A Travel Price Comparison for Switzerland Zurich vs. Interlaken for Families, Couples, Food, and Backpackers

Should you visit Zurich or Interlaken?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Zurich and Interlaken. We'll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Zurich

Zurich is a liberal, beautiful, and historic city. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. Other reasons to visit include shopping, museums, and nightlife.

Interlaken

Interlaken is a adventurous, adrenaline-filled, and breathtaking town. You'll find world class beauty here as well. This destination also has one of those special and quaint feelings. And you can't forget about the food, hiking, and skiing.

Zurich and Interlaken: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Good music scene
  • Scenic old town
  • Fun shopping
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Good for students
  • Impressive beauty
Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty


Is there more to do in Zurich or Interlaken?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Zurich. Although Zurich and Interlaken are popular destinations, Zurich has more sights and attractions for tourists. Zurich is very popular for its museums, nightlife, music, historical sights, and shopping, while Interlaken attracts visitors for its skiing, hiking, impressive beauty, and quaint atmosphere. Interlaken is more touristy than Zurich and is popular for its adventure sports, alpine setting, and beautiful lakes. Zurich is famous for its beautiful setting on Lake Zurich as well as its cafes, restaurants, and high prices. It is also well known for The Grossmünster.

How is Zurich different from Interlaken?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Interlaken and Zurich. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Skiing?

Zurich
Interlaken

Interlaken is a good destination for snow skiing. However, Zurich is not a skiing destination.

For winter sports and skiing, Interlaken is a great destination to visit. While the city itself has no skiing, there is access to several ski areas in Jungfrau. There are several different resorts in the area near Grindelwald, Wengen, and Mürren. You'll need to take a train or ski bus to get most places.

Zurich is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Zurich or Interlaken?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is an excellent place to visit for its museums and history. However, Interlaken does not have museums and landmarks.

Many visitors head to Zurich specifically to visit some of its top-rated museums and other sights. Make sure you check out the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fraumünster, as well as the Swiss National Museum.

Interlaken does not have museums and landmarks.

Is the Food Better in Zurich or Interlaken? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Zurich
Interlaken

Both Zurich and Interlaken offer a number of high quality restaurants to choose from.

Eating is part of the travel experience when you visit Zurich. Many restaurants have a strong German influence, but you'll also find traditional Swiss dishes such as cheese and chocolate fondue. There are also several Michelin star restaurants in town.

Interlaken has a number of nationally recognized food spots and restaurants. Restaurants in the area serve local classics like fondue, local meats, cheeses, and chocolate. You can finish your meal off with strudel or head to a local bakery and try their samplings. Meals are expensive but the quality is good. You should also out into the countryside and enjoy a meal looking out over the mountains.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Nightlife?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is an excellent place to visit for nightlife. However, Interlaken is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.

Zurich has a lively atmosphere and nightlife is popular here. The city has some of the best nightlife in Switzerland. There are a high concentration of bars and clubs around town, or you could check out one of the badis, which are pools that also act as bars during the summer months. They're usually located by the lake.

Interlaken is not a destination with noteworthy nightlife.


Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Music?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is an excellent place to visit for live music. However, Interlaken is not a live music destination.

Whether you like big venues or smaller artists, Zurich has diverse options. There are many nightclubs that offer a variety of music types including electronic music, rock, and even reggae.

Interlaken is not a live music destination.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for its Old Town?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is a world-class destination for its historic old town. However, Interlaken does not have a historic old town.

The historic old town of Zurich is revered around the world. The city has an old town that is split into two parts on each side of the Limmat River. The historic districts are filled with churches, squares, and charming areas that are fun to explore. Walking tours are the best way to explore the old town.

Interlaken does not have a historic old town.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Hiking?

Zurich
Interlaken

Interlaken is a must-visit destination for the nearby hiking options. However, Zurich is not a hiking destination.

Interlaken is well-known for its hiking and trekking. Hikes in the area range from easy to challenging with every option in between. You can experience beautiful waterfalls, breathtaking views, and dramatic ridge hikes. Several of the best hikes in the area include Schynige Platte Ridge Trail, Mt Niesen Panorama Trail, and Giessbach Waterfalls.

Zurich is not a hiking destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Zurich or Interlaken?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is a world-class destination for shopping. However, Interlaken is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

People travel from around the world to go shopping in Zurich. Visitors often buy chocolate, watches, and jewelry in this city. You'll find brand names and luxury items that are of high quality. Each neighborhood has its own character with stores ranging from traditional to international.

Interlaken is not a noteworthy shopping destination.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Families?

Zurich
Interlaken

Interlaken is a must-visit destination for its family-friendly activities. Also, Zurich is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for its kid-friendly activities.

With a huge array of activities for kids, Interlaken is very family-friendly. While the city is beautiful, it's really the surrounding areas that you and your family will enjoy. There are amazing hikes, stunning views, playgrounds, lakes, and more. There's also an impressive ropes course that adventurous kids will love, funiculars, gondolas, and so many water sports!

You'll find plenty of family-friendly things to do in Zurich. It's a surprisingly mellow city with a relaxing vibe that makes it easy to explore with kids. Popular family-friendly activities include swimming in the Limmat River, sailing on Lake Zurich, and visiting Josefwiese park, which has a large playground.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Couples?

Zurich
Interlaken

Interlaken is a must-visit destination for its romantic activities. Also, Zurich is not as famous, but is still a good city to visit for couples.

Interlaken is fantastic couple's destination with fun and romantic activities. The mountaintop views, breathtaking hikes, and beautiful lakes make this a top destination for couples. Make sure you head out of town and fully immerse yourself in everything that the area has to offer. Kayaking, canoeing, paragliding, and more will make this a trip of a lifetime.

Zurich makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. One of the most romantic experiences you can have in town is visiting the Zurich Thermal Baths and Spa. There's an outdoor rooftop thermal pool as well as many ways that you can pamper yourselves.


Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Zurich
Interlaken

Both Zurich and Interlaken are nice destinations for backpackers.

Plenty of backpackers visit Zurich. The city has a number of hostels to choose from, but, like most of Switzerland, the city is expensive in general.

Plenty of budget travelers visit Interlaken. It's a world class destination with so many activities that backpackers will love, but it's also one of the most expensive areas in one of the most expensive countries. There are hostels in town as well as a few in the nearby towns and countryside, but prices are steep. Cook when you can and enjoy all of the free activities that the area has to offer.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Students?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is a world-class destination for its student-friendly activities. However, Interlaken is not popular with students.

Students come from all over the world to visit Zurich. The city offers a number of unique experiences for international students. The academics are good and the university campuses are nice.

Interlaken is not popular with students.

Is Zurich or Interlaken Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Zurich
Interlaken

Both Zurich and Interlaken offer high quality public transit options.

Zurich has some very good public transit options. The system is made up of streetcars and buses.

The public transit in Interlaken can get you to most places easily. Buses travel around town, but to get into the mountains there are trains, cog railways, funiculars, and gondolas.


Is Zurich or Interlaken a more walkable city?

Zurich
Interlaken

Zurich is an excellent place to visit for its walkability. Also, Interlaken is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its high level of walkability.

Zurich is very walkable. There are paths that lead along the rivers and the lake connecting the old town areas to other parts of the city.

Interlaken is a somewhat walkable place. The old town is relatively walkable.

For even more information, also check out Is Zurich Worth Visiting? and Is Interlaken Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Interlaken or Zurich?

How long in Zurich or Interlaken?

In either Zurich or Interlaken, you'll find plenty of activities to fill your time. In our opinion, Zurich has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Zurich than Interlaken. However, 2-5 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Interlaken than Zurich. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Interlaken, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Zurich than Interlaken if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Zurich.


  • How many days in Zurich or Interlaken? Ideal Length of Stay
    Zurich 2-5 
    Interlaken 2-5

One day in Zurich or Interlaken?

With live music and food around the beautiful city of Zurich, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. One of the main draws to the area is the shopping. Make sure you visit the old town while you're here. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

Many travelers enjoy the food and skiing when visiting the destination of Interlaken. Hikers are also drawn to this area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Zurich or Interlaken?

With food and shopping around the destination of Zurich, there's plenty to do. Most visitors spend time around the old town while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. One of the main draws to the area is the shopping. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this city.

Interlaken is a great place to explore. It is common to spend a weekend here. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here. Your budget might influence how long you stay.


Five days in Zurich or Interlaken?

Zurich, a popular city, is full of activities for travelers. This is a popular place to visit for five days. Visiting the old town is also a must. In five days, you should have a good grasp of this city. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

It's hard to know how much time to spend in Interlaken. Don't miss the hiking, as that's what most people do. For many, it makes a great getaway for five days. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. With all of its activities, you can easily fill five days here. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

A week in Zurich or Interlaken?

Zurich is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One of the main draws to the area is the shopping. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Travelers enjoy the skiing and food when visiting the breathtaking destination of Interlaken. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. Most people find that one week is more than enough time to see everything.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Sightseeing Tours in Switzerland, The Best Romantic Tours for Couples in Switzerland, The Best Luxury Tours to Switzerland, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Switzerland.


Which place is cheaper, Interlaken or Zurich?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Zurich is $266, while the average daily cost in Interlaken is $229. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Zurich and Interlaken in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Zurich $168
    Interlaken $132
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Zurich $336
    Interlaken $264
Compare Hotels in Zurich and Interlaken

Looking for a hotel in Zurich or Interlaken? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Zurich


Hotels in Interlaken


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Zurich Hotel Prices and Interlaken Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Zurich $35
    Interlaken $13
Typical Local Transportation Prices in Zurich

Below are a few samples from actual travelers for transportation costs in Zurich:


  • City Pass (2)
    $28

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Zurich

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Zurich:

  • Zurich Airport ZRH to Davos Klosters/Parsenn Arrival Transfer: $116
  • Zurich Airport ZRH to Bad Ragaz Resorts Arrival Transfer: $127
  • Zurich Airport Transfer to/from INTERLAKEN for every Budget.: $613
  • Zurich Airport Transfer to/from GRINDELWALD for every Budget: $647
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Verbier Resort - Arrival Private Transfer: $182
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to St. Moritz - Arrival Private Transfer: $220
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to St Anton am Arlberg - Arrival Transfer: $105
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Grindelwald/Wengen - Round-Trip Transfer: $175
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Badenweiler Thermal - Roundtrip Transfer: $154
  • Zurich Airport (ZRH) to Badenweiler Thermal - Arrival Transfer: $77
  • Transfer From Zürich Airport To St. Gallen: $126
  • Private Transfer: Zurich to Zurich Airport ZRH in Luxury Car: $110

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Interlaken

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Interlaken are as follows:


  • Cable Cars (for 2)
    $65

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Interlaken

Also for Interlaken, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Private Transfer from interlaken City to Lucerne City: $109
  • From Private One-Way Transfer to Lucerne: $290

Is it cheaper to fly into Zurich or Interlaken?

Prices for flights to both Interlaken and Zurich change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Zurich $61
    Interlaken $64
Typical Food Prices in Zurich

Some typical examples of dining costs in Zurich are as follows:


  • Breakfast for 2
    $13

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Zurich

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Zurich.

  • Zürich Food Tour: $100

Typical Food Prices in Interlaken

For Interlaken, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Tea at Interlaken
    $33

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Interlaken

For Interlaken, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Fondue Cooking Class and Cheese Workshop in Switzerland: $146
  • Cheese and Chocolate Full-Day Food Tour: $747

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Zurich $35
    Interlaken $103

Tours and Activities in Zurich

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Zurich are as follows:

  • 3 in 1: Zurich Walking Tour - Cruise on the Lake - Cable Car Ride to Felsenegg: $103
  • Adventure to Mount Pilatus Gold and Silver tour: $128
  • Best of Zürich & Surroundings: Walking Tour, Cable Car and Ferry: $91
  • Best of Zurich Tour with Felsenegg Cable Car and Ferry Ride : $75
  • Best of Zurich and Surroundings - Extended City Sightseeing Tour: $91
  • Christmas Walking Tour in Zürich: Exploring Holiday Charm: $46
  • City e-bike tour: $29
  • City tour of Zurich with the city whisperer from CHF 21.00: $80
  • Conscious Foodies Tour: $159
  • Day trip to Swiss Villages from Zurich - Small Group Tour by Car: $227
  • Eiger and Jungfrau Glacier Panorama Tour from Zurich: $175
  • Engelberg Day Tour from Zurich with Lucerne Stop: $89

Tours and Activities in Interlaken

For Interlaken, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Interlaken Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Interlaken Scavenger Hunt and Sights Self-Guided Tour: $16
  • Hofstetten bei Brienz: Trauffer Erlebniswelt Ticket: $17
  • Spectacular ride to experience Jungfraujoch - Top of Europe: $26
  • Private Lake Thun and Lake Brienz Express Tour from Interlaken: $29
  • Experience Switzerland in the Ballenberg open-air museum: $37
  • Funicular Ticket to Harder Kulm: $42
  • Rope Park Climbing Adventure with Entry Ticket: $47
  • Harder Kulm - Top of Interlaken - Ticket: $50
  • Funicular Ticket from Interlaken to Harder: $88
  • 90 Minutes Waterfall Private Tour for 1-3 Person in Small Car: $99
  • Funicular Ticket from Interlaken to Harder (Top of Interlaken): $104

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Zurich $29
    Interlaken $17

Sample the Local Flavors in Zurich

Also in Zurich, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Informative wine tasting with Italian appetizers in the secure wine cellar: $159


When comparing the travel costs between Zurich and Interlaken, we can see that Zurich is more expensive. However, the two cities are actually relatively comparable in price, as the difference is somewhat minimal. Generally, this means that you could travel with generally the same travel style and level of luxury in each place. Since both cities are in Europe, it's no surprise that their costs are relatively close, as many destinations here have somewhat similar travel prices overall.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Zurich Expensive? and Is Interlaken Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Zurich or Interlaken?

Zurich has a larger population, and is about 70 times larger than the population of Interlaken. When comparing the sizes of Zurich and Interlaken, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Zurich or Interlaken?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Zurich or Interlaken in the Summer?

Both Interlaken and Zurich during the summer are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Zurich for the music scene and the family-friendly experiences. Furthermore, many visitors come to Interlaken in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Zurich is generally around the same temperature as Interlaken. Daily temperatures in Zurich average around 21°C (70°F), and Interlaken fluctuates around 21°C (70°F).

In Interlaken, it's very sunny this time of the year. It's quite sunny in Zurich. In the summer, Zurich often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Interlaken. Zurich gets 241 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Interlaken receives 241 hours of full sun.

Zurich usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Interlaken. Zurich gets 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 89 mm (3.5 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Zurich 21°C (70°F) 
    Interlaken 21°C (70°F)

Should I visit Zurich or Interlaken in the Autumn?

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Zurich and Interlaken. Many visitors come to Zurich in the autumn for the shopping scene, the music scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Furthermore, most visitors come to Interlaken for the hiking trails and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Zurich is around the same temperature as Interlaken in the autumn. The daily temperature in Zurich averages around 13°C (56°F) in October, and Interlaken fluctuates around 13°C (56°F).

Zurich usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Interlaken during autumn. Zurich gets 120 hours of sunny skies, while Interlaken receives 120 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Zurich usually receives around the same amount of rain as Interlaken. Zurich gets 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 70 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Zurich 13°C (56°F) 
    Interlaken 13°C (56°F)

Should I visit Zurich or Interlaken in the Winter?

The winter brings many poeple to Zurich as well as Interlaken. Most visitors come to Zurich for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Additionally, the winter months attract visitors to Interlaken because of the skiing and the cuisine.

The weather in Interlaken can be very cold. Zurich can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Zurich is around the same temperature as Interlaken. Typically, the winter temperatures in Zurich in January average around 3°C (37°F), and Interlaken averages at about 3°C (37°F).

In the winter, Zurich often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Interlaken. Zurich gets 55 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Interlaken receives 55 hours of full sun.

Zurich usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Interlaken. Zurich gets 77 mm (3 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 77 mm (3 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Zurich 3°C (37°F) 
    Interlaken 3°C (37°F)

Should I visit Zurich or Interlaken in the Spring?

Both Interlaken and Zurich are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. The spring months attract visitors to Zurich because of the natural beauty. Also, the natural beauty are the main draw to Interlaken this time of year.

In April, Zurich is generally around the same temperature as Interlaken. Daily temperatures in Zurich average around 12°C (53°F), and Interlaken fluctuates around 12°C (53°F).

Zurich usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Interlaken during spring. Zurich gets 150 hours of sunny skies, while Interlaken receives 150 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Zurich usually receives around the same amount of rain as Interlaken. Zurich gets 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain, while Interlaken receives 79 mm (3.1 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Zurich 12°C (53°F) 
    Interlaken 12°C (53°F)

Typical Weather for Interlaken and Zurich

Zurich Interlaken
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in) 3°C (37°F) 77 mm (3 in)
Feb 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 5°C (40°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Mar 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in) 8°C (46°F) 72 mm (2.8 in)
Apr 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 12°C (53°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
May 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in) 16°C (60°F) 101 mm (4 in)
Jun 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in) 19°C (66°F) 100 mm (3.9 in)
Jul 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in) 21°C (70°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Aug 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in) 21°C (69°F) 104 mm (4.1 in)
Sep 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in) 18°C (64°F) 79 mm (3.1 in)
Oct 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in) 13°C (56°F) 70 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in) 7°C (45°F) 82 mm (3.2 in)
Dec 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in) 4°C (39°F) 83 mm (3.3 in)