When traveling to the Interlaken region in Switzerland, you can experience some of the most surreal landscapes in the world! But while some attractions such as Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen draw the crowds, other locations are often overlooked by international travelers. The Aare Gorge (Aareschlucht) is one of those places.
Joel and I visited the Aare Gorge on a rainy afternoon while looking for unique things to do around Interlaken. And we were truly amazed at how beautiful and underrated this natural wonder was!
Despite the high Google ratings, we saw mostly local visitors which is why the Aare Gorge is less crowded and cheaper than other attractions in the Interlaken-Oberhasli district.
In this post, we cover all you need to know about visiting the Aare Gorge including opening hours, ticket prices, and how to best experience the Aare Gorge canyon walk.
If you don’t have a rental car or would rather sit back, relax and enjoy a private tour, this Bernese Oberland Tour from Interlaken will take you to all the top spots in the Interlaken region including the Aare Gorge, Giessbach Falls, and Lauterbrunnen. Check out the tour here!
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Aare Gorge Ticket Price
The tickets to visit Aare Gorge cost only 10 CHF per person for adults. This is very cheap compared to some of the other attractions in the Interlaken district that were quite expensive (like the First Cliff Walk where we spent 192 CHF on gondolas & activities).
For kids ages 6-15 it costs 6.50 CHF to visit the Aare Gorge. For kids under the age of 6 entrance is free.
You can also purchase a combined ticket to visit both the Aareschlucht and the nearby Reichenbachfall (Reichenbach Falls) for 18 CHF for adults or 13 CHF for kids ages 6-16.
Reichenbach Falls is famous for being featured in the Sherlock Holmes stories as the place where the main character falls to his death. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, be sure to stop by the Sherlock Holmes Museum in the nearby Meiringen town!
Aare Gorge Opening Hours
The Aare Gorge is open from spring to fall and is closed in the winter months. There are two entrances at this location:
- The West Entrance (Aareschlucht West) is open from April 2 – Nov 1.
- The East Entrance (Aareschlucht Ost) is open from May 14 – Nov 1.
- April to June the opening hours are from 8:30 am-5:30 pm.
- From June to September the gorge stays open a bit later until 6:30 pm.
- Then from September to November, the gorge closes earlier again at 5:30 pm.
TIP: Be sure to come in the morning or early afternoon to give yourself plenty of time to walk the entire gorge. We noticed that many attractions in Switzerland start cutting people off before the closing hours.
In the summer months from July to August on the weekends (Fridays and Saturdays), visitors can stay at the gorge longer and enjoy evening illumination that lasts from 6:30 pm until 10 pm.
For up-to-date opening hours be sure to check out the Aareschlucht website here.
Do You Need To Book The Tickets In Advance?
The Aareschlucht location is not as busy as some of the other attractions in the Interlaken region so we just showed up and purchased the tickets at the window booth by the west entrance.
From what we noticed, the Aare Gorge is mostly visited by locals and not that many international travelers which is why it’s less busy than other attractions in the area. At times we were the only people walking in the gorge which was pretty unreal!
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Aare Gorge Location
The Aare Gorge is located in Meiringen town within the Interlaken-Oberhasli district. This attraction is about a 30-minute drive east of Interlaken city.
We drove there in our rental car from Interlaken and parked in the large parking lot by the Aare Gorge West Entrance (Aareschlucht West). Can also start the hike at the Aare Gorge East Entrance (Aareschlucht Ost). The West Entrance seemed to be the more popular option for visitors.
Once you go through the park entrance, it is recommended to walk the canyon one way and then take the train back to the starting point. The train starts at 9:05 am and goes until 6:32 pm, and is included in the 10 CHF ticket price. The train goes every 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the time of the day.
This train also goes to the Meiringen train station. If you plan to use public transportation, you can easily take a train from Interlaken to Meiringen town and then take the Meiringen–Innertkirchen railway that goes to the gorge. Meiringen is the closest town to the Aare Gorge where we stopped to get some food before our visit.
Both of the gorge entrances also have restaurants where you can get food & drinks before or after visiting this natural wonder. Aareschlucht Restaurant is located at the western entrance and can accommodate up to 500 people. Aare-Bistro Is located at the eastern entrance and serves drinks and snacks.
Google Map Location: Aareschlucht, 3860 Meiringen, Switzerland
Travel Tip: For traveling around Switzerland, we recommend getting a rental car because of how spread out everything is. While public transportation is reliable, you will be more limited in time and how much you can see, especially if you’re looking at going to some of the best hikes, waterfalls, and lookout destinations which tend to be far apart from each other.
A Few Aare Gorge Facts
Here are a few interesting facts about the Aare Gorge canyon:
- The Aare Gorge is 1400 meters long. The narrowest point in the gorge is just 1 meter wide and the largest section is over 40 meters wide.
- The cliff walls that surround the gorge are about 180 meters tall so they’re quite high! The gorge’s walls are made of limestone rock which is very hard and compact.
- The Aare River started making this canyon 150,000 years ago with the pressure of water, rock, and ice flowing down from the glaciers above. Harder rock particles like quartz can form the gorge by grinding down limestone.
- The Aare Gorge has been open to visitors since 1888. It is still maintained with the same methods that were used to build it back in 1888.
Pssst! I use the Sony a7c camera for my travel photos. This is the smallest and lightest full-frame camera available on the market – perfect for traveling, hiking, and outdoor trips – while still maintaining the same incredible image quality as Sony’s full-frame cameras!
Our Experience Hiking The Aare Gorge
After arriving at the west entrance, we purchased our tickets and went through the gate. To reach the canyon you will need to walk on a paved pathway that runs next to the Aare river for a few minutes.
As soon as we entered the Aare gorge, we were immediately in awe! We had visited the Gorner Gorge in Zermatt a few days before, but this location was so much bigger and more impressive (for almost the same price!).
It takes about 45-60 minutes to walk the entire gorge. This is an easy walk, but we took a bit longer than an hour because we kept stopping to marvel at the scenery and take a lot of photos and videos along the way. All in all, be ready to spend around 1.5-2 hours at this location.
Aareschlucht consists of towering cliff walls and a milky blue glacier river that has carved its way through this limestone canyon. The water in the Aare river looks blue from the glacier mineral sediments that flow down from the mountains.
At this location, visitors can walk on paved & wooden pathways and through tunnels that have been carved into the mountain for easier access to the gorge. Once you enter the tunnels, it will be very chilly so be sure to bring a warm puff jacket to stay cozy.
While there are some trees scattered throughout the gorge, overall there is not much vegetation that grows out here due to the harsh environment. These steep, sheer cliffs are too hard to access for larger animals, but you might spot birds and bugs living in the crevasses.
Fair warning: once you enter the canyon walk, you will be hiking on walkways built onto the side of the cliff with nothing else but the river below you. If you’re someone who has a fear of heights, this might be a bit challenging to do!
During your visit, you can also see a few small waterfalls including the Schraybach falls that was formed from mechanical erosion. This waterfall flows down from the top of the cliff into the river carving its way into the limestone cliffs.
We came on an afternoon after it rained so the top of the gorge was covered in mist creating an otherworldly, moody setting.
There are some parts of the gorge like the Trockene Lamm that used to be accessible when the gorge originally opened to the public in the 1800s but shut down soon after due to the high maintenance cost.
During the hike, you can also observe two underground caverns from 1940. These caverns were used to house up to 185 military officers and soldiers during WWII and included heaters, running water, restrooms, and electricity.
Once you reach the end of the gorge, you can turn around and walk back the same way or take the train back. We finished our walk by the East Entrance Aare-Bistro where visitors can grab a post-hike beer and snacks before the return journey.
The train station is located a 10-minute walk from the Aare-Bistro at the eastern end. You will need to walk down a hill and on the ‘Swing Bridge’ that was installed in 2003 to safely cross the river.
From there you can find the train entrance built into the side of a mountain. We only had to wait a few minutes before the next tram came and took us back to our starting point at the West Entrance.
Overall, the Aare Gorge was one of the most gorgeous natural attractions that we visited on a day trip from Interlaken.
If you’re thinking of going, do it – you won’t regret it! The whole Aare Gorge is just surreal and a must-see attraction in the Hasli Valley in Switzerland.
Other Visitor Tips
Here are a few visitor tips to keep in mind for visiting the Aare Gorge:
- Drones are now allowed so it’s best to leave your drone at home or the hotel.
- From the west entrance, most of the gorge is suitable for wheelchair access.
- The Aare Gorge is a very picturesque location. To photograph the gorge we used our Sony a7c camera and the Sony 16-35 mm F4 wide lens. This lens is great for capturing wide panoramas and nature landscapes. It mounts to any Sony mirrorless camera and features autofocus, image stabilization, and incredibly sharp images.
- The Aare Gorge does allow dogs and little kids so you can bring your entire family! (Some nearby attractions like the Trümmelbachfälle don’t allow little kids due to safety).
- The Aare glacier river is not made for swimming. The rapids are very fast so visitors are not allowed to get into the water for safety reasons.
- There are restrooms at the beginning and ending of the canyon walk (but not in the middle of it).
What To Bring
Here are a few things that we recommend bringing for outdoor adventures in Switzerland:
- Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket. Weather in Switzerland can change drastically without much notice. I always bring an insulated jacket in my backpack in case it starts raining or the temperatures start dropping. With a windproof and moisture-repelling shell, the Patagonia Nano Puff Jacket will keep you warm by trapping your body heat and blocking the cold.
- Danner 600 Hiking Boots. A good pair of hiking boots can make all the difference in outdoor adventures! I recommend getting a pair that are water resistant and have lots of traction so you don’t slip and fall, especially in places like this. The Danner 600 hiking boots are lightweight, waterproof, and made with Vibram Fuga outsoles for traction on wet surfaces.
- I was pretty chilly within the gorge so I also brought a beanie, gloves, and a rain jacket shell that I put on once it started pouring.
- REI Co-op Nalgene Water Bottle. Bring plenty of water since there are no amenities within the gorge past the entrance gates. I love my reusable REI Co-op Nalgene bottle which is leakproof and so easy to clean!
- Anker Portable phone charger. I always bring a battery pack when going on international trips. A portable phone charger can come in handy in case your phone runs out of battery and you need to use it to look up directions, reservation information, and places to eat after.
- Gregory NanoDay Pack. I have a small lightweight day pack that fits all my essentials, water, and camera gear. The Gregory Nano pack comes with a padded mesh back, several adjustable straps, and plenty of pockets where you can put small things like hand sanitizer, sunscreen, a headlamp, and a medical kit.
Where To Stay Nearby
For visiting the Aare Gorge, we recommend staying in Interlaken. Interlaken is the largest city in the area with the most hotel and restaurant options.
This is a great place to make a home base while exploring the Interlaken-Oberhasli district since all the major attractions such as Jungfraujoch, Lauterbrunnen, and Grindelwald are easily accessible from the town.
During our visit we stayed at Annex Alpine Inn that’s part of the Jungfrau Hotel. This Inn is budget-friendly, recently renovated on the inside, and offers complimentary breakfast along with free parking. Plus, the views from the room were just phenomenal!
For an upscale experience or a romantic trip for two, we recommend staying at the Victoria Jungfrau Grand Hotel & Spa. This is one of the highest-rated hotels in Interlaken that offers luxurious amenities including a pool, sauna, and steam room.
The rooms are decorated in a beautiful design with classic and contemporary furniture. The hotel also features two onsite restaurants and a terrace where you can enjoy views of the stunning Jungfrau summit.
Hotel Bernerhof is a modern hotel in a prime location right next to the Interlaken West train station. This three-star hotel offers excellent value to its guests and is situated near the city center a short walking distance to local restaurants and shops.
Hotel Bernerhof has modern, updated rooms with a light and bright color theme. Views of the mountains can be enjoyed from the charming yellow balconies that come with all of the rooms.
We hope this post has helped you prepare for a wonderful visit to the Aare Gorge in Switzerland! Here are a few other popular travel posts that you may enjoy:
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