo spot too. 

jana from aplins in the alps at the harder kulm lookout panoramic bridge

By the way, the best time of day to come up here, in our opinion, is about an hour before sunset, because that’s when the mountains really glow! And it really is pretty unique that the funicular runs late enough for you to enjoy the sunset from such a beautiful place — without hiking!

We do come up here a lot at sunset in the summer, and every time we’re here someone asks us to take their picture. So don’t hesitate to ask other travelers to snap one for you too. Who knows, you might end up eating dinner beside them…quite literally. Let’s head to the restaurant and we’ll explain what I mean. 

2 | Harder Kulm Restaurant and Self-service Snack Bar

As you can see, the Harder Kulm Panorama Restaurant has a big terrace, but everyone wants to sit out here, and you unfortunately cannot make reservations (unless you’re with a group of 10 or more people)! So it’s not unusual to see people sharing tables, especially the big ones. 

Since we normally come up here after dinner, we like to enjoy a drink with a view. But loads of tourists really like the cheese fondue — it’s usually the most common dish we see on other people’s tables, and it’s a surprisingly good value. 

If the outside is full, there are more seats inside on the first floor. And the upper floors above the restaurant are reserved for private events and weddings and things like that. 

There’s a little self-service snack bar with picnic tables too. But you cannot bring your own picnic and eat up here on the terrace. If you want to bring your own food, there are other places to sit, like the next spot on our list.

It’s also helpful to know that there are bathrooms inside the restaurant and out here on the terrace as well.

By the way, I have no idea why this building legitimately looks like a castle. The steeple is definitely the signature look of Harder Kulm, but it has completely different architecture than anything else around here and I couldn’t find anything in my research about why it has this design. So if you happen to know, please leave us a comment cause we’re super curious! 

3 | Harder Kulm Playground

The third thing you can do at Harder Kulm is enjoy the brand new playground which just opened in Spring 2024! I’m a child at heart so I always like to play on the playground or at least slide down the slide. This is just above the restaurant and includes a nest swing, balancing path, slide, and benches.

4 | Hiking at Harder Kulm

You can also hike here. There’s a 1 hour, 3 kilometer circular loop with 12 info panels along the way about the Harder Bahn, plus some sweet views.

hiking at harder kulm trail signs

And if you’re up for it, you could also hike up here from Interlaken, which we’ve actually done a few times ourselves. It’s posted at 2 hours and 2.5 miles with 760 meters of elevation gain.

Fascinating fact: In 2023, they celebrated a local guy who has officially hiked from Interlaken to Harder Kulm 1000 times. That means he’s climbed a total of 750,000 meters of altitude!

Harder Kulm Tickets and Prices

In just a minute we’re going to show you 7 activities you can do super nearby to pair with Harder Kulm, but first let’s talk about tickets, which you can buy online, on the SBB app, or at the station from either the ticket window or a machine.

In 2024, an adult round trip ticket costs 38 CHF.

If you’re staying in Interlaken, you get a 15% discount with your Interlaken Guest Card. But most of you will probably have some sort of train pass and can therefore get a better deal.

You get 50% off with the Half Fare Card, the Swiss Travel Pass, the Eurail, and Interrail too.

Better yet, this ride is completely free with the Berner Oberland Pass and the Jungfrau Travel Pass. 

As always, kids under the age of 6 are completely free on public transportation in Switzerland, and kids between 6 and 15 are normally half price.

Though if you have the Swiss Family Card, your kids can ride with you for free — but there’s one odd exception here. If you are personally riding with the Jungfrau Travel Pass, the Swiss Family Card is not valid. So if you decide to purchase a Jungfrau Travel Pass, you’ll also want a Children’s version for each of your kids between ages 6 and 15.

If you’re planning a visit during the day, you can buy the Harder Lunch Ticket for 49 CHF full price, or 39 CHF if you’re traveling with the Half Fare Card or Swiss Travel Pass, and it’s just 20 CHF for kids 6-15. It includes your ride up and down on the funicular, as well as whatever daily lunch menu is advertised in the restaurant.

Things To Do Near Harder Kulm (Interlaken)

If you have our 1-Week Guide to the Jungfrau Region, then you’re already familiar with some of these activities. But if not, here’s a list of 7 additional activities you can do near Harder Kulm.

1 | Alpine Wildlife Park

Right next door to the Harder Kulm station in Interlaken is the Alpine Wildlife Park where you can see ibex and marmots. Apparently in the 1800s, the ibex were nearly extinct so they opened this park as a way to reintroduce them to the Berner Oberland. I don’t know why they have marmots, but they’re hilarious to watch. The park is open every day and it’s free to visit, although donations are welcome.

2 | Hohbühl Pavillion

Just above the Wildlife Park is the Höhbuhl Pavillion with stunning views of Interlaken. This would be a great spot to come for sunrise! There’s obviously a pavilion with benches, but there are also picnic tables and a grill if you wanna hang out here here with a snack or drinks at sunset without the crowds.

3 | Denkmal Adolf Guyer-Zeller

Remember that park we walked through on our way to the Harder Kulm? Well, if you didn’t stop here earlier, it’s worth stopping now. As you can tell, there are paths that wind through the fancy gardens. There are also some steps leading down to the water if you want to dip your toes into the Aare River. But just a heads up, it’s cold — even in the summer! There’s also a monument here to Denkmal Adolf Guyer-Zeller, the founder of Jungfrau Railways which also owns the Harder Kulm funicular. 

4 | Walk along the Aare River to Lake Brienz

If you keep walking along the waterfront for about 20 or 30 minutes, you’ll make it to Lake Brienz, which is that really bright teal-colored lake that you saw from above. That path continues all the way around the lake, but at the beginning of the lake, between Interlaken and Bönigen, is a swimming area if you’re up for a cold dip.

view of lake brienz from bonigen swimming area

5 | Take a boat ride on Lake Brienz

But if you don’t want to walk that far, you don’t have to, thanks to the beauty of Swiss transportation! You can hop on a boat at the Interlaken Ost station that criss-crosses along Lake Brienz. Our favorite stop is Giessbach Falls, where you can hike behind a waterfall or enjoy a drink on the terrace of the historic Giessbach Hotel and Restaurant. 

boat at interlaken ost for a boat ride on lake brienz

6 | Bistro

And right next to the boat dock at Interlaken Ost is the Marina Bistro. I love this little place because it’s tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Interlaken, and I always see locals here. It has a big terrace, cozy seats, a kids play area, and pretty affordable drinks and ice cream. Honestly, it’s the perfect spot to hang out on a warm summer day!

cafe at interlaken ost near the interlaken ost boat dock

7 | Explore beyond Interlaken

Hopefully you’ve already added Harder Kulm to your Swiss itinerary, but we recommend exploring beyond Interlaken too! So if you need more help planning your trip, check out our 1-Week Guide to the Jungfrau Region, or read about some of our absolute favorite spots in the Jungfrau Region. And we’ll see you in Switzerland!

1 week guide to the jungfrau region with 4 bonus guides by aplins in the alps


Jana is an SEO copywriter and content editor plus travel YouTuber. She loves all things gelato, sunshine, and words. Her perfect day? Tossing on sunglasses to read a book and catch some rays, then dinner with her husband and friends. In her free time, Jana disciples teen girls and cooks from scratch (like homemade pasta). Jana lives in Switzerland with her husband, Brett.

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