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The town of Interlaken is a well-known and important destination in Switzerland providing a great base for exploring the Swiss Alps. The town is well placed to offer plenty of adventure sports with it’s location directly between Lake Brienz and Lake Thun providing opportunities for water sports, whilst the surrounding mountains are full of adrenaline pumping activities such as sky diving, para gliding and bungee jumping.
The town has a thriving tourism industry hosting over 50 hotels and almost 20 hostels which is impressive for a population of just 5,000. Whilst there are plenty of nice youth hostels in Interlaken, some aren’t particularly great so I’ve put together this guide to help you find the best ones.
- Best OVERALL Hostel: Balmers Hostel
- Best CHILLED Hostel: Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof (Hostel Interlaken)
- Best PARTY Hostel #1: Balmers Hostel
- Best PARTY Hostel #2: Balmers Tent Village
- Best LOCATION: Interlaken Youth Hostel
- Best for ADRENALINE JUNKIES: Lake Lodge
What to expect from hostels in Interlaken?
Before I get to the best youth hostels in Interlaken, here are some of the general things you can expect from all youth hostels in the city:
Free public transport card – Many hostels will try to sell you on the free public transport card, but truth is that all youth hostels are able to offer this to their guests. Officially known as the Interlaken Guest Card, it allows free access to all scheduled public transport in Interlaken and discounted travel on many private railways. The card is paid for by the city tax that all guests are charged.
Free tea and coffee – It’s common for hostels in Interlaken to offer free tea and coffee so this shouldn’t be used as a distinguishing factor.
Pay city tax on arrival – This is just a reminder that city tax is usually paid on arrival even if you are quoted for it by booking sites. Make sure you check if you’ve already paid this before you get there.
Lots of families – In general, I’ve noticed that the youth hostels in Interlaken attract a wider variety range of travellers than other parts of Europe including many families with children. This is likely due to the high cost of travel in Switzerland, so it’s an economical choice. In this guide I’ve chosen the hostels with more of a ‘backpacker vibe’ but I can still guarantee you’ll see families in most of them.
Best Youth Hostels in Interlaken
Best OVERALL Hostel: Balmers Hostel
I’m crowning Balmers as the overall best youth hostel in Interlaken for it’s thriving social scene and great facilities.
See below for more info on Balmers Hostel Interlaken.
Best CHILLED Hostel: Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof (Hostel Interlaken)
Dorm rooms from £37
- Clean and modern facilities
- Walking tour from the hostel
- Staff will take the time to give you plenty of info about the town
Fresh on the list of HostelWorld’s ‘Best Hostels in the World’, Backpackers Villa Sonnenhof is an all-round great hostel with a friendly and chilled out atmosphere.
The hostel has clean and modern facilities including free laundry and tokens for lattes and cappuccinos which surpasses the free drinks on offer at other hostels. The staff were able to take the time to give a thorough overview of the best things to do in Interlaken during out limited stay.
A free walking tour goes from the hostel most days which is a great way to introduce yourself to other guests. There is a basic breakfast included but unfortunately the hostel doesn’t serve any other food.
Best PARTY Hostels in Interlaken
Best PARTY Hostel #1: Balmers Hostel
Dorm rooms from £33
- Upbeat social atmosphere with great common areas
- Regular group activities
- Pub crawl and nightclub underneath the hostel
If you’re after an upbeat social atmosphere, then Balmers is the best youth hostel in Interlaken for you.
The common areas are excellent with pianos, a guitar, ping pong, table football, books and more. They can help you arrange all sorts of activities such as hikes or rafting and you’ll usually be able to find others in the hostel to join you. There is a decent kitchen that is free to use which is always useful in Switzerland due to the high cost of eating out.
The hostel has its own nightclub which attracts both locals and travellers. On Saturdays there’s a pub crawl with a pickup point from Balmers and it ends at the night club under the hostel so you’re in for an easy walk home.
Best PARTY Hostel #2: Balmers Tent Village
Open Mid-June until September only, bookings from April
Dorm rooms from
- Summer only over-spill camping experience
- Pop up village with hot tub, BBQ and more
- Access to Balmers hostel facilities down the road
Interlaken is a buzzing destination in the summer months and most youth hostels in Interlaken get booked up well in advance. That’s why Balmers open the Balmers Tent Village. Here, backpackers come together for wild nights and great shared experiences. There are private tents and dorm tents, but a tent is still a tent so don’t expect too many luxuries.
With Balmers hostel being rated the best party hostel in Interlaken, as you’d expect the tent village is no different. You can look forward to a swimming pool, BBQ, hot tub, table tennis and more.
The tent village is a little further out than the hostel but it’s still walkable to the city centre within 20 minutes or the bus from outside takes 5 minutes. You also have access to the facilities at the main hostel which might come in handy.
Best LOCATION: Interlaken Youth Hostel
Dorm rooms from £39
- Excellent location outside Interlaken Ost station
- Buffet breakfast included in price
- Modern facilities including pool table and piano
Locations don’t come more convenient that right outside Interlaken Ost train station and that’s exactly where you’ll find Interlaken Youth Hostel.
This hostel has new and clean facilities including a pool table and piano to keep you entertained. The breakfast buffet is pretty decent and included in the price which is always helpful in an expensive destination like Switzerland.
Staff are very welcoming and can help you plan the rest of your stay. This hostel is a little more like a hotel in many respects, so the social scene isn’t very strong.
Best for ADRENALINE JUNKIES: Lake Lodge
Dorm rooms from £25
- Situated at the edge of Lake Brienz for great access to the outdoors
- Range of dorms, tents and chalets with beautiful view of lake
- Reasonable social scene, particularly during peak travel season
If you love the outdoors, then Lake Lodge might be the best hostel in Interlaken for you. Situated away from the main city itself, Lake Lodge is right on the edge of Lake Brienz which comes with great advantages such as easy access to hiking routes and the option to rent a kayak from the hostel for 18 CHF. The hostel can be reached by a regular 20 minute bus journey from the city, however be aware that the last bus is 9pm in summer or 8pm in winter. After the last bus you’ll need to use a taxi which can be expensive for anyone travelling alone or in a couple.
The hostel has a range of dorm rooms, chalets and tents but the tents are not great so try for a room if possible. There is a decent social scene at this hostel with plenty of activities to get involved with and a reasonably cheap bar and restaurant, however 10pm is quiet time so don’t expect a party hostel.