For US, Canadian, EU, New Zealand, South African or Australian nationals, all that is required for a holiday in Interlaken for under 90 days is a current passport. For stays longer than three months and for residents of all other countries, you are advised to contact the Swiss consulate in your area.
Interlaken is situated in the German speaking part of Switzerland. In addition to German, however, many locals also speak English and French.
The currency used in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (SFr) and one is divided into 100 centimes (known as Rappen in German speaking Switzerland). Bills come in 10, 20, 50, 100, 500 and 10000SFr and coins are divided into 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes and 1, 2 and 5SFr.
As well as in banks, money and travellers' cheques can be changed at the train station or post office where the exchange rate is almost the same as in any of the banks. ATMs can also be used to obtain foreign currency. This applies to holders of major credit cards or bank cards linked to the Cirrus and Plus networks, Eurocheque cards. Some can also be accessed by the major charge cards.
Interlaken is one hour ahead of GMT and six ahead of EST. Summer time adds an hour at the end of March.
Swiss electricity is currently 220 volts.
There is a Value Added Tax of 3.6% on accommodation in Interlaken. It is 7.6% on all other facilities as from this year.
The Swiss telephone area code is 041. If you are calling Interlaken from outside Switzerland place 00 before the area code, followed by 41. Public phones are found at the post office as well as on the street.
Because the service charge is included in the prices of all the principal services; hotels, restaurants and taxis, tipping is entirely at your discretion.
The tourist office in Interlaken is located at Hoheweg 37 in the Hotel Metropole. It is open in July and August, Monday to Friday, from 8.00am to 12.00pm, closes for lunch, and reopens at 1.30am until 6.30. It opens on Saturday from 8.00am to 5.00pm and Sunday from 5.00 to 7.00pm. From September to June it is open from 8.00am to 12.00pm and 2.00pm to 6.00pm from Monday to Friday and from 8.00am to 12.00pm on Saturday. It does not open on Sundays. For any further information telephone 033 822 21 21 or e-mail mail@InterlakenTourism.ch
In general, shops in Interlaken are open on Monday and Friday from 8.00am to 12.00pm. They close for lunch and reopen at 1.30pm until 18.30pm. On Saturday they remain open from 8.00am to 16.00pm. Note that these times can vary, particularly in summer.
It is worth noting what the public holidays are before you travel to a country as the majority of businesses, banks and shops usually shut for the day. In Switzerland they take place on January 1st, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May 1st, Ascension Thursday, the first Monday in June, August 1stand December 25th and 26th. It is a good idea to check the particular area too as certain towns and cities also shut down during special events.